Sunday, June 29, 2014

Add It Up

The Happy Badger's been a busy bee. And I've got the hives to prove it, too.

I have a young guest coming to visit for three weeks, and suddenly
I am allergic to my own home. These things, they happen.

Ever seen the classic 80s movie Trading Places? Remember the triumphant commodities market scene, when Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd's characters stop buying orange futures low and start selling them high? Imagine a six foot tall Arab-American mother in Murphy's place.
In a month and a half, I have found and made some amazing commodities of my own. These sales pushed my "Trip-For-Trash 2014" fund past $7,200. Since that fund just wouldn't break $5,000 for months and months, I also feel like Eddie here:
Feeling Good
Today, let's review some memorable sales, shall we?

I finally sold this mirror jewelry rack through craigslist, which The Man and I made out of an abused and abandoned antique chair.
Read about how we made it here.
35 bucks. Sigh.
The happy new owner, doing early Christmas shopping. The mirror really isn't THAT heavy...
Yes, The Badger has lurked in unexpected corners, hustling her wares....
3rd Friday sales of magnet sets and vases made out of 35mm films put another $85 in the kitty.
Enjoy them, Vera! And thanks to Jen at W@atercooler!

A dear friend from Encina High School in Sacramento literally surprised me on my den's doorstep. And I did what? I lived up to the Badger moniker and harassed her and her friends until they bought a couple vintage comic book boxes for $15. Seriously, it was a good deal and, umm, a unique souvenir of their trip....

Likewise, Facebook Friends have been attacked by the Badger recently. For their Andrew Jacksons, they received awesome decoupaged cigar boxes featuring vintage comics and Life Magazines. Each one--which take a couple days to finish--buys less than two gallons of gasoline in Norway, proud purveyor of Europe's most expensive gas. Still, I am satisfied with these exchanges. Every bit counts.
Sophia Loren with another of the world's most beautiful women, Fiona Galloway!

BEST quotation EVER. Viva, Sophia!

Batman AND The Joker AND a color slide lampshade  AND the Louis Armstrong wine box
all found new homes in Missouri. Cherie Lawrence, you are my biggest fan.
Altogether, these will get us almost a whole tank of Norwegian gas!
The Odyssey flew to Santa Barbara, where it will contain a teenage boy's secrets.
Let's not pry into those....
I have no mercy: I "strongly encouraged" the mom who painted faces at
my daughter's birthday party to buy this dynamic duo for $6.

The woman who sold her house in Croton to my friend bought a
couple of these for a male friend, who rightly loves them.
And finally, FINALLY, I have sold early Happy Badger projects. Craigslist and friends came through, but Etsy let me down.
The Kitchy Cool Lamp moved down the street to a great neighbor.
Sadly, it only netted $15, but at least it's found a good home.

I sold Smiley, the Suitcase Endtable, through Craigslist. $40!

I also want to make a photo thank-you to the neighbors and strangers who threw out these amazing items in the past weeks.

Even missing a few parts, this auto-top storage sold in less than 2 days on craigslist. $60.

My friend/spy in Croton-on-Hudson told me
when this mid-century masterpiece was thrown out.
Turns out that 1967 Stanley Danish-style dressers are seriously sellable.
36 hours on craigslist and it sold for $300 cash: no knobs, no questions.
Dear Spy Friend, you just earned yourself some commemorative reindeer jerky!

Koch and Lowy: solid brass midcentury extendable reading lamps.
"Where did you find these beauties?" you ask. In the Metal Recycling Bin
in front of a house in Ardsley, of course. Pristine ones sell for $400 each on Etsy...if they sell.
In two weeks, this pair was snapped up by a savvy (read it "hella rude") craigslist shopper for $200 cash.

A cruise through Pleasantville never disappoints. A few metal screws, some JB Weld, a coat of paint....
Now you can relax on this fine black bench outside of Trilogy Consignment in Tarrytown.
Remember to go inside and buy something from the Wear It But Don't Bear It collection!
By the way, if you want to make friends with men in an auto shop, ask for JB Weld. Amazing.

Covers airfare for four, plus hotels/hostels (remember, half the time we'll be sleeping on floors in Scandinavia and England), car rentals, and some gas.

I'd like to make another $800 in the next three weeks, so keep buying my goodies and curbing the good stuff, Westchester!
We'll be singing "Let It Go" in your honor at this Norwegian fjord.

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Best Deal in Town: The Clothing Closet

I love a good deal. I prove that point by spending far too much time driving around curb-shopping and dropping in at second-hand shopsyard sales, and thrift stores. Recently, though, I discovered that the best deal around is at Tarrytown's own Christ Church "Clothing Closet."

Susan Copley, the flat-out fabulous rector of Christ Church, took me on a tour of the Clothing Closet. I brought an offering of sorts to say thanks.

Turns out that when the place isn't open, it's used as a Teen Center, so most of the goodies were, in fact, tucked away in a small room.

You have to be fast to keep up with Susan Copley

I promise, they take these racks out of the closet on sales days,
so you don't have to clump over them to get at those dresses on the far wall.

Good, clean winter coats for a couple bucks.
And, check out that adorable vintage girl's dress in the window!

Rev. Copley did a bit of shopping while I snooped around.
Reverend Copley believes that Christ Church accomplishes its mission best when it is most inclusive, and the Clothing Closet proves that point.

