Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mammogram + Retail Therapy = 50% off

I never was any good at Algebra, but bear with me, because I think I got this equation right.

Today I got to partake in the experience of my first mammogram. I am convinced that the whole process was invented by a man.  It had to be.  No woman would ever invent such a monstrocity of a machine with the intention of voluntarily sticking her own tender body parts in it only to smash them beyond recognition. He knew, I tell ya, he knew that as long as it was for body parts he didn't have, that it would never come back to haunt him. I now think that there should be a machine of equal torture for men and I intend to get started on inventing it as soon as this aching subsides and I can think straight once again. And, for the record, I don't think they will ever be the same. I am hoping that someday they will forgive me.  I am also swearing off pancakes for the time being.   

 So, as I was running and screaming walking out the door of the Women's Health Center, the sunshine was streaming down through the awning overhead and I suddenly realized how beautiful the day was turning out to be, even with the rather rough start I had just had.  I had no plans for the rest of the afternoon because, frankly I didn't know what to expect.  My thoughts going into this experience ranged from leaving the appointment whistling a tune to crawling on my hands and knees begging for someone to get me an icepack.  It was somewhere in between the two.  I didn't need an ice pack.  I needed therapy.  Retail therapy.

I headed for my car and after settling into the seat and very gently buckling into my seat belt, I headed for the best therapy I could think of: Value World!

I was driving along, enjoying the sunshine, listening to my favorite tunes and wondering what kind of goodies I was about to find at one of my favorite thrift stores.  I have a notebook that I keep in my tote bag which has a list of ongoing searches for specific items I am hunting for. Having just returned from Florida and doing some great thrifting there, I hadn't taken the time to update my list. So, I decided when I pulled into the parking lot that I would wing it and left my list in the car. That's living dangerously, no?

I walked in and the place was HOPPIN!  I have never seen so many people in the store at one time, so I knew something was up, but I didn't have a clue what was going on.

I wrestled for what felt like an eternity with the shopping cart from Hades. I managed to get it out of the cart corral with only a few odd looks from other customers. Okay, so I was a bit cranky, but if they only knew how my day had started, they might be more understanding.  Whatever. Deal with it people. On with the hunt.

When I shop at Value World, I usually head right for the back of the store and make a sharp right hand turn to the left, head all the way down the aisle and turn back around, perusing the items on what I call the "shelves of doom".  There are two stores I shop at that have these shelves, Value World, and a local Goodwill Store.  The shelves in both places are one in the same. Crammed as full as possible with the oddest of combinations of items you ever saw. Today was no exception.

I started my journey through the shelves of doom and quickly came upon my first find.

A few weeks ago, I was reading blogs and came across a fellow thrifty blogger that had fallen head over heals in love with a finial in the Pottery Barn catalog.  But like the rest of us, she hadn't fallen in love with the $19 and $39 price tags and she made the neatest version of her own finial.

Pottery Barn

I am sorry now that I don’t remember what blog it was that I saw it on, because she did a bang up job of it. Anyway, when I saw this item, it reminded me of the post and the fact that she had simply spray painted the items to make her own. I can spray paint.

For $2.02 I quickly added this little gem to my cart. And yes, if you crank your head upside down you will see that the tag in the picture does say the original price was $22.95. Score!

Moving along, I came upon my next item of interest. This pretty curtain rod holder. There was only one of them sitting on the shelf, but that was okay by me. I didn’t want it to hold up my curtains. I have plans to use it in my studio to hold lengths of ribbons and vintage lace. I have been looking at these for quite some time and finding them priced really high, like anywhere from $5-10, even at thrift stores. What, are they made of gold or something??? You don’t know how many of them I have passed by, like this one, last week in Cincinnati.

They wanted $10 for it and I just wasn’t going to pay that. Even though it would have matched my theme in my studio better, I am just too cheap.

So, when I saw this one for $3.63 I figured I had better jump on it. Not literally of course…

I kept finding little odds and ends here and there, looking them over and putting most of them back on the shelf. A few items did manage to make it off of the shelves of doom and into my cart. Two darling little saucers that I am pretty sure will go well with two darling little cups I found in Florida, or was it Cincinnati, I don’t remember. They were 30 cents and 40 cents. How could I go wrong?

