Thursday, July 15, 2010

I was looking for different options for a table cover for craft shows, so Bob and I went to Perth Street in Dallas. If you aren't familiar with this, it's a street that has about half a dozen stores that sell discount fabric.

I haven't been there since Mom and I went shopping for fabric. Sadly, my two favorite stores are long gone. That still left quite a few to check on. My third favorite store is still there (now it's my favorite, I guess). It has all of the gaudy prom dress fabrics and funky trims and I want everything they sell, but have no good use for any of it. There is only one upholstery store left. I think I nearly got in trouble when I found a wall of Minky and tried to crawl into it.

The rest of the places we looked were just as I remembered them. All sorts of different fabrics with no particular grouping to them, with the occasional really weird pattern to them.

The only problem I had (besides Bob's tolerance for just one more fabric store), was that none of these places are air conditioned, and I just don't handle heat anymore. I may have to go back into the fall when it's cooler. I did find a whole stack of 100 inch wide fabric @ $4 a yard, but I decided to think about it, then found a black sheet at a garage sale the next day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things that amuse me

One site I check regularly for grins and giggles and oddball shopping is Rene Bates auctions This site runs auctions for other places, mostly cities and similar municipal entities; it's based in McKinney so most of the auctions are in Texas, and many of them are local to this area.

Most of them at least attempt to group items in some sort of logical order. Then there's the Plano PD auction, which included this grouping

Portable Gazebo
Bag of bags and tools
Weed eater
Copper tubing
Baby stroller (Baby stroller ?!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why you should buy generics

Originally published at Mint Life, brought to you by way of (BTW, I've never looked at, but if you are a consumer, you really should be reading

Let's hope this doesn't blow your feed reader!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh look, it's the Arizona state police mascot.

So we went to one of my favorite rehash houses the other day - Thrift Town on 26 - and found the following:

In case you can't figure it out (it took me a minute, and I saw it IRL), this is a person wearing a sombrero, laying face down with his (her?) jeans, er, lets say they're half off, ok?

I can't quite figure out who demonstrated the worst taste...

The person who made the mold?
The person who made the figurine (I'll give this person a pass, she/he was probably a child)?
The person who donated this to ARC or whatever other charity picked this up?
Or the person who actually put this out on the floor?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A slightly different thrift store

I found out about this store today, do you need any office furniture?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Big rummage sale in Arlington Heights Saturday


View Larger Map

I'll be with the Etsy Ft. Worth group, come by and say Hi!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thursday at Canton First Monday

I may have mentioned before that my husband has a rather variable schedule. We've had a number of weeks where he had Saturday and Sunday, or Friday and Saturday off, so we've been able to get to a lot of the weekend festivals. This week though, he had Tuesday and Thursday off. So I decided it would be a good day to make the trek to Canton for the first time.

This place is freaking huge. We arrived around 11:30 ish, and stayed till 4:30 and didn't see half of the place. It also has a good mix between new items, antiques and garage sale type stuff. The really interesting stuff tends to be out in the sun, which isn't so very kind to my lily-white skin, but I persevered.

The very first place we went to we found interesting things. My SIL's mother likes pigs; however, SIL has threatened me with bodily harm if I buy another pig tchotchke for her Mom. In that spirit, here are a couple of pigs that I'm NOT getting:

(I especially like the stacking pigs in the second shot). They had several other pigs, but these are the ones I'm not getting.

Here was a an interesting sign shop:

"I am out of Estrogen and I have Gun" (sic) She also has job, but probably not high school education.

These were truly impressive and well done. I just don't have a place from a 6 foot eagle.

The sign on this booth reads "This Booth Is Electronically Monitored & Recorded 24 Hours a Day With Video, Audio, and At Night, Motion Detection." I don't know if this is a case of overkill, or closing the barn door too late:

Is Spanish Baroque back in style? Because I have a house's worth of switch plates and towel racks that I need to sell.

These peanut roasters were so cool looking, and the owner was looking for someone to turn the entire business over to. I don't like peanuts enough to do this, but it would be an interesting thing for someone to do.

Long views - these show only a small part of the market:

Looks like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters took a side trip here before going to NYC.

Finally, this was my favorite booth just for the colorfulness - a booth outside selling FiestaWare. They also have a store just east of Canton, which we went to after we left the market, because I wanted a canister and didn't want to have to carry it around:

I'm going back with my real camera next to get more pictures from this booth.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm a slacker

At least I have something of an excuse for not posting last week - I had a booth at the Bedford Library Bazaar last Saturday. I probably should have written about that, but trust me, you didn't miss much.

