Monday, July 23, 2012

Hoarder House

Since I haven't been working this summer I've had more free time (kinda) and have developed a very unhealthy addiction to craigslisting (just made it a verb). First of all if you're thinking "ohhh must be nice to be a teacher and have summer off" you're right, it is. If teachers didn't have summers off your child as well as others would be dead. Every teacher I know LOVES their job and yet also really loves their days off! I am no different. Anyways, I check craigslist for freebies, cheap furniture, future friends, etc. I'm just kidding about the last part, and the second to last part actually. I pretty much just want the freebies (I def don't want the friends). This morning I was wide awake at 7:30 and I decided to check the "free" section. Jackpot! The owner of this old historic house that I have seen with junk outside of it (like seriously you can't see the grass there's so much junk) said come and get it. Weirdly I had met him before and he told me his mom owned the house and had passed and there was just so much stuff to get rid of but the city was coming down on him really hard for all of the junk in the yard. Of course, I immediately hopped up and drove all the way out there (about .0005 miles).

As soon as I got there I saw neon green signs ALL over the door. This precious historic home was in threat of being condemed and there were arrest warrants and citations all over the door for not bringing the front yard up to code. I had to cut my reading short because some guy walked up, and I had to focus on making polite conversation to distract him while I scanned everything to make sure I got first pick of the good stuff. What can I say, I'm super generous. I spent some time digging around their front back and side yards and saw through every window piles and piles and piles of stuff. If I hadn't ever seen Hoarders: Buried Alive I wouldn't believe that someone could live there. I don't think anyone currently does, but his mother used to.

Fast forward to me shoving as much stuff as possible into the back of my car (that little equinox has learned to fit a lot of junk in there). I got some old sewing machine tables, a beat up wood ladder I'll turn into something (maybe) and a new awesome razor scooter. The razor scooter is a rando and I think I'm just gonna give it to one of my students from last year but I mean I couldn't NOT take it. As I was hoarding my car full of stuff I realized that this is actually a super sad event. Not for me of course because I'm getting free stuff I'm gonna paint and use (ps lady who got there way after me/random guy and took the desk from us...we hate you), but sad for this family. This woman obviously was OBSESSED with material possessions and filled her wonderfully cute home with so many of them that it ruined the house and is now a MAJOR problem for her son to deal with. It's so true that you absolutely can't take it with you when you go. Instead, your son posts on craigslist for strangers to come rifle through your crap and take it away so he can avoid jail.  I think it's a pretty good lesson against obsessing over possesions.

That being said-who needs a razor scooter?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spray Paint Junkie

I am in the process of trying to unpack everything and that process has been on pause for a few days. I always have gone to people's newly moved in houses and judged them thinking "you've been moved in for a month how are there still boxes everywhere?" I will now have to find another reason to judge people because my guess is at this rate it'll be December (2015) when I'm done unpacking, and not for any other reason than A) I'm lazy and B) it sucks. Anywhoozles one of my super quick projects that was also a cheapy was this desk. I got it at Twin City Missions along with a Dresser. I can't remember which cost what but I think this was $12. All I know is I tried to haggle with the lady and she said "You know I normally would, but, this is a new product so we don't really go lower on those." New and product are not really terms I'd use for an old junky desk recently donated by a crackhead. But whatevs, still a good deal. This took just about 1.5 cans of spraypaint (I used the other on an old chair I had so I could actually SIT at the desk). Each can of spraypaint (Aqua-satin) was $3.67. The whole thing took about 15 minutes but 7 of those were cleaning out spider webs :).

I'm totally spray-painting all over my garage floor because when I'm done moving everything in (obviously by the beautiful backdrop to the desk you can see I have a ways to go...PS Bruegg if you're out there is that your white cart?) I will be painting the garage floor in that weird garage floor paint that creeps me out.

I know that I'll probably be put on a watch list for the title "spray paint junkie" but I in fact don't get high on the stuff (that I know of). I just LOVE how cheap it is. Plus, yesterday I spray painted an old wood bench that would've never held normal paint-at least not without much sanding and effort-which I'm not into. I'll probably post about that later.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Teacher Discounts

Ok, this is going to be a short post. I definitely drop in that I'm a teacher any time it's convenient (specifically when I get pulled over for's worked a time or two). Teachers spend a TON of their own money on their classroom, so, teaching related stores often give teacher discounts. What I really appreciate though, are the stores who give discounts that you can use on YOU, not just student stuff. It's like those stores recognize that hey, every teacher goes through a few near death moments per year (near death for the student of course not the teacher) and so the CEO says "You know what will make it better when a kid's wiping their snot off on em'? 15% off." They are right. Seriously teaching is the best job ever and it's definitely nice to have discounts - on top of our HUUUUUUUUUUUGE annual salary ;)

My favorite clothes store is New York & Co. They always give teacher 15% off (and nurses, emts, and police too). Plus they always have tons of sale racks with clothes that are 50-80% off. I have often gotten multiple outfits with accessories for $50. Ann Taylor Loft also gives 15% off for teachers.

