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Thrifty Giving: Mother’s Day Surprise

2 Jun

The frame on the left hung in my house for as long as I have memory. It was put together soon after I was born and proudly displays photos of an infant me and my two older girl cousins as toddlers. My younger sister and my cousin Allen were only thoughts at this point–hopes for the future. The orange butterfly frame was as much a fixture in my home as a cat inevitably sleeping on a bed.

I wanted to do something extra special for my Mom this Mother’s Day. I didn’t have the stamina took cook a whole meal, and we were absolutely too broke to afford flowers or a nice gift. I thought and thought because I knew there had to be some way to honor her. I just had to get creative.

As luck would have it, I found another vintage butterfly frame, identical to the one I grew up with, on the dusty shelves of a thrift store. It was covered in a thick layer of dust and still had the original paper it came with. After that thrifting trip, I sneakily swiped our butterfly frame from my parents’ house for inspiration when they weren’t looking.

I filled my frame with photos of her two favorite (only) grandkids plus the photo of Sam and Victoria, the children of one of my cousins from the first photo frame. Fortunately, I take way more photos of everything than is necessary, especially of the children, so I had plenty to choose from. I printed the photos at home so this project was extra-extra-inexpensive. The frame was something like twenty-nine cents. God bless those Catholics and their wonderful thrift store.

Even though we got together for lunch on Mother’s Day, I couldn’t wait and had to give it to her at the Mother’s Day tea the day before. I brought the one I took from her house, too, for comparison. She loved showing them off to all her friends. I consider this edition of thrifty giving a success!


Thrifty Giving: OMG Shoes & Cigar-Smoking Bears

19 May

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve showcased thrifted gifts I’ve given to people. I have a backlog of photos going all the way back to Christmas that, once I find the new rhythm of our lives as as family of four, I look forward to sharing. Today’s post focuses on a gift I gave to stationery queen,  professional badass, smokin’ hot bitch, and dear friend, Angela.

Angela has been an active presence in my life about twenty years now, and I’m not sure where I’d be without her friendship. I could always confide in her about my postpartum and anxiety struggles, I’ve relied on her totally honest advice, and I’ve relished her sense of humor. There’s something special about having a friend who knows you, really knows you, and has known different incarnations of you throughout the years. One of the things I treasure most about our friendship is that in her presence I feel comfortable being completely myself.

What to get such a great friend? Shoes. OMG. Shoes. (NSFW)

I found these shoes while thrifting for Anthony’s epic D&D birthday party, but not only were they not in my size, but I am unable to ever wear high-heeled styles due to my arthritis. In my younger days I tried, over and over again, only to limp around in my fancy shoes in a unattractive and painful-looking way. I’m not sure if I can say that I’ve learned my lesson so much as stopped trying out of laziness. Either way, adorable shoes with heels are for my eyes now, and not my feet.

These shoes, though! Oh my goodness. Adorable. They made me instantly think of another Thrifting Queen, Stefanie, because these are the exact kind of shoe that she used to rock with all due hardness, so I tweeted a picture of them to her. Sadly, Stef also has health issues that rule out heels, but when Angela saw these babies on twitter, she fell in love. As luck would have it, they were in her size. Unluckily, she was also on of a shoe-buying moratorium. but I wasn’t, so I scooped them up, along with a few other goodies, and saved them for her birthday.

I also discovered a whisper-soft crocheted shawl in a hexagonal-starburst pattern, trimmed with floaty tassels. You may have noticed that we love to dress up around here, whether it be for a tea party, a fancy occasion, or a costume party. It’s what we do. A handmade shawl makes the perfect accessory, especially since we tend to have tea parties for Angela’s birthday in the chilly month of February.

Isobel added a special touch by coloring a Hello Kitty mermaid for her, and lieu of a card I printed out two of my favorite recent Angela photos: a photograph of a goat making out with her arm at the fair, and a family shot in front of a Chinese food truck.

Just when I was about to leave the thrift store, I popped by the children’s book session to see if they had anything interesting for Isobel when I came across this vintage book titled, simply, “Bears.” Angela has kind of a thing for bears, going back years and years to an inside joke, but I knew it was meant to be for reals when I saw the two full pages devoted to bears smoking cigars. A book that gives new meaning to the name “Smoky the Bear.”

“Only you can prevent forest fires, Angela. Because we sure as hell aren’t.”

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