Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weirdest Estate Sale of 2011

Wow. Let me tell you. This was pretty interesting, and really advantageous that I am completely and totally UNafraid of mice.

I was tipped off to this sale near my office by my coworker who is my Thrift Store Thursday co-conspirator. I walked in, and realized that it was 95% garage sale, 5% estate sale. This week is spring break week in our area, so the kiddies were home and they were having fun.

When I went to the kitchen to pay, this little mouse was running out from under the fridge out to where the kids had thrown chunks of Velveeta on the floor. They were patiently waiting to lure this little dude out with the cheese and they had their butterfly nets ready.

I don't think they succeeded in catching him, but the whole family seemed completely unfazed both by the fact that they had a mouse (or many mice...?) or by the fact that, during this event, their kitchen floor was littered with cheese. Hm. Anyway, it reminded me that I need to cultivate a zen mama perspective and not get too uptight about the (very) little things in life. Like mice. Here are some of my recent scores, although none from the "mouse house."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Newest Knitting

Hi! I've been on blog hiatus, and it's been really nice, actually. I feel like I may possibly have something to talk about these days, and looking back on my blog over the last few years it's kind of fun to remember all the goings-on in our lives. Since moving to Wisconsin and hooking up with the Yarnivores (my local coffee-shop knitting clutch), life as a knitter has been great. I cannot tell you how much a difference it's made to have this group of ladies to shoot the breeze with and to go to with all my knitting dilemmas. They are also a wealth of ideas and patterns, so my list of knitting to-dos gets longer every week!

Here's a little something that's been on my list for a long time. It's called the Dottie Wrap, and a friend of mine knit one and I fell in love. Mine is not nearly as nice -- I'm actually really bothered that it curls on the edges and my blanket stitch isn't super perfect. However, it's done, and what is SO COOL about it is the vintage buttons along the top. Love that.

So, anyhoo, it's good to be back and hopefully I can keep updating this blog. It's a good outlet for me to babble on about what-nots and what-have-you. And I miss you all when I'm gone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who has time to blog?

Geesh. I don't have time to do all the things I want to do. Boy is that stating the obvious, right? Who doesn't wish they had more hours in the day? Pretty much everyone needs to prioritize. Why I thought I could be excluded from that party, I'm not sure. Having two kids has made it abundantly clear that less is definitely going to have to be more. So here are the things that I'm thinking about cutting out of my life:
  • This blog; although it doesn't take a ton of time (or rather, I prioritize it way to the bottom and don't give it the time I would like to) but it does require some.
  • My handmade Etsy shop, Pumpkin Girl; this, too, does not take a ton of time (or rather, I can spend time on it when I want to) but it is a bit of a time commitment and I'm lacking inspiration lately.
  • Cleaning my house; I could opt to let it go entirely, or hire someone
  • Geez, there isn't anything that can go!
So, really, if I cut some stuff out I may feel more like a normal person who can like sit down and watch a little TV and do a little knitting. Or, there are about a dozen things I would love to ADD in, in place of what gets cut. Like exercise, cooking, baking, reading a book now and then, making stuff for myself and my kids...friends. But see if I cut something, and then add more in, then I'm kind of back here where I feel like I'm doing too much. Ah, 25th hour in the day (and 26th, 27th and 28th), where are you when I need you? Any recommendations? What do you do to fit all the things in your life that make you happy?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Little Skully Hat

I'm lucky enough to be welcoming lots of other people's babies (OPB) in the future, so I'll be knitting up quite a few little baby items as gifts. I used the Stitch N Bitch pattern for the umbilical cord hat for this one, and a chart from another Stitch N Bitch book for the little yellow skull. I've never knit in color (is that called intarsia??) before, so I had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out.

