Monday, December 9, 2013

Thrifting Finds #35: Recycled finds!

Well kids, it was not a pretty week for your old Uncle Veg.  On Wednesday, I came down with some kind of weird uber cold that knocked me on my kiester.  Monday and Tuesday, I felt like I was coming down with something but it didn't happen.  That is, until Wednesday morning when it hit me in the face.  I went in to work for a little while to take care of some things and then I hightailed it right back home, where I spent the next three days just sitting on the couch doing nothing.

I realize it was just a cold, but I just hate being sick. It's so damned inconvenient.  Here I was, with an unplanned vacation and I didn't feel up to doing anything.  Oh, I set up the Christmas tree and got the cards done, but that was all I accomplished in three days.

On the other hand, it was kind of nice to just sit around and do nothing.  For instance, on Thursday it rained hard all day and for a good part of it, I just sat on the couch under the big yellow blanket with Honey on my lap listening to the rain and thinking how awesome it was.

Honey loves it when I pull out the big yellow blanket.  It's a great blanket to be sick under, if you know what I mean.  And it's kind of amazing that it's older than I am--Mom got it for her wedding shower back in 1957, and it's still nice and soft and fluffy.

By Saturday, I was feeling well enough to do the weekly marketing, etc., so Hubs and I set out to do that and hit our Saturday Thrifts.  Unfortunately, we found nothing worth buying.

They were calling for bad weather on Sunday, so Hubs and I made a pre-emptive decision to just stay home and do Christmasy things.  That was a good decision, given how things looked at 11:00:

I don't know if you can see how hard it's snowing, but it's pretty hard.  Don't forget that this is Maryland, where people panic at the first snowflake, despite the fact that we get snow every single year.

By 2:00, the snow had pretty much stopped and the snowplows came through:

But then it spent the rest of the day sleeting and freezing raining, which was just nasty.

So Hubs and I did our Christmas decorating!  Stay with me here, because there is a connection to thrifted finds, no matter how tenuous ;)

weiner dogs!

1.  Our mantle!  Mmm, nothing vintage here, though the porcelain and the Staffordshire dogs are antiques.  We used to have a much nicer garland but a couple of years ago the lights gave out and no matter what I did, I couldn't get them lit again.

Too Gay?

2.  Christmas tree!  I know it looks really pink here, but it's not.  Hubs and I went out last year just before Christmas and I saw these trees reduced from $45.00 to $19.00.  Now, Hubs has always wanted a white tree and I was certainly open to the idea, particularly one with multi-colored lights (I don't care for white lights.), and how was I supposed to say no to like, a  60% discount?  We had it in our front hall last year and decided we would alternate between the white and the green as our "main" tree.  If you look closely, you will see some of the Shiny Brite ornaments I got way back in June.

3.  More Shiny Brites!  During the same shopping trip that I got the white tree, I saw these glass urns and thought they would look nice filled with Christmas ornaments.  Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to spend 15 bucks for one.  Well, just a few weeks after Christmas, I came across this in the Goodwill, filled with a candle and seashells and sand and a bunch of other crapola.  I liked the price--five bucks--and immediately emptied the contents into the nearest trash receptacle. Those balls with the net on them are more Shiny Brites I got in March.

See?  Connection to thrifted finds?

4.  My wreath!  Yes kids, your ham-handed Uncle Veg made this his very own self a couple of years ago.  Most of the ornaments are not vintage because A) I'm not crafty at all and wasn't sure if I could pull this off and B) I lose interest easily and wasn't sure if I would see it through to the end.  If you look very closely, the small, fancy balls near the middle are thrifted finds from a Goodwill.  I'm pretty sure they weren't Shiny Brites, though.  And the pink balls around the outside are Martha Stewart ornaments I got at the Salvation Army, probably 10 years ago.  I would like to make another wreath using actual vintage ornaments but at the rate I'm going, it'll take me 50 years to come up with enough.

5.  Hubs' creche!  We have a horizontal surface on which we display either my Christmas Story buildings or Hubs' creche.  We take turns, and this year, it was Hubs' turn.  This is his childhood creche, so it's fairly old.  The figures are paper mache and as Hubs says "Grubby from three little boys playing with them."  Still, it's sweet and dear, and I love having things from Hubby's past around.

And that's really all for the thrifted finds department.  More bad weather is on the way tomorrow and I'm not sure what the weekend will hold, so who knows if we'll get to do any thrifting at all next week.

What I Made This Weekend Department:

A.  One-pot (if you're lucky) Macaroni and Cheese!  I didn't take a picture because you've seen it before.  Here's the recipe if you want to review.  The picture above is from the same post.

B.  Pork Chops!  Yeah, this picture is a retread too, but how many pictures of pork chops can you look at, you know?  Sub mashies for the spaetzle in this picture and you pretty much have a picture of what dinner was last night.  Also, I went back to using the Weis version of Shake & Bake which we like much better than the real stuff.

