A blog about "nothing"!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 25, 2014

This is Blockhead, the star of "The Untrained Dog Show".  He is part of the act known as "Fool Hearty" along with Marquise and Ima Nutte.  We got to see this show a couple of years ago at The Great Lakes Medieval Faire and totally loved it.  Of course, we are a little partial to herding dogs ;)

I'm not sure if Fool Hearty is still performing, their website doesn't have any updates beyond 2012.  If you do go to a renaissance festival and see them listed as one of the acts, try and see them, they are very unique.  Renaissance festival season is in full swing in this part of the country, Great Lakes just ended last weekend and the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival just started this weekend and runs through the end of September.  The other side of the state has a really big one in the Harrisburg/Lancaster area along with several scattered around other nearby states.  If you get a chance you should go, they are really a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thrift Store Finds

I realized this week that I haven't done a thrift store finds post in ages-probably because I haven't been to the thrift stores much the past couple of months!  I've really been stuck at home more than usual the past two or three months due to circumstances beyond my control.  First, the AC quit right in the middle of the worst heat wave we've had here all summer.  The only way I could keep the house cool was to leave everything open and run fans.  I won't leave the house with fans running and I couldn't exactly leave Miss Laney without a fan, so that kept me home for the better part of a week.  Then the bathroom remodel, then I was sick, then I spent 2 weeks cleaning up from the remodel-time flies when you're NOT having fun?!  I did manage a few quick pop ins to our local Goodwill store and at some point I did make it to one in New Castle.  I haven't bought a ton, but that has been a bit deliberate.

First off, I'm really working at not buying any clothing.  My closet has been just about bursting at the seams.  I'm not a happy camper when I have so many clothes in there that they are getting wrinkled >:(  Since the beginning of the summer I've only bought a handful of things, primarily some shorts that I really did need and those didn't come from a thrift store unfortunately.  Second off, we really don't need anything.  I'm still working on clearing out a lot of unused/unneeded items from our home.  Because of all the things we had going on, I wasn't doing much on Ebay either, so as a result I felt a bit guilty when I did buy anything.  I am getting back to that now, I sold 9 things this month, so I feel much better.  I've also taken some stuff to Goodwill to donate and I'm currently working on two more piles, another for Goodwill and one for consignment.  My closet is starting to look the way I want it to again.  It's all good.

