Monday, December 29, 2014

Thrifting Finds #76: Happy New Year!

Well.  Did you all have a wonderful Christmas?  We sure did here at Fondue Headquarters.  There were a lot of presents, a lot of food, and a lot of family, which is just the way it's supposed to be, no?

And frankly, your ol' Uncle Veg is pooped.  I'm not going to go on about how Christmas seems to approach with the speed of a freight train, as opposed to when I was young and I thought it would never get here.  I believe that's been covered before.  But let me tell you this--Christmas comes a lot faster than it used to!

Anyway, I have a bit of a Thrift Find to report. Only one, but since Hubs and I are both off this week, we may make a few more stops.

Book!  Not a cookbook this time, but still kind of about food.  It's all about the history behind different candies, mostly regional.  It's a funny and insightful book, and if you don't have a sweet tooth, you will after reading this,  Savers, $3.00

And that's it for the thrifted finds.  We did get a couple of new things at retail, but first let me explain:

After realizing that we only have white trees in the house, Hubs and I had a discussion:  Should we alternate between white and green trees?  Or should white trees be our "thing"?  We decided that white trees would, indeed, be our thing.  So to add to the collection, I got these:

Yeah, they're super garish, but I still love them.  Love them so much, as a matter of fact, that I was willing to pay full price for them on Christmas Eve (they were the last ones left.)  At Walmart, no less.  I mean, come on Walmart--can't you start discounting on the last day of the shopping season?  Geez.

This is one of those pop-up trees that looks very "all the Whos down in Whoville..."  I like that it stores in a minimum of space, since that comes at a premium around here.  Like the trees above, this was the last one in the store (Target), but at least I got it half price.

I want to share one more thing I got.  It wasn't a gift, since I bought it myself, but I have high hopes for it.  Again, let me explain first:  I have a high tolerance for mess.  Unnaturally high, some would say.  But there are two things that send me right over the edge:  dishes in the sink, and Christmas wrapping stuff.

We keep the wrapping stuff in a big Rubbermaid container, but not all of it fits, and there are certain people who have to have every roll of paper, every bow, every roll of ribbon, every box, and every gift bag out.  I looked into getting a gift wrap cart, but they were like over $180!  But then I stumbled across this one at Bed Bath and Beyond:

It was only $120, and by signing up for emails or something, I got their usual 20% off, bringing it down to $95, and free shipping.  As I say, I have high hopes for it.  But.  And that's a big "but".  Couple of things make is not so great:  Not all the parts fit well.  I had to do a little "persuading" to get the thing together (which took forever, by the way, and I'm good at assembling things.)  One of the pieces had 4 dowels missing, so I had to wait until the next day when I could go get some replacements.  When I finally had it mostly together, I discovered that one of the casters was missing.  Geez.  On a positive note, the gal I spoke to at BB&B was very friendly and helpful and she promised to get my caster out in 7-10 days.  We'll see if that happens.  Also, I ordered this on Christmas day (Thursday) and it got here on Saturday!  

In Other News Department:  Last week's question about whether to buy a used microwave is moot:  it was gone when I went back.  So it looks like I'll get some soulless made-in-China piece of crap at Walmart.

I also decided to mount the new TV on the wall.  It was a pain to do, but I like it much better than just sitting on top of the old set:

Huh.  It looks kind of wonky in the picture, but not in person.  Tribute to my mad skillz as a photographer, I guess.

We're having The Girl Child and The Boyfriend for dinner tonight, and frankly, I'm nervous about cooking this $50.00 piece of meat.  I got a small beef tenderloin, and it intimidates me;  I have the tendency to turn meat into shoe leather.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, won't you?  Alongside, we're having roasted potatoes, broccoli, and creamed onions.

And so, before I start straightening up for company, let me take this opportunity to wish you health, wealth, and happiness in the New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Thrifting Finds #75: ...and to all a good night.

Whew.  Your ol' Uncle Veg has been a busy boy these last couple of weeks getting ready for Christmas.  There's been a lot of cooking and baking lately, which I'll get to in a minute but first, I have an actual Thrift Find to share with you!

Christmas Napkins!  Yes, I actually found some Christmas linens at the Goodwill.  I'm not sure how vintage they are--probably not very, but I couldn't refuse them at only 0.50 each!  I bought 8 of them.  There were 12, I think, but some of them were discolored.  There was a matching tablecloth too, but I didn't care for it.
Now here's the problem--I can't use them this year!  I'm using the Christmas tablecloth I found last Spring and my Christmas china.  I realized that if I added these napkins to the mix, it would go from "My, isn't that festive!" to "Wow, it looks like Christmas threw up all over your table!"  So maybe next year I'll use a plain white tablecloth and these napkins.

Speaking of that tablecloth, take a look:

It almost fits my table!  In fact, I think it looks pretty darn good, especially considering that my table is an odd size and no tablecloth actually fits it.  P.S.  I took the picture after I ironed it, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.  And please pardon the mess--Christmas is still a work-in-progress Chez Fondue.

