Monday, June 29, 2009

Thrifting Manifesto

I have a surprise for you. (All five of you who stop by. :o)

It won't be long now, and I will share. But before I can share, I have a couple of tasks to complete. I thought I would start here, where thoughts seem to flow easier and make a little more sense in typed form. 

Task #1 : Why do I thrift? a sort of personal thrifting manifesto

Why do I thrift?

I thrift because it makes sense. I have lived on my own since I was sixteen, and there have been periods of my life when I couldn't really afford anything unless it was second hand. My mom taught me to see potential and possibility in what others might disregard. I remember my mom telling the story of her first home, using crates as side tables and covering them with pretty cloth and doilies. I remember her stories of making $25 in grocery money last a week for a family of four. My mom is a thrifty woman. She sewed almost all of my brothers' clothes during their childhood, and mine through my baby years. My mom eventually made her way through her masters degree. Although life became much more comfortable she never became superficial or materialistic. She did, however, start spending her weekends at auctions. The treasures she would bring home were incredible! As a teenager I didn't fully appreciate old things. But it wasn't long before I started falling in love. By 20 I was a thrift store/flea market/antique mall regular. 

I thrift because, as they say, "They don't make things like they used to." Everything from old furniture, hand made of real wood to dishes that have survived decades- the stuff in today's stores just doesn't compare. When I find vintage or antique items I feel more connected to history and the women who lived before me.

I thrift because it is an affordable way to make my home more beautiful. It may require taking on some projects, but I really enjoy those too. 

I thrift because I love the hunt. It brings my heart joy to find those special treasures for a song! It makes me especially happy when I find items that I know Emily and Melissa others will love. 

I come from a long line of women who had to be thrifty. I thrift because, like my mother, I want to teach my daughters that things are just things. They are lovely to have. But our things (or their brand/price tag) don't define us. It can all be taken away in an instant. Now when I bring my girlies with me I give my oldest girlie $1-$5 to spend any way she likes. She finds all sorts of neat things! I thrift because I want to teach my daughters to be thrifty, to find their own style, to see beauty with history, to be creative, to value money, to be different. 

Why do I thrift? Well... Why not?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

happy sunday

I found this picture online (designed life blog) and it reminded me of the dresser you can see here. If you look closely you can see it in the corner of my garage. I have a bedroom suite, which I believe is from the 1940's. It belonged to my grandparents, then my mom, then it was in my room when I was a little girl, and now I would like to use it Brooklyn's room. It has a beautiful matching vanity, head board/foot board with rails. It has been refinished once over the years, but it needs to be painted. (too many chips, scratches, and dings) White would be the safe route, but I love this color... of course I would like the color to grow with her... decisions decisions...

My acre is waiting to be pushed mowed. I am up to my ears in laundry. Can you believe it is nearly July already?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

decorating on the brain

Hopefully you have all found Layla at The Lettered Cottage. Layla is a very talented designer, and I always look forward to her blog posts. For a long time, I have wanted to use a screen door, indoors. I am trying to decide if I want to use a screen door to the laundry room or if I want one for my master bathroom. My master bath is teeny tiny, and it will be so cute when I am done with it! I like how Layla used hers:
I would like a pretty colored vintage one. I like this green. I like those little spindles. (flickr)
I really like this one, with the birdies. It is definitely unique. I may have to recruit the help of a certain brother...
Some other decorating ideas I have streaming through my head right now:
-a slightly yellow laundry room with bright white cabinetry. shiny nickel pulls. organizational baskets. 
-still want blue front doors. i have two. shall i paint the porch swing to match?
-kitchen = tons of painting. Some inspirational photos:

can't get enough of this chippy goodness... i have a spot waiting for a large chippy cupboard...
i like the clean lines, the soft colors, the lighting, very organic ^
i just love white, and that's all there is to it. i covet that butcher block. seriously.
this picture is of Cottage Bethy's kitchen. I love her fridge, her sink, her colors. 

- transition Charlie's nursery to a big girl room? light blue and apricot...
- burlap. i need some burlap in my life.
- i need the sewing queen (mom) to help me with some slipcovers for my sofas.

garage sale, garage sale, garage sale, garage sale, garage sale, garage sale!

okay. back to work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

treasures come, treasures (hopefully) go

This vintage high chair is one of my most recent thrifting finds. It is in great condition and cost only $6.98!

