Another Great Book Sale Adventure


Every February I look forward to the annual VNSA Book Sale. Thousands of books fill table after table and they are all up for grabs! Better yet, on Sunday the already low prices are slashed in half. The bargain hunter and book lover in me can’t resist such a perfect combination.

This year I headed to the craft section first to see if I could nab some knitting books. While I found a few books, I found a treasure trove of 10 Interweave Knits magazines hiding in a box. This is my absolute favorite knitting magazine so I grabbed all of them! At 50 cents a piece, they were a steal!


Interweave Knits galore!

I was hoping to find sock books and I did. Both were also only 50 cents, along with a stray Knit Simple magazine and chunky sweater pattern book. All in all, I’d say I got a nice haul out of the knitting section!


Sock and Sweater books.

Next to the knitting books, there was the sewing section. I glanced over and found an incredible little book – a guide for left-handed stitching. As a lefty, I am constantly frustrated by right-hand only directions in embroidery books and patterns. Thank you Sally Cowen for this fantastic reference!


Fifty cents well spent!

Then, I ran over to the cookbook and gardening sections to see if I could find some books on vegetable canning. I didn’t find a single one, but I did manage to find some handy recipe pamphlets including a way cool booklet on Amish Cooking. It turns out this little gem had a few pages on some basic canning recipes, so I didn’t totally fail on the canning front. Again, at 50 cents a piece, these were all a great deal!


Mmmm! I foresee some yummy dinners and desserts in the future.

While rummaging through the home and garden section, I found a book on a subject I’ve been researching for a while – natural cleaning recipes. It’s pretty tough to buy any cleaning product that is totally free of chemicals and harmful toxins, so I’m trying to learn how make my own cleansers using all natural ingredients. This book is pure gold in that it has recipes for an all-purpose cleaner, laundry soap, glass cleaner, and floor cleaner. And it was only $1.


I will never buy cleaning products, again!

Always a teacher, (even on the weekends), I went to the art section hoping to find some Art History textbooks and/or color plate compilations. To my great surprise, I actually found the missing volume to an Art History textbook I bought a few months ago, (I had Volume 2 and I needed Volume 1 of Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History). Seriously, what are the odds of that happening!? For $2, I now have another resource to teach my Art History course.


Teaching on a budget!

In addition, I found a quote canvas to hang in my classroom. It’s a quote I use a lot with my students, so I’m thrilled to have a larger version of it, (and for only $1.50!). Finally, I picked up a couple free maps! You read that right, they were free.

There was a huge box of street and history maps with a sign that said, “Free Maps – Limit 10 per person.” The dorky teacher and crafter in me decided to comb through the box of maps. I saw a neat idea on Pinterest that involved making ornaments out of maps.  The maps I got should do pretty well for that project!


These are about to become super cute ornaments.

Last, but not least, I perused the fiction section. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much. Most of the available books just didn’t fit my tastes. However, I did manage to pick up a couple titles I’ve had on my list for a while. Neither cost more than $2.


Can’t wait to dig into those novels!

My last stop was to the travel section, where I found a great little book on walks through the English countryside. Now, I have yet another reason to return to the U.K.

Aside from an awesome haul of books, I look forward to this day because it’s a family event. Without a holiday in sight, we come together and simply enjoy the day. After the sale we went out for a nice breakfast filled with good food and laughter.

Only 365 days until the next book sale!

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Cactus Baby


While the rest of the country is covered in snow, it’s 75 degrees and sunny in my neck of the woods. Perfect weather for planting this year’s garden! In the back garden box, we planted a wide variety of vegetable seeds and berries with hope of a good harvest.

Planting a new garden is always an adventure as you never what might be hiding in the soil. Everything from worms, scorpion spiders (they sound scary but they eat scorpions, so I love them), and remnants from last year’s harvest can be found while tilling. We actually  have five plants from last year that survived the winter – 3 tomato plants came back from the dead, a strawberry plant started growing for no reason (we didn’t plant it there), and a green pepper plant. All have new blooms and are rather insistent on staying where they’re planted!

However, nothing could have prepared me for what I found while tilling the dirt in the space next to the miraculous green pepper plant. Our garden grows a lot of different things, but never did I expect to find a teeny tiny cactus poking up through the ground. We don’t have cacti anywhere in our yard, nor can they be found in the desert preserve across the road. I’ve only seen cactus growing about a block away in our neighborhood, so the seed had to have come from one of those houses. How it got in our garden box will forever remain a mystery (a bird or a stray cat maybe?).

It would have been easy enough to add this little cactus to the compost pile, but we decided to give him a chance. It just so happens we had a tiny planter leftover from my baby pine tree (he graduated to a bigger pot!), so we very carefully dug up the cactus and gave him a new place to grow.  The garden will soon be very wet, so a dry pot is his best chance for survival.


Cactus baby!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

This little guy is only 1½” tall. I don’t have a lot of experience taking care of cacti, but after talking to my mother, (the Cacti Goddess), I learned a few things. What I’ve got is a Jumping Cholla. They grow really fast and like extremely dry ground.  After all we went through to save him, I hope we can keep him alive.

As the seedlings come up, my garden rabbit will come out of hibernation. He’ll be sure to keep an eye on this little cactus, too. Stay tuned!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: Good Thoughts


While most pages in Wreck This Journal are about seeing the world with a positive eye, one page in particular is set aside for recording good thoughts.  This was easily one of my favorite pages as I have a “thing” for collecting quotations in journals, sticky notes, or anywhere else I can scribble a line of wisdom.

Grandma approached this page with her usual brand of quirkiness and independence. Not only did she record good thoughts, but she scribbled in anything that made her happy.


Grandma’s page of good thoughts.

Her handwriting is a little tough to read, so I’ll translate:

Grandma always loved a beautiful car. She pasted in a Mercedes Benz because it was one of her favorite brands, although she loved a good Jaguar, too. I remember how she’d walk right up to one in a parking lot and look in the windows. She never owned either a Mercedes or a Jag, but she never stopped dreaming.

Quote: Kindness is like jelly – you always get some on yourself.

Quote: God is good.

Quote: It’s not the amount of years in your life. It’s the amount of life in your years.

Quote: I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – Bob Wiley. I have to laugh at this because it comes from an all time favorite movie in our family, “What About Bob?” Get us all in a room and we could probably quote that movie from start to finish. Even towards the end when Grandma had forgotten so much, she still knew  “What About Bob?”

Candy bars.

$ – This makes me laugh, too. Grandma loved money, but not like you’d think. Sure, she like the idea of nice things, but she also loved finding a penny on the ground. The woman found pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters wherever she went.

As for my page, I pulled some of my favorite quotes out of my main quotation journal. Then, I added some color, because color always makes me happy.


My page of good thoughts.

I should probably add one more thing to my page of good thoughts – memories of Grandma.

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c.b.w. 2014