Michaels has "dollar days" which I love because you can stock up on stuff (like paint brushes for $.07 each) plus they give teachers a 15% discount every day! Hobby Lobby does too (but I hate them and their noncomputerized system). Oh and Big Lots gives discounts too but I've discovered it depends on who you ask because some people are pretty stingy over at the ol' Big Lots.

If you like to read (I'm over it 'cause I'm still recovering from being an English major) Barnes & Noble gives 20% off to teachers. Half price books gives 10% off to educators.

Pizza hut gives 10% off (apparently it varies by store and can be up to 20%) to teachers.

Schlotzkys-10% off (who cares but I know this because they put stuff in our box this year)

If you have AT&T and you aren't saving on your bill you should call, tell them you're a teacher, and get 15-20% off of your monthly bill.

A few weeks ago I discovered and it is an awesome sight that offers teacher discounts on cruises. However, it also offers discounts for everyone on last minute cruise deals. I wish I'd known about it at the beginning of the summer, because what better way is there to spend summer off than by cruising. Anyways, I plan to make up lost time in December during Christmas oh sorry "winter" break.

It also never hurts to ask if a store offers a teacher discount. It seems that people often have pity on teachers...probably because they're parents.

Let me know if I missed any that you use a bunch!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Texas Kitchen

I have always had a huge affection for Texas. My superpatriotism is probably a result of my dad forcing me to watch John Wayne movies and making me learn every detail of our independence from Mexico by the time I could walk. I get stopped and questioned a lot (primarily by judgemental old ladies) about why I got a Texas tattoo on my foot. Uh, duh. There are two answers to that question. One, because it is a scientific fact that Texas is the best state that's ever existed. People from other states like to argue about that but I'll only give people the time of day if the average 10 year old can find their state on a map. I passed a lot of notes in 5th grade so I actually wont be a great judge of their accuracy. The other obvious reason is that I was 18 and bored on a Sunday and Platinum ink had discounted small tattoos. I found out that around here in Bryan a Texas outline tattoo can be gang related. So if I went to jail they might list me as possibly affiliated? Finding that out was the final push I needed to stay out of prison. Anyways, I love Texas and if I could make my whole house Texas themed I probably would but people seem to think that's obnoxious, so I settled on the kitchen.

I have been collecting my kitchen stuff for some time planning the move into my new house. I have gotten a bunch of steals and you can too!

                                                 First I'll start off with the bigger stuff

This counter-height-or bar height, I'm not a carpenter- table that I'm sitting at in this picture was purchased the other day off of Craigslist for $130 bucks. My fiancee really wanted to build one cause we could have done it for $50 but I dont want to end up with a splinter/shank in my butt during breakfast so we "splurged" on teh $130. Tons of dining room sets are on craigslist for next to nothing though, I was just picky and wanted a tall one. It worked out though, because I bought it off of some stoner college kids and I got to feel cool because they were SO overly impressed that I had a Bob Marley CD in my car. Craigslist is AWESOME except when you end up getting murdered so I try to tell people I'm going to meet up with someone and if they don't get a text from me in 30 minutes I've been abducted. The "Free" list on Craigslist occassionally has great stuff- especially in bigger cities. Sometimes it's just good for a laugh: "Free half a bar of white chocolate"....uh we all know you're either a murderer who preys on desperate chocoholics or desperate for friends.

I got this bakers rack at a semi antique semi junk store called "Furniture Farm" on Texas. They kind of walk the line pricewise but they do negotiate. Anyways I got this for $25 bucks/the lady upset at the bargain down because it's "really not even hers" (???) and I didn't have to repaint it or anything.