This is how I spent my day:
And I took this picture half way through the cleaning! I still have a little left to do, but I accomplished a lot. After one of the best showers I have ever taken in my life (it was 102 degrees out today!) I. am. exhausted. 

If I make enough money at my garage sale, I would like to buy this for the family room down stairs:

It is only $229 at Ikea! It would mean a road trip, and some self-assembly. But I really need a space for my flat screen and spaces for books. Speaking of down stairs- I found these photos online somewhere. (I have got to start keeping track to give photo credit... sorry.) I thought this playroom was super cute, and the green walls aren't too far from the apple green color I painted our play room. I have got to finish the playroom...

This is funny, but I already have: two cottage bookshelves I have started to paint white, the same potterybarn kids easel pictured above (it was deeply discounted around Christmas), a little white table with two chairs, several colorful picture frames, a vintage dolly high chair, a banner, and some vintage looking artwork I may or may not use...

last I saw, there were a couple of little green chairs at one of my favorite stops. Do I need four? okay... I know... focus focus focus: garage sale!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

girlies part 2

Alright, I had to share a few more! These girls are just too cute. 

I really like this one even though you can't see her face. It just looks like innocence...

She just turned one, so we had to get her picture in the birthday girl shirt and matching bow. I like how you can see her two little bottom teeth in this one:

"What are you doing with that big black thing?" she said while suspiciously looking at me from the corner of her eyes... 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

anything for strawberries!!!

So here is a sneak peek of those girlies I was telling you about. Aren't they ADORABLE? Big sister took to the camera right away, this girl was telling me how she wanted her picture taken! You have to admire a lady who knows exactly what she wants! Both of these girls have beautiful blue eyes...

Look at that bow! And these outfits! Just too cute!!

Okay, that is all for now. I will try to share some more of these sweet girlies tomorrow. I am having too much fun editing these pictures!

(Eventually, big sister was over pictures. All grandma would have to say is "strawberries!" - I think bribery is brilliant when it comes to two and three year olds, and I have one potty trained kid to prove it!)

Monday, June 15, 2009


Tomorrow I am photographing one of my biggest cheerleaders, and her grand babies. I am very excited and a little nervous, but not as nervous as I have been in the past. I love photographing kids. Pictures of kids can't help but be beautiful. This picture of Brooklyn resembles something more to me, although I can't quite peg it. This isn't even one of my favorite pictures of her. But the way she looked out at that pond in wonderment... that is a little like I am feeling right now. 

What's out there for me? What will I experience? Will it be scary or fun or both? Will this endeavor leave me speechless, blessed beyond imagination? Or will I fail?

Being the "grown up" I knew that pond was small. I knew someday I would take her to oceans that would make that pond look like a puddle. But for her, in that moment, that pond was gigantic. It held sounds and smells and creatures she had never quite experienced before. It was waiting for her, full of lots of little discoveries that would make her heart sing... baby frogs... baby turtles... (oh yes, we caught both) bugs that could swim and funny plants and rocks to skip... the loud bellow of a bullfrog.  At three, all of these things are brand new. They are exciting. They are scary. At twenty something, they are pieces of every summer you have ever had, every fishing trip, every creek down the dirt road. At twenty something, you know exactly how to catch a frog, a baby turtle, even a bullfrog. You know what the plants are called. You know how to skip rocks. You have probably done it hundreds of times before, if you were raised in the boonies like me. 

I have lots of discoveries to make. There are so many things I know I have yet to experience, that are just around the bend. I feel like I am looking out in wonderment, at something brand new and unfamiliar. Just like a three year old finally convinced to hold that squirmy baby turtle, I have finally decided to take some of my very own risks. The turtle wiggled and its tiny claws scared her half to death. But as soon as she was done being frightened, she giggled and picked it back up... knowing it wasn't nearly as scary as she had thought. (Okay, I admit, I made her hold the turtle. My mom/brothers made me hold creatures. And now she loves them all and doesn't understand that we can't keep them inside, or that they can't stay in pockets all day long... most recently I found her playing in the dirt and holding a SLUG. Yes. It was yucky.) I know that everything that feels scary and unfamiliar will one day be just a small pond. It will be old hat. Maybe I will be lucky enough to help the next girl along.

