Archive for Bargains

Thrift store treasure

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Now, isn’t he just the cutest turtle you ever did see?  I mean, he’s so cute that he’s a ladybug’s man.   I had a lamp similar to this style when I was a child, but it was Jack and Jill by the well.  The colors and style just make me happy as can be.  This lamp is definitely old, but it is in perfect working condition!  The turtle is actually the knob to a music box that plays “Rock-a-bye Baby”.

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The lamp shade was the only thing that was missing, but I found this one the next day for $2.  I am thinking of covering it in this striped fabric.  What do you think?  The fabric is nice and thin so the light shines through it in a pretty, night light sort of way.

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Elionai loves it.  She always want to take the turtle off, especially when he is twirling around ever so slowly to the tune.  It is as if she wants to catch him and make sure he doesn’t come down “turtle and all”.

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Hey Willy, See the Pyramids by Maira Kalman

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If you are a fan of children’s books, you should definitely check out Maira Kalman’s world. We bought this book at a library box sale (fill a box with as many books as you can fit for a grand total of $2). The artwork is wonderful and if it doesn’t inspire your children to write/illustrate, it will inspire you!

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The dialogue is quirky, as if someone were taking notes of the random thoughts that decorate our consciousness throughout the day. The illustrations are reminiscent of people in my family…and a circus act at the same time. Hmmm, probably the kind of things one shouldn’t admit so nonchalantly!
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The author has created many wonderful pieces of art with words to boot. I added What Pete Ate to my wishlist. So what’s your favorite children’s book author?

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“Do you have a hooter hider?”

This question was met with laughter…much laughter. While she had never heard the term, she had a pretty good idea I was referencing a nursing cover. The Hooter Hider aka Bebe au Lait was one of the best gifts I received with our latest addition and because the pattern was so simple, I decided to give it a whirl as a gift.

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Having used mine for many months now, I knew there were a couple features that I would change. The first of those was to add weights to the corners of the fabric so that at the first sign of a breeze, I wasn’t flashing everyone in sight.

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I also added a liner to the nursing cover because the fabric was rather sheer and the liner contributed to privacy, weight and cleaner lines. It reminded me of a giant pillow case after it was sewn up. I wanted a pocket that would be more easily accessible and a bit larger than the triangular corner pocket on the original so I fastened this one to the top. I will await feedback from the momma recipient as to how convenient it is in that location.

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I loved the feature on the original that allowed visibility of baby through the top due to an added strip of stiffness in the hem. I reduced the size of the rings because it tended to scrunch of the fabric when I loosened and tightened the original. I am hoping there will be less room to do so with the smaller rings.

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I really like the way it turned out and I will certainly be making more in the future for friends and family who intend to nurse their little bambinos.

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Permanent marker meets its match

  • A white table
  • A portrait of a woman with long black hair
  • A black, Sharpie, permanent marker
  • A spray bottle of water
  • A pair of scissors
  • A tissue box
  • A smudged, scratched, 3-day-old puddle of blackness

There’s the description of the crime scene as I happened upon it today.  I only wished I had taken a photo of it at the time but I was too busy stifling screams and tears that never escaped amidst the myriad of questions that swarmed around my head.

  1. Why did I have permanent markers in the school room?
  2. Why did I tell one of our children that she could use that marker very carefully on the lapdesk only?
  3. Why did I think that was a rational request?
  4. Why did I think that the most damage a pair of scissors could do was cut off a doll’s hair and create countless pieces of confetti on the floor?

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 After a classic discipline transference that included lines such as, “Wait until your father sees this!” and “What made you think coloring on the kleenex with marker and then spraying the table with water would remove the stain??”  I resigned myself to the failsafe method – google.  Above you’ll see the results of that search – a white eraser and white toothpaste.

  1. Use white paste, not the gel kind, and simply put a small amount directly onto the wood furniture. With either a soft bristle toothbrush or a soft rag, start making circular motions and rubbing the paste into the marker.
  2. Be patient. You may have to do several applications before the marker is completely removed.
  3. When the paste has basically taken on the color of the marker, wipe clean and then start with step 1 again.

I started and ended with the white eraser and the piece of the table you see in the photo was where the majority of the marker resided and all that remains are the scratch marks from the scissors she used to try and scrape it off when the marker-saturated kleenex failed.  Hopefully this has given you hope for your marker-tatooed furniture if you found this site in desperation.  My advice – take a photo now before the evidence is all gone!

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Game Time!

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Last week I made a Goodwill run and happened upon this great game called STARE! Yes, we are “one of those families” that love to play games and Goodwill is the place to find them cheap. Take this one, for instance, it sells retail for $29.99 at places like Target, yet I paid a whole $1.99 for it and it is in like new condition. Above you can check out some examples of the artwork from such sources as Norman Rockwell, DC Comics, Action Comics, old advertisements, product packages, movie posters, and more. I always feel so elementary adding lines like “and more” to a sentence, but sometimes enough is enough and I simply want to get to what’s next.

