Monday, June 9, 2008

Free! Free! Free!

We live off the grid to a certain extent, in that we know how to get some stuff for free. Every now and then, for instance, we'll have "hotel breakfast" in which, keeping the girls in their pajamas, we'll head over to one of the nicer hotels in town and walk nonchalantly into their continental breakfast room--our favorite has Jimmy Dean ham biscuits, a make-your-own-waffle station, donuts from the shop down the road, hard-boiled eggs, yogurts, and boxed cereals. Heck, yeah! We also, as I've mentioned before, dumpster-dive on a Sunday at the local Salvation Army. Yesterday I found a pink pillowcase with flowers cross-stitched on the edge to sew into a pillowcase dress for a little girl, a board book about dinosaurs for a little girl, and a firefighter's costume, also for a little girl. I coveted a Spiderman T-shirt another dumpster-diver scored, but she kept her hands on that baby.
The best event by far for the acquisition of free items, however, comes only once a year. The Monroe County History Center begins their huge garage sale in a warehouse on Friday. On Saturday, everything is half off. On Monday, at 9:00 am, everything is free. FREE!!! We were there on Saturday to buy a couple of things and case the joint, and this morning there we were, bright and early due to Willow's 7:30 dentist appointment, ready to join the line with the other free stuff-seekers. I had Sydney in the stroller both to keep her contained and to utilize our under-stroller storage, but Willow was the hit of the sale due to the fact that she owns her very own child-sized real metal shopping cart. Can you imagine anything more fun than having your very own shopping cart and permission to put anything you wanted into it? When we trooped inside at the crack of 9:00, I expected Willow to excitedly race around and put just anything she saw into her cart, fill it up in a couple of minutes, then follow me around for half an hour and whine that it was heavy to push. What she did, however, was walk around the entire sale, carefully inspecting everything, putting only the really most awesome things in her cart. Between the two of us, here's our haul:

The orange flag represents the huge thing I hauled around for the entire sale, which was the bicycle trailer Matt spied on Saturday and asked me to get for him if it was still there. I made a beeline for it, and then dragged it around behind me the whole time, while also pushing the stroller in front of me. But let's see...on the floor, there are some of the My Little Ponies Willow chose; a weird little wooden plaque with a vase on it that she chose and loves and wants to hang in her room; a toy car; some gift bags I found to put my logo on and use at craft fairs; a crazy instruction manual for making fruits and vegetables out of "twisted" paper that I might sell on etsy; some china plates I'm going to smash and make pendants out of; Willow's choice of one of those can things that goes "moooo" when you turn it upside down; some letter/number blocks that she also chose; and a book about the human body and some rattles, also her choices.

On the couch there is some scrapbook paper, a couple of really old composition books with crazy illustrations and readers' marks--

I like in this one how the guy looks like Dick Van Dyke, and how a reader has named each figure; In this one I really like how the author actually drew in that axe the standing Native American is holding--a ton of records, including a 1950s one of songs for the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha to sing (Matt thinks his brother was a Pi Kap, so... Christmas present!); a stuffed football and whale and chipmunk and bunny and kangaroo, Willow's choices (Sydney wanted a doll, but this old lady seriously saw us making for it and snatched it up right before I reached it. Then she spoke to it); a bag half-full of the polyester stuffing I use for stuffed animals, and inside the bag the instructions I have been wanting for making the red-heeled sock monkey!; some green felt fabric and some burgandy brocade-y fabric; a pair of orange telephones with rainbows on them for the girls; a huge tennis ball, Willow's choice; and a beaten aluminum heart-shaped mold, which I might hang on the wall.

A lot of this stuff is for my partner in the Bargain Hunter's swap on Craftster, and I'll be spending this week making her some items out of all the stuff I scored. What will you spend your week doing?

2 comments:

Abby said...

Hotel breakfasts! Brilliant!!!

julie said...

It's because things are more delicious when they're free. And/or illegal.

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