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Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Decor Discoveries

Yesterday, the Discovery Shop was having a 25% off sale on everything in the shop. Since we were going to the farm store in Moneta (where I bought a really good manure fork), we'd pass right by Discovery. Naturally, we stopped.

Over a week ago, I'd looked at this wooden folk-artsy cat plaque, but at $7, it was a bit more than I wanted to spend.

 I'm glad I waited for the sale. They also had another wooden folk-arts piece—and it was two sided:

The original price was $5, but with 25% off I decided I wanted it. I like folk art—here's a display of some (purchased at Goodwill or Discovery) in my kitchen:

In the 25¢ bin at Discovery, I found a little wooden cat. For 19¢, how could I resist? He looks so cute beside a mouse I bought a while back.

 On the way home from the farm store, we passed Goodwill. Of course I found a few things I wanted. Like this little tiny tea set:

For some reason, the pieces were individually priced, so the whole set  cost $2.25. A splurge for me.

The planters were $1 each. That's reasonable. I especially like the one that looks like a Western saddle. I think Jim-Bob like the other one better, though.

I didn't need any of this stuff. But the price was right. . . .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Apple & the Time Capsule

Last week, my Time Capsule died. I'd bought it refurbished about a year and a half ago. (For y'all non-Apple folks, the Time Capsule is a little plastic box that backs up my iMac's hard drive and acts as a router to provide household wi-fi. )

The modem usually connects to the Time Capsule which connects to the computer, etc.—but, following the TC's demise, we had to connect the modem directly to the iMac so we still had internet access. Just no wi-fi. That meant only one of us had computer access at a time.

I checked the prices of both a new and a refurbished time Capsule. Replacing it would be pricey.

My electrical engineer hubby did bit of Googling and found we could get a refurbished one for about $190. But a bit more Googling told him that a lot of first generation Time Capsules died when they were 18 months old and that Apple replaces hardware connected to a computer that has Apple Care.  Fortunately, I'd gotten the 3-year Apple Care service contract with the iMac.

I called Apple, was connected with a service person within three minutes, and was assured that Apple Care would take care of a replacement Time Capsule. I'd have to send the dead one back, though, or I'd owe Apple $300.

They Fed-Ex'ed us the replacement, we received it on Tuesday, and soon had wi-fi. I had to call Apple tech support for help in restoring the Time Machine backup function to the Time Capsule, but I was connected promptly and was walked through the set-up by a very patient tech rep.

We sent the dead one back Wednesday, and they received it yesterday. Both wi-fi and backup are working fine.

 When in doubt, Google.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Savings

I confess. I'm a bookaholic. A voracious reader. And I need to feed my habit—as cheaply as possible. That's why I shop the library's used book sales (plus it helps the library), browse the shelves at Goodwill and the Discovery Shop, look for deals on, and shop both independent and big box bookstores. I have a Barnes & Noble member discount card, but I like to bump up my discount if I can.

Sometimes B&N offers a coupon via my email, like this one:

This discount will apply after my member card's discount, but it's still money off my purchase. Because I'll be in Roanoke on Saturday, I plan to stop at the Tanglewood B&N.

But there's more: I figured I'd spend at least $25 on books, so I bought a $25 B&N gift card at Kroger last Tuesday. Buying a gift card at Kroger gave me double points toward my discount Kroger gas purchase, so I'll save on a non-book purchase, too.

Looks like I'm good to go.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Books & Cats

 I bought five books at the Westlake Library used book sale today.

The current prices:

Total: $55.29.

I spent $4.50, but that also includes three videos.

I already had the cats. They're priceless.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coupons, Cats, and Sony

Today was one of my better shopping days at Kroger—much better than last week. I had some really good coupons—including one for $24 off my shopping order that came in today's mail. Good thing we waited for the mail before we went to town.

With coupons I'd downloaded onto my Kroger card, a printout of current specials (including $5 off if I bought 10 particular items),  coupons I clipped from yesterday's Sunday's newspaper, and coupons Kroger mailed to me, I bought over well $200 worth of groceries for $152.83.

After we returned home, put away our groceries, and lunched on barbeque chicken (I had a dollar off coupon for the chicken), we went to the feed store in Moneta to get some baled shavings and some horse feed. Instead of taking the truck, which uses too much gas, we took the old PT Cruiser with the back seats removed.  There was more than enough room for four bales of pine shavings and two 50-lb bags of horse feed.

Since we passed through Westlake on our way to Moneta, we stopped at the Discovery Shop, where I found a couple of cat-themed decorative items. I paid a whopping $3 for the patchwork cat, but the little wooden basket had been marked down to $1.50.

Of course both items received a cat scan from Chloe.

Here's the back view of both Chloe and the patchwork cat (which nicely matches the color of the cabinet I recently painted).

My husband got lucky at the Discovery Shop. He bought a Sony headphone AM-FM sports radio for $4. He'll wear it when he mows the lawn. 

Later he checked the price of the Sony radio online. Sony no longer makes that model, but he found several available from

If the Amazon price is right, I guess he got a good deal.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Go Krogering

. . . again. I posted an earlier "Let's Go Krogering" back in 2008.

Grocery shopping used to be simple. Now, it's a bit more complicated, but I can save in more ways than I used to. I use my Kroger card which gives me discounts on a lot of items.

