Yard Sale Psychology

You can learn a lot about humanity by holding a yard sale. Firstly, about your own life. The accumulation of stuff that we once deemed so necessary in our lives, now up for grabs to passers by. My “no buy it diet”changed me forever. So the amount of stuff we culled this time was, in fact, minimal, but there’s still that quiet reminder that too much stuff doesn’t add to the essence of our lives.

First observation – blokes came looking for stuff for themselves! Tools and fishing gear. So many a man walked away empty handed.

Second observation – some people wear tshirts they probably found at a different garage sale, for example; “Trust me, I’m an alcoholic”.

Third observation – women usually buy with others in mind. Therefore my sons started singing “all the single ladies” in the hope that it would have a Pied Piper effect on the neighbourhood ladies. Women came mostly buying for friends with babies or children.

Fourth observation – women AND men change their minds. One lass purchased something only to return 10 minutes later for a refund. Do I look like a department store?! But I do look like a pushover, it seems. So I handed her fiver back. It hurt too, as that was 25% of our takings at that point.

One fellow thought long and hard about a Lego and Wii purchase. As we were eating dinner there came a knock on the door, 6 hours after we packed the gear away. He had $10 so we did an after hours deal on the doorstep. Odd, but the kids scored an extra $5 each.

Fifth observation – kids learn niceties quickly when greeting copious amounts of strangers asking them “How are you?”By the end of the day, they were (unprompted!) asking, “And you?”

Sixth observation – making a batch of gluten free scones and a pot of fruit tea for morning tea is good on any day.

We didn’t make much cold hard cash, but our home feels lighter, and our ongoing quest for less is strengthened!

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Reliving my bookworm childhood through my bookworm children

The feeling that comes over me when I catch a glimpse of a book from my childhood is almost embarrassing. I mean, I almost squeal. It’s everything in me to refrain from running around asking the people around me if they remember the book, in case they too might share the ecstasy of my find. I’ve been able to restrain these impulses to date, but one day, I will likely stumble across something that will reveal to my fellow op shoppers that I get a tad too excited over small things.
Here are some of the books I have scored from the thrift shop in recent times – I wonder if you enjoyed these too?

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The thing is, the lads don’t always share my excitement when I come home with these treasures. Some of them, they adore (like ‘Choose your own adventure’), but I am still waiting for them to catch the excitement of Encyclopedia Brown (it will happen, believe me. Watch this space).

Stories from our childhood are special. They remind us of times of imagination that ran wild, secret reading sessions when we were so quiet that perhaps we could almost be invisible. Visits to the library were a tradition for me in childhood, and I am so thrilled when I see my lads in libraries and op shops scouring book shelves for their next adventure. And sometimes my lads are almost invisible too, cloaked by the cover of a great book and an adventure on every page.

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Quick & Thrifty redos

Uni starts again next week, so I am cramming in a few quick projects before I have my head stuck in books for a few months.

I paid $1 for a few off cuts of fabric from the op shop yesterday, and recovered a boring lamp and a few canvases I had around home. I still have more than half of it left. On a roll, I remembered I had a $1 doily and stitched it onto a footstool I purchased for $5 from the tip shop a few months ago. I had recovered it with black fabric given to me already, but the doily made it complete, and made me smile. The lads aren’t so sure about doilies…it is an ongoing discussion around here – The Great Doily Debate. I think you can see who is winning. Three v One, yet I still manage to have doily dominion.

These few makeovers cost next to nothing, and we have a few new splashes of colour and another seat (or footstool!) in our living space.

What do you have around the house that you could tweak so you love it and use it once again?

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Feeling cushy

Tonight it felt good to start and finish a project in an hour. I whipped up a few cushion covers using thrift shop items: a pillow case, off-cut fabric and zips. I paid around $1 for the supplies I used.

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I am thinking some napkins might be next on the list of straight line sewing projects for me.

Loveliness

It’s a week of loveliness. I’ve decided. It’s a very busy week, but it’s lovely.

Aren’t clean windows lovely? I washed our windows this afternoon. When you appreciate the lovely things in your life, even the tedious things are acts of loveliness. To enjoy our stunning view through clean (well, a few smudges here and there) windows is thoroughly gratifying.

Isn’t biscotti lovely? To bake something extra special to share with my family is lovely. Messy, but deliciously lovely. (Experimental success: gluten free, pistachio and chocolate biscotti, mmmm.)

Sunsets; they happen every single day, but never cease to be lovely.To walk along our beach at sunset… You guessed it- lovely.

To find my post-exam creative project – a vintage telephone table that I can add some colour to – that’s luxuriously lovely!!

So there you have it, I’ve decided. Despite being the big study week, this week is going up be a lovely week, full of lovely things, lovely moments and lovely thoughts. Ah, lovely.

I hope you find and create the loveliness in your week.

xx

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Photo story of my week

What a big week we have had!

Matt and I attended a marriage enrichment weekend last week. Beautiful!!! It was held at a gorgeous vineyard, filled with wonderful conversation and food- but most of all, uninterrupted time to laugh and be with my husband.

We have painted Asher’s feature wall using paint from the Tip Shop. Bargain.

I bought Matt a new lawn mower. His first new one ever! He won’t miss repairing the old one every time he had to use it.

It was Book Week at school for the lads. Isaac was Cole from Ninjago and Asher, the bear from “We’re going on a bear hunt.” Easy this year.

