Sunday, November 11, 2007

Doing Something Positive - The Urban Pioneers are doing it, so can we!

Excellent video encapsulating wide array of concepts in Sustainable Living. These Urban Pioneers got a jumpstart back when it was called self-sufficiency- meaningful living, abundant living, simplistic living, getting off the grid. And they go even further back ... see the video below. Big hat tip to Path To Freedom Journal blog.



from the Path to Freedom Journal blog 'about us'
On 1/5th of an acre, this family has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead's productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually,providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet along with a viable income.


In addition they have chickens, ducks, goats, brew their own biodiesel (made from waste (free!) vegetable oil) to fuel their car, compost with worms, solar panels provide their electricity needs, a sun and earthen oven is used to cook food in.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

by: Sintilia Miecevole

If you are tired of seeing the same old clothing styles at mall department stores and boutiques, it may be time to add a little spice to your wardrobe. Rather than looking just like everyone else, thrift stores offer access to unique items not found anywhere else- at least not in the last twenty or so years! Not only are thrift store clothes relatively inexpensive, but they can also be ultra hip. If you approach it the right way, you may be able to create your very own personal style by mixing the old and the new.

When you first decide to embark on a thrift store shopping spree, there are a few things to remember. Firstly, a lot of thrift stores only take cash, so if you are used to grabbing Daddy’s credit card and going to town, you’ll have to make other arrangements. Some stores do take checks, so you might want to have your checkbook handy. Secondly, a lot of thrift stores do not have dressing rooms, so you’ll probably want to wear a light t-shirt so you can try on your finds right where you find them. And most importantly, you are probably not going to find anything that fits you absolutely perfectly. You can’t go in looking for “your size.” You will have to try on what looks promising and see if you can alter it in any way if needed.

Believe it or not, thrift stores in the hippest parts of town generally have the least hip clothes. This is because there are hundreds of people just like you who are picking through their stock of wearable items every day. If you want to find authentic vintage clothing at inexpensive prices, you’ll have to drive to the most uncool parts of town. This could mean the suburbs, and it could mean farmland, depending on where you are located. You will find, however, that it is well worth the drive, and that your treasure is definitely another woman’s trash.

Shirts are typically the easiest items to find at thrift stores, because they allow more flexibility in the fitting department. You can find some excellent western shirts in rural areas, and there are always witty t-shirts on the little boy’s racks. If you are looking for a good pair of jeans, however, you might want to check the men’s section. Thrift stores typically stock a plethora of pleated-front tapered-leg acid-washed jeans in the ladies section, so you will rarely find anything cool on those racks. However, the men’s section can be filled with surprisingly girlish slacks in interesting colors and textures. There have also been known to be great pairs of vintage Levi’s hanging in the men’s racks.

If vintage dresses are your think, you will have a field-day going through the strange fashions of yesteryear that you will find in any thrift store. Once you make your way past the obnoxious flowery Sunday dresses and the strange lime green pleated skirts, you may find one or two keepers. Don’t give up until you looked at the last one, because chances are there will be a diamond in the rough there just waiting for a little nip and tuck from your sewing machine.

Thrift stores are also an excellent place to find work clothes for a job interview or a new office job. If you’d rather save your money for more fun items, you can always replenish your work wardrobe with some inexpensive black skirts and dress shirts from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Work people will never know that your new suit only cost you five bucks. They’ll just be happy that you’re not wearing your favorite club get-up to the important meeting again.

About The Author


Sintilia Miecevole, host of http://www.formshopping.com provides you with shopping information from franchises, business, great buys and seasonal items to ecommerce and more. Be sure to visit http://www.formshopping.com for the latest information.







Source: Articles 3000

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« One Man’s Trash… Could Be Your Treasure - 3 Rules Of Thrifty Product Sourcing

Thrift shops and consignment stores can be excellent sources for your product inventory — they always have fresh items to pick through and you can find some great pieces for rock-bottom prices.

• Consignment stores, are commission-based. People bring in products for the store to sell on commission — what doesn’t sell is returned to the owner.

• Thrift stores are often ‘not for profit’ and get most of their goods via donations.