The vendors were pretty scattered, and when it started raining, they scattered even more. I think by 10:30 or so, there may have been a dozen vendors still going. I sold one picture, of a spider to a kid that is That Age, who I knew would enjoy the gross factor.

Weekend before last we went to Main St. Arts Festival, and the Urban Street Bazaar in Dallas. On the way to the Urban Street Bazaar we passed by a neighborhood garage sale that we had to check out.

One of the houses had a magic 8-ball for sale. Bob came up with the question - "Is it worth going to garage sales?" to which the 8-ball answered... "Don't count on it"

Which is actually good advice, if you think about it. Especially since I'm not constitutionally capable of getting up at oh-dark-thirty to hit the garage sales before the pros do. However, the very next garage sale we hit, I got two photography light stands for $8, which is like 1/4 the price of one bought new. So you may not get rich garage-sale hopping, but you might just find something useful, eh?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A couple of things you could make with stuff from the thrift store

Pastry display dish:

Grocery Bag

Of course, the second one could probably be made with that stash of gimme t-shirts we all seem to have.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheap thrills alert

If you live in or near the Grapevine/Colleyville area, Market Street* has selected roses for a dollar a stem.


*Not Central Market or World Market

Public Disclosure: I don't work for Market Street, but my husband does. If you go there in the evening, look for Bob in the gourmet cheese section.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The things I find when writing for this blog

While finding links for today's entry, I ran across this: Weatherford public auctions Want to buy a fire hydrant? How about a low-rider Mercedes?

Last Saturday we went to the Weatherford Trade Days. This happens on the weekend before the first Monday of the month, if you'd like to go. I've only been to two other flea markets in recent memory - the one in the Will Rogers complex (which is almost all antiques), and Trader's Village in Grand Prairie. Trader's Village disappointed me, because so much of it is small established stores with new merchandise. Weatherford is much more what I expected - a motley collection of resellers, people cleaning out their garage, handmade products, and festival food. And lots of people selling used books. If Bob had had his druthers, we would have spent the whole afternoon with him reading bits out of various books.

Several people were selling plants and saplings. I really need to brush up on my Shakespeare - at least one family looked like they were taking Birnam Wood to Dunsinane and I could not think of the quote when I needed it.

I got halfway through the day before finding out that my camera wasn't working. So no pictures of redneck art. :-( We did buy this book:

Is that a desert or a satanic ritual?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's the beginning of free outdoor activity season!

Starting tonight at the Old Bedford School is Twilight Thursdays - live music every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 PM. Tonight's offering is King Creole, which (from the description on their website), sounds like a live version of KLUV.

This will go through the end of May, then start again in September.

Better yet, next week is the Main St. Arts Festival. This is the 25th anniversary, and I remember going to the first one when I was still working at Tandy Center.

OK, I feel old now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thrift store chic

I realize that in writing about thrift store shopping, I have one major problem - I don't buy clothing at thrift stores. Here are my reasons:

1. I'm not a real clotheshorse.
2. My clothing style tends toward hippie-ish, which tends to not wear well. Good thrift store clothing finds are usually in the tailored/fashionable style.
3. I am, frankly, fat. When people my size find an item of clothing they like, they usually wear it until it's threadbare. It's the people who are slender and look good in most anything that give good quality clothing away or sell it to resale shops.

So I was glad to see an article on Thrift Store Couture from Check it out: Make a sparkly statement this spring

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's too pretty out there!

When the weather turns warm and sunny in the spring, I'm not as interested in shopping as I am in getting outside to enjoy the pretty flowers. Fortunately, there are lots of nice places around here to go. I volunteer at the Child Study Center on Tuesdays, so this week after I went there, I headed over to the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the spring blooms.

I didn't know Lily of the Valley even grew in Texas!

(They probably had it in a hothouse until it was time for it to bloom)

Get on the back paths and you never know who you might meet:

(Go away, you young whippersnapper)

Mexican Plum:

This guy didn't seem to be phased by me (but the toddler coming down the path behind me was another matter)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fun things for under 5 dollars?

Just to show that I'm not armchair quarterbacking on that previous post, I'm going to start posting fun stuff that I find that can be purchased locally for less than 5 bucks(as well as any ideas I come up with).

My first entry in this series involves shopping on Etsy, but all of the items are made and sold by Fort Worth artists.

