Thrifty Bargains

We checked out the Seattle Children’s Bargain Boutique in Olympia. Honestly, the exterior is a bit nondescript. We’ve been to the shopping center many times and looked right past it so we were pleasantly surprised when we walked in and found a boutique packed with housewares, clothing, jewelry and books. It’s one of six boutiques that support Seattle Children’s Hospital.

We were greeted by a friendly volunteer who explained the current sales. Buy one get one half off was the main sale and I took advantage of it. I mostly looked at the housewares because I am looking for something in particular (multilevel tray stands to create landing strips in key places where stuff piles up or gets misplaced in my house). And of course, I could not leave without looking at the books. I would say that their book section was much better than the average thrift store with a good selection of gardening and cookbooks.

I found a copy of  A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants in great condition for $6.50. Awesome! I also picked up a pet first aid book for 75 cents with the BOGO half off sale.

Location: 2020 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502-5097, 360-236-8245 (near the Dollar Tree, Wally’s and Vic’s Pizza)

Weekdays: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.


Today’s weather: It was another beautiful day in Olympia. A little colder today but not by much.


Book lovers, rejoice!

Have you been to the Goodwill in West Olympia? Their book section looks like a mini bookstore! The books are organized by type and there’s a bestsellers section. There are many well-known and new titles to choose from. There are even chairs for leisurely browsing. The staff member working in the section was making book recommendations and offered assistance. It really had such a great vibe. Prices vary but good deals abound.

They also carry DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes and vinyl.

Overall the store is well organized and clean and they sell a lot of new items in addition to the second-hand finds. I saw lots of colorful vases and fun decorative items. I almost left the store with a pair of carved palm tree lamps. (I was good!) If you have stayed away from thrift stores in the past, this one might change your mind.

Location: 400 Cooper Point Rd SW, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 956-0669
Hours: 9 am-9 am, Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm on Sun.

Donating and buying used is a great way to reuse, reduce, recycle. Stay green and happy reading!


It rained today and it made me happy. My 100 or so plants needed the rain. I want them to have their best chance. A little blustery–boo–but it’s no nor’easter! We have low 50s. A reason to be grateful.

Go Native

It’s that time! The Thurston Conservation District native plant sale is Saturday, March 3! There will be vendor booths and activities for kids. And the Master Gardeners will be there!

The 2018 sale will be held 10 am to 3 pm at the Thurston Conservation District offices located at 2918 Ferguson St SW Tumwater, 98512.

The sale will also feature a few workshops:

  • 11 am: Gardening With Mushrooms –  Fungi Perfecti, Loni Jean Ronnebaum
    This presentation will feature information on low tech mushroom cultivation for home and garden, people, and the planet.
  • Noon: Best Practices for a Healthy LawnThurston CD, Nicole Warren
    Gear up for summer lawn parties! Are you frustrated by weeds and moss in your lawn? Come learn about appropriate fertilizer application, protecting water quality, and tips for a beautiful lawn.
  • 1 pm: MycoremediationFungi Perfecti, Tristan Woodsmith
    A brief overview of our research on the use of fungi for filtration of water (mycofiltration), the breakdown of toxic wastes (mycoremediation), empowering ecoforestry strategies (mycoforestry) and helping to influence and control pest insect populations (mycopesticides). Tristan will also discuss our current bee research with WSU.
  • 2 pm: Soil Testing for a Productive GardenThurston CD, Nicole Warren
    Is your garden not producing as much as you want it to? Seems lackluster? Are you amending your soils without testing them? Come learn why your soil’s nutrients affect plant growth, what you can and can’t change, and how to make those changes. Details of Thurston CD’s soil testing program will be shared as well.

The annual sale allows gardeners to pre-order plants so watch for that annually in January. I preordered a bunch of plants and picked them up today. Guess what I will be doing this weekend!

One of my goals in my yard is to remove invasive plants, like the Himalayan Blackberry, and focus on planting native plants.

Because I have a wooded yard with lots of plant material, I decided to order some marker flags from Amazon to mark the location of the new plants so it will be easier to keep an eye on them and enlist my better half’s help in watering them if needed.  There’s always some mortality when planting bare root plants and plugs so go easy on yourself if you decide to buy plants this way. The TCD provides good planting and care instructions. It feels like a little more work — with more uncertainty — but it can be easier to establish plants this way because they are growing in place.

You had me at “plant sale.” <3

Keep growing!


Brown Derby Antiques

We visited Brown Derby Antiques over the weekend. Located on Capitol Blvd., just off Interstate 5. It’s one of the 29 establishments in the Antique Vintage Association of Olympia Shopping Guide and Map that I mentioned in another post

Location: 4800 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater, Washington 98501-121, 360-701-9009
Hours: 10  am – 6 pm, Monday-Saturday and 10 am – 4 pm Sundays and by appointment.

This place is jam-packed with all kinds of goodies. If you like vintage kitchen things, this is the place for you! There is a giant coffee tin that I am still thinking about! They are also super friendly and helpful.

Happy treasure hunting!


Today’s weather: Oh, man, it snowed today. Not very much but it was sobering to someone sitting on a stack of garden seeds waiting for spring. Plus, really cold. Woke up to temps in the 20s and it didn’t warm much. <sigh>

For the love of fabric

We visited Ruby Street Quiltworks in Tumwater. It was our first quilt shop visit in the area and we were not disappointed. So. Much. Beautiful. Fabric. I found them online when searching for a source for American Made Brand solid fabrics. I have a quilt project planned that uses many different solid fabrics and it’s keyed to this brand and its colors. So, I thought I would make it easy on myself and find this brand. That search led me to Ruby Street Quiltworks and it turns out it was in a regular shopping path, not far from the Costco in Tumwater.

They have many beautiful fabrics including batiks, which I love. They also sell books and patterns, thread and tools. Ruby Street offers classes, too, check out their listing online.

They offer a special discount if it’s your birthday. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate.


Today’s weather: Rainy and cold and windy in the evening. Highs in the low 40s.

So much fabric, so little time

I think I made my first quilt on a whim, many moons ago. I was somehow roped into teaching a quilt-in-a-day class to fill in for an ailing instructor. I was an experienced sewist but not a quilter at that point. I guess it never occurred to me to say no! So I learned to make a pieced quilt (the quilting knowledge came much later). I have probably made at least 20 quilts since then. Most of them are my own design but I decided to make seasonal quilts and I got this Pixel Heart in a Pixel Heart design by Daydreams of Quilts on Craftsy.

I liked the computer design aspect of the pixel heart. I push pixels around all day, after all. I wanted to have a scrappy look so I went through my stash. I actually had quite a few blues and reds after stocking up for another quilt project. (I used blues instead of blacks for the inner heart – the symbolism felt better for me.) This was a great pattern: good directions and easy-to-follow with a full-color grid that I referred to often during the piecing stage!

But I needed the whites and beiges for the background. So I went to Joann fabrics to see what I could find. I found some great white on white and white on beige fabrics, along with a black on white arrow fabrics that look like Cupid’s weapon of choice. Sing along with me and Sam Cooke.

Spray n BondI also needed to replace my spray adhesive. I bought the Spray n Bond basting adhesive. It was virtually odorless, easy to use and I had no issues with overspray like I have in the past. This is one of the best things to happen to quilting, IMO. You can attach the pieced top, batting and backing with easy to use spray glue. It’s temporary and washes out. I remember all of the safety pins I used to sandwich and hold quilt layers in the past. Once you have been stuck by 100 safety pins, spray adhesive seems like a wild dream come true. I also needed some batting. I use Warm and Natural batting because I like how it shrinks into a soft old fashioned looking quilt after quilting and washing.

Location: Joann is located in Target Place Plaza next to the Target in Olympia, 2725 Harrison Ave Nw Ste 500, Olympia, WA 98502, 360-754-0500
Hours: 9 am – 9 pm, Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm on Sunday. (It’s always a good idea to verify the hours, especially around holidays.)

Joann has an app and/or you can sign up for their mailing list to receive sale notices and coupons. Pro tip: Always use coupons!

Keep it scrappy!


Today’s weather: Cold in the morning but warming up to low 40s. Wondering if we can be done with winter now.

More books? Yes, please!

I know I have written about the Timberland Regional Library before but I think their semi-annual book sales deserve special attention. This weekend is the book sale at the Olympia branch.

  • Sale Hours: February 10, 10 am–4 pm; February 11, 1–4 pm
  • Location: Olympia Library, 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia

You can get early access to the book sale as a Friend of the Library. See for more information on how to join or buy a membership at the door. Donations can be dropped off to the library’s circulation desk. Please place your donations in a box or a bag. If you have a large donation–10 boxes or more–please make an appointment. If you have a lot of books and cannot bring them downtown,  email the book sale coordinator Irene at Your donations are also tax-deductible.

Fun fact: Between 1,500 and 2,000 of book donations go directly into the library’s inventory and onto the library shelves every year! How cool is that?!

We went to the sale to stock our new Little Free Library AND support the Friends of the Library. And let’s be real: we both love books.

Some of our finds:

  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Lady and the Tramp (based on the Walt Disney movie)
  • Two Night World anthologies by L.J. Smith
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowlings
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Northwest Gardeners’ Resource Directory

Coming soon to a Little Free Library near you!

It’s just $10/year to become a Friend of the Library; $15 for families and just $150 to become a FRIEND FOR LIFE. Woo-hoo! 

Save the date! The next Friends of the Olympia Library book sale is May 12-13, 2018.

Keep reading!


Today’s weather: Colder this morning–31°F at about 6 am. Brrrrr. But we had highs in the mid-40s. And sunshine with no rain. Everything is a trade-off. I wore my sunglasses more than once today! #winning

Treasure Hunt

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Olympia has an amazing array of antique stores. Who knew? The Antique Vintage Association of Olympia and the Greater South Sound Area have a handy map and a website to guide your shopping adventure. We visited Courtyard Antique Mall, home of Orange Fresh Vintage and many other sellers. You could probably spend a few days here and not see everything. It’s jam-packed with goodies of all kinds. If you are new to Washington and doing a full-on embrace of your new home, there are some fun Washington-themed items to be had.