In comparing the two, thrift stores are typically more willing (and able) to bargain with you simply because they have more room to do so.

Online retailers sometimes feel that these types of resale stores are not a good place to find inventory because there’s not enough of a profit margin. But author Kate Holmes, founder of Too Good To Be Threw (http://www.tgtbt.com), disagrees. Holmes asserts, "These stores have a very limited market. If nobody in their town happens to want to buy a pair of Jodhpurs that week, those Jodhpurs will be sitting there waiting for an eBay seller to snap them up.” The end result can be amazing deals on quality items with an online demand.

In addition to a narrow market, Holmes also cites restricted space as a factor in second-hand stores’ bargain pricing. She points out, "They only have so much space, so they can only carry so many things. If they can move an item on and bring something else in, they’re pleased with that.”

3 Rules of Sourcing Products in Thrift and Consignment Shops:

1. Shop the Edges. Even resale stores tend to carry certain types of products. What doesn’t fit a shop’s profile, they usually want to move out quickly. They tend to put these products around the store’s edges, so start there.

2. Shop Often. These stores are constantly turning over product and bringing in new items, so don’t let a dry trip or two discourage you. Your persistence can pay off in a big way.

3. Cultivate Relationships with Shopkeepers. If they like you, they’ll be much more willing to give you deals. They may also be more willing to set things aside for you, if they know what you’re looking for, and guide you to items you might have otherwise missed.

If you’re just starting out, a good place to find resale stores is in the Yellow Pages, under either “consignment” or “thrift.” Don’t be afraid to ask shopkeepers if they know of other stores in the area — if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll usually be happy to refer you to someone they think might.

Product Sourcing Radio is Created and Hosted by Chris Malta and Rob Cowie of WorldwideBrands.com, Home of OneSource: The Internet's Largest Source of Genuine, Factory-Direct Wholesalers for online sellers. Click Here for FREE E-Biz & Product Sourcing info!
Source:www.isnare.com

Source: Articles 3000
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Let's Talk About Thrift Stores

I do and don't like to shop at Thrift Stores. I love thrift store shopping when I have extra money to spend and encounter those thrift stores that are clean, well merchandised, and prices are affordable, and I feel like I have purchasing power. I don't like thrift store shopping as much when I have fewer choices and absolutely have only XX dollars to spend and I'm not in the 'mood' for gently used anything. Usually when I'm in those kind of moods, it's dark anyway and I'm more in memory of childhood days when sometimes it was 'hand-me-downs', and not much other choices. So, it's a frame of mind for me.

Over the years, from teen, to young parent, to middle aged parent of almost adult kids, to grandmother, my identity, self esteem, and needs have changed. In my teens, having cool, new clothes of the 1960's made a major difference to how I felt about myself. As a young wife and mother having fun clothes was important to me as I assumed my new identity as wife and mother. As a working wife and mother, career woman of the 1970's and 1980's, having a professional wardrobe was important to my sense of identity. Making sure my children had new home, new clothes, new toys, plenty of groceries was important to my sense of being a successful parent.

But in the 1980's something happened. Brand name labels became the 'have to have' among kids and with the brand names came gradually escalating prices until ridiculous prices was the operating word. Tennis, running, basketball shoes jumped to over $100.00 a pair and kept climbing. And that was rather my own personal 'wake up call' and when I put my foot down, explaining to my children, by my logic, that this brand name label clothing was a marketing device and nothing more. I wasn't going to buy into it.

Not so easy for them, because part of their forming identities was tied to what the kids at school were wearing and having whatever was the newest, coolest marketing product. Things like Cabbage Patch dolls began the trend towards 'must have at all costs' toys that parents needed to get for their children. Where was this mentality coming from, I wondered, while I didn't purchase Cabbage Patch dolls at outrageous prices? Well I did purchase some of the trendy toys of that era for my children, but only in what I considered to be an 'acceptable and affordable' range by my standards.

Fast forward through the 1990s to the present, and the trend of buying the newest, latest products is a firmly entrenched mentality among families today. I shudder at the challenges my children, now adults with children of their own face in their efforts to satisfy the perceived wants and needs of their children. If I were faced with some of those financial challenges now, I would have to consciously work to stay above the fray.

