Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Cuckoos and their green background

I'm in the mood to spin a yarn. I've used all natural dyes and have recycled my thoughts so this is gonna be a "green" story. All of these pictures are not my own but things I would love to make someday because they are recycling treasures. They come from my Pinterest boards.

When my daughter was my granddaughter's age, 12, we had what I thought was the perfect mother/daughter relationship. We did so very many things together. One of my favorite thing to do to amuse both she and I was to just drive all over the metro area as well as the surrounding countryside. Most of the time we would end up at a new shopping venue (sometimes even scary). We shopped scratch and dent grocery stores, liquidation barns, antique stores (which were cleverly disguised as used furniture stores) and second hand stores.
Because of my shopping habits, I eventually went to work at one of the shops we frequented, called Second Hand Rose, thanks Barbara S. This is where I became the keeper of the secrets, some I didn't want to know for lots of people. It seems that the store was like a vortex for confessions along with high end clothing and accessories. It was as though I was in the closet with them and they felt comfortable "telling all". I'd come home and tell Joe and he finally just made me stop telling him because some of it was too bizarre for his straight laced self. Poor old conservative narc.

My husband hated every thing I brought home to repurpose. Keep in mind, this was more than 25 years ago, before junkin' was the thing and recycling was the edict. He was the oldest of 8 children and still he had hand me downs from older cousins.....hated it, resented it. When he was old enough, he got a paper route just so he could buy his own clothes. And when he found out that I had bought some of Shelley's clothes at Goodwill, well I thought he would bust a gut.
My stubbornness and ingenuity have changed his take on "second hand". It's also given us some kick ass and fun decorations and redo's to our home, wherever that was. He has been converted.

At GK's age, Shelley was given an allowance to buy her own clothes. Not all of them but you know....the ones that "I have to have, Mom". Since I had had her cut her teeth on thrifting, she always had so many more clothes than her other friends because she sought labels (I've always affectionately called her my little label whore) and the in style and way out vintage things. I also rotted her head with all my hippy nonsense (wisdom) that is and so she resembled a gypsy from time to time. Girl still can rock some funky gypsy style.
And now the same is true of the third generation of thrift a holics. Both grands are fun to take. Our favorite activity is junkin' as a flock of cuckoos. Nothing is more fun than finding a vintage christmas decoration, or team green Vera Wang purse, or anything red with white polka dots.

When we were decorating the back porch, everything we used except the blanket cover which I already had, came from our junkin for the great gnomey back porch. Even the porch swing came from my grandparents home in Las Vegas and is over 65 years old.
When we get the kids ready for school, we start early and get good quality clothing off season, sweaters, coats etc very reasonably priced. GK wears a uniform of sorts, khaki pants, shorts or skirts, white or grey shirts and we find loads of them, so she has a great supply. And because these kids have grown up thrift store shopping, they love finding the "great find". A vintage Bob Marley, Beatles or Led Zepplin t shirt or a set of electronic drums for penny's of the original price. Oh and let's not forget the dinosaurs and pirates that parents get tired of and secret away. (You haven't lived until GK finds the perfect shorts or tee and her brother is doing a happy dance because he just found the missing dino from his vast collection).
Yesterday's haul included more accumulation for Ms. GK and Mr. Ry's Halloween extravaganza for here on the blog. We are putting on our own production of a story that the two of them have been writing on all summer. The costuming still needs a few items but we're ahead of schedule with 90% of the things we need and we have spent $17.60 our of our $25 budget. I think that when they get older they will do what Shelley did......lose her mind temporarily when they are spending their own money and pay full retail (which I believe is a sin) and then come back to cost versus length of use reality.
I've encouraged the green approach to clothes, household items, toys, games, sports equipment and then you've saved enough for things you can't get second hand. It's worked for Joe and I all these years and yes before someone points out the penny wise, pound foolishness of my crafts items......back off yous guys. I use recycled whenever I can, but paint, ink, dyes and fabrics of the special needed variety don't always come along at the junk store....unless you count the wool items I got, felted and will make into ........... wait for it........donkeys, purses and soft books.
this is what the tomato can planters looked like on the back porch
So Happy Green Tuesday to all of you...tomorrow is old peoples day at the thrift store and I'm taking my 15% off and happy dancing all the way home. Gotta group of old canning jars I've had my eye on for some time......the kind with the wire closers....for my buttons.


