Thursday, January 19, 2012

Penny Pincher's Paradise

I work in hospitality. At a four diamond hotel in downtown Chicago, as a matter of fact.  That said, since we're smack in the middle of our fallow season, I've got next to no hours, and I'm pretty broke. Well, more so than usual...

Today though, I feel like a million bucks!  I had to run some errands today, and kept Caroline company on her way to work since I had not one- but two- 50% off coupons for Joann Fabrics burning a hole in my pocket. Well, on my smart phone anyway, but you get the idea.  I used them both to buy a pair of Wilton 3-tier cooling racks which are normally about $11 a piece.  Sweet deal!

After that, I headed back toward my favorite Logan Square thrift store in the hopes of finding some kitchen items we'll be needing for our burgeoning soap and toiletry making habit.  Stainless steel pots, spoons, pitchers for lye, that sort of stuff.  While I didn't find any of these items (sadface) I was very excited to come home with some AMAZING steals- and I do feel like I ripped these nice folks off- on a few things I'd been hoping to stumble across eventually, just not so soon!

In addition to a basic, unexciting, but needed Chefmate cookie sheet ($1) I also found this cute, well-loved wall clock ($6). I haven't decided yet whether to spruce it up or leave it as is, but I figure either way a new wall clock would have set me back at least $15-$20.

Then, my eyes about bugged out of my skull when I found this old thing sitting, deconstructed and cast off like Frankenstein's monster, in a pile of it's own parts in a cardboard box....

the f*@#k is that? Tony Stark has created Iron Squid...

Can you tell what it is? It's a five arm chandelier, and the answer to my prayers!  Now, assembled and installed in it's- ahem- full glory, it's a pretty awful, bog standard late 80s/early 90s atrocity exactly like the picture below:


Now, I have absolutely no intention of hanging that Regan-Era Mrs. Havisham in my house as is, no siree!  I have a vision, people!  My dream is to fill my home with tons of ridiculously fabulous, old-world-vintage, Tim-Burton-film-set amazingness. Basically, lots of black painted furniture and finishes. Just this side of crusty distressing. Fun and outlandish, but maybe slightly weird and creepy whimsy. As such, a black and sparkly chandelier is not a want, but a need. A must even. Where most folks looked into that box and probably just saw a mess of spare parts, I saw the potential to make this a part of my reality:

maybe the little rosettes are a bit much... but Hallelujah, black & white & bedazzled!

Or These:


Okay, okay, I'm focusing! So, what could be better than a chandelier-in-a-box for $4? Well I will tell you: A chandelier-in-a-box for $2!  That fixture won't break most people's bank at an average retail price of about $40, but I am my mother's daughter, so I'm thrilled to keep the difference in my pocket for the makeover project and those soapmaking supplies ;)

Now for the pièce de ré·sis·tance, my find of finds today:  

Caroline and I have been utterly frustrated to discover that, during our move at the beginning of December, the carafe for our coffee maker had disappeared. Poof. Into thin air. Whatever- as avid coffee addicts, the beginning of each day has been a bit, shall we say, challenging?  Nevermind the Dunkin' Donuts around the corner: we both appreciate a proper pot of coffee brewing as we rise like the living dead from our respective crypts.  Sadly, replacement pots for our model are no longer available.  My hope today was that maybe I'd find another cheapie machine to replace ours, or at least find a carafe that might be compatible until we could scrounge up the moolah for a new coffee maker.  You can imagine the squeals of glee that had fellow shoppers craning their necks to see what the crazy lady with the box of lamp parts was making a fuss about. Well, I was celebrating my discovery of this:


That fine, stainless steel bedecked thing of beauty is none other than the Grind & Brew Thermal™ 10-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker.  The one of my dreams, the one I thought would stay in my dreams because it's friggin' $130 brand new.  And there it was, just sitting on the shelf, waiting patiently for me like my soulmate of Java.  Nevermind that it's missing the permanent gold mesh filter; I can replace that for less than an order of Pad Thai. Nevermind that it's missing it's official carafe; that too can be had for a small price, and the machine DID come with a glass Black & Decker carafe that will serve us well for the time being.  What matters is that this beautiful, wonderful, miracle of coffee technology is that grinds whole beans, right into the filter basket, and then brews them to perfection, all on a programmable timer. What matters is that this coffee nerd's best friend can be outfitted with charcoal water filters, to make the most perfect, wonderful coffee possible from a home brewer.  What matters is that I purchased this coffee maker of celestial origin for a measly $4. Yes, that's right.  When I said I felt like I'd ripped off these lovely people, I meant it (though dammit, I'm not sorry!) It was marked for $8, which sounded like a pretty damn good deal to me, so after plugging it in to make sure it would power up, I ran with my cart of good fortunes to the checkout line, failing to notice that today as luck would have it, yellow sticker-ed items were 50% off.  Over. The. Freakin'. Moon.

All told, my purchases today could have set me back a whopping $212 plus sales tax and whatnot, if I'd payed full price, but instead I only paid $24.  Mother would be so proud!

Stay tuned for that icky chandelier's second chance at life in a grownup Goth girl's urban dollhouse....