Sunday, June 19, 2011

The camp that we love the best of all...

Winnataska is its name!

I'm headed to camp for a week.  So excited!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Cleaning Leather

I thought I'd do a little before and after today on some of the items I've found at the thrift store.  Leather shoes, purses and belts are great buys because they are easy to restore, for the most part.  As you will see in a minute, there are exceptions.  This also applies to leather you already own, but that is showing some wear and tear.

I use Leather CPR restore leather.  You can get it at Tuesday Morning or at Sam's, Walmart, etc.  We have a leather couch, and it removes scratches from our dogs nail marks on it, so I thought I'd try it on some of the more well-loved pieces I've purchased at the thrift store lately.  Use is very simple: wipe on with a soft cloth, let it soak in for a few minutes, wipe of with a different soft cloth.

Let's start with the successes, shall we...
Fossil Brown Leather Purse:
This purse cleaned up really well.  It had some major scuffs and scratches to the leather.  Those all came out.  There was also a dark spot on the front of the purse, but it didn't come out.  I have another trick I want to try on it, so I'll post again if it works.
Purse Back before.
Purse Back after.

Purse Front before.

Purse Front after.
White Leather No-Brand-Name Purse:
I bought this purse only because it was 75% off of $3.  I thought it would be nice to have for summer, but I really didn't expect to have it clean up very well or to use it very much.  Well, I was wrong on both counts.  It cleaned up very well.  You can't tell from these pictures, but it was very dingy.  The picture of the bottom is truer to life, dirt-wise.  Also, I love carrying it because it goes with just about everything!
White Purse before.

White purse after.

Bottom before.

Bottom after.

And now the not-so-successful attempt.

Brown Leather Frye Sandals:
I found these sandals about 4 years ago at the thrift store but never wore them. They were a little too big.  Then I had a baby and they fit perfectly.  (Thanks Emmeline!)  I love these sandals, and I wear them even though they are scuffed.  I thought I'd try to get them to clean up some. 
Frye sandals before

Frye sandals after
Can't tell a difference.  Yeah, me either.  Bummer, right.  Oh well, I do love them, so I wear them even with the scuffs.

I hope this post will give you some encouragement recondition some old leather, either something that you already own, or something that you find at the thrift store on your next adventure!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Emmeline's Manners...

I'm working on getting Emmeline to say please, thank you, you're welcome, etc.   It is really cute when she does, because all of her "courtesy words" are said in this very high pitched, sing-song voice.  She does really well saying them, when she remembers.  The trick it to remind her before she gets too worked up and into the screaming state (hello, Terrible Trying Twos).  I'm sure it frustrates her because just a few months ago, screaming was a completely acceptable way to get what you want.  Now we are asking her to say "milk, please" or "pick me up, please."  Poor thing...

Usually, she starts screaming loudly requesting something; Pee-na (Kung Fu Panda), Elmo, Milk, Os, Dada, Tractuh (tractor).  We then say "Emmeline, how do you ask for that" or "Emmeline, what did you say" and she says what ever it was and then "please."  I'm pretty sure that most parents do the exact same thing, so it's not like we are breaking any new ground here.  Anyway, here are two stories to demonstrate Emmeline's learning curve, or perhaps my learning curve.

A couple weekends ago, she had finished her dinner and wanted a chocolate graham cracker, which she calls "Cha-kat."  The exchange when something like this.

Emmeline: Cha-kat? Cha-kat? Cha-kat?
Elin: (Typing on iPhone to send an email, I think.)
Emmeline: No phone! Cha-kat? (Louder) No phone! No phone! (Louder) No phone! Cha-kat?!?!?!
Elin: Emmeline...
Long pause.
Emmeline: Cha-kat, please...

Atta-girl!  Now we are getting there.

Then there's this story...

The next night, I had moved her high chair onto the front porch for dinner.  I thought it might be a nice change of pace.  When I asked her what she wanted for dinner, she replied "ice cream."  Not my first choice for an entree, but I told her that if she ate all of her chicken and most of her other items, she could have some ice cream.  We had been sitting outside for a while, just enjoying the evening.  She was eating and I was just relaxing.  I looked over and saw her moving her plate around.  She looked up at me, started clapping and said
Emmeline: Yea! Ice cream, please!
(Um, that plate-moving... she was hiding her chicken underneath it.)
Elin: Emmeline, is that chicken under your plate?
Emmeline: Oh, chicken!
Elin: You can have some ice cream, after you finish your chicken.
Emmeline: OK! Chicken!

