Saturday, April 29, 2017

Home Decor: Thrifting finds

I love a good deal. And I love "unique" items. (Which really means I love dorky, vintage, country, down-home items. Yes, let's just call my style "down home.") With garage sale season upon us, my husband and I took some time recently to peruse the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, as well as some barn sales. Because when you live in farm country, barn sales are where it's at...

I was so excited to find this piece of barbed wire art at a barn sale that was aptly called "Crafts & Crap." Imagine my excitement when I saw that sign on the side of the road. As you may know, I'm a bit of a barbed wire nut -- my 4th great uncle was an original inventor of barbed wire and I run a blog about him here. For just $10, this homemade piece was a great find. This cute piece will fit perfectly in our little country-esque home.

The same sale had an entire table of retro Avon bottles, full of perfumes, lotions and more, for $1 each! They were fun to look through, but this rooster bottle of lotion caught my eye. I collect rooster and chicken knick-knacks of all types, so this one will be another welcome piece in the home.

A few weeks ago, I spotted this adorable salt and pepper shaker set at the local Salvation Army store. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox! For 59 cents, this set matches my quirky taste as well as my budget.

It's no secret that this house will be full of peculiar items. I have to admit, although I indulge in the show "Fixer Upper" from time to time, my style is anything BUT that... the "farmhouse" whites and grays, and stiff, formal sitting areas irk me. I'm more of a kitschy, walls loaded with colors and funky pieces type. I blame (and thank) my mom and grandma.

Do you like to thrift? Where do you shop for items for the home?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Digging up treasure

Digging up treasure in our front yard.
Chris and I have spent the past couple of weekends digging up the mess in the front and back yards of our new home. 

The yards had been needing some TLC for a while; dead flowers, grass, and more littered the area. We've mostly just been cleaning out the mess, we haven't even planted anything new yet.

Chris was working in the front yard while I tackled the backyard this weekend. At one point he showed me something he had dug up. To us, it looked like a belt buckle, or something similar. Unsure of what it was, he decided to post it to one of our local Facebook groups, "You know you're from Sycamore, Illinois when..." People often post pictures of things, looking for more information and such.

We were surprised when, within minutes, the comments started flowing, and people started tagging others in the post. Everyone immediately started saying "Oldsmobile hood ornament!" Within another twenty minutes, it had been determined that not only was it from an Oldsmobile, but more specifically, it was the emblem of a hubcap of a "spoked Olds 88/98 ... from about 1980-1985."

Someone was even able to send us the link of what exactly it looked like -- see below.
Within just minutes we had the most specific answer we could have asked for...and all from our hometown Facebook group!

I can easily say that while I'm part of the generation that grew up with the Internet, its power still boggles me every single day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Six Month Curse

If I can handle something for six months straight, chances are I'll keep doing it for a long time. But for most things, I burn out before I even hit that mark.

You see, I'm the victim of a "six month curse."

No matter how invested I may be, no matter how hard I try, if I don't truly care about something, I'll write it off within a few months. This has become a pattern in my life, and it puts a ticking time bomb on many things: hobbies, jobs, and even relationships.

I'm not sure why the "sweet spot" is six months, and I'm not sure why it happens at all. When I told my dad about my sneaking suspicion of my "six month curse," he quickly quipped, "you've always been that way."

It's like I have a fear of committing to certain things. Or I'm always on the edge of my seat, seeking something better, something even greater. I also have a tendency to get really riled up and excited about something, and I tend to move quickly in the early days of any new endeavor. But if I lose interest or passion, you can bet I'll do it within six months.

Maybe I'm a serial quitter. Maybe I'm just a rambunctious spirit that won't be tied down. I'm not even sure if this curse is a curse at all. Because I'm always moving on and trying new things, I feel I've learned so much more than I would have if I'd stayed put. But in the long run, is my tendency to wander going to hurt me?

I'm kind of nervous to find out. But I know I'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Family is like a fart.

Maybe I'm at the age when I start realizing what's best for me. Or maybe, I've finally learned how to not give a shit.

