Monday, April 29, 2013

Music Monday - How to Buy a Used Piano

The exciting news this week is that we have a piano!! A real acoustic, no electricity required, piano!

How to buy a used piano is as complicated or as simple as you make it. Of course the degree of risk varies also depending on what route you pursue.  Being of limited budget and somewhat picky taste (I grew up with a Steinway piano), I decided to take a little more risk in hopes of a greater return for my dollar investment.

First a site dedicated to helping people find free pianos. I contacted two listings and both pianos found new homes before I found them.

Second stop: craigslist. After looking at all the listings in my price range with pictures attached and ruling them out I started looking at any listing in my price range. Craigslit hint - if you are remotely interested in a listing that seems to be a good bargain, contact the poster immediately. Go see the item as soon as humanly possible and be prepared to offer money on the spot if it fits your needs. This is NOT the time for "well, let me think about it." It will be gone if you wait.

I also figured out from consulting local webpages for used pianos (via music stores) that a used piano in a music store or for sale from a piano technician or professional piano movers started at about $800 (out of my budget).

Here's the craigslist post for the piano I ultimately purchased:

hallet davis & co piano for sale - $100

"Piano is a great starter piano. Don't know much about it so if interested going to have to come and look at it. Mother passed away and need to get rid of. Any questions please call at xxx-xxx-xxxx."

No picture with the listing, so before I called I found out as much as I could about the piano.

How old is the piano?  To help answer that question I looked on  Their Piano Age link was particularly helpful. It told me that if the piano was a vertical piano (and no way did I have room for a grand piano) it was made between 1960 and 1982. Not bad.

What is the piano really worth? Piano World. com as a great article on that question and a super chart to help with pricing: What is my piano worth? chart

Using that chart I determined that if this piano was worth approximately $500-900, possibly more if in very good condition. Deal!

What is the condition of the piano? To answer this question I had to go see the piano. I had already put a call in to a piano tuner hoping to get a professional opinion on the piano, but craigslist success depends on urgency and so I went to see the piano myself with 5 future pianists in tow. It played well. All the keys played. No funky sounding notes. And it was pretty well tuned. So I offered $25 as a down payment and agreed to pick it up on the weekend.

Later that day the piano tuner called me back. He said (contrary to all those "how to buy a used piano and not get a lemon" articles) that pianos don't really hide problems. If the keys work and it sounds good, it's most likely a good piano. He recommended waiting 3-5 days before tuning after moving the piano. Hmm, lots simpler than those experts recommend. He also said that 1960-1970 vintage pianos are among his favorite because they tend to be higher quality than more recent pianos.

Stay tuned next week for: moving a piano......

Friday, April 26, 2013

Free Library Card Holder with Book Bag Purchase

For the months of April and May, buy any book themed tote bag and get a free library card holder with coordinating ribbon! It's a great way to keep that library card close at hand.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Count your blessings!

In just two shorts days we will have a piano again! I'm definitely grateful for that. My faith in craigslist has been restored.

I'm also thankful for the simple ability to communicate. After a fitful night's sleep I realized my "allergies" were more than just pollen (fever, aches, malaise). None of the kids have been sick and I don't usually get sick until the 3rd or 4th kid is sick so I put on my detective hat to figure this one out. Hindsight (always 20/20) says that the baby probably is the one who gave it to me. Her eating habits and sleeping habits have been a little off lately (and I did finish her granola bar the other day). I know there are people of all ages who don't have the ability to communicate and therefore can't tell us when they don't feel good or when they need help. I'm glad I can communicate and that my daughter will learn to communicate better with time (she's not even two yet). Amazing what we take for granted everyday.

I watched this video several months ago, but it was very inspiring and eye opening at the same time regarding those who have no way to communicate with the outside world.
 Professor Jim Gips and Eagle Eyes technology on

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crafty BBQ Apron

The elementary school did a silent auction and each class was in charge of providing a themed basket for the auction. When I learned that one kiddos theme was BBQ I knew what to do.

Caution Hot Stuff BBQ Apron
Funny thing is - we don't BBQ or wear aprons (although I really should wear an apron).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Music Monday - The Power of Music

We all know music has the power to influence us for good or bad. I would think that even music stores know this but apparently not. This morning I called my local Clavinova specialist to inquire about getting my piano up and running again. I was put on hold for the service department. I didn't recognize the song, but the lyrics to the hold music were "I think it's going to be a long, long time." Maybe they should rethink that! And I had to leave a message anyway.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Your turn

It's Thankful Thursday. What are you thankful for today? I'm thankful it didn't rain on my daughter's field trip yesterday. And I'm glad it rained today. Now some sunshine tomorrow would be great. ;)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Quotable Inspiration - Deep Thoughts ;)

I love quotes. They inspire and encourage me. So here are my own personal offerings to the pinterest quote gurus.