There should be an adjective for being equal parts excited and scared. Because that is where I am right now. Maybe I will make one up. There are lots of little details to sort out right now: photography forms, website colors, session pricing, logo design, etc.. They can become a bit overwhelming and I feel like I need to have post-its stuck all over me so I won't forget. It sure is nice to know you are all there, caring and cheering me on, believing. It sure is nice to stop for a moment and enjoy exactly where I am at. 

My friend Patti has been encouraging me for years to go with photography. "It's your gift," she would say. So taking pictures of her and girlies will be nothing short of extra special. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

its official!

Yesterday, June 11, I officially became incorporated. I now, at least a little bit, have my own photography business. Which means I did, with the help of mom, Emily, Krysta and Austin, decide on a business name. I can't share it with you just yet. Soon, friends.

I have also purchased an *official* website. (and it was on sale! in perfect kali fashion) I have selected a designer for my *official* blog. Which brings me to my next question...

Do you have to remain very surface level when your blog coincides with your business?

My dad would say so. So would my mom, the president and C.E.O. of a successful medical practice. I am sure Emily, who owned a most fabulous business, would agree. Alright, alright. I get it. But I might just dip my toe in the deep water every now and again, because facades are exhausting... as I have mentioned before. Maybe I will devise a top secret blog, anonymous and real...

Starting a business, even a teeny tiny small business from home, ALWAYS costs more than you think it will. And when you are broke to begin with, well, it takes a series of small miracles. So to my mom private investor: Thank you just isn't enough. Sometimes just believing in someone and putting your faith into action makes all the difference. It becomes contagious. You make me believe I can do anything. You have taught me to dream big again. I am completely overwhelmed by your generosity and I don't even know how to begin to show appreciation. I think of all the ways you give, not just to your children, but all your anonymous donations that you keep quiet about, and I see an extraordinary example of "blessed to be a blessing." It will come back to you tenfold, I believe. Are you surprised that God gave you your most recent gift, at such a low price? Ride with your hair down, for me. Go fast and remember.

I knew, in starting my business, that one of my first priorities was going to be finding ways to give back. I am as excited about this as I am about the business itself! I have been praying about this for a long time. I am going to give 25% of every session fee to a place it can make a difference. I am prayerfully selecting 3-5 options for my clients to choose from. I am certain about two of the options already.

 The Wichita YWCA Women's Shelter

And I am so excited to share with you:

A scholarship fund for single mothers, created in honor of my mom.

I would like to support a faith based organization, as well possibly a missions outreach. I am going to have do some research, and I would like to contribute locally. I am open to any suggestions by you fellow bloggers out there!

I am asking for prayer. Please pray. I can't do this on my own. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

poor seedlings

Yesterday was one of those days. The day was packed with self-realization. Austin planned an afternoon for us- no kiddos, just hanging out. We ate lunch at one of our favorites. We drove to the country. We stopped at a feed store, because feed stores make me happy. Walking in, that whiff of sweet feed... takes me back to my small town days, ripping the string on the bag of feed and filling the folgers can. (I always managed to sneak my horse an extra can... or two.) I made him look at saddles and plants and horse brushes and a stuffed turkey, among other things. He bought me a plant and some seeds. Afterwards, we went to a brand new goodwill. We went to meetings. We had dinner at his folk's and brought the girlies home. Realizing I had left my seedlings outside (in an effort to "harden them off") I started to worry. A big Kansas storm, complete with golf ball size hail, had come through town. He sensed my worry. He placed his hand on my leg, and said, "If your plants don't make it, I will take you to fill a flat with new ones, okay?" He tried to be optimistic, pointing to the clouds in our direction, "see, it doesn't look so bad over our way," and "maybe we didn't get hit so hard." I thought about farmers. I thought about how they rely on nature for so much of their livelihood. Here I was, fretting. It could be so much worse. Then I thought about the seeds we sew. And how we spend time and effort and energy with high hopes for our seeds. What seeds am I sewing in life? What will I reap from those seeds? 

Yesterday, I shared with friends how God won't let me be comfortable. How I should have so much joy at a time like this. How my life is better than it has ever been, and how my girls add such richness- but I am not full of joy. I am not comfortable. I am not at peace with myself. I did something that was long over due. I said sorry. I admitted some things about myself. I shared this internal struggle. I said sorry to the people I love most, for all kinds of things that I sincerely felt sorry about. I prayed. I think I know what I am dealing with now:


I have a plan of action. I need to get more sleep. I need to wake up early and spend time with God. I need to exercise daily. I need to take care of myself. I need to MOVE toward goals. I need to remember to say sorry. I need to be intentional about the way I live my life. I am most definitely a work-in-progress. I wish I could say I woke up this morning a whole new woman. That just isn't the case. But I am more aware, and I can do something with that.

