Sunday, October 7, 2012

{Curb Alert!} Salvaged Barn Boards

First, allow me to backtrack to last summer, when I picked up the book Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren at a yard sale and I shared how both Pippi and I are “Thing Finders.”

Now let me backtrack to a couple weeks ago, when I finally read this (first of 3 books) out loud with the kids. We were a couple of chapters in, a few paragraphs after the quotes that I shared in my original post about the book, when I discovered some more “Pippi wisdom” that I can identify with:

...“We shall see what we shall see,” said Pippi.  “One always finds something. But we’ve got to hurry up and get going so that other Thing-finders don’t pick up all the lumps of gold around here before we get them.”
All three Thing-finders now set out. They decided that it would be best to begin hunting around the houses in the neighborhood, because Pippi said that although it could perfectly well happen that one might find a little screw deep in the woods, still the very best things were usually found where people were living.

Earlier that same week, as I was driving around the houses in my neighborhood, my eyes spied what, in some circles, is the equivalent of lumps of gold. There’s a cool old barn down the street that’s always been somewhat of a mystery. A sign on the side advertises a handmade furnishings and cabinetry business but the only times I’ve seen the door open, it looks more like a workshop for old cars. I did a double take as I was driving by and realized they were tearing down all the old boards off one side of the barn and putting up new ones.

Ummm…did I just drive by a pile of old barn boards? Be still my beating heart! 

Of course my first thought was to turn around and ask if I could take some but I was on my way to meet a friend for some long overdue thrift shopping (where I ended up getting the chair at the end of this post) so I decided I’d just stop to ask about the boards on the way back - but I forgot.
The following day I was out on the same route with kids in tow and I saw the guy working on the barn again so I decided to pull over and ask about it. At this point, my kids are finally getting used to this routine and they rarely question me anymore. J

I tried not to look too giddy when the man told me I was free to take any of the wood. But I got a little more serious when he mentioned I was the third or fourth person that had stopped to ask about it. He also kindly mentioned that the wood at the top of the barn, which he had not yet started to tear down, was even better than what he’d already taken off, if I wanted to wait. I asked if I could come back later and he told me I could come and take it any time, even if he was not there. So I got back in the car intending to go back later in the day.

Well no sooner had I gotten home and distracted with kids and house that I forgot about it, again. That is... until my daughter and I cozied up on the couch later that afternoon to continue our Pippi Longstocking experience. When we read the paragraphs I quoted above I was caught dead in my tracks. “One always finds something. But we’ve got to hurry up and get going so that other Thing-finders don’t pick up all the lumps of gold around here before we get them.” THE BARNWOOD!!!

Pippi was absolutely right! I had got to hurry up and get back to the barn so that other Thing-finders didn’t pick up all the lumps of gold before I got them! “Hunny, when we finish this chapter we’re going back to get some of that wood!” Her eyes popped out of her head with an excited gleam in them. (She totally gets it.) J

Before we headed out, I made sure to grab my work gloves in case of splinters or rusty nails. I also had to empty my van of that chair I’d gotten at Sally’s the day before. With plenty of room in the van for my “gold,” off we went. They owner was gone, but with permission, I pulled right up beside the pile and started digging through it. I found plenty of beautifully gray and weathered pieces and a handful of rusty old nails to boot. Woo hoo!!

So what the heck am I going to do with this pile of salvage? I’m not exactly sure yet. But I know I’m going to need it some day. J   I’m forever inspired by this barn board backdrop that Sweet Pickins always stages her furniture makeovers in front of. 

And here are a few other creative DIY ideas found online (Pics link to sources.):

Rustic Headboard


Sign Art

Flower Planters (top pic)

Well, fast forward another week or so as the barn continued to be refaced. This time I drove by, beside a new pile of wood, there were a few windows sitting out by the road that caught my eye. Hmmm...old barn windows?! Sprinkles on the sundae! Can't not stop and check these out too! By this point, the guy recognized me and we ended up chatting about wood crafts, townies, who we both know, etc. And I'm promised he'll not only save the windows for me, but he'll even remove them from the casings and set them aside away from the road with the best of the wood in his newest pile. SWEET. When it ever stops raining long enough for my goods to dry out, I'll pick those up too. I may or may not share. I'm on blog sabbatical, remember?

Either way, when I get the 2nd round of old barn goodies, they'll just to go into storage, for now. I'm not sure who's gonna kill me first. My hubby or my in-laws...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chair Love

It's been quite a while that I've been on the hunt for a vintage wooden swivel office chair. When Pottery Barn first started selling these, I'd drool a little.

But the $399.00 price tag is pure insanity. And they look too new and polished for my liking - I've been wanting an authentic antique one, with character and patina.

Today I was at my in-laws' most of the day for their yard sale. I've been so good about weeding things out over the past several months that the only thing I had to contribute was our dining room table, originally their hand-me-down anyways. (Oh yeah, and a vintage crock/beaters I got $5 for. Woop-de-doo.)

We were all getting hungry for lunch so I headed downtown to pick up pizza and subs for us. But I couldn't resist stopping at one neighborhood garage sale on my way. Turned out to be a little jackpot. I got hubby a huge stack of Reformed theology books (his reading passion) for 25 cents each and I found . . .


The only thing I "settled" for was the style of the back. I would prefer to get something with a little more to the back, but this is surprisingly comfortable and forces good posture.

It swivels and the back adjusts up and down. The color of the wood, the old casters and aged metal...all exactly what I was hoping to find some day. Just needs cleaning up.

We are actually in the process of moving so for now it went right into my in-laws basement for storage. But I'm thinking it'll eventually go behind my computer and/or teacher desk or a crafting worktable.

