Mar 17 2011

vintage oven & stovetop [minimalist challenge item #28]

[item] 1956 retro GE built-in over and electric stovetop in turquoise blue

[purchase info] Purchased on eBay

[time in my possession] Approximately 4.5 years ago

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium / hard

[destination] Craigslist

[info] I bought this when I was having a new house built.  The builder never started building the house, so I had to find an existing house, as I had a limited amount of time to move.  This has an interesting story behind it.

The people that owned it before me live in Minnesota.  I found this set on eBay for $300.  The house I was building had a place for a built in oven, but I couldn’t justify the amount of money it would take to ship it to Texas.  I happened to mention this to some friends (whom I had only known about a month) that just moved here from Minnesota.  They asked where in Minnesota, as they had to go back in a week and move their stuff here.  I told them.  Turns out it was 3 miles off their path and they offered to pick it up.

My grandma, who was visiting around this time gave me some money toward it as a housewarming gift.  Needless to say, I was disappointed when I realized I couldn’t use this.  Most of the homes now have the space for the range unit, not built-ins.  Well, not in my price range anyway.  (pun intended)

I really struggle with getting rid of this.  I know I have no use for it, but the fact that people are involved with it makes it a really difficult decision.  I haven’t listed it on craigslist yet, but I plan to in the next few days.  I’ll be asking $100 for both the oven and stovetop.  Both are in working order.


Feb 26 2011

wine or 70’s bubble bath? pick one already! [day 276]

I know my friend would never lie to me, but I really had to question that when she said she was standing in the wine aisle at Walmart, looking at pink cat-shaped bottles of wine.  I said, “no way!  Send me a photo.”  She did.

So, is it me, or does anyone else find this a bit disturbing?  I like cats.  I like wine.  I just don’t think bright pink cat wine would be anything good.  It looks like retro bubble bath from the 70’s, and would probably go nice with the bubble bath tea I had a couple of weeks ago.  There’s just some things that shouldn’t be combined.

I guess these are pretty popular in the cat-wine world, as I found a few photos where people are collecting them.  Yes, they come in more than just pink.  The pink one has the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon on it, although I don’t know anything about what they support.  If these were in my house, they would be supporting a lot of dust.

If you happen to be shopping, and you’re an entrepreneur, you might want to buy all of these little guys off the shelf.  According to the people selling them on eBay, they’re rare.  For approximately $40, with shipping, you too can have one of these to sit on your shelf.

Why do we collect things that collect dust?  I do it, maybe not cat-wine, but I have decorative things around my house.  The stuff is nice, but it’s always needing cleaning.  I guess we all like to surround ourselves with things we like, I’m just hoping to surround myself with a little less.  And I also don’t want to be so attached to those things.


Feb 24 2011

3/4 year through the no retail shopping challenge [day 274]

This is an exciting point, reaching 3/4 of a year in my no retail shopping challenge.  It’s exciting because of the lifestyle change, not because I’m closer to being able to shop.  I’ve been asked many times if I will go shopping on the day the challenge ends.  Honestly, that would feel really weird.  I will still apply the shopping principles that I’ve been using and also, using much more of a minimalist approach.  If I do shop after this is over, it will be for necessities and things that have been well thought out.  As a matter of fact, as a follow up to the challenge, I’ll probably blog everything I buy after it’s over.  That way I can track the changes and we can all see the results.

Since I’m nearing the end of the challenge, I’m also thinking about what to do with my blog and all the information contained in it.  That’s the real excitement!  There’s some cool things coming out of all this.  Stay tuned…


Jan 17 2011

airing my dirty laundry… and clean laundry [day 235]

I promised you dirty laundry, so here it is.  There’s actually more of it, but this is my basket.  My kids have one upstairs too.  So why an I showing you this?  I have no idea, other than it seemed like a fun title for this blog post.

I was thinking a few days ago how ridiculous it is that I have as many clothes as I do.  I have a relatively small closet, at least considered small by Frisco standards.  It’s a walk-in for skinny people.  I thought, “What if I got rid of half of my clothing?”  Helping my friend move back into her house, and helping her purge clothing from her son’s outgrown wardrobe, was the final push I needed to do this.

I decided to do it.  Get rid of half of my clothes.  Going into this, I had no idea if this would be easy or difficult.  Will it feel like a sacrifice?  Let’s see…

Let’s start with my closet.  I have approximately 278 pieces of clothing in there, so I will need to purge 139 pieces.  The first pass through the closet yielded 84 pieces of clothing.  Not bad for a first pass, but still a pretty long way to go.

The second pass, which was a little bit difficult, yielded 28 pieces of clothing.  This pass felt a little bit like a sacrifice, but when I thought about it, most of this is stuff I don’t wear anymore.  This batch included my pair of mismatched shoes, as they’re too small and hurt my feet.  Sad about those, but it makes sense to pass them on.  These will go to the first person that asks for them (size 7.5), as the thrift store would pitch them in the trash thinking they need exact matches.  Continue reading


Jan 14 2011

11 rotary dial phones & 1296 gift cards [day 231]

A few years ago, in my “excessable” art show, I had a gift card rug made out of 1296 gifts cards from different stores.  The show was in July and I left the rug in the car a little too long in the heat, melting a good portion of it.

I recently used some of the gift cards in a video shoot.  I had to take them out and clean them up, as they’ve been sitting in my garage for years.  I’ve added a few to the collection, with thoughts of putting the rug back together.  Problem: no box tape and no retail shopping.  I need to get creative with the pile of cards.  I have a few ideas…

I did get creative with the pile of rotary dial phones that were used in the show.  I really had no intention of keeping them, but they’re just fun to have around.  I’ve used them for many photo shoots, video shoots and props.  Right now, they’re a permanent art fixture in my foyer.

Here’s some of the photos…

I know it’s crazy to keep all this stuff from my art show, but it’s not in a landfill and I do use it occasionally, or some of it, all the time.  I think I’ll hang on to the phones and gift cards for a while.  If I do get rid of them, I’ll make sure they go to a great home.


Dec 9 2010

what do you do with broken stuff? [day 196]

At work this week, someone dropped and broke our cordless drill.  Accidents happen, and we had to buy a new drill.  Right after that, the tape measure wouldn’t retract back into the case.  So what do you do with these things?  Possible repurpose?

Luckily I work with some very resourceful people.  The tape measure is now fixed, and retracts into the case, however it does not have a lock mechanism any longer.  It still measures stuff, and although it doesn’t work perfectly, it still works and still measures stuff.  The important thing is that it’s not in a landfill.

As for the drill, Jerod and Jeff seem to have plenty of ideas of things they can repurpose the motor into.  Knowing Jerod, he will make it into a motorized camera tripod, an electric door for his dog’s house or a gadget to make his car more fuel efficient.  If Jeff wins the battle of the broken drill, he’ll probably make a motorized bin that picks up recycling, a transformer ladder or a robot that organizes the messes we all make.  If the Wonder Twins get together here… Wonder Twin POWERS – ACTIVATE!… they could probably invent the long awaited flying, self-driving hover cars that were promised to us back in the 50’s.   As soon as someone fixes the paint and tool room door lock, I’m locking them both in there for a few days and see what they come out with.  :)


Dec 1 2010

you know they're good friends when they let you dive in their trash bin [day 189]

I was at my friend’s house finishing up a painting project when I noticed she had cleaned out the garage.  Upon opening the garage door, I also noticed a truck full of junk.  Now this is an invitation for me at anyone’s house.

First, let me say that if I really did this in my garage, I could fill up 4 of these trucks… one alone with paint.  I have made so many trips to the thrift store to donate things I don’t need that I can’t even claim it all on my taxes without itemizing it, which by the way, I’m not doing.  So was there any good stuff in the truck?  Not a lot, but yes.  I got a grill pan and a 5 gallon bucket I needed.  There were a few things that could go to the thrift store.

I did rummage through a bag of small toys and a few other things.  Just to make my point clear, we all have the things I’m about to show in some trashograms, my friends here are just being good and clearing out the clutter.  My point in showing this as art is to visually show our shopping habits and thought processes when making purchases, even the small ones.  Some small changes would mean less waste and less clutter.  If we have less stuff, there’s nothing to pick up, although I would have to find something new to harass my kids with.  Here we go…

Tiny plastic things. We all love tiny plastic toys if we’re over 3 years old and they don’t pose a choking hazard.  Plastic clutter comes in the form of toys, kid’s meals, impulse items in retail stores and are advertised this time of year as stocking stuffers.

What’s under your tree?  Is it things people want or is it things that will create more clutter in your house?  I purposely shaped the beads into an infinity symbol because it seems never ending.  Forget the crayon melting machines, maybe we need to have is a plastic melting machine so we can take all the tiny plastic toys and mold them into new and useful things.  Okay, so it’s a toxic idea, but probably only in California.  Maybe I’ll use this image for my Christmas card?  Oh yeah, I don’t send cards.   Continue reading


Nov 29 2010

paint it… black? [day 187]

I’ve written a little tune to the 1966 Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”.  This story started with me wanting to paint my front door…

I see a blue door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I hear the the canvas calling from the kitchen wall
I have to turn my head while the color calls

I see a line of cans and none are painted black
With brushes and ideas both always coming back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look my way
Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my blue door and it has been painted black
Maybe then the paint will fade, not an artist saint
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is paint

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love for paint still with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a blue door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I hear the the canvas calling from the bedroom wall
I have to turn my head while the color calls

Hmm, hmm, hmm,…

I wanna see it painted, painted colors
Black as night, color highlight
I wanna see the sun blended from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted colors
Yeah!

I’m a paint hoarder.  Yes, I’m publicly admitting this.  I wanted to paint my front door yesterday, as I’m tired of the bright blue with the orange bricks.  I wanted a dark gray color, but with my challenge, I needed to use the paint I had.

Now I have a lot of paint, so no problem, right?  Wrong…

Of my 100+ gallons, that I do use on occasion, 90% of them are bad, either molded or dried up.  In efforts to still use some of the paint, I added some water to the latex ones that were too thick.  Some of the paints were good, but I didn’t have enough.  Honestly, I wanted to buy some paint yesterday.  I didn’t, but here’s what happened.   Continue reading


Oct 6 2010

waiting pays off [day 132]

I really like my house.  I’ve lived here for almost 4 years now and I’ve remodeled 95% of it myself.  The one downside about my house is the lack of windows, resulting in low light in most of the rooms.  On top of that, I have large trees outside blocking the little bit of light I do get.  It’s great for the energy bills, but I wish there was more light.  Someday when I have to replace the roof, I may just add some skylights.

With this situation, I really need a few more lamps in the house.  I have very modern decor and modern lamps are crazy expensive.  I’ve been searching for lamps at thrift stores and on craigslist for well over a year now.  A couple of days ago, I found a pair of table lamps.   Continue reading