Some of my seedlings didn't make it. Others are hanging on with every ounce of chlorophyll they have. Nature had its own plans for "hardening off" and in some ways that feels like the stage I am in. God is toughening me up for the future. He knows the conditions ahead of me, and He won't let me venture out unprepared. Sometimes it is impossible to be comfortable in our current state. Seedlings can't produce in their little greenhouse trays, the too small spaces will kill them. They can't be thrown out in the scorching sun either. It would be too harsh for survival. To everything there is a season, a time and purpose for everything under heaven... 

God makes all things beautiful in their time.

Okay, I am hanging on too, that someday I might bear fruit of the spiritual kind. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

roses on my mind...

I should have cleaned today. I should have stayed up, caught up on laundry, organized my messes. I went thrifting instead. I will have to post a picture later. But here is a list of my finds:
- a lampshade for the lamp in this post
- two vintage padded hangers, one peach and one with a floral print
- a bag of vintage/antique buttons
(I have recently learned about Victorian buttons through a woman who makes jewelry
  from them. She is a member of a major button society, but I can't recall the name. :o)
- a vintage purse that looks as though it is made from a rug? 
- of course a few toys for the girls. Their toy account is supposed to be frozen, but I am such a    sucker...

Nothing to sing about, but it was a fun day. I "potted up" my zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers, as they were outgrowing their little cubicles. I also managed to plant two more shrubs in the front bed. And sadly, that is about as far as my productivity went. Lord help me.

The girls are in bed. I have a cold diet pepsi. One raised bed is built, one more to go. I really want a rose plant, and I am considering the two types pictured above. I have irises to transplant, compost to buy, and a house to clean. This gardening business is serious stuff. 

Hope you all had a lovely Saturday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

thursday finds

I enjoy visiting other blogs, and seeing pictures of all the awesomeness ladies find at garage sales. For some reason, this garage sale season S.T.I.N.K.S. in my area. I have had very little luck. My neighborhood garage sales started today- and guess how many items I found? zero. It wasn't worth the gas. I ran into one thrift sister at a garage sale (that's when you know its bad, you live in a city of half a million people, and you bump into one another at a garage sale :o) and another thrift sister informed me that the treasure chest had everything half off. We made our way there, and I bought the vintage dolly in a carrying case for Brooklyn, the barbie case (which has cute little compartments inside, I think I might be a compartment junkie), the wedlock book in box from 1880, and the dresser set. I paid less then $2 for each item! The lady working there told me about a church sale, and off we went. It was tons of... qvc mixed with dollar tree... but I did manage to find the old doll bed with vintage ticking pillow. Oh my gracious, I forgot a couple things... one sec...

I don't know what it is with all this pink lately! I promise, my eye is usually scanning for neutrals- chippiness, rust, white, blues. I also found the little pitcher and the serving set at the church sale. My total for the doll bed, teeny tiny pitcher (its like 4 inches tall) and kid's cups/pitcher : $2.35.

The little pink wallet/coin purse was perfect for Brooklyn (only ten cents to boot) and I found the vintage cookbooks at a garage sale ($2). I'm pretty excited about Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as lately I have been drawn to more and more... french things. French decor, french homes, french cooking, french blogs. I think I have started another accidental collection: vintage cookbooks.

I am home alone, and it is lovely. I'm debating between going to Barnes and Noble, or building my beds. Maybe both?

Wishing you blue skies and the most incredible garage sale finds,


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

a few treasures during a drought

***pardon the picture quality. i snapped these hurriedly, and then decided to play around in photoshop.***

This is Rose. The poor thing, she needs to have some work done. I am going to see if I can maybe somehow paper machet (spelling?) her some new... um... booboos. (as my girls call them.) I had an hour at local monthly flea. I have been on the look out for an old dress form. I saw another one, very old and in great condition. Of course, it was sold. (And I came ready to spend too, I had won $100 in a poker tournament the night before!) To pour salt on the wound, I asked the lady how much she sold for... $75. It was a sad moment in my flea queen history. These ladies sell for over $200 on ebay right now. I am not usually one to follow what's popular, but I just wanted one so badly! My hour was almost up. I was walking towards the exit, when I spotted Rose. I walked up, feeling very sorry for her. Nobody wanted her. It didn't take long to notice she was damaged beyond repair. How is it they find me, the damaged beyond repair lovelies? Her price tag said $18. I wasn't quite sold. But I was definitely feeling sorry for her. The guy came up and asked if I liked her. I replied, "Well, the poor thing..." to which he asked, "Do you have a good home for her?" 
"How 'bout $10?" 
Feeling even more sorry for her, "Alright."

