I'm Outta Here!

Readers, I'm packing my bags and getting out of town for a long weekend. Although when you're unemployed aren't they all long weekends?

Anywhoo, I'll be spending today, Friday and Saturday at Merlefest and Sunday I'm going to Belmont to represent Carolina Pear at a bridal show. Normally I subscribe to the motto "don't tell the internet when you go out of town" but in this case I'm not worried. 1) Hubby's not coming with me so the house isn't unattended. 2) If you stalkers can successfully find little old me in the giant crowds at Merlefest, you should join the FBI because you've got tracking skills.

Of course, I'd love to see lots of people at the bridal show so if you're in the Reidsville, NC area Sunday morning come on by! We'll have some note cards for sale so even if you're not a bride-to-be you can find some good stuff at our booth.

Catch you on the flip side!

Thrifty Finds In Unexpected Places

Hey guys! Did you miss me? I know my last post mentioned how much free time I have, but this past week or two I have been busy, busy, busy getting Carolina Pear's spring collection ready. I can't divulge the goods yet, but here's what my desk lap looked like this afternoon as I was in full-on packaging mode.

Even though I've been working my fingers to the bone (folder)* I'm never too busy to snag a good deal when I see one.

*See what I did there? I'm so clever.

Case in point: I was at my local bulk sales warehouse, buying tubs of baby formula when I saw the perfect coat: a knee-length, lightweight Kenneth Cole trench coat for $20. I know, right? The coat came in a variety of colors, but I picked red because it would be good for Wolfpack tailgates. Plus, wouldn't it be fun to be the girl in the red rain coat on a dreary day? I thought so.

Next, I have to show you my new sunglasses. I was out picking up supplies for Carolina Pear when I spotted these at Office Depot. Yes, Office Depot. I saw them on my way out the door and I actually stopped in my tracks, yanked them off the display and got back in line to pay for them. Total impulse purchase, but I love them so.

They're just what I needed. I love vintage looking glasses as much as the next hipster wanna-be girl, but unfortunately most retro styles are too big for my tiny little head. I've actually been lucky enough to find small-ish aviators not once, but twice. Sadly the first pair broke and the second pair ended up lost in a creek during a camping trip. *sob* So, knowing my track record I'm going to be extra careful with these. I rather like how they look on me.

Pardon my hair, and my language, but it is humid as shit here. There's no point in trying to make it look decent. Tragically, in the South, humid as shit is a regularly occurring meteorological condition and there's nothing I can do about it. Well I could move, but until they build a Bojangle's in the desert, I'm staying put. Mama likes her biscuits.

This little green jacket is my latest find. I was scouring thrift stores for plates/bowls/cake stands to use as display pieces for an upcoming bridal show when I happened to see the jacket. I wasn't even looking at clothes, but someone had just happened to hang it on the end of a rack and the bright green called to me.

Now, I know finding a jacket at a clothing thrift store isn't unexpected but for $4.50 it's still a heck of a bargain. I just love the fabric-covered toggle buttons. Although if the humidity keeps up - and it will - I won't get to wear it for a while.

Have you found any steals lately?

Closet Re-Do On The Cheap

Since I have so much free time on my hands, I've been taking on some projects at home that I wouldn't normally have time to finish in a timely manner. I've been wanting to re-organize my closet for some time now. Me, re-organize something? I know, shock of the century. This isn't a typical how-to post, since this project was designed around the particulars of my closet and possessions. However, I thought the best way to explain myself was through pictures, so I'll let them do the talking. Speaking of pictures, let me preface this post by apologizing for the awful photo quality. A windowless walk-in closet doesn't really provide the best lighting, so we've got pictures with the flash on, pictures with no flash, and crappy pictures all around. BEFORE: in diagram and photo format, naturally The before isn't terrible, I admit that. My biggest problem was that most of my shoes were being stored in their boxes. Since I'm a lazy ass, 98% of the time I wore the shoes that weren't in boxes while my other shoes sat well-preserved but unworn. I decided that if all my shoes were out in the open, in one place I might actually wear some of them. So I set about doing just that. The only problem was I didn't have enough shelf space to accommodate them all, but I figured out a way around that. All I had to do was add extra shelves, in between the existing ones. Buying new wire shelves to match what I have would be ideal, but that costs money. So I scavenged and came up with a solution that only cost me three dollars. Yes, three. I scavenged some cardboard box lids from my mom's office to serve as the shelves. A flat piece of cardboard is fairly sturdy on its own, but by leaving 3 sides in tact the lid would maintain most of its original rigidity and strength. Everything else I raided from my craft supply stash. DURING:
My cardboard lids, before they were reborn as shoe shelves

Making sure the lid would fit on the shelf. It did.

Measuring where to make my cuts.

Using an x-acto and cutting mat, I made my cuts that would position the support structure.

Eye-balling where I wanted the shelf to hang.

When I said support structure I meant leftover ribbon and duct tape.

See, duct tape.

How I wanted the shelf to hang.

How the shelf actually hung. wop wop

After some adjustments, the shelf is behaving.

The back of the shelf sits flush against the wall, adding extra stability.

Taking shelf #1 for a test drive, making sure that the shelf holds weight and leaves room for shoes underneath. Check and check.

As usual, Yo-Yo provided quality control.

After a successful test drive I had to move all my shoes to the bedroom to make way for the "construction" and allow for the super fun organization. That's not sarcasm, I enjoyed that part.

Cutting lengths of ribbon and marking where the ribbon should hit the shelf - this ensured each shelf had equal spacing.

I tied the ribbons into pairs to organize (and cat proof) them, but don't they look sort of pretty? No, just me? Moving on.

I hung the rest of the shelves exactly the same way, so just look at the above pictures 5 more times. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Hooray! The shelves are done!
I know what you're thinking. "She said this project cost her $3, but so far she's only used free stuff!" Hold on, I'm getting to that. My old system didn't have a good way to store my handbags, so I figured I'd work on that too.

I took some shower curtain rings (left by the previous owners of our house, so free) and bought some metal washers (the mysterious $3).

I threaded the washers onto the shower curtain rings to create hooks that would hang from the wire shelf over hubby's hanging rod. (If the knobs on the curtain rings were bigger I wouldn't have needed the washers, but they were small enough to slip between the wires. Doh!) Hello, handbag hooks!
Now all of my shoes are out in the open, just begging to be worn. I grouped my shoes by type/occasion so I could easily find the perfect shoe for every outfit. Except I'm a girl, so I never feel like I have the perfect shoe for any outfit. *sigh*

All but 3 pairs fit on the narrow shelves (and adjacent hanging cubby thing). For the sake of over-organization, I pulled out my business-y heels and put them on the shelf above hubby's hanging rod, so now I have a little room to expand in the main section. I laid down some extra cardboard sheets for the heels to rest on. This serves two purposes: 1) it keeps the shoes from dropping dirt onto the clothes below, and 2) it keeps the skinny heels from constantly falling between the wires.

As a final touch, I arranged my handbags in color order. Would you expect anything less?

So that's my latest trash to treasure slightly better than trash adventure. What have you been up to?

My New Best Friend

You know how people say they can't imagine their life without their spouse or child? Well, I can't imagine doing laundry without my New Best Friend. Last month we flew to Maryland to see hubby's sister, C. While we were there we paid a visit to Ikea - that's right, I don't shop at Ikea, I visit Ikea, like it's friggin' Disney World - and I spent some time wandering around the clothes organization section. I was admiring all the beautiful baskets, bins and hampers when I found my New Best Friend (NBF). My NBF is 5 feet tall, enclosed on 3 sides, has 5 storage compartments and is on wheels. It seemed perfect for sorting clean but un-folded laundry. For only $30 there was no way this thing wasn't coming home with me. Only one problem. My NBF was available in the self-serve warehouse, but the tag was torn so I had no idea what aisle/bin to look for. I asked an Ikea employee for help, but I'm pretty sure I sounded like a giant idiot. "Yeah, I want to buy this thing and I need to know where to find it. It's white, and it has shelves, and it organizes clothes." I had just described 75% of Ikea's inventory, which would explain the blank stare I was receiving. It took 3 salespeople to help me, only because the last one was smart enough to ask me to point out my NBF in the showroom. Why didn't I think of that? After I tracked it down, my happiness was short-lived. I had my NBF in my greedy little hands, but the bag was going to be too big to fit into our suitcase. Hubby didn't appreciate my suggestion to drag it through the airport and gate-check it with the stroller, so it had to stay in Maryland until C drove down to NC for a visit in a few weeks. But I had just found her! How could I leave without my New Best Friend? Sob! As promised, C took good care of my NBF and we were soon reunited. Look how happy she is, sorting my clothes for me:
I swear, this thing makes all the difference in the world with my laundry. One thing I cannot stand is to have a giant pile of clean clothes that has no home, but migrates from couch, to bed, to dresser and back to the couch again. Mainly because my cats LOVE to lay on clean laundry and shed all over it - it gives them some sick satisfaction, I'm sure. Also, I hate when hubby wakes me up just to ask where he can find clean boxers. My NBF takes care of all of this and more. Whenever it's time to unload the dryer, I just wheel my NBF to the laundry closet, and put all the clean clothes into the appropriate compartment. Then I just wheel it into our room or the nursery to put away the clothes. If I don't fold them right away, as is usually the case, the separate compartments help narrow the search if we need something specific. The 3-sided enclosure works wonders at keeping the cat hair at bay. Lastly, it is the perfect size. It is large enough to hold 2-3 loads of laundry, but it isn't big enough to allow me to REALLY get behind on folding clothes. The only thing it doesn't do is fold the clothes for me. Surely one of you can invent me an automatic clothes folder? Pretty please?

Little Black (MOH) Dress

You guys remember Rachel? Not only am I in charge of designing her invitations, I have the pleasure of being her Matron of Honor.* Instead of picking out boring old bridesmaids dresses each bridesmaid gets to pick out a black, knee-length dress. Yes. Any dress I want as long as it's black, knee-length and not strapless. OK when I write it that way, it sounds a bit picky but it really was awesome.

I know every bride tells you "you can totally where this again!" but I really will wear this again.

It's an adorable little dress from Old Navy, with an adorable little $35 price tag. Can't beat a $35 bridesmaid dress, right? Between the ruffles, deep v-neck and eyelet fabric I can see myself wearing this to brunch, parties or even work - if I ever get another job.

Do you want to see the best part?

That's right ladies, I can fit into a medium! Granted, it's Old Navy so their sizes are all over the place, BUT it's a medium and I don't care.
To tie all the dresses together, all the bridesmaids are going to wear the same shoes - yellow patent pumps.

These I will absolutely wear again. I love me a pair of slutty shoes.

*Can I just say how much I hate the term "Matron of Honor?" I know it's because I'm a married lady, but matron just sounds SO EFFING OLD.

What A Crock!

Once I moved some of my kitchen gadgets and claimed some new counterspace, I finally had the space for a second utensil crock. I'm not a big fan of cramming 20 spoons into one crock; they don't really fit and they get all tangled. Who wants that?

I went to the store to buy the crock, when I found myself in a dilemma: do I save money and buy the simple ceramic crock or do I buy one of the fancy stainless steel utensil caddies. It's amazing how many options you have for organizing your spoons and spatulas. You can get a caddy that spins, a caddy that pivots, a divided caddy and a caddy with a built-in spoonrest. Seriously. This will hardly surprise you, but I decided to buy the cheap one and do some quick and dirty DIY to make it work better for me.

I grabbed some scrap cardboard out of the recycling bin - diaper box, maybe? - and cut two rectangles to fit inside the crock and cut a slit in each.
Then I inserted one into the other, to form an X, then put the X into the crock to divide it into 4 smaller cubbies.

Is it pretty? No. But it gets the job done and you can't see the cardboard unless you look down into the crock.
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