Monday, July 30, 2012

Go, Packers!

Even though I'm not a big sports fan, it was hard not to get super excited to see the Green Bay Packers at their training camp this weekend. I was super impressed by all the drills, and the size of some of those guys. The fans were great, too, all dressed in green and gold.

Now I may not know any of the players, or any of the strategies, but I do know one's got me thinking about fall! I thought I'd be sad to start thinking about summer ending, but with as hot as it's been this summer, it's not sounding too bad. Sweatshirt weather is sort of welcome after a summer like this!

So football gets me thinking about fall. What about you? What signals fall for you? Are you ready for it?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Thrifty and Vintage Wedding Idea: Dessert Buffet

I'm coming up on my 8-year wedding anniversary. Phew, we made it this far! Here's hoping for 10! I really loved having a wedding. By not having a ton of money to blow on it, I got more creative and had more fun figuring out how to make it unique and suited perfectly to us.

So given that wedding season is upon us (and that I had the old photos out to find that photo of me in the sweater I had stashed away since high school), I thought I would post something that I thought turned out super cool. You could do this for your wedding and save all that money most people spend on cakes. Of course the "cake" part was one of my highest priorities with my wedding. I absolutely loved how this turned out.

I asked five or six of my friends if they'd be willing to bake something for the wedding. Now, normally I think the pot luck thing for a wedding isn't that great (who wants to cook when they're gettin' all fancied up to come party with you?). But I have friends who I know love to bake, and I knew this would be right up their alley. I didn't put any stipulations on them. All on their own they came up with what you see here.

They brought pies, truffles, cupcakes -- even an insane chocolate layer cake with green flames, topped with a vintage wedding cake topper I bought on Etsy! All I had to do was provide the decor for the table, some white Christmas lights, and it was done. It cost me next to nothing and my friends were excited to play a role. I think some of them were a little nervous that what they made wouldn't be "fancy" enough, but there wasn't a crumb left at the end of the night, so I'm pretty sure the guests didn't notice.

Did you do anything cool, vintage or thrifty for dessert at your wedding? I would love to hear your ideas! Because I liked getting married so much I might just do it again (yes, to the same guy) at 10 years. Who knows!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Song of the Day

This cover of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" is so vintage with the synthesizer that I just love it. I've been trying to talk my son into emulating Ben Fold's piano talents, and I think it's working out...he seems receptive!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Raising Thrifty Kids

Yeah, I'm thrifty. I sometimes consider reusing things like zippie bags, and stuff. I'll admit it. I keep way too much stuff and I really, really have come to dislike having to spend money on stuff I can find used. It's kind of like a sickness. But a sickness I'm not really interested in curing. It's like mommy's little quirk that everyone has to live with.

Not only that, but I'm constantly thrifting, too. And as a mother of two, my kids are inevitably dragged along to a LOT of estate sales, thrift stores, and all that. In fact, as a two-year-old, my son would sit on the little car at our local McDonald's and say "Hey, mama, I'm going to the thrift store!" Slightly embarrasing? Nah!

Here are my tips on raising a family that values thrift and also loves to thrift!

My son's latest estate sale "find" -- a glittery nutcracker. Hmm...

Raising Thrifty Kids Top 10 List:
  1. Be a good example by not wasting stuff and not being a shopaholic.
  2. Let them pick stuff out sometimes (you buy, or better yet, have them use their allowance).
  3. Set the rules; my kids know that they may not find anything at every thrift store we go to.
  4. Figure out fun ways to repurpose the stuff you find into cool kid projects -- how about a robot out of old metalware from the kitchen aisle?
  5. Know when to take their cues and change gears, because kids can only take so much "don't touch that."
  6. Set limits and budgets for things, like "Hey, you can pick out XYZ for your birthday party, but it has to be under $15" or whatever.
  7. Set up an allowance system. We give our older kiddo $2 (he's almost 5). He can spend half and he has to save the other half.
  8. Make them learn to pay for their stuff themselves; this is just a good practice for being polite, dealing with strangers, and learning how to count out proper change.
  9. Show them that you can often find the same stuff in a thrift store/garage sale/whatever that you can find in a regular store, but for much less.
  10. Let them make mistakes. They will make dumb choices with their money and buy poor-quality plastic junk. BUT, that in itself is a lesson. When you make them use their own money, maybe they'll feel a little of the hurt and make a better decision next time.

