Loving Local

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Today I was on my way to the thrift store when I saw this sign on the way. Turns out a brand new quilt shop just opened up right under my nose! I put plans on hold and stopped in to check it out. I was immediately greeted by the smiling face of Terry, and we talked about all the things the great little shop has to offer. Classes, Meetups, Clubs, they have it! I’m really excited to check them out, Particularly this “Unfinished Objects” class, or UFO they have going on. For someone like me, who will start a bajillion things, then never finish, this sounds like it was made for me. They also have a “Block of the month” for the quilters, where you get a pattern and kit to make the said block, then they all come together to make a quilt. I really want to give this a shot after I learn the quilting basics, which Terry eagerly said she would show me how to do. The shop is all about promoting local business, as shown by some of the collections they have for sale. I took a peak around, and they have some absolutely stunning fabric.20160204_134530

 

These were some of my favorites. I’m in love with those graduating chevrons… I want to make something with them something fierce.

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These were more of the finished products, and the patters to go along with them. Just being around such an awesome place filled me with excitement and inspiration. I grabbed a calendar, and can’t wait to get started. My plans for the thrift store were long forgotten at this point. I went straight home and dove into my fabric bin to start a new project. I would really like to make something to hold my headphones in, and a sleeve for my rotary cutter. I have a few ideas on my Pinterest page. I’m washing my fabric now, and plan on getting an early start tomorrow.

 

So, If you happen to be in the Chesterfield area of Virginia, I would HIGHLY recommend you stop by this lovely little place.  Check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/materialthingsva .

 

 

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Snow day? How about a Sew Day!

My amazing husband gave me a new sewing machine for Christmas this year, and I have been positively itching  to play with it. Sewing has always been a skill I have wanted to learn. My Mother has an amazing gift, and some are my earliest memories are of things she had sewn for me, and me watching her at her machine. From Halloween costumes, to Renaissance Fair gowns, and just about any other project I had in my mind, I would run to her and ask if she could make it, and she would roll her eyes and she would make it happen. I have always wanted to be able to mend clothes, but as the prospect of a family comes closer and closer, I would really like to be able to do for my future kids what my mom did for me. So, with my new Janome all set up and ready to go, I took the dive and started somewhere.

I spent a good hour reading the manual and trying to familiarize myself with the machine, and had some scrap fabric to test out different stitches. I knew going into my project that I wanted something simple, quick and easy, and with one of my best friends having a baby recently, I’ve been all about the baby blankets.

20160128_160919If I learned anything from browsing on Reddit, it was to put the finished product first…

So, First step was to wash my fabric, and iron it out.  I believe I used 1 yard each of snuggle flannel that was on sale.  I then laid it out and trimmed it square, making sure my right sides were together (Its inside out).

 

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Next, I pinned the two layers together!

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Now…. TO THE SEWING MACHINE!!! I read a really great tip for beginners was to put a line of painters tape on where you wanted the end of your fabric to be, so help you with a straight and even seam. It worked wonders for me! This was somewhere around 1/2 to 1/4 inch.

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Slow and steady wins the race for me until I get more practice. I sewed around the whole thing, being careful to pull out my pins as I went along. I left about a 4 inch gap so I could get my hand in to turn it right side out.when I noticed….

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I was naughty and used the image on the fabric instead of my tape guide, and my seam went waaaaay off. That little blue ting is a seam ripper. Its my best friend and worst enemy. I spent the next 30 minutes tearing out the last foot or two of stitches. Apparently this is a part of sewing, and my mom told me to get used to it… lol

 

So I redid that seam, and turned it rightside out, making sure that I made the corners as square as I could. I then did another line around the blanket to give it a look and feel like there was a binding to it.

And here she is!

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Im so proud of my silly little project, and cant wait to go make something else. I want to make another of of these, but make it my size and try my hand at embroidering some designes on it, or to actually try to quilt it. Who knows!  I do see a trip to the fabric store in my future this weekend though. <3

 

Have a great weekend everyone! Till next time!

