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Thanksgiving and The Black Friday Scorecard

27 Nov

I am Thankful for Thanksgiving. Is that a little redundant? Well it’s true. Because without Thanksgiving and its accompanying two-state-wide blizzard as an excuse, my sweet hubby probably would not have sat in a unheated bus station from 10:30 at night on Wednesday until 3:00 Thursday morning waiting for the  Greyhound that would bring him home to spend two and half blissful days with the kids and me. Without Thanksgiving and said blizzard, B would have stayed in Blackfoot, and, even though we would go to see him next weekend, he would probably not have had the chance to come back to Missoula again for a very long time. And, I may have mentioned this before, we love Missoula.

But we did get snow and we did get B and we did get turkied and pied and stuffing-stuffed, and snuggled and smiled and hugged and all-around familied (yes, I just verbed a word again) for two whole days.  And I am thankful.

Random crafty note: We made these little place markers for the table out of walnut shells, twigs, construction paper and candle wax. They’re supposed to be ships… like everyone’s own personal Mayflower. I think they turned out cute.

And then there was Black Friday.

Okay, let me just step up onto my soap box and say that I think the Black Friday shopping hullabaloo we Americans plan,prepare for and participate in year after year after year represents something seriously wrong with the spirit of our nation.  The commercialism! The indignity! The unabashed greed!

And down from the soap box… Wanna hear about all the stuff I got?

I have never gone out shopping on Black Friday of my own will and accord (once I was coerced- but I didn’t buy anything, I swear!), until this year. See, on Monday I was dropping some things off at the Goodwill donation door, getting ready for the big move and all, when the friendly, helpful, Donation-Taker Man ( that’s an official title) mentioned in his friendly, helpful way that on Friday the store would open an hour early and everything would be 50% off.

50% off on thrifty goodness? Vintagey-why-would-anyone-get-rid-of-this-awesomeness? I cracked. Yesterday morning, my MiL and I were third in line outside those shiny glass doors.

Here’s the breakdown: While all those suckers over at the mall (no offense to any of my readers who might be mall suckers) paid $75 for a pair of socks, a bottle of cologne and a food processor, I laid down $ 74.86 for:

3 pairs of (practically new) jeans for me

3 sweaters for me (including this pea-green vintage awesomeness)

2 dress shirts for B

1 scholarly- looking corduroy suit coat for B

and 1 pair of never-worn GAP khakis for B

Good deal, huh? But wait! That’s not all! I also wrangled:

1 skirt, 1 jacket, and 1 sweater for L

1 shirt, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of Handy Manny overalls (from Disneyland) for R

6 (count ’em) 6 matching picture frames

2 box sets of Pippi Longstocking books

5 American Girl books

And approximately 25 other excellent books in excellent condition for the kiddos.

Add my Black Friday haul to the handmade Christmas craft-stravaganza already in progress in my sewing corner, and my gift- giving is practically done. Snap. All hail the thrifting Queen.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as heartwarming and your Black Friday as frugally fabulous as mine.

Love, AM

No little old ladies were trampled by mob-mentality coupon holders in the making of this post.



Book Art

13 Oct

Okay, you all know how much I love books. So much that no matter how small our living space, I will always have room for more books. So much that I have never, ever left the library with fewer than fifty items on my check-out receipt. So much that the parental- guidance phrase I find myself repeating more than any other (yes, more than three-more-bites-of-broccoli, or feet-off-the-table, or did-you-brush-your-teeth) is Please- be- careful-that’s- not- how- we -treat- books. Seriously.

Which is why it has taken me so long to bring these ideas, born in my mind months ago, to fruition:

Those are book pages.

I confess. I took scissors in hand and CUT a book.

And I liked it. (shhh.)

I started a whole new section in my Etsy shop just to exploit my destruction. And you know what else? I can’t stop. I’ve got four or five others in the works right now.

Click here to view the wreckage. But I warn you- it’s hard to look away.

Love, AM

Old Window, Old Poem, New Art

6 Oct

I’ve had this old window for a couple of years…just sitting around…waiting to be used for something fabulous, but I was never quite sure what. Until last night. Then this idea hit me. It’s just a Sharpie, a little Dickinson, and an old piece of glass, but I love it! And hope is the thing with feathers, isn’t it? I think so.