We're going to my brother's for Christmas dinner, so I don't have to cook a big meal.  The Girl Child and The Boyfriend are coming for a belated dinner next Monday, so at least I get to use my Christmas china again, and I'll get to cook a little, at least.

Which is a strange thing to say, considering what I've been up to lately in the kitchen.

What I Made Department:

1.  An insane number, of cookies!  So far, I've made 2 batches of Cherry Jumbles, 2 batches of Platinum Blondes, two batches of Holy Crap, It's a Brownie!, and four batches of M&M cookies, with two more batches on the schedule for today. When you consider each batch is like 3 dozen cookies, that comes to...well, a lot!  I took some to work, and some went to the vet's office.  Many are for bro and his girlfriend, but there are still plenty for Hubs and me (good thing we've been going for walks lately!)

2.  Candy candy candy!  I've made two batches of peanut butter fudge (which might as well be called peanut butter crack, it's that good), a batch of chocolate fudge for Hubs, and a batch of Sponge candy for bro.  Tomorrow, I'll be making pink popcorn (AKA Mother Goose popcorn), also for bro.

I stopped counting how much sugar I've used this month.

And that's it, really, though I have a question:  I need a small microwave for work (there's only one for like 40 people and it doesn't get cleaned...)  So I was looking in the GW yesterday, and they had one for 15 bucks.  It was cleanish, but not immaculate.  Assuming it works, would you be squeamish about a used microwave?  I wasn't sure so I left it.  A new one would cost about 50 bucks.

Oh, before I go, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Fondue Headquarters!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thrifting Finds #74: It's beginning to look a lot like

Christmas!  Yay!

Please bear with me--I have a feeling there's going to be a whole lot of rambling today.  More than usual, I mean.

Okay, to get right to the heart of the artichoke, so to speak, my thrift finds this week were nothing.  Again.  I could tell you how sick I am of looking at crappy Christmas stuff, but I believe we've already covered that in depth.

So this week I'm going to talk about other stuff, mostly Christmassy!  Your ol' Uncle Veg loves Christmas, dontcha know?

In keeping with the season, I've been perusing (again) my collection of Christmas catalogs, mostly from the 60's.  We're talking the major players here--Sears, Montgomery Ward, and Penneys--as well as some Minor League names--Gamble/Aldens, Spiegel, National Bellas Hess.

There are two themes in these catalogs that just kind of surprise me.  And it's not just one company--it's all of them:

1.  His 'n Her's matching outfits.  These catalogs have tons of these outfits--matching shirts, pants, sweaters, jackets, and on and on.  Did anyone actually wear these?  I don't ever remember seeing any couples in matching clothes.  My parents never did this, nor did the parents of any of my friends.  You find this thing throughout the 60's.  Weird.

2.  Slippers.  OMG, each catalog has a section of just pages and pages of slippers--for Mom!  For Dad!  For the kids!  Dozens of selections for each member of the family.  Were cold feet a problem back then?  Were winters particularly harsh?  Was one expected to have a wardrobe of slippers?

See?  Rambling.

In other news, Hubs and I joined the 21st Century!  Those who know us know that we don't watch much TV.  Remember when I dropped FIOS TV?  Generally, we'll get a season of some old show from the library and watch a couple of episodes a night, on my vintage Zenith Avanti:

I love the set and it looks great in the den, but it's finally starting to go.  I could try to repair it myself (I've repaired TVs before, with varying success), but it seemed time to maybe upgrade a bit.  So I went out and bought ourselves a Smart TV:
It's a Samsung

Normally, I hate when my appliances are smarter than I am, but we're loving this.  There is a ton of stuff you can do with this, but so far, we've just watched DVDs and stuff on Youtube (did you know you can get the Christmas 1968 episode of Hollywood Palace on Youtube?  We'll be watching that, for sure!)  I just need to figure out what to do with it.  For now, it's on top of the Avanti, which is a look I hate.  I could mount it on the wall, or I could get a stand for it and trash the Avanti.  What do you think I should do?  Help!

What I Made Dept:

The Annual Cookie Extravaganza has officially begun!  So far, I've made three different kinds.

Cherry Jumbles!  I actually made these before Thanksgiving and stuck 'em in the freezer.

Platinum Blondes!  This picture is a retread from last year, but they look the same.  Also sitting in the freezer.

M&M Cookies!  My brother's favorite, and my Yearly Sacrifice (I hate making cookies.)  So far I've made 6 dozen, and have another 6 dozen to go.  But at least I'm halfway through, right?

By the way, I found the best cookie scoop ever.  I went to Bed Bath & Beyond looking for an Oxo scoop, but I wasn't impressed by it.  The I found this one:

It's super comfortable.  It was 10 bucks.

The House is Decorated!  Anyone who's read this blog for a while will not be surprised by the following pictures.  I have no imagination so I end up doing the same thing every year.  Hubs and I realized just yesterday that we only have white trees this year.  Not quite sure how that happened.

