I suppose you know that you need a day off when you mention it and everyone you know is cheering you on! While a teensy-weensy part of me felt a bit guilty for leaving, I knew in my heart that if I didn’t have a day off soon to recharge my battery, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
It helped to label the road trip as a ‘business trip’, as we had to get some much needed supplies to keep things running here and I suppose it was easier for me to justify taking the day “off” if I hooked some work-related stuff into it. It was a real hardship having to look through the tool and craft departments of Home Depot, Michaels, and the other stores we visited (NOT!!!!) :)
We decided to take a drive up to New Minus and Kentville, which is about 2 hours up the coast from here. It was a beautiful day for driving – about 75 degrees with no humidity and sunny. Of course we had the top down and we drove on old Route 1 instead of the highway. It is far more picturesque than the highway and even though it took longer, we enjoyed the journey very much. Everything was green and pretty and there were thousands and thousands of lupins.
Lupins are wildflowers that are native here in Nova Scotia. Every spring they are everywhere, and truly paint the landscape in beautiful color. I had never seen or heard of them before I moved here, but I have come to associate them with warm weather and springtime and they are a favorite of mine. Here is a picture of what they look like:
To make a long story short(er), we arrived just about 1pm. We had a great lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, which I haven’t been to since it had burned to the ground three years ago. It has since been rebuilt, but every time we have been in town, it was either a Monday when it was closed, or not a good time to eat, or Keith wanted to visit his favorite place – Burger King (UGH!). This time I planned in advance to go there and I finally was able to. Neither of us was disappointed, although I had to promise Keith that we would have whoppers for dinner before we left town.
Our first stop after lunch was Home Depot. While we all know how ‘no frills’ shopping there could be, I must say that I was quite impressed with the people that worked there. We were probably asked if we needed assistance no less than 10 times in our hour or so long stay. The people were helpful and really seemed to be focused on the customers, which was something that was certainly lacking in the past. Perhaps the slow economy made the management realize that better customer service was a necessary part of their survival. We found several good things there, including some storage boxes that I will talk about in a minute. We also got basic supplies such as spray glue, tape and other things we needed for our upcoming work. We even found a nice light fixture for our bedroom. All in all it was a pleasant shopping experience, and the store was neat and well stocked.
Our next stop was to Winners, which is an odd kind of store that has lots of designer stuff at discounted prices. This is a great place to find odds and ends fairly cheap. Most things are one of a kind and there are always surprises as to what shows up. I think it is overstock from other places.
While there, we found several cool boxes that look like books. Now those of you who have followed my blog for a while know what a ‘box junkie’ I really am. During the holidays, I have found countless wonderful boxes that I use for many of my gifts. Since much of what I give is hand made, these boxes are a real treat and present my gifts wonderfully (sometimes they are nicer than the things I make! :D ) They are sturdy and decorated very nicely and definitely something that you can keep around for years. These book shaped boxes had old world maps on them, which will go very nicely with our ‘steampunk’ theme that we are migrating to in our home. They will be wonderful to tuck away our work in progress in both the painting and scroll sawing parts of our jobs. They will also hold those loose papers that look so messy sitting on the side tables or counters. They are the perfect answer to keeping our place looking neat while we are being productive. The price of them ranged from $5.99 to $7.99 and for that money they were awesome. They even have a magnetic closure to keep them closed. Just perfect for us!
We also went into Michael’s ‘just to look’ and maybe get some ideas. As always, we were appalled at the high prices they are asking for things. I honestly don’t know how they stay in business. The selection on their items is incredible, but the prices are out of this world. Many items were marked down anywhere form 40 to 50%, and then it brought them to where we might consider buying something, but their regular prices even on the simplest stuff were disgusting.
We saw the same 1/8” birch plywood we use for our kits in 1 foot square pieces. These 12” x 12” pieces were priced at $6.50! We pay .75 per square foot when we purchase the plywood for the kits. I know that it is a different sales setting, but the difference in cost is unbelievable. We don’t even make $6.50 for our kits on a wholesale basis!
Needless to say we didn’t buy much there. We did see additional storage books such as we found across the street at Winners, and there was a huge selection of them. We purchased a couple of additional ones, as well as a cool suitcase that is the same type, but only because it was 60% off the marked price. But it was funny – the identical book that we purchased at Winners for $5.99 cost $17.99 at Michael’s. (Terrible!)
We stopped at Wal-Mart to get a couple of cases of copy paper for printing the patterns. As you can imagine, the car was filling up quickly. In fact, we were kind of figuring that there was no way to pick up the 24 sheets of plywood from Bernie and would have to do it today. The trunk was filled with bags of miscellaneous things and the back seat was packed to the gills with the two cases of paper and also the storage boxes that we acquired.
We did stop at Bernie’s and Ellens and visited for a couple of hours. It was nice to stop by and not be there just to use the shop and we really enjoyed the time we had.
By the time we got home, it was nearly 10pm. We brought our neighbor Lee a Whopper from Burger King and he was just thrilled. He helped us unload everything and by the time we got settled and unpacked it was nearly midnight. What a fun day though!
Here is a picture of our storage boxes:
These are the cheaper of the units Keith found. They were two for $10 and they all stacked together. He got six of them:
They all lock together on the sides:
And inside have these little divider things to customize them:
The other type we got were also by Stanley, but they were more expensive. They were $20 each and we got three of them:
They also have handles, and stack together nicely, although they don’t lock together (that is OK!)
What we liked about these (and why we spent more to get them) was that the compartments came out and you could take them to your project or where you were working:
Then there were the storage books and suitcases:
They looked pretty nice for the price. This small book was $5.99:
The inside was just as nice as the outside, and they had magnetic closures:
The suitcase was larger, and would look nice on top of the large cabinet we built last year:
As with the books, it was also nice inside. It has little brass overlays on the corners too to make it stronger. It cost about $20 at Michael’s on sale:
Pancakes liked it a lot!
Richard checked it out too! He loves boxes! :)
All in all, it was a wonderful day! It was funny that most of what we bought was boxes and storage containers. I suppose that is what you get when you have a box junkie and a organization fiend shopping together. People are always amazed at how neat and organized our place is and we are kind of proud of it too. There are always cool ways to stay organized and it is fun to find these great things to help.
Keith is over at Bernie’s today getting the wood. He is going to cut it into the 10” squares too and hopefully sand it so it is ready to cut. We went to the gym early so he could get going, and that is why the blog is a bit later, as I am writing afterword.
We came home to two printers left inside of our door by the Purolator guy. (I love him! He is so nice and helpful!) We usually leave the door open and he just puts the stuff inside if we aren’t here. The new ink system should be in today or tomorrow, but I am starting to print the big order today.
My editor liked the article that I wrote a lot, so I only need to tweak it a bit and it is ready to go.
I am going to spend the bulk of the day writing the patterns for the Christmas stockings and the package ornaments so I can fill that order too.
It is all busy and all good! The day was spectacular and everything was wonderful. The weather was perfect. The food was yummy. The shopping was successful. And we even got a nice visit with our dear friends! I couldn’t be happier or ask for more.
Thanks for all the cheering on that I got from everyone! It is nice to know that people appreciate that I (mostly!) work hard and are happy when I get a day off. I really feel like it did me a lot of good and I am now ready to tackle those patterns, my new scroll saw patterns, and the 6000 ornaments we need to cut in the next week or so! Life is so fun! :D
Have a great day everyone! Work hard and be happy!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"