Wood and Vinyl by Margaret (that's me!)
 So far as I know this quote is also original to me. It hangs in my living room next to the piano. (No my living room wall is not carpeted.) Hmmmm, hint, hint (oh wait - still need to fix the piano before kids can really practice).

Don't compare apples and oranges!
"Many people compare apples and oranges and then go bananas over the statistics." Marvin J. Ashton.

I've loved this quote for a long time. I dug up the source and bought an orange and made the picture. I have it as a 5x7 printable. If you want a copy email me at southpawcrafts at gmail dot com and I'll send it to you.

Linked to:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monday Music - Piano Withdrawal

Apparently I'm somewhat addicted to the piano. I can't tell you how many times this week I've thought "I'll just sit down and play for a few minutes." Only to remember that the piano is out of commission. My kids don't seem to have missed it as much as I have (not a huge surprise).

Unfortunately the kitchen sink has decided to have major issues this week also. We are doing dishes in the tub (correction my amazing husband is doing dishes in the tub). So the sink gets priority over the piano. I don't like this, but life will go on and I will smile (after a nap and some chocolate).

From Pinterest

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Rain!!

Today I'm thankful for rain. It seems it has been rather dry the past few years, but the past week or two we have gotten some rain.

I'm grateful I managed to get home from school drop off before it did more than a light sprinkle yesterday morning. My kids have wanted to bike to school for a long time and we finally invested in a bike trailer for the youngest ones. I checked the weather report online before heading out this morning, but..... well...... weathermen either don't know everything or don't update frequently enough. It was motivation to bike faster though!

What are you thankful for today?
Gratitude Pic Source

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Car Carrier Book - Quasi Tutorial

Welcome to my garage tutorial - garage for your matchbox and hot wheels that is.

Supplies Needed:

1/2 yard fabric (this one says exclusive of JoAnn's so try there if you want the awesome road fabric)
1 - plastic canvas 12" x 18"
1 - scrap of batting or piece of fleece 13" x 18"
1" wide elastic (I used fold over elastic but regular would work too)

1. Cut:
2 - 13" by 1/2 yard wide (18"). I didn't prewash but you can if you like.
2 - 3 1/4" by 18" pieces for handles
1 - 13" x 18" piece of batting.

2. Take one piece of fabric and measure 2" and 6" from 13" side (not 2 1/2" and 6 1/2" as shown in the picture). This is where you pin the elastic. Fabric is folded in half to 13" x 9 in picture.

3. Use 1 7/8" loops (I did 2" and the cars tend to slide out). It is 1 1/2" from one lane to the next lane so pin the 1 7/8" loops 1 1/2" apart. Got it? Good. Go ahead and sew the elastic down.

4. Fold handle pieces in half length wise right sides together. Sew and turn right side out. Iron. Decide that 18" in too long and chop 5" off (or read the quasi tutorial all the way through before starting and just cut 3 1/4" by 13" pieces for handles instead).

5. Cut the plastic canvas into three pieces: 2 - 7 7/8" by 11 1/2", and one 1" x 11 1/2" piece for the spine.

6. Stack your hot wheels book sandwich. Batting down first, then fabric (right side up). Next pin the handles to the ends with the handles going in (as pictured). Then other side of fabric (right side down - so right sides are facing). Pin.

7. Sew. Leave approximately 8" opening on long side for inserting plastic canvas later.
8. Clip corners and turn right side out. Next iron on a title page if you just happen to feel like it.

9. Adjust plastic canvas to fit (if necessary). Insert one side and sew next to spine. Insert plastic canvas spine and sew.

10. Sew opening shut. Sew velcro on handles (and wish you did that before sewing the sandwich together).

Presto - BOOK Oh!

Sharing space in the garage here:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Music Monday - Practice without an Instrument!

Yesterday my piano, a 12 year old clavinova that has survived multiple piano students, decided that Sunday would be a day of rest. Unfortunately it didn't decide to go to work on Monday and it will have to visit the repair shop. So piano lessons did not happen yesterday and today I've spent some time considering how to practice and teach without an instrument.


