Tuesday, December 14, 2010

i've been branded

I recently, and by recently I mean a month ago, got a job at the best store in the world...I'm sure you all know my opinion on that. I work at Value Village. Yes there are some VV's out there that could do better when it comes to appearances, But I must say that I work at a pretty amazing one.
I get to be one of the first people to see what comes into the store, and I have to say it's some pretty fancy stuff. Of course there are tacky things in the mix, but that's fun to go through as well.
I think since I have worked there I have seen at least 3 or four brand new lulu lemons go to the floor, amongst some other high brands.
I can't snatch them of the lines though and get first dibs as many people may think. Everything that is sell-able, must go on the floor. However, now that I get 50% of clothing, I can finally afford to buy brand name clothes. I am currently wearing a Hollister sweater and I feel cooler already! I know that many people, including myself say that we don't care about brand names, but I think secretly we all do. I don't mind wearing B.U.M  equipment from walmart (or is it Zellers?) but I do enjoy the higher qualities of high brands too, just not at their ridiculous original over priced costs.  I'm honestly shocked that a name in the back of a pair of pants can make the item costs so much!
Do you ever read through a magazine and sometimes thet compare an outfit on one celebrity and show you how to do the same outfit for less? I always think I can do it for even less. sometimes I am shocked at the prices of the items they suggest. I think they should either fire the person who finds the cheaper out fit and hire me, or they should add a third person to show how you can do the outfit for waaay less.
another cute item I saw was a baby Gap coat. It was pink and brown plaid with fur/fluff on the inside, with these great loop buttons and courderoy hearts to hold the loops in place. The coat was $4.99 so I would have only paid $2.50 for it!
I could not imaging purchasing items like that brand new for an infant. They grow out of it in 2 weeks! Every day I see baby Gap and Baby mexx and baby Tommy Hilfiger, and I think "what is wrong with people?"
 But then I think, "man my kids are going to be stylish!"
 and then I think, "wait a second, I don't have kids, let's go to the women's section and look at savings there!"

I saw this comic in the Spec today in the break room and I thought of my opa and oma:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

not my typical blog

Sun god: Ra
Decking the halls with boughs of holly... this was a tradition started by ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, druids and early Romans. These people worshipped pagan gods such as the Egyptian God Ra. During the winter solstice, the people beleived that Ra, the egyptian sun god was getting weak, but on the day of the solstice the people celebrated his renewal of strength by bring in greeneries into their homes to represent the victory of life over death , and everlasting life.
This pagan traditon like many, was borrowed by Christians several years after the birth of Christ to represent the victory of life of death and evelasting life through Christ. During htis season many things outside die and the world looks fairly grim ( except in warm places like the caribbean of course) but here and there we see little bits of green peeking though in forms of pines, giving us hope of new life to come.
Many people still deck their halls with greeneries. Though more and more each year, it seems that people are not decking their halls with the right kind of green. Instead people are decking their halls, with money, and greed, and the need to out buy the person in front of them in line. I love Christmas, I really do. It's a fantastic time of the year. Seeing houses decked and trees lit really creates a festive mood. But when I go to a store during this time, I see so many frustrated and angry people, and it makes me wonder if they really know what this season is about. It's not about getting your kid the latest technology, or your spouse a ridiculously expensive watch. I think its a nice idea that we give each other nice gifts, but I think we've all gone a little mad. My family decided not to do gifts this year. Although I did get a nice tea cup set and ceramic vase from my parents. I thought it was nice just to get together and enjoy each-other's company. I think that instead of buying materialistic and over priced things, we should give more to people in need. My church does this thing where you can purchase goats or school supplies and other stuff for people in 3rd world countries. I think that is a fabulous idea.
Growing up my family celebrated Sinterklaas, as I am dutch and was born in the Netherlands. this was separate from Christmas, and celebrated on the 5th of December. This is when gifts would be given and such. Not on Christmas. Christmas is a time to reflect on the birth of Christ.  I think this is a tradition that I want to bring into my family when we have kids one day. I don't want then to lose the real meaning of Christmas in the hustle and bustle of the money hungry consumerism.

   Happy Holidays  

   Seasons greetings  

   Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

a thrifty friend, a furry friend

I love dogs, except for German Shepherds and  Rotweilers. My Husband and I both had dogs as pets growing up and we grow very attached to them.  It's strange how we make these connections with dogs. It happens all over the world, people have dogs as pets and they become part of the family. Dogs always seem to be willing to lend a listening ear, or ready to go out and have a good time in the park, always happy to see you. 
This past March, Fritz and I decided to buy a dog. We went to many SPCA's but the prices, though they do cover shots and other necessities, seem pretty high, and we could not afford to make such large payments. So we turned to Kijiji. everyday we searched through the many pages. Eventually we landed on a picture of this adorable Boston terrier beagle mix. The ad said  he was 1 year old, but we are pretty sure he was only 7 months. We loved him right away. we picked him up that night. 
He had these huge ears that flopped on top of his head, and when ever you  asked if he needed to pee, he tilted his head to the side.  He loved playing fetch and got angry when you stopped. When we went for walks, he would pee of everything that stuck out of the ground. He'd work very hard to get his leg up in the air, but ALWAYS peed on his own front legs, he was not a very steady aimer. And when he did number two...he'd lift his leg....how bizarre! This dog also humped other dogs non-stop for hours! it was so embarrassing!
It took a lot of getting used to having a dog in the house. He once managed to get into the bedroom in the morning, which we didn't want because I don't like the idea of dogs being on the bed. But this particular morning he managed to get in and he hopped on the bed, crawled under the cover and when right to the bottom of the bed! When Fritz and I sat on the couch together, he would jump up onto our laps and just sprawl out, he was the cutest Dog in the world! Until one day:
Fritz went to work and I had the week off, since it was march break. I was painting the bedroom that week, and Bentley, the dog, was playing around in the house. Every now and then I'd hear him whimper so we would go outside and he would walk around a bit, We even went for two 1 hour walks that afternoon on top of the 11 times that he whimpered to go outside and was let out. After the second walk, I went back into the bedroom to continue painting, I was working away for about 1/2 and hour, when I thought "hey I wonder what Bentley is up to?" I went out to the back room, only to discover that in  the span of 30 minutes, he had crapped on the floor, peed on my curtains and peed on my just finished painting and frame! I even spoiled him rotten with all the walks and time outside! I decided then and there that I was not ready for this type of commitment. Work did not allow me to take any type of maternity leave for new dog owners who need time to adjust, so we did what we had to do. We turned to Kijiji after having the dog for only one week and gave to dog, to a wonderful couple who had more time to commit to this dog. 

This dog ( a beagle)

plus this dog (a boston terrier)

equals what our dog looked like

I'm glad we chose the thrifty way of purchasing a dog. Could you imagine if we had spent all that money at the SPCA only to find out we were not ready for the commitment of being dog owners? Not that I don't encourage potential dog owners to adopt a pet there. But there are other dogs that need new homes too. I'm sure Bentley loves his new home. I think I will stick to dog-sitting for now, or going to the neighbours to pet their dog. That should be enough for my for now. Also going to the pet store to see the puppies... sometime they let you hold one. 
Someday, when we have more space, more money, more time we will have a dog, we both want a springer spaniel. But not now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

doors: not just for opening and closing

Sometimes a door closes for the last time. So that's when you simply have to take it off the hinges and do something else with it. No sense in wasting a good door!

Just like moms or grandmas always say "when I was a little girl..." I always seem to relate to when we first bought the house. so here it goes again:
When we first bought the house, one of the first things we had to buy was a bed. we bought the simplest bed frame from Ikea, because the really nice ones cost a lot of nice money, that we didn't have. plus a big beautiful bed would look silly in our teeny tiny bedroom.

After a year, I decided that i wanted a headboard for this bed. So I went to this place called the Drop n'Shop. Now if you haven't been here you need to check it out...if you are up for it. It's basically a store at the garbage dump ( I think I am making my self sound desperate for deals) where you can find things that people want to throw away as garbage but is technically still usable. This isn't a value village though so don't have high expectations. But it's a great place for parts or tools, or other random little things.
I went there in search for a door...a very specific door. The door I wanted was a wooden door with five even indented rectangles...one exactly like my bedroom door. of course I couldn't take that door and use it because I like it where it is...plus I need that door there.
I found an old door at the drop n shop, not the exact door I wanted, but it was a door. It was a very plain  simple door with a raised outline of a rectangle...there is a word for what I am saying but I can't think of it.

I took this door home and set it out in the back yard and stared at it for hours ( over a span of days) trying to figure out what to do with it to make it look uniques and head-boardy.
Without knowing to next step, I measured it, cut it to proper length and I took out my giant barrel of primer and and put on a coat or two of that. then after some more pondering, I took out the can of cream coloured paint from my bedroom walls and put on a couple coats of that.
I still could not figure out what to do so I did what I'm sure most researchers do...I googled ideas. Google is great for ideas. I knew what to do.
I got out my multiple rolls of painters tape...even though it didn't even take one. I covered whole door with tape, drew a big grid inside the inner rectangle, and started drawing  away, then cutting away then painting away and then peeling away.
here you can see the grid line. This
was unintended, but I muchly
enjoyed the result
I felt worried when I started peeling away all the tape. You see, when I drew the grid, I used a mechanical pencil, not realizing that it would pull up not only the paint, but also the primer. But it turns out that it was a good mistake because it added character to the work.
once the door...or now headboard, had dried, Fritz helped me attach it to the bed.
After I finished that project, I had to put some things up in my crawlspace of an attic. where I store things ...only to find that exact door I was looking for....oh well.
Maybe one day I will make the foot end for the bed.
Do you see what I mean by the rectangle thing?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I mentioned before that when we purchased our home, the previous owner left some no-longer wanted-by-her-family items. This included side tables, dressers, tv, a cubby-cabinet-thing, two couches and some other little nic-nacs. What am I supposed to do with all this stuff? Well some of I used until I replaced it with my own, others we donated to someone who needed it more.  However, some pieces I sold. I mean why not make some money off these items that I don't want. A lot of it was not my style. Aside from the main structure of the house, most of what was found inside the house was not my style.
When we first walked into this home, which was very cute from the outside, I gasped at the interior decorating.
Recently Fritz and I went to an open house for another house that had the same cookie cutter shape as our little war home. We wanted to see what changes and improvements were made there that we could possibly do also. The representative told us that about 90% of buyers look at the interior decorating of the home. It is very true that the way you home is set, will affect it's ability to sell. home buyers want to know how the home will look when neatly decorated. If someone had an option between a large, well structured home that was cluttered and poorly displayed, and a small, less well structured home that had neatly arranged well matched furniture and nice paint colours, the buyer is likely to choose the home that is better presented. The first thing most people will notice is clutter. However, there are people out there, like myself who are potential seekers.
When we first bought  out house, there was forest green carpet in the living room, a gross neutral colour on the wall, it wasn't even a nice neutral...it looked like the skin colour of a naked Caucasian. the office had a gross carpet with burn stains and wax drips all over it, the bedroom had navy blue and peach walls and a dirty beige carpet. The kitchen cupboards were filled with random nic-nacs and santa clauses, the backroom's pantries we poorly constructed and falling apart. The house looked like it hadn't seen improvements since the 1970's. and to top it all off, there was fake fruit and fake birds everywhere...I'm still finding them in random spots in the gardens, and we've lived here a year and a half!
So anyways this wasn't what I was planning to blog about at all. so I will get back to the main part. I bought this rug at Ikea  that they were selling at 1/2 price for that week. I paid $30 for it. However after 6 months, I decided that the rug was too dark for our small house. I told Fritz I was unhappy with the rug and that I wanted to buy a new one.
He said to me "if you want a new rug, you can have a new rug. But you need to sell this one first"

"okay" I said, and immediately got on Kijiji, and posted the rug. I sold it for $40.00 that same day which is $10 less than the current price at Ikea. I went out and purchased a new rug. My living room is much brighter now.
On top of that rug was an Ikea lack. Those cheap coffee tables you can get there. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to replace someday with a better quality one, but better quality doesn't come right away. Not long ago, maybe three weeks or so, I was at Value Village and I noticed this coffee table in the furniture section. There was a woman sitting on it who wasn't exactly petite, so I know it was sturdy. (and i am not being offensive. The woman even said to me " you Know it's sturdy if it can hold me") It was a beautiful table, solid wood, not sure what kind, I'm not a wood expert, and none of those tacky 1990's features. the table was selling for $30.00 so I didn't even hesitate to find a sales person to put a sold sticker on it for me. As soon as I got home, I went right onto kijiji again and sold my other coffee table for $20.00. After the math, I bought a beautiful solid wood table for $10.00 What a Deal! and it looks so much better with my new rug!