 

A

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The Snowpocalypse

Thanks to the big snow storm over the weekend, we have been cooped up in the house. I haven’t minded at all though. Being from Florida, snow is still a very new thing, so when we got close to 18 inches of it, I was in a veritable winter wonderland! (until I had to shovel it that is…)

 

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I was really excited to take my dog, Kora into the snow. It was her first, and she loved it beyond belief. She would try to eat the snow as it was falling, eat all the snow on the ground, and eat even more snow if you throw it at her. It was pretty funny to watch. She now gets crazy excited if I put on boots or a coat because she thinks its time to go play  in the snow. Shes such a great dog.

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Often times, when I am stuck in the house, I tend to want to cook or bake something. I had seen this delicious looking video on s’more brownies and new it had to be done. The recipe itself is super easy, and it can be thrown together in just a few minutes. What you do, is you take a box brownie mix and make it as the box directs. Pour about half in the pan, then put a layer of graham crackers, a layer of chocolate bars ( I used half Hershey bars and half semi sweet chocolate chips because that’s what was in the pantry.) and a layer of the giant marshmallows, then pour the remaining brownie batter on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

 

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Boom. That’s magic right there. It was absolutely delicious! It tasted more like a molten lava cake then s’mores, but that was ok with me. You’ll want to serve it hot though. as it cools down, the marshmallows begin to solidify again and it can get quite messy and chewy. But oh man was it worth it. I will be making these again that’s for sure.

 

The other thing that has kept me pretty occupied have been these wonderful things called Powersheets. They were created by Lara Casey, ( www.laracasey.com ) and have completely opened my mind to a whole new level of planning and goal setting. I’m a perfectionist. I will stop any sort of progress because i talk myself out of success, and make a million different reasons on why I cant do something. But, as I mentioned in a previous post, my word for the year has been “follow-through”, and I intend to follow though with that ( ha. see what I did there =P ) Essentially, these things try to help set you up for success by breaking down the big scary goals into manageable bits. It motivates you along the way, and provides an astounding community for support. I’m usually not into these kinds of things, but let me tell you that this women speaks to my soul. She preaches progress not perfection, and that done is better than perfect. I need to let go of the control death grip I have on life so that I can actually live it. While a lot of hers have to deal with her relationship with religion, and that doesn’t apply to me, I’m able to take that and focus it on other things that matter to my life specifically. The set of Powersheets I have are for 6 months, so be prepared to watch my progress with them I’m really excited about it.

 

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Here’s to hoping the snowplows will get to us soon,  and that school will soon be back in session. While I adore my family, I really do cherish the absolute quiet around the house while everyone is gone. I’m behind on housework, so that should be the plan for the next few days. Then, I would really like to get to work on my very first quilt. I’ve had the fabric for a little while( YAY STAR WARS!!!) , and my husband bought me the sewing machine I’ve been pining after for months for Christmas. Granted, I have no idea how to use it, but that should be a fun adventure in and of itself. Would quilt progress be something you would be interested in seeing? Do you have any crafts you’ve always wanted to do? Let me know!

 

Until next time –

 

<3 A

 

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Thrifty Finds and Busy Times

After the long weekend at home, I decided I would really like to try my hand at my local thrift shops today. I’m really glad I did! I initially went because I needed a few decorative pieces to fill an empty space on my mantle, and on a new bookshelf we just got. As always though, I have to make at least 2 laps around the store looking at everything. Here is what I ended up with!

 

The Lot

 

So, All in all, that’s a Mercury Glass style bowl, a glass lantern, an Eliot Porter picture, a quilt puzzle, glove bookends, four books, a pair of Yoga gloves, a Game Boy Color, A Game Boy Pocket, Pokemon Red and Yellow, and The Legend of Zelda; Oracle of Seasons. SCORE!!!

