nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite The Non-Consumer Advocate Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Page 2

I know you’re probably sick to death of reading about my $20 campaign dresser project, but that’s too bad because it continues to be part of my daily life. I’d already sanded and primed the dresser, (as well as removed the brass hardware and given myself carpal tunnel syndrome from all the polishing.)

But I didn’t have any paint yet.

My first choice for painting something is to dig through my basement stash, but I neither had anything bright and fun or austere and stately enough to pique my interest. So I looked up the location of the new Habitat for Humanity ReStore here in Portland and headed on over.

But not before snapping a selfie of myself in front of the store:

Habitat ReStore Selfie

Yes I get stared at when I do things like take selfies in front of businesses; and no, I do not care.

I walked into the spaciously clean and bright store and was immediately confronted by this $2500 behemoth:

Carved guy

It’s the sexy monk of the antique furniture world.

However, I was there for paint, so I headed over to the paint section. Sadly, there’s much much less inventory than at their old store. I was tempted by this $1 can of light chartreuse paint:

$1 Habitat paint

I could totally see how great the dresser would look in this bright color, unfortunately it would grossly clash with our terra cotta colored bedroom. A Barnum & Bailey’s look if there ever was one, and clown bedroom is not the aesthetic I’m striving for.

I ended up buying this $2 jug of charcoal grey paint that was 4/4 full. (All paint is labeled this way, as the paint cans have already been used.)

Charcoal paint

Paint decision having been made, I decided to browse the store. Of course, I had to go play in the lighting department and imagine the great DIY opportunities.

I need you to imagine how awesome these groovy vintage rattan shades would look spray painted turquoise or apple green:

Kitchen shades

And this vintage wood and brass chandelier? It took every ounce of my self discipline to not bring it home. Do you see the leaf detail? I can totally envision it painted either a lovely creme color or some wonderfully saturated hue. And instead of glass shades, use small round bulbs.

Please, some Portlander, go buy this chandelier right now!

Vintage chandelier

Speaking of stuff that I wanted to buy for my imaginary hipster apartment, I present to you this vintage sideboard:

Vintage sideboard

Drool . . .

Luckily there was enough godawful stuff to temper my neediness. Hello . . .  sloppily painted stool!

Stool sample

And this painting?

Strawberry lady

Too bad I already have a painting over my mantle of a women being born from a strawberry who is displaying her uneven man hands while looking off to the side.

Plus, it’s such a clichéd look.

Not everything at the Habitat ReStore is for those with funky taste though. Check out these gorgeous glass pendants, are they not what every stainless steel appliance and granite countertop kitchen is missing?

Glass pendants

I did just buy the $2 paint and have already completed two coats, and it’s looking rather perfect. Even my husband, who thought we should just leave the dresser as-is, complimented me saying it looked “very modern.”

Just imagine how much he would have loved that painting.

Do you get your home maintenance supplies from alternative sources before hitting up Home Depot? Whether it’s putting the word out on Facebook, cruising the Restore or simply rethinking a project, used supplies will save you money and help the environment.

And what’s not to love about that?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Today I Am . . .

by Katy on August 1, 2014 · 9 comments

Benson Bubbler

Today I Am . . . 

  • Sanding and priming my $20 thrifted campaign dresser. Then, I’ll go to the Habitat For Humanity ReStore to shop for paint. I was leaning towards painting the dresser a tasteful black since my bedroom is a terra cotta color, but I say f*¢& it, I want something bright and fun!
  • Continuing to be impressed by all the amazing free and almost-free projects that Megan from Upstyler comes up with. This week she took the wooden handle from a broke-ass umbrella and turned it into a very cool looking wall hook. (This is my favorite new blog, and I highly recommend it!)
  • Pleased with yesterday’s Downtown Adventure Day that I organized with my son and nephew. We took the bus downtown, walked around, took the streetcar to the tram, rode the tram to the top and back, ate delicious food cart falafel and then got cheap and fantastic haircuts from Quinn at Barber-Q. Haircuts needed to happen anyway, so we might as well plan an adventure day around them!
  • Planning tonight’s dinner of homemade sushi. The kids can assemble them, and it’s the perfect meal for a hot summer evening that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. (I make rice in the steamy hot rice cooker which only needs an electrical outlet, so I can set it up on the porch instead of the kitchen.)
  • Enjoying the nice paycheck that comes with working five shifts in a pay period. Damn, that’s a lot of money!
  • Pleased with the city of Portland with its outdoor Benson Bubbler drinking fountains all over downtown, which makes it unnecessary to carry a heavy water bottle, even in the height of summer.
  • Happy that even though my younger son has a haircut that requires frequent trims, the rest of us balance it out. I cut my husband’s hair, my older son wears his hair long and I forget to get haircuts and haven’t had one for at least a year and a half!

Now your turn. What are you doing today?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

100 Dollar Bill

I had the privilege of taking my aunt Anne out for breakfast today. It was her birthday, (which I had actually forgotten about) which made it all the more special. Our original plan had been to go out for dim-sum, but we ended up finding a wonderful little café not far from my house which hit the spot.

This aunt is actually only 15 years older than I am and lived with us for a few years when I was growing up. She has always been a true inspiration to me — gleaning fabulous treasures from thrift shops and taking me and my sister to musty old used book stores when we were at our most impressionable ages. (The smell of old books still arouses an overwhelming feeling of contentment for me.)

She is smart, funny and generous beyond a fault despite never having excessive income.

Sadly, she now lives in Florida, which means that I hardly ever get to spend any time with her.

On our way back from breakfast, (plus a couple of garage sales) she started talking about what she would do if she won the lottery. I can’t actually remember what she said she would buy for herself, but she did say that she would give us each $11,000 per year. She said this is the amount one can receive annually without having to pay taxes on it.

I started to think about what I would do with an extra $44,000 annual income, (yes, she said she would give $11,000 to each of us!)

I would most definitely eradicate any and all consumer debt, but then what? Travel? Charitable giving? Cool clothes? Savings?

What would you do with an extra $100, $1000 or $10,000?

Here, I’ll start:

$100 – I would put it in savings. (There’s nothing for $100 or less that I don’t already have.)

$1,000 – I would pay off debt.

$10,000 – I would travel with my kids to somewhere like London, Japan or Greece. Perhaps somewhere sunny like Hawaii or Mexico, (which would be cheaper and allow for leftover funds.)

Okay now, your turn! Please put your answers in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Happiness is Found in Little Things

Five Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My 14-year-old nephew is visiting us from New York for the next two weeks. Not only does he have two sets of Portland grandparents, but he’s one of my younger son’s best friends. I anticipate much fun and many shenanigans.
  2. My house sits on a city street paved with large bumpy stones inset in the cement (concrete?) and it’s on an official bike route. This means that all day I hear children yelling “Ahhh . . . ” in order to make their voices shake. Every child does it and it’s a wonderful sound.
  3. I spent a few hours helping my mother and step-father rearrange a room in their house which involved moving of insanely heavy furniture and a foray out to buy a twin sized mattress. As payment, I told my mother I would be usurping a throw pillow that I’d been eyeing over the past few years. Luckily, she approved my plan and I now own a vintage needlepointed pillow that reads, “Happiness is Found in Little Things.”
  4. Whenever my DVR randomly catches an episode of a program that I hadn’t realized was starting up or in reruns. Recent examples? “Till Debt Do Us Part” and “Project Runway.”
  5. The health and wellness of my family. I see enough in my job as an RN to appreciate how very lucky we are.

One thing that’s pissing me off:

  1. I soaked my brass campaign dresser drawer pulls in a ketchup water solution to help shine them up. I first tested the brass with a magnet to make sure they weren’t brass plated and thought I was safe. Unfortunately, I discovered that although the back pieces are solid brass, the handles pieces were plated, which meant some of the plating came off with my too-frugal-for-my-own-good trickery. Crap.

Now your turn. What’s making you happy, and conversely what’s pissing you off?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 18 comments }

Today I Am . . .

by Katy on July 25, 2014 · 15 comments

Campaign dresser drawer pulls

Today I Am . . .

  • Gazing at my Pinterest board that is all about painted campaign dressers. So pretty!
  • Pleased that rather foul Trader Joe’s peppermint toothpaste works well to polish up the brass hardware on my campaign dresser.
  • Wishing that my feet didn’t hurt so much after a 12-hour hospital shift.
  • Encouraging a certain jet-lagged boy to get out of bed and transition back to Portland time. Even if that does mean losing out on 4 A.M. chats with friends in Japan.
  • Proud of my husband, who just received a promotion at work.
  • Happy that my neighbors are pickier than I am with their outdoor planters. (They put out one concrete planter because it was chipped a few months ago, and just put out its match the other night. Needless to say, both planters now reside in my garden. I have plans to fill both with bamboo which will shade the south side of my porch without invading the rest of the yard.)
  • Happy to have my son home after his month in Japan. He kicks a soccer ball in the house all the time, talks non-stop and I love every noisy and disruptive bit of him!
  • Pleased to share my Five Frugal Things blog format with my pal Kristen from The Frugal Girl. It’s a perfect way to share frugal activities that don’t quite warrant their own blog post.
  • Annoyed with how many e-mails I need to address. They’re all sitting in my inbox just waiting for me to be in the mood to deal with them. Needless to say, I simply need to get on that irregardless of my mood.
  • Off to take laundry off the clothesline that’s been wetting and drying over the past few rainy days.

 

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 15 comments }

Campaigning For a Project

by Katy on July 24, 2014 · 22 comments

Campaign dresser

 

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a low dresser over the past few years. I wanted something cheap, sturdy and within my design aesthetic. The plan is to put our bedroom TV on the dresser and then banish the rolling metro shelving unit that the TV current sits on.

At this point you may be wondering why we need a TV in the bedroom at all, but I think you need to understand that some people in my marriage like to watch international soccer games on TV, while other people in my marriage like watching old episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

I’ll you guess which is which.

I’d already turned down this mid-century dresser, as the top was a plastic laminate, (meh) and hadn’t seen anything since then that piqued my interest.

But the above vintage solid wood/dovetail drawered campaign dresser was priced at only $20, so I bit the bullet and brought it home. It wasn’t an immediate decision, as I just finished ridding my house of a buttload of unnecessary stuff, but an hour or so of doing image searches of painted campaign dressers put me into a frenzy. (I even put together a Pinterest board of nothing but painted campaign dressers!)

I worried that the dresser would be sold by the time I made it back to Goodwill this morning, (I’d seen it last night) but luck was on my side and I was happy to fork over the twenty smackeroos!

My plan is to paint it a glossy black color and then shine the hell out of the solid brass hardware. There’s a single drawer that needs to be re-glued, but it’s a small job. And for those who wonder why I don’t keep the original wood finish, I need to explain that the wood has those horrible teeny splatters of dark stain to look faux antique. (The dresser is from 1974.)

Blegh.

I think I should be able to start on this project within the next few weeks, and I’ll keep you updated.

I know it’s inherent in this blog post, but I need to hammer home that low cost/high quality used stuff will always win over the low quality/high cost of a newly manufactured item. Buying used gives us the option to outfit our homes with quality items without spending too much, and most importantly without supporting environmentally irresponsible factories with questionable worker practices.

Take that, Wal-Mart!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Found Change Challenge

We are a few weeks past the official halfway mark for 2014, so I present a better-late-than-never update on the Found Change Challenge.

Without further ado, I proudly announce that despite having found only one piece of folding money, (a single dollar bill) I’ve found $26.115 so far this year!

It was quarter by quarter, penny by penny.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how I found a half a cent, to which present exhibit A:

Half penny

It seems that almost every time I venture out into the world I come across at least one penny, and I wonder about the people who walk by these very obvious coins. It’s free money, people!

Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Are you participating in the Non-Consumer Advocate’s Found Change Challenge? It’s never too late to join!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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There’s nothing like hosting a garage sale to make me want to steer clear of thrift stores. I worked damned hard to clear my house of excessive and unnecessary stuff, so it would be self destructive to just fill it up again. Right? I schlepped a huge donation to Goodwill after last week’s garage sale, so there was no way in hell I was going to wander through the store aisles.

But a week’s time can sneak a bit of grey into an otherwise black and white world.

With a laser sharp mission to stop into Goodwill “to just photograph stuff for the blog,” I popped into one of my favorite locations on my way home from Costco. (I was able to rationalize that there was zero extra driving, as it was on a street I was driving on anyway. I am a top notch rationalizer, don’t be jealous of my mad rationalizing skillz.)

Goodwill did not disappoint, as an ever present targeted savings bank immediately caught my eye.

Hopes & Dreams

“Hopes & Dreams” is a new one to me. Although I kind of like saving for such a broad and lofty goal rather than the typical plastic surgery, casino money and wine. It’s the opposite of the normal hedonism.

I was also charmed by the graphics on this stack of vintage dish ware.

vintage agrarian dishware

Look at the sweet pastoral mother and child scene. It totally reminded me of Small Measure’s Ashley English.

Plate detail

The detail on the plates were heart meltingly sweet.

plate detail 2

Don’t worry, I didn’t buy them.

I was also charmed by this vintage vanity and stool. (Although the stool was obviously not original to the set since it had to be placed sideways to slot underneath the dresser.) Priced at $79.99, it wasn’t a terrible deal. These dressers are often in terrible condition with peeling veneer; and missing the mirror and chair. This one only needed some wood conditioner.

Vintage Vanity

Look at how groovy the stool was. I seriously would have snagged it if it was sold on its own and priced at $10 or less.

stool sample

The art nouveau drawer pulls were to die for. Hello, bakelite!

art nouveau drawer pulls

I took it an an opportunity to snap a quick selfie, although it turned out kind kind of weird, as I look like I sipping the from straw of my iPhone. (New collaboration between Apple and Starbucks?)

sippy iPhone

This week I am the questionable of the questionable-will. And no, I didn’t buy anything.

Sheesh . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Today was a day to run a few walkable errands, despite the unpleasantly warm temperature. (89º, yes I’m a wimp.) I considered bringing a water bottle with me, but I realized that almost everywhere I would be hitting included a water fountain. And then I started to think about how when I was growing up in the 1970′s and 1980′s no one carried water, refillable or otherwise, yet we somehow didn’t die of dehydration.

We drank from water fountains.

My first stop was to New Season’s Market, where I dropped off the plastics recycling, as well as extra skateboard helmet foam that I forgot to give to the guy who bought it from my garage sale. Luckily, the buyer mentioned that he worked at New Season’s, so there’s a chance that the never-used foam can reunite with the helmet.

I also used the water fountain, which was both chilly and delicious:

New Season's drinking fountain

The next stop was the half-mile to the library, where I returned a couple of books and picked up a a DVD of From Up on Poppy Hill. Luckily, there was a Benson Bubbler fountain outside:

Benson bubbler

As well as a traditional indoor water fountain. Both were lip smackingly satisfying!

library drinking fountains

I was then off to the credit union, which I would guess was an addition half-mile. Unfortunately, the credit union didn’t have a water fountain, although you know that I asked. (I did find 55¢ under the coin counting machine, which helped to sooth my disappointment.)

But since I was picking up a few groceries at Fred Meyer, I knew I could just suck it up and use their water fountain. (Pun intended.)

Fred Meyer drinking fountains

But I gotta be honest here. I didn’t use this drinking fountain. Why? Well . . . the Fred Meyer drinking fountain is sandwiched between the bathrooms which lack doors. (The stalls have doors, but there’s no door to enter the rooms.) And someone had apparently just taken the dump of the century, and the smell was overwhelming.

Thanks, but I can wait the ten minutes until I’m home to get a drink of water.

Gag.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m normally huge fan of packing a refillable water bottle when out and about, but since I knew about the drinking fountains, I was able to leave that generally heavy item at home.

Do you drink from drinking fountains or are you partial to your own water bottle? Please share your preference in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 15, 2014 · 32 comments

  1. My work lunch is all packed and ready for tomorrow. I’ve become complacent lately about packing a work lunch, as the cafeteria’s salad bar is amazing, with fresh spinach, poached salmon and endless fresh veggies. It’s pretty cheap at $5 or so, but it adds up.
  2. I (almost) only went places today that were within walking distance from the house, and my most impressive activity was a massive nap on the couch.
  3. I loaded up the back of the mini-van to donate the garage sale leftovers to Goodwill. At first my plan was to just donate the clothing and a few other small items, but once I got started it felt so amazingly cathartic, and I ended up donating almost everything. (This was my only driving errand today.) And let’s give me a pat on the back for donating at Goodwill without going into the store!
  4. I hung two loads of laundry on the clothesline today, after washing them in cold water and only using a small amount of detergent. (I use the tiny Oxyclean scoop, which cuts down on how much detergent gets used.)
  5. I am starting to plan out some fun and frugal staycation ideas for my 14-year-old nephew’s two week visit.

Now your turn. What frugal activities have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 32 comments }

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