Lately, more than ever, I've found myself quick to dismiss things. Someone disagrees with me? OK. That thing didn't go as planned? Fine. Family members can be undeniably self-centered and full of it? Buh-bye.

I'll never understand why some family members only make themselves available when it's convenient. Or how some family members can only find you interesting if you're constantly needing something. Turns out if you're self-reliant, independent, and aren't looking for a handout, some people don't find you very interesting.

And that's too bad.

Family ties shouldn't be forced. Family should call each other because they want to know what's going on. Because they miss the sound of your voice. Because they

Family should want to spend time with each other because life is too short not to. It's always possible to make time for family, right?

But that's not always how family works. Sometimes we are dealt a different hand, and with that comes different people with different expectations and different values. 

As frustrating as that may be, it's what makes me grateful for the family I've got, or rather, the family I choose to surround myself with. I'm grateful for the family that helps you get through the lows while celebrating the highs.

I'm grateful for the family that is consistently there, the ones that never need to force the time, energy, or love. After all, family is like a fart. If you have to force it, it's probably shit.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

PHOTOS: Visiting Antique Archaeology

The Antique Archaeology shops in Le Claire, IA | Photo by Jessi LaRue
My husband, sister, and I took a mini vacation this week. We went to an Eric Church concert and visited the Antique Archaeology store. 

Below are some photos from our visit to Antique Archaeology, also known as the Iowa (and original) home of the American Pickers, a show on the History Channel.

Chris and I consider ourselves quite the "Pickers" buffs, so this trip was a lot of fun. Although we didn't run into Mike, Frank or Danielle, we still posed next to the van and perused through their two buildings. They had some expensive items for sale, and some items that we had seen on the show, but for the most part, the two buildings were geared toward tourists and they had a variety of American Pickers gear and souvenirs.

Chris and I plan on taking a trip to Nashville in the next year, so we will stop at their Nashville location as well. Are you a "Pickers" fan?

Monday, April 03, 2017

Digging through boxes of my childhood

Once a cat lady, always a cat lady.
My husband woke up Saturday morning, groggily stumbled out to the living room, saw me, and then promptly headed right back to bed.

Normally I'd be offended, but considering the mess I'd created, I couldn't blame him. It was probably quite a sight for him, seeing his 26 year old wife sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor surrounded by oodles of Barbies, Barbie clothes, and pink plastic doll furniture.

Recently my parents decided that now that I'm a homeowner, it's time for me to get the rest of my belongings out of their house. All that remained was a slew of boxes from my childhood, covered in cobwebs in the attic. To my surprise, more than 20 boxes and bags labeled with my name came out of the attic that fateful day. Each box contained infinite stories and memories. Each stuffed animal, notebook from school, old newspaper article, and of course, Barbie, had its own tale to tell.

As I spent this weekend sorting through the "time capsule" of my childhood, in an attempt to condense and compile it into something that wouldn't use up my entire basement, I found myself reminiscing about my past, but also thinking about my future.

As I carefully placed each Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kid and Beanie Baby into a tote, I thought about the possibility of someday sharing these items with children of my own. That's a fact of life that my husband and I are still discussing, but I did feel a flutter of excitement thinking that I could share these items with my own children, and that maybe they'd find at least some of them as interesting as I once did.

As I read notes from friends and flames from high school, I found myself rolling my eyes and laughing to myself. It's funny to think how seriously I took myself back in high school, and how everything seemed so important. These days, high school seems like a walk in the park, especially compared to some tasks in adulthood.

And finally, I found so many bits and pieces of my personality in those boxes. Seeing books that I had written for "Young Author" contests, and diaries of stories and ramblings inspired me, as my love of writing has never wavered throughout my life. Finding old copies of my high school paper, the "Spartan Voice," brought back so many crisp memories of the founding days of my career as a journalist.

 In one of my "baby books," my mom wrote that she thinks my grandmother's cats may have helped me learn to crawl and walk. I wouldn't have my own pet cats until about three years ago, but I immediately felt a connection to my furry friends. Another baby book said early on, I loved "kitties, Alan Jackson, and McDonald's."

Some things will never change.