Gameboys

 

My favorite finds have to be the two Game Boy’s and the games. I have some really fond memories of getting my first game boy, and with it, Pokemon Red and Blue. I would spend HOURS glues to the screen, totally enraptured by the world of Pokemon. The struggle was real then too. The old Game Boy’s didn’t have a back light, so there may or may not have been more than a few groundings when I was little for staying up crazy late trying to play with a flashlight after I was supposed to be asleep.

 

 

Eliot Porter

 

This is a really beautiful picture. Google tells me that its by a photographer names Eliot Porter. I’m not sure if that’s correct yet, but I have sent a few emails to a few of the galleries that have his work to see if anyone can help me identify it. Its professionally framed, which leads me to believe that it has a little value to it, but we shall see. It sort of reminded me of Ansel Adams, so I picked it up.

 

Books and Ends

 

Im a sucker for books. I own way to may of them, and yet I always seem to bring more home. I adore these bookends too! These will go on that bookshelf I was talking about. The books are silly, and I’ve read the Dungeons and Dragons one before. I lost my copy when I loaned it to someone years ago, so I was really happy to find it randomly on the shelf today. The other books are supposedly in the vein of the Fifty Shades category. Every now and again, I’m in the mood for a good smut read. I’ll save these for then.

 

The past week has been a flurry of picking up the house. I have all of the Christmas decorations packed away, but I have a few of the boxes that still need to be taken up to the attic. I have developed a knack for putting blinders on and walking right by them instead of just doing the job. I really don’t like the attic… I also seem to have to run the vacuum and Steam cleaner multiple times a day. My puppy Kora is having a real issue with potty training. She doesn’t like going outside when its icy out, so she just uses the living room instead. It can be really frustrating.  So add that on top of trying to maintain some level of cleanliness around the house, and it can be pretty stressful. I am learning to tell myself that nobody’s house is as clean as they look in the magazines, or when you go to someones house for a party. We live in the house, and its bound to get dirty. That’s OK! Because it’s my job to take care of the house, I want to be able to take pride in how it looks, but having a magazine ready home 24/7 is just unreasonable when there are teenagers and long haired animals that shed everywhere. It’s a constant work in progress. As long as there’s progress, perfection isn’t needed… until there’s company.

The weather is calling for a fair amount of snow this weekend. I’ll look forward to curling up on the couch with my cross stitch, getting a fire going, and watching more of The Man in the High Castle. If you haven’t started that show yet, you need to. Its really really good. So, until next time!

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So, that was awkward…

Time flies, that’s for sure. It’s been a year since I posted here, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t check back weekly.

Here’s the thing, I was so stressed out about doing this whole website blog thing right, that I completely talked myself out of doing it at all. Every week, I would check back, and beat myself up over not doing anything. It’s time to change that. I’m not doing this for any kind of outward success, but for myself. So, while posting may be sparatic, and about random things until I figure out what direction I really want to head in, at least there will be posts. What spurred this on you probably aren’t asking? Well, I went to a thing yesterday and man was it awkward, but in a good way.

 

I’ve been a stay at home “Mom-not-Mom” for a whole year now. I have no kids of my own so I’m not a mom. I have step kids, but they are all adults, so I’m kind of sort of a mom in that sense. I have pets, so I’m a pet parent, but that just sounds weird when you tell people your kids are the two cats and the puppy at home. So the family coined the phrase Mom-Not-Mom. I guess the term nowadays is “Homemaker” . Anyway, TLDR is that I spend 90% of my time at home. All my friends live in different states. I’m really introverted, so going out an meeting new people is hard. I don’t drink, My free time is usually when everyone else is working, and being married with no kids provides very slim pickings for opportunities to make new friends. I’ve started looking for meetups and whatnot, but haven’t had much luck. So, I found a group on Facebook that was all about “Creative Entrepreneurs, Weekend Warriors, and Small Business CEOs to grow and thrive in the spirit of Community over Competition.” They meetup once a month, and I had psyched myself out about about the last 3 meetings. The latest one was all about setting goals, and ‘Re-starting” and it was their first morning meeting, so I figured what the heck. I got up, got ready and drove myself out there.

