My Website

Visit my website at http://www.beckymushko.com and learn more about me and my books.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Handy Little Grater

I stopped buying shredded cheese when I noticed that cellulose was one of the added ingredients. While pre-shredded cheese was so handy to add to salads, quiches, casseroles, etc., I'm trying to eat fewer additives.  An ABC News story considers cellulose one of the "7 Grossest Things in Your Food":
Cellulose is usually made from nontoxic wood pulp or cotton, and the cheap filler is stuffed into shredded cheese, salad dressing, and ice cream to thicken it without adding calories or fat. Cellulose is fibrous, which is why it appears in so many high-fiber "healthy" snacks and breakfast cereals -- and it's even in organic products, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
Here's another story about cellulose in food, and here's another. Apparently wood pulp is a popular additive in processed foods. But I don't care for it. What to do? Shred my own cheese!

I bought this little grater at Dollar Tree for, well, a dollar.


Does it work? You bet! A hunk of cheese is way cheaper than a package of pre-shredded cheese, too.


It takes no time to shred a bowlful of cheese from a block of cheddar. And the results look better than what comes out of the packages.

Two months ago, on my Peevish Pen, I posted a recipe for crustless quiche that uses 3 cups of shredded cheese. Yep, I shredded my own. Couldn't have done it without my cheap little grater!
~

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cast Iron Pan

My husband found a cast iron pan at Goodwill. Here's the "up" side, with heart-shaped indentations for batter . . .


. . . and here's the back.


There's a bit of rust, but the pan looks like it hasn't been used. At least it was never seasoned. Did he get a good deal for $1.95? 

I Googled a bit and found a bunch of cast iron corn muffin pans. This one didn't have a handle, but it was $7:

This one had a handle, but was a different style. It was $7.99


This one matches, but it had already been sold on eBay. I don't know what the price was.


Finally I found this heading, which lead me to another picture:

Vintage 4 Heart Cast Iron Cake Bread Cookie Tray Mold Pan very hard 2 find

Looks like it's a match.


How much was it? Here's the asking price:


Looks like he got a pretty good deal. Or I did—he gave it to me.
~


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

PT Packing

If you remove the back seats from your car, you can really pack stuff in. Here's the old PT Cruiser at Tractor Supply:


Six bags of shavings, two bags of feed, and a bunch of other stuff! And here's another trip:


It isn't like we were actually using those back seats. 

~

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bargain Throw & Cat

Yesterday, at the Rocky Mount Goodwill, I found a like-new throw for $4. My cat Tanner liked it, maybe because the colors coordinated well with his fur.



If you look on the cabin steps, you can see a little cat.



I'm not sure what the throw originally cost, but it was well woven and in mint condition. I'm pretty sure it originally sold for lots more than $4. 

 I also bought this tiny cat trinket holder for 50¢. Tanner wasn't interested in it, though. He doesn't own any trinkets.


Note: Tanner was rescued from the Penhook dumpster back in March. I used Planned Pethood's "Happy Kitty" $ 99 special for his neutering and shots, so he was kind of a bargain, too.

~

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 2013 Bargains

Today I went to the Franklin County Library's used book sale and spent $3.50. Hardbacks were 50¢ and paperbacks were 25¢. Here's what I bought:



The 1977 facsimile edition of Edith Holden's 1906 The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady was delightfully illustrated. 


The 1978 edition of Brian Froud and Alan Lee is lovely, too, in a creepy sort of way. The 2010 collector's edition is $22.05 on Amazon. The price on the inside flap of mine says $14.95 until Dec. 31, 1978, then it becomes $17.50. 

I've long been a fan of the Foxfire books (and I even used to show my junior high students a Foxfire movie about Aunt Arie), so I was glad to get Aunt Arie, a Foxfire Portrait, currently available on amazon for $17.12 (reg. $23).  

Sara Midda's 1981 edition of In and Out of the Garden is delightful. The price on the inside flap of this first printing is $14.95. A 2008 version goes for $17.62 (reg. $24.50) on Amazon.

Roy Strong's A Country Life: At Home in the English Countryside is out of print but available on Kindle for $7.59. The 1994 edition I bought has $19.95 on the flap.

Wayne Hanley's 1977 edition of Natural History in America: From Mark Catesby to Rachel Carson is out of print. The original price was $19.95. Leslie John's 1974 Plants in Tubs, Pots, Baskets, and Boxes was originally $8.95.

Since I have a 2009 MacBook, I figured I should get the manual: MacBook All-in-One for Dummies. This is the 2010 version, but my operating system is Snow Leopard, the one mention in the originally $34.99 book. (Yeah, I'm two operating systems behind. . . .)

I think I got a pretty good deal on my books. And I helped out the Friends of the Library. Later I stopped by the discovery shop where I found a brand new cover for my kitchen stool. Only $2.75—and it matches my favorite tablecloth.


I also found another kitchen item, a Paula Deen 2-quart stainless steel copper-bottomed saucepan with a glass lid. It was pretty well-used, but still in good shape. I figured it was well worth the $2.00.


Later, I looked up the saucepan online. I found a similar one at Walmart online for $32.58. Mine is missing the ring in the handle, though. Home Depot has it for only $29.99.

I guess I did OK for bargain shopping today.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lotsa Pots

. . . and they were free.

Sometimes you don't have to pay anything for stuff. A lot of local folks will leave stuff that's still usable beside the dumpster instead of tossing it in. Rural recycling, if you will.

For instance, this iron hook—maybe to hang a plant from—was sitting beside the dumpster a few weeks ago.


It needs painting, but it's usable—and much to good to throw away. Yesterday, several folks were at the dumpsters. One guy took a flower pot from his trunk and sat it in front of the dumpster. 

"I can use that," I said. 

He handed it to me and answered, "I've got more. Want 'em?" 

I did. I came home with three clay pots (one painted) a small ceramic one with a chip on its rim (but still usable), two large fiberglass pots, two plastic window boxes, and a few plastic pots. 


All will be handy when I do some transplanting before long. While they're not perfect, they're still usable—too good to throw away.

And the price was right.
~


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Joel Chandler Harris

I buy a lot of my books from the Franklin County Library, which always has good prices on the culls from its shelves. Yesterday, I was browsing the culled books in the children's room when I spotted the 1941 edition of Alvin F. Harlow's Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus): Plantation Storyteller.


The book was pretty well worn and was missing its jacket. But you can't judge a book by its cover, right? Inside the front cover was pasted some info about the author—no doubt clipped from the original jacket. Also there were some charming drawings by illustrator W.C. Nims.


The next page contained info about the book, again clipped from the original jacket.


A page turn revealed a picture of Joel Chandler Harris himself. 


The book contained several illustrations by W.C. Nims.


While this book was in the children's room, its reading level and content seems much more suited for adult readers. At least this adult will enjoy it. I—and many of my generation—enjoyed the Uncle Remus stories when we were kids. Now I can enjoy reading about their collector.

I paid 25¢. Did I get my money's worth? I think I did.
~







Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Paper, paperback, pot, etc.

At the Rocky Mount Goodwill, I spent $8.34 on the following items: a looseleaf notebook, a ceramic pot, a copy of Ann Rinaldi's A Ride Into Morning, a wooden welcome sign, and two rolls of wallpaper.


I'd read Ann Rinaldi's The Coffin Quilt years ago, and liked the way she wrote. The paperback of A Ride Into Morning that I bought is the 1991 edition (marked $6 but I paid $1), not the 2003 re-issue. 

According to the label inside, the ceramic pot was originally sold at JoAnn stores. Did anyone actually pay $9.99 originally? I paid 50¢.


The label from the wooden folk-artish "Welcome Friends" sign had been removed, so I have no idea what it was originally worth—I paid $1.95. It goes with my country-look decor, so I'll find a place to hang it.

The notebook would be about $1.79 or so at an office supply store, so it was worth the 50¢ I paid. I don't know what I will do with the pre-pasted  "International Group" vinyl wallpaper, but at 95¢ a roll, I'll think of something.

As for the cat tote, it had cats on it, and one can never have too many tote bags.
~



Monday, December 17, 2012

Cheap Calendars

I like to have several calendars in the house, as well as a monthly planner on my desk and a small planner in my purse. I'd already gotten a nice free calendar from the feed store, but I wanted a couple more. I bought these today at Dollar General in Rocky Mount:


Office supply stores want way more than $1.50 for a monthly planner, my most expensive purchase. I think I got a pretty good deal.
~

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pin and Pottery

I got a couple of good deals at Goodwill yesterday. At the Westlake store, I found this neat metal pin, which I thought was a cat's face.


It cost a dollar, but I thought it might be worth at least ten. Info on the brochure told me the creator was David A. Wright, which helped me track down his website, Mud and Metal. On the site, I found a similar "cat face brooche" priced at $14. I also looked around eBay and found another cat face pin: 


Looks like my impression of the price was about right!

Another item I bought was this ceramic thingie. Info on the bottom told me it made by Emerson Creek Pottery in 1998.


The piece is five inches tall and about four inches wide. Inside, the bottom is kind of wavy, not smooth. It has holes on both sides, so I'm thinking it might be a candleholder of some sort. I didn't see any pieces like this on Emerson Creek's web site, so I assume whatever it is isn't being made anymore. Anybody know for sure what it is?


 Apparently the pattern isn't made any more, because I couldn't find it on the web site either. I did learn from a bit of Googling that it's called "Summer Bouquet." (I found a mug in that pattern for $8.)

Anyhow, I think the pottery piece—whatever it is—is worth way more than the 50¢ I paid for it.
~




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cheap Light Fix


I've already posted about this in my Peevish Pen blog, but thought it was appropriately frugal for here, too, so I'm reposting:

The light fixture in the family room died the other day. None of its ugly florescent tubes would come on. The plastic that used to cover the tubes had succumbed to crumbling last year, and we'd never gotten around to replacing it. Electrical engineer hubby put up a temporary fix while I checked prices of replacement fixtures. The temporary fix was functional but not a thing of beauty.


For the new fixture, I wanted a country look—but country looks cost big bucks. Meanwhile, I remembered seeing a picture of a chandelier that someone had spray-painted and made into a candlebra. We had a couple of vintage mid-70s chandeliers lying around somewhere. 


This truly ugly chandelier used to hang in the dining room before we upgraded. I don't think I'll ever use it again. I figured I had nothing to lose if I spray-painted it. First, I wrapped and taped the parts I didn't want to paint:


I had a full can of blue—my favorite shade of blue. Let's see what happens. . . . 


I needed to turn it over to paint the underside, and I happened to have an ugly silver-painted flowerpot that would hold the chandelier while getting itself painted at the same time.


Finally it was dry enough for hubby to hang. But we needed to check to see if it would work before we added all the bulbs and globes. 


Yes, it works!


After adding bulbs and vintage 70s globes, we now have this:


And all it cost me was a can of spray paint that I already had.
~

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Purrfect Treasures

I stopped by Purrfect Treasures today and bought a few items—a decorative plate with a black and white cat on it:


A wooden wall hanging:


Three pins (two are cat-themed):




Total spent: $14.
~





Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Pottery

On July 31, I saw some interesting pottery at the Westlake Goodwill. Since these pieces were blue, I had to get them:

This large oblong bowl looked and felt handmade . . .


. . . but it had no mark whatsoever on the back—except for the $2.95 price tag. It was a big bowl, so it was worth the price.


I loved the look of these two flowerpots. The other week I bought a gold version of the blue one ($1.95).


The blue flowered one (95¢) had Val Do Sol on the bottom. This is a pottery in Portugal.


But the one that called out to me was this green one ( (95¢) with a subtle blue design. I could tell it was handmade . . .


. . . and when I turned it over, I knew it was meant for me.


~