I've done few things of distinction in my life. Other than marrying well and having amazing children, I don't have many accomplishments of which to brag. My career years were unremarkable as far as achievements, and academically, I waited until late adulthood to become a serious student.
I'm not at all athletic. I possess no amazing skills or technical know-how. Almost anything I do know how to do, like sew, I do with a goal of acceptable mediocrity.
There is one exception: I am a world-class bargain-hunter.
My shopping skills make one stop and say, "Egads, you're good." Really, once, I was at an antique mall, and the cashier who tallied my purchases used the term "egads." She counts as one. I'd like to bring that phrase back, starting today. Egads, it feels good to talk about something I do well.
The flip-side of this talent is that I have a tendency to brag endlessly and drop unasked-for information about item cost, original cost, coupons, expected savings, the price of the overpriced item someone else bought, etc., when describing my incredible deals, so that some people just say, "Egads" and walk away before I can finish my bragging.
I'm prepared to demonstrate the truth of my amazing talent by taking you on a pictorial tour of my shopping treasures, complete with any particulars pertaining to price, savings, laws broken in the procurement of, etc. Those of you who despise this kind of self-aggrandizing crap should bail right now.
And keep in mind, most of these aren't "restoration" projects (I have a ton of those, too). These items went straight to work in my home with only minimal cleaning or repair.
These counter-height chairs replaced standard stool which were not well-suited to Arnett body proportions. We love these sturdy Windsor chairs, already painted black like my other kitchen accents, and unnamed family members usually leave them in the middle of the walkway rather than pushing them flush to the island - the better to admire them, I suppose. A garage sale find for $10 for the set.
A couple of years ago, we began entertaining more, so I wanted to add more seating options to our porch and deck. Our old black wrought-iron set only seats 4 and takes up lots of space. Another neighborhood garage sale yielded this awesome lightweight set. The table included an umbrella and stand, and there are 6 stacking chairs, so we got lots of seating which can be stored in the space of one chair. The whole set sold for a measly $40!
Now I know this isn't much to look at, but when you've got 4 visitors coming and you need more bedside storage, functionality trumps beauty. Another retiree fleeing to Florida held an estate sale, and I got this heavy little guy for $10.
A friend with four small children decided to convert her formal living room into a more family-friendly space. Her redesign is so smart and funky and perfect, but I feel like the real winner, since she sold me these chairs I'd been admiring for years. They are tucked into a corner of my bedroom, flanking my favorite antique table, an awesome bargain brass lamp and a unique bookshelf where my beloved Keurig resides. Weekend mornings are so nice in our cozy reading nook. The chairs, which actually harmonize beautifully with my bedding and other furniture, were a steal at $100.
Have I used up all your patience and good humor? I could add more, but I won't because I'm kinda over this subject myself. It's been fun reminiscing about great bargains of the past. I feel like I just need a title or a plaque to feel complete.
Because I've been reading about queens and royalty for years, I feel almost like I know some of them personally. Eleanor, Mathilda, Isabella, Elizabeth, Mary, Katerina, Anna, Victoria - I want to be part of their realm. So just crown me "Queen of the Bargains" and we can put my ego to bed for a while.