Friday, January 13, 2012

Trying to keep up

So, I sort of made a decision to update three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but then I go and skip Wednesday and oh well... I'll just keep doing the best I can. Y'all will forgive, me won't you?

Yesterday was a day filled will lots of ups and downs for me as a "crafter." First, DH sent me a link to Goodwill's new online auction site. At first I was all, "Woo hoo! I can go treasure hunting at Goodwill NATIONWIDE!" But then, I looked more closely and realized there was more to this than stained polo shirts and chipped dishes. This is the result of someone getting very, very smart. See when people donate stuff to Goodwill, the items typically go to a local Goodwill Thrift store where they are sold to the general public. The money made from these sales goes to support their various charities. Usually, the stuff gets sorted by item and all the same type of stuff gets generally the same price. For instance, jeans are usually around $8 if they are in good shape, regardless of the brand. This means you can sometimes snag Lee and Levi's for the same price as Ralph Lauren.

Now, I'm not really into buying things for the labels, but when it comes to things like purses and shoes, I know that you normally get what you pay for. So, grabbing a pair of brand-new, name brand, knee high, all leather boots for less than $15 is HUGE. I personally own THREE Dooney & Bourke purses that I paid less than $10 each for. Retail, they would normally go for $100-$400. That's what I call a good deal. This is why I call trips to the thrift store "treasure hunting." You never know what you're going to find. If you have good eyes and some patience you can snag some really awesome things - things like DH's favorite Pendleton jacket that we just saw on an auction site for $275 - we paid $13. No this is not DH in the picture, but this is his jacket.

As a family of thrifty crafters, being able to buy materials for projects at a deep discount is essential. DH is our resident sewer of the house 1) because he's good at it, and 2) he makes his own regalia for the Native American stuff he and the girls do. Whenever he needs to make a new dress or something of that nature, the first thing he does is go to the Goodwill and search for something already made that can be altered or re-made into what he needs. Tiny Dancer's current jingle dress is made from a cocktail dress, materials from a Pakistani sari, and and assortment of other materials we already had laying around. The entire outfit is worth several hundred dollars, but we paid less than $20 for the materials. As you can see, the dresses he makes are quite beautiful.

So why did this online auction idea make me sad? Because it appears that someone out there has realized just how much money they are potentially losing in donations. The sort of items that are listed on their auction site are the same sorts of things I look for hidden between old coffee makers and fashion rejects from 1983. I'm heartbroken because someone has gotten wise to my plan. Instead of finding these things at my local store and getting them for an awesome steal of a price, it appears that they will be available online instead, and I will have to bid on them against collectors and other really smart people who know what they are looking for. Like my favorite D&B purse, kind of like this one.

Now, I haven't gone to my local Goodwill to see if they really have pulled ALL of their good stuff aside or if they only set aside the VERY best.  It may be that I will still find some things that are valuable, I'll just have to look a bit harder. I'm ok with that, but now I know I won't find the REALLY good stuff anymore. I've given up my dream of finding a Keurig coffee maker and  KitchenMate stand mixer hidden among the outdated dish sets and mismatched silverware.

Ho hum.

I was really getting grumpy thinking about this. But, instead of wallowing in my grief, I asked DH to pull out more of the craft items we already have. He gathered all the yarn in our stash and I realized I hadn't seen some of this stuff for years! It felt like I was seeing an old friend after a long time. I even managed to stamp out my guilt at looking over the half-finished projects and unused skeins piled up to my knees. I have so many new projects to work on, that I know I will be able to use this stuff up finally.

Well, that's how my week has been going. How about you? What has made your week worth getting out of  bed for?

Deb "Crafter" Lollar

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