Though I need another basket like I need another hole in my head, I always stop at the basket bin. It is like some kind of gravitational pull draws me to it. I dig and sort like a dog who has buried a bone and can’t remember where he put it. Usually I can get through clear to the bottom without finding anything I can’t live without, but this time I found these two matching wire planter holders.

I think with a little cleaning and some spray paint, they are going to look awfully cute on my patio steps this summer with some red geraniums in a terra cotta pot. Heck, I may not even paint them, as I kinda like their rusted chippy goodness. Maybe just a clear coat of poly to seal them. I bought them, cobwebs and all. They were 95 cents each.

Immediately following the basket bin is the pillow bin. It has the same weird gravity thing going on as the basket bin. I am sucked in I tell ya. I have never found a pillow at Value World that I couldn’t live without and really felt that it was a waste of my time to look there today. However, because I was already there specifically to waste time, why not just take a look-see? Boy was I ever glad I did!

Again, I am in the midst of redoing my studio and plans are to include a futon/daybed that I intend to line with pillows. I have found three pillows in my thrifting efforts so far, but when I stopped to look today, I was able to add two more to the collection. First, an adorable tiny embroidered pillow with a green ribbon attached to it. At first I thought it might just get lost in the pile of pillows, and I almost tossed it back in the bin, but after thinking about it, I decided it would make a darling door hanger like one that I saw a few weeks ago at JoAnn Fabrics. And for only  80 cents? Poof! Into the cart she went. She was quickly joined by this beauty.

Look at that gorgeous Battenberg Lace! The cover comes off for washing (I had already taken it off when I took this photo) and the insert is super soft and cushy. $2.20!

As I am digging I kept tossing this chair cushion from side to side. It kept coming back to the surface time and again and I was starting to get a bit irritated by the dang thing (remember my delicate condition was affecting my mood) when I finally stopped to look at it.

Hey, those colors would go perfect in my studio, and remember that chair you picked out of the neighbor’s trash heap last fall that you’ve been meaning to paint? What if? Poof! She joined her pillow pals in the bottom of my cart. I wasn’t committing to purchasing the cushion, but I do tend to throw things into the cart while I mull them over. You know, letting the idea of it all marinade in my head while I keep looking.

Did I just admit to the entire blog reading world that I picked a chair out of the neighbors trash heap??? I guess I did. And if this chair turns out half as cute as I have it pictured in my mind’s eye, you’ll be wishing your neighbors would throw out a totally cute chair too.

So I look up and the store is still just jam packed with people. What on earth has this place so busy today? Must be the good weather, people just wanted to be out and about. So I turn my cart to avoid the mass of people in the clothing aisles and wind up in the curtains and bedding aisle. I usually can make it through this area without stopping as I head toward the checkout counter. Today however, something here caught my eye too.

How is it that this fabric I see sticking out from the rack completely coordinates with the seat cushion I just tossed in the cart to think about? It had such a pretty vintage look to it. I pulled it out of the rack it was stuffed in to get a better look and find out that what I thought was sheets or bedding of some sort was actually two large lined curtain panels. Two large lined heavy linen curtain panels. Two large lined heavy linen curtain panels with a tag that read Laura Ashley, Made in Great Britain!!!

Laura Ashley is one of my favorite designers of all things shabby cottage style, the exact look I am going for in my studio. And the price, a mere $4.20 for the pair! Does it surprise you to know that I have two windows in my studio? Didn’t think so. They measure about a foot wider than my windows, so I will be cutting them down the center and making two sets of curtains out of them. They are gorgeous and soft and just the vintage look that my room needed. Grin!

I continued looking through all of the items in the aisle and discovered that along with the sheets and curtains, they had several fabric remnants. I found two pieces that were really nice that I immediately tossed in the cart as well.

A two yard piece of heavy decorator fabric with roses and flourishes in the design.

The other was a huge 6 yard piece of a woven cotton checked pale yellow, green and white. Both pieces were marked $1.80 each.  Check out all that fabric!

I then found what I think is a table runner in a blue checkered pattern. I don’t really need a table runner, but thought it might be nice to make a few pillows out of the fabric. For a mere $1.20 I couldn’t go wrong!

Okay, I am suddenly seeing that the theme of the day is most decidedly turning into shabby cottage studio day. I start making my way toward the checkout when again, something catches my attention. Out of the corner of my eye, on the top of the shelf where they have stacked just oodles of bunnies, baskets, eggs and other various Easter enticements, I see them.