AND....this chair - that I recently had to scoop up when I was thrifting at Sally's with a high school friend - will go where the swivel chair does not.

Just not in its present condition. This has great makeover potential - just repaint and reupholster. It was dirt cheap and I totally fell for the design on the back of the chair.

I have a weak spot for chairs. Somebody stop me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Joys Which I Had Once Feared to Lose

It's been almost two months now since I announced that I've been on blog sabbatical. What started off as being too busy to blog turned into being unable to blog due to extremely limited internet access. My computer had a connectivity issue and I chose not to rush to get it fixed. And since I have a "dumb phone" I am literally disconnected. I haven't really cared about not having daily access to Facebook and email all that much. In fact, its been kind of nice. I've managed to check into those things quickly a couple of nights a week on hubby's laptop - just enough to send and reply to important message.... and maybe comment on a few FB posts. :) Really, its been awesome to be without the internet and not miss it. Even in the midst of major cleanout projects and daily summer adventures, I've managed to go to bed most nights in a neat, fairly clean house - a WONDERFUL new feeling. (I usually blogged at the expense of my kitchen counter!) And I've actually had time to make a decent dent in my quickly growing stack of books waiting to be read - yet again, a wonderful new feeling.

My biggest concern when I was first disconnected was that I would have separation anxiety from my blog. It all happened in the height of early summer yard sale season. I had a draft started about some of my favorite finds from a Friday estate sale (which I will finish and publish hopefully soon). And, I'd been working on more ideas for a blog redesign. But then, by act of God alone, I quickly just stopped caring. He literally eliminated my desire to blog. It wasn't long after that I came across this Augustine quote in the book When I Don't Desire God  by John Piper, "How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose . . . ! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy." Augustine was talking about the experience of conversion, when someone first puts their faith in and commits their life to Christ, but it rang true for me in my current experience as well.

So without the internet or my blog, my time, focus, and attention have been on better things this summer. I'll admit there have been a lot of things I would have blogged about but instead they've just been private joys. And I've still been snapping away with the camera just in case some ideas do end up getting published...some day. When I do get my computer fixed soon (because I will need daily internet once school starts), I know I will not have time to keep up a blogging pace anything close to what I ever have in the past. I knew these days would come so I'm at peace with that!

I'm certainly not closing up shop though. I will always have thoughts swirling about that I'll contemplate sharing; I'll just have to be more selective about the ones that I do. And although I'm in a season of switching gears from collecting to simplifying, I'm sure I'll still stumble upon treasures I deem worthy of show and tell. Posts will be fewer and farther between, and probably shorter and sweeter too. We'll see. All I know is that this creative girl still needs an outlet and I'm just hanging on, seeing where God leads me, my treasures, and this blog.

Friday, July 6, 2012


AAhh! I'm too busy to blog these days! I've got a bunch of posts in progress but they will just have to wait. Between preparing to put our house on the market and summer vacation...I've got too much work and play that's further up on the priority ladder than this little hobby. I'm not complaining. It's exciting. But I'm putting this on the back burner until...well, I don't know when. I just know posting will be slowing down for some time. Treasure hunting - that never stops. It's just the blog that is pausing. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten Cent Estate Sale Treasures

No sooner had we pulled out of our driveway a few weekends ago, on our way to a local town-wide yard sale (view that loot here), than we passed an estate sale a few doors down from our house. I was familiar with the little brown ranch and the elderly woman that lived there. But I didn't want to turn around and be late for the town-wide sale we were on the way to. I figured maybe we'd stop on the way back or something. It turns out I didn't finally stop until the next afternoon. As I mentioned in my how-to yard sale post, sometimes dropping by at the tail end of an estate sale can be very beneficial.

Well, there were no great big scores to be had. But they had a ton of junk marked down to a dime. And one woman's junk is another woman's treasure. Here are the few things that I scooped up for pocket change. Literally.

First, three more rolls of wallpaper for my collection. I LOVE the middle one especially. So these will wrap presents, line drawers, matte frames...who knows. 10-cent rolls, that's what I'm talking about. ;)

And that peach ribbon was one of many in a whole 10-cent stash. But my daughter had another use in mind for it. One she was more than willing to model for the camera.

Here's the rest of the ribbon. There's satin, crushed velvet, gross-grain, burlap and cording. So what you do is use the yard sale ribbon to tie around and make bows on the gifts you wrap with yard sale wrapping paper.

Hmm, colors seem a little messed up in these pictures. Green is looking teal. Whatever...

This next item definitely fits into the tacky category right now, but my plan is to remove the quilted greenery and just keep the crushed bright red velvet swag of pillow letters for Christmas decorating. You gotta trust me...

I like to stick with natural green and bright traditional red for Christmas decorating, and as always, with a little vintage flair. So this is perfect. Again, ten cents. 

So nothing major, just a few things for when I have time to get crafty.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Town-Wide Yard Sale Loot

Several weekends ago I hit up a local annual town-wide yard sale that is always one of my favorites. This year we made it a family affair and were out and about for over five hours! The loot was decent. So here we go...

I ended up with a decent stack of books (and some flash cards) for the kids, which you can see here on top and in front of the $5 like-new toaster oven.

"There was an old lady who swallowed a horse. She died of course."

The toaster oven is basically what we have now but bigger and new. As in perfectly clean, never used. (And yes, I follow my own advice. I plugged it in at the sale to verify it works.) I don't really need a new toaster oven but they don't last forever, and why not upgrade in the meantime? For $5. When it comes to things like a fridge and stove, I'd prefer stainless steel, but for counter-top appliances, white is A-O.K. for me.

Hubby also scored a LOT of books to add to his personal library, named in memorial honor of his beloved cat. I never loved that cat. I married into the existing relationship between my husband and HIS beloved cat. How many times did I come to bed to find that cat on my pillow and I'd start freaking out and hubby would just reply, "Hey, he has squatter's rights!" I don't miss him. Sorry, I digress....

Another book I got is called In The Womb, featuring photographs of David Barlow's award-winning models that look SO REAL. (Pardon the sideways picture - it won't flip for me so I give up.)

I loved the look on my girls' faces when they were thumbing through the book and I was explaining the ages and sizes associated with each picture. I wish I'd had this book when I was still pregnant to follow along on with the kids. Oh well.

Sort of related to books - I got four of these small lined notebooks/journals. They were beautiful and they had birds on them and they were 50 cents each. I can gift them, use them as note paper...whatever. Did I mentioned they had birds on them?

When it comes to kids games (which yard sales are LOADED with), I usually only bring home the classics. This week it was Boggle (Jr.) and Charades (for Kids).

Turns out, Boggle is a fun way to sneak in summer spelling practice on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

We also picked up a fun new craft which my six year old couldn't wait to get working on.

Memba those?? Huh?? :) Grandmothers and aunts may or may not end up with home-made potholders as Christms gifts this year. ;)

I couldn't go wrong with a bucket of Tinker Toys for $1.50. How'd we survive without that classic construction toy until now?

I survived just fine all this time not picking those pieces up from all over the house, that's for sure. And as with any construction toy, God forbid you break apart and put away their masterpieces at the end of the day. On second thought, maybe the $1.50 was a rip-off.

Here is a wooden hanger for scarves with the 75 cent price tag still proudly displayed.

Have I mentioned that yard sales are great places to pick up scarves? My best scarf-score ever was a really cute green and white floral Vera Wang for $1. I'm not exactly sure where it is right now or I'd show you. Then again I'm not sure where most of my scarves are - which is why I need something like this to keep them together.

I also picked up a few clothing items for my nephew and a couple of plain tops (25 cents each) for myself. I wasn't going to bother taking pictures of the clothes because they were pretty boring and basic...until I uploaded the picture of the scarves and was like, OOooooh, wait!  One of the boring pieces was a yellow tank top which happens to go so nicely with two of the above scarves - combinations I'm not sure I would have thought to put together if not for this blogging process.

This first scarf was actually a gift from a friend.

This next scarf was a yard sale (or maybe Salvation Army) find. But I better hurry up and wear it because I'm guessing the 90's watercolor floral come-back is not likely to last more than a season.

For $1, I picked up this white row of pegs on driftwood. There is something about the way I found it that I like - it sort of has a boating vibe. But it would need a makeover someday if I was to ever incorporate it into my home decor. However, this is the one thing I came home with that I'm having doubts about. I could have done without this but I'll figure out something good to make the $1 worthwhile.

I found yet another old garden rake for uses I have not yet disclosed but I didn't bother to take another picture of the same thing so click on the link if you're curious about that.

For the following, you're probably either going to love them or hate hate. I love them of course. I think I will spray paint the frames white and try to work them into one of the girls' rooms. How sweet are these?

I love that vintage look. And for a total of 50 cents, they are worth a try.

On a side note I'm considering how to work the color black into the older girls' room decor while still maintaining a vintage feel and I just noticed the black accents in these pictures. Hhmmmmm.....

The following is my second favorite score of the day - a never used electric roaster and buffet server. Perfect for hosting big meals, which I'd like to do more of. The woman selling it wrote the manuals for stuff like this so she got it for free from the company but never used it. The price tag - $10. And yes, I tested the power on this before buying too.

Last but not least, my favorite treasure of the morning, the one that really makes me smile - a gigantic framed map of the ancient world for $7.

That proud look on my daughter's face pretty much sums up how I feel about it too. :) I almost bought a large rolled up map of the world at the local annual homeschool convention in April but I decided to put it back and wait till we move to see if we'll have a place to display it. Little did I know I'd stumble across this rare find of a frame to fit it. At this point, I'm feeling fairly confident I'll end up with a homeschool room, so I decided to get it. I'll probably end up buying a new map eventually since this one is a little wrinkled under the frame. And I'll definitely paint over the honey oak (barf!) frame.

Well I think that's all. For a town-wide sale, it was an okay day. Could have been better, could have been worse. No super-fun home decorating finds, but that's good because I'm not supposed to be decorating this house any more!!! (SO. HARD.) I'm supposed to be un-decorating. Cleaning out. But I can't go all summer and not do any yard saling!  I thought I was slowing down, that this would be my last hoorah before taking a break to buckle down on house projects. But I've since had a couple of most lovely treasure hunts that I can't wait to share. At the rate I'm going on posting here, it could be another two weeks before you are privy to any of the details. So stay tuned but not with bated breath.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yard Sale-ing 101

Being the practically professional yard-saler than I am, I figured I'd throw together a Yard Sale-ing 101 for those of you that may be interested in starting or just stepping it up a notch. There are tricks to the trade.  After decades of perfecting the art and science of this treasure-hunting hobby, I've got tried and tested tips to share. So I am. :)