Let's see, the last thing I shared with you were the things we bought on vacation, and the dessert plates I bought shortly after that.  I've mentioned that I've been doing a lot of stuff with American Girl dolls lately, and I had it in my head to keep an eye out for something I could transform in to a little dresser for them.  I figured it would take me a while before I found something that worked, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I came across this:
It was missing a leg and some of the rhinestones, but that didn't matter.  It ended up looking totally different by the time I was done with it.  I was happy with how it turned out and if you would like to see the finished product, you can check it out here on my other blog.  It only cost $3.99 and I had very little invested in materials to redo it, so I was pleased.
Shortly after that was when I made the quick run to the Goodwill in New Castle.  Not much to be had there other than another cover for my iPod.  It was marked down too, so I was excited!  I don't know why iPod covers have become so hard to find, the only ones I've found anywhere have been on Amazon, and this particular cover starts out at around $24-ridiculous for a piece of plastic.  $3.50 is much more in my price range and it was brand new.  I laughed though, I decided to go get lunch afterwards and spent more on that than I did shopping.
Then it was time for a long dry spell, I bet it was no less than a month in between visits, probably closer to 6 weeks.  My next visit was a trip with a purpose.  I've been making doll clothes, and I have discovered that finding nice knit material for making t-shirts and the like for sewing is difficult.  I don't know why, but the fabric stores around here have very little, and what they do have is expensive.  And usually prints too large to use for doll clothes.  I took a page out of my mom's book and headed to Goodwill.  She used to buy evening gowns in thrift stores to turn in to doll clothes.   I wasn't even thinking about the fact it was 1/2 off Friday, but I ended up with two t-shirts for $3.29, yay!  The one most definitely wouldn't fit me, it was about two sizes too small, but the other one I bought thinking if it fit me great, if it didn't, cut it up!  The one did fit so it is currently hanging in my closet, but it still might turn in to doll clothes.  The jury is still out.
About a week later I went back because I remembered two shirts in the men's department that I thought would work well for another doll clothes project.  Surprisingly they were still there, but on closer inspection I decided they wouldn't work out as well as I first thought.  Oh well.  I did find another shirt though that was one my husband would really like.  The size was border line, but I bought it anyhow, figuring if it didn't fit, I could (you guessed it) turn it in to a doll dress.  This really is turning in to a sickness...you know it will be really bad when I start cutting up our regular clothes.  Anyhow, on this trip I also found something else that I knew he would love:
My husband has been a University of North Carolina fan for as long as I have known him, and when I saw this mug for 99 cents, I knew without a doubt it had to go home with me.  It had an ink mark in the bottom that suggested whoever had it before had used it on a desk to hold pens.  The NCAA sticker on the bottom was still intact though, so beyond that, I don't think it had been used for anything else.  I was right, he loved it!  I ran it through the dishwasher and it came out sparkling clean.  I did a little research and these mugs sell new for anywhere from $17 - $20 --I think I did well :)
Earlier this week I got the bug to go to Pittsburgh to check out Red White and Blue.  I hadn't been there since Heather and I went in March, wow.  I hurried up and got the things done around the house that needed to be taken care of and headed out.  I decided ahead of time that I would only go to the one and depending on the time, would stop at the Goodwill not far from there on the way home.  I was primarily looking for doll type stuff, and I did well in that department.  I found some Onesies to refashion for doll t-shirts, a cute little Bath and Body Works container that was doll sized and a horse!  The horse needs work, but nothing I can't tackle.  (more about those finds on Say Hello To My Little Friends as well).  I also found something completely unrelated doll-wise, but I had to have it for one of my other collections:
An authentic Department 56 building for $3.99, whoo hooo!!!  It is a wedding shop, I had never seen this one before.  It was discontinued quite a while ago, but originally sold for $60.  I started buying Department 56 buildings about 15 years ago, I don't have a ton of them because I am really particular about which ones I buy, but I couldn't pass this one up.  It needs a little bit of cleaning up, but otherwise is in perfect condition.  I haven't set up my Christmas village for a couple of years, I guess I have to now ;)
Have you found anything good at your area thrift stores?  I think I'm going to take one more day soon and hit a bunch of them,  I need to do some planning.  I figure once the kids start school will be a good time to go, I won't be competing with them in the toy department.  Until then...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 18, 2014

Took this picture a couple of years ago at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  We haven't been there since, maybe I need to plan a trip there?

Beautiful weather here in Western Pennsylvania, supposed to rain a lot this week.  It's been a cool summer in comparison to the past couple of years, I'll take it!  Reminds me a lot of the summers we had when I was growing up.  It is odd to see it still nice and green with August more than halfway over.  I want to lock this weather in for a long time, wonder how I can do that?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just sayin'...

I’ve been debating on posting this for the past week or so…but a recent happening made me decide to go forward with it.  Several months ago I posted about how mean people are and how it needs to stop.  Since that posting, I’ve witnessed even more nastiness and hatred online.  I’m just shocked, appalled, saddened-there aren’t enough adjectives available to express how I feel.  Lately it seems like a lot of it has been aimed at bloggers who are achieving success with their efforts.  I’m thrilled for them on one hand; on the other I’m glad it’s not me. 

