Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thrifting in Guelph

I thought I was finally finished all of the blocks for my Shirt Stripe Boxes.  I pressed and squared up the last of my blocks last night and discovered that I'm 24 3.5" blocks short.  Just one more shirt!

So Hubby and I headed out bright and early this morning and hit a couple of thrift stores.  There's five thrift stores that I enjoy visiting when I'm in the neighbourhood. 

Bibles for Missions is almosty hyper-compulsively organized - big, bright, and spacious.  They price their items intelligently.  However, I haven't found anything really spectacular there myself.  Hubby on the other hand, bought a beautiful London Fog leather coat for $18 there a few weeks back.  Nothing today -- it was closed!

St. Vincent de Paul's is also well organized, although space becomes a little crowded in the back room.  Prices are good too.  I have been able to find a couple of things -- a gorgeous pair of grey and black plaid slacks (name brand) perfect for the office, and today I found a pair of jeans, and a couple of vintage aprons that I am going to cut up for quilts.  No shirts, so off to our next stop.

Goodwill is a big store out near the junction of 6 and 7.  Aisles are nice and wide, but the racks are too crowded to have a good look.  My arms are aching after a few minutes of pushing hangers apart.  The prices are very high (in my humble opinion).  I did find two really good quality cutter shirts, and a couple of books.  Hubby found a shirt for himself.

Value Village - I could spend hours here.  A little pricey, but the variety of items is very good, and the stock always seems fresh. I didn't see anything I couldn't live without today, but then I didn't really spend enough time to have a good look -- and I wasn't looking for anything either, so there was no challenge of a hunt.

We didn't make it to Salvation Army this morning.  It's a very well stocked store compared to other Sally Ann's I've shopped.  I've had good experiences with the staff.  Once, I was buying a piece of glass, which was marked $2.99, which I thought was fair, but when the clerk saw the price, she wondered aloud what the person was thinking when he/she priced it, and only charged me $.99.  Another time I was buying some cutter shirts, and the clerk gave me a sale price -- even though I didn't see any signage about sales anywhere.

No big plans for New Year's Eve for me and Hubby.  Itty Bitty is playing a gig in Brantford tonight - so we're on our own.  The neighbours have invited us down for a party, to which we should make a brief appearance.  Maybe I'll ring in the New Year by finishing those last 24 blocks!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

I have been wishing away this holiday season - anxious to get back to work.  In fact, although the office has been closed this week, I actually went in for a couple of hours on Wednesday, and another few hours yesterday.  I took Itty Bitty with me, and put him to work doing some clerical jobs for me, and grunt work in general.  I can hardly wait to get back to work on Tuesday!

January will mean more time out of the office, and more time in the community.  I'm very excited about this opportunity!  I'll be spending Tuesday mornings at a local community centre which provides services and meals for people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and other inter-related issues.  People will be able to see me on a "drop-in" basis, and I will be able to connect them with the appropriate services, particularly legal services.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve ... and we're getting ready for our New Year's resolution a la Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Last Sunday, the three of us took root on the couch, and just lazed all day long, watching a marathon of the TV show "Til Debt Do Us Part" hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade with Jars

We wondered how she figured out all the numbers, and how to divide up the variable expenses into the five "Magic Jars".  By afternoon, I was surfing the 'net and discovered all of the helpful resources, and interactive worksheets on Gail's website.  By mid week, I had a 'hold' placed on her books at the local library, and last night, Hubby and I went to bed, each with a book.  Today we came up with a budget, and a plan.  It will likely take the rest of the week to get completely organized, but we're so excited! 

Turns out, we're not in bad shape at all -- I thought maybe we were paying way too much for housing, because rent it so high here.  But Gail says we can spend up to 35% of our net income on housing ( and utilities, insurance, etc.) and we're actually under that figure.  Transportation costs should be up to 15%.  Since I don't have to pay for parking, and my car only gets taken out of the parkade once or twice a week, we are well under that as well.

Starting January 1st, we start our "cash only" lifestyle. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday Adventures in Wellington County

Hubby and I went on an adventure yesterday to explore Wellington County before the snow gets deep.
Our first stop was the Wellington County Archives and Museum.  It was once the House of Industry and Refuge (The Poor House), and later a Home for the Aged.  I was here recently for a meeting, and the building is on a beautiful piece of land, on a beautiful track of road, and guess what?

That's exhibition of quilts!  And all of them Log Cabins.

There's Hubby -- intently examining the antique needlework.

This sampler was stitched by the grandmother of John McCrae, the author of "In Flanders Fields", who was a native of Guelph, ON.  It dates to 1820.

And speaking of "In Flanders Fields" there was another very impressive exhibition at the museum: "Far from Home: A Soldier's Life at the Front 1914-1918".  This major gallery installation features a life-size trench and takes an in-depth look at the young soldiers who served in World War I. A unique feature of this exhibit: descendants of Wellington County soldiers were used as models for the mannequins and painting in the gallery.
You walk into the trench, and see the scraps of wood and tin holding up the walls, and rats crawling around.  There's barbed wire over your head, and flashes as bombs explode overhead.  The sounds of battle are all around you. You can climb up for a peek through the periscope and see the German front.

It was incredible to me to see the photos of the descendents of the soldiers, and how much they looked like their great-grandfathers, and great-granduncles.  It's hard to tell in this photo, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Another poignant and interesting exhibit that we spent at least an hour examining was "If These Walls Could Speak: The House of Industry and Refuge, 1877-1947.  I didn't take any photos of that.

Here's a scene from a 1920's kitchen.  My mom has told me dozens of times about her grandmother's "Hoosier cupboard" - that was always just a little bit different from every one we saw in museums and antique shops.  I wonder if this "Eatonia" Kitchen Cabinet is like Gramma Sassie's.

Next we were off to Elora where we had a delicious lunch at The Cork.

Pretty fancy Cheese Burger, huh?
As we were leaving, we were given coupons for $10 for the Grand River Racetrack slots.  Why not?  We came out ahead $2.50! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Heard of Pook Dukes?

I saw these mittens in the window of a shop while I was out this afternoon, and made a sharp 90 degree turn right in - I HAD to have them!!!  I got a pair for me and Itty Bitty - his face lit right up when he saw them!

They are called Pook Dukes, and they are Canadian made (eh) - and don't they just scream out "I AM CANADIAN!!!"  They are wool socks, but the lining is fleece.

Yes, Itty Bitty is here for a day or two, studying for exams, getting some home cooking. We hadn't realized how much we missed him!

Friday, December 2, 2011

City sidewalks...busy sidewalks...

Hubby and I went for a walk after dinner last night, with the sole intention of capturing a photo of this store window display.  I was so impressed by the creativity of this "tree" in the window of a consignment shop!

 And didn't we laugh when we saw this special lamp in another window! 

It brought to mind my favourite holiday movie: A Christmas Story
Here's one of my favourite scenes: