Thread organizing

Have you ever picked up a jewelry (or for something else small) organizer at a thrift store since it was a great deal and you knew you would find a good use for it someday?  Well, I have in the past and I finally determined a great use for one of them.

When I reorganized the sewing/craft, etc room I found this one buried in a cupboard.  Since I had just been looking at my small spools of thread and trying to figure out the best way to organize them (partly so I knew what I had and could get to them easily) I had a light bulb moment.  And this is what I came up with:

thread hanger watermark.jpg

This works perfectly for me since I had bought the Gutermann 26 spool thread (from JoAnn Fabrics on sale) so I had one or two spools of a bunch of different colors.

When I am sewing I can take it out and hang it on the cupboard door handle and see the options that I have.

 

Later – H

 

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Mom’s house and will you take a challenge?

Have you ever come across an article written by someone you don’t know, but you think you could have wrote it (or at least something very similar)?  Well, I saw this on Facebook the other day and it definitely range true with me.

‘I Went 200 Days Without Buying Anything New and Learned How Toxic Our Need for Possessions Is’

Which lead me to her blog:    Green High Five

This year has been rough, as you probably know.  During this past winter Mom said she wanted to live closer to us and was willing to go to a doctor if that was required (which was a shock at the time considering she hadn’t been to a doctor in about eight years and had refused to go every other time we said it was needed to move into a independent / assisted living place).  In hindsight we should have known that mom thought she had a health issue.  Well, two plus months later my mom died (after living in an apartment in the independent living place) and I was abruptly the executor of her estate (which included her independent living apartment [and all the items in there] and her house in another state).

So, at first my time was taken up with notifying people, companies, dealing with her prepaid burial insurance (which I am so glad she did since I didn’t have to make as many decisions), getting death certificates, clearing out her independent living apartment, etc.  Then I took a break so my family could celebrate our daughter’s graduation from college (went to her Senior project day, went to graduation, etc).

Which brings us to the beginning of June and starting to clear out mom’s house.  Mom had been slowly been giving items away, but there was still a lot of items in the house.  I first tried to contact a local company that would hold an estate sale (I could not handle the idea of doing a garage sale by myself), but the company never even called me back (I found out later that they were starting to focus on high value items – which mom’s would not fall under anyways).

Luckily, the neighbor said they were interested in buying the house and said they would be willing to take any and all of the large pieces of furniture (beds, couches, refrigerator, washing machine, etc) that we did not want.  They even agreed to be ‘Mr and Mrs Junk’ if they decided that the items that were left needed to be recycled, donated or trashed.  (This was a huge blessing since I was going to have to pay a company to take away most of the items.)  So, the big items were avoided and left for the end.  (This also made it possible for me to stay at Mom’s house when I went over.  Was that tough? Semi, but it did allow me to work from  early morning to late at night, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea since I definitely was overdoing it).

So, it was decided that the other small items that were not wanted (or thrown out) would be given away.  Since we know some young families and I see on the Facebook groups that there are always people looking for items (clothes, blankets, pots & pans, etc) I thought giving the items to a thrift store would be ‘easy’.  Well, that wasn’t always the case.  I was told a few times that my favorite thrift store was full and not taking any donations.  I luckily found a local church this summer that was holding a large rummage sale so they took a large portion of the items that were actually brought to me house.  Remember me saying I over did it?  Well, due to that we had to box up a lot of items and bring them to my garage so I could go through them little by little (which I am still doing, but the pile of boxes is definitely getting smaller).

So, after a few months of random trips I finally got the last items out of mom’s house at the beginning of September.

Oh, and as a side note the neighbors did decide to buy the house ‘as is’ (needing new paint, flooring, some repairs, etc) and escrow even closed last week.

So, what did I learn from all of this?

a) I want to give activities OR items I know a person wants as a gift.  Reason: I found multiple items that I know were given to our Mom as Christmas presents (some of them I had even given to her).  At the time she was really happy to receive them, but then they were put away either in a cupboard or in a random box (some of them not even opened).  I know some of this was due to mom’s age, etc, but some of the items were things we thought she needed (and I guess it turns out that she didn’t).

b) There is just a lot of ‘stuff’ in this world. Have you ever thought about how many items are sitting in your house, thrift stores, storage units, and then new in the stores?  I am not saying you have to be a minimalist, but maybe it is time to really think before you buy your next new item (could you find what you need used or could something else be used instead)?