But now I sound like my own grandparents sounded to my ears when I was a lot younger. So I've reached 'that age'. Even so, I have growing concerns for my adult children and my grandchildren because I sense strongly the lifestyle we enjoyed when I was raising them is more elusive as they raise their own children.

I began frequenting thrift stores for the fun of finding those very special finds --- cut crystal, unique bags, vintage tablecloths and napkins, yard ornaments, occasional kitchenware. But I didn't 'have to' shop thrift stores, so it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and I was spelunking, looking for those great finds. And then I tried my hand at looking for certain collectibles and antiques in thrift stores and the best of the best thrift stores were when we lived in a city that had wealth that was measured only by more wealth. I found some of the best quality of whatever I was looking for in the thrift stores that dotted that city. It was my ideal of shopping manna.

When we moved from the city to a more rural setting, in region known to have a shrunken economic baseline, so did the availability shrink in the shrunken towns that comprised the region. The spelunking changed and took on a different element, but was still fun, because I could ocassionally find authentic antiques at thrift store prices, and collectibles not yet priced at collectible prices. When we made the decision to go from two incomes - his and mine to one income - his - we felt proud of our decision, made the shifts to tighten our belts, and I earnestly began to look at reviving all the dollar saving hints and tips I'd learned growing up as a child in an economically-challenged family.

I wanted to see if I could do with our household what some of the Depression-era people did to creatively stretch a dollar, recycle, re-use, re-fashion, and remake. It wasn't easy to find reading material on such things, and I wished I could have been in the tutelage of some of the elderly who knew how to do what I did not and could teach me. I realized that I had grown accustomed to the ease of consumerism, and began to contemplate ideas like what if.......

-- what if the economy implodes and we have no choice but to revive some of the older skills?

-- what if we couldn't drive cars any and everywhere because gas cost too much and global warming was a concern?

-- what if and the what if's went on in my mind

And perhaps it could be called an intuitive sense of changing times because as a society, a nation, we seemed to have reached a point of needing to reconsider lifestyles permitted to evolve at the hands of marketing devices.

I'm most encouraged though by the creativity I am seeing among the young families and especially the young women of today as they try to manage their lives and lifestyles on a shrinking dollar. I see a revival of a need to find creative ways to re-use, re-make, re-fashion, re-cycle, and I see young families finding ways to do more with a bit less and keeping a good spirit while doing so. For some it seems to be an effort to restore or return to a prescribed faith-based lifestyle that puts women in their homes with their families. For some it is a flair for the artistic in finding new ways to create clothing, fashion, home decor, gifting. For some it is the challenge forced upon them.

And the thrift store takes on a new prominence in the modern era. Or so it seems to me. So let's talk about thrift stores.
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Then and Now

Over the years, the imaginary character, skinflint curmudgeon, has been evolving as our own times have been evolving. When he was invented, there was a movement towards abundant simplified living, living off the grid, meaningful living and enriching the act of living. Since he was invented, politics in this country (USA) has so altered the landscape of living life enough that there are economic conditions that rather force a change in lifestyle for those not among the wealthy and more wealthy.

Erosion of middle class economics, inflated housing market prices, inflated and rising petroleum/gas prices which absolutely will have impact on our carbon-based economy and way of life. Meanwhile the discretionary income margin we permitted for ourselves when we deliberately reduced to one income lifestyle has been consumed by the ever increasing petroleum-based essential products, like groceries, heat for our home, and for us there no longer is a discretionary income margin. Every dollar is budgeted and accounted for and we have yet to make what will be required cuts to manage the cost increases ahead.

So while our fun little character, skinflint curmudgeon, was just going to give ornery type old fashioned advice in a whimsical kind of way, it is becoming less fanciful fun and more a necessity to shave costs, squeeze more out of the dollars we have and look at new ways to manage our lives since the foundational plan of our younger years will not carry us well into our later years.
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Friday, November 2, 2007

How To : Canning Tomatoes. Salsa, Tomato Sauce

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