DISCLAIMER: I'm still moving into the house/setting up if you're gonna judge how displaced everything is...go away. :)

I have a big wall to fill behind the table and I haaaaate a bunch of empty wall space (don't call hoarders....ok please dear God someone call hoarders). Anyways, I at least love that the builders painted the house khaki -it's called relaxed khaki which I think is as redundent as "boring beige"-anyways that looks better than a big ol' white wall. I wanted something to cover the space so I bought a ton of old Texas postcards at a booth in The Antique Mall of Austin (awesome place near Burnet). They all were $0.50-$1.00 each (I bought 9). I bought ones from the main places in Texas like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Galveston, San Antonio....weirdly there were no "greetings from Bryan" cards..hmm. I also bought a buncha $1 wood frames from Michaels to put the post cards in and painted them red, white, and blue. Finally I bought wooden letters to paint RW&B that were on saile for $0.59 each during Michaels "Dollar Days." This is my work in progress/messy, messy garage.

Several months ago in Gainsville, TX I got the cutest Texas towel set at Cahoots Handbags
They were $20 which is way more than I'd normally spend on kitchen rags but they are just decorative and I loved them too much to not get them.

Here's my favorite one

Lastly is my favorite kitchen piece of junk that I got for $5. I drink I mean I drink out of straws constantly and I loved this little old straw dispenser. Don't worry (mom) I cleaned it out.

All of my "glasses" in my kitchen are big mason jars. They are fun, cute and 12 for 6 dollars at Wally world. I love them! Plus if I lose one, and somehow I'm always losing cups/glasses, it's not a big deal because again you buy them in a 12 jar crate. Did I mention that I'm really classy?

  Anyways that's my Texas Kitchen. Tomorrow I'm going to talk about where teachers get discounts. I'll do this to inform teachers and make other people jealous :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First time blogger

Hi! I am a first time blogger (unless you count my xanga shout outs in 6th grade). I have always been interested in blogging but never thought I had that much to talk about. However, I love turning trash into treasure and I am a Special Education teacher. Plus, I'm about to start teaching at the middle school level so I figure I don't have too much of my life left and I might as well start on the bucket list, and since Idris Elba isn't answering my calls I'll go ahead and knock off blogging.

If you love reading blogs because you love ideas on how to be the perfect homemaker, teacher, or woman you are very lost and this blog will disappoint you greatly. I am a huge mess but I do know how to get a lot of stuff done cheaply and I figure I'll share my ideas. I love pinterest but sometimes you just dont have the funds to build a jungle habitat in your backyard or time to spend 3 hours whittling orange peels into a rug. Everything I do is easy, cheap, and can be done with simple tools.

I'm gonna start off today talking about WHERE to buy cheap things to turn into beauties. I laugh when I read bloggers all over pinterest talk about the steal of a deal they got on an old junky desk-$50! In my world if it's $50 it better be ready to go in the house, not still need to have the animals moved out of it and painted! Most people are not 80 at heart and probably don't wake up early on saturdays to go diving into garage sales, and then hit up every junk store in town, but I am. One of my best friends really got me into the junk world. Her mom and sister are AMAZING interior decorators (shout out to Embellish Interiors) and she's been junk store diving for years. I, not so much, but I've caught up fast.

There are a few categories of "used stuff" stores. There are antique stores which are fun to look at but normally super expensive (cause these people actually know what the stuff is worth). Consignment stores-big mix of amazing antiques to major crap but if you don't mind getting sucked in for several hours they can be a gold mine. Goodwill-I pretty much hate Goodwill. I've found a few gems but typically they way overcharge for junk they get for free (cue people thinking $50 bucks is a good deal for a used crappy piece of furniture). Sometimes they have good things, but rarely, and they don't negotiate. Please don't comment or email me about how Goodwill is awesome for the community cause I don't care :) The real winners are junkstores, storage center cleanouts and offbeat charity stores. Junkstores are typically run by people who make a business out of everything. Normally they are tagged as "resale shops" but you'll know it's a good one if it has 600 other businesses inside of it. I like one around the corner from me that is a used clothes boutique (they use the word boutique pretty loosely) sno-cone store, and furniture place. They also allegedly run donations for an orphanage out of there but I haven't witnessed any of those transactions. Anyways they have a lot of absolute disgusting crap but they do have treasures occasionally. Storage cleanouts are often awesome (I got a great wicker chair for $2 once and a WWII trunk for $10). Charity resale shops are great because it's almost always negotiable (nothing like bargaining down those volunteers) and always has awesome stuff. Twin City missions is my fave in Bryan/College Station. I got a desk and a dresser for $20 total today and the other week my junk store friend got a brand new in wrapping ihome for $5. Plus I got this cutie table for $6. Spraypaint at Lowes is in the range of 3-4 dollars and I had some blue already laying around. My phone obviously takes bad pictures....or maybe it's me. cheapskate Texas Kitchen :)