Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A $7 Desk Makeover


This poor old desk is one I've been thinking should've been retired for a good long time, however, other than being scratched up and ugly, it is super sturdy.  And the perfect size for small spaces.  Plus, I really hate sending stuff like this to the landfill.  So I decided to keep it and give it a makeover.


Lots of scratches and wear

It's a little rough

After disassembling the top, slide out keyboard tray and bottom shelf I wiped it all down with a damp cloth and it was pretty much ready to paint.  Outside on a tarp I gave each of these pieces a good coat of Rustoleum spray paint in the color Sweet Pea that I purchased at Wal-Mart for $6.48.  Then I gave it another one.


1st coat!

Once it was dry all I had to do was put it all back together again and it was ready to go.  It turned out great and is going to be perfect for what I plan to use it for.  And I sure can't beat the price.


Much improved!!

Pink!  Oh yeah baby, because I've got plans for this piece of furniture.  But, you're going to have to wait for my next post to find out just exactly what that is.  Sorry peeps.  I promise it will be worth the wait.



Monday, August 8, 2022

My Tireless Retirement - Week 18


Our heat wave finally broke on Tuesday and we have been enjoying temperatures in the lower 90s instead of being over the century mark.  Pretty typical of our summers really.  I focused on keeping my flowerbeds watered and making sure the hens, kitties and the bunny were as comfortable as possible.  Lots of fresh water and even some ice throughout the hotter days for my feathered and furry babes and I made sure the bird bath was filled each day as well for our wildlife friends.  I got my outside chores done in the cooler early morning hours and spent the rest of my days inside working on various items on my "To-Do" list and crafting.


I patched the hole in my pantry door with Bondo and let it cure overnight

Once it was sanded and painted I drilled a new hole and it was good to go!
I love this new knob much better than the old one

My pantry has a bifold door on it and over the years the weight of the knob has worn the hole it is attached through quite large making it very loose to the point I can no longer tighten it.  I got out the Bondo and did a patch over the hole, both front and back, letting it cure overnight, did a little sanding, touched up the paint and then redrilled the hole.  I also replaced the knob with something much lighter and more in keeping with my current home d├ęcor.  Since I already had the Bondo, sanding block, paint and the knob this was a no cost fix. I'll let you know how my repair job holds up.


New doorknobs throughout the entire house

I think they are so pretty

Something I've wanted to do for a very long time is to update the door knobs throughout our home.  As I've replaced the doors in each room I've stuck the old 1970s knobs back on, even spray painted them once or twice, but I really didn't like them.  They were pretty ugly.  I've also had to replace knobs over the years so I had some that didn't even match.  Not anymore!  I finally figured out what style of doorknob I wanted to go with and ordered new ones from Amazon.  I love them!  Once they were installed I felt so happy.  It really is the little things in life that bring me joy.


On Tuesday I went to visit my co-workers, apparently they were missing me.  I didn't stay too long and on the way home I went to the cheap seat movies and saw Lightyear.  I figured, why not?  I can tell you right now - way too many kids in that theatre and since the movie was more appealing to adults than children in my opinion, they got bored.  Really bored.  I was a little disappointed in the movie myself.  Glad I only spent $1.50 and it got me out of the house.  After the movie I was in close proximity to Wal-Mart so I stopped in on my way home and stocked up on cat food as I'm beginning my winter stock up now.  They had the big bags I was hoping to find, the feed store was out, as well as a small selection of canned kitty food.


I did not do any grocery shopping and prepared meals using up what I already had on hand.  I've just about emptied the crisper drawer in my refrigerator so I'll need to do a produce run pretty soon.  I ate leftover egg drop soup and egg rolls for three meals, cooked up four sirloin burgers and ate those with a salad on the side for four meals and finished up a couple hot dogs I had hanging around with some homemade canned chili one night.  It had been a while since I'd had a chili dog and it was pretty tasty.


I made some miniature food for a dollhouse

Too much fun!!

I spent all day Friday hanging out with a good friend of mine.  We talked and laughed a bunch, tried to solve the world's problems over lunch and finally decided we have zero control over anything and threw up our hands.  But, we had a very nice time.  We even saw puppies, but had the good sense not to bring any of them home with us.