The card also gives me money back if I get enough points. Plus, I can go online to and download coupons directly to my Kroger card.

Besides the coupons I download, I cut coupons from the supplement in the Sunday paper, download other coupons from the Internet, and download lists of Kroger specials. I try to shop the specials, too, and I stockpile things like papergoods, detergent, pet food, etc., if I find especially good deals.

We take advantage of the senior citizen discount at Kroger on Tuesdays. That saves 5% on our bill. We also take our own bags to pack groceries. My favorites are these we bought at Tractor Supply for $1.49 each. They're really sturdy and they hold a lot.

At Kroger, my husband and I each get a cart. Shopping is faster if we go separate ways. Since we live 15 miles from town, we try to get all our groceries in one trip.

 I use my Kroger Mastercard so I can get points for discounts on Kroger gasoline. We save up our points all month—so we get between 70 cents and a dollar off a gallon—before filling up the truck and a dozen or so gas cans in the back of the truck. We usually get 60 gallons before the pump says we can't get anymore. The filled gas cans are used for the lawnmowers, two of the tractors, the ATV, etc.

I always pay off the balance of the Mastercard at the end of the month. I never let debt accrue, so I never have to pay interest. 

On the way home, we might stop at Wal-Mart or Lowe's, since they're not out of our way. Last week at Lowe's, I bought a small fountain for less than a third its original price and some mums for a dollar each.

Helpful hint: If you take the back seats out of a PT Cruiser, you can haul a lot more stuff.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Cabinet II

The newly painted cabinet fits right into the space beside my laundry closet. Because the cabinet isn't very deep, the louvered doors have room to open. The burgundy red paint works well with the muted burgundy squares in the vinyl flooring and with the red in the wallpaper.

Olivia (mother of kitties Jim-Bob and Chloe) is breakfasting in front of the cabinet. Although Olivia coordinates well with the colors, I really need to find another place for the cat buffet. 

Above the cabinet are some peg hangers that I bought cheap when Salem Creek (a decorative accessory store in Roanoke) was having a sale about 20 years ago. 

From the pegs hang some cutting boards that my husband made from walnut lumber that came from our Smith Farm in the 60s.  On the right is a stockyard cane that we've had for years, and beside it is a wooden thingie that measures dry spaghetti.

Let's take a closer look at my folk-art decorative items. 

All were Goodwill finds; the cat, rabbit, and pie lady were a dollar each. The chalkboard was 75 cents. The bowl was 25 cents, and the pie candle that fits nicely in the bowl was $1.25. That little horse was my splurge at $2.75.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cabinet

One person's trash is another's treasure, the saying goes. Last week, I found this little treasure leaning against a dumpster. Apparently, its last owner considered it trash.

It wasn't in the best of shape, but I didn't think it should take up space at the landfill. I decided it might be worth recycling.  If I couldn't use it, I'd at least take it to Goodwill.  

At home, a "cat scan" showed it had potential. I thought maybe if I fixed it up, I could use it in the kitchen.

Those shelves would hold a lot.

But the cabinet had plenty of scuff marks, both on top . . .

. . . and on the sides. The hinges were kind of cute, though.

I decided to paint it red, so I bought some spray paint at Lowe's. I let a bit of the woodgrain show through the paint to give it an antique-y look.

I think it'll look cute in my country kitchen. What do you think?

Total cost: $3.78.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Favorite New Things

Here are some things I've acquired during the last two months.

This kitty tote was at Clay's Consignment Shop on Brooks Mill Road. It was new and still had the tag on it. I paid $6.00. My iPad fits nicely in the side compartment.

This little folk art horse with its load of wooden watermelons was at the Westlake Goodwill. I paid $2.75, more than I usually pay for knick-knacks, but it was so cute.

When I bought the horse, I also found a couple of pillar candles for 69 cents each. 

Last month I also acquired a couple of freebies. I won this little book in a contest that Facebook friend Janice Lee was running. It's a delightful little book of inspirational poems and quotations.

I won this really neat bat-hat in a contest that blogger buddy Diane Cayton-Hakey was running on her Blue Ridge Gal blog.

I already owned the cat and the basket.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Cat Scratchscroll

A while back, I bought this cat scratching thingie at the Discovery Shop.

I paid $10 for it, more than I usually pay for used merchandise. However, this didn't look used and was still in the original box. But would the cats use it?

They did.

I checked online to find the original price.

I guess I got a good deal.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A few weeks ago, I found a large fiberglass urn at the dumpster. It looked as if someone had spray-painted it silver. I figured I could use it for something.

I thought it might look better than the plastic tub that currently holds the ficus. Sure looked like the ficus would fit.

 So I cleaned up the urn and bought some spray paint designed for plastic. The paint cost less than $5.

I thought sage green looked a lot better than the metallic silver. The urn, which looked as if it were originally a sand color, took less than a can. After the paint dried, I sat the ficus's tub inside the urn. Before I repot the ficus, I want to see how it looks.

Looks pretty good, considering the condition of the ficus (which someone gave me a few years ago). But I wondered how much an urn like this cost? The brand Grosfillex was stamped on its inside. I did some Googling and found these Grosfillex urns that are about the same size as mine:

They're not quite the same, but they're similar. I figure mine would have cost forty-something new.

I guess I got a good deal.