The first instance of it that I witnessed happened at Refashionista.  If you aren’t familiar with the blog, Jillian is a thirty something who buys super cheap stuff at thrift stores and turns what started out as a trainwreck in to a fashionable piece.  Some of what she has done is truly amazing; she deserves every single accolade she has received.  She has been so successful at it that she ended up doing a refashion of two items that were recently featured on Good Morning America-awesome!  Yet someone seems gung ho to make Jillian feel like crap about her efforts.  Namely a so-called “plus sized person” who is upset because she thinks that Jillian is encouraging people to go out and buy up all the plus sized clothing available in thrift shops and refashion it so there will be nothing left for those of us who really are plus sized.  Seriously?!?!?!  First off, Jillian picks out mostly stuff from the dollar bins.  If you are familiar with thrift stores, things that are in the dollar bin are there because NO ONE WANTED THEM to begin with.  Never mind the fact that these clothes are donated in the first place.  And that Jillian is maybe a size 6, so when she buys something to refashion, she’s maybe buying a size 12 at the largest-not exactly a plus sized piece of clothing.  And some of the stuff she has bought are items I personally would have relegated to the scrub rag bin, so even as a self-proclaimed queen of thrift store clothing, I wouldn’t want it.  Last but not least, their claim of “never finding anything for plus sized women” at the thrift store is a load of hogwash.  I’m a plus sized gal and I’ve found PLENTY!  I’ve shared a lot of the finds here on the blog, so you know what I’m talking about.  In fact, it’s so bad that I’m currently doing a clean out of my spring/summer stuff as I do laundry so I have some more space.  I really think this person (or persons) has nothing better to do with their time than to piss and moan about something, or perhaps they are jealous of Jillian’s success.  Gag with me with a spoon.  I’m thrilled to death that Jillian is getting the attention she is because she deserves it.  She has taken something that was a fun hobby, shared it with others, and has gotten some really positive attention from it.  Go Jillian!
The next instance happened to Danielle at Blissful andDomestic.  Danielle is a mom/wife first, blogger second.  Her blog was born out of her desire to share money saving tips with others who are trying to stretch their dollar further.  Nothing wrong with that!  She reminds me a lot of Amy Daczyn, author of “The Tightwad Gazette”-those of you who are my age may remember Amy and her newsletter/books made popular in the 80's/90's.  Danielle has a lot of great ideas ranging from menu planning to make it yourself ideas, and she presents it in a very kind, friendly manner.  Best way to describe it (as other have), it’s like reading a conversation with a gal pal.  No, it’s not grammatically perfect at all times, and she is the first to admit it and several times has commented that she welcomes constructive criticism if someone notices a glaring error so she can fix it.  Recently someone went a bit far in my opinion.  There is a difference between constructive criticism and just being mean.  Not only did they nastily criticize her bad grammar (something along the lines of “reading your blog makes me cringe”) they then attacked her about homeschooling her kids and how stupid they were going to turn out because she didn’t have a grasp of the English language.  I was stunned that someone could be so nasty about something like this.  I have issues with bad grammar to a point-but Danielle’s errors weren’t so bad that the blog was unreadable; most of them weren’t even all that noticeable unless you are an English major armed with a red pen.  Then there was a post where she talked about frozen food items she kept in her freezer for emergency situations.  Several people felt it necessary to chastise her for serving these foods to her family and went on and on about how bad they were for you, etc.  I personally don’t like to eat a lot of premade frozen items, but I totally get how a busy mom can periodically find herself backed in to a corner and will use these items once in a while to save some time.  I don’t see an issue with that as long as it’s not a regular thing.  Anyone who reads Danielle’s blog regularly will know that she doesn’t do this often because it’s not only not very healthy, but also not cost efficient.  I just don’t get the need to be so hateful about something just because you don’t agree with it 100%.  No one is holding a gun to your head making you read these blogs.  Just like with the TV or the radio, you can choose to change the webpage. 