Love, AM

Abitus Sed Non Oblitus (apparently this is Latin)

20 Jul

Not sure why I chose Latin. Perhaps I’m feeling classical. But anyway, Abitus Sed Non Oblitus is Latin for “gone but not forgotten,” which is how I am feeling about the first half of this summer. And by the way… how is the summer half over?? Wasn’t Memorial weekend only a few days ago? And now, suddenly I have a virtual (literally) stack of outings and events and crafty stuff I’ve been meaning to blog (I call this ‘The I Need to Blog This Stack’) with more being added every day.  This is, after all more than just a blog. It’s my journal, scrapbook, and family album all rolled into one. And there are so many things I don’t want to forget. Like:

Father’s Day, and the fun craft the kids and I made for B (it’s a key chain). And thanks to my friend Mariam for the idea…

Making Bog Babies with my babies…

The Fourth of July…

The way R ended up with these ‘Star Wars’ shoes instead of these shoes, even though he really, really wanted the supremely ugly Spiderman ones (I told him if he picked the shoes I liked I would buy him a toy to go with them. Yes, sometimes even I resort to shameless bribery. I couldn’t let my son walk around in those shoes. Look again. Seriously, look again. They have purple glitter on the toes)…

Camping at Holland Lake and sticking it out despite the thunder storm, then hiking to Holland Falls the next day…

This cute (if I do say so myself) skirt I made for a church fundraiser…

My L as the tiniest and cutest seahorse ever in Missoula Children’s Theater’s The Little Mermaid…

And me and B celebrating our 10 year (10 year!) wedding anniversary. I love you honey.

Not to mention doing Glacier National Park with the kids and Nanna, but that will have to have its own post because O. M. Guggenheim.

Hope your summer is keeping you busy and soaring as well.

Love, AM

They Are Just Things…

24 Jun

And I, as a homemaker, can make my home regardless of things. But they are kick-butt things, nonetheless. 🙂

I had a girlie thrift -store-spree- and-lunch date yesterday with one of my favorite people in the world, my dear friend S. If there were one gift I could give to everyone out there, it would be the gift of a friend who inspires you, who admires you (as you admire her),  and who understands you and your need for what I like to call The Thrill of the Thrift. Indeed, she too would possess such a need and would be happy to pay less than $20 for a day with you at anytime.

What think ye of my finds? I love the little ceramic box, which was marked with a boutique tag reading Vintage Flower Box $22, but for which I paid $2. And the tea kettle… I actually went looking for a thrifted tea kettle about a month ago, wanting it for a science experiment the kids and I were conducting, and couldn’t find one. But yesterday, when I wasn’t looking, of course I found no fewer than three. I bought the first one though, for its sunny color and simple design. The fabric stack I am very excited about and I think the vintage gray and white polka dot will be the first piece to grace the frame of…

my birthday gift! A lovely vintage dress form that I found on Ebay (thanks Mom and B!). I am so pleased with it. It shows a little wear, but it’s adjustable in more places than your standard dress form and, unlike the modern plastic versions, has a sturdy cast-iron stand and metal inner workings. I actually saw another vintage dress form at one of the shops we went to yesterday for twice what I paid for my baby. Oh yeah. The Thrill of the Thrift.

So, what to name her? Any suggestions?

Love, AM

Family Quilt, Grocery Haiku

15 Jun

Reading aloud to my children is one of my favorite things to do. On a typical day, the three of us will read together for an hour or more in the afternoon, plus another half hour or more at bedtime. I like to give them carte blanc at the library, to get them excited about their choices, and then to ask them questions about the story and what they think will happen before the next page turn. I am always amazed at the insightful answers they give. Even with L reading on her own now (chapter books!), reading aloud together is still a major harmonizer for this mamma and her babes.

But this past week, I’ve had a cold. And a sore throat. And my voice has been nearly gone. It’s not that I can’t read out loud so much as I just don’t feel like it. I hate not wanting to; it makes me sad. B will read to the kids when he’s home, but, as great as Daddy is at wrestling, hide-and-seek, and knowledge-of-all-things-Superman, he just doesn’t do stories like Mom (ie: he doesn’t do the voices).  I needed to find something the three of us could do together; a quiet, engaging project that would bring us as physically and mentally and spitirually close as our usual afternoon stories-and-snuggles sessions.  The solution? A family quilt.

L,R, and I designed it, cut it, laid it out, measured it, and have begun to sew it, using only fabric and materials that we already had on hand at home. Even Buzz Lightyear has pitched in. I think we will end up yarn-tying it rather than actually quilting, once we have it all pieced, just because that’s more on the kids’ skill level. It not even finished and I already have a special place in my heart for this nothing fancy, homemade, hand-made, love-made quilt that hasn’t cost a dime. It will be the perfect thing for snuggling up and reading stories once I’m feeling up to it again.  Now I know these pics aren’t much of a preview, but photos of the finished product will be coming soon.

To end things on a random note, I was putting away groceries earlier this evening when my sister-in-law, whose quick wit and ready vocabulary frequently inspire my green-eyed monster to rear her pretty little head (what? some monsters are pretty), challenged me to make up a haiku, based on what I was doing, on the spot. And here it is:

I opened the bag

It’s my fault, the grapes falling

Regret stains like grapes

BOOYAH. Deep, right? 🙂

Soar on,