The sun broke through so Ash and I took to the beach!

We had birthday curry with our dear friend, Betsy. She is a true and delightful friend who is easy to celebrate.

The blossoms are budding on our fruit trees. Spring is on its way. Yay.

We said farewell to friends who have moved north. Ash and I went to do a few clean up jobs in their empty home. That was a bit sad. Reminding me of those dear friends who have, over the years said farewell and moved far away. One of these friends is on her way home next week though, so that’s exciting.

A great week. Now I’m ready for the next!! Hoping yours was blessed.

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A-Z of Gratitude: T is for Tea

Tea is a simple, yet indulgent experience if we take the time to make a ritual of it. Boiling the kettle and jiggling a bag in a mug and splashing milk in is nothing special. Transform the usual, lazy way of making tea by using a tea pot and a quaint tea cup and you have a different experience altogether. One to be enjoyed alone with your own thoughts, a book or staring out at the view blankly. One to be enjoyed with friends and conversation.

I adore teapots and tea cups. My dear grandmother left me her beautiful Glade Green bone china tea set. I rarely used it until a year ago when I decided that it was crazy to hide such a beautiful thing away for fear of it being damaged. Such things are to be appreciated and enjoyed. When I drink from these with friends, they always comment on the experience. It’s noted that the tea experience is different when we make a ritual of it.

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Each of my teapots have been gifts. This one was a gift from my brother and sister in law.

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This cast iron beauty was a farewell gift from young people when I resigned from my youth work position last year.

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This miniature was a gift from my hubby and is perfect for solitude tea moments.

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Sharing a pot of tea with friends somehow makes for better company than mugs of sploshed together tea. The experience is rich and the conversation benefits from the small effort of brewing a pot and laying out the china.

There are always wonderful teapot and tea cup bargains at thrift stores. Mismatched tea cups are fun. If you don’t already have a pot and cups and saucers, why not spoil yourself, and those who will drink tea with you. Head to a charity shop and buy some fine china and go home to sit for a few moments, sipping your tea without hurry.

We could go on and on about the many types of tea we can enjoy together. My personal favorites are French Earl Grey, licorice, ginger, and rooibos. I always have fruit tea on hand to share with Asher. What fun he has when we brew tea. He feels very sophisticated!

I found these quotes on Pinterest to sum up my gratitude for tea time together with friends.

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I trust you will enjoy many pots of tea with your loved ones.

A-Z of Gratitude: K is for Keen Kids

Sometimes you are struck with the realization that your children have arrived at yet another stage. Yesterday, we spent a few hours outside enjoying some glorious wintery sunshine. We decided to give our neglected veggie patch some much needed attention. In the past, the lads have lost interest as fast as you can say “pull those weeds please.” Things have changed. They were keen! Isaac spent close to an hour using a mattock to turn the garden beds over, while Asher helped with some weeding, before finding rocks to smash and grubs to play with. While he didn’t work up a sweat like his brother, we were still thrilled that the garden held his attention for such a lengthy time.

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We have a stash of old pallets behind the garden shed, so used some of these for new garden beds. The lads will have one of their own to grow their choice of veggies. It will be their responsibility to tend to their patch, and they will enjoy the fruits of their labour at harvest time if all goes well!
It’s very important to us that our children appreciate the food we eat. Growing your own is a sure way to increase gratitude and respect for the process and the produce.

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Thrifty and Nifty

They say a change is as good as a holiday. I’m not sure about you, but it’d either have to be an insanely cool change or a really crappy holiday to make that statement ring true for many people. We have had some changes around here in the past 24 hours, and I feel like I’m on a holiday. You probably think I need to get out more… I’ve decided that changing rooms is almost as good as a renovation!

My friend Betsy visited yesterday and we were inspired to create a few entirely different spaces in our small home. Matt was outside mowing the lawns and came inside to utter chaos! We did not spend a cent, but it looks like we spent up big. What a wonderful buzz to repurpose and reimagine spaces and pieces. I think I can safely say I’m Queen of Thrift these days:

thrift·y/ˈTHriftē/ Adjective: (of a person or their behavior) Using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

A rundown of the switcheroo:

We removed a black futon that was sharing our dining space  and put it in the kids play room, which is now referred to as the “kids only lounge”.

Here’s Bets and Isaac enjoying the new space.

We then took the playroom drawers, full of train tracks, dinosaurs and all kinds of imaginative and playful things, and transferred it to the dining area. Sounds crazy? Not when you embrace the fact that kids want to be where Mum and Dad are. It gets tiring trying to motivate children to pack their toys away. This way, they have an area where they can play to their hearts content and they can reduce the laps up and down the hall to pack up.

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Living in a small house means we have to make use of every nook! This area, now a quirky, creative space used to be almost bare and a source of frustration for me. Now it has a purpose! I can’t wait to make use of this new space. This desk used to be in our bedroom, becoming a dumping ground for stuff. Now we have more space in our bedroom, and a new nook in the open plan space. 20120611-213345.jpg

We painted a bookshelf that was a bit useless to the boys (not deep enough!). This sits nicely against the desk and is a neat way to disguise creative mess. 20120611-213452.jpg

I’m happy that my dear grandparents vintage radio now has a place to be admired, and to serve as a physical reminder to me of the many mornings I heard the crackle of radio news while I ate breakfast in their kitchen as a young girl.

Thrifty sure is nifty.