I love knitting for babies because it's usually so quick. I have such a short attention span! And, I think I also worry that I'll spend a bunch of time knitting a sweater only to have it turn out badly. I just don't have that time to waste, you know? I've got American Idol to watch, after all!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Phew, it's been a busy thrifting week! Check out all my finds! I also found some adorable tulip Robeez for our little one, and some fantastic clothes for myself (although not vintage).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I heart Groupon

In my quest to be more frugal this year, I signed up for Groupon. And Living Social. And some others. But it's not the coupons that have me swooning. Frankly, it's the writing at Groupon that has me hooked. Although I've purchased only a few Groupons, I read each one. Recently I saw that they were hiring freelance writers. They asked for applicants to write a sample Groupon based on a real company called Sea Kayak Georgia -- the deal was for a $25 Groupon for a guided tour. I though it would be fun to try my hand at writing a Groupon.[me, eating cupcakes, not writing or being witty whatsoever]

Finding yourself up a creek without a paddle might sound like a bad spot, but when you’ve got Sea Kayak Georgia’s seasoned guides and naturalists by your side, you’re in good hands. Use today’s Groupon — $25 for a half-day tour (a $55 value) — to amaze your friends with your command of Pirate lingo and tales of adventures at sea. Sorry, at this time the offer is not available to swashbucklers, crimps, scurvy dogs, hornswagglers, or scallywags.

From landlubbers to those firmly planted on sea legs, Sea Kayak Georgia has been offering paddling adventures amidst the beauty and majesty of the George coast, Tybee Island, and the inland rivers of south Georgia since 1994. Grab your mateys and choose from a relaxing river ride or an exhilarating day on Coastal Georgia’s warm waters and rollicking waves. A paddling trip is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten, especially if you drop your camera in the water or fall face first in the sand as you step out of your kayak. Best yet, Sea Kayak Georgia can customize tours for groups such as scouts, schools, corporate teams, and families.

Discover the joy, fun, and relaxation kayaking offers. Sea Kayak Georgia owners Marsha Henson and Ronnie Kemp reside on Tybee Island and are certified instructors in sea kayaking and canoeing. With such knowledgeable owners and staff, who knows what sort of sunken treasure may be discovered. Get ready to set sail and discover your inner skimmer.

How do you think I did? Should I apply?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Knitting Dresses for Babies and Girls

I found this adorable vintage girl's dress pattern in a book I picked up at the thrift store this week. I fell in love with the white edging and the buttons down the front. I haven't knitted any dresses yet, so I'm super excited to get started.

I scanned in the pattern but I'm not sure you'll be able to use it...

So I hunted for some other free knitting patterns for dresses for babies and girls. Now I have my work cut out for me!
Here are my current favorites:
Do you have any recommended girl dress patterns to recommend? As if I need any more...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I had to change the title of this series because this week, it's all about a fabulous estate sale and not about a thrift store. I hit this sale during my usual Thursday lunch hour, and although I got completely lost, managed to make it back to work on time. Phew! If any of you are looking for gift ideas for me, I think a GPS is in order as I got totally lost on my way to an estate sale today, too. Anyway, here's last week's score!

Gorgeous rabbit fur earmuffs

"Chicken legs" bright yellow thigh high stockings new in the package

Gorgeous vintage velvet beaded jacket

Super awesome teal and navy poncho with fringe

Long patchwork hippie skirt

Beaded foldover clutch (SOLD)

Black velvet pageboy knickers with buttons at the knee

Great bold floral print long hippie skirt

Any great buys in your area this week? I hit a thrift store today and got the cutest vintage knitting pattern book. I'll scan the girl's dress I want to knit for a post for another day. I guess that was the one bonus of getting lost...I found my way back by my awesome thrift-dar (or should I say that I can navigate based on the fact that I know how to get to or from almost any thrift store in town...scary!).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Save-o-rama rama

This year, I've set out to save money. Normally I feel like I'm half tightwad, half impulsive shopper. I'm trying to give the angel on my shoulder a little more airtime this year, and silence the devil with "but I have bills to pay off, dammit!" And won't it feel good to pay them off. My hubby and I are extremely good with our money, but everyone can leave further below their means. And, I have this crazy dream that some day, we can be totally and completely debt free, including our mortgage(s).

If you want to read about people making incredible sacrificing to reduce their debt, right now is a great time to be looking. My favorite blog is Chasing the Fire, because, well, this family has made some seriously admirable moves to pay off a huge amount of debt. It seems like everyone is on budget-watch these days, and it's kind of refreshing to me. I thought I might share some ideas I've gathered up from all my thrifty friends and start to share them here. So here's my first installment of Save-o-rama rama!

Cable for us was an obvious "first luxury to go" item. We don't watch a ton of TV, so we wouldn't really miss it. Not to say that I didn't LOVE having a DVR for the first time, or compulsively watch American Pickers, Storage Wars, Millionaire Matchmaker, Auction Kings and other gems of the cable dial, but I can do without it. And our little pumpkin, who loves Chuggington, Handy Manny, and other cable friends, can too. Who knows, maybe it will force us to go outside more, or play more games as a family.

Instead of cable, we opted for a Wii with streaming Netflix. Here's how the savings breaks down:

--Cost of cable TV = $50/mo. or $600/yr.
--Cost of Wii = $140
--Cost of streaming Netflix = $8/mo. or $96/yr.

Total annual savings = $364 (plus we get to keep the Wii!)

Now of course we also did not HAVE to have the Wii, or streaming Netflix. But it took the sting away of having to give up something we did kinda like. And $364 paid toward a bill is not too shabby for something we now don't really miss at all! We have plenty of movies and cartoons to keep the whole pumpkin crew completely satisfied.

Next installment: crazy coupon lady!

Are you paying off your debt? What are you doing to save this year?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thrift Store Thursday

For this installment of Thrift Store Thursday, I'm going ski crazy despite the predication by Puxatawny Phil that we're expecting an early winter. I'm showcasing something that came from a thrift store ages ago. It's this amazing patriotic ski sweater made by Bemiji Woolen Mills. According to their website, they've been in business for 90 years and now it's being run by the fourth generation. The company was apparently started in 1920 to make clothes for the Minnesota logging industry.

I'm not a skier, but I have enough snow in my yard to need a pair of snowshoes. And I really love the look of ski wear, especially this amazing women's ski shirt, and this adorable sweater with skiers.

Friday, February 04, 2011

This Cowgirl Wants to Git On Down the Road

Remember my friend Sonya? She's raising money to fund her artistic endeavors to travel the world and photograph and write about everything. Yeah, well this is us as teenagers getting the ubiquitous "western photo" taken, I'm assuming at Great America. Didn't these seem really popular back in the 70s and 80s? Everyone had a photo of themselves and their friends or family dressed up in some western clothes, pistol and cowboy hat included, with scowls on their faces? I founds some really cool ones on this Flickr set, so maybe it'll come back into fashion.

Anyway, I digress. Sonya has a new video about her efforts. You should check it out, it's cute. You can see she's sold everything she owns. Scary! But she's sacrificing her comfort for the sake of experience. So cool!

If you know someone who might be able to contribute a bit to her efforts, please spread the word. She's not quite halfway yet, and her deadline is March 8. If she doesn't meet her fundraising goal, all of the money pledged so far is returned and the 86 backers and I am not sure how she'll make her dream come true. Even $1 is not too little. Thanks, ya'll!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thrift Store Thursday

Today's collection of vintage finds comes right out of Mr. Pumpkin's closet. His mom had stashed away all these awesome tees from his childhood and of course me, being the hoarder, stashed them away in my own little box of goodies.

He's got little league shirts, shirts from his big biking adventures with his dad called SAGBRAW, and some from vacations.

Some of Mr. Pumpkin's tees made great scores for me, but others are going to be restashed, or passed along to another lucky Etsy shopper.

