Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chapter 1: Once Upon A Time

This story is long but it's my very first blog post...so indulge me please. They won't all be this lengthy. So grab a cup of coffee and a blankie and cuddle up while I tell you a story:

                             Once upon a time there was a little girl who thought she was a princess. Most little girls do. But this little girl had "dragons" in her basement (my sister's invention to scare me) and she lived in a "palace" (code name for our 1929 four-story home that was under constant renovation). Life was magical! The little princess rode through the neighborhood on her pink and purple 10 speed, beat up little boys, played double dutch and had to be in before the street lights came on.


                             Weekends she traveled by carriage station wagon to the land of Queens (New York that is) to see her Royal Highness and King Grandaddy (aka my grandparents). There in the basement of her Royal Highness in a little corner was the sewing machine (and a creepy headless dress form that scared the be-jesus out of little princess). There a bolt of fabric and a needle and thread could be whipped into a dress or a skirt for the little princess' dolls in under an hour. Magic! In the real Cinderella story the fairy godmother, however, whipped out her magic wand and instantly created that dream dress for the ball....but the true magic would have been if those mice and that fairy could have shown that girl how to sew then she could have gotten a job, moved away from her evil step-mother and ......I digress... back to the story.

                              Her Royal Highness, a seamstress by trade, taught the little princess to sew, and her mother the Queen and Grand Mama (aka my other grammy) taught her to shop. Although the little girl really had no choice about shopping, she was periodically thrown in the back of the carriage/station wagon, promised french fries if she was good, and taken to the outlets of New Jersey for all day long shopping excursions. Here her training in spotting sales, discounts, and clearance racks began.

So the little princess grew up with a love for fashion, shopping, and creating things with her hands but somewhere along the way the magic faded...dark forces where at work. Her family left the land of "New Yorks" and moved to the South where the children in her schools weren't so receptive to her unique style and "fashion creations". So by the time the princess got to high school she was tired of others questioning her taste and she desperately wanted to by stylish and fit in. So the princess squashed her uniqueness...just a little.
                         Then one day an evil witch in disguise (aka a so-called friend) saw her in the mall and was surprised to know that she worked and shopped at the trendy juniors clothing store Wet Seal. This witch wanted to know if the princess was still putting together her 'little cheap-y outfits'. The princess was out-raged, frustrated and indignant...vintage stores (this is before vintage stores were cool...and over-priced) were not cheap, they were little treasure troves of history and the clothes were so much better than boring jewel toned Polos, white shorts and Keds. But it was too late, the evil witch had stolen from the little princess. She took her joy and made her feel ashamed for bargain hunting, and she had attempted to devalue her fashion style because it didn't come from a department store.

                              So the years passed, the little princess grew up, she forgot how to sew and she moved to Atlanta. She began to chase other dreams and had less and less time for crafting and shopping. Enter Prince Charming.  Meeting and marrying Prince Charming (PC) was a good thing (for various reasons, but also) because planning a wedding on a budget really got her creative juices flowing again. After the wedding (which was beautiful by the way) , and faced with the task of furnishing their new place, the princess read an article about shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army to find used furniture. Used furniture? It had never crossed her mind. She had been working and shopping in malls for the past decade but secretly she liked ducking into trendy consignment, vintage and antique shops for more unique items. Could it be that she had missed something? She hardly talked about her guilty little pleasure with many and she was well aware of the negative stigma attached to shopping in plain ole thrift stores. Plus she feared another snide comment like the witch had made so many years ago. Still the princess was intrigued and determined. So off she went alone to the the thrift store to seek out furniture.

                            Timidly the princess scoped out the rows of cast off furniture when there next to the bric-a-brac and run down toys she spotted the book section. Her love of books drove her to investigate...."wait a second....are you serious", thought the princess...."these books are $.75 for paperbacks and $2.00 for hardcover???"  She had to look around to see if this was a joke. But these books weren't dusty, or ruined and some of them were recent best sellers. Let's just say that for the next year Prince Charming (aka my husband, keeper of the books) was none too happy at the amount the princess was spending on her latest discovery. From that day forward the princess was changed. She decided to investigate this thrift store and every thrift store more carefully. She looked at everything from furniture, to books, to clothes, to toys and that's when she had an idea:  If she could take this gently used item pair that with her crafting skills and get something new and unique then bibbity-bobbity-boo MAGIC! The princess had been feasting on HGTV, DIY shows, blogs and books, teaching herself to knit, crochet and sew again....why couldn't she combine all these things?

                         The princess could no longer keep all of this secret and she had to shout it from the rooftops. "I JUST FOUND A GREAT DEAL ON SOME OLD CHAIRS FOR $3.00...AND I'M GOING TO SAND THEM DOWN...AND RE-PAINT THEM...AND THEY ARE GOING TO BE REALLY COOL....THEN I'M GOING TO SIT IN THOSE CHAIRS (after they dry) AND KNIT A HAT! And people got mad at her...not because she was shopping in thrift stores but because she wasn't taking them along. Because she had kept all these great deals a secret.

                        So the Princess, all grown up now, is on a mission. On this mission she will attempt to furnish and decorate her first home, combine all of her creative passions, and hunt down every thrift store, consignment store, vintage store, yard sale, and the best bargains in Atlanta.... and never keep it a secret.

...and she hopes to live thriftily ever after! 

The moral of this story is: It's okay to enjoy the thrill of finding a bargain, embracing a used item or repurposing somebodies trash into your treasure. Don't let anyone make you ashamed of doing what you love and wearing what you want to wear (as long as its not hurting anyone...and you are not sagging your jeans...or wearing see-through spandex and calling them pants....that's a whole 'nother post)