  1. I need to know how you made the window covering...If you made it...all those dangles and bangles...wonderful...I want to make one too!!!

  2. I agree with Judy. Very pretty and fun. I would love to have something like this sparkling and winking from the window as the sun catches the little colorful gems.

  3. Oh I do love a good bargain, and I NEVER pay full price for clothes! Thrifting isn't really a big thing here unless you wish to dress in old lady garb, as most people donate to Oxfam and the like, or clothes recycling banks, so I just shop the sales and TK Maxx.

    I had a school uniform all through school, but when I went to secondary school at age 11 I got £35 a month pocket money (for which I had to hoover and dust weekly, plus clear the breakfast table and set the dinner table daily) I had to buy EVERYTHING I wanted out of that, clothes, books, holiday spending money, the lot, the only thing my mum bought me was my school uniform, food and toiletries from the supermarket. I was a seriously savvy shopper (still am lol), and I twigged when I went to uni that if I asked for the big ticket craft items from my parents and grandmothers for Christmas/birthday (up to the value of £150 total) then I could use them to make all my presents to give back to them. We all agree it's a great trade off :o)

  4. I would love to go shopping with you!!

    I always have a use for everything and enjoying finding new purposes for items.

  5. Great green story, BB! My kids always hated all the yard sale/thrift store stuff I brought home, until now they are working and spending their own money, and realize their ole mom had a good idea about thrifting. Sometimes they just have to learn the old-fashioned way. Can't wait for your Halloween production!!

  6. I knew you were a thrifty sort, my kinda person. We joke because a special treat on my birthday is to go out garage saling or thrift storing.

  7. Clearly you were a woman far ahead of her time! You're teaching good values -- "voluntary simplicity" values. Don't feed the corporate consumer machine any more than you have to! And I love how you converted your hubby too.

  8. One of my biggest gripes is perfectly "good" stuff ending up in the land fill. For as far back as I can remember I've recycled and repurposed before those words even had any meaning or were popular. I would salvage and fix all sorts of things. Some times it was to save money but mostly it was because I like to fix things. My kids learned to do the same but for whatever reason it didn't get passed on to the grands.
    I'll be waiting to see what you cuckoos have planned for Halloween.

  9. You is my newest hero :D I love second hand shopping :D My sofa/armchair/rocking chair and dining suite(extendable heavy ash table + 4 ladder backed chairs) all came from a charity store at a cost of £240. I dressed my youngest and myself from carboot sales for over 2 years(baby stuff), and my fav recent purchase, a kingsized quilted bedspread with matching pillow shams £3 (£45 new, I know this cos I've wanted one like this forever) :D Keep up the good work :D XXX

  10. I love this post, Miss Oma Linda. Your tale is spun with such warmth and love. You have given your daughter and now your grands a wonderful education and love for the conversation of nature and the value of money. My admiration grows more for you all the time.

  11. I'm absolutely in lust with your window coverings. And that small table with the suitcase and everything else, I WANTS one!

    I want to go shopping with you ;-)

  12. My parents taught me to love a good yard sale too. I love glass ware and books and other delights, but I've never been able to really get into secondhand clothing. I'm not a fan of clothes shopping at all really - mostly because of my strange frame (thin waist, curvy hips.) I am hoping to take few sewing lessons this year and then perhaps I'll hit the used clothing stores and create some outfits from things I find there.

  13. You have taught your daughter and grands well and seem to be wearing down your husband.
    I was scarred in my youth by having a thrift store coat outed by a snarky class mate. It took a long time and thanks to today's attitude, I too love a good find.
    You go girl.


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