The Big Tree!  I don't know why it always looks pink in pictures, because it doesn't look that way in Real Life.

The Hubster's Tree!  The string of lights gave up this year and we had to replace it with LEDs, which I'm not crazy about.  They're too bright for one thing, and the colors seem a little "off" to me.  Here's a closeup of the 

Toys Under the Tree!  My goal is to turn this into a vintage toy tree, but until I have enough miniatures, they'll just go under the tree.  Most are Hallmark ornaments, with a few others thrown in.  The Chatty Cathy talks--even makes the "string pulling" noise!  The record player plays "Rudolph".  Loud.

You've Seen This Before!  Shiny Brites in the urn, my Dollar Store candle shade, and the talking Santa pillow I fixed.  If you look closely, you can see the decoration Hubs made when he was just a little tad.  Cute?  I'll say!

Hohman, IN!  This year, I got to put up my Christmas Story houses 'n things.  These are already a few years old, and far superior the the ones they're selling now.  I'm really glad I got them when I did.  Sorry for the crappy picture--I was using the zoom feature on my phone.

Basho and Tinkles!  They wish you the Merriest of Christmases!!

My Cubicle!  Not many people seem to decorate around here, but I thought I'd bring a little cheer to the office, so I made this.  I don't know if you can tell, but there are lights in it.  Other than the wreath itself (4 bucks on sale at Michael's), everything came from the Dollar Store.  I used a lot of hot glue...

And that's about all I can think of for this week.  I think I used more pictures in this post than in any previous one, even though there are no actual thrift purchases.  I guess that says something, but darned if I know what!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thrifting Finds #73: Just like Yvonne De Carlo

I'm still here.

Because Yvonne De Carlo sang I'm Still Here?  In Follies?  Remember?



How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was lovely--there were eight of us, which is a nice, manageable number.  Unfortunately, I offered the leftovers to our guests and everyone took me up on the offer!  There was hardly anything left but two drumsticks (nobody likes 'em.)  I mean, the whole point of doing Thanksgiving is to have leftovers.  That's the last time I make that offer, I tell ya.

The menu was simple:  Turkey:

Beautiful, no?  I rub mayonnaise on it before roasting.

Mashies, gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes. broccoli & cheese casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (with ridges) and rolls.  Just the basic stuff, heavy on the carbs.

And I got to use the new Corningware roaster I got a while back.  Worked great, and it was incredibly easy to wash, too.

So I had no idea I had been gone for so long; almost a month.  And the reason is that the thrifts have yielded absolutely nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  They all seem to have a ton of stuff, but nothing worth actually buying.

Naturally, I've been looking for Christmas stuff, but it's all Walmart and Dollar Tree crap.  I am so sick of that stuff, aren't you?  Where are the Shiny Brites that other people are finding?  Where are all the cool Napco pixies?  Where are the knee-huggers? Huh?  Where?

Not here, that's for dang sure.

And another thing (can you tell there's a rant coming?)  I think whoever's doing the pricing at the Westminster Goodwill is certifiably insane.  Not only are the prices outrageous, but get this:  they put these bigass price stickers on each individual Christmas ornament.  Can you imagine?  You can barely get them off something that can go in the dishwasher; if you try to peel one off an ornament, it's completely ruined.  Be interesting to see how many they sell.

Saturday, there was a little basket of seashells that someone had collected on the beach.  Not big, exotic shells, just common, ordinary ones. Each one had a price sticker on it.

As I said, insane.

But it's not all bad news and grumping!  Nosiree.  'Tis the season and all that, so I'm trying to be my jolly best.

So though I have no official Thrifting Finds to report this week, I do have this, which is actually an ebay purchase:

Mattel Santa Claus Patter Pillow!  I've wanted one of these for quite some time, but they generally go for more money than I'm prepared to pay, especially if it's working. This one was fairly cheap, though he didn't talk.  So I opened him up, un-stuffed him, washed him, fixed his voice box, and then re-stuffed him and sewed him back up and made a new pompom for his hat (it's not actually sewed on in the picture, but you can't tell.  Special Effects!!)  If anyone wants, I'll make a little video of him talking.  I really love this lil' fella.

What I Made Dept:

Gallons and Gallons of Turkey Soup!  It doesn't look like much here, but there was another big container of it cooling on the balcony.  This is what I used the drumsticks for.  Delish.

Homemade Vanilla Extract!  Sharp-eyed readers will remember when I started this about a month ago.  Wellsir, it was finally ready so I decanted it into the original vodka bottle.  Smells good, though I'm not sure how it tastes.  We'll find out soon enough, when I start my Cookie Extravaganza.

And that's all for this week.  Since it's been a while, I'm going to go ahead and link up with the Usual Suspects.  I think that'll be okay, don't you?  Sir Thrift A Lot, Hey What's For Dinner Mom?, and Vintage Bliss Tuesdays