You can see that I didn't put too much effort into cooking this week because I also made

C.  An insane number of cookies!  These are my world-famous M&M cookies that I make for my brother.  Geez, I think I've been making them for him for at least the last 30 years.  I hate making cookies, but if I didn't make these, I truly think he would cry.  That's 11 dozen up there, by the way, but some of them are for us.  Turns out Hubs loves them too, so now I make a triple batch and spend a day cursing in the kitchen.

Okay, to be honest, it wasn't so bad this year.  The problem I have with making cookies is that there's a lot of standing around time, but it's never enough to actually go off and do something.  If you hate making cookies as much as I do, here are a couple of tips to help keep your sunny disposition.

1. Get  yourself a bigass mixer.  I finally got to put my Kenmore to its intended use (making these cookies) and it sped up the process immeasurably.  I still had to mix in two batches, but it was a lot better than doing it by hand, or borrowing my friend's Kitchenaid.

2.  Use a cookie scoop.  Get a good one, because the cheap ones are more frustrating than useful.  Makes the cookies much more uniform than trying to use a teaspoon.

3.  Have lots of baking sheets.  At least four, which is what I used.  That way you can have a batch ready to go into the oven as soon as you take one out.

4.  Have a distraction.  I often use this time to watch Christmas movies on my portable DVD player.  This year, I used my little bits of free time to make the macaroni and to wash up all the bowls and things I used in the process.

And that's pretty much all I have.  Which is fine, since this post is long enough, considering how little content it has...

Linking up with the fabulousness at  Sir Thrift A LotThe Nifty ThriftyThrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm and We Call It Junkin 


  1. The bauble wreath is a thing of great beauty and the pink Christmas tree made me laugh (in a good, warm, christmassy sort of way). I've been running christmas wreath making workshops at the museum this weekend so I haven't quite found my mojo to decorate at home yet. Hope the man-flu has cleared up (I understand it can be quite serious!)

    1. Thanks! I really like the wreath, despite the fact that I made it myself! I can't explain the pink tree--it's really white and the lights are all different colors. Maybe it's just my camera phone.
      I hate being sick at this time of year, but I'm glad I got it over with before things really got hairy!

  2. I love Christmas decorations. Its funny that we thrift it year round and then display it for such a short time. I thrifted one of those jars too - mine was filled with seashells which are in a bag somewhere because I felt bad just chucking them.

    1. Actually, there was a time where I wouldn't even consider buying Christmas stuff out of season. Luckily, I came to my senses. I have to rein myself in, though, because we don't have any room to store it all.
      I don't at all mind dumping crap I don't want that comes with stuff I do. Hubs, too, has tossed ugly "silk" flowers and not thought twice about it!

  3. I think your tree is perfection. As is your ornament wreath.

    1. Thank you! Really, the tree looks a whole lot better in person than it does in my crappy picture--nobody ever accused me of being a photographer! And I probably shouldn't admit that I'm kind of proud of the wreath. Frankly, I didn't think I had it in me. Apparently, I'm hell on wheels with a glue gun!

  4. I love this - I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. You've inspired me to go thrifting for decorations (holiday and otherwise) for my new-to-me home. Thank you! Also, I'm glad someone else hates making cookies. But if I lived near you I would absolutely walk over and ask for a dozen or so of those M&M cookies.

    This whole post made me smile - thank you!

    1. Thank you for reading--and commenting! I'm glad you're going to start thrifting for your home. I've found a lot of good stuff in the past--stuff you can't find anywhere else. Two cardinal rules to keep in mind: 1. Be prepared to be disappointed a lot. You may go weeks without finding anything worth buying: stick with it. 2. Don't go in looking for something specific. The chances that you'll find it in a thrift store will be slim. If you keep an open mind, you'll find things that delight you that you never thought of before!
      P.S. Good to hear from another cookie-baking hater!

  5. I'm sorry you were sick, I've steered clear so far this season but it's all around me... LOVE the wreath you made. I have all the stuff to make one, just need to find the time. Your tree is awesome, I would love a white tree one day. Take care - Dawn @ We Call It

    1. I'm sorry I'm sick, too, but I'd rather be sick now than in a couple of weeks! Glad to get it over with.
      Thanks for the compliment on the wreath! Kinda surprised it came out as well as it did. Something that people never mention is that it weighs a ton--there's a LOT of hot glue in there!

  6. That's funny, I had the post before you on We Call it Olde-I made a Shiny Brite wreath too!!

    1. Yeah, but yours is made of *real* Shiny Brites. Mine is made of stuff from Big Lots and the Dollar Store!
      Yours is magnificent, by the way. I still want to make a "real" one.

  7. A Christmas tree can never be too gay.

    1. It's not as gay as it looks when you see it in person.

  8. Our local herbalist makes a concoction of elderberry and other goodies to ward off colds and flu--maybe a local in your area makes something similar--we keep a LOT of it on hand for winter time--I live in Alaska and well we freak out at the first snow too 67 cars in the ditch in 40 mile stretch sheesh we get tons of it every year too! Thanks for linking up on Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm

    1. I usually take echinacea at the first sign of a cold, but this one threw me off. Normally, I don't have much faith in the whole herbal remedy thing, but I do think that echinacea can keep me from getting a cold if I take it early enough.