This is my new table and rug. in the background, on the right
side, you can see the old Ikea table, which of course got  sold. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I can see clearly now

When I was in grade 10, I went for my very first eye test. This might be shocking to people who have seen the eye doctor every year since they can remember for regular check ups. I don't even see a doctor for regular check ups. However, this particular time I went because I realized that I was having a difficult time seeing the words written on black boards. and since I would be in school for the next 9 years still, I thought it might be wise to have my eyes checked.

The worst parts of going to the eye doctor in my opinion are 1. when they make you stare at the tiny tractor in the field and then they blast air into you eye. and 2. when the doc gets super close...I get the giggles and then I feel silly.
I found out that day that yes I did need glasses. My vision was not and still is not that terrible. I can see with out my glasses but things are not very crisp. If I were to look at a forest I would not see individual leaves. What a person with regular vision sees at 20 metres, I would be able to see at 17 metres. At least that's how my optometrist explained it to me.
That day I picked out my very first set of frames. as I searched through the racks of frames I found some pretty cool trendy ones. But my mom who usually has some very wise advice, told me not to pick thick frames because it is only a trend and it will be out in a year. So of course I was a little upset, but she's right it's probably just a fad. so I picked out these regular old boring metal frames. it's now been 10 years, and thick frames are still trendy.
I have gone through several glasses since, and had my eyes checked on a regular basis...sort of.
about three years ago I noticed that I was starting to see things less crisp even with my glasses on. So I found a local optometrist and had my eyes checked. I explained to the lady that I am having trouble seeing. after my appointment she told me that I have 20/20 vision! how can that be? I came here because I was seeing worse! I have now been told that by two different optometrists! I continue to wear my glasses because despite having this so called perfect vision, I can't read road signs until I am pretty much parked on top of them.
I think the eye people need to invent something that allows them to see what you are seeing. That would be a great invention.
These glasses cost a lot of money. those of you who have them know what I am talking about. being married to someone with vision problems doubles the cost. You are probably thinking by now " what does this have to do with being thrifty?"
well people, I'm about to tell you something that will change your lives.! (I just thought of Dr. Quinn, Medicine woman as I typed that. Anyone else used to watch that? what a good show)
Recently Fritz and I stumbled upon a website called zennioptical.com . here you will find tonnes of frame selections. We both purchased $8.00 and $9.00 frames (yes that is soooooo cheap I know!) then we added anti-glare to each set for $3.99, because if I don't have that then I see my own eyeballs in the reflection...and let me tell I look very special when I do that. shipping to Canada costs $9.99.
Altogether we paid $35.00 for both pairs, including shipping and handling!!!!!!! And to make it better, they were delivered with in a week!!!!
You are probably being pessimistic now saying yeah but they probably din't work that well. But they do I see fine, and Fritz has a astigmatism thing ( I hope that's right) and he sees fine too. The only thing is you don't get designed frames. But honestly who cares about that! I sure don't so I'm sorry if you purchased designers to impress me.
Seriously though I never ask if your glasses are designer, I don't even look to see. I purchased my other glasses at Walmart. But that was before I discovered Zennioptical. Now I will never purchase in store again!

okay funny story about my Walmart glasses. I really do like them, they are a thick frame plastic pair, and when I don't wear them , I had a habit of hooking them onto the zipper of my jacket or sweater. Every time I do this though they fall off, and usually I don't notice. So one day we were helping a friend move when I guess my glasses fell off my zipper and our friend stepped on them. Now unlike metal frames, plastic ones are officially kaput when this happens.
So off I went to Walmart to explain to the optician what happened. He gave me the strangest look when I explained that they were hanging on my zipper prior to falling and being stomped on. Turns out he thought the entire time that I hung them off my fly. I know I do strange things but c'mon really? would I really hang my glasses off the fly of my pants?

Any ways I highly recommend this website for purchasing your eye wear. You can even upload your picture to see if the frames would suit you. Of course the image is not very realistic...it's like those hairstyle websites where you can try different haircuts, but it looks fake yet you can still get an idea.
just set up an account, choose some frames, fill in your prescription, add some extras such as anti glare, transitions  etc. you can even purchase prescription sunglasses, and get your self some new glasses for as little as $16.00 it's the shipping to Canada that is so expensive. If you live outside of Canada, it may even cost less for you!!
Maybe some of you feel skeptical about this whole purchasing prescription eye wear online and that's fine. You have my permission to continue paying hundreds of dollars or letting your insurance companies pay for them. But for those not covered, You should really check it out

Friday, November 19, 2010

"pssst! you can buy that cheaper elsewhere!"

About 80% of my wardrobe comes from value village. I buy most of my clothes there.If not there, then the rest are bought at an outlet store where they sell the clothes for much less. Occasionally I go to the mall and look at all the pretty things, but usually I just walk in the store and say to my self...or sometimes a little louder so that other customers hear me " I can by that cheaper else where". Of course occasionally I will put some money into good items. For example, I Bought a great sweater with large buttons at H&M for $30 which is a lot more than I am usually willing to spend on a sweater. I like changing my wardrobe, so why would I pay a lot of money for something I may not wear after a year or two.
I have certain rules when purchasing clothes and they are as follows:

and this is only the beginning
#1. sweaters can absolutely NOT be made from acrylic. Acrylic is a very cheap, synthetic fiber that starts to wear away after the first wash. Apparently, it is supposed to be a cheaper replacement for cashmere because it looks and feels the same. I don't know what they are talking about. It's not a warm fabric and it's not that soft either. You might as well cut some holes in a cardboard box and pull that over your head! This rule can make it difficult to find new sweaters since most stores such as Suzy Shier, Bluenotes and others ONLY have acrylic sweaters. They always look beautiful in the store, but after a week or so the sweater starts to have all these little fluffs on it. I've seen these sweaters being sold for $60 which I think is absurd! I wouldn't pay anymore that $7.99 for it! If you are going to buy acrylic, ,try to make sure it is less that 50%...CHECK YOU TAGS PEOPLE!!

#2. I don't pay anymore than $10 for jeans. I cringe when I see people purchasing jeans that cost more than $40. I realize that higher quality jeans cost more... but I could never do that. I find most of my jeans in value village too. Don't worry though, it's not like I am buying jeans with elastic waist bands. I dod own one pair of jeans for which I paid $40 dollars. but I have my reasons. You see I bought these when skinny jeans first came in. I didn't want the skin tight ones, because frankly I don't know how people get those things on! I wanted neater ones, that weren't so tight. I found a pair in Costa Blanca that fit so perfectly. And yes, they are my favourite jeans. I also buy new jeans at the Bluenotes Outlet store at 525 Hespler Street, Cambridge ON where they ALWAYS have most items 50% OFF!!!! ALWAYS!

#3. Wait until boxing week to buy bras...if you can. I usually dig through the regular sale bin at La Senza like a cat digs through it's litter box...or maybe a less dirty version of that. Although they usually have the $8.50 bra sale, if you wait until boxing week, you can buy 3 bras for $10. I guess if you are well endowed, you may want to purchase the more expensive over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders so not to look sloppy...or floppy which brings me to the next rule:

What's wrong with this picture?
1. sweater is too small...and what is on it?
2. they are called under wear for a reason
#4. You can do a lot with very little. Just because you want to save money/ don't have the money, doesn't mean you have to dress poorly. There is nothing wrong with having a low income. It doesn't take a lot of money to match colours or patterns or even purchasing the proper fit. I see so  many poorly dressed people. I  feel like I need to spy on them to see what they do that causes them to dress the way they do. There is no excuse for it. there is also no excuse for not buying a belt...yes I am talking to those boys who think that showing the world the superman boxers your mom purchased for you is a trend. You look stupid and no one cares about your underwear.

#5. Go to Outlet Malls. I like going to the Dixie Outlet Mall. They have a Garage/dynamite store there. In this store you will find an "almost perfect" rack where clothes go that have imperfections. I purchased a pair of pants for $1 because the button was missing. I also buy things that have seam tears because they are fixable. I'd rather spend 5 minutes fixing a seam on a shirt purchased for $3.99 than pay the full $30

#6. Don't purchase it if you haven't looked elsewhere first. I think this might be why many people don't like shopping with me. I have a routine when going to the mall: first I go to all the stores and look through the items. then I go through all the stores again and compare the  items to see where and how I can save the most, then I go through a third time to purchase the items...sometimes I don't even buy anything because like I mentioned earlier, I can buy it cheaper elsewhere.