Leaned up against a weird looking cross eyed bunny creature, I see this package of “Instant Stencils”. Now, I have never used anything like them, had no clue what they even were, but found myself reaching up to grab them for a closer look, just based on the colors and design alone.

I mean, why wouldn’t I? Look at them!
Now look at the chair cushion again.

and the curtain panels.

Is there any way that these were not destined to come home with me? Didn’t think so. 80 cents. I am thinking there is definitely a chair project in my not so distant future, how about you?

I finally make it to the checkout line. And boy do I mean line. I have never had to stand in such a long line at Value World. Weird. I am standing there, peering into my cart, doing my normal thing, editing. Trying to decide what I really want/need and what is probably just another project wanna-be that I will never end up completing. Thing is, I hadn’t added anything to the cart today that I didn’t really want. So as I am standing there, fumbling through my cart full of goodies, a voice from behind me, which was actually the lady in line ahead of me, says “Do you have a coupon?” Huh?

I turned to look at her and she asked me again, “Do you have a coupon? You know, for the sale?” I must have had a confused look on my face that said I didn’t have said coupon, because she immediately started fumbling through her purse and pulled out a sheet of paper with an online coupon printed on it. She handed it to me and when I looked down at it, I couldn’t believe what I saw!

Oh. My. Goodness! I had no idea that this sale was taking place! That explains the crowd! I had no idea Value World had a website! I also had no idea that there were 13 of them in the state of Michigan alone! I have been shopping at this store for at least 8 years and thought all along that it was a one of a kind thrift store. I got home today to find out on the website that they are in three states: Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

I thanked the sweet lady profusely and inside I was jumping for joy. Outside, there would be no jumping today, nothing even remotely close to jumping or jostling of any sort. Uhem.

As I unloaded my treasures onto the checkout counter, the clerk added up my total. What I thought was going to be a rather sizeable purchase turned out to be less than a $20 bill! I had even added a few items from the jewelry counter while standing in line (they get me every time on that one!)

On the drive home, I wished there was something that I could have done for the sweet lady that gave me the coupon to return her kindness, when it dawned on me. Pay it forward. So, for all of you who are lucky enough to be in my state or neighboring states, here’s the link to Value World’s website, where you can download your own coupon, good til the end of March. Print two. One for you, and one for the frazzled lady in line behind you who may or may not have had her bits squashed earlier that day. Enjoy!

Linking up to Southern Hospitality's Today's Thrifty Treasures and Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm.

Til next time!


  1. Oh Lisa, i am so with you one the bits squashed thingy... I had my first mamogram a few months ago and the memory is still fresh!
    And i soooo wish i had a value world nearby - no such thing here in aus. we dont have coupons. but there are quite a ew things on my list that I could really use.
    our thrift stores have a colour system wehre the tags are a different colour each week and when the cycle is about to come around they discount that colour only, which means that most of it has already been sold off.
    The other thing i have noticed about thrift stores is how expensive they have become. often i can't afford to shop at them anymore!

  2. OMG, I have laughed so hard till it hurts. You are so funny telling this story about the mammogram. Yes, I am sure it was designed by a man. You found the most awesome deals and then 50% off on top of that. I am going to tell my sister to read this she will laugh, too. Thanks so much for telling your story.

  3. Kim from above sent me here as she said we have a very similar whit. WE DO!!!! I think you are much funnier though!!! I have to go get my first mammogram this year (was supposed to be last year, but with the move and all, that fell by the wayside...). I am not looking forward to it! What a phenomenal deal you got! That was wonderful that the woman in front of you had a coupon. You did a bang up job today!!! I just moved from Michigan and I have to say... I don't miss the weather!!! Hope tomorrow is equally as lucky for you and you won't have bits smooshed so it can only be better!!

  4. One word...WOW! You found lots of nifty thrifty favorites are the finial and the two wire planters! Thanks for coming to my NTT party and I hope you have a FUN week:)


  5. Oh I just love the plates and the wire planters. Wow you racked up girl! And about the mammograms...One needs to take a Valium before they go so they can tolerate it! Ha! Be blessed. Cindy

  6. After your torture experience, I think you deserved the thrift treasures. And you did find some great deals. When are they going to find a better way to do mammograms???

  7. You are cracking me up!! Hilarious!!! Obviously, your coupon was your reward for getting your mammo- never fun! So important!! Thanks for stopping by Sahm I Am!


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