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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

Bargains Galore!
Thursday, November 05, 2015 | By pamphyila

Bargains all over the place....#1 I have a a deal on a local Curves, to get me to work out.  Free for 3 wqeeks, if I keep to 3 times a week, which will keep me motivated. Thge place is convenient, has lots of parking and the workout is good but not killing. Fine to start with.

#2 U have been shopping and have finished getting together the outfit for my niece's wedding way in advance of the July date.  First I found an Edwardian-type kacy hacjet ti wear iver a peach shift dress I had bought new at a thrift shop for $7.  The jacket is teh big ticket item, at $40, but it anchors the whole ensemble.  Then I already have ivory hsoes, another long time bargain, so I needed a dressy ivory bag.....which I FOUND yesterday at a thrift shop in Pasadena. 

It is an invory leather Giani Bernini bag, of ivory leather.  And I looked it up, because it is fun to do sod it would cost $50 to $60 new! But I got it for $7!!. All I halve to do is add a cord or chain so I can convert it to a shoulder bag, the way I prefer, on the loops already there. So, for under $70 I have an outfit that is alctually WORTH much more.  That tickles my fancy.  And I can wear the REAL pearls I found in a thrift shop in Michigan on a trip there, and earrings I aready have and it is DONE. VOILA!  I reallyl enjoy that procxess and I thought I would share it, as we all have occastions like weddings to dress up for, and who wants to break the bank to do it.  But as you see, it can be done the frugal way and you still look fabulous.....It's our secret.

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last rites
Saturday, October 31, 2015 | By pamphyila

There was an article in the L.A. TIMES today about artistic urns for ashes of our dead loved ones and they hd very nice ones for$300 to several thousand dollars. That reminded me of what i had done when looking to spread the ashes of my parents in the Pacific ocean.  In the end, as i was consigning the urns to the sea, I finally decided on a handmade pottery jar, a cookie jar to begin with? Which I found in a local thrift shop for less than $25.  There is a lot of handthrown pottery from the hippy era in the local thrift shops...it was perfect for the simple ceremony we had in a boat and i felt no guilt tossing it overboard. i wonder how man pots of various kinds will find their ways to the ocean at the mouth of the harbor?  Rest In peace.

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floral RX
Thursday, October 29, 2015 | By pamphyila

Got some long-stemmed roses the other day and today already hd started to droop.  So, floral rx. for this problem florists use pins or floral wire, but i cut up a drinking straw in inch long segments, slit them down the side, and then snugged them up against the bloom along the drooping stem, reinforcing it, then i positioned the stem straight. voila! Rejuvenated roses, good for another few days!

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Extreme Cheapskates & Me
Thursday, February 13, 2014 | By pamphyila

Checked out the TV program EXTREME CHEAPSKATES the other night. What antics! the woman who peed in a jar & put it on her compost heap & wanted her boy friend to do the same (he wouldn't) - Or the man who re-used dental floss (as well as paper towels....) It doesn'[t fit in with my philosophy.  I read Town & Country & muse at the jewels & the socialites.  My idea is to get more luxury & fun & fashion into my life on my extremely limited budget. That runs into contradiction like wearing old $.99 jeans & an old sweat shirt while at the computer at home - but having a nice cobalt vintage ultrasuede jacket to wear to a recent gathering (with an African brass necklace I bought at a farmer's swap meet for $10 - & a shawl I knitted just recently from my yarn stash. )

My confidence was boosted & from the contacts at the gathering I now am a book reviewer for the 3 TOMATOES website! (That means free BOOKS - a savings for a voracious reader!)

So I sort of understand re-using things - but one wants to do it with FLARE. And reusing dental floss or scamming samples from an ice cream vendor, thereby embarrassing his mate - just doesn't cut it.  I want to surprise my hubby with an invite to the stylish SKYBAR at the Mondrian Hotel in L.A. where I can work off some of my chic hunger (on the cheap - for the price of a drink & the parking!)

Fun. I want fun. Like the recent movie date to see THE MONUMENTS MEN (a great movie) on the gift card I won at a drawing - with a dinner of meatballs at the nice IKEA restaurant across the street. (Parking was free.) Or watching old obscure Joan Crawford movies which I recorded digitally in the middle on the night on our new digital video system installed free by Time Warner Cable (And after some work on the phone by hubby we got a free tablet from their offer, too - which I adore for my professional emails.)

Ok, my apartment in Little Armenia is rent-controlled - but we can afford a boat that way! (And the boat was used to begin with....) It's a great getaway.  A few weeks away due to crummy weather & activities has made me long for it.  There was a book years ago called CHEAP CHIC & that's what I shoot for.  And on some days like the day I wore the cobalt jacket - I do just that!

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Window shopping
Friday, February 07, 2014 | By pamphyila

It's fun to window shop on the net between tasks - I saw a Louis Vuitton wallet like mine on Tradsey.com for almost $200 - mine is slightly worn & I got it for a few dollars at a Pasadena Salvation army! Have to confess that that coated finish is killer.  Wears like iron.

Also like onekingslane.com - give you a sense of the pulse of the collectibles market - although not for any BARGAINS.  Again, I saw a pinch chrome ashtray like mine, which I bought cheap there for $100+! I  bought it because it remind3ed me of my childhood, when everyone smoked....

Can recommend thredup.com. as a thrifty place to get gently used clothes. I bought a pair of maryjane athletic shoes for $20 - when they are $100+ new & the quality was excellent.

Just saying....

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miscellany
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 | By pamphyila

Thought I would just muse on my frugalities recently....doing my "dirty" knitting which means I use multiple yarns, mostly worsted weight doubled to make tweedy effect & I switch out with coordinating color combinations.  To keep the yard on the needles when I put my knitting down , I use old plastic wine corks!  Working on one of my shawls - I have a whole collection of them - so good to wear in S. Calif. Maybe I can finish it for a meeting I have to go to this weekend....The dirty knitting is great for using up the odds & ends in a yarn stash - economical! 

Enjoying the new tablet we got thru Tame Warner cable for signing up with their bundled service.  It's so FAST.  Found an agenda type case with a zipper that hubby had picked up - he loves cases - & it just fits the tablet, with a pocket for the power cord - so voila! You can be thrifty even with computer accessories.....(for my phone, I picked up a stylus for 99 cents at the 99 CENT STORE! So frugal living goes on -

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Long Time No Blog
Thursday, January 23, 2014 | By pamphyila

It's been ages since I blogged due to tech problems on the thriftyfun side which FINALLY have been worked out! So I am BAAAACK....

And here is my tale of the purses. I don't know how purses became such a big deal. I remember only having one for everyday & a fancy one or two for dress - But big they have become a big deal- so I am presented with a thrifty challenge, as the prices have gone up considerably, too! One doesn't just have a purse, but a purse collection.  I had  a nice utilitarian and sporty canvas one - but I finally wore it out & had to go on the hunt for a deal on a purse.

Well, I found several deals - There is a thrift shop up in Ventura that seems to have good deals on purse - as they are priced under $10 - the quality varies, but I managed to get a black leather Coach bag and a Tommy Hilfinger dark blue fabric tote. (I had to add a chain to the Coach bag, as it was missing a strap - but I bought one for a few bucks at the hardware store and voila) But neither of these seemed good for every day..l.so the hunt continued -

I had also found a Ralph Lauren linen one with dark leather trim for under $10 - (I had to polish the body & put a colored marker to a scratch on the body - but when I did that it looked swell - wrong season, tho....And at another thrift shop, I found a light woven leather one for $10 - but it was a bit small in the end...

Then I found a tote at a vintage clothing store for $30 - but it turned out to be an oriental make with leather trim & still not right for every day....And I found a patent purse that goes for $100 retail at a Goodwill - nice for dressy, Spring.

In the end I decided to use one of the purses I first talked about for the winter - it's a boho patchwork, which I had to warm up to - but it is good for everyday wear.

Last but not least I just found a fairly large leather tote with shoulder straps and nice hardware for $20 (it was on sale at a charity resale store.)  The leather is light, so I plan to switch over to it when the seasons change.

