A blog about "nothing"!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Purging

I posted earlier about being overrun with Barbie dolls and such and trying to sell that stuff on Ebay.  Over the weekend we decided it was time to tackle cleaning the garage.  EEEEEK!!!  There was a lot of stuff out there from when we cleaned out the last of the stuff last summer from the old house.  Unfortunately we had some other things happen that prevented us from giving it the attention it needed then, and it just ended up all over the place.  Maybe that's a good thing, sitting on that stuff for almost a year gives you a different perspective on it.  Let's just say that we have two full garbage cans this morning, we took a car full of stuff to the Goodwill and we put out a few larger things to the curb with "FREE" signs on them, and all but one of those are gone.  We have a handful of things to take care of now and we probably gained close to 1/2 of the space back in the garage.  Very few things made it in to the house, and some of that will be going on Ebay, only a couple are things we actually want to keep.  We had been debating on putting a shed up in the back yard and while we are still thinking that would be nice to have, it isn't a 100% necessity and if we do, we don't need one even close to as big as we thought!  Once we get the second push mower out of there too we will have even more space.  We have a new "home" for it, they just need to come and pick it up-yay!

That said, the whole house clean out has officially begun.  Because of that, I am going to do my best to stay away from thrift stores and yard sales.  Stuff needs to leave this house before anything else comes in.  One of the things I had tried to avoid when we moved was excess clutter, and while it's definitely better than our old house, I can see how it could creep up on us.  Back to the "nothing comes in until something leaves" rule!!!  We definitely have more stuff than we need, and what we do have needs some more organization.  It's not terrible, but it does need some tweaking.  I don't need any clothes, dishes, knick-knacks--nothing!! Let's see if I can go the whole month of May without buying anything in those categories?!?!?! 

One of my favorite bloggers, Muffy Aldrich, has stated several times in her own posts that they don't have a bunch of stuff in storage, their basement and attic are relatively empty.  While some people might think that is strange, I am truly impressed.  Perhaps a bit jealous too.  She's given me something to shoot for though.  This week I want to finish cleaning my living room, there are already a handful of things in the Goodwill box and a couple things that might make it to Ebay before the week is out.  Stay tuned! 



Friday, April 26, 2013

Too cute!

I could watch this video over and over and over and over.............

 

27 years..................

Today marks 27 years since the Chernobyl nuclear accident--where did that 27 years go?  When I read that this morning, I had to think back to what I was doing 27 years ago.  Working in operations in a bank, I'm sure that we had a lot of water cooler discussion about it, but at that time we didn't get all the facts due to the veil of secrecy from the Soviet Union.  Lots of jokes about it, in particular I remember a "Married With Children" reference to Chernobyl Chickens--but it was one of those things that as American's we didn't really hear a lot/enough about. 

A few years ago I did a good bit of reading about it, and it really is a very sad story.  Pripyat, the town near where the Chernobyl reactors were located was a relatively new community, reduced to a ghost town because of the disaster.  Can you imagine being told to evacuate, but that you would be allowed to return, only to find out days later that you could never return?  Everything you left behind was going to be there for all eternity (unless some daring looters decided to try to enter).  What is worse is that most of the people living there were already suffering from radiation poisoning by the time they were evacuated.  Statistics show that the area will not be safe for human inhabitants for 900 years!  You can take tours of the area with a guide equipped with a Geiger counter--not so sure I'd feel very safe in a lot of ways. 

The photos of the town now are very sad, remaining remants of the community that used to be there scattered around.  The one that always fascinated me was of the ferris wheel in the park in Pripyat that was supposed to open just days after the accident.  If you go to Google Earth and enter Pripyat, you can see the ferris wheel. 
Photo courtesy of Yahoo
 
I think of the many nuclear reactors we have in this country and what kind of impact an accident like this would have here.  Japan experienced a tragedy of similar magnitude with one of their reactors after a major earthquake devastated the area.  With the recent accident in Texas involving a fertilizer plant, perhaps we all need to be aware of the everyday dangers we live near and be more prepared.   We all worry about terrorism being an emminent threat, but do you stop and think about simpler things that you drive by daily as a potential danger?  Do you and your family have an emergency plan?  I don't think we need to live in constant fear, but at least having a gameplan in the event of an emergency is not a bad idea. 
 
Have a great weekend! 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Adventures in Ebay

A couple of years ago we made the decision to sell our large ranch style home in the country and move to a smaller home in town.  The reasons were many--wanting to be closer to hubby's job, closer to stores and such, and the main one, just too much wasted space and wanting something smaller to care for.  The challenge however was what to do with all of that stuff we had that wouldn't fit.  To make matters more complicated, my mom passed away a week after we closed on the new house, and I had all of her stuff as well--eeek!!  We donated a lot of stuff to the Salvation Army and Goodwill, but there were still a lot of things left that we wanted to sell on Ebay.  I figured that it would be a good project for me once I quit working full time.  I am just now at the end of month four of selling and I have barely started to scratch the surface!!!!

The biggest group of items to sell was my mom's collection of Barbie dolls.  Unfortunately in between when she purchased these and now,  Barbie has tanked a bit, so I'm sure I'm not getting what she paid for most of these, but I am getting them out of my house, making some extra spending money, and hopefully someone is happy with the deal they have found.  I'm cleaning out closets, drawers and anything else I can think of and at the rate I am going, I should be able to keep this going for at least a year or two!!!! (if not longer)  I'm not selling mass quantities of stuff, just taking advantage of the 50 free listings a month.  I do have to say that it is a bit "addictive", once you get started it makes it easier to look at things with a different eye.  I guess that's a good thing.

My biggest issue is just finding the best time of the month to sell, the best method--I've tried several different things and just about the time I think I have it figured out, I don't.  The funniest thing to me is how I will have something listed at a reasonable price, it doesn't sell, I re-list it lower with the buy-it-now at what I listed it before--and bam!-it sells at the BIN on the second go-round, go figure.  I guess I'll just keep plugging away at it and see what happens.  As long as things keep leaving I guess I can't complain too much!

Anyone have any funny stores from their Ebay experiences?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Got THAT out of my system!

We have an animal rescue group in our area called "Angels For Animals" and every year they have a HUGE yard sale to raise money.  It is all stuff that has been donated, and every year it gets bigger and bigger.  I've always been curious about it, but it always starts on a Friday.  They charge a $1 admission fee to it, but for the first two hours of the first day, you can get first pick for a $5 admission fee.  Since I'm not working I thought I would give it a try.

Let's just say that if I go again I will probably just pay the $1 fee, I didn't really find much that I was wowed by.  I don't feel ripped off because the money does go to an excellent cause, but not sure that I would go again, especially not for the early bird.  It did work out because it was near someplace else I've been wanting to go to, so I got that out of the way as well. 

I guess my biggest complaint was that there just wasn't much that I was in to, and the nicer items that they had that I might have bought were priced a bit higher than I was willing to pay.  I guess I'm spoiled from shopping at the area thrift stores.  (my husband doesn't call me the cheapest woman in America for nothing!)  I did find these two baskets--they aren't any specific name brand (made in China), but I thought they were both nicely made.  I'm thinking that the one on the left might be nice for a project I mentioned in an earlier post.  The faux fruit definitely has to go no matter what on that one!  I do like the wooden acorns on the other, they appear to be very well crafted.  They were $1.50 each which I thought was extremely reasonable.  The one with the acorns has a few damaged spots but nothing so bad I can't fix it. 

Last year they made (are you sitting down?) $79,000 from this sale!!!!!!!!  This year they are aiming to raise $100,000--they use the proceeds to help maintain the shelter since they rely entirely on donations.  They had two complete estates donated for this years sale, I thought that was incredible!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Busy, Busy.....

Since we got home from vacation we've been busy around here--nothing very exciting, but busy nonetheless.  Lee has been busy with yard stuff, putting on lawn food and killing off dandelions.  I've been trying to sell stuff on Ebay--I say trying because this hasn't been one of my better months.  In fact if I had used the first week for the month as a benchmark of what to expect, I would have thrown in the towel, I made a whopping $10!  I don't know what was up with that, it has picked up, but it was frustrating, I am sick of looking at these Barbie dolls and was starting to think she had really bottomed out. 

Before we went on vacation I was getting the urge to do some sewing, I had a couple of ideas in my head, but I had my sewing machine blocked with vacation stuff--oops!  Probably just as well because by the time I was done my dining room was completely totalled.  It's all clean now, but for a few days it was touch and go.

My first project was a small tote bag, inspired by a post from Muffy Aldrich's Daily Prep blog where she showed her personal collection.  I had been tossing around some ideas already, but the photos gave me just the kick I needed.  I look at this tote as a bit of a prototype for some future bags I want to make. 
 
Then I made this liner for the Longaberger basket I found at Goodwill--I had posted a pic of it earlier, but I hadn't totally finished it, here it is with the ribbons on it.
 
A while back I bought a piece of adorable material that I really wanted to make a bag out of, and after a lot of perusing Etsy and other places for ideas, this is what I came up with:






 
Now that I've carried it for a week, I've figured out a couple of things I would do differently.  Overall though I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I learned a couple of good tricks in the process.  Isn't that what prototypes are for? 
 