We got snowed in this week so I didn't get to do my usual thrifting. But I'm hopeful that next week will be balmy and beautiful!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ultimate Best of Guide to Minneapolis/St. Paul Thrift Stores

I don’t live in Minnesota, and therefore, providing a thrift store guide to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area does not infringe on my own territory. So, without further ado, I now present you with the best-of-the-best thrift store guide to the metro area (hope I’m getting this to you in time, Lisa!). Now, keep in mind this list is not exhaustive. For that, my favorite resources is, which is a user-input source for all charitable secondhand stores in the country.


1. Unique. Two locations I like: County Rd. D and Rice St. in St. Paul. Extremely crowded at all times. Can be overpriced. Best feature is Rice St.'s vintage section and the fact that they are constantly adding inventory. Best score: LOTS of vintage clothes and cheap kids books.

2. Hidden Treasures. In Nordeast, hidden in a strip mall. Very neat and organized, friendliest staff ever. Best score: a brand new Radio Flyer tricyle for $10.

3. Arc's Value Village. On Winnetka in New Hope and Brooklyn Blvd. in Brooklyn Center. Usually very organized. The Brooklyn Blvd. location has lots of collectibles and designer purses (if you're into that). Best score: Also great vintage clothing on a special rack in the back of the New Hope store.

4. Bibles for Missions, 4713 36th Ave. N, Crystal, MN. Call before you go. Pretty sure they have weird hours and are definitely not open Sundays. Love the little ladies that work there. Best score: honestly don't remember. I know I've scored lots of weird knick knacks, but nothing sticks out specifically.

The best things about thrift stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area:

• No sales tax on clothing
• Plenty of winter gear if you are in the market for it — boots, hats, coats, etc.
• A wide variety of shops from mega-stores like Savers and Goodwill to awesome hole-in-the-wall joints
• No matter where you live, there is one near you (seriously…there were two within walking distance of my old place)

The worst things about thrift stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area:
• It’s a big city, so you gotta be on your game to compete with the crowds
• I’m not a huge Savers/Goodwill fan, and those make up a huge portion of them
• Because the city is so spread out, you can drive a long way to get from one to the next
• As with everywhere, thrift stores have started to try to get smart about what things have a little more value; unfortunately, I find that prices are often ridiculously overblown

Minneapolitans and St. Paulites, did I miss any?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thrift Store Thursday

Ahh, the dead of winter. Good times. The temperature hit 25 this week and so I trekked outside for a mile walk on my lunch hour yesterday. It felt WARM! Seriously sick when you think of it. But 20 degrees or more above last weeks highs, so it's all relative. All this balmy weather got me thinking about garage sales. And you know what? When I checked Craigslist, I found TWO garage sales! Indoors, mind you, but garage sales nonetheless. So of course, I hit them up.

One was a total bust, but the indoor church sale proved pretty okay. I got a great sweater and a cute vintage tank, so I consider it a success.

Now, I am really looking forward to the return of estate sales, garage sales, church rummages and everything that will break me out of what could definitely become a thrift store funk if I keep hitting the same spots as regularly as I have been.

Speaking of which, a friend who reads my blog said I should post my favorite thrift stores. Hmmm. Isn't that kind of like divulging grandmas secret apple pie recipe? Dare I give out my most closely held secret? Will you all go rush out and pillage my hot spots? Or should I play nice and share? I could definitely give a pretty good run down for Milwaukee area, Madison area and even my old stomping grounds in Minneapolis. Should I?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Your Favorite Recipes of 2010

This year, I've struggled to find time to do a lot of the things that I love to do. Now, I've never been that huge of a cook, but now that I have VERY limited time to be in charge of the cooking, it's like a privilege that's been taken away. I did try a few things, like cinnamon rolls, the lemon-basil martini, and lots and lots of things out of our very first real-deal vegetable garden.