  • SEARCH FOR SALES by doing any or all of the following:
    • Make a note of any yard sale signs you've seen driving around your community during the week.
    • Check local newspapers under the Yard Sales heading in the Classifieds. Although this is a little old-school, sometimes the best stuff is being sold by people who don't know how to use modern technology. So don't dismiss this. I still remember the days when this was the only way.
    • Search Craigslist under "Garage Sales" in your area. People usually list the type of stuff they are selling so you can sort through what may interest you or what you want to skip.
    • Also search online for garage sales in your area at
  • MAKE A LIST of the yard sales you want to hit up. Include the address, start and end time, and any items in the listing of interest to you. This will be helpful if you find you need to be more discerning about which ones you actually end up stopping at. "Hun, we got about 20 more minutes before we need to head back for that birthday party. Do you want to go to the one with all the books or the one with the tools?" :)
  • PLAN YOUR ROUTE. If you want to get an early start, it usually makes sense to start in an area with the highest concentration of sales that begin the earliest. (I rarely see them start before 8AM.) From there, plan out the best route you can in your head, if you're familiar enough with the area, or using a map. even has a trip planner feature that will map out your route for any of their listed sales you select. After I've made my list of sales on paper, I go back and number them in the order I plan to stop at them. If there is a sale listing that you definitely want to have first pickins at, plan to go there first, or arrive right before they open. Be sure to respect sellers that specify no early birds. However, for Estate Sales, lines many start forming well before the sale begins so you may want to plan to arrive 1/2 hour early to be one of the first ones in.
  • HIT UP THE BANK for cash. If you're only looking for big furniture or expensive items, a wad of 20s from the ATM on your way out in the morning will do fine. But if you're looking for less expensive items, its a good idea to have change on hand. That means small bills and even some quarters. (I remember growing up I could head out with just a bag of coins and be fine because it was normal to have things priced for nickels and dimes. It's hard to forget its been twenty years and I get outraged when people overprice.) Don't expect sellers to be able to break your big bills. Also, when you're trying to haggle a $5 item down to $2 and then you whip out a wad of $20s, apologizing that that's all you have, it doesn't go over as well as when you look like you are digging for and counting up your ones and change. At the same time, when you stumble upon the full dining room set you have to have for $150, don't count on the seller taking a personal check because you don't have the cash on hand. While some sellers may hold something for you while you go and get more money, not all will.
  • FILL UP THE GAS TANK. You don't want to get stuck cutting into precious shopping time the next day because you're running low on fuel. If you don't gas up the day before, leave plenty of time in the morning on your way out.
  • (update 7/4) MAKE / UPDATE YOUR SHOPPING LIST. I haven't actually put this one into practice yet but I need to. I have a mental list of things I'm on the lookout for, either for myself or that other people have asked me to buy if I find. Well, after three kids mental lists are pretty much useless. There have been several times when I realize when I get home that I passed right over something that I had been looking for and just forgot. Recently I was about to leave a sale when I suddenly remembered something a friend had asked me to look out for. I asked the seller if she had any and she pointed them out. I had looked right at them and passed on by because my list wasn't fresh in my mind when I started. That's another thing you can do - ask sellers if they happen to have things on your list. Sometimes items you are hunting for are hidden or not yet for sale, until you ask. And don't assume you can'd find anything at a yard sale. If you want or need it - put it on the list. Remove items when they don't belong there anymore. And read over your list at least once before you leave, if not after every few sales as well.  
  • DRESS APPROPRIATELY. That means a few things.
    • First, especially at the beginning of the season in early spring and end of the season in late fall, it can be quite cool. So wear layers. Check the weather and be prepared appropriately. If you melt in the rain, bring a raincoat or umbrella. Garage sales will keep going in the rain even if yard sale sellers close up shop. Wear or at least pack sunscreen or hat. A full day of yard-saling in a tank top can lead to sunburned shoulders otherwise.
    • Wear waterproof shoes or flip-flops because many sales land you in people's lawns and this means wet dew in the morning. Again, I've learned from experience - especially with the kids - their sneakers get soaking wet in no time.
    • Dress very casually. First to be comfortable, but second - the nicer you look, the more sellers will assume you can afford to spend. If you want better success in haggling and scoring some great deals, don't wear your nicest jeans, go decked out in bling, or have your Coach bag hanging on your arm. If you run into me on a Saturday morning and I look like a bum, you know why. Heck, I usually forgo a shower on Saturday mornings as well. :) The poor-harried-mom-with-lots-of-kids look is usually in my favor.
  • PACK REFRESHMENTS, depending on how long you plan to be out and about. I like to make a day of it, and usually have my kids in tow, so that means packing breakfast and lunch for the road for all of us. If we could actually get out the door early enough we might stop for coffee and donuts but I'm usually pulling the kids out of bed to make it to 8:00 sales when they start. Stopping on the road to get something to eat later just cuts into precious shopping time. (Stopping to pee does the same thing so take it easy on the fluid intake.) You could miss something amazing because you to had to stop for snacks or bathrooms. Especially if you are in the middle of residential island, you may have to drive 15 minutes out of the way to make that pit stop.
  • CHOOSE A VEHICLE to drive (if you have a choice). Your spouse's or friend's vehicle might be a better option than your own, depending on a few things. If you are specifically looking for large pieces of furniture or expect to come home with a lot of inventory, go in the biggest vehicle you can. The down side of that can be finding parking closest to the sale. If you are going with kids and plan to be out for several hours, a vehicle with a DVD player can provide much needed entertainment when the kids are bored (or if you're sick of wasting time getting them in and out and buckled and unbuckled). Also keep in mind that trying to haggle that item to the lowest price possible may be easier when the seller saw you step out of a beat up old Corolla than a shiny new luxury SUV.
