Tag Archives: Basket

Thrifty Living: The Thrifting Basket

15 Aug

Today I wanted to let you in on a secret. Well, it’s not a secret really, but it is a trick of the trade–the thrifting trade. When you go on as many thrifting expeditions as I do you figure out some ways to make your life easier. I’m going to share a few things with you over the course of several posts that I have learned along the way, starting with the most important: the thrifting basket.*

In the photo above you can see this basket in use. I took this photo on the floor at Goodwill after realizing that I never really see people hauling their own baskets with to thrift stores or yard sales.

You may have had the experience of traipsing through an estate sale, clutching the awesome things you’ve found to your chest while futilely attempting to grab more second-hand goodness. Estate sales are the worst in this regard, as they usually offer nothing in the way of bags or carts to help you carry your wares. Sometimes they’ll offer you a box if there are some left over from moving the previous occupant, but more likely than not, you are on your own.

Thrift stores are hardly better. My favorite thrift store has the worst selection of baskets. The handle comes up right in the middle, leaving you in inconvenient ring of space to store your goods.

Somewhere along the line I got tired of all this so I started bringing my own basket. I’ve bought many a thrifted basket before so I can tell you they are both abundant and quite cheap. The basket I use, however, came from my late Nana. It’s weirdly shaped in a way that I find not at all attractive but its angled handle is perfectly ergonomic. The flat side rests against my body while the handle settles neatly in the crook of my arm.

A basket is ideal for me because I felt that carrying a large bag or stuffing my finds into a purse would look suspicious, even though I of course plan to pay for everything. A basket is not without risks. Sometimes, when you are not looking, someone may slip a fugly piece of basketball memorabilia into your basket. Scott.

We recently added another wicker member to our family of thrifting baskets. And by “we” I of course mean “Isobel.”

As you might imagine, Isobel goes thrifting with me quite often. Now that she’s old enough to walk beside me I ditched the much-coveted-but-difficult-to-both-find-and-steer cart and she walks beside me. The last time we went she made a beeline for this tan basket covered in yellow flowers. I hoped it was going to be something she abandoned easily, but she held onto that basket with a death grip, and I soon saw why.

She has decided that this basket is her thrifting basket.

She followed me around the store, carrying her thrifting basket, grabbing stuff off the shelves. She wasn’t grabbing just anything–you could tell by the way she looked over it, frowning in concentration, examining it in detail. If it passed whatever toddler rubric she employed, into the basket it went.

By the time I was ready to leave the store she had collected a plastic peach, a set of wooden heart-shaped knickknacks, and, mysteriously, a sealed jar of water containing a single seashell.

When we got to the counter I told the perplexed cashier that we’d take the basket, but not the stuff inside. In addition to being useful, the basket made a great toy, apparently, because she played with it all the way home. (And picked off many of the flowers, as you can see.)

Most thrift stores are used to seeing me with my thrifting basket these days, but I still occasionally have to tell people that it’s mine so they don’t charge me for it.

(*The “Babies” book, by Gyo Fujikawa, appearing in the top photo, is one of Isobel’s favorite books and a fantastic find altogether. It was groundbreaking in 1963 because it was one of the first books to show babies of multiple races playing and growing together. I highly recommend it and all of Fujikawa’s works.)


Scrapbook: The Doves’ Nest

21 Jun

My parents have a family of doves that decided one of my Mom’s hanging baskets would be a nice place to raise a family.

They chose the middle basket of the three. There’s at least one hatched baby living comfortably amongst the leaves. Isobel adores them. Whenever we go over there now she wants to see the “birdie mama basket.”

My parents watch as the male and female take turns, tending and guarding the hatchling, or flying away to find food. It’s totally acclimated to my parents and their dogs. My Mom waters plants next to and underneath it, and my Dad has mown the lawn, all without them batting an eye.

Don’t tell Jupiter.

Little Big Links: Hair Clips

1 Jun

So, I guess I’m still talking about Easter. I guess this is just an example of how busy I’ve been, and how busy every parent must be, for that matter. Anyway, during the Easter holiday I decided that Isobel’s unruly locks needed some cute hairclips, if not to tame it than at least to accessorize it. After an exhaustive search through Etsy I settled on these poppy clips by my twitter friend Emily Bilbrey. I think hair accessories are the perfect sort of gift for a girl’s Easter basket because they are budget-friendly and are a more modern and fun take on the Easter hat tradition. Next year I plan to get my stuff together and fill her basket with handmade goodness.

