Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So You Think All Your Bargains Are at Walmart ?

Well as many of you know on Wednesdays I head down to my local Salvation Army because everything is 25% off on Wednesdays. I just got home and as always I did not return empty handed. The bargains are not to be believed. I have made it my mission to inform as many people as possible of the wonders of thrift stores. For all you mom's who work so very hard to stretch your household budget to cloth your children, yourself or your husband. Buy nice things for your home or thoughtful gifts for friends and family. If you are not going to thrift shops you are doing yourself a disservice. I challenge you to go to your local Walmart and purchase similar items that I am going to showcase here....at similar prices ! OK..let's get started.....


Item # 1...I am going to start with a free item. Yes..you heard me...FREE! My husband took some things to our recycling center and sitting on the textile bin was this pair of brand new, never worn, Sketchers athletic shoes...in my size ;-) These babies retail for $62.00!

Item #2 ...a local shop in town is relocating and they were having an "everything must go " sale. I spotted this Klaussner club chair and asked if it was for sale. It was and I could have it for $75.00...SOLD! I went home and googled ( I swear one of these days I am blogging about Google) my new chair. I found my chair at a couple of furniture stores for $599.00!!!!! My chair is just like brand new..no spots, sags or funky smells...can it get any better than that?

Item #3...Need a pretty gift for a friend..maybe to say thank you or Happy Birthday? How about this beautiful porcelain creamer. This is such a gorgeous piece of Bavarian porcelain and I only paid $3.75. Does Walmart sell Bavarian Porcelain????? I think not.

Item #4...Going to a baby shower or a christening? I have the perfect gift..don't you just love Beatrix Potter? The colors and illustrations on this Wedgewood porcelain mug are beautiful.

What a wonderful gift for a mom or mom to be...heck I want it just for me . Gee, does Walmart sell Wedgewood?? I paid $3.50...be still my heart.

Item #5...Now on to my eternal hunt for wool and cashmere sweaters to felt. I struck gold..or should I say diamonds, with this pretty blue 100% cashmere cardigan. Check out the fab buttons...Diamonds!!!!! Ok...so they are not real diamonds, but they sparkle like them.

This beauty will make a toasty pair of fingerless gloves and a cute sweater for a lucky child. The buttons alone were worth the price...$3.75. Ok...am I getting you excited yet?????

Item #6...This gorgeous ruffled blouse will be repurposed and matched up with a couple of felted sweaters...warm and feminine. It was originally from The Limited..no cheap clothing there. I paid $3.75.

Item #7...I am always looking for lovely yellow sweaters to felt. Yellow is a more rare color to find in good condition. I was dancing in the aisle when I spotted this J CREW yellow wool pullover. If you know retail clothing, you know J CREW is a very expensive shop. I Googled this piece they sell for approx. $65.00....My price...drum roll please...................$3.75! Yeah baby...I am doing the happy dance.

Item #8...My hubby used to tease me about my thrift store runs until I brought him a J CREW oxford shirt right out of the cleaners (med starch) for $4.00 (retail $88.00). Now he looks forward to my trips. Today was an especially good day for him. I found 7 shirts in his size and all were pristine condition and most had dry cleaner tags still on. Six of his shirts were $5.25 each and one was $2.99 ( because I smiled nice at the mgr ). When was the last time you bought men's dress shirts at Walmart for $5.25?


A few close ups to show off the name brands.

My man is a huge fan of LL BEAN so he is going to love these ( i found two ).

This dress shirt is my favorite find of the day....I Googled 'Arthur A. Adler' and found that this mens shop in Washington D.C. is were members of Congress, Supreme Court and Former President Bush ..plus many other famous gentleman, buy their clothes. I am going to take a wild guess that this is probably a $80.00-100.00 shirt (you know how the government loves to waste money). I am sure the fact that I paid $3.75 is impressive, however I am going to impress...no.. maybe even shock you with one more fabulous feature of this shirt. Are you ready? The label says...MADE IN U.S.A!!!!!!!! I am so happy to find that we do still make things in this country, and good things at that! This revelation in itself made my whole trip worthwhile. Now go out there and find a bargain..don't make me drag you kicking and screaming out of Walmart!
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Monday, July 20, 2009

*****Why Older Chicks Rule*****



This weekend we will be heading to New York for a graduation party. My beautiful and smart niece Taylor graduated from high school this year. My sister Madelyn (Taylor's mother) made a comment on her Facebook page saying how happy she was to have the last child out of high school. Maddy also made a nostalgic comment about wishing she was seventeen again. I pondered this idea and got a little nostalgic for the young me and came to the conclusion of..........Hell NO!!!!! No way would I want to go back to being insecure, inexperienced and ill-equipped for life. With that in mind I would love to share something with all of you. I was cleaning up this morning and brought my fridge back to the clean, unadorned and unmagnetized condition I had purchased it in. Many years ago a friend of mine sent me this and I had tucked it away behind a refrigerator magnet. For all you ladies over 40 this will make perfect sense. For all of you approaching 40, this is what you have to look forward to.