Finds from Fort Worth artists for Five bucks or less

As of this writing, there are over 60 items for sale, but this is a dynamic list!

Some of my favorites:

Art Print of Original Prismacolor Illustration EBSQ
Mumbles Ponytail Holder
Little Lamb Soap- Shea Butter Soap
Yummy gift tags - Set of 6
Make a Wish Scrabble Tile Pendant

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two posts in one day? Don't get used to it.

Let's file this under things you want to go to the thrift stores to get supplies for:

From Casa Sugar

50 things to do with 5 dollars?

I picked up the current issue of Woman's Day this week because I was interested in the article 50 Things to Do With $5. I was rather disappointed.

Quite a few of the "ideas" boil down to "go get something at a store that sells cheap stuff". There were two entries just for Walmart, and the list also included Crate & Barrel, Target, and Ikea. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods share an entry. I wonder if the mag is getting a kickback for these?

And speaking of kickbacks:
Pull an "awesome mom" move in the checkout line. ... What kid doesn’t love an unexpected sweet treat?

And have fun the next time you go to the store with your munchkin who is going to try to wrangle this treat again. (I don't have kids, but I passed this by Mom and this was her reaction)

Maybe I'm just not the type, but this one sounded depressing:
Enjoy a posh cocktail hour with friends the way [one woman] does: "Dress to the nines and trot down to the bar at a luxury hotel. One drink may be all you can afford, but you can eat all the nuts you want."
Really? Stand around pretending you're one of the beautiful people while you try to make your one drink last a couple of hours? Am I the only person who thinks this sounds pitiful?

Other ideas just seem uninspired: hide the five dollars, give it to your church, buy lottery tickets.

There were a lot of interesting URLs - is amusing, but may be NSFW.

There were only a couple of ideas I liked -

  • Buy five dollars worth of lemons and use them for a centerpiece

  • Get a deck of cards and play penny ante poker

  • Get glow in the dark sticks and have an after dark game of tag

  • Get some cheap cards and write loving messages to your closest friends

This makes me think about what I expected from an article like this. Certainly not recommendations to go to Wally World, or buy specific items, or give your kid a "treat" that only took 5 seconds of your time. Give me ideas that may take a little extra time, but give me a lot more quality for my buck. If it is going to be a specific item, make it something that most people know can be bought, but never think of buying outside of certain parameters (For instance, does anyone but me buy themselves flowers, just to enjoy?)

What do you expect from an article like this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get your shopper on

As I mentioned in my inaugural post, thrift shopping is as much about finding items that are not what every chain store is selling right now.

In that spirit, I can heartily recommend this event!

It may be vintage, handmade, or whatever, but what you will not find here is the same old chain store merchandise. Bonus: your money is going to small time entrepreneurs and craftspeople trying to get by, not to people who already have millions of dollars.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Garnering Goodwill

Goodwill is a lot like the Walmart of thrift stores - they're everywhere, and when you spend too much time in one, you may get confused as to what neighborhood you were in when you drove there. It's pretty reliable as to what they have (and where they are going to put it).

I sometimes daydream about opening a coffee shop. If I did, I'd go to Goodwill and buy up all of the mugs they have to stock the shop (and I'd be getting as much as I could in the way of other furnishings from thrift stores as well).

Today we went to the Goodwill on Rufe Snow, in N. Fort Worth. (You'd think it would be in Watauga, but it must be on a gerrymander.) I had some real colorful finds today:

Soylent yellow?
From blog

Oh look, it's a pepto-bismol and cherry parfait!
From blog

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a tiki god, or an alien:
From blog

And then there's this. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be.
From blog

Friday, March 5, 2010

Need something cheap to do Sunday?

The Fort Worth Public library has a free movie the first Sunday of every month. This month, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, they are showing Darby O'Gill and the Little People . Show time is at 2 PM.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thoughts on thrift stores

As I've go to the various thrift stores around here, I've noticed that the stores fall into two basic types:

Chez Cheap
Chez Cheap stores are the higher end thrift/resell stores. These stores are in better areas and have nicer merchandise, but the prices are a bit higher and the selection is quite a bit smaller, because they have a much smaller store. Names tend to the cute/punny: Second Glance and Grace-ful Buys, for example. They tend to be much more vocal about the charitable organizations they support.

Rehash Houses
Rehash houses are the stores at the lower end of the scale. Because they are more aimed at providing cheap goods to people who need a break, their names tend to reflect that, such as Thrift Town; although Salvation Army and Goodwill are also re-hash houses. These stores tend to have a lot of the same stuff, as it is the re-selling of the mass-produced that they do. These stores are large (generally in old grocery stores) and they have acres of clothes, and often a rather predictable selection of other goods.

I'm currently coming up with a list of items that you will always find at rehash houses...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

That other thrift store I mentioned

Most thrift/resale stores are charitable. Generally, I like this - it means that not only am I getting something for cheap, but I'm helping people at the same time. But I can be a little leery of this as well. For instance, I know that the Salvation Army does a lot of good work, but they also sometimes bankroll political causes that I'm opposed to.

When we arrived at The Shepherd's Shop resale shop, their exterior signs proudly proclaim that their profits support their mission. Being raised Baptist, mission to me means traveling somewhere and "converting the natives", something I personally don't believe in. So my first action when entering this shop was to find out what kind of mission they were supporting. If you are like me, you can shop easy - their primary mission is to provide temporary assistance to people who are traveling through the area. They also contribute to N.E.E.D. (and let me say that it is impossible to use Google to find this website!).

Thrift stores come in a wide range of errr, shall we say environmental quality? This store is in a reasonably nice area, but the actual building seems to be an old double-wide that used to be used for classes. The floors feel mushy, like most old mobile homes. They have a fair amount of clothing (it takes up at least half of the space), but I wouldn't recommend buying any there - the interior stinks, and I'd bet it would take a couple of washings to get the smell out of any clothes you bought. The obligatory shelves of books is there, and of course, there's a fair amount of the incredibly ugly home decor. Which brings me to this:

From blog

Better hurry and grab this before someone else does, folks! (Having said that, I'll probably find out that these birds are worth thousands of dollars and I could have retired on the resale profit)

This shop is only open Friday morning from 9 til 3, and Saturday mornings from 9 til 1.

As long as you're going there, check out the ethnic grocer across the street - Apollo the Greek.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hey, I remembered to bring my camera!

We went to two thrift stores yesterday (and a garage sale, and an ethnic grocer). I'll save one of them for later, since that place is only open on Friday and Saturday.

Our other stop was Second Glance Resale Shop. This is a small thrift store, but they seem to get quite a bit of stuff into it. They normally have a lot of furniture; when we went yesterday it seemed pretty bare, but I think they were just finishing up a sale. Clothing takes up a much smaller space here than most of the thrift stores I've been to. It has a small but nice selection of housewares, and a decent size book section (lots of Nat. Geographics). It's next to a BigLots, just to add to the cheapskate quotient.

While this thrift store has its fair share of the cute:
and the tacky:

what I like best about this particular thrift store is the furniture. I would say that the furniture is well above average for a thrift store, with some antique grade furniture. I'm not sure that this would qualify:
but it's in very good shape for rattan furniture. I bought a couch there a couple of months ago and I'm very happy with it.

That was only 75 dollars, folks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A touch of Grace

My sweetie and I went to A Touch of Grace on Monday. This store has a very large collection of furniture for sale - that takes up most of the square footage. All of the furniture seems to be in good condition - no ragged upholstery or broken doors... or smell, which I've caught in a couple of used furniture places. The furniture is fairly solidly middle class - overstuffed couches, entertainment centers and the like. It would be a good place to furnish a first apartment if you're on a strict budget. They also have TVs which actually work.

In addition to furniture, this thrift store has a nice large book section, with a huge selection of children's books. The books are even semi-categorized, which earns them points with my husband. There's a few clothes, but it would definitely not be worth going there for that. There's a small collection of housewares which are very nice, plus some of the other stuff that you end up having in your house, such as blinds and tools.

This is just down the road from Graceful Buys, which is more clothing/housewares oriented. In addition to these, there is a furniture resale shop that is called "Kiss It Good Buy", which is worth going to for the "what were they thinking" factor of some of the furniture, if nothing else. These two stores are at the end of the Downtown Grapevine shopping district, so you could make a day of it.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Most thrift stores consist of lots of clothes, some tchotchkes and housewares, maybe some books, and occasionally some furniture. The store reStore is different. Almost all of what is sold at reStore is home improvement type stuff, some new, some used. This is the place to go if you are remodeling and want to see what you might be able to get for cheap. This is also the place to go if you want to get the drawers to make something like this or this. How cool would that be?

I've been to the one in South Fort Worth a couple of times. As of last week they had large (5'x7' & 6'x8') area rugs for $35 and $70. This looks to be a "when they're gone, they're gone" type thing...