I also made this miniature crochet set

Another great week has completely flown by and now I'm onto another one.  Holy cow!  Time is flying!  And little ones will be back in school soon.  How crazy is that?  I hope everyone is doing well.  Take care my friends!


Friday, August 5, 2022

I Still Play With Dolls


I've loved my dolls since I was itty bitty and I played with them and took care of them a lot growing up.  As a teenager I packed up my treasured dollies and the loads of clothes my mother had made for them and we sent a huge box off to my younger cousin.  My mom had told my aunt these were on loan, but when my cousin outgrew them she packed everything up and dumped them off at the Salvation Army, forgetting she was supposed to return them.  When my mother told me this she was extremely upset, to say the least, so I put on a brave face and told her it was okay.  At the time I think it was far more upsetting for her than it was for me.


I rehabbed and dressed all of the girls on the top shelf.  I rehabbed the ladies
on the bottom shelf and my mother dressed most of them in her creations
The detail my mother put into their clothes and undergarments is remarkable

I never realized how much I missed my dolls until about ten years later.  My grandmother and I popped into an antique shop just to poke around and I saw one of my childhood dolls (not my actual doll) in there.  After going nuts over it we left the shop and as I was about to start the car my grandmother handed me a $20 bill and told me to go inside and get that doll.  I told her it was silly at my age and she strongly disagreed.  She had noticed how my face lit up and how excited I was to see an old friend.  So I went back inside the shop, I got the doll and I was very happy to have her.


I created a brand new space for my doll collection

Time passed and another ten years or so later I began collecting vintage dolls, dolls from my childhood, especially ones that were" in need of a mama".  I got into rehabilitating old dolls and I've sold several of those dolls on eBay and in my Etsy shop.  It is a lot of fun for me and truly a labor of love.  Nothing makes me happier than to rescue a doll destined for the trash and give her a complete makeover so she looks nearly new again.  Giving them a new lease on life and allowing them to be enjoyed once again.


This little darling arrived dirty and her hair was a snarled mess
Didn't she turn out lovely?

Life happens and as my daughter's got older and their extracurricular activities swallowed up more of our time I put my dolly endeavors on hold, but they were never far from my heart.  I've really missed the work of rehabilitation.  Well, the time has come to get back to it and play with my dolls again.  I am beyond excited.  This is the biggest reason I've pushed myself so hard the last few months to get things done around here.  I am one of those people that can't relax or play if I know there are things that need to be done around the house.  I have to get that stuff taken care of.  Now that it is I'm going to be using my time to focus more attention on the things I really love to do.


The two girls in the middle are ones I have rehabbed and redressed

The "girls" and I have been moving into the new doll room where I can display my treasures and enjoy them as they are meant to be.  I am creating various work spaces throughout my home for the different tasks I do to rehab a doll and I'm hoping soon to add some of these things to my Etsy shop, perhaps in time for Christmas.  I'm not going to pressure myself though, this is a hobby to be enjoyed and no stress is allowed.


Waiting their turn

I have dollies to wash, dollies to repair, clothing to sew, accessories to make and things to build.  Load of plans swirl around in my head all of the time of what I can do.  It often keeps me from falling asleep at night, no kidding.  So there you go, you now know a little something else about me (I never grew up).


I'm curious.  Any other doll enthusiasts out there?  What dolls are, or were, your favorite?


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Four Months In!


Monday marked my four month anniversary since I stopped working and it is hard to believe that I am already four months into retirement.  To say I stopped working, however wouldn't be a fair statement.  I think I've worked harder since I retired.  I might be doing it wrong. Ha, ha!


So much has happened in that short amount of time.  I started out by taking the entire month of April off to rest, relax, wrap my head around what I was about to do and "detoxing" from work life.  The detox part was harder than I was expecting it to be.  It took a lot for me to just chill and not feel weird about not working.  I even had some guilt about it, which is absurd, but I did.  Lots of strange thoughts, feelings and emotions initially.