  • LAST MINUTE POTTY for yourself and especially the kids right before you head out the door. I can't tell you how many times we have been in some stranger's driveway when my kid has announced, "Mom! I really gotta pee right now and I can't hold it!" Believe it or not, a few sellers have heard this and let me into their house to let my kid use their toilet but I don't count on it. Packing a training potty for that age is also something to consider.
  • HAGGLE. Just do it! Don't pay $1 if you can get'm down to 50 cents! :) Even if you know you're getting a steal, it never hurts to ask for a better deal. You may insult someone on what they think their stuff is worth, but so what, like you're ever going to see them again! Back in high school I used to go yard sale-ing with a friend...we'll call her Teeny. She'd always ask me if the item she wanted was a good price and I'd always tell her that I thought she could get it for less. She was too scared to haggle so she'd give me her item and ask me to go haggle it for her. I was such an enabler a good friend. :) Learn to haggle for yourself. Never go home wondering if you could have paid less.
  • PUT ON YOUR POKER FACE. Act like you don't care about or are not sure of the amazing finds that you want to grin from ear-to-ear and jump up and down about. Pretend like you're hemming and hawing even though you have every intention to purchase something. This little act helps during price negotiations. But while you're pretending to just be curious about an item, hang on tight so no one else scoops it up from under your nose. It happens.
  • ALWAYS TEST ELECTRONICS.  If it takes batteries, ask the seller if they have any new batteries you can test it with. If it plugs in, ask if they have an outlet nearby you can test it with. I've learned the hard way. If the seller is unable to test something for you, then beware of that risk. Even if they claim it works, trust no one! It's easier to take your chance with a $1 kids toy than with a $20 cordless drill. I'm just a little bitter about being burned on that one.
  • USE A GPS or have a good old-fashioned map. Because while you are out and about you will come across signs for more sales. And because you won't want to pass them up they may send you on wild goose chases, off your carefully pre-planned route. If you don't have a GPS, check out your local Chambers of Commerce for current road maps of your community. For me, that includes the Corrider Nine, Blackstone Valley, United Regional and Milford Area Chambers.
  • SCAN FOR TOYS from the road if you have kids with you. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT have kids get in and out of the car at every sale if you don't have to. You will only get to half the yard sales you want to that way. Instead, buy them a token entertainment toy and/or a few books at one of the first sales you can. This will help keep them distracted for the rest of the trip. Then, when you pull up at future sales, take a quick glance for toys and if you don't see any (or many), tell the kids, "Oh, it looks like this one doesn't have any good toys. Stay right here while I just hop out quick and take a look." The kids buy this line sale after sale, week after week. Of course do this ONLY if you are parked close to the sale and can see your kids in the car. I would never leave my kids in the car out of eyesight. You do want to stop at a few "kid sales" here and there so that they can shop and to instill in them the love of treasure hunting. :)
  • BUY WITH YOUR HEAD AND YOUR HEART. If you don't shop smart, you'll end up a hoarder. :) Don't buy things you don't need or really want. I come across tons of stuff that's really cool or unique and I am tempted to get just because its cheap or "I might need it some day" or "if I have a shop some day." But then I remember that I don't have room to store "maybe some day" stuff and I leave it behind. I've learned to say no and walk away. At the same time, sometimes its worth it to spend a few bucks on something you're not totally sure about because your heart says "do it!" There is nothing like that sinking feeling that haunts me at home when I wish I had bought something that was pulling at my heart strings. Even purely functional items can do this. It's basically the opposite of buyer's remorse. I want to kick myself for the ones that got away. :(
  • GET GIDDY. After you load up that totally amazing treasure that you just can't even believe you #1 found, and #2 got such a great deal on, when you get back into the drivers seat and pull off, it's okay to smile real big and let out a loud "WOOO HOOOOO!" and dance a little jig in your seat, followed by turning up the music really loud and singing along on your way to the next sale.
  • RETURN TO PREVIOUS SALES that had items you were very interested in but were priced too high. By the end of the day, sellers usually just want to get rid of everything. Most are home owners mainly looking to clean out and make the most money they can, but at the end of the day they'd rather give stuff away than have to haul it off to the dump or The Salvation Army. So if you have time and you're not out of steam, it can be to your benefit to backtrack on your way home and see there are any steals left. Or, if you weren't able to make it out early in the day, don't assume things are picked over by noon. It's still worth a shot to head out late. This especially goes for estate sales if you can swing by the last hour on Sunday before it ends.
  • (update 7/4) DIG, PICK AND REALLY LOOK. I can't believe I forgot to mention this first time around. This is crucial for successful treasure hunting, whether it be at a yard sale, thrift shop or antique shop. If you want to find the good stuff, you have to try harder than just walking around and glancing. You have to stop. Actually look at every item on a table. The gems are often nestled in with all the crap, easily disguised. At yard sales, you need to look high and low. Rummage through every box. Even if you think its a box of junk, take a closer look. This might take a little practice at first, and even old pros like me can become lazy and fall into bad habits. Once you've developed this important skill, don't ever let your picking hands get rusty or your eagle eyes get cloudy.
  • UNLOAD IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise crap takes over your car. For me that means finding all the empty juice boxes, string cheese wrappers and stray Cheerios as well. Unlike me, don't let your stash of loot sit in piles by the front door for over a week. Clean them up. Put them away. Start using them.
  • GLOAT, at least a little, about your top treasures of the day. Maybe take a picture of your favorite score or best deal and throw it up on Facebook. Just to inspire your peeps to get out there and yard sale too, of course. :)
So there you have it.  I put this up on a Thursday to give you a day to prepare for Saturday morning. Am I forgetting anything?? I don't think so. Feel free to ask questions in case I did. :)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

