Thursday, November 21, 2013

The creative consumer.

You probably already know that there are large communities of bloggers who have one solid topic for their blogs. They write about cooking, or quilting, or fashion. And under those topics there are always sub-categories, like vegan cooking or paper-piece quilting or "thrifty" fashion--yes, an entire blog dedicated to stories about "what Lisa bought at Goodwill today" featuring high-quality snapshots of hipster clothes and a chairs to be reupholstered. Going to thrift stores is what she does for her blog. 

On the other hand, you have me. I'm thrifty because I can be, because I must be, and because I don't care what you think about where my clothes came from or my couch or the books on my shelf. (we all know the best books come from thrift stores, anyways.)

There are four ways a "lower class citizen" like myself can be thrifty. Someday I'll explain all of them but for right now here's a short list. 1. Thrift stores. 2. Online shopping. 3. The clearance section of any store. 4. Garage sales/craigslist/etc.

In light of the fact that I forgot to blog again yesterday, today I'll be thankful for two things: eBay and thrift stores. I know, that sounds sort of idiotic. I could show you pictures of all the awesome  important things I've found at thrift stores, like my book-shaped lamp ($11, irresistible for someone like me) or the green cupboard in the kitchen ($15, was necessary for surviving in a studio apartment) or the winter blanket on my bed which I mentioned a few days ago (best $2.50 I've ever spent.) I could also explain all of the best eBay buys I've made (my wedding dress, for example, or my husband's Christmas present which is incredible and I can't wait to give it to him!) Instead I'm going to showcase a few of my favorite things.

I might have mentioned before that eBay gave me $50 to spend for being such a "good seller." In my haste to find things to purchase, since I had to use the gift code all at once, I found this Mockingjay pin. I actually wore it on Tuesday, which you can see in the last blog post. It was $1.09, with free shipping. The Hunger Games trilogy isn't my favorite of all time (otherwise I would have written about that instead of The Book Thief, right?) but since reading the series I've been very fascinated with the Mockingjay symbol. Plus, it makes me look so trendy. ;)

This is a box. It's about two inches on all sides. I got it for $0.50 at Goodwill. It's not glorious or very pretty. But it has an ampersand on it. How often do you find cool things with ampersands at thrift stores? I'll tell you how often--pretty much never. It fits perfectly on my "trinket shelf"--which is another story all together.

If you're a nerd like me, you probably can already figure out what that thing is. If you're not a nerd, I guess I'll just have to tell you: it's an ocarina pendant. A tiny ocarina! Barely bigger than a fifty-cent piece. I got it at a thrift store back in my hometown, and yes, it works. I can play three whole notes on it. I don't remember how much it was, probably about a dollar. 

I saved the best for last. This is a pewter prayer box. (The chain was my grandmother's.) My freshman year in college I bought a whole bunch of these--I have a silver boxy one, very square, and the latch is a tiny leaf. I have a bronze-colored one in the shape of a heart, a poor-quality tube shaped one from a craft store (don't buy them there, EVER), and another boxy one that's copper-colored. But this one is my favorite, and it was an eBay purchase. Its importance lies not in where I bought it, of course. I've been wearing them for years, but last week somebody asked me about it for the first time in... I couldn't tell you how long it's been. A while. And I got to remind myself, out loud, "It's so you can write down your prayers and carry them around with you, so even if you forget the words, you know they still exist." I know God still sees and hears our prayers when we forget the words, but the physical reminder is very powerful. 

And you don't have to tell me... it's just stuff. They're just things. But as a person who doesn't have a lot of money, when I do buy something, I like it to be unique. I don't like wasting my time and money on something that everybody else has (except maybe important things like underwear or a coffee pot). I don't have the resources to go out and buy the newest, hippest dresses from ModCloth or H&M. Buying stuff this way also makes it easier to buy people presents--I mean, honestly, I could probably go to Walmart and find something for each of my family members, but it's WAY more fun to visit the Salvation Army store and find things that "speak" to me about my brothers or my mom or dad, and I can tell them that! "Hey, I found this, and it was perfect for you!" It means so much more than, "I got this thing at Target you'll probably like."

So there's my post for today, and yesterday. I promise tomorrow I'll blog on schedule. Well, I'll try.

I'm also taking a break from making Christmas cards, now that I've reached almost the 50% mark. My desk was cluttered with rhinestones and flamboyant Christmas paper and I just needed some desk/headspace to breathe.

End Day 21. Wonder what I'll come up with next?

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