By the time May rolled around I was really ready to be retired and tackle some projects around the house and although the weather wasn't cooperating the first half of the month I was finally able to get outside.  As you all know by now, I have a yard!  Whoo hoooo!  Six weeks of hard physical labor has transformed our barren wasteland into a lovely and inviting yard that I am extremely proud of.  And I did it on a shoe string budget too.


My daughter graduated in May and that was a big milestone for both of us.  She is my youngest and was chomping at the bit to get out and be on her own.  Truth be told, I was ready for that too.  She moved out on the 7th of July and although I have her bunny and a big pile of her stuff in the garage still, it has been good for both of us.  Again, it took me a little bit to adjust to being the only one in the house, but I adapted rather quickly and I have to say - I like it!


All the goodies I've been collecting over the years for the room makeover

I gave it a week and then I was upstairs ripping out carpet, removing the old outdated and ugly trim and washing walls in preparation of a makeover in my daughter's old room.  That room has needed some love for quite a while, but my daughter had no interest in a makeover so I left it with dreams of what could be.  Now it looks like I pictured it in my head all of these years, maybe even better, and I couldn't be happier.  I used some of the leftover money from my landscaping project to finance this endeavor and I'm thrilled with the final results.  I will be doing a separate post on the room very soon.


Cleaned, new trim and fresh paint.  Ready for carpet!

I still have loads of small projects to complete around the house.  The only rooms left in my house that have not received a makeover are my downstairs bathroom and the laundry room, both of which are still in great shape.  However, I have plans in my head to spruce up those two spaces as well and I doubt it will be much longer before I get the itch to tackle them too.  I still have money left from the landscaping project to use to make it happen so that is very helpful.


Doll sized rugs I've made recently

However, I do plan to move at a much slower pace as we head into fall and winter.  Mainly I wanted to get done what I have so far in order that I can slow down and work on other things.  I have a lot of hobbies I enjoy doing, many that have been put on the back burner for quite some time.  Now I finally get to do those hobbies and I am super excited about it.  Work is behind me, my kids are raised and it is time for this girl to do all the things she wants to do.  Hurray!


Monday, August 1, 2022

My Thrifty Retirement - Week 17


It's August!!  And I've just completed the first four months of early retirement.  We're talking one third of a year.  That went quick!  And!  This is the first time in thirty some years I'm not going to be getting a kid ready for back-to-school.  That's should save me a small fortune.


It was still a hot week weather wise, lots of triple digits, so I concentrated my efforts on indoor projects around the house.  Along with renovating the second bedroom upstairs I have a lengthy "honey-do" list of odd little projects to complete so plenty of things to keep me busy while I waited for the carpet I ordered to arrive.  There are just so many things I want to do around here.


I was a powerhouse on Sunday though.  I finished painting the bedroom, the door and all the trim with two coats of a fresh crisp white paint.  Wow!  What a difference.  Nothing quite like rolling on a few strokes of new paint onto the walls to let you know just how dingy your "white" walls got.  It feels so good to have that done.


Any guesses as to what this is?

Needless to say the bedroom renovation consumed the majority of my week and I'll be posting more details on that coming up very soon.  I finished everything up on Thursday and I am thrilled with how nice it all turned out.  Better than I had imagined and I absolutely love it!  But, no rest for the weary, I immediately launched right into my next construction project and I am having a ball.


My mission for the week was to prepare meals and eat from what I already had in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry and not do any shopping for groceries.  I had plenty so there was really no point to shopping for more.  Plus, as I was going through things, I realized I had quite a bit in the kitchen freezer so I'm planning to work my way through what is in there in the next few weeks or so.  Therefore, I did not do any grocery shopping last week.


I made this miniature crochet set

Is it super hot where you live right now?  I hope you are doing well and staying cool.  Take care, be safe and God bless my friends.


Friday, July 29, 2022

This Month's Grocery Spending - July 2022


It is unreal to me that July is coming to an end.  And!  I'm almost four months in on my super thrifty retirement already!  Time is flying by I tell ya!  Part of my thrifty retirement this year is to keep to my grocery budget and spend as little as possible.  Since my youngest moved out on the 7th of this month that made it much easier for me to keep costs low, especially the last three weeks.  I found myself doing mini weekly shopping excursions, mostly for produce and anything on sale I thought I might need.


