Hello everyone! First, I'd like to thank everyone that left me kind words of encouragement when I had my hissy fit on the last post. You are all correct, I need to focus on the positive and eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative and don't mess with Mr. In-Between! Oh sorry! That's a fun song isn't it? And a lot of truth in it also! Here's a Bible verse that all you dear hearts remind me of:
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
First, above is a picture of the settee that Ran and I reupholstered this weekend. Slowly, we are redoing all our old furniture into neutral colors because part of the fun of owning a home is decorating it for the various different seasons and having a plain background makes the job a lot easier. We used plain old natural cotton duck. Made in the USA at the grand cost of $6 a yard. I found this little beauty years ago at a little gift shop in Fontanna Wisconsin. It was part of a window display and wasn't even for sale. When I asked the shop owner if it was for sale, she looked surprised. "You want that?" she asked. Rule number one in life is that it never hurts to ask! (And this applies to asking God, also.) At the time it was upholstered in a a very ugly lime and turquoise brocade that was riddled with stains. She was using it to display a plethora of pretty pillows and throws. You really had to look hard to find it under all the pretties. So the first thrifty tip is to keep your eyes open. The second is to learn to recognize treasures when you see them. As they say, this little loveseat had good bones; hardwood frame, eight-way hand-tied springs, nice proportions, etc.
Well anyway, back to the story, she offered it to me for sixty-five dollars, which I snapped right up. You have to know when to dicker and this wasn't the time. I hate to haggle, but here's a tip for bargaining that I've found effective. Say you are at an estate or garage sale and you see something you would love to have but the price seems high to you, what do I do? First I ask the price. Even if the price is clearly displayed. This opens up the dialogue. Then I say something to the effect, "Gee it's a beauty, but I wasn't planning on spending that much money today. I'll have to think about it." Then begin to walk away. Fifty percent of the time, the seller will offer a lower price right then. But sometimes they will say that come back tomorrow and the prices will be reduced to which I reply, "Oh I don't live around here." Usually they will then offer you a lower price. Unfortunately, sometimes sellers just don't budge and you really do have to walk away. But on the other hand, if it's really something that you would love to have, it may mean juggling the budget, putting more water in the soup, forgoing that morning cup of coffee to get it. I rarely regret making the sacrifices. Our entire cottage is furnished in those little indulgences. Rarely have we stepped inside a furniture store. Rarely have we spent over one hundred dollars for anything, except the mattresses. A good mattress is crucial to a good night's sleep. A good night's sleep is crucial to a healthy life. A healthy life is crucial to a happy life. Etc., etc., etc.
Once we purchased the settee, the next challenge was to get it home. You see, we always pay cash for our cars and buy them used, so that means we often have small cars like Geos, Kias, and now an Aveo. Not exactly heavy-duty hauling vehicles! But our motto is there is nothing that you can't haul, given enough rope, bungee cords, and duct tape. So another tip is to always be prepared. It's not just for Boy Scouts! You never know when you'll come around a corner and find that someone has tossed a lot of leaded glass diamond paned windows that would look perfect in your shed (which happened to us BTW), or there's an unadvertised estate sale at the pretty house that you've been driving past and admiring all these years. Estate sales are fun even if you are broke. You get to see inside of houses that you drive pass daily and it seems that the people that hold them always have wonderful stories. I just find it fascinating to see how people furnish their homes, don't you? I think it says a lot about the people residing inside. You can tell at a glance if a person is practical, or a romantic, or a history buff, or an artist. It's so interesting. A good old country auction is a fun cheap way to spend the day also.
On another tangent completely, the other day Ran called to ask if he needed to pick anything up at the store on the way home. We needed some lettuce so I asked him to pick some up. Well! he showed up with one of those tubs of mixed greens that took up just about the entire refrigerator space. It was just marked done to $2.50 so he couldn't resist. In the past he has come home with an entire grocery bag of bananas reduced for quick sale, or carton of cereal that was going for cheap because the stock boy accidentally cut the tops off the boxes when he opened the carton. It's been good practice for learning to go with the flow and use your creativity! BTW, I baked banana bread and cakes and froze them, plus made banana pudding, plus just froze some for later. We used them up! The cereal was poured into Ziploc bags and the boys ate it until it was gone. Fortunately teenage boys can eat a lot of cereal!
Anyway, we are eating a lot of salads so I thought I'd share one of the ways we love to make them. Take about 1/4 cup of pepper jelly (we use Dickinson's, I really need to make my own this summer) and heat it in a small saucepan until it starts to melt. Add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar. Pour over your greens. It makes a slightly wilted lettuce salad. Yum! Extra good if you add some Feta or Gorgonzola cheese and some pine nuts, but tastes good on it's own too.