So Rose came home with me. And I am going to try and help her out some. But she has lived a rough life, her beauty and charms have faded...

I first eyed this lamp quite awhile ago. It was in a booth at Paramount Antique Mall (definitely the best antique mall in Wichita) and it belonged to a woman who used to live in my neighborhood. When Brooklyn was brand new, and I couldn't afford to spend more then $2 on extras, I happened across her garage sale. She let me peruse the Wednesday night before. I found an old baby dress. She asked if I liked them, I said, "Yes, but most of the time when I see them they are like $12 and I can't afford that." Hers was marked $1, so I was paying her a compliment, not fishing for freebies. She told me to come back the next day, that she had a whole bunch of them. I came back, and she gave me a grocery bag full of antique/vintage baby clothes. Such a nice woman. She had a pair of these little boudoir lamps, with shades that look to be pre-1940's. I couldn't pay her price for one, definitely not two. But her booth happened to be an additional 30% off. It was meant to be...
(I am going to probably put the shade on a different base.)
I found this chenille blanket at the chichi DAV for $8.98. (My thrift sisters and I call it that because it is just mostly overpriced.) It does have some discoloration, but it is very soft and looks to be a king size. Right now it is keeping me warm at the computer, in the future I might use it for a sewing project... baby blankets, pillows...
I found this little rocking dolly bassinet at Paramount. I loved the blush color, and I have been wanting a wicker baby bed for decorating the girls' rooms. I usually see these priced $30-$50 (apparently I am not the only one who thinks these are too cute) but this one was marked $15. And it sways. And it is that soft blush color. And I remembered this cute little baby I found some time ago at the chichi DAV. (she too, was $8.98) She needed a bed. And three women commented on how cute it was as I carried it through the store. Okay. I'm sold.

In other news, my mom and I made a trip to Lowes today. I bought supplies to make my raised garden bed! I also purchased a composter container thingy. I am not sure what they are called. I am super excited about it! I also purchased an organic gardening magazine with great tips, which I will be sure to share here. I told Brooklyn that we were going green around here. She replied, "But mom, I don't want to go green!"
"Why not?"
"Because I want to go purple!"

Ahhhh, never a dull moment at our house. :o)

seed babies

Brooklyn and I planted seeds a couple of weeks ago, and we thought we would show you our seed babies. We planted several vegetables:
-tomatoes (they love our Kansas climate)
-yellow squash
-two types of lettuce
-green beans
-snap peas
-heirloom tomatoes
-heirloom melons

I thought we were a little late with the seeds, but according to Aunt Martha (the authority on vegetable gardening in our family) we are on track. The weather has been too unpredictable, really really wet, and the ground not warm enough. This is my first official vegetable garden. I know very little, but I have a great gardening book, and family with plenty of advice. One thing I do know, is that I want to grow everything organically. I am on the search for organic fertilizer.

Our garden will be in a raised bed. I found an awesome tutorial here on how to build your own raised bed. I have started hardening off the seeds by putting them outside in the shade during the day, so we should be planting soon! Here are some basics I have picked up:

-there are advantages to raised beds (quality of soil, ease of gardening)
-if you do build raise beds, DO NOT use treated lumber as it can be poisonous to your plants, and you. (cedar/redwood are best)
-fertilize soil prior to planting seedlings (or sowing seeds)
-plant taller plants (corn/okra/sunflowers) on the north end of your garden, as they will block sunlight 
-lettuce/radishes prefer a little cooler climate, and can tolerate more shade then most other vegetables
-row covers are almost a must while plants are young
-try everything you can before resorting to pesticides (search google for organic options)
-marigolds, in large quantities, ward off certain pests
-planting in blocks, rather than rows, can be beneficial for pollination and may yield more crops
-mulch is an absolute necessity! 

If anything else comes to mind, I will be sure and share. Brooklyn and I are very excited about this gardening adventure, and we are hoping there will be many a fresh salad in our future!