#7. If you go to the mall, and they have a pet store, Stop to look at the puppies. They are sooo cute!

Also, even though the sales people tell you the BOGO sale ends this weekend...if never actually does. so you can buy those shoes and another pair for 1/2 price next week still

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gathering nuts

I tend to be a snoop
At the beginning of the summer, my husband and I were making a meal together that required green onions. you buy a bundle of them from Fortinos for $1. I think they may have been on sale that week unless they are usually that cheap. we cut up the green onions and we were left with the bottom little stumps, the parts you don't really want to eat. Then we thought to our selves.....if we plant these, do you think they will grow back? so I grabbed the bundle, filled one of those plastic flower pots ( you know the ones your plants come in when you buy them? those ones)  with soil from the garden and I jabbed them into the dirt. and a week later we had new green onions. I thought we should find the receipt and return them to the grocery store, but instead we transplanted them into our teeny tiny vegetable garden. so the whole summer and part of the fall we have been eating the same green onions over and over and over. The remainder of them is still in the garden... maybe they will come back again next year.
I just peeked out the window to look at them and it turns out they are ready for one more picking/harvesting.
Speaking of harvesting,
last week, we were cleaning out the back yard, raking leaves, taking dead plants out of the garden, turning the soil and all that stuff. I planted marigolds from seed this past spring. I bought the package of seeds at the grocery store but there are such few seeds in those packages. So as I am pulling the dead marigolds out I pull of one of the flower heads. It was all dead and crispy, so the curious person I am I open it up to see what it looks like inside. Do you know how many seeds there are in one of those flower heads?
My husband, Fritz, at this time was raking the leaves and I noticed that he had raked up 2 or 3 of the marigolds I started pulling out of the garden. I immediately stopped him, dug through the pile of leaves and rescued all the marigolds I could find in the pile.
This is also a good description of me,
sorting and storing
He stopped and just stared at me only to exclaim "you really are a squirrel" He's been claiming this for quite some months now that I remind him of a squirrel. I deny this every time. I'm not a squirrel. Have you ever heard a squirrel? They make this chittery noise and they are snooping through your yard and move nervously around afraid that someone might hear them. Well, the other day I realized that I had been talking to myself for almost 15 minutes...not just in my head but actually whispering to  myself and laughing at the things I was saying....I then realized that I am indeed very much like a squirrel.
This is me, about 5 times per day ; probably
why I talk so much to myself

I ended up picking every marigold flower off the stem, opening it up and dumping the seeds into a container. I  now have a margarine container full  of marigold seeds. It's all probably worth about 30 seed packages.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the ugly painting