Here she is modeling the clip while playing her current favorite game: seatbelt. It’s where she takes a cord or a string or a shoelace or a cat toy or anything she can get her hands on (in this case, an actual belt) and makes it into her “seatbelt.” It’s not enough to strap herself in. She’ll attempt to strap every stuffed animal or toy in the nearby radius in with her. This will usually keep her occupied for a good ten minutes.

Also please note her unicorn is wearing pants. If you were to ask, Isobel would tell you that there are two kinds of pants in this world: 1. pants that are pink, and 2. pants that are too tight. She’s pretty much refusing to wear anything that isn’t pink at this point and if you try to even suggest wearing pants that are <gasp> brown, or blue, or any other color but pink, she will emphatically tell you no! Too tight! Pants too tight! PINK ONES! One day Isobel couldn’t decide between #1 pink pants and #2 pink pants so she asked my mom to put the extra pants on Unico2.

We were really hoping Isobel would win the genetic lottery and receive (among other things) Anthony’s family’s thick lustrous hair. No such luck. I’ll forever be apologizing to her for this. She did however get Anthony’s eyelashes, a total win. That’s why she’s wearing two clips–she needs extra clipping power.

I really think Emily’s shop is the best place to find adorable children’s hair clips (and crowns, and other fun things). I searched all through Etsy and it was still my favorite. But I did find several other cute hair clips to share with you.

Poppy Clips: still my favorite.

Felt Owl Clip: Owl lovers, prepare to swoon.

Vintage Button Hair Clips: vintage buttons attached to regular clips. Not just for kids!

Button Flower Clippies: unique and fun without being cutesy.

Crochet Bird Clip: I love crocheted hair accessories.

Polka Dot Clips: Rainbow polkadots FTW.

Ribbon Clips: That color palatte has me drooling.

No Slip Grips: if you have baby fine hair like the women of my family, this is a godsend.

Easter Basket Inspiration

31 May

Here it is, nearly June, and I’m writing a post about Isobel’s Easter basket. I should probably feel ashamed of myself. But I won’t! Because I’m a shameless hussy. I’m hoping that someone will eventually come along and want ideas for a toddler’s Easter basket so I’m posting this in the hopes of finding that person. You sure are special, whomever you are. Plus, I like the photos too much not to post.

In a move that’s sure to spark controversy (which parentning decision isn’t?) I didn’t put any candy in Isobel’s Easter basket. She doesn’t need any and I knew she’d be going to an egg hunt later. Aslo one of her grandmas is a little liberal with the sugar so figured she’d be getting candy from multiple sources and I didn’t need to be one of them. I was right. So right in fact, that we’re going into June and she still has uneaten Easter candy in the cupboard.

For all I don’t agree with giving toddlers candy, it sure is cute to see her eat a piece of chocolate. Before she’s even finished chewing the last ibit she’s already asking for more, face smeared and sticky, lisping through the mouthful of sugar.

 I have a love-hate relationship with children’s gift giving. I love shopping and dreaming up fun things to give her. I hate the inevitable junkpile. Add to that the fact that last year we were so strapped for cash we couldn’t afford to give her toys in her first Easter basket (not even cheap ones) and Easter becomes another guilt-laden holiday associated with presents, hiding its deeper meaning: Cadbury eggs & marshmallow peeps. But I digress. This year we could buy her modest presents, so I did.

 I had a bit of a dilemma with this year’s gifts, as I always seem to do. As much as I abhor clutter I’m not so cruel as to think that my child should grow up without toys. On the whole my philosophy is to get her toys that last, that I don’t feel guilty spending my money on. Of course I’m not the only one buying her toys, but I prefer things that will last, things that will be played with often. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how I agonized over the shovel set. It’s plastic and crappy and obviously meant for a baby. Shouldn’t I get her a metal set that would last? In the end, my concern for her injuring herself or others won out, and I gave her an admittedly cheapie shovel and rake set. The good news is that she’s using the hell out of them, and at least once a day she asks to got outside so she can “dig for wormies.” She’d take them to bed if we let her, and she’s left the house for Grandma’s with those in her hands.

 She loves the butterfly kneeling pad, but she doesn’t understand its true purpose yet. When I sat on it to play with her outside she got pretty upset. It’s for your butt, little girl. Get used to it.

 (Easter is the perfect time of year to practice your power-lifting skills.)

 Plastic plates are truly essential at our house right now, as she’s too rough on dishes to be trusted with dangerously breakable porcelain. She loves this chickie plate and the matching blue gingham bunny plate. I didn’t get a photo of that one because as soon as she found her basket she ate wanted to eat breakfast off that plate. She’s still using them because in Isobel’s opinion, bunnies and chickies never go out of style, even when the seasons change.

She looks like a teenager here. I blame Easter.