On to the reason why I finally did choose to write this post:  Jenny Trout.  Jenny is an author who uses many forms of social media to promote her writing as well as things she feels strongly about.  Jenny is a very funny lady, queen of snark, outspoken on many different subjects, who isn’t afraid to say what she feels.  She posted photos a few weeks ago of her in her “fatkini” at the beach and wrote a great story to go along with it.  It hit a positive nerve with a lot of people and got quite a bit of attention, she was interviewed by Huffington Post Live as well as Good Morning America.  More recently she posted about the song “All About That Bass” and why she felt the song had problematic content.  Because of it she was interviewed by National Public Radio.  What followed was downright scary.  There were the usual people who didn’t agree with her (which is fine, we’re all entitled to our opinion) but one post that appeared on her Facebook page is probably one of the creepiest things I have ever seen in my life.  The poster starts out ranting and raving about his disagreement with her and ends the post with “if I ever see you in public I’ll make a necklace out of your teeth”.  WHAT?!?!?!  To make matters worse, when Jenny tried to contact Facebook to show them this post, it was next to impossible.  She was a bit freaked out about it and rightfully so.  Threats to one’s safety aren’t to be taking lightly in this day and age, especially when you are any kind of public personality.  And seriously, I can’t believe that someone thought that this was even okay to post, even as a joke.  There were more posts from this person too and it sounds like the ravings of a lunatic.  Interestingly enough, the poster decided to take them down, but not before lots of people had read it and were equally upset and/or shocked.  Jenny was smart enough to do a screen capture of them and has them saved.  I hope she doesn’t ever need it and the poster had crawled back in to the hole he came from.  All of that because she didn't like a song and said why.  Wow.
Last week I was talking with my niece and somehow we got on the topic of the death of someone we both knew.  I was horrified when she told me about a posting that appeared on Facebook.  This friend was handicapped and his death was a direct result of an accident due to his handicap.  Some jerk posted some comments that were completely inappropriate, fortunately many of those who saw it called him on the carpet for his comments.  The sadder part is that this individual does this all the time, I personally know several people who have been victims of his crazy rants, so much so that some of them have actually pressed charges against him.  Yet he keeps doing it.  He doesn't even do it anonymously.  What is wrong with him?!?!
Why does anyone think that this kind of behavior is acceptable?  It isn’t.  I know that I personally will not read the comments section on any of the articles regarding the passing of Robin Williams because I am sure there is some moron out there who will say something completely inappropriate.  It seems like the “edit” button no longer exists on a large portion of the population.  It’s fine to disagree with something, but to attack someone personally, make threats, etc. is just unacceptable.  Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”?
In closing, let me just say this:  keep in mind when reading a blog, most of us AREN’T professional writers.  We are doing this for fun.  We have something we want to share with a group of interested people.  This blog started out as something I shared only with friends and family.   If you aren’t interested in what I’m doing or just plain out don’t like me (or others), close the web browser.  I don’t need to deal with your issues and quite frankly, neither does anyone else.  I happen to have a very thick skin after years of working in collections.  I’ve been called a b*tch, a c*nt, threatened with bodily harm-it doesn’t bug me.  But it does bug other people who are perhaps more sensitive.  Think about what you say before you hit that “send”  button.  And if you say something stupid to me, you’d better be prepared to be called out on it.  Or ignored completely.  I’m too old for childish crap.  As I once said to my former psycho-b*tch neighbor-“I don’t care to be a co-star in your melodrama”.  Or as my late sister liked to say: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person".  Enough said.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 11, 2014

I have always loved gladiolas-but I'd never tried to grown any.  You can imagine how surprised we were when this one just appeared suddenly at our old house!  All we could come up with is a squirrel "transplanted" it from someone else's garden, but we have no idea which one.  Another plant I wish we would have brought with us when we moved, perhaps a trip to the garden center is in order to get a new one.  I loved the colors of this one, something about the pink/lavender with the yellow really caught my eye. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 4, 2014

A close up of the front of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.  Throughout the building you can see numerous influences from the different majestic cathedrals of Europe.  I think it is really interesting that it is a non-denominational church!  We've been to see it several times and I always notice something new.  I also love watching the black squirrels playing on the lawn. :)