So Cheap!

July 1, 2011 01:21 by ehouston

As you know from recent posts I have fallen back in love with the local library.  It’s not that we really had a falling out or anything, I just got busy with life and kind of forgot about him.  We are hanging out regularly again and he reintroduced me to the thrift store.  Yeah, I was still visiting with thrift store from time to time, but our usual weekly meetings were few and far between.  Again, life, and the tiny budget, took over.

You may be saying, well if you have a tiny budget than the thrift store is where you should be!  Let’s just say that I can make a wreck of my bank account even at a thrift store.  It’s great to have an eye for the potential in so many of the discarded things in a junk shop, but the inability to bring just some pieces home with me and leave the rest for others has been a problem for years.  I have written before about how I frequently have to wean myself off the “junk” because it’s taking over my time, closet and garage space life.  Well, since getting back on the library kick and introducing the Little Guy to this world of books, I noticed he is becoming very attached to some of what we borrow.  I have been allowing a couple of movies that we typically watch just in the car while running errands and as many books as he wants.  Our haul from two weeks ago was so good that I decided we would take the movies back, but keep the books for a second week.  That way he could continue to enjoy all the fun stories he picked out.  I am afraid of the meltdown that is coming this Saturday when we go back and drop off the current stack.  I plan to let him take his books up to the counter so that the process sets in and hopefully he makes it through without any trauma.

But, opening up my heart again to the library and now seeing the same thing happen with my son brought me to the decision to allow more frequent visits to the thrift store so he can get more reads.  I learned that the local Salvation Army has a 50% off discount on all items each Wednesday, well…except the furniture, unless it’s been there for 30 days.  Which is probably for the best because we would most likely be on our third armoire/dining set/side chair/couch…oh you get it.  I have an illness.

So, Wednesday we made the trip over to the Sal Army and picked up quite the load in just under 15 minutes.  I will admit to ulterior motives initially.  A week ago I spotted the cutest little blue upholstered chair that I thought would be perfect for our upstairs landing.  Being the frugal lady that I am, I passed it up because it was just a week shy of 30 days in the store.  I was convinced that no one else would think it was cute and I could get my score on Wednesday for a whopping $14.99.  Yeah, that’s right, I was too cheap to shell out for a $29.00 chair!  The thing is, I don’t need it at all.  It would just look nice, make the whole upstairs flow better and give us a good spot to read or chat on the phone…but, I didn’t truly need it.  So, I could really only justify pulling from my nearly non-existent budget if it was super cheap.  Wah-wah….it was gone when we got there.

BUT, the Little Guy did score 9 new books for his own growing personal library. 


I got a wall basket to use in our master bathroom,


and I also picked up a chrome set for the guest bathroom consisting of a towel ring, towel bar, toilet paper holder and door hook. 


The best part about this haul was that it totaled $6.49 for everything.  I have a ton of plants needing a home right now, so I figured I will put that basket to use.  And, the plastic towel bar that was in the guest bath has been making me crazy since we moved in, so this set will be a nice addition.  Books for a quarter!  Yeah, I can spare the change for the Little Guy to have an enormous library of books if he wants.

What have you guys been finding this summer during your thrift shop trips?

Kitsch Krafts

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Textile Obsessive, are you? Yes, you might say that...

August 8, 2008 10:23 by ehouston

I have been collecting fabric for a long time and my obsession peaked several years ago when I completely freaked out about the amount of textile items I owned.  I am sure there are plenty of people out there that are waaayy worse off than me, suffocating under the piles and piles of dusty barkcloth, slipping on the chantilly lace and wishing they had just the right shade of orange to match up with that chevron patterned polyester.  I have been there and I was in heaven, but then suddenly, I had reached a moment of being completely overwhelmed by it all.  My 9 to 5 was not letting up on my free time enough for me to create like I had been accustomed to in the past.  My website was slinking along, barely there, while most requests came by word of mouth, and I just felt my chest tightening at the thought that I may hold on to this stuff forever along with some crazy teenage dream. 

I guess I read to many magazines, blogs and websites about all those talented individuals that some how get "discovered" and suddenly their 9 to 5 becomes their dream job.  Don't get me wrong, I chose my career path and I enjoy what I do.  It's just lacking in the type of creativity that I thrive on.  So, one day after a few deep breathes I began the purge.  I went through every single piece of textile on the racks that lined the walls of my office/craft room, and I bagged it all up.  I told myself that I would only keep the pieces most precious to me.  Those that have the best patterns.  The ones that just make me smile at the thought of cutting them to make something great, or keeping them forever to pull out and enjoy from time to time.  That day I did manage to take four very large garage-style storage racks, packed two rows deep on each shelf and stacked up to the ceiling, down to one extra wide five-shelf unit.  I think I counted 15 large yard-size garbage bags full of fabric and it took me about 4 trips to Goodwill to unload it all.  With each trip I dug deep for the will to keep going in the direction of the thrift drop off, did the deed and then felt weight lift on my way back home. 

At first I was definitely sad, but the opening up of all the floor space felt very freeing and I believed I had made the right decision.  Plus, I knew that some lucky person was about to come upon the fabric stash of a lifetime while just wandering through their favorite thrift store one afternoon.  It was not until recently that I started to really miss some of those fabrics.  The feeling is almost equivalent to that of losing a pet.  I know it seems crazy, but I often find myself thinking, "Oh yeah, I can use that pink floral doubleknit to make a sweet scarf to go with these mittens!", only to remember that the pink doubleknit is now adorning someone else's fabric pile.  I think what has really made all of this hit home is the fact that I am starting to get back out there.  I find I am being drawn back to the thrift stores for inspiration and the occasional good find.  Unfortunately, over the years the thrift stores have decided to use a new pricing scale for anything they think might have vintage value.  So, that bin of vintage fabric scraps that used to be about $5.00 is now $10.00 or $20.00, which might not seem like much, but it can take a tole on a tight crafting budget.  I guess I got lucky in that I was thrifting at a time when it was not as mainstream.  It was a necessity to cloth myself and outfit my first apartment.  I miss those days. 

In the meantime I have decided to start sharing my prizes and have found a lot of other people out there that have the same kind of love for all things vintage, especially textiles.  I will admit that sharing our pictures is fun, but a little hard to stomach when you realize someone else has the most perfect example of 1950's barkcloth you have ever come across.  What I am saying is there is definitely some jealousy involved..;0)  This reminds me of a story the husband of a couple we are friends with told us about how his wife shops.  Actually, they were both talking about how it was like hunting, and fighting could break out at any moment in the mall.  Well, I am not a mall shopper and I have always thought of myself as being much more civilized than that.  But, then I think of those times when I have slipped into a bedroom at an estate sale just in time to see some other lucky thrifter tucking the best fabric find under their arm.  So far I have subdued the eye-gouging and hair-pulling, but there have been times when it was almost too much to take.  I am limiting my entry back into the world of thrifting and fabric collecting, but it's like the draw of "The Dark Side".  It's just so darn strong!
KitschDesigns' Vintage Fabrics photoset KitschDesigns' Vintage Fabrics photoset

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