out with the ‘old’, in with the ‘new’…

I thought I’d end this year by talking about my favorite place – the freebie barn!

The freebie barn, swap shop, transfer station, call it what you will, it’s a fabulous resource!

Granted, not all transfer stations allow ‘shopping’, and that’s a shame. Mine does and I call it the ‘freebie barn’, though the sign on the outside calls it, the ‘swap shop’…

Why not set aside a space for residents to drop off unwantedbut good stuff – for others to use…instead of trucking it away, to be dumped into a large hole in the ground (planet earth), to only eventually leach out into everything…? Why not invest in a ‘swap shop’ area?

Wouldn’t a space such as this help a town save on expenditures for removal of said stuff? All the while allowing residents to utilize perfectly good stuff someone else simply tired of – thus, maximizing the re-use of already consumed goods, which in turn minimizes consumerism? Which, ultimately, lessens our impact on the world around us?

I realize a resource such as this improves things ever so slightly, yet, it’s a step in the right direction…how can anyone disagree with that?

Every piece of ‘junk’ removed by another resident (recycled) vs. an outsourced company, is so much better for everyone…why not have an area designated for this?

Finn and I visit our transfer station once a week (at minimum). It’s the place we take our trash and recyclables as well our time to visit the ‘Swap Trailer.’ I love this place.

I’ve picked up such cool stuff here.

And not only is everything being recycled, it’s also free. Free and recycled. What a fun combination!

I also realize not everyone shares my sentiment about re-using, and that’s ok. Everyone’s different. If you don’t want to ‘pick’, don’t.  But do drop off your good stuff, versus just chucking it in the trash. Don’t have a local transfer station, why not consider donating?

I’ve shared photos of things that I’ve found over the years, though I’ve never shown the space in which I find my treasures…it’s quite the place…Here’s one of the signs viewed upon entering.

swap trailer

enter at own risk

And here, is another…

The swap shop is a trailer. A tractor trailer, an 18 wheeler kind of trailer, but on the ground.

One end is open, with double doors. Each door proclaiming a sign…that’s the entrance.

Various shelving is found along the two long walls…

shelf of stuff

books on shelf

And things are piled in, around, and on these shelves…clothing, shoes, utensils, ice skates, skis, furniture, toys, books, candle stick holders, glassware, dishes, books, small appliances, instruments, picture frames, baskets, cameras, rugs, framed prints, tools, lamps, curtains, baking pans, gardening tools, boots, antiques, mirrors – are a few of the things one might find on any given day…the list is endless – seriously.

I have found SO many great things here!

Granted, some things really should be trashed, like the badly chipped vase viewed in the photo above…though, that’s my opinion…I guess someone could argue it’s still usable – I wouldn’t use it, but that’s my opinion… who’s to say what’s trash and what isn’t?

One man’s trash is another’s treasure!

You just never know what you might find…

tic tac toast

mask

Below are a few more recent acquisitions…love ’em, especially the metal ice cube trays…and the vintage pyrex mixing bowls!

metal ice cube trays pyrex bowls + metal mixers

turquoise pyrex

muffin tins + baking sheet

I wish I could have taken this (imagine it, cleaned, painted and with new hardware) from the outdoor covered area – too bad I had no where to store it! What a sideboard it could have made!!

side board

Do you like to recycle and go ‘junking’? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

All the best to everyone in 2014, may it be a prosperous and peaceful year for all!

Happy New Year!

Enjoy!

s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g money ideas

I’m all about saving money, not spending money or simply utilizing what I have.

Though, of course, money is a necessity for a lot of useful things, like new eyeglasses, and even sometimes those not so ‘needed’ things…like chocolate or match box cars…but today I’d like to share five ways I saved money this week…in some cases, even made money;

1. Brought my coffee from home instead of buying take-out.

2. Packed my lunch (and Finns) at home, including beverages (water in re-usable glass jars), and snacks.

3. Purchased a down winter jacket (Adidas) from a local consignment shop (a steal at $15!).

4. Collected $25 from the children’s consignment shop I consign with (this is where I made money).

5. Borrowed books and movies from our local library.

The only money I spent was $15 for the down jacket. I have to post a photo of it – I love it!

