Apr 9 2011

bin of paint supplies [minimalist challenge item #51]

[item] Bin of various painting supplies

[purchase info] Purchased mostly from Home Depot

[time in my possession] From 2 years to 8 years

[last used] 3 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Says given to a painter, but he never came back.  It will go on freecycle or to a thrift store

[info] I’ve had this stuff for a while, and knowing that I paint a lot, I thought about keeping it.  I don’t need any of it and a lot of it is duplicates.

Mar 23 2011

a bunch of miscellaneous stuff [minimalist challenge item #34]

[item] A large bin and huge bag of miscellaneous stuff

[purchase info] Most of this was purchased new, but on sale.  Some came from thrift stores.

[time in my possession] Many years

[last used] Over a year

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy to medium

[destination] Freecycle

[info] This is a lot of random stuff… Christmas lights, toys, art supplies and office supplies.  I have several storage bins of junk that I still need to go through, but this is a good start.  These bins are like junk drawers on steroids.

Mar 16 2011

foam stamps [minimalist challenge item #27]

[item] 3 bags of chunky foam design stamps

[purchase info] Some were purchased new at full price, some were given to me.

[time in my possession] Some a few months, some 8+ years

[last used] For me, 6 months.  Some neighbor kids, a few months ago.

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] I kept just a select few stamps that I’ve used a lot, but got rid of the rest.  I had many that were brand new and never used.  The last time I used some was down at Casa Hogar Elim to do some painting embellishments in the teen girl’s dorm.

Jan 24 2011

anything can be art with a little imagination [day 243]

My son made these cards, inspired by Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards.  The little gun is made from a pencil, a ticket, some tape, a camouflage band-aid and a pencil eraser.  A lot of detailed work went into making it.  All of the supplies were little things sitting around our house.  Anything can be art…


Dec 1 2010

box tops for education [trashogram]

All of these box tops were in the junk drawer.  These have expiration dates on them, but this is only a 2 month supply, so they’re all good.  I sent them off to school this week.

Even if you don’t have kids, save these and give them to your local school.  It’s free supplies for them and it doesn’t cost you anything.  Well, maybe a tiny amount of time, but for a very good cause.


Sep 18 2010

labeled: TRASH [day 115]

Dumpster diving.  I have to say, I really love those two words together.  It never ceases to amaze me what retailers will throw away, expensive stuff, stuff that could be used elsewhere or repurposed.  The corporate blockheads force them to throw everything away versus giving it away.  The logic?  If you ask the people in the stores why they pitch perfectly good items in the trash, the response will be something along the lines of, “…the corporate office told us we have to…”

I went dumpster diving a few months ago behind Target.  They had the largest trash dumpster / container possible and it was starting to overflow.  I’m guessing they might have been doing a remodel, however I’ve seen this large container return on a regular basis.  Scheduled waste?  Take a look at the few pics I took.

Fixtures & more…

Continue reading

Aug 19 2010

school supply update [day 83]

I was able to find a lot of supplies at thrift stores and I also pulled from the stuff we still have from last year.  Again, this was a lot of work.  I see why people just buy new stuff each year.  It’s easier.  It took several hours shop at resale places, find all of last years stuff and gather everything together.  I could have just gone to the store, spent $50 and had supplies for the kids.  No hassle.

My friend Mari, who is a school teacher, gave me the stuff I was missing.  She had some leftovers and helped me out.  I feel weird taking the supplies for free, so I told her I would do some graphic design work for her class.

Now the fun part… Friday night I get to meet the teachers and bring in all of the mostly used supplies.  Markers in baggies, crayons in baggies, folders that look like they’ve been run over by a car 1000 times, liquid glue instead of sticks, vintage spiral notebooks and the list goes on.  To not embarrass my kids, I’ll try to do this under the radar.

Here’s a cool thing.  My church (prestontrail.org) collected backpacks with school supplies for a local elementary school that had kids in need.  Our church sure rises to the occasion!!  We collected more than we needed for the school, but we were able to help kids at other schools and through Christine, our awesome compassion person, matched up these gifts to kids that would have otherwise had no supplies.  Yeah PTCC!

Aug 7 2010

school supplies [day 72]

I found many supplies at the thrift store, but not everything I need yet.  It’s taking a really LONG time to try and find all of the stuff from last year, inventory it and see what we still need.  No wonder people don’t do this.  It’s much easier to just go buy new stuff.