This is not me...but it describes me pretty well
I am a dumpster diver as mentioned in my previous post. But I am not a hoarder...let's make that clear. My grandmother taught me that if you haven't used something for six months (with the exception of seasonal items), if it's broken, or if you have multiples, then you need to get rid of them. That maybe a hard thing for some people to do by I have no problem with it. The first time I ever did that, I was around 15 years old. My dad told me that I have too much stuff and that I need to get rid of some of it. So I didn't even think twice about it. I marched up two flights of stairs ( I slept in the attic) with a couple large boxes, pulled out my non-clothing dresser drawers that we full of who knows what that i collected over my 15 years and without searching through any of the 9 drawers, i pulled them out and turned them upside down into the box. I then went through my closet which expanded across an entire wall and threw out  and clothing items that I hadn't worn in the last year, and anything that didn't fit properly.
It felt amazing to do that and I recommend it to anyone. I don't know what I all threw out because I don't even know what was in those drawers and to this day I have no idea what I got rid of.
So back to dumpster diving. My roommate and I lived in a 17th floor apartment, and every week we have to take our recyclables down to the parking garage where the big bins are kept.  There was also a large dumpster there for larger garbage items that did not fit down the garbage chute...( for some reason our garbage chute room smelled amazing) so while we were down in the garage emptying our recycling bins and sorting our plastics and papers, we would wait for all the cars to finish driving by and then we would sneak a peek in the bins...just in case someone threw out a valuable. As I peeked in this one particular time I noticed the corner of a frame. I figured what the heck it might be in good enough shape to put one of my own pieces into. As I pulled out the frame, a painting came with it. Not a very beautiful painting. and the frame was quite tacky as well. My roommate and I just stared in awe at it perplexed by it's ugliness.
As we took a closer look at the painting, we realized that it wasn't a paining at all but rather a textured print. The image is that of multiple horses running across a grassy/sandy beach while also blending into their surroundings. I'm sure someone out there will find the painting exquisite, but to me it is slightly tacky in an outdated kind of way.
The frame was a light beige with faux gold peaking though. when I moved into my new house, I wanted to keep the painting but in order to not completely tackify my home I refurbished the frame. All it took was a simple coat or 2 or 3 of black paint. the painting no longer blends into the frame, but the tackiness is still in the image itself.
I could never get rid of this painting, even though I find it so ugly. I realize that the norm would be to hang paintings that are appealing to the eye. However, with this particular painting comes memories.
We hung the painting up in the apartment as soon as we brought it up only to be oooh and awwed by my then fiancée and his roommate. They claimed to have an ugly painting as well that was equally if not more ugly than ours. but it wasn't . There is a unique ugliness to this particular image
I remember standing on the balcony of our apartment and waaaay below me I saw my fiancée walking down the street with our painting in his arms! He actually stole it right off our wall and we never noticed!. I immediately ran down ( well actually I took the elevator) ran down the street and took it back. It now hangs nicely above our couch in our living room.

Maybe someday somebody will recognize the artist and tell me that this textured print is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars....that would be great...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Barney Pelt Chair.

I own this Chair. It's not like any other chair I have ever sat in. This chair was a worthless piece of garbage out of which I rummaged it. When my old roommate from University and I would bring the garbage down from our apartment, we would wait until no one is looking and take a quick peak in the dumpster.Yes I pick though garbage....but not gross garbage but bigger garbage...I think I just made myself sound very gross to many people.

 <--this kind

                                              not this kind---->
 My husband and I have made many visits to furniture stores looking for living room furniture (of course we skip the new items and go straight to the "as-is" section in the back, making sure not to make eye-contact with the sales people as we run by) but not chair there, new or as-is sits as comfortably as this one. It is a wide-ish arm chair that is so plush, it's like sitting in a pile of pillows. Everyone agrees that it is indeed very comfortable. What my husband likes least about the chair is that it is covered in this very purple faux suede fabric...the same colour as Barney... I'm sure everyone knows Barney the purple dinosaur...what a creeper he was/is.....is he still on TV? anyways like most of the things I own, there is of course a thrifty story to go with it too.

Before I got married, I went to University to get my self a good education....I majored in art...a real career oriented major! but don't worry I also have a teaching degree....which I am currently  not using either. Anyways while at University I roomed with 7 other girls for 4 years, one of whom lived in the same house as me for all 4 and then in our fifth and final year we moved off campus together and rented a 17th floor apartment right downtown.