Here are the resources I'm using:

Piano Keyboard Printable from Color in My Piano

Musical Alphabet Word Cards also from Color in My Piano flash card style words from "ACE" to "GAGGED"

Teeny Tiny Flash Cards from PianoAnne small enough to fit on the keys of your piano! Brilliant!

This week we will work on note identification. If the piano isn't resurrected by next week, we will work on rhythm next week. 

I'll let you know how it goes next Monday.

In the meanwhile I set a goal of playing every hymn in the LDS Hymnbook one time before June 1st. I was actually aiming for May 1st, but this being without a piano hiccup will make June 1st a more realistic goal. I am already at Hymn # 106 out of 341. Yay me!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Party Features - Wall Organization

Just a few more hours to add your link to the Ginger Snap Crafts party. But here are some of my favorites so far.

A few months ago I got tired of straightening pictures that were suddenly crooked any time someone slammed the bathroom door (yes that happens at my house too). The wall happens to be in my dining room. Blank is beautiful, but it's time to put some smiling faces back up on the wall. Thanks to the great linky party at Ginger Snap Crafts I have lots of great ideas to spark my creativity.

Simply Spectacular Hanging Shelves at A Few Miner Adjustments

Crown Moulding Shelf - beautiful job!

Gallery Wall Hiding a Thermostat - love this idea because my wall has a thermostat, a door bell, and a spare wire hanging out of the wall, and a half door to the heater and an air vent (what were they thinking - this wall is in the center of the house!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Fun Projects

Today I'm thankful for fun projects. For me creativity is a happy healthy thing and almost any excuse is a good excuse.  This little project is going in a Hot Wheels themed basket for a PTA fundraiser. So here's a sneak peak at what I created today (and therefore almost forgot about Thankful Thursday). I took pictures as I went so how about a tutorial next week? Update: car carrier tutorial here

Car Book Outside

Car Book Inside

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Partying with Ginger Snap Crafts!!

One of my favorite crafty bloggers is having her 2nd blogiversary and is celebrating with a HUGE linky party. I'm co-hosting right her on my own little blog.  My wood block nativity and my chore chart were both inspired at least in part by Ginger. 

These are the party rules:
The "rules' are simple.
Please consider sharing this party on
facebook, twitter, google+ or pinterest.

Link up to your post, not your main blog.

Must be something made by you!

{No etsy shops, giveaway or business links, please.}
Visit other links, make new friends & most of all have fun!
Okay - your turn - link up and have a great time at the party! 

Words on the Wall - the Sock Story

Do you have lots of lost socks? I'm pretty sure either my children or my washer eats socks. One of my daughters has taken to deliberately wearing mismatched socks. I'll assume it's a fashion statement and not a reflection on the status of the laundry. :)

Here's my latest greatest solution - the missing sock wall in the laundry room. Fortunately for me my laundry room is in the garage and the walls are NOT textured. The rest of the house is heavily textured (much to my husband's relief so I don't vinylize the entire place).
Single Socks Seeking Sole Mates

For the sock line I used command adhesive hooks and 1/4" grossgrain ribbon and my great slip knot skills to secure my "clothes line" to my hooks.

Hope you enjoy! The play on words makes me smile every time I walk by it. Maybe it will result in a sock love story or too also!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Music Monday - Note Helpers

For music Monday this week I redecorated my living room. Okay, April Fool's I didn't really do that, but I did add some artwork. Can you see it on the bass clef side of the piano?
note reminders
I also have pictures on the treble clef side of the piano to remind the kids of the space notes and the line notes. The artwork came from

In a perfect world my printer ink wouldn't have made my All Cows Eat Grass (Bacon, and Doughnuts - my additions at piano lessons yesterday) look so pink and pale and I would have laminated them before putting them up and my camera would be high quality. But this is real life and I'm happy to have great reminders for the kids so we can start working more on learning the note names and where they are on the piano.


Tip #1: Make sure you use the same note hints as the kids piano teacher. My daughter was confused for months when would try to help her and didn't use the same. I had never heard of Elvis' Guitar Broke Down Friday, but I like it better than Every Good Boy Does Fine (too many boys, too confusing).

Tip #2: It's perfectly fine to reuse piano method books (theory workbooks not so much). If you can see the green writing on the piano book in the picture it is actually from my sister's piano lessons in 1995! 
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