Now I know most of you probably already do a lot of these things, so this is really a friendly reminder…

There has been much talk about preparing food at home, packing lunches, investing in travel coffee mugs, etc…but with the holiday season upon us and time always moving faster and faster, why not be reminded of these little ways to save money and hassle.

Why not shop at a consignment shop? Why not check out books from your local library? Why wouldn’t you consign your good unwanted items? Making lunch at home requires a bit of fore thought, but not that much…really.

Saving money means doing more of what you want to do…whatever that may be.

What little things do you do to save money?

Enjoy!

thrift shopping around the world

Years ago, Michael and I spent a year and a half traveling around the world. We visited 13  countries and needed a variety of clothing – what to do when your carrying everything you need on your back? Keep things simple and visit thrift shops when possible (not every country has thrift shops of course).

We utilized thrift shops (charity shops) while traveling through Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. We picked up sheets (I cut and sewed) to use as curtains in our little car while driving around NZ, we also bought ceramic mugs and a few kitchen items for cooking while camping – we had camping cooking gear, but the luxury of having a car made it easier to have a few ‘nice’ things to eat and drink from – and then we left them in the last hostel where we stayed on our last night… I’m sure someone took advantage of them, if not the hostel itself, than another traveler. While in Australia I was in need of a wool sweater and I found a beautiful one. When we left, I re-donated it back to another charity shop. And in England I was in need of some fun party clothes, so off to the charity shop I went – when we left England I kept what I could (meaning what might come in handy later and fit in my backpack) and gave away the rest…

It’s a simple and cost effective way to add to your existing wardrobe while traveling. Particularly after a few months of wearing the same articles of clothing, day in and day out, it can get a bit dull…so why not utilize thrift shops, if the country your visiting has them? Plus, you may find things you wouldn’t normally at home – all the more fun!

Remember thrift shopping is not only for when your home, they are also fantastic resources to make use of, while abroad, as well…

Finn, Jess and I recently checked out the charity shop, here on Tortola, and this is what I picked up;

toy planehammer + sawpuddle bootscaprisAs serendipity would have it, Finn has been looking for a toy saw – and there it was, bonus wrench to go with it. Wooden toy plane, perfect, as Finn had just experienced his first plane ride. And then, oddly, it rained here (it’s not the season for rain), and Finn was missing his rain boots – voila, there they were…a little boy can never have too many rain boots, right?

And finally a pair of capri pants for me. I did need another pair while here as my summer weather wardrobe was lacking when I packed…

Total for all $2.50.

Charity shopping around the world – why not?

Enjoy.

transfer station treasures

Dump shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. To be factual, my town transfer station is my favorite shopping destination. A big part of the transfer station is the ‘freebie barn.’  It’s a trailer set aside to house free (but good) stuff that residents no longer want/need…Who doesn’t like a deal? And a free deal, is the best deal around, right? Added bonus, this stuff isn’t ending up in the landfill or worse…why don’t more towns and cities incorporate this into their budgets? It boggles my mind – if my little town can do it, surely others can too…it’s another form of freecycle – but centrally located versus driving all over – what’s not to love about that? Extra added bonus – the savings. Childrens books and toys add up (everything adds up doesn’t it?), money saved is money available for other things, or simply more time to do more things…money equals time, the less money you need, the more time you can have (sort of – everything has its trade-offs) to do what it is you want to do. We’ve chosen to live on a much tighter budget than most, though these past years spent raising my son are worth so much more than money could ever buy…and shopping is so much more fun this way.

Here’s a few recent finds…amazing huh? It’s nothing, yet so much, all at the same time…

glassware

I just love these little etched vintage glasses – a whole set of 12 – perfect for little man. Estimated savings, at least $20.

childrens booksMore books. We read a lot around here, so new books are always welcome – estimated savings, easily $40.

childrens illustrations

These are the first two illustrations of ‘Animal Stories’ seen above – they are beautiful in person and will look great framed. Free art – estimated savings, $40.

childs puzzle

Finn is getting into puzzles and he LOVES trains, so when I found this (new, still in box!) I had to pick it up. Estimated savings – $12.

kitchen tools

Finn is also really into cooking, so when I found a bunch of kitchen tools (some even kid sized!) I had to take them too! Here’s Finn enjoying his latest treasures. Bonus they were all metal or wood (spatula, spoons, pie server, tongs, ice cream scooper (vintage), whisk, honey spoon)! Even the little people joining him were found at the dump (of course!). Estimated savings – $25.

play barn yard

Yet another plastic toy saved from landfill – even the batteries still work as do the sounds and songs which are played when the doors open and close…little animals were free too. So much plastic in the world – it’s frightening…estimated savings – $35.

file sorter

File sorter. I can always use something like this, but I won’t buy this type because they are plastic, but I’ll use it and then recycle it when I’m done. And when I say recycle, I mean I’ll give them away to someone who wants them or return them to the ‘freebie barn.’ Estimated savings – $15.

sea shell book

And finally, this cool (vintage) book about shells. I love shells, I always have. I had to pick it up, the illustrations were too cool…estimated savings – $8.

Total estimated savings  – $195.

Savings to the planet, priceless.

Other ways to save money and resources -check out flea markets, freecycle, craigslist, consignment shops, stay out of the mall and big box stores, trade with friends, shop for big items during annual sales, check your local newspaper… you just never know what you may find.

Also, visit your local library. Books, music, newspapers, magazines, movies – are all available for you to use (and borrow) for free…ok, not ‘free’ the town has to pay for all those books, movies, newspapers, etc. and the library itself, but then, its’ citizens (including and most importantly, children) get to enjoy all those ‘free’ treasures…money and time well spent I’d say.

enjoy.

handmade with love

Is your christmas tree in need of a little handmade love? Well, if so, here are three simple (and inexpensive) ideas to do with your kids or for yourself…why not bring out the child out in you this holiday season?

1.Bake-art dough

Bake art dough is not edible, but it’s a super fun project for kids and grown-ups alike. You can use cookie cut-outs or design your own. Bake, cool and decorate. Use non toxic paint, markers, glitter, tissue paper, ribbon…whatever your fancy. We kept things simple – paint, glue and sparkles, perfect for 2 year old (or 40 year old) fun!

All you need is; 

2 cups unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup salt

3/4 cup water

Decorations/art supplies

Ribbon or metal hook to hang with…

How to;

Blend flour and salt, add water and stir. When water is mixed in, work dough into ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, or until the consistency is smooth and pliable. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if too watery, more flour…

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thick.

2.dough rolled

Cut out ornaments and place on cookie sheet.

3.finn printing

Using a straw, make a small hole near the top of each ornament – before baking.

Bake at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes – or until completely baked through.

With spatula, remove baked pieces, place on cooling rack and allow to cool, completely.

Decorate till your hearts content…

4.christmas ornaments

Wrap carefully once the holidays are over and store in a dry place.

*These also make sweet gifts for friends and family.

Write the year it was made on the back and by whom, it makes for a lovely keepsake…

2. Pinecones, glitter + ribbon 

Another beautiful, and nearly free idea – pinecones. Decorate with glitter and hang with ribbon.

5.pinecone ornament

*This idea is also great for gift wrapping. Notice the ‘cookie’ cut-out decoration in the background, they look wonderfully festive on the tree…

3. Thrift shops

You just never know what you might find. I recently found these beautiful decoupaged vintage christmas balls (a set of 12 – each one is unique).

7.thrift find8.santa + pipe9.christmas ball6.box

Complete with ribbons and storage box, for only $12. If you love thrift shops as much as I do, then you know the feeling – it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. What’s not to love?

Magic abounds…

enjoy.