***********Why Older Chicks Rule*********** by Andy Rooney of " 60 Minutes "


This is for all you girls 40 years and over...and for those who are turning 40, and for those who are scared of moving into their 50's..and 60's and for the guys who are scared of girls over 40!!


As I grow in age, I value women who are over 40 most of all. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1- A women over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask you " what are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

2- If a women over 40 doesn't want to watch the game on TV, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does what she wants to do. And it is usually something more interesting.

3- A women over 40 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 40 give a hook what you might think about her or what she is doing.

4- Women over 40 are dignified. They will seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it ;-)

5- Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it is like to be unappreciated. A women over 40 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends.

A younger women with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women.

6- Women over 40 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

7- Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a women over 40...she already knows what you did.

8- A women over 40 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. Not true of a younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a women over 40 is far more sexier than her younger counterpart. ( I love this one )

9- Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are jerk or if you are acting like one! You never have to wonder where you stand with her.

10- Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal . For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 40+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22 year old waitress. ( how many times do we hear of that!)

***For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women questioned are against marriage, why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage... ;-)


Ok...I know I will catch some flack on some of these from my younger bloggers, but hey I'm over 40 and don't care!!!!!!

Until next time..be kind and stay creative.





Friday, July 17, 2009

Felting Friday

Ok...I know Friday is almost over, but it is the only day that rhymes with the word felt. I can't in good blogging technique call this Felting Saturday!!! Not proper blog literary form and a night in Blogger prison is not for me. I thought my blogging friends might like to see how I make my wrist warmers. It begins with a Wednesday visit to my local Salvation Army thrift store. Wednesday, because on that day EVERYTHING...yes I said EVERYTHING is 25 % off. I get goosebumps just saying that ;-) I look for 100% wool or wool/angora blends and cashmere sweaters. I never come away empty handed. I am starting with a red wool Abercrombie pullover sweater. I payed $3.75 for it.



When I get my treasure home I cut off any labels that might get in the way of my design. In this case my sweater had a cool Abercrombie label on the cuff and I decided to include that in my design...so I left it intact. I put my sweater in a pillowcase and closed it with a rubber band...I am going to repeat that ...I put my sweater in a pillowcase and closed it with a rubber band! Do not skip this step!! When it comes to felting tutorials, this is my pet peeve...this step is almost always skipped. I set my washer controls on hot wash/cold rinse and add just a few tablespoons of laundry detergent. I like to put a small amount of softener in my auto dispenser..optional of course. Set the washer to the fastest agitation and for extra agitation I throw in an old pair of jeans. The more agitating of the wool fibers..the better the result.


Often when I remove my sweater from the pillowcase it is all bunched up and full of wooly fibers.


Here is my Abercrombie turtleneck after the felting( the purest term is 'fulling' )..it has shrunk to about 1/2 it's original size. I block it back into shape and remove all the loose fibers. I then hang it on a rack to dry overnight. For further shrinking and to speed up drying you can put your sweater in the dryer also.



Here is the reason I made such stink about the pillowcase thing. Where do you think all this wool fuzz is going to go if you do not enclose your sweater while washing? Out with the rinse..that's where! The fastest way to kill the motor in your washer is to skip the pillowcase step. Believe me..it is not a pretty way for your washer to die. However if you have your eye on one of those fancy LG steam front loaders, then this could be your Kevorkian method.


After cutting off the lower half of each sleeve, I then had some fun embellishing my warmers. I made a rosette from some felted yellow cashmere sweaters and leaves from a pale green fair isle wool sweater. Once felted , the wool will not fray. No need to hem or finish edges. These warmers are great for keeping you warm while leaving your fingers free to use your cell phone or keyboard. I sell quite a few to ladies who work in air conditioned offices and complain their hands get cold. I hope I have inspired you to shop at your local thrift store and create something cool and beautiful. If not...just buy them from Me! ( www.theemptynest.etsy.com )



Until next time...be kind and stay creative!


Monday, July 13, 2009

US vs THEM!!!!!!