Now 5 years of university can get very expensive as many of you probably know. 5 years times 17 thousand dollars per year....you do the math. I know that some Universities are more costly than that, but I felt very poor so my thrifty nature was working at it's best.. as it still does.
Anyways while my roommate, jeannine, (Hi jeannine!)  and I were walking home from church in our heals and  Sunday best ( we walked to a closer one since we couldn't get a ride to our regular church), we noticed this bright purple chair sitting on the side of the road. Somebody was actually getting rid of this incredible chair!
The two of us together picked up this this and carried it to our apartment building in our heels and skirts...it just and I mean just, fit through the elevator doors.  and we managed to squeeze it through our apartment door as well. I think it would be silly if they made chairs that don't fit through spaces as such.
I think we may have even discussed a schedule for who gets to sit in the purple chair and when. The other person has to sit on the futon...which was not as comfortable by a million miles! We made sure to clean every inch of the chair as it did have quite a bit of cat hair on it...but other than a little bit of wearing, this chair was in fabulous condition. sometimes we would both sit in the chair because it was so comfortable and neither of us wanted to sit on the futon. one person would sit on the seat of it and the other on the arm rests or the back rest. Seriously you could sit on every part of this chair or even sprawl across and fall asleep on it.My room mate and I practically turned into house cats because of this chair.
Eventually the time came when I was going to get married and move out of the apartment, and my room mate would move back to Ottawa.... side story......
This is pretty cool. It's a garbage can made out of
coiled magazine pages. Not mine...but I want to
attempt this one..someday
we watched all 10 seasons of Friends that year and the episode were watching during the last month together was the one where Monica was telling Rachel that she was getting married and that they would no longer be living together....we sobbed like babies during that episode
The decision was that I would take the chair because I wasn't moving that far away from the apartment and it would be easier for me to transport it. We now have an agreement that if anything tragic resulting in death would happen to me...Jeannine gets the chair.
I could never get rid of it. I didn't know what the previous owners were thinking...or maybe they never intended to get rid of it...maybe I accidentally stole a chair from someone who just happened to put it down at the side of the street. Or maybe... and more likely, the chair belonged to someone just like me...a young woman who's ...(whose?...I never figured out that grammar rule...someone needs to explain that one to me) husband really wanted her to get rid of the chair.
It's funny how we attach ourselves to objects... I'm not a very sentimental person...but that chair is just so darn comfortable, and I think the colour is great! Things are always better when they are free...or at least very cheap.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I live in Buckingham Palace

 I recently..and by recently I mean a year and a half ago, got married. Before the big day my then fiance and I were searching for places to live. We pondered the idea of renting an apartment, but the idea of spending up to 1000 per month  on rent, with the money not being invested into anything seemed not for us. So we began our search for a house. We searched high and low, got outbid on one house, and we were about to give up when we found this tiny little cottage-like home. The old lady who lived here first had passed away and her relatives were desperate to get this house off their hands. Before the keys were placed in our hands though, many'a papers had to be signed. During this process, we discovered that the previous owner never had the house put under her name. The name that was on the document was indeed that of His majesty the King of England. This is all true. The paper work had to be stopped and sent off to Ottawa for proper authorization so that we could actually transfer the names. My hose is an old war home that sits on property once owned by the King...not anymore of course, but my parents dubbed the house to be the castle of their princess....I know...cute. 
 We ended up getting the house for 20% less of the selling price.This of course doesn't  seem like a good deal in a retail store (or maybe that's just my opinion) but when it comes to a house...well that's a lot of saving! Inside the house was a lot of things that the lady left behind...couches, chairs, cabinets, fake fruit and birds, ugly paintings, horrible carpet, poorly constructed cabinets and the list goes on. Most of it went to value village...my second home, or the dump. But there were a few key items that we kept, like this 9-cubby shelf thing, dressers which of course I refurbished...but that's another post. 
Since we bought the house, we have renovated quite a large part of it. the chimney is gone, carpets torn out, new bathroom, walls knocked out, re-insulated new floors, newish kitchen. The best part is that we only had to pay for material. My dad is like a jack of all trades. He's fixed my cars, fixed my house and fixed my mistakes...I guess I'm a bit of a daddy's girl.

The truth is out there

These are my confessions of thriftiness. I have had several people astonished at my level of thriftiness that I thought I would start a blog about my endeavors. But first I must explain what I have already done so that my future actions make sense.
I'm dutch. We are known to be careful with our money but will spend it on quality items. I however will only spend small amounts of it on quality items by use of coupons, sale days and careful planning. My grandparents were the same way as I. They would buy new sweaters, neatly fold them and place them on the shelves, and then wear their old ones until the moths have eaten every last thread. Then they will bring out the new ones. Now why wouldn't they wait until the old ones were completely worn through? I assume the new sweaters were on sale at the time of purchase. I have followed in their thrifty foot steps.
every two months usually the third Monday, there is a big sale at value village in which you get 50% off certain items... I make sure that I don't plan anything for these days. these are my treasure hunting days. However, it gets even better...or worse...depending on your perspective of my thriftiness, I go to value village the night before, select the items I want and hide them, or strategically place them in specific areas of the store. then  I go in the next day, grab the things I picked out and get out before the rest of mob comes in. Today however, I am late so I will need to post again later. as for now.."I'm off ta git me sum treasurrre ARRRRR matey !"