Oh, and before you complain at me (since if you know me you know that we just bought a new vehicle) you need to know that it was a necessity AND we keep our vehicles FOREVER (i.e. the vehicle that we are replacing is 20+ years old!).

c) I want to work on my projects.  I have plenty to work on (sewing, scrapbooks, around the house, etc) so it is time to spend some of my free time working on those instead of shopping for items we really don’t need.  So, I am hoping to not buy any new ‘fun’ projects (at least for a while) and only items that will help me finish some of the ‘fun’ projects I already have.

d) After realizing what I am going through and our Mom even had a trust, prearranged burial, etc it is time for me and my husband to start putting our wishes in writing.  So, in the next year I hope we have everything in place so our family doesn’t have more headaches than I have had in the last few months if/when something happens to us.

If you read the link to her blog you will see that she is doing another 200 day challenge (only buying the essentials new – food, medicine, etc) and wants everyone to do it with her.  I admit I am not ready to commit to that (at least not at this time), but I do know that I have been reviewing everything that we have been buying to make sure it really is needed.

My challenge to you is to really think about a purchase before making it:

  • is it a quality item; i.e. will it fall apart the first time I use it?
  • can I find it used? (you might find that the older version actually lasts longer than a newly made one)
  • can I modify something I have and make it work?
  • can I borrow it?
  • do I really need it (versus want it)?

I would love to hear if you are taking either the Green High Five challenge or mine.

And, if you made it to the end of this then I applaud you.  I haven’t written a long blog post in awhile, but this topic really spoke to me.

Later – H

Giveaway: Build a Budget that Works by Jessi Fearon

So, you all know that I try to be thrifty by doing DIY projects, making food from scratch, using coupons, find deals at the Thrift Stores and finding the best deals on the new items or services we need to buy.  Well, another way is by keeping your family on a budget (and one that works is even better).

Jessi Fearon sent me a copy of the Build a Budget that Works  book to review as part of her book launch.

I am glad I got it since it reminded me of categories that I sometimes forget to budget for (like recently needing tires for our truck [which I found a sale on] and now it sounds like we will need them for the car also this year – ouch,  definitely not something I planned for, but I will be looking for a deal on those also).

I will continue to tweak our budget using the tips in Jessi’s book.

So,  would you like to win a FREE copy of the Build a Budget that Works book?  I was given one copy to give away to a reader.

Between now and Thursday 20 November 2014 make a comment (which will be delayed in posting since I have to approve them) with your name and email address.  After that I will pick a winner using a Random Number Generator (hey, I have to use something nerdy).

Good luck!   – H

Thrift Store and Garage Sale find

A few weeks ago a neighbor had a Garage Sale.  I was able to walk over so I decided to check it out.  I got there right after they started so most of their items were still in boxes (to be honest the way some things were packed I don’t think they had used them since they had moved in a few years ago).  I found one almost brand new loaf pan for 25 cents – score.  I came home and took one of my really old ones and re-purposed it to craft storage.

A few weeks I decided to go stop in a local Thrift Store (after donating a big bag and box of items).  I had a few items on my mental need list and I found at least one of them:

a) extra Lunch box – This one cost me a $1.00!  I like that it is really bright.

lunch box; thrift store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b) Six sewing patterns for 60 cents.  Since it is finally warm around here I have been living in shorts.  So, I want to make some easy shorts for working in the yard, etc.  The shorts have been started, but need the elastic put in and the legs turned up.  I will post a photo when they are done.

sewing patterns; thrift store

 

 

 

 

 

 

What great garage sale finds have you found recently?

Later – H

Sewing Clothes and YouTube videos

So, how much searching have you done on YouTube when it comes to sewing clothes?

I decided I wanted to make a maxi skirt as my first test of sewing with knit material.  So, I did a Google search and found a YouTube video by DIYmeesha that shows how to make one in 5 minutes.  (The only problem I saw is she did not show the skirt on her afterwards.  I may find another video to compare before I cut out my skirt.)

Well, from there I found she did a video on how to turn a pair of (too big) jeans into a pencil skirt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soH5O-cXaQE   

Wow, I had never thought of doing that, but boy that would be pretty easy.  So, I guess the next time I go to a church rummage sale, etc I will look at the ‘too big’ jeans more closely.

So, next time I want to find a new sewing project or need help in a step I will search YouTube, etc.

Do you have any favorite sewing YouTube videos that I should check out?