So now I have my own collection of purses to add to the ones I already had - but I have a tendency to wear them out....So I have over the course of a few months spent - let's see

2 for $15, the Ralph Lauren for $7 - the woven one for $10 - and one for $30 and another for $20.  All that adds up to $89 - less than the going price for trendy/designer bags (You do enough shopping around and anything under $100 looks good, I must confess.)

So I live in trendy L.A. and have to keep up appearances - no one but you guys is going to know how little I spent on all these - and I have 2 go-to everyday leather bags Plus some dressier ones. And the hunt for bargains was fun - That's all for now - glad to be back. Talk to you later....

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | By pamphyila

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 | By pamphyila

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Bling and a Book
Thursday, February 28, 2013 | By pamphyila

I have said that I hate spending LOTS of money - but I DO like BARGAINS. And I hope I have found another one - a 4 carat blue topaz cubic zirconia ring in a stainless steel setting. Not silver, but the ring is the same color and hypoallergenic, so the metal suits me fine.  Now I looked it up and 4 carats is a pretty large stone - about the size of a small prune more or less, anyway, larger than a pea - so that is a pretty flashy cocktail ring. Got it at Beyond Retail for just over $20 with shipping.  Not bad, I think.  I mean, it's not GLASS.

My mother had a large blue topaz I think my sister got - but since cubic zirconia is practically a gem,  I am fine with this! And the silver color and the blue of the stone just fit my wardrobe.  Hmm, I have been invited out to a birthday party at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, all dressed up - and I think it would be just the time to debut the ring! Then if I am wearing a dress that I have gotten out of the closet - and I think I have one that I have only worn once - then it will still feel quite special. And that's a bargain, don't you think?

The point is to live LARGE and ENJOY things. I can do that even at my increasing old age and hope to continue to do so.  I have a lot of nice costumey jewelry, all gotten at good prices, so I could always get my investment back on them by taking them to market if I had to...

Reading a book by an author of my mother's generation, Margery Wilson, which I got out of the library after having stumbled upon another of her vintage advice books in Bart's in Ojai - for $.50! Apparently she was a silent movie ingenue with D.W. Griffith in the silent days and then transformed herself  into a 40's self-help guru and wrote at least 8 books on various aspects of charm, style, and living well as a woman. The one I stumbled upon in Bart's bargain shelf is YOU'RE AS YOUNG AS YOU ACT - which has a lot of pointers that still hold up. (She's big on posture and other aspects of physicality that she became acquainted with as an actress - very valid to this day.)

The book from the library is HOW TO LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS (I just loved the title and had to read it) and while it has to do with a sort of thrift, it emphasizes a positive, expansive and glorious kind of living.  She quotes from Emerson (?) - "There is hope in extravagance, there is none in routine." and then goes on to Aristippus - "Of extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods." Now, this was written in 1945, just at the end of World War II, so this has even more meaning, being in contrast to the scrimping on the homefront that had gone on.  "So fixed is my determination to get more than I pay for that my conniving to accomplish my goal is devious and fascinating, " she says. There is nothing wrong with that, she tells us. Live life to the hilt!

I cannot agree with her more. I have always had limited means, but I must say that I am very vain of the fact that I have maximized their value through alternate routes to getting what I wanted. The ring is a case in point.  For all that I will wear it, cubic zirconia is just fine, thank you very much. The diamond versions of it (and there are a few around the big stone) are just as good as real diamonds, the price of which is help up by the diamond cartel - and you have to be a scientist to tell the difference. Is anyone going to look that closely at my ring? And again, much better quality than the cocktail ring I got at H&M, which is handsome, but I think the gem is  PLASTIC - it's black, so it looks like onyx or something - but if you scratch it, it would show....(I glammed up the setting with some metallic nail polish to "age" the metal - most inexpensive things are too darned shiny.)

And it lifts my spirits - a little extravagance to make me feel less like Cinderella in Hollywood! Diehard cheap skates may not worry about keeping up appearances - but even aging actresses, DO.

 

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