It wasn't the best week of thrifting, but they all can't be.  I went to a thrift store about 10 minutes from here and found this neat scarf.  Not sure if I'm going to keep it, gift it or sell it, but I thought it was a good buy at 99 cents!
 
I went to an estate sale and 2 yard sales--what a bust those were.  Lots of junk, I am amazed at some of the stuff people try to sell.  Oh well, hopefully I will have better luck next time.  I did find this nice blue jar, it has a little bit of damage but for what I want it for that doesn't really matter.  I got a chuckle out of the lid that was on it too, a bit more entertaining than the zinc lids that are usually found on these.
 
I am trying to decide if I want to go to the huge sale about 30 minutes from here that benefits an organization called Angels For Animals this weekend--I finally broke down yesterday and went to the doctor for my knee.  I've been gimping around on it now for too long, and I've been concerned that I have further deterioration.  I ended up with a shot of cortisone in it and I'm waiting to see how it responds to that before I make up my mind about the sale--it is HUGE, starts tomorrow and runs the whole weekend.  It's kind of neat how they run it, tomorrow morning if you show up for the opening it is $5 to get in for the "first pick" stuff, then starting tomorrow afternoon it's $1 for the rest of the weekend with Sunday being "take all" day.  It fills up several large buildings at the fairgrounds, we've never been to it but have debated several times, it is an annual event.  Time will tell! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tis the season.........

Yard sale season--whoo hoo!!!  I have so missed going to yard sales, because of my work schedule it was difficult for me to go to them.  Most of them where we used to live were always started on a Thursday or Friday and by the time Saturday rolled around, they were pretty well picked over.  Lee noticed one last Friday on his way to the bank, darn him, he didn't call me!  There are several in the area that start tomorrow, definitely want to check one or two of them out.  Yesterday I went to an estate sale, that was kind of a waste of time, most of it was junk and overpriced to boot.  I did find a blue canning jar, but that was it.  There is one that starts this morning about 15 minutes away, I am still debating on if I want to venture out in the cold and rain to check it out.  Might be worth it since no one else will want to go out in this weather beside the die-hards.

Do you have a system for going to yard sales?  Do you limit yourself to so many a month?  Purchase only things that you are looking for? 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Travel Thrifting........

Poor Lee, he didn't know what he was in for when he agreed to check out thrift stores while we were in North Carolina.  I was excited to see that there were so many in the area we were staying, but there is a downside to that--more thrift stores mean fewer items per store which means fewer GOOD items per store.  In comparison the thrift stores we have around here are SuperStores!  We still did well though, and I think Lee was starting to get in to it a bit--not totally--but enough that he found two great items that I had overlooked.

Our first stop yielded the best number of finds in one place--3.  The rest were 1 here and there with us leaving empty handed a lot of places we stopped.  However, we did realize that this particular area is primarily vacation homes and a lot of the stuff in some of these shops was geared towards someone who is trying to furnish one of these homes on the cheap.  I'm all for that!

Stop number 1--
 A lovely little Pfaltzgraff bowl.  I was excited, I bought two in this size a couple of months ago in a different pattern and they are constantly in use and I've been looking for more since.  Unfortunately it was the only one :(  $1.50 was reasonable enough though since they go on Ebay for anywhere from $7 to $16.
 A Christmas Ornament from the Mount Vernon Ladies Association--Lee spotted this and I was thrilled as I am very familiar with MVLA.  I'm a George Washington history fanatic, so this had to come home.  It still had the original pricetag on it of $12--these annual ornaments sell for around $19 now at the MVLA store at Mount Vernon, I paid $3-yay!!  I don't think it ever saw a tree. 
A brand new pair of shorts with the tags still on for Lee, all of $4, and they fit him perfectly. 
We took a drive up to Wilmington one day and I noticed a rather large thrift store--unfortunately it was mostly clothing and sorted by color instead of size.  I didn't want to make Lee and Laney wait in the car forever, so I skipped clothing looking, but I did find this neat little ceramic jar.  I've seen this pattern somewhere else--if someone knows who made it I would love to hear, it has no markings on it.  I thought it would be perfect for Q-tips in the bathroom or bedroom, or perhaps for some of my smaller make-up brushes.  $1.50 seemed a good price too since it is immaculate.
 
Back to closer to our Oak Island "home", I found this pretty Chaps brand shirt in a consignment store for $8--did a little search on Ebay and found the same shirt for twice the price, and found that it originally sold for $45!  I wanted it to go with an odd olive colored pair of pants I have already.  Perfect match!
A pretty Sag Harbor skirt for $3--I have it folded so I could get it on the table, but you get the general idea of what it looks like.  I have a wedding to go to in June and I think it will look great with a sweater I already have. 
Last but not least, another one of Lee's finds--the entire season 3 set on VHS of "All Creatures Great and Small"--all but one of the tapes was still in the celophane!!!  We are big fans of the show and probably one of the few people on the planet who still own a VCR so we were thrilled--and even more so when it was only $3!!!! 
 