What are your tips for raising thrifty kids who like to thrift?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer cleaning

We did a LOT of cleaning this weekend, like the insides, outsides and screens on our windows (so that's what the outside looks like...!). But the most fun was getting our car cleaned. We came across these girls, raising money for the cheer team. 

I'm a sucker for a good, old-fashioned car wash. It was cheap, and the kids got a big kick out of it. My daughter tried to play cool, but I could tell she was impressed. Can't you see it on her face?

I am so exhausted from the work and play this weekend, I'm about to fall right into bed. I hope you all had a good weekend, too!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Needing to find a little joy

Oh, man. What awful news. Sometimes the news is just crushing. I almost just have to turn it off completely, because it starts to become hard to focus on other things. But you know what? Despite the sad news, the sickening, the purely unimaginable pain and heartache, there is good in this world. Happiness, love, joy and silliness.

Here's what brought me joy and happiness and love today. I hope your day was filled with a little joy, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Learning about vintage men's shirts

One thing that makes my hubs so great is that he's as obsessed as me with vintage stuff. He's crazy about men's vintage clothing, and has developed quite an expertise. He's always asking me "does it have a box hem?" or "is it Sanforized?" and honestly, until recently, I was pretty clueless.

So, I did what all nerds would do and I made a little cheat sheet. If you're interested in men's vintage clothing as a buyer or seller, you may find some tips here on dating and identifying your vintage shirts. And BTW, I didn't include this, but a box hem is apparently the type of hem that you don't tuck in -- it's straight hemmed all the way around.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vintage embroidery

A few weeks ago I scored a few really old (40s?) embroidery patterns and this week I gave one a test drive. Spoiler alert: if you are a friend of mine expecting a baby soon, avert your eyes! If you aren't familiar with embroidery, you usually transfer the pattern onto fabric with an iron. The design transfers onto the fabric so you can stitch over it, but also washes off afterwards so what you have left is your finished product, not the lines.
Here's the result (close eyes preggo friend):

The photo doesn't totally do it justice. It turned out cute, thankfully, because I haven't done any embroidery for years. There are zillions of resources out there, but I bookmarked the Home Sewing Projects site because it gave me a good refresher on the basic stitches. For this project, I mostly used the outline stitch.

If you haven't ever done embroidery before, I highly recommend it. I was even teaching my 4-year-old and he really enjoyed putting the needle in and seeing the colored thread start to form pictures. It's great for kids to learn small motor skills and they get a kick out of seeing what they can make.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Greetings from our garden

We're in a severe drought here in Wisconsin, but we've used our water sparingly to water the veggie garden and keep some of the flowers alive. Here are some sneak peeks at what's growing around here.

Delicata squash

Heirloom tomatoes

Adorable black (HOT!) schnauzer

The whole she-bang

Sunflowers (taller than me)

Zinnia (mailed to us by a realtor in the area as a promo)

I also picked up embroidery this weekend after a long time away. I'm using a really great 1930s pattern I can't wait to share.

What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Feel Good Friday

Thank goodness it's almost Friday!

I made the mistake of watching the news (more than the weather report) this week, and felt like we needed to get our weekend off on a positive note.

So we hit the local  drive-in diner and had ourselves a good, clean night of fun with a hula-hoop contest, ice cream, and lots of beautiful vintage cars and trucks. My favorite was the cherry red Ford you see above. good I could almost see myself driving it. 

Ah well, at least I could escape "reality" for a little while today. I hope you are ready to have a great start to your weekend, too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Love 80s Stickers!

If you're a Gen-Xer, you may have also called yourself a sticker collector at one point in time. I know I personally had multiple sticker books and was engaged in heated negotiations with my friends, with whom I liked to make trades. You want that puffy unicorn? That'll cost you at least one of those scratch n' sniff oranges, if not two. This was big business. All the "good stores" had stickers on rolls, and the sparkly or glittery ones were always in high demand. My absolute favorite sticker of all time was a brontosaurus that was filled with some colored goo that changed color when you pressed on it. Be-u-ti-ful.

When I came across a massive stash of stickers at a local estate sale recently, I got to thinking again about this long-ago passtime. I wondered if there were still people out there who collect these things. What are they worth? What do people (grown-ups?) do with them? What I found is that lots of people collect stickers. There's even a reference book out there about scratch-n-sniff stickers to help you figure out if you've hit a goldmine of sticker goodness.

Well, the sticker collection we scored isn't worth a mint, but we all had a lot of fun with them. My kids liked the football helmets (son) and hot air balloons (daughter) the best. I personally loved the scratch-n-sniff pickles, which amazingly still smelled like pickles after sitting on a shelf for 30 years.

What about you? Were you a sticker collector? What was your favorite sticker?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My big, fat vintage weekend

This weekend we crammed a lot of vintage-ing in, including a trip to a thrift store (major Garfield-themed scores including a really awesome Garfield phone), an estate sale (smaller, but very cut score of a tartan plaid pencil case from England), and the Vintage Flea & Finds Pop-up Market. The market was small, but we had tons of room to spread out and a great view of the lake.

It was great for shoppers, because the tiki bar (yes, there was a tiki bar out by the lake) had a special on Bloody Mary's and Sugarbomb was selling the most amazing cupcakes. So right there you've got a mass-load of deliciousness to go with your flea finding. Our two kids came along to help and they were super well behaved so the heavens were in alignment for us on many levels. I now have to put my feet up and rest up! Thanks for coming out if you were at the flea market. It was lots of fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting ready for the flea market

We're all super excited that we're going to be hawking our wares at the Vintage Flea & Finds Pop-up Market at the East Side Club in Madison this Sunday. But, we're also kind of panicky and nervous. None of us have ever done a flea market before, so there's a lot of unknowns. What we're darn sure of, though, is that we have a TON of stuff to sell, so we're hoping for a few buyers!

Here are a couple of highlights. This sweet little doggie ride-on toy would look so cute for a display. It's wood and in really nice condition. I don't feel too bad about selling it, because even though she looks happy enough on it in this photo, in the other photos she kinda cried being in it. I don't think she liked that she isn't quite big enough to get in and out of it herself.

We're also bringing about 15 vintage suitcases, TONS of patterns, jewelry, lots of men's and women's shoes, hats, and records both for listening and making into some crazy craft project.

If you're in Madiosn, please stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to the new Vintage Stuff Love blog!

Not that I grew up poor or underprivileged by any means, but we grew up frugal. Sometimes when I tell other people what we did as a family, or as individuals, to make ends meet, I get strange looks. And it sounds weird to hear the stories coming out of my mouth, because they’re kind of far away. Like a sound you hear while you’re still asleep, and you’re trying hard to come to the surface of your consciousness but it’s just not happening. You hear it, but it’s still kind of a dull, faraway sound.

Like here’s one: my dad used to trap muskrats for money. And here’s another one: my mom had to sell her guitar to buy us Christmas gifts one year. See? It sounds weird, like it’s from a memoir about someone else. But these are the true folklores of my family. We had some awesome times without much money, don’t get me wrong.

We spent a lot of time at garage sales picking up odds and ends and this and that, and if it broke or wore out, so what. I really did come to appreciate the quirky, old, vintage stuff too, though, and so even though I don’t think I’m hung up on material stuff, I really have come to appreciate the value of old stuff. In fact, I’m obsessed with old stuff. Some of my happiest times are when I’m digging through old stuff and finding those hidden treasures.

One of my favorite stories is how I bought a lovely vintage sweater from an old lady at a garage sale when I was just in high school. I said to myself “Someday, I’m going to wear this in my wedding.” And, years, later, that’s exactly what I did. And it was beautiful.

This blog is new, but it’s not my first blog. But this blog is incredibly special to me, because it’s about how to live life frugally, and appreciate the value of the material possessions you have. It’s about me, my family, my love of vintage things, and about the good times that can be had doing simple things with simple means. I hope you enjoy the adventure!
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