It did help a bunch that I was able to find an amazing deal on meat at the beginning of the month.  Originally the plan was to pick up two or three pot roasts, which I did, but I also found marked down burger patties and meat balls so I added those to my cart as well.  I will get loads of meals out of these items, no problem and I do plan to share some with my youngest to give her a bit of a boost with her groceries too.


I was able to stock up on cheese that was on sale and I had several paper coupons to go along with making it only 99¢ a package for the grated cheese and $1.29 for some sliced pepper jack.  I love pepper jack for my grilled cheese sandwiches.  After that most of my money went for fresh produce and cream for my coffee.

Nonfood spending was only $3.99 for a twelve roll package of toilet paper that was on sale to add to my long term storage.  Other than that I didn't need or buy anything else nonfood.  My food spending came in at just $73.77 out of my $100 budget.  Not too bad, I'd say.


I'm curious now that I'm an empty nester to see how my shopping habits change and how much it impacts my budget.  With all of the stockpiling I did last winter in preparation of my earlier early retirement I really don't need much and I find right now I'm cooking less and consuming less so those groceries will last much longer. It will be interesting to see.  

How did you do?  Stumble across any great bargains?  What were you able to stock up on?

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Do I Need A 3BR/2Bath House?


As a single woman do I still need a three bedroom house with two bathrooms?  The short answer is NOPE.  Ideally, I do see myself downsizing into a two bedroom one bathroom house on a single level as I age for that will be much more practical.  However, right now I am currently using every square foot of the house I currently live in.  Each room has a purpose and is used for that purpose.  And the truth of the matter is I am totally in love with this place.


I have lived here since the end of January 1995 and have been steadily working on improving the condition of this house and making it into a home.  Initially I made repairs, replaced the roof, replaced doors and windows, updated electrical and lighting, updated plumbing, repaired and painted the exterior as well as a host of other things, paying cash as I went along.  By the time the structural issues were addressed it was time to start again on the now dated and worn out interior updates that had also been made during that time.


In the past two years I've gone through nearly the entire inside of this house once again updating and making improvements which has included new trim, paint and carpeting.  There have been maintenance items to address too, such as new toilet seats and a garbage disposal.  And I paid cash as I went along because it is very important to me that I remain debt free.  At long last the interior of my house looked the way I had always imagined it in my mind and in my heart and it truly became a home to me.


Once the majority of the interior updates was completed I was committed to making the exterior of my home look and feel as good as the inside does.  I wanted both inside and outside spaces to be reflective of each other and this year I was finally able to do just that.  Many, many landscape changes have been made to my home and it now looks the way I had always imagined it in my mind and in my heart as well.


All of my children are now out of the house and I am officially an empty nester.  I think it is important that I have the opportunity to live in my home for a minimum of one year before I make any big decisions as to whether or not I will sell and move or not.  In fact, due to me retiring and entire year sooner than originally planned it might prudent for me to wait an entire two years before I make a decision.  The bonus for me is getting to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my labor.


There are other factors for me to take into consideration.  I love living in the city I currently reside in.  My house is located near everything I need access too including a main city bus line and the airport.  I really enjoy my neighbors and I live in a very nice neighborhood, I know a lot of people cannot say the same.  I feel safe, which is extremely important.


Because I have lived in this house for so long it is also exceptionally affordable for me.  I've managed over the years to figure out ways to heat and cool my home so my electricity bill is relatively low.  I've made a lot of changes too that save on my water, sewer and trash bills.  And now that I live alone I expect to see even more savings as I'm no longer taking care of a family.  I seriously doubt I can live somewhere else for a lower cost at the moment.


Nothing is set in stone, we all have to remain adaptable and fluid because things happen and changes ultimately need to be made.  But for right now I am quite happy and quite content to stay right where I'm and enjoy this home I have created.  It has been a lot of work, a true labor of love.