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.