Thursday, June 30, 2011

Auction Time!

So last weekend, I went to my first auction.  I have wanted to for years, even before all the auction shows came out.  I had no idea what to expect, but my friend Cathy and I decided to check it out.  The kind of auction that we attended was a combination of antique and household.  It was in Minnedosa, about an hour away from where I live.

How I initially found out about this particular auction was through ebrandon, who had the article listed in the classified section.  When I clicked on it, it led me to a North American wide auction site that specifically zeroed in on the auction I was interested in.

Pictures that peeked my interest, though I wasn't necessarily interested in all items, were:

What looks like a buffet table above is actually a convertible table that adjusts up to about 12 feet long.    An idea of how it works, is shown below.

Old stove with porcelain; really in beautiful shape!

Quite pretty stove!

Old dresser-maybe late 30s, early 40s?

Old table, 50s era?

After an early start on a Sunday, we arrived.  The viewing was before the actual auction and it allowed everyone to view the articles going up for bids.  What surprised me was that there wasn't labels or anything catalogued.  We didn't know what went together or what would be auctioned off first.

We probably sat down a 1/2 hour before the auction began, because all of a sudden there really weren't any chairs left.  The auction started off on time, with two auctioneers.  We were a bit taken back by two, but it really did make things go quicker, or so it seemed.  We were a bit confused that at times they would up three objects of the same kind of item and we thought they were being sold as a lot, only for us to find out they were being sold individually.  But there were other items that were sold as a group.

From where we were sitting, we could see some of the items and the auctioneer (we were sitting in the second row).

As the auction went along, I got more into it, learning little things to help me bid.  There was a set of enamel pots that looked like they had never been used that I had my eye on.  Unfortunately, they went at double the price I was willing to pay, though they were sold as a set with another pair.  At least I had broken the ice and bid though.

What was interesting was how people bid.  Some were vocal, some nodded their head, and then some like me just raised their hand with their paper.  I noticed that once you bid, the auctioneer automatically came back to you to see if you were interested.

One piece that I was really interested in was an antique sideboard.  It was beautiful and I had been in love with them for a couple of years.  I was told to expect it to easily go for $100 or $150.  To my amazement, I was able to get it for only $50.  I was shocked and excited.  Even the auctioneers mentioned that they had never seen them go for that cheap.

My friend Cathy and I had a blast making fun of things.  We couldn't believe what people were purchasing.  People were getting in bidding wars over ugly ceramic roosters, and then the things of quality would go cheap.  By the end we were giggling throughout, especially as we got more comfortable.  Cathy ended up making a bid on a zebra settee, which she got for $16.  It was so different and so funny that we were laughing nonstop.  The plus side of the zebra settee?  It came with a big stuffed dog.  It made us laugh harder.

Doggy not shown in this picture

The auctioneers helped us load our stuff in the truck (first major haul!) along with another bidder.  We kind of think it was because we were girls, but we appreciated nevertheless.  The truth was is that I hadn't had so much fun in ages.  I hadn't laughed like that in a long time.

So while I am no expert, here are definitely a couple of hints that I picked up that I'll share with you all:

  1. Be patient-I found that when the auctioneer started the bidding, he started at a high price.  My sideboard started at $100.  When nobody raised their hand, he lowered it to $50 and then finally $25, which is when I started bidding.
  2. Set a limit for what you're willing to spend on an item-stick to it, unless you really feel it's worth it.
  3. Watch the bidding wars.  Some people just bid for the sake of bidding.  I've learned that sometimes you can make side deals if you stop bidding (I had one person approach me, but I didn't understand what she was doing at the time)
  4. Expect the unexpected.  Even the auctioneers told me this when they were helping us load the truck.  You can never expect anything.
  5. Get there early to get a seat-the bidding part of the auction was 4 hours long.  You definitely did not want to be standing for that long.
  6. Take snacks-there isn't always a canteen and sometimes you just didn't want to get up for fear of an item coming up that you liked.
  7. Take along your sense of humor.  Enjoy yourself and have fun!
P.S.  Stay tuned for this weekend for when I share my photos of what I got!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sinfully Delicious Apple Pies for Gifts

So the other day I posted pictures of an individual apple pie that I had concocted for gifts from my students.  I promised you guys the recipe, and here it is!