GOD IS...(9)

Last week I started a weekly summer "Poolside Book Club" with a bunch of girl friends from my church. (By the way its open to anyone - contact me for more info if interested. Kids welcome.) Our first book, that I'll be finishing up this week, is "Practical Theology for Women" by Wendy Horger Aslup. The subtitle is "How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives."  Theology is a scary word for many people but this book is not deep/heavy. It's, well, practical -  just as the title implies. It's beginner level. It takes you to where the rubber meets the road, not just a bunch of fluffy ideas.

Seeing as the word theology literally means the study of God, the book is JAM PACKED full of scripture references about who God is. There is waaaaayyy too much to include here, so for now, I'm not including any of it. The book is A-MA-ZING. A must read for everybody. Man or Woman. Christian or not. I hope to write a little more about this book another time. Actually, it would be a great way to wrap up a post I started drafting....oh...6 months ago? So in the meantime, here I am catchhing up on God Is...

1 Corinthians 2:7,10 God's wisdom was a secret that had been hidden and that God destined for the glory of those to whom His Spirit reveals it to. "The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God."

1 Corinthians 2:11 " one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."

1 Corinthians 2:12 When we receive the Spirit who is from God, we can understand what God has freely given us.

1 Corinthians 2:16 No one has understood the mind of the Lord that they may instruct Him.

Genesis 1:11-23 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the third day. And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights-the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the fourth day. And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning-the fifth day. (Don't ask me why but I stopped there - never read about day six or seven.)

1 Corinthians 3:5 The Lord assigns tasks to each of His servants.

1 Corinthians 3:6. Some plant the seed [of God's Word/the gospel], some water it, but it is God that makes it grow.

Psalm 18:2 "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Daniel 3:28-29 God sent His angel to rescue His servants from a fiery death because they trusted in Him and were willing to give up their lives rather than worship any god except their own God. " other god can save in this way."

Psalm 34:4 The Lord answers us when we seek Him and He delivers us from all our fears.

Psalm 34:17-18 The Lord hears the righteous when they cry out to Him, He delivers them from all their troubles. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalm 22:4 God delivers those who put their trust in Him.

Jonah 2:1-2 "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said, 'In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.  From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.'"

Daniel 3:17 God is able to save us and rescue us.

Jonah 2:10 "And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land."

Psalm 18:19 God brought David out into a spacious place; He rescued him because he delighted in God.

Psalm 91:14 "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."

Joshua 10:11 The Lord hurled large hailstones down from the sky on the Israelites' enemies and more of them died than by the swords of the Israelites.

Acts 12:11 The Lord sent His angel and rescued Peter from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.

Psalms 5:3 "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."

Psalms 5:4-6 "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with You the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors."

Psalms 5:7 By God's great mercy we come into His house.

Psalms 5:11 All who take refuge in God are made glad. He spreads protection over those who love His name and rejoice in Him.

Psalms 5:12 The Lord blesses the righteous and surrounds them with favor as a shield.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{Curb Alert!} What I Thought Was A Baby Toy

Last week I was driving up the hill to my in-laws' house when I saw a big toy for an older baby or young toddler at the end of someone's driveway. You know, the kind of stuff I got rid of because I was so sure we were done after two kids. Of course I quickly pulled over to take a look at this beastly toy that I have no room for in my house. It needed a little cleaning but was in good shape and in working order. Into the van it went. And of course the kids started up with 20 questions. "Is that for us?!" "Why are we taking that?" "You mean we get to play with that!?"

Disregard the FILTHY fingerprints on my back door from kids who love to play in the mud and make frequent trips in and out.

Did I mention I was heading up to my in-laws' house to drop the kids off so I could sit in the car dealership waiting area alone while waiting for work to be done on the car? Well of course the kids wanted to play with the baby's their new toy right away. So I left the toy with the kids and my M-I-L actually cleaned it up for them. She's the best. Afterwards though, it came back home with us. (Hey, I tried.) :)

Why is it that older siblings are fascinated with baby toys? My six year old had more fun for days, crawling through the door, pushing the buttons, and singing and dancing to its songs. It was also her idea to turn it into a puppet theater.

A couple years ago, my parents got a nice family of puppets for my daughter for her birthday. Around the same time, my friend Naomi made a bunch of adorable sock puppets (with yarn hair and ping-pong ball eyes) for the girls for Christmas. They've always loved playing with these puppets but have never had an official theater. Sometimes cardboard boxes suffice until I break them down for recycling. Here is a videos taken a couple months ago where you can see combination of items used to create a make-shift puppet theater.

Well, the other day, they ended up blocking off a corner of the living room with this new baby toy and were taking turns doing puppet shows for each other. Hubby and I got called in to watch.

And for fairness, gotta include at least one of her sister's shows:

I'm kicking myself for not grabbing the video camera for the first show put on by my oldest. It started off with the man walking back from the grocery store (don't ask me where she concocted that idea from!) and the woman walking back from "the beauty store." As they met on the sidewalk, they began kissing. Big, open-mouthed puppet kissing, (with the six year old giggling in the background). "Then they walked back to his house. He laid down on his bed and the lady laid in the groom's chair." So apparently somewhere between meeting on the street and making it back to his place they got married? ;)  "Then, all of a sudden, she felt a little lump growing in her belly!" This is where hubby and I began trying not to pee ourselves in laughter. Hey, as far as a six year old is concerned, they are all immaculate conceptions! :)  "Sure enough, she was going to have a baby! Then... she pooped out the baby!" At this point I was in tears of laughter. The puppet family continued to grow with the now mom feeling another lump growing in her belly, which she preceeded to pee out the second time around. And then the whole happy family had a big hugging and kissing session. "The End!"