After we got home Lee was busy figuring out what he needed for his lawn care for the spring season.  We took a run to a store that had lawn food on sale and I said since we were there and so close, I wanted to run to a Goodwill near there.  Looky, looky--a Longaberger bread basket (which I didn't already have) for $2.99.  I couldn't grab it fast enough ;)
 I made a liner for it out of a fat quarter I already had, I still need to add some ribbon ties to it, but you get the basic idea. 
 
And finally--something that isn't a thrift find, but fell in love with it and decided Laney absolutely had to have it:
Yes, it's a leash and collar with the nautical alphabet on it!  There was the nicest pet supply store in North Carolina next to one of the thrift stores we stopped at, and they had all of these fun designs for collars and leashes in a variety of preppy styles.  I had a hard time picking one out.  Best part is that they are made in the United States!  After I got home I checked and the entire alphabet is in the design, cool!
 
Thanks for stopping by!  Today I am linking up with The Nifty Thrifty and Joyful Treasure Hunting , stop by and check out the great finds there :) 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson

One of our day trips was a visit to Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson.  Brunswick was a coastal town in North Carolina along the Cape Fear river that was established in 1726.   Founded by the Moore family who owned the adjoining Orton plantation, Brunswick was a thriving port, used by both merchant ships as well as the Royal Navy.  Brunswick's success was short lived when it was surpassed by nearby Wilmington for port activity and then burnt by the British Army during the Revolutionary War (all I could picture was Col. Tavington in "The Patriot").  It was never rebuilt.  Much of what remained was then buried under earthworks built to construct Fort Anderson during the Civil War. 

The only building from Brunswick that remained were ruins from St. Phillips church, and it is in major disrepair--roofless and having some exterior damage from cannon balls that hit it during the Civil War.




In the 1950's a major excavation was done to unearth some of the remaining parts of several buildings of Brunswick.  The museum also had a nice display of items found during these excavations such as hardware, glassware and other personal type items as well as weapons, cannons and cannonballs. 



 
A beautiful shot of the Cape Fear river, makes you wonder why they never rebuilt the town on such a beautiful location with this kind of view!
 
Here's a nice shot of the earthworks that were part of Fort Anderson--used as a Confederate Fort during the Civil War, it was built primarily to protect Wilmington. 
 
The property where Brunswick/Fort Anderson are located was once part of The Orton Plantation, donated to the state of North Carolina as a historical site.  Orton plantation was a huge rice plantation, covering over 4,000 acres.  Over the years it had changed hands many times and had been used as different things, but in 2010, it was purchased by a direct descendant of the original owner.  The land is currently being restored and it is hoped by 2014 they will be growing rice on it again.  The home is no longer open for tours as it is now a private residence. 
 
For more information on Brunswick/Fort Anderson:  http://www.nchistoricsites.org/brunswic/brunswic.htm
 
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Oak Island, North Carolina

This wasn't our first trip to Oak Island, we had been there 28 years ago.  Lee's great uncle owned a house there that he bought as his retirement home, but in the meantime family members used it as a vacation home.  Oak Island was originally two communities, Long Beach and Yaupon Beach, but in 1999 the two merged to become Oak Island.  The bulk of Oak Island is on one of the barrier islands, separated from mainland North Carolina by the Intracoastal Waterway with a small portion of it as part of the mainland. 

Oak Island wasn't really developed much until the 1930's and in 1954 all but 5 buildings were wiped out by Hurricane Hazel.  Until as recently as 2011, the only access to the island by car was a lone bridge near the town of Southport.   Because of all of this, it has remained a very quiet, non-commercial community and a great place to go for a quiet vacation. 

One of the first things we decided to do was see if we could find Uncle Bill's house--didn't take us long at all, it really doesn't look all that different from when we were there in 1985.  I need to dig out my old pictures and compare, but really all that we thought was different was the trees were bigger.

 
The beach areas on Oak Island are really nice, and even in the busy summer months aren't overly crowded.



 
These condos were just being built when we were here in 1985--now there are a ton of them, and they are old enough that they are being remodeled--where did the time go?
 
This is where we stayed, on the Long Beach end of the island. 
 
 
We got a laugh out of this sign at the restaurant we ate at--???
 
Some very typical houses in the beach area:


 
"One of these things just doesn't belong"

 
 
 
If you go to Oak Island, you have to go to dinner at Island Way restaurant, it is on the ocean and not only do you get a nice view, the food is terrific!  When you are done with that, go to Bubba's and get some fudge, mmmmmmmmmmmm!