Apple Pie

*Please note that this is Tenderflake Lard's crust recipe...
Makes 12 individual pies, both top and bottom

6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1b. Tenderflake lard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold Water

Place flour in large bowl.  Add tenderflake lard (I tend to cut this into squares first before adding), cutting in with pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.

In a one cup measuring cup, combine vinegar and beaten egg.  Add water to make one cup.  Gradually add liquid into Tenderflake mixture.  Mix.  Add only enough water to make dough stick together.

Divide dough into 6 portions.  Cut each portion in half, giving you 12 portions.  Cut in half again, now giving you 24 portions.

Roll out one portion on floured surface (flouring your rolling pin as well to prevent sticking), large enough to cover your pan.  Place in a greased 5 inch tart form pan (I use aluminum ones).  Push down so that shell is secure; trim edges.

Julie's Pie Filling (recipe for each individual pie):

1 apple, peeled, sliced into thin slices
2 tsp margarine (can be heaping if desired)
1 tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon

Place apple slices into pie shell.  Top with margarine, sugar, and cinnamon.

Roll out a portion to completely cover pie.  Trim excess.  With fork, go along edges to secure pie top to pie base.  Cut slits in pie to allow steam to release.

Bake in preheated oven at 325 C for 35 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

So for just over a dollar a pie, you get an awesome gift for someone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Individual Apple Pies

So I got the idea for my students to make apple pies as a way to say thank you for all the people in the school who did something special for us.  I really firmly believed that it needed to be something that we did as a class, rather than me buying something.  It needed to have meaning, needed to have effort, and needed to appeal to the  giftee.  The solution?  Pie!  I mean who doesn't like pie!

I came up with my own recipe, though I used the never failing Tenderflake Lard.  The actual pie recipe though turned out to be amazing!  I mean, don't get me wrong, I love pie, but I didn't love it as much until I tasted my new concoction! yummy!  Now just so you know, the pictures I'm posting are not the most professional looking as adults who have done this many times over, but these pictures are full of heart!  Stay tuned this weekend for the recipe!

P.S.  To make 12 gifts, the cost was around $12 or $1 a piece.  Can't beat that eh?

P.P.S.  For more pictures and a link to my classroom blog, check out:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Every Woman Needs (and Man too)

So despite having a new vehicle with wonderful sturdy tires, I sure remember all the flats that I had this past 6 months...10 to be exact!  I only found out about this nifty gadget at the very last flat tire...I remarked to my friend, I don't care how much it costs, I need one!  What is it??

It's a portable air compressor, one that plugs straight into your cigarette lighter or Electronics portal.  Of course, I knew about air compressors, but I didn't know they came in tiny little travel sizes!

I bought this little beauty from Wal-Mart the same day I picked up my truck (but I need to actually put it in my truck yet!) for only $15.  This particular piece has an inflator and deflator raft pump, illuminated gauge (for nighttime), and comes with various adaptors to fit the perfect tire.

Now before you say to me, "I can just go to the gas station and fill up my tires if I'm a little low", in my opinion that's not its first duty.  Let's say you have a flat tire and I mean flat as a pancake.  Driving on a flat tire or even partially flat tire can ruin it for good.  What this compressor does is fill the tire so that you can get to a garage.  The most I've ever gone on a tire after filling it (it was completely flat) was driving 35 minutes on back roads to get to my garage.  It worked all the way (a little sidebit is that the moment your car stops, the quicker the tire tends to lose air).  I was able to get their safely and get it fixed.

 So, whether it's for yourself and your emergency kit or for a friend for his or her birthday, this is the gift that can provide assurance that you can be safe out there....

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Are You Willing To Let Go?

So times are tough for everybody...and according to reports here in Canada, things are supposed to get tougher as we're looking at poor crops this year due to flooding and excessive rain.  People have been tightening their purse strings, and it might be time to tighten them further...I know I am, but possibly for different reasons...

This new move is having me produce more money...damage deposit, transfers to utilities, phone, etc, gas, etc.  It'll be worth it by far, but for now, things are stretched tight (not to mention that I now have truck payments-but I have no regrets there!)

Not only am I sticking to a tight budget right now, I also decided to cut my cable.  Now, just so you know, I love cable.  I love the noise and the company.  But I cut it for now with a plan.  You can get a lot of tv now on the internet.  If you go to your stations in your country, most of them offer the latest tv shows on the internet to watch for FREE!  Yup, I know it's not quite the same, but still I say that's quite nice!  Who knows, maybe I'll really like it and not go back?