That's how I feel this morning...Us vs. Them. By them I am referring to a colony of Yellow Jackets that while we were visiting family in NY, decided the serenity of my back deck would be the perfect place to nest. We retuned home on Monday and my son Bill, who was visiting for a couple of days, said to me" Hey Mom...did you know you have a bees nest in your wall?" WHAT!!! was my calm response. "Yeah...I was up late reading and I kept hearing this crunching sound coming from the wall" Bill said. ...Oh great..not only are they nesting, but they are crunching on popcorn and nacho chips in celebration of their new home. I couldn't get the 'go to bed early' bees...oh no...I get the 'Hey..there's a party at my nest' variety.

Of course the first thing I do when faced with this dilemma is to Google my problem. Why is this the first thing we as inquisitive humans do now (that's a whole other blog post)? I don't think this is the kind of Yellow Jacket nesting in my wall. If it is ...hey, move over worker bees I'm coming in ;-)


Ok..now I'm getting somewhere...this is the little guy giving me a headache. Meet Mr. Vespa Flavopilosa....who knew he was Italian! So maybe that crunching sound is them munching on those skinny breadsticks before dinner.


YIKES!!!!!! This is my worst yellow jacket nightmare! Example of why you should always keep your car windows closed while parked. Looks like a self imposed airbag of sorts. Think his auto insurance covered this?

Back to my problem...this is the eave where they are entering and nesting. Google says to wait until 9:30pm...great, my pests can tell time too. So last night after dark, my man decided to take some action. Hey he's a man...he don't need no stinkin pest control expert! We had purchased some wasp spray and I had thoroughly read all directions...he can't even spell the word 'direction'. The can said to spray from at least 10-15 feet away (no ladder needed), wear some kind of thick outerwear, like a sweatshirt and jeans , to make stinging a little more difficult. Never shine a flashlight directly into the opening, as that might startle the jackets. Of course I, being a woman, would have followed their directions thinking the manufactures of my spray knew what they were talking about. Not my man......oh no...he is out there dressed only in a flimsy thin tee shirt and shorts...standing on the top rung of a 35 year old rickety wood ladder....his face right in the opening...and yes folks...he is shining a flashlight directly into the opening!!! At this point I am on the other side of my kitchen door laughing hysterically at his blatant disregard for authority. Men...if we didn't love them so much we would find ourselves standing over them in the middle of the night with a knife in our hands sometimes ...just kidding honey ;-) For those of you not from Virginia, Google ' Lorena Bobbitt' and you will understand the last knife reference...He..He.

So my hubby gave me the job of purchasing some Sevin dust (i really hate using any pesticide, but have no choice here..getting desperate) which we will be puffing into the cavity tonight. Of course my bees prefer I wait until 9:30 pm before we take action. I guess they need time to write their last will and testaments. Wish us good luck...actually I will be inside during the massacre...it is my man who will need all your prayers ;-) I'll let you know how it all goes.write link here

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Bounty!

Lately I have been enjoying reading all the wonderful blogs about everyones bountiful summer gardens. I decided to brag a little about my fabulous veggie garden. Hope you enjoy the photos!

We have a few chickens this year and they seem to be very , very happy in their new home. We have never raised chickens before, so this is something really new for us. It has been a chore to keep the foxes away and boy ...do we have foxes! The added side benefit from the chickens is all the great poop that makes wonderful composted fertilizer. Our eggs are a huge jumbo size that barely fit in the egg carton. They taste so fresh and the yolks are so creamy when boiled..yum!

I get a kick out the funny shapes we get sometimes..the one on the right looks like a torpedo ;-)
Also started our blueberry picking this weekend. Early morning is the best time to pick. Our bushes are hanging heavy with fruit this year...the bees certainly have done their pollinating job this year. Some were the size of quarters and all so sweet. I smell Blueberry pie!!

Our radishes benefitted from our compost..some are the size of lemons. So crunchy and just enough spicy tang to them.

Our summer squash almost got too big before I got to pick them..saute them in a little olive oil with some onion and garlic.....so good. Our heads of garlic are a good size also this year.

So it seems all of my diligent , hard work of planting, weeding and watering is paying off big time. As you can see I have been blessed with a huge green thummmmmmmm,,kkjhfhgttjjjhdh.
So sorry for the typos......seems my nose just grew about 17 inches and is hitting the keyboard.
Ok...so I didn't grow any squash or radishes and I don't know anything about planting blueberry bushes. My sister-in-law in New York raises the chickens and that's her summer squash. The radishes I bought at a farmers market for $1.00 along with the garlic. I did handpick the berries at a fruit farm (surely that counts for something).
But HEY.......those two tomato's did come from my pitiful little 4 tomato/4 squash plot! Seems our intentions were good but we just never got around to planting the garden of our dreams. We would like to thank all those gardeners who have planted and worked their fields so we can benefit...thanks guys!
Until next time...I am off to enjoy some hard boiled eggs and wheat toast for breakfast. Enjoy the day!