Later – H

Latest Thrift Store finds

So, one of the top topics requested per the poll was garage sale / thrift store finds.  Normally I would say there are not Garage Sales in Northern Nevada in January, but when I went down our street the other day a neighbor was having one (at first I didn’t believe it).  I have to say I didn’t have a chance to stop at the garage sale, but I did go to one of the Thrift Stores and it happened to be 1/2 price day.

a) I was able to get a needed blue 1″ binder that works perfectly for $0.50.

b) I was able to pick up four clothes sewing patterns for $0.50 (about 12 cents each).  Even when JoAnn Fabric’s has patterns on sale I can’t get a deal like that.

Well, just I decided to do a Google search for the patterns and I was shocked after I entered the first one.

Simplicity 2283 (never used and never opened) – One site had it for $15.95 and Amazon even had it for $6.94!  This one is for tops made from stretch knits.  Something I have never sewn with so I want to give it a try.

Style 2981 (never used, but has been opened) –  One site had it for $5.00.  This one is for skirts with a zipper.  I usually avoid zippers, but I have recently read some tips so I am willing to give it another try.

New Look 6802  (never used and never opened) – Amazon has it for $9.20!  This one is for dresses made from stretch knits.  Something I have never sewn with so I want to give it a try.  I am hoping I can turn this pattern into a PJ top if nothing else.

McCall’s M5894 (never used and never opened) – Walmart has it for $8.31!  This one is for ‘The Perfect Jean’.  I figured even if I didn’t make a pair of pants I might learn some tips of how to modify mine or buy ones that fit better.

Wow – never expected them to sell currently for those prices.  If I had paid the lowest online prices I would have spent $29.45.  I only spent $0.50 for all four so I ‘saved’  $28.95!  (I paid about 2% of the current prices.)

Once I have used at least one of these patterns I will have to check out the patterns the next time I am in a Thrift Store.

Since I won a piece of stretch knit from the TailorFairy.com blog last year I think I will use one of my ‘almost free’ patterns, that material and ‘Sew Knits With Confidence’ by Nancy Zieman book I picked up from the library to make a knit top.  At least if I start it soon it should be done before the weather officially turns warm.

What deals have you found lately?  – H

Consignment store and Maui

Have you ever thought of going to a Consignment (or Thrift) Store on vacation?  Well, daughter forgot to take a belt with us on vacation so we looked up the local thrift stores.  There was a Goodwill (farther away) and a consignment store a few blocks from the condo we had rented.

Before we went I realized the long sleeve denim shirt I had brought for a cover up was making me too hot so I was hoping to find a dress type item that would work as a cover up (then I would not need to wear the denim shorts either).

So we went to Rainbow Attic in Kihei, Maui.

Daughter found a belt for $6.00 (decent price considering we were in Hawaii and not in a big town) and I looked at the dress type items.  There was a few sleeveless dresses in the $10 to $20 range that I tried on.  One was huge, another was too long (to the ground) and the one priced $20 fit nicely (over my swimsuit) and came to just below my knees.  I had to debate if I wanted to spend $20 for, but finally decided it was better than everything else so it left with us.

dress, hawaii, Maui, consignment store

What I didn’t know until later was the dress brand ‘Tommy Bahama’ was a NAME brand since there was a store in the Shops at Wailea (expensive shopping center).  And, I didn’t know until now that their dress start at $88 on their website.

So, we have multiple photos of me in my ‘bargain’ dress, I spent about 5 days wearing the dress over my swimsuits and I was definitely cooler walking around in it (the last day I had to wear a shirt and short as a cover up since the dress went lower in the back and my upper back was starting to get toasted from snorkeling).

Now, I have a fun dress to wear around home in the summer also.

What bargain have you found lately?      – H

January and February 2013 Thrift Store bargains

My extended family used to have an unofficial ‘bargain of the month’ contest.  We haven’t announced our bargains for a while, but I think I am winning 🙂

I have decided this year I can’t go to a thrift store unless I have dropped off at least one bag as a donation that month (hopefully that way more unneeded items leave the house than needed items coming in).

  • Between January and February I made three trips to a thrift store and bought a few items:
  1. like-new red leather belt for $0.50,
  2. a two drawer card file for $5.00 which I am going to use to store trim and small pieces of lace,
  3. a new slip that still had the tags for $2.99,
  4. a book of wall hanging quilt patterns for $0.25
  5. a new ‘hot pink’ purse organizer for $2.00 (which was greatly needed since my current purse is black inside and I was constantly losing my keys inside my purse!). 

belt drawer collage

 

 

 

 

 

So, what bargains have you found lately?      Later – H