I hope you enjoyed that insightful peek at how a six year old views the creation of a family. And all because I picked up this free "baby" toy on the side of the road.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

GOD IS...(8)

Oh boy, this is almost a week late getting published. That's why I'm never going to promise how much or how often I'll post. I said I'd try to get an edition of GOD IS out weekly but apparently I'm too busy for even that! So this post is really from last week's reading.

In GOD IS #7, I said I intended to start reading Psalms and Proverbs over the summer. I almost forgot how much I love reading Psalms. If you are at a point where you'd like to start reading the Bible or reading it more, these are great books to start. They are easy to understand and are relevant to everyone.

So I did start Psalms but never did start Proverbs. But before I get right into it, I have one little clarification, in case its not obvious. For verses that are in all quotes, I'm writing the entire thing word for word, usually out of the New International Version of the Bible. If I don't begin with quotation marks, then I'm paraphrasing, but trying to keep as much of the language exactly the same - just shortening it to get to the point about God. And if there are quotes in the middle its because I'm only quoting what someone said, and if it happens to be what God said, and then that's definitely word for word and not paraphrased.

Without further ado...

Psalm 2:1-6 The One enthroned in heaven laughs and scoffs at the nations that conspire, the peoples who plot in vain, the kings of the earth who take their stand and the rulers who gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. Then He rebukes them in anger and terrifies them in His wrath saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."

Psalm 3:8 "From the Lord comes deliverance."

Genesis 26:12-14 The Lord blessed Isaac by causing him to reap one hundred fold what he sowed, to become rich, and to have wealth that continued to grow.

Genesis 39:2-3 The Lord was with Joseph and caused him to prosper, to have success in all he did, and to find favor in his master's eyes.

Deuteronomy 16:15 The Lord blessed the people's harvest and the work of their hands and gave them complete joy when they celebrated the Feast that the Lord commanded them to.

Job 1:8-10 "Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears [respects/reveres] God and shuns evil.' 'Does Job fear God for nothing?' Satan replied. 'Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.' "

Psalm 29:11 "The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace."

Acts 4:24 The Sovereign Lord has made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea and everything in them.

Ezekiel 34:26-27 "I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land.  They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them."

Psalm 3:3 The Lord is a shield around you; He bestows glory on you and lifts up your head.

Psalm 3:4 When you cry aloud to the Lord, He answers you from His holy hill.

Genesis 1:1-10 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness He called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day. And God said, 'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.' So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse 'sky.' And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day. And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground 'land,' and the gathered waters He called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good."

Psalm 4:1 God is righteous.

Psalm 4:3 "Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him."

Psalm 4:6-8 The light of the Lord's face can shine upon you. He can fill your heart with greater joy than when new grain and wine abound. When you lie down and sleep in peace, the Lord alone will make you dwell in safety.

Jeremiah 10:12-13 "But God made the earth by his power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding. When He thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightening with the rain and brings out the wind from His storehouses."

Psalm 33:6-7  "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars and puts the deep into storehouses."

Psalm 33:9-11 "For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Showers of Blessings

A couple days ago the kids and I did a rainy day activity from Focus on the Family that was too cute not to share. The timing was right since it has rained every day this week.

I cut out a bunch of big rain drops from blue colored construction paper the night before while they were in bed and set a pile at each of their spots at the table, along with the markers.

When they woke up that morning, we started off by reading from Ezekiel 34:26, "I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."

I told the girls to think of the different blessings from God in their own life and to write the word(s) and/or color a picture of them on each of the raindrops. As they finished each one, they could go and tape it up onto the window.

A week of rain can really get you down. It's dark. And cold. And wet. You just want to stay in bed. Or take a nap. And if you're home with kids you go stir crazy. But instead of getting down in the dumps, you can choose to think of all the ways God has showered you with blessings. Write them down, one at a time. Put them up somewhere so that when the sun does shine, and you actually want to look out the window, you see them. And you read them. And you remember how good God is to you.

I did happen to read the rest of that chapter which went on to give all the specific blessings that God promised to Israel through the prophet Ezekiel. "The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land.  They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord."  Ezekiel 34:27-31

God showers you with blessings of food, provision, security, freedom, safety, knowledge of Him, belief in His promises, and the care of a Shepherd.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Life-Changing Pin

I've talked a little bit about Pinterest a few times. Like how I boycotted it at first because I was afraid I'd waste my time just browsing. And then how I cautiously started using it only to catalog sources I just had to keep because I seriously intended on doing or referring to them. And since then, I've used it to search for ideas on how to incorporate some of the treasures I find into my life and home. I'm very happy to say I haven't gotten sucked in and wasted my time just browsing Pinterest like I was afraid I would (wish I could say the same for Facebook).

Anyhoo...all that to say that I've put into action one of the few items I've Pinned and it really has been a life changer. I'm not kidding. A life changer. It was called The Perfectionist's Prayer Journal. First, here is the photo that I had Pinned which links to the source, The Good Old Days Farm blog:

If you click on the picture above and read the blogger's post that goes with it, you can see exactly what she did. I wanted to do something similar only not as a prayer journal - more of a prayer list. I have a prayer journal already, but when I use it (and for the past few years that has been seldomly), it is mostly specific to me and my relationship with God, interspersed with some prayers for my immediate family or others in my own little world.

Sort of like a diary, but in prayer form.

I do love going back and reading my old prayer journal entries (with the exception of being reminded of how sloppy my handwriting can be).

They are such a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness to me. It's actually kind of funny to go back and read about the things that I've struggled with at different points in my life and to think how I've actually forgotten about them in many cases. I don't want to forget!   What's a "big deal" now can be forgotten in just a matter of a few years. So that's one of the appeals in actually journaling - go be able to go back and be reminded. I probably should start writing in my prayer journal more often again. These years while the kids are little are so precious and some of the details of our days should be written down. But enough on that little tangent.

Back to this Pin. I thought it would be the perfect solution to my problem of not praying for other people as much as I should. Its something I want to do more of and better but my problem has always been not knowing how to maintain an efficient current prayer list. Because without a list, I forget. That's just the way I am and I know it. That's why I rarely promise someone I will pray for them. If I do, I take it very seriously and try very hard not to forget. But if I do that with too many people at one time, I know someone is bound to fall of my mental list, and then I'd be breaking my promise to pray for them. So I just try not to commit to something I'm likely to fail at.

I figured this solution would give me a MUCH better success rate of actually praying for other people. Basically, it is just a bunch of index cards on a ring. This blogger found covers and dividers and broke her list down into categories. So I went about trying to do the same thing. I actually put "index cards" and "metal ring" on my WalMart shopping list and figured I'd worry about dividers later. Well - lo and behold - didn't I just find the perfect thing at WalMart. A mini 2-ring binder full of 3x5" index cards with 3 plastic dividers for under $5. I was thrilled and picked up a couple packs of hole-punched refill cards as well.

I put it into use immediately. And I am proud to say I am praying for people! Repeatedly! Almost daily! What's so great about it is that it is compact and portable, so it can be updated and used anywhere. Not like a list on the computer. That would involve constant updating at the computer and reprinting. And a piece of paper would get lost, at least around here. Then....I'd forget to pray for people because for me, out of sight is out of mind. But this bright, pink, chunky ring of index cards - it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. It can move around from my desk (where I read my email prayer chain from church and am most likely to add new prayers/cards) to the dining room table (where I pray out loud with the kids) to the couch or bed (where I pray silently alone). 
What's also great about the index cards on a ring is that when a prayer has been answered (problem resolved, sickness healed, etc) I can just remove that card from the stack. There is no list to cross off and look messy and no need to go update a computer file. OK, I will confess, the green side of me feels bad throwing away an index card that just had one person's name on. I do cross off and re-use the cards a little bit.

So I am honest in saying this Pin has changed my life. A simple, few-dollar notebook is a treasure of countless worth if its improving my prayer life. And as a result, because "the prayer of a righteous [wo]man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16), it is changing the lives of those I am praying for as well. Now, instead of shying away from committing to pray for other people, I am eager to know what I can pray for and can promise to do it.

How can I pray for you? Seriously. Please let me know. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My "New" Button Organizer

I know I said I wasn't going to be getting to many treasure-transforming projects these days but here is an exception, only because it is helping me to clean out and organize. (How's that for some justification?) For the past several months, I've been delving into a button bracelet making hobby. I've only made a few. But I'd like to make lots more. I'll share more on those bracelets in a future post. For today, I'm talking button organization, using an old metal hardware organizer I scooped up out of the garage of an amazing estate sale a couple months ago.

It was a few bucks. And very blue. And dingy. And full of old hardware - most of which I passed along to a handyman friend, some of which I moved to my own toolbox.

I bought this with the intention of cleaning it up and making it into a button storage case. So I finally got around to it this week. First I took out all the drawers and dividers to wash.  It was my M-I-L who suggested I could just throw them into the dishwasher. That was too easy.

For the outside, I just washed it up with a damp rag. Then I spray painted it white because that's what color I happen to have on hand.  To keep the handle black, I just wrapped it up in masking tape before painting.

Then came the job of sorting buttons.  Most of my buttons were already generally sorted when I got this but they were in random plastic containers and ziplock bags. I had one big tub of buttons that I'd gotten from Christine's Buttons & Bracelets at Bernat Mill before she expanded and renamed her shop, Found Things. I'd already sorted out the best buttons and put my kids on the task of sorting out the rest. Sorting is a very important developmental skill you know. :)

That job was interesting to them for about 10 minutes, after which they began fighting over who was in charge of which color drawer and which pile was theirs, and then they started setting aside which buttons they wanted for their own bracelets. Aye. I have to hand it to them, they are great picker-uppers though.

With 36 drawers, I had the luxury of sorting my buttons into additional categories other than just color. Again, my daughters insisted on helping. Again, they spent more time setting aside the buttons they wanted to keep to make their own bracelets with.

Eventually I had to shoo them off so I could actually finish. Or at least finish that phase of sorting. The organizer came with a bunch of dividers that can slide into rivets in each drawer. So I could create up to 8 compartments within a drawer if I wanted to sub-sort. Which I may eventually. My inner organizing perfectionist loves that. For another day.

For now, I have most of the buttons sorted by color. For the colors I have the most of, like black, brown and white, they are also sorted by size and/or type. And I have several drawers still empty. Which got it -  room to continue collecting buttons. :)

There are even drawers for the thread, needles, and elastic banding I use to make the bracelets.

Now I'm still undecided about labels. Anything that is well organized should have labels, right?. Lucky Good for me, this container actually came with mini labels in one of the drawers.

But I'm not sure I want to cover up half the drawer face with a label. I like seeing the colors. And my hubby had a good point - what if I want to change up what I put in each drawer - then it could be a pain to peel off the labels.

So, ta-da! My handy-dandy, clean and functional, button bracelet-making organizer. A portable hobby is a wonderful thing.

As I promised, I will share a post about the bracelets these buttons are transformed into before too long. I only started drafting that post....oh....maybe 6 months ago?
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