Prices seem to be pretty good overall, except for drawer pulls, which ran about $1 a piece, which is the same price that you can get cheap drawer pulls at Home dopey.

This reStore is in an open warehouse. No AC or heat for these guys, so do your shopping here in the more temperate times of the year.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Too cold and rainy to go anywhere.

I have to confess that while we are trying be frugal in our expenditures, we have a bad habit of eating out far more than we need to. Since my husband usually works evenings we don't go out for dinner every night, but far too often we go out on his days off.

What can I say - you aren't buying a fancy dinner; you're hiring a dishwasher for the evening.

However, last night my husband was going to be home early enough for us to eat together, but I didn't feel like braving the cold & rain. So I made our favorite refried bean soup. This is a highly variable soup, depending on what we have on hand and what we feel like.

Refried Bean Soup:
A can (or two) of refried beans (I use refried black beans, but regular refried beans work just as well)
A can (or two) of Rotel(tm) tomatoes
A couple of cans of chicken broth
Frozen or canned corn
One onion, diced
Garlic, minced or chopped. (or garlic powder, if you're lazy)
Any other canned or frozen veggies that sound good to you.
Whatever leftover meat you might have.

Throw everything in a pot and cook until the onion is cooked and/or you're ready to eat. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream; or any combination thereof.

If you don't have leftover meat, brown some chorizo or chicken tenders in your pot first.

I've made this vegetarian by using vegetarian refried beans and vegetable broth as the base. It was good that way too, and I made sure I had a lot of different veggies in it.

I really like hominy and spinach in this, but my husband not so much.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

One part yard sale, one part Urban Exploration

I went to a sale this weekend in a church that had been abandoned. Several years ago, the church had been hit by a tornado, and they didn't have the insurance to rebuild, so they just left the building. The city finally decided to take the building, so the church was trying to sell off what they could from inside.

There was no electricity, and while most of the rooms had a window, several didn't. I've always wanted to go urban exploring, and now I know that I am too much of a coward to really enjoy it. I almost made it to the second floor, but chickened out at the last step and very carefully made my way back down. Every last wall on the second floor (that I could see) had been stripped down to studs.

The best part of the sale was one room in the very back which had an antique printer that I wanted so bad. Alas, it would have taken a team of strong men and another room in our house, so I had to pass on that... and the antique photo enlarger, and the slightly less antique printer. I managed to get three print drawers and a bunch of type, plus a couple other small pieces of useful detritus.

When I want to go garage sale hopping, I use the Yard Sale Treasure Map to make my plans. This website pulls Craigslist garage sale ads and maps them on google mapper. So folks, if you want me to show up at your yard sale, make sure you put in on Craigslist!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Inaugural post: the unnamed junque store

Let's face it. Shopping isn't always about getting a new toy, or a sparkly, or something practical like food.

Sometimes, shopping is just about exploring, finding, discovering new things, ... mocking. The modern retail chain has taken most of the fun out of this kind of shopping; every store has the same exact stuff, in nearly the same place (even when you're in a whole different chain!). Sure, it makes it easy to find what you want, but the mystery is gone. Thrift store shopping brings that back with a vengeance. Sure, you could look for hours without finding something you want to touch, much less buy, but the thrill of the hunt is back.

I'll start my blog off with one of my favorite examples of this type of shopping. This store has no name and no posted hours. It's on Pipeline Road where Brown Trail ends, between Elrod's and a Dollar General. Google map link if you want to go there:
The unnamed junk store

I don't know when they are open, but I've had my best luck on weekdays. You can tell they're open because they pull a bunch of stuff onto the sidewalk.

This is the sort of place that looks like it could be a setting for a dickensian fantasy story, or a scavenger hunt. I'm not sure how they manage to get two aisles through part the store; I suspect magic, or sufficiently advanced technology. Go through the first part of the store to where the main aisle takes a jog to the right; if you can get past the bed frame and bicycles (you may need a rope) you get to an even narrower section that has a sign about 20 feet away saying "Don't go past this sign". I'm not sure you can actually get TO the sign.

This place has clothes (but you won't be able to try them on), books, piles of computer keyboards and other computer peripherals of dubious working status, lots of dishes and other housewares and various decorative things (lots of lamps straight out of the 80s). The most interesting things are out of reach, and may require rock climbing gear to get to.

While you're here, check out Elrod's for a wide variety of Hispanic groceries, especially things like real chorizo and authentic Mexican cheeses.