So, the object of the game is to “stare” at the card you receive for 20 seconds and study as much detail as possible before it is snatched away from you and the interrogations begin. So, go ahead…give it a shot! I have enlarged a single card for your eyes to study – remember, only 20 seconds. Go…

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Now, don’t look again and try to answer these questions:

 

1. You can partially see the man’s reflection in the back mirror. True or False

2. There are three swirls on the box of Cheer. What colors are they?

 

So, how did you do? Do tell! And to wrap things up with a bit of personal nostalgia – I had to pick this game up as well – for my children, of course!  Do you recognize it? Come on, if you’re a member of Generation X I bet you’ve played it or watched your sister and her friends play it (like my hubby).

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Here is a great resource I found as a result of this game that had all the pieces but no instructions. If it’s a Hasbro game, have no fear – pay the cheaper price and just download the missing instructions.

 

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Face wiper aka drool catcher – a dinner napkin revival

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I have been meaning to learn to sew for something like ten years. In fact, I was inspired by my first child. I wanted to make her an outfit out of this cute red corduroy printed with dalmation puppies. I ventured to make a pair of baby overalls. I think I tried to make them in a 12 month size, but I was so intimidated by how small the seam allowance seemed to be that I overcompensated enough to morph it into a 6 month size. Needless to say, my daughter never wore it and I decided to wait until I found someone who could help me along before trying anything else.

Well, my sewing machine moved from one closet to another and I never happened upon this “someone” who would instruct and inspire me. SO, the next time I used my sewing machine was last year. Of all things, I decided to reupholster our couches. I have no idea what I was thinking, having never sewn a zipper or a three dimensional covering but I apparently lost enough brain cells over the last decade to cause me to believe it was possible. I actually did nearly complete our loveseat. The cushion was the hardest part, by far! I did learn how to create a pattern from existing pieces and how to keep from crying every time I had to re-thread the machine. However, I struggled through breaking the thread every minute or so – you mean you aren’t supposed to use garment thread on upholstery?? I also struggled with the corners – you mean you should cut slits in the corner so it will overlap naturally as you sew?? I guess there’s also different needles for different projects. Wow, I knew a whole lot of nothing when it came to sewing. I am surprised the couch didn’t disintegrate when we sat on it for the next year!

So now I come to my third sewing machine project ever – inspired by our newest addition. It is a dainty little sun dress I cut out of cloth napkins. I really like the pattern on the napkins as it is very delicate. The photo below actually gives the appearance that I know what I am doing but I haven’t gone so far as to even thread the sewing machine yet. I need some Divine wisdom because at this point I am going to continue to cut out pieces that will mock me while they lie in wait. My new motivation is that I am very eager to design my own patterns. I even have a couple very elementary sketches of some ideas.

If anyone knows of some great online sewing resources – or books, for that matter, please share!

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Size matters – what’s so big about gauge anyway?

Weeks ago I started an adorable pattern out of Simple Crochet for Cherished Babies by Jane Davis. Now, keep in mind that this is my second crochet project ever. My first was a blanket that I started about two weeks before our daughter was born. I did complete the blanket itself and will show you all when I get the finishing touches added to it (flowers and a vine).

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Making a piece of clothing makes gauge a lot more important than making a blanket. As you can see, the green version of the onesie is significantly larger than the blue one below. I ended up tearing the green one out because it looked like a was making a onesie that would fit my ten-year-old daughter instead of our two month old! So, I did a little research about what “fingering weight yarn” looks like as well as the impact yarn and hooks have on gauge.

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I know there are several of you out there that are screaming – this is all common sense – but I can assure you there was nothing common about it all to me. The following photo is evidence of my frustration as I was on about the eighth do-over of the pattern. Being so new at this, I don’t know when things are turning out right or not. It turns out that everything was peachy and I didn’t need to rip it out – well, rip it up. In the moments that followed my husband wondered who this mad woman was that he married !

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The Crochet Answer Book is a GREAT investment for even the most frugal shopper – Posie just raved about the value of this book as well. Thus far, I have purchased all my yarn from Goodwill and I have really enjoyed having so many different textures and colors at my disposal. I can usually pick up about three or four balls of yarn for around 2 bucks – unless it is Saturday when everything is 50% off. The yarn I ended up using for this project is presumably hand-dyed and spun because the thickness varies throughout. Even after my fit of destruction, I ended up spending about three bucks on this project.

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I have since added the straps and crocheted the skirt but now I am trying to figure out how to attach it to the body with single crochets. Such a simple stitch yet such a difficult new concept…any words of wisdom?

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