I get asked to participate in lots of recipe exchanges, and I always feel a little lame having not much to contribute. I get most of my recipes online or out of my favorite Giada cookbooks. But, I would love to be better about recommending recipes, because I always get great ones in return.

So, I thought I'd try something new. Why not do a recipe exchange blog post? Tell everyone what's been cooking in your kitchen lately. I'd especially love to hear your simple (fast? slow cooked?) and kid-friendly recipes. So do share! You can link to your own personal recipe (post it on your own blog), or anywhere in the World Wide Web!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Breaded, Not Fried

I love to bake, but I do get tired of all the sweets. What? Who am I kidding. I don't get tired of the sweets, but I know it's not good for us to eat so much. So I often branch out to bread. I tried the no knead recipe with good results. I also purchased the Tassajara Bread Book and went through the painstaking process of making it the "real" way with all the rising and punching and rising and kneading and all that.

But, I have found what I think is the "up my alley" bread baking book, perfect for a person like me with a short attention span and a busy life. It's the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The theory is that you make up a big batch of dough and stick it in the fridge. You can use it for up to a few weeks to make just about anything from regular old bread to cinnamon rolls. So far we made only one loaf and it was not only delicious, but easy and beautiful to look at.

I got the book from the library, and unfortunately I have to return it soon. But before I do, I'm thinking about trying the bagel recipe. Have you ever made bagels from scratch? Is it worth the effort? What are your favorite bread recipes?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Playing Matchmaker

Today I'm excited to participate in Kelly's Korner Blog "Show us your singles" day when people all over the country tell the world about a great guy or girl they know in hopes that a match can be made. Today I'd like to introduce my friend and coworker, Craig.

So here's the skinny on this eligible guy:
--Craig has strong Christian values and is involved in church activities
--He's 40
--This guy is outgoing, friendly and loves to hang out with his friends, especially if they're going out for seafood or Italian
--He grew up and lives in southeast Wisconsin
--Craig works in the financial industry
--His education is in Mass Communication and Psychology
--Music is a passion for him (listening versus playing)
--Sometimes he likes to inform us that whatever it is we're eating is really bad for us, which is an endearing quality -- he's really into being healthy and likes to work out and be active
--He's never been down the aisle (unless you're talking about the grocery store)
--He's funny
--He likes to travel (Seattle is one of his favorites)

Here's who he's looking for in that special lady:
--Strong Christian woman
--She likes to get dressed to go out, but is also comfortable hanging out in jeans and a sweatshirt (here's my interpretation: he's looking for someone who takes care of herself, but doesn't spend 4 hours getting ready to go out)
--She makes him laugh

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thrift Store Thursday

Here's the latest scores from the thrift store. This week was all about vintage clothes for the ladies!

The plaid dress is by Pendleton, and it's in perfect condition. I wish it fit me, because it's so warm and fun! Pendleton is based in Portland, Oregon and has been weaving fabric there for 100 years.

My other favorite is the tennis jacket with the yellow stripes. If that doesn't sell in my Etsy shop, it's ALL MINE!

Who doesn't need a poodle skirt? This would be so fun to have in a little girl's dress-up collection. I can just see the twirling that would ensue!

This crazy plaid shirt is some sort of western wear. I don't know much about it, but it just appealed to me.

This great scarf I bought at Rummage-a-rama, and I think it's so cool but I have no idea if I'd wear it, or display it somehow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thrift Store Thursday

Wow, I am completely addicted to thrift shopping. It's an illness. Seriously.

I have ALWAYS been a thrift shopper. I have worked at thrift stores. But, it hasn't ever taken over all of my free time like it is now (my free time consists of my lunch breaks and one or two hours on the weekend if naps I guess it's not like I spend 30 hours a week at Goodwill or anything...).

Here's my most recent scores. Some of these came from Rummage-a-rama at the WI state fairgrounds. You should go if you're local, it's great!