We are totally in for it.  Sneaky already!  She isn't even two.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Latest Haul

I went thrifting a couple weekends ago and Emmeline racked up!  And I got a few things as well.

Five pairs of shoes for the girl! Two pairs of canvas tennis shoes (tan and pink), one pair of white leather Keds, one pair of red leather t-straps and a pair of water shoes.  All under $2 a pair.
White purse for me. $3
New shirts, all of which I have worn already. Grey linen Gap, bright pink v-neck, graphic print v-neck and black v-neck. All less than $3 each 
Yahoo for the thrift!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Keeping it real" or "Next week on Hoarders"...

Alright folks.  Here you go.  I think I need some help.  I have too much stuff that I call "craft supplies."  What I really should call it it "crap."

Seriously.  Who keeps all of their sugar containers?  And what was I going to do with them.  Ack!
I have this fantastic loft space that I could use for crafting, but it is such a hot mess!  I must get it in order.  All those totes in that closet... fabric.  On the other shelves... disorganized piles of crap, I mean "craft supplies."

Sheesh!  I'm hoping to whip it into shape some this summer.  I'll let you know if I find any other "lovelies."  This could get interesting.  Call in the guard if you don't hear from me for a few days.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Some Rules about Thrifting

I have never really loved shopping for clothes, because I never like spending tons of money on something and then not liking it.  The thought of going to the mall to buy jeans gives me the heebie-jeebies.  What if I buy a pair of $50 jeans and they shrink funny in the wash and get all gappy at the waist and flood-water length in the leg and I can't wear them with my new sandals?  What if I buy a pair of $50 slacks and they aren't long enough for my heels, but are too long for my flats?  What if I buy a new purse for $50 and it is totally out of style next year?  See where this is going.

However, the thought of going to the thrift store to buy jeans sounds fantastic.  I can buy some trendy skinny-leg jeans for $5 and wear them a few times.  If I hate them, well... then back to the thrift for them and for me.  Then I can get some white jeans for the summer for $5 and wear them for a while.  Until I decide they aren't as cute as I want them to be and then back to the thrift store for them and for me.  See where this is going.

Going to the thrift store to buy slacks sounds great as well.  I can get two or three lengths in every color I normally wear (grey, black and brown) in summer and winter weight fabrics for the cost on one pair of slacks at retail cost.  Of course, I won't find them all in one trip, but I'll get them all eventually.  And in the same name brands I would likely buy retail.  Right now in my closet I have Rafaella, Jones New York, Gap, Nicole Miller and Good Clothes brand slacks.  All bought second hand.

Accessories are great to find at the thrift store.  I find trendy purses and clutches all the time as well as classic purses in great shape.  I have a black leather purse I love that I bought retail years ago.  It was pricey to me (at the time) at $40, but I think that I've had it for 8 years so I was well worth it.  I found a similar one (pictured above) in brown leather at the thrift store for $5 a few weeks ago. I love buying purses and clutches second hand because they are inexpensive but I can always find some with lots of life left in them.

There are some limits, but I have found that I really can't buy retail very often anymore.  Of course, if I need something specific in a short time frame, chances are I won't find it at the thrift store.  For example, I bought my Easter shoes retail this year.  I wanted a pewter sandal which, on short notice, is hard to find at the thrift store.  I bought these on clearance for $20 (but also became obsessed with a pair of heels and went back and bought them for $30, on clearance, three days later).  Did I feel bad about blowing $50 on two pairs of shoes?  Not. One. Bit.  Because I save so much on clothing that the occasional splurge is still well within my budget.

And, of course, there are a few things that I would never buy second-hand.  Undergarments should never be purchased at the thrift store, in my opinion.  I also don't buy socks there.  Bathing suits either.  Or running shorts, bicycle/spandex shorts, etc.  All of those I buy new because of the yuck factor!  And I don't even look at tank tops at the thrift store because they are usually there because they shrank funny.  They end up a crop tops that are about twice as wide as they should be.  Or camisoles end up with the elastic sprung in their straps.  I can always find those at Walmart/Kmart/Target on clearance and stock up when I do!

So that sums up my "rules" for shopping at the Thrift Store.  Anyone out there have more rules to share, or disagree with any of mine?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gallery Wall in Progress...

My great aunt and uncle have a fantastic lake house that has been the site of family gatherings for as long as I can remember.  We have celebrated everything from weddings to 100th birthdays there and every event holds special memories for me.  The main hallway of their house is covered in framed pictures of family and friends.  It makes the hallway a destination instead of a pathway.  I love it, and I have wanted to create a gallery in my own home for a while now. 

Then I saw this by and decided it was time to get a move on.  Using (which is AWESOME, btw), I started collecting inspiration images.  Here's a link to my inspiration board, which looks like this.
I've been collecting frames at the thrift store for a few weeks and this is my haul.  About 12 frames for $2 a piece on average.

And then on Saturday, I did this.  Yes, I made templates of all of them and taped them up.  Call me OCD if you want, but this way I won't have to patch as many holes in the wall.  First, I disassembled and cleaned all of the frames, labeling each piece so that I could put them back together with no less frustration.  Then I traced them onto newspaper and taped them to the wall with frog tape (green painters tape).  I moved them around an this is what I ended up with.
I'm going to end up adding some more small objects, but I knew I needed to start with the big stuff.  There are a couple of frames to the right of the doorway on the right, but this is the main area I wanted to cover first.

I'll keep you updated on the progress.   The next step is spray painting all of the frames to match.  Any color suggestions?  Navajo white to match the trim?  Oil rubbed bronze to match the other painted metal in the house?  Brushed nickel to match the unpainted metal in the house?  A fun bright color?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Emmeline's daily recap...

On Monday, May 2, Emmeline went with me to the chiropractor and then to her first dental check-up.  This is her description of the day.

She describes the chiropractor visit so well.  Mamma had an "uh-oh" on her back, so she went "night-night" on the "table" and the doctor "pixed it."

Then we went to her dentist appointment.  Her dentist is friends with Lightening McQueen from Cars (who knew that a decal on your wall made you friends with someone).  They cleaned her teeth, then painted her hand purple and she got to do a hand print on a yet-to-be-installed ceiling tile.

Emmeline is so observant, it is sort of scary.  Keeps us on our toes, for sure!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Second-Hand Style: Mother's Day

Here's the first post in what I hope becomes a regular category on this blog: Second-Hand Style.  One of my Lenten diciplines this year was to wear one outfit every week that was completely purchased second hand. I do a really good job of shoping as the the Thrift Store, but sometimes I find it difficult to pull those items into an everyday rotation of my wardrobe.  I thought that by consciously making the choice every week to go all second-hand, I would jump start a personal trend.  And it worked!  I had a friend suggest that I start posting some of my thrifted outfits here, so here goes!

The weekend of Mother's Day was also the weekend of the season closer at the theatre where I work.  When Sunday morning rolled around, I was tired and felt like wearing jeans to church.  Lucky for me, no one at St. Andrew's cares what you wear!  Here's a picture of me and Emmeline in our Bargain Basement finest!

Elin's Outfit
Worthington Sweater: Thrifted $1 (75% off $4) Similar
Tank: Walmart clearance $3 Similar
Jeans: Chico's Platinum Denim, Thrifted $5 Similar, but mine are dark wash
Shoes: Frye sandles, Thrifted $2.50 (50% off $5), Can't find anything similar, but Frye sandals are around $125
Necklace: Thrifted $3.50 Sort of similar
Bracelets and Ring: probably about $10, Goody's clearance ages ago, Sort of similar
Total cost: $25 my way, $264.97 retail

Emmeline's Outfit
T-shirt: Granimals, Thrifted (but brand new) $2 Similar
Dress: No brand tag, Thrifted $3 Similar
Bloomers: No brand tag, Thrifted $.25 (1 of a bag of 8 for $2) Similar
Fake Crocs: Thrifted (but brand new) $2 Similar (with princesses) or Similar (with Cars)
Total cost: $7.25 my way, $33.23 retail

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Dining Room Buffet

Who doesn't need more storage, right.  I think that everyone I know needs one of two things: less stuff or more storage.  We are working toward both of those.  We got lots of beautiful serving pieces and table linens as wedding gifts, but we didn't have a whole lot of storage space in the china cabinet.  We have been looking for a piece to put in the dining room to store those items and to serve as a buffet.  Well, we lucked out.  Look what we found a few weekends ago.
Welcome home, Mr. Mid-Century Modern, solid wood dresser/buffet.  We've missed you.  We bought him at one of our favorite Thrift Stores, Mission Possible in Pinson.  We can usually find great deals on furniture and children's clothes at that store.

I really love the clean lines and fine craftsmanship of mid-century pieces, especially the Danish ones.  This piece was in great shape.  All the drawers work beautifully with no sticking and there are very few scratches on the finish.  I looked online for a modern equivalent, and I couldn't find one.  However, here is a link to one on eBay.
Um, $850 is a lot more than what we paid for it.  We waffled on paying $20, which was 75% off of the original $80 price! 

Looks like we got a good deal!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is my confession...

I have an addiction.  It isn't costly.  It isn't harmful.  It isn't damaging to my health.  But it is an addiction nonetheless. 

And I have no intention of quitting.

I am totally addicted to shopping at the thrift store.  Seriously.  Clothes, shoes, furniture, home decor items, office supplies, jewelry, purses... they all find their way home with me.

 I love it for many reasons.  Here's a few:
  • I get nice stuff for dirt cheep.  Leather Fossil purse for $4.  Steve Madden pumps for a friend (pictured above) $5.  Mid-century modern Danish buffet for $20.  Chico's jeans for $5.  Yup.  All at the thrift.
  • I supports charities.  I shop at the Big Saver, Mission Possible, Goodwill, Salvation Army and a few other local thrift stores; all of which support great local programs and charities.
  • Retail therapy is awesome.  Sometimes, blowing $10 is good for the soul.  I could go and buy two pairs of new socks, or I could go to the thrift store and buy an entire new outfit... head to toe (minus unmentionables, of course).  A little more bang for the buck, if you ask me.
  • It keeps things out of the land fill.  Just because something is at the thrift store, doesn't mean that it is trash. Someone might be on a weight loss journey and only be in a size for a few months.  I know that is one of the reasons that I started shopping second hand.  I knew I was losing weight, so why buy new pants when I'd drop a size in a few weeks months.
  • I'm not buying new, so I'm lessening the impact of consumerism on the environment.  Sure, not by much, but every little bit helps.
A friend suggested that I start blogging about some of my finds at the thrift store.  I have neglected this blog, because I really didn't have too much I wanted to write about, but I think this subject matter should help.  This week I'll start the subject out with a Thrifty Thursday post about a recent furniture purchase.  I'm also planning on posting some of the outfits I find second-hand.  One of my Lenten diciplines this year was to wear one outfit every week that was all second-hand, so now that I'm in the practice of doing that, I hope to have some good posts.

(Did I get this song stuck in your head with the title of the post?  If so, sorry...)

Monday, May 9, 2011

On tractors and tiaras...

So Emmeline is into two things right now: riding on the lawnmower and princesses.  I'll get to princesses in a minute, but first... tractors.  A few weeks ago, David took her for a ride on the lawnmower and now it is her favorite thing to do at home.  "Tak-tuh?" (tractor) she says.  Everyday.  Usually first thing in the morning.  Always when she gets home.  Before we leave for school everyday, she has to hug the tractor.  "Aww, tak-tuh, aww."  ("Aww" means hug, because that is what we say when she gives us hugs.)  Yup, she hugs the tractor everyday before she will get in the car.
David found her this Emmeline-sized John Deere at the Thrift Store the other day.  It has no charger and the wheels are shot, but she climbs onto it and off of it and onto it and off of it about 100 times.  But it doesn't replace riding with Daddy.  When she isn't on the tractor, she carries around a picture of them riding the tractor.  Sometimes, she will take the picture to bed with her and I'll hear her talking on the monitor about the "taktuh."

Now, on princesses, "pinsess" as Emmeline calls them.  I woke up on April 29 just in time to catch most of the Royal Wedding.  Emmeline got up in time to see the Prince and Princess leaving Westminster Abbey.  Her favorite part: the horses.  "Husses, giin.  Husses, giin!"  (Horses, again.  Horses again!)  Then she saw the princess in her tiara waving at the crowd while sitting in a carriage pulled by huge horses.  Emmeline turned and looked at me like, "How come we don't ride around like that!"  And then she started waving back at the Prince and Princess.  She smiled and waved all morning.  If you ask her to, she will smile and wave like a princess.  Somehow, the receptionists at her dentist knew she was a princess, which made the first visit there better.

Last week, I took her by the recital rehearsal for Steeple Arts, my old dance studio.  My mom's cousin teaches there and we wanted to stop by and say hello to her and some other friends.  Emmeline really wanted to go home and ride the tractor, so she was fussy-butted all the way there in the car.  Finally she calmed down when I told her we were going to see some dancing princesses.