One of the options I am considering for the future involve hooking up my tv as the monitor.  I didn't know that you could do that, and it is possible.  A friend of mine's husband did it to their tv and it wowed me.  So almost like cable right?  It's a start, I figure.  Once I'm moved, I'll be saving more gas and paying less rent, so that will definitely help.  It's going to be good and I don't see making "wiser choices" as a's a part of life and you just have to roll with it...

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Project!

With the new truck, I was able to bring home the very first thing in the back of my cab...this chair that caught my attention instantly!  I was driving by a church which was having a yard sale.  I saw this and loved its lines.

While solid, it does need some TLC.  The seat needs to be unscrewed, the cushion/foam replaced and reupholsteered, one arm needs to be tightened and it needs a paint job.  I'm seriously thinking of the chalk paint I've heard so much about.  I thought this would be perfect for my new living room or bedroom in my soon to be new place.

Here's what it looks like now...stay tuned for next month when I unveil its makeover!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Vehicle

So I am the proud owner (or maybe I should say the bank is) of a beautiful new truck.  You might say new?  Why the heck new?  I have been in the past very against new vehicles due to the fact that as soon as you get it off the lot, it depreciates.  However, it was actually cheaper for me to buy new than used.  Confused?  Let me explain...

Due to my bankruptcy three years ago, I wasn't qualified for a typical loan.  I did manage to get a loan through my bank (that my dealership applied for), but at a higher interest rate.  Based on the year of the vehicle, the interest rate changed greatly.  The cheapest interest rate for me was to buy a 2011 vehicle.  It went up quite a bit by even going with a 2010.

The other considering factor was that I got an amazing deal through GMC-not only did I get employee pricing but I also got a huge rebate for having owed a Pontiac before my new vehicle, a sister company of GMC.  I got my truck for nearly 1/2 off brand new!

So, now you're probably thinking well, why the truck?  Based on where I live, which is quite rural, my salesman and I both agreed that I needed a vehicle with a higher carriage.  He only felt there was one kind of car that would possibly work which was the same kind of vehicle that police drive in the country.  However, we both felt that an SUV or a truck would be better.

I talked to a lot of people-a lot.  I finally really felt that for my safety, I needed a 4 by 4 truck.  You see, it's not so much the summer that's the concern.  It's our winters, not to mention that I work on a reserve.  Now, I'm not really talking about ice, because ice is ice no matter what vehicle you drive.  Where I live, they can go days without ploughing the snow.  It's not uncommon to have to drive through a foot and a half of snow, after the winds have blown things into the roads.

So yes, I bought new and I love it!  It's amazing and I feel so comfortable and safe.  Now, it does require me to be very strict with my budget.  Things will be tight, but that's okay.  I still have worked in with my budget savings and such, and my budget is doable...I just have to be accountable for the money I spend each day.  The strange thing, and I admitted this to my mother, is I don't think I could have been so strict with my budget had it not been for the bankruptcy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shotgun shack redux: mortgage-free in 320 square feet

So I came across this little wee house (320 square feet!) on youtube, and was really blown away.  I have heard of these houses, but never really had a full tour (via pictures) or heard the owner's response to living in them.  This particular house is owned by Debra and her family (posted under the screen name faircompanies) who had experienced intense hardship.  This was their solution to living debt free and completely within their means.  Check it out, it is so inspirational!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life is Changing

Life keeps getting better...I am on my way tomorrow to the dealership to pick out my new car!  Eek!  I know what you're said NEW.  Yup, I did.  I am usually a huge believer in buying used as new depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot.  But this situation is a little different.  I get a way better interest rate with buying new than used (used turns out to be higher payments than new) and GMC/Chevrolet are giving such amazing packages that you can get a vehicle for dirt cheap.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving Time!'s true!  I'm moving (again)!  Instead of being 50 km (one way) from work, I'll be 5 km from work!  Talk about saving money!  The town contacted me the other day and said their tenant had booked the moving van, and I could move in for the 15th of July.  It also looks like I'll be carpooling next year with one of my co-workers...he asked me yesterday if I was interested and I sure.  Hey, every bit helps doesn't it!  I'm hoping this place will be a place I can settle...I gotta work on getting some furniture though...  For those of you who didn't see the picture of the new place I'm getting (which I'm lucky to get in an area where there's almost no housing), here's a picture:

In other news to, I'm moving up in the world in terms of what I drive...I should be driving something spiffy by the end of next week!