Most items are a dollar or two, and if that price is too steep, just fill a bag with clothes and accessories for kids, women, and men, and the volunteer staff will happily negotiate a price that pleases. Much as I enjoy Goodwill, they never make deals.
Bins of baby clothes.
Don't forget to look under the racks for hidden gems.
I didn't see any yard sale cast-offs at the Clothing Closet (and please don't donate those here. Take ratty stuff to Goodwill, where their large staff makes use of everything).

The closet itself is bursting with good brand names like Ralph Lauren and St. John's Bay, plus cool vintage accessories, too.
That leather beret is so funky, I feel a sudden urge to watch Good Times.
In about ten seconds, I spotted a pair of Free People cords with the tag still attached.
Yes, that is an $88 retail tag.
It's Free People for practically free, People!

At the Clothing Closet, 100% of your purchase funds the San Marcos mission, which works intensively to support the local community.

The one negative about the Clothing Closet is its very limited hours. It's only open two days a month, 5-7 pm one Friday after the Food Pantry and 10-2 the following Saturday afternoon. This month, the Clothing Closet is open TODAY, Friday the 13th (yeah, yeah, don't let that put you off) and TOMORROW, Saturday the 14th.

While you are shopping--or any time you pass Christ Church on the corner of Broadway and W. Elizabeth--make a direct donation to The Food Pantry, too.
It doesn't take much to make a difference: for example, your $10 donation buys the Pantry $100 of food, thanks to the generosity of the Food Bank of Westchester and generous local stores like Mrs. Greens. Now that's a good deal all the way around.

How often does your money get a 10-fold return?
Every donated dollar goes far to fill these shelves.
I'll see you at the Clothing Closet tomorrow morning. If you snap up those Free People pants before I get there, I won't hold it against you.

  • Clothing Closet and Food Pantry entry is at the corner of John St. and W. Elizabeth St.
  • Christ Church
  • Rev. Susan Copley
  • 43 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591
  • Ph: 914-631-2074
  • Email:

  • Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Where's It At? It's a Habitat (for Humanity)

    I love Habitat for Humanity. You can give them your leftover building materials (paint, windows, toilets, cabinets, appliances, etc.) to keep the stuff out of the landfill and get yourself a tax write-off. They, in turn, give people homes. What's NOT to love?

    BUT...Did you know that your search for a cheap thrill (um, the thrift shop kind of thrill) can support their epic quest to build ever more houses for lower income folks?

    It's true. Here are two Habitat for Humanity stores that I've checked out, and you should, too.

    Santa Barbara, California: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

    ReStore manager Ruairi Bateson was extraordinarily busy when I wandered in to his store last winter. He was welcoming guests, fielding questions about products and donation drop-offs, and handling an actual truckload of building supplies that unexpectedly showed up at his wide-open warehouse door.

    Still, Ruairi immediately made time to tell me about the ReStore mission, explaining with his rapid-fire Irish accent spread sheets comparing SB sales to those of other California ReStores. The newly moved ReStore was spanking clean, beautifully organized, friendly, and stocked with amazing finds. I expect that Ruairi's team will meet their ambitious goal to make as much as the top earning Habitat ReStores of the LA area.
    Ruairi is endearingly competitive about all elements of his life:
    he told me the story about how he won the love of his wife,
    leaving her NBA player ex-boyfriend crying into his jersey.

    Pretty, pretty stained glass

    No need to update your tetanus shots before visiting this warehouse--it's super clean!

    Keeping the volunteers and shoppers pumped

    Lighting: from Home Depot to High End

    That's right: the potty party to end all others can be found at the SB ReStore

    I was sorely tempted to fly home a better looking faucet than my Home Depot not-so-special

    Canaan, Connecticut: This 'n' That from Habitat

    Route 7 winds its way through gorgeous western Connecticut and Massachusetts. It's a wonderful, slow drive, made even slower by the irresistible lure of antique shops that line both sides of the road.
    Likewise, if you love covered bridges, Rt. 7 will satisfy. Thanks for the pic,
    After checking out each and every one of them myself, I can assure you, dear Reader, that few hold a candle to our own Hank's Alley.
    Thanks for the pic, New England Girl. I think we're soul sisters.
    This 'n' That From Habitat, however, puts the other Route 7 stores to shame.
    Manager Judi Moore, like Ruairi, is a happy warrior for housing justice, setting the bar for her store's contributions to Habitat for Humanity higher every year.
    Hi, Judi. You are doing great work!
    Years ago, Judi and a dedicated group of volunteers started their quest with one big sale at the Hotchkiss School. They made $50,000 that weekend and got hooked on doing right. Today, their "Store" is actually two very large, very well-stocked buildings and an even larger barn, and Judi's goal is to make enough for Habitat to build a house every year.

    And when you see what they have to offer, you'll want to go shopping for the greater good, too.
    Building #1 is jam-packed with vintage items and small furniture.
    It's NOT junk. You're just not able to read the labels from here. Hi, Peggy!
    Ohhhh, hello, Barn. What wonders do you hold?
    Don't rush this experience. You'll miss something amazing.
    Building #3 offers newer fine furniture and decorative items.
    Sure, mid-century is great, but maaaaan, I love Deco.
    HUGE TABLE, on sale that weekend for $500. And FREE DELIVERY!
    So, whether you choose to shop for a cause (or just cuz you like to find awesome stuff), or donate your building materials and other goodies, Habitat is where it's at.

    Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier