Friday, March 30, 2012

Not Dead!

How many times have I had to use that as my title now? I promise to improve soon. My next job (which will probably take me another 2 weeks) will be to catch up with all my blog pals before hopefully getting back into the swing of regular posting. In the meantime, enjoy the thrilling highlights of the past fortnight.

The entire family came down with a horrendous flu-like bug that was going around Firstborn's class. The kids got stomach symptoms. The Captain and I were thankfully spared those, at least. But after having to soldier on for two weeks when I just wanted to lay down and die, I will take herbs, teas and kooky hippie supplements every day for the rest of my life rather than ever get sick again. I suppose I could also eat better.

RB has a new tutor! Finally! After 2 1/2 months of searching, his program provider has finally sent us someone new, and she is settling into the job really well. At the risk of tempting fate, I think we might finally have the dream team we've been looking for to work with our little monster! A few of you were wondering what on earth was taking so long, and the answer is that we live in the middle of nowhere. It's really that simple. Living where we do makes finding anyone to do anything a bit of a challenge. But when you're looking for someone to do a really important, demanding job like this one, finding the right person is nothing short of a kerfuffle. If you don't believe me, ask the mass of new grey hairs on top of my head, or the bags under my eyes. My next house will be smack in the middle of the city!

In other good news, I've completed a 5-minute wreath just in time for Easter. Behold:

If you'd like to do this, and have five minutes to spare, all you need is a circle of cardboard, a bag of basket grass, two dozen dollar-store plastic eggs, some ribbon and/or tulle for a bow and a hot glue gun. If you have a cat, the fun is doubled.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Would Bet Lynch Do?

If you're not a longtime fan of Coronation Street like me, ignore the title. It's just not that important to the content of this post. And when I claim to be a "longtime fan", I mean that I watched the show with my parents from about the age of three and then finally gave up a few years ago after the plot lines got too ridiculous and sensational. When the writers go back to penning stories that involve Norris choosing his wardrobe for his upcoming summer holiday to Bournemouth while Rita makes pithy remarks from the back room of The Cabin (are Norris and Rita still alive?), I'll start tuning in again.

But I digress. Here's what I actually want to talk about:

My new leopard-print jacket! I am one peroxide job away from being Bet's younger sister.

This jacket is a perfect example of what I was talking about in my last post (has it really been almost 2 weeks? Yeesh!). I found this while having a leisurely browse through a few of my favourite online window-shopping stores. This faux-fur leopard-print jacket was in the Cleo clearance section. The original tag on it was $200, and I got it for $30. On my last trip to Value Village, I found a few similar used coats of lesser quality than this one in the $50 range. I won't harp on it. I did that last time. But this strengthens my resolve to stay out of that place.

When my coat arrived in the mail, I ripped it open and pretty much just stuck my face into the amazing furry softness. My mom had a couple of faux-fur coats in the early 80's and I can promise you they didn't feel anything like this. Faux has come a long way! 

Then I had a look at the attached tags and discovered that, in addition to the insane discount and dreamy softness, this coat is also safe to put in my washer and dryer. No dry cleaning required! Can you hear angels singing yet? This is the thrift shopper's equivalent of winning the lottery and on the same day discovering that Colin Firth has a crush on you! So, as you can probably guess, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. 

And also a bit like putting on a low-cut top and some stiletto heels and pulling a few pints...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Breakup

Judging from the response I got on my last post, I think I made this Value Village situation seem much more exciting than it actually was. Like most breakups, no one thing just "happened". This breakup has been a long time in coming.

For the last year or so, I've been noticing something curious every time I go to good old Village des Valeurs. All my favorite brands (ie. the ones I can't generally afford to buy new and at their regular price) have been steadily becoming more expensive. To some extent, I expect this. Value Village has a much larger selection than the average little thrift store, and everything is well-organized, so sizes and specific types of items are much easier to find than anywhere else. I'll pay a little more for this kind of convenience. But only a little more.

When I started thrifting, I could easily find a pair of Gap jeans in the $5 range, and at our (now closed) small town thrift store I found several pairs for only a buck each just a couple of years ago. Even with inflation since that time, I think up to $8 is reasonable for a pair of second-hand jeans of a decent brand. But now, on average, I'm finding that Value Village is charging upwards of $13 for the brands that flatter my particular body type. At best, I'm getting them now for $10. If I find them for $8 or less, I look very closely, because it almost always means that they're fraying at the bottom or have a bleach stain or rip on them somewhere. As an all-round cheapskate, I'm rather good at finding deals everywhere I go, so I know that if I wait for a really good sale on the Old Navy/Gap website, I can find a pair of brand new jeans for $10 or less. So why on earth would I buy them used, worn and in need of at least one good wash for the same price or higher at a second-hand store?!

After picking up the Captain on Thursday, we made our usual trek to the big Value Village and I walked around the entire place, becoming more and more frustrated every time I found something cute that I wanted to buy, only to find that the price was barely less than I would pay on clearance from the original retailer. In a few cases, factoring in the cost of dry cleaning actually made the item more expensive than buying it new. In the end, I walked out of there with only a few books and toys for the kids, and absolutely nothing for me. That has literally never happened before. Value Village robbed me of the one true thrill of thrifting--finding an exceptional deal on something I love. And that's when I decided that enough is enough. The time has come. I need to see other thrift stores.

So that's it. Value Village and I are broken up, kaput, splitsville. Should I ever again find myself somewhere as stylish as Montreal, I may give in to the odd holiday fling. But as my main thrifting squeeze, Value Village has become way too needy.

Even in Manitoba where the thrifting opportunities are much more scarce than in other places, the opportunities do still exist. As they say, there are lots of fish in the sea. I just need to get out there and find them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Have a Healthy Weekend. TGIF!

No craft this week, because I was busy picking up my husband from the airport and then breaking up with Value Village. More on that when the loss is not quite so raw...

Sister #2 (who is running a marathon this year) posted this great little video that spoke to me and my New Year's Resolution. If you have 10 minutes to spare, take a look. The message is worth it!

Back with a real post soon!!