Some of my favorite things:

  • Metalwork in the shape of Washington including this framed piece and some fun metal ornaments.
  • If you are a geographer or just like maps, this pillow with a map of Washington is for you.
  • Olympia breweries are a popular destination and this six-pack holder is super fun.
  • Several mid-century modern pieces including this dresser from Orange Fresh Vintage (they also have a matching side table)


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Orange Fresh Vintage also has a lovely floral sofa that would have found a way home with me in my younger days, pre-big dogs.

There are 17 shops on the map in Downtown Olympia alone! That’s a lot of antiquing fun. Be sure to check out the site and pick up a map. And keep up with your favorites on Instagram or Facebook.

Be sure to check out Courtyard Antiques! They are open 7 days a week, 10 am – 6 pm
Location: 705 4th Ave E, Olympia WA 98506, 360-352-3864

Everything old is new again!


Today’s weather: Colder, low to mid-40s BUT–no rain. And I saw my first robin! Spring is coming!


Get thee to the Farmers Market!

Farmers Market

It’s Groundhog Day (Marmota monax) and you may be wondering if there are any groundhogs in Washington. From this range map it looks like we might have some in the upper northeast corner of the state but none in the Olympia area. And yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his dreaded shadow so 6 more weeks of winter according to lore. Yay. I am going to don my “Wake me when winter is over” hoodie and grumble a little today.

Where were we? Ah, yes! The Olympia Farmers Market. If you ask anyone in Olympia about places to go here, they will mention the Farmers Market.

The Farmer’s Market is a large indoor/outdoor market that is going into its 43rd year. There are farm vendors, artisan foods, crafts and entertainment. The website has a lot of information about the vendors and you get a good idea of the breadth of offerings. It’s huge and it may take you a couple of times through to see everything. It’s a great place to walk through and you will certainly find something to delight you.

My favorite thing from the Farmers Market so far is the Kiwi Berries. I had visions of putting them on salads but I think we just ate them all right out of the container.

And if your brother wants you to pick up some apples, better get some details because the number of varieties is a tiny bit overwhelming in the fine state of Washington. 🙂

Located at 700 Capitol Way N in downtown Olympia. (360) 352-9096

Hours: Open every Saturday through March, 10 am-3 pm and then Thursday-Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm, April to October. There’s plenty of parking. Don’t forget to visit the demonstration garden on the east end of the market.

Spring is coming — it might just be taking the scenic route.


Today’s weather: more rain: surprise, surprise. But! It cleared up in the afternoon with temps over 50. Woohoo!

A special shoutout for Groundhog Day (affiliate link). Buy the movie and resolve to make a fresh start every day, even when it feels like the same thing over and over again.


Seed shopping

My Uprising Seeds catalog came in the mail yesterday. I didn’t know it was possible to be in love with a seed catalog — until now. Uprising Seeds is locally owned and operated in nearby Bellingham, Washington. One of the things that I don’t think I fully appreciated until I became dependent on open source software is the importance of open source anything, and that includes seeds. Open pollinated seeds contribute to plant diversity by encouraging seed saving and sharing. I never get tired of hearing the backstory on a seed’s origin. In the U.S. where most of us shop at grocery stores, it’s easy to believe that what’s in the grocery store is it, when in fact there is an unbelievable array of vegetables and fruits from all over the world. A lot of what is grown for the mass market is grown because it keeps well, ships easily, produces standard-sized fruit, etc. — not because it’s necessarily the best-tasting variety.

I already knew that I was missing out if I was only eating (or trying to grow) the standard American cucumber. But I didn’t know about Le Puy lentils. Then I read the entry for the Le Puy lentils in the Uprising Seed Catalog.

It is indeed true that these were not grown in Le Puy en Velay, France where they have been grown for over 2,000 years. They were grown here people, which means you too can grow them! (You cannot hear this but I am shouting with excitement!)  Sown a bit earlier in the Spring and harvested several weeks earlier than our earliest dry bean, these began as an experiment and ended as an incredibly beautiful seed crop. A seed crop we are having a hard time not eating because we grew lentils!! Low growing (to perhaps 1’) slender plants with seed pods encasing 1-2 beans. Speckled blue/green little lentils which readily soak up all matter of deliciousness you may throw at them. Rich, nutty, and eminently satisfying.”

Now I have to grow lentils! I have no idea what that entails. And threshing? Never done it–it sounds painful doesn’t it? But I am going to use my grit and give it a try.

I am also going to try watermelon this year. Again, their ode to seeded watermelon made me question why seedless watermelon is so popular. Are watermelon seeds really that much of an inconvenience? Have we lost all sense of fun? So I am going to grow seeded watermelon, spit my seeds and revel in it. You should, too.

Uprising Seeds is online but there’s nothing better than the feel of a seed catalog in your hands.

Ready, set, grow! Spring is coming!


Today’s weather: Rain, rain and more rain. When you have to change your clothes after a dog walk, that’s when you know it’s really coming down. About 44°F at 6 p.m.