I drove around the parking lot a good 6 times before I finally parked, then sat in the car for 15 minutes trying to give myself a pep talk. Walked halfway there, then ran back to the car, and then finally made myself walk back and go in. So its a pretty safe bet to say I was crazy nervous. The moment I opened the door, I knew I was waaaaaaaaay out of my mental element. There I was in jeans and my favorite Star Wars t shirt, and staring at me was a scene that belonged in magazines or movies. This home was one of the most glamorous places I’ve seen. Everything was spotless, and perfectly on trend. The ladies were bedecked in designer clothes and dripping in diamonds and gemstones, perfect hair and nails abound. But, I had already opened the door, and they had seen me, so I couldn’t exactly walk back out the door without absolutely hating myself for it. Smiles were exchanged, and conversations continued on like it was nothing. I locked eyes with the bottles of water in the kitchen, and made a slow and calculated beeline straight for them. Something to hold in my hands would help my nerves, plus give me something to figit with. Fiji water acquired, the inevitable “I’m just going to stand here because I don’t know anyone” stance occurred. I was dying a little inside by the minute as the tsunami of my anxiety raged inside my head. Then, out of nowhere, someone came up and said hello. She introduced herself and one of her friends and we began to talk. They were new to the group as well, and were really intimidated by the large amount of unknown faces, though to me I never would have guessed it.  The more we talked the more people began to come over, and the more my inner voice that was having a mental breakdown relaxed. I found out that most everyone in the group were tied to the wedding industry. Most of them were photographers, and event planners. It was amazing! After another 15 minutes or so of chitchat, the groups organizer and host gathered our attention, and gave a little talk to start us out. It was really awesome to hear how much they were purveyors of empowerment. They really wanted to push the Community over Competition. I found that really refreshing.  And with that, we split up into groups.

We had the smallest group, 5 ladies including myself. We consisted of a wedding planner, a photographer, a graphic designer, and a lighting specialist. It was so inspiring to see these people who took the plunge to start their own businesses, and they were all my age too. We had a guided discussion about goals, and ways to help keep those goals in our minds, and how to help keep ourselves accountable for those goals. We all picked a word that was meant to inspire ourselves and our businesses for the year. I wrote it off at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. I chose “follow-through”. Everyone thought it was great! I was really surprised! Then we talked about the struggle of following through. Everyone had issues with this at one point in time, but yet they all overcame it. It bolstered me to see these successful people admitting that they had the same thoughts as I was having, but there was a way to persevere through it. One of the women said that “You have to tell yourself over and over that ‘Done is Better than Perfect’. After all, if you think your making progress because your’re thinking about something, but it never actually gets done, how does that make you any better than the person that is actually doing, though it may not be great? You’re worse than that at that point.” That resounded with me and my plans so much. After all, even failure is progress in a sense, where lack of actual action is nothing. I was told to read a book called “Make It Happen” by Lara Casey, and about her magical tools called Powersheets. The second Powersheets were mentioned, there was a wave through the house of instant praise and adoration for them, and for good reason. These things are AMAZING. Trying to get your hands on them right now is near impossible they are so good. Go check them out. Seriously.

By this time, everything was wrapping up. We all exchanged business cards and some more pleasantries and I headed home. I was so so so glad I went. Sure I didn’t exactly fit in with a lot of their business, but at some base level, the foundations are all the same. I came away with a TON of knowledge and inspiration. I felt really good about myself, and my plans. So, that’s what led me back here.

Done is Better Than Perfect. My posts will not be anywhere near perfect. I will make huge glaring mistakes. But, that’s where experience comes from. I will learn along the way. If you have tips, tricks, suggestions, comments, or anything, Let me know, I need all the advice I can get.