Once we got there, I took her into the theatre and she saw the girls dancing on stage.  "Pinsess, aww.  pincess, aww."  "We will go give them a hug in a minute, Emmeline.  The are doing their Princess Dance right now."  "Pinsess, aww.  pincess, aww."  This went on for a while.  Finally, they were finished with their dancing and pictures and we went on stage to see them.  This sweet class of 12 little 12-year-olds were so flattered to be thought of as Princesses, but I wish I had had my camera to capture Emmeline's face!  She positively lit up when those girls gushed over her.  She cried when it was time to leave.  "Pincess, aww.  Pincess, aww.  Pincess, aww, giin, ginn!!!"  One lonely Princess in the parking lot waiting on her queen mom to pick her up got one final hug from Emmeline and then we were on the way home.  No amount of telling her that the Princesses were all night-night in their castles would console her.  She wanted more hugs from the Princesses.  She cried and cried and cried...

Until we pulled up at home and she saw the tractor.

Ahhh, the attention span of the toddler mind.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Words words words...

Here's a current word list.  These are words that she says.  She recognizes plenty more, but doesn't say them, i.e. she can point to her ear, shoulder, knee, etc. but doesn't say those yet.

Foods: nana (banana), gogurt (yogurt), apah (applesauce or apples), kiken (chicken), kaka (cracker), bebbies (veggie straws), oh (cheerios), muck (milk), cuh (cup), cahkee (coffee)

Exclamations: o bee (o boy), yuck, meh (mess), ah hah (uh huh), no, yeh (yes), mup (up), go, ni ni (night night), uh oh, moh (more), gen (again), BOO, pees (please), poopy (only after the fact, of course), ah duh (all done), bye bye, hi, dahhhhk (dark), echo (she doesn't know what it means, but uses it at the right time like leaning into the shower and saying "echo")

People (and pets): Mama, Dada, Caca (Chica), Wiwi (Winni), gNini (Ginny), Bebe (my mom), Rara (Roger), Pat Pat said much like a duck would say it and always very loudly (David's mom), Papa (David's dad), Elmo, Ohi (Zoey), Cookie, Bih Buhd (Big Bird) Bahnee (Barney, tragic... I know),

Places: cul (school)

Things: bak (block), buk (book), ba (bath), puppy (always whispered), dahg or woo woo (dog), mehehe (horse), mahw (cat), buhd (bird), boon (balloon), light, mihboooohn (milkbone), snow, nenees (necklace)

Body Parts: heh (head), noh (nose), mahw (mouth), ih (eye), bip bip (belly button), toe,

She puts words together some, too.  A few nights ago, she got a very serious look on her face while she was eating dinner and slowly said, "Moh ohs pees," and then grinned really big and looked so proud of herself.  I could just see the gears turning in her brain.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This post is brought to you today by...

The letter B.
Emmeline had her 18 month check-up on Thursday and she is doing great!  Also, I'm pretty sure that she is a genius.  I always park in the same row on the same level of the parking deck when I go to St. Vincent's.  I'm pretty sure I'd lose my car if I didn't.  On Thursday, I parked in my normal spot and we load out of the car - and I'm hustling to get us too the elevator because we are late and it is cold.  Emmeline points to the huge letter marking the level and screams...


No lie.

Then she looks up at me and grins like "See how smart I am.  I know what I just did."
She might not be a genius, of course, because when she sings her alphabet it goes like this: A-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B.

B is her favorite.

But still... really smart, that girl.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Stats at 18 months (with WHO percentiles in parentheses):
Weight: 26 lbs. 10 oz. (88%)
Height: 32.5" (62%)
Head Size: 19.75" (99%), supports genius theory

All of her other milestones are great as well.  She is talking a lot.  I'll try to post a word list soon.  She loves helping around the house, especially loading and unloading the dryer.  She eats well, but still has a milk allergy.  She loves her books and her blocks.  If it were up to her, she and Elmo (and Cookie Monster, too) could read books and stack blocks all day long.  She is very affectionate, unless saying "no" to hugs and kisses seems like more fun at the time.

All in all, we are so very blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, smart, silly daughter.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Best friends...

Here's a picture of Emmeline with her best friend, Elmo. Everything nowadays is Elmo Elmo Elmo. On the you tube, DVRed Sesame Street, Elmo in Grouchland, on her diapers, talking/dancing/storytelling Elmos.

They are inseparable. Super cute.

I know I've been a bad blogger. I'll do better this year.