I am not.  Off to find and sort…

I’m also taking a couple of days off from blogging.  Rest is good and I’ve spent way too much time on the computer lately, not to mention internet access won’t be available.  :)

Jul 28 2010

cleaning the garage [day 62]

Let me start by saying I’m not posting a photo of my garage.  It would scare people.  I did decide to start cleaning it.  I do this process about once a year, but I’m pretty sure that the stuff is multiplying like rabbits.  My house isn’t too big (other than the energy wasting high ceilings) so I really don’t have room for an art studio.  I decided yesterday if I cleaned out my garage enough, it could work as useable space.  If we only had basements here!

It’s ridiculous how much stuff I have.  Being an artist, I see everything as a blank canvas.  I do mean EVERYTHING.  I got a good portion of it cleaned out and sent an entire truckload to Frisco Resale.  About three more truckloads and I should be set.

I will keep you posted on the progress, as this will be a long term thing.  My goal is to have it done by the time the weather cools off.  Done, meaning cleaned, organized and painted.  Looks like I have plenty of time to do it, lots of hot weather ahead.  :)

Is your garage a ‘catch all’?

Jul 24 2010

back to school [day 58]

Houston, we have a prob… challenge.  It’s time to buy school supplies.  The boys dad is buying their new shoes, which is good, because I have had a difficult time finding used ones for them.  I suppose it would be helpful if I knew what size they wore!  I realized I did not have that info when asked what size bowling shoes they needed last week.

Here’s the school supply list for Frisco ISD, 4th grade:

  • 1 Crayola Crayons, 24 count
  • 1 Crayola Washable Markers, Classic Thick
  • 1 Crayola Map Colors (colored pencils)
  • 12 #2 Pencils
  • 1 Pink Pearl Eraser
  • 2 Ballpoint Pen, red
  • 1 Highlighter, yellow
  • 1 Wooden Ruler, 12 inch with 1/8, 1⁄4, and 1⁄2 inch markings
  • 1 Fiskars for Kids Scissors, sharp tip, 5‐to‐8 inches
  • 2 Large Elmer’s Glue Sticks
  • 1 Spacemaker 8 X 5 School Box
  • 1 Assorted Construction Paper, 12 X 18
  • 2 Wide Ruled Spiral Notebooks, 70 Notebooks
  • 4 Composition Notebooks
  • 2 Packages of Wide Ruled Notebook Paper, 200 Sheets
  • 6 Folders with brads/pockets‐blue, purple, yellow, green, orange, and red
  • 1 Large Box of Kleenex Tissues

Notes Specific for Fourth Grade: Student planners will be provided by the school. Students will be using dictionaries and thesauruses in their work; if you do not have these items at home, you may consider purchasing them.


  1. Since this is a standard list, sometimes the teachers don’t need or want this stuff.  Some of it is used, some of the stuff came back home at the end of the school year.
  2. Name brands.  Really?  Is the school getting a kick-back from Crayola, Fiskars or Elmer’s?  I agree that sometimes these companies do make better products, but most times you pay a premium.
  3. My kids are going to be embarrassed by me bringing in a bunch of used or incorrect supplies.  Maybe I SHOULD join the PTA.  Can you imagine???  LOL


  1. Finding some of these supplies used, such as colored paper and spiral notebooks, is going to be difficult.
  2. Finding all this stuff for free or in thrift stores is going to be difficult, and most likely, very time consuming.
  3. Brainstorming a way to change the system for the better, getting the needed supplies to the school, but also having a system for the extras.  (teachers, help me out here)


I don’t have many answers yet, as I haven’t really started the search.  I am starting today and will keep you posted.  Here’s a few things I do have:

  1. We are reusing lunch boxes and backpacks.  If they want new (used) ones, they’ll have to go shop for them in thrift stores.
  2. We are using a lot of supplies leftover from last year, such as scissors, paper, rulers, etc…
  3. Share multi packs of supplies with neighbors.  If you buy in bulk, you can save money.  This is a greener way to shop too, as the bulk stuff usually has less packaging.
  4. If possible, talk to the teachers to see what they need.  This usually is not an option before school starts, but once school is in progress, you might have some supplies laying around the house that they could use for projects.
  5. Old folders can get a facelift with a little artwork and duct tape.

Off to thrift for school supplies.  :)