 

So, people of the internet, I ask you this. What keeps you motivated to follow-through with something?

 

 

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Knowing is Half the Battle

My weekend was full of ups and downs with my thrift store finds. Thanks to Ebay being on the fritz, It took me over 5 hours to print labels for my outgoing packages. So my treasure hunt got to a slow start. When I finally arrived, everything had been pretty picked over. So I made my usual rounds around the store, hoping that a new cart of goodies would come out soon.  After about an hour with no luck whatsoever, I decide to call it and head to my next store.

 

That’s when I saw it.

The card ahead of me had a red box in it. I only saw a small amount of the typeface, but I recognized it instantly. It read GI Joe. Now, I will be honest with you. I know close to nothing about GI Joe, aside from that people still collect them. So I grabbed it and looked inside, only to be more surprised. There were about 16 Joes, and a ton of random accessories. With the price tag that was way more than reasonable, it was a an easy decision to take them home. I had no luck again at my other usual spot, and I chalked it up to going so late in the day. So I took my new buddies home and started to do the research.Joesjoes 3  joes2

According to Wikipedia, GI Joes were created by Hasbro in 1964 and centered around the large 12 inch dolls. The line was relaunched in 1982 with the ever popular 3 3/4 inch models and came with a slew of accouterments like play sets and vehicles. There was a story added to the mix about the struggle between the GI Joe team and Cobra Command. Since then there have been TV shows, comic, and movies about the popular toy.

I found a website that was a really helpful database of all the merchandise. A huge thanks to www.yojoe.com for keeping such an excellent site! I was able to identify most of the Joes, and am still figuring out which accessories I have and who they belong to. Some of the figures can bring a pretty penny, and even more surprising, is many of the accessories are worth more than the figures themselves! A word of caution though! The inside of the Joes are held together by a plastic string of sorts. Over time, that can become brittle and easily breakable. I learned this one the hard way. So take care when handling them!

So all in all, I may have to hold onto these guys for a little while, but it should prove to be a nice little return if I find the right buyer. Plus, I got to learn something cool about a toy I had no idea about.

Any questions? Comments? Just leave a comment below! Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check back on Thursday when I do my first “Pinthrift” challenge!

 

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Welcome to Fox & Wren!

Well… here goes nothing!

 

A new year gives a new lease on life, or so they say. A change in circumstance has brought me to be a stay at home mom-not-mom as we call it. The bills still need to get paid, so I have become thew newest resident in the world of flipping. I have always enjoyed yard sales and thrift stores. I was brought up that way. I view it as a treasure hunt. You never know what you will find, and for what price. Yes, there are thrift stores full of ancient junk that should probably be put out of it misery, but then there are the gems that are set apart by the others. Friends cannot believe that some of the things I come home with came from the thrift store and that I got them for pennies compared to thier original retail price. Gucci rain boots? check. Designer purses? Check. A bag of vintage toys that was intermitently strewn with cash? Yeah, well check that one off too. Then there are the awesome vintage finds. Silk dresses that would have been work to cocktail parties, Jewelry that had to have at one time been a family heirloom, Antique furniture that has seen how many years of love and use, Can you imagine the stories that some of these things could tell if they could? This is part of what drives my passion. I love things.

 

So, I hope you will join me in my thrifty journey. My blog here will be updated at least twice a week. Ideally Tuesday and Thursday. I’ll showcase my recent finds, some history about the items, and my tales of success or woe in trying to find them new homes. I’ll give up some tricks to finding the good stuff, and how to weed though the junk, and what to do with it once you find it. I’ll host a shop in a perfect world, where you can be the proud new owner of some of these finds. In the meantime, , if your curiosity gets the best of you, feel free to browse my eBay.

 

Thanks for stopping in, and Good Hunting!

 

A

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