Clothes Encounters

Sure it’s Sunday, but how about a little bonus behind-the-scenes tale of hunting down clothespins for the Pinterest Challenge light fixture that we have in the works? Other considered titles:

  • “The Petersik Clothespin Tour of Richmond”
  • “Wow, I’m a really patient husband.”
  • “Sorry environment, we vow to plant three trees to make up for all that driving”

Okay, so here’s the deal. When we first started our clothespin light fixture (first mentioned here), we snagged four bags of clothespins at Ben Franklin just to get us started. We knew we’d need more, but we didn’t want to go crazy buying them until we decided on a pattern and had a better sense of how many we’d need. Oh, and Ben Franklin only had four bags at the time too. Minor detail.


Once we started clothespinning away, we realized we’d definitely need more. LOTS more. So just as Clara went down for a nap, Sherry sent me out on a quick errand to get more packs (8-ish was my instruction). Neither of us knew my “quick” errand would turn into a 2 hour, 54-mile trek around the Richmond suburbs.

Since we had already started using the four packs that we bought at Ben Franklin, I needed to get more packs of the exact same sized clothespins to add to our collection (which sadly meant places like Target and the dollar store were out due to only carrying pins that were too large or too small). So I decided to hit up the same Ben Franklin from before [Marker “B” above] hoping they had been restocked. They hadn’t. Zero clothespins secured.

I only knew of two other Ben Franklin stores in our area, so I stopped by a nearby Bed Bath & Beyond (“we don’t sell clothespins”) and Michael’s that shared a shopping center [Marker C]. Michael’s carried another brand of clothespins that came in large, small, and mini sizes. Wouldn’t you know we needed the medium size (since those fit perfectly into our wire light fixture frame and would look consistent next to the pins from the four bags that we already had).

Sidenote: And yes, my wife has me labeled as “Husband – John” in her phone. Like she knows so many other Johns that she would get confused withouth the whole “husband” part.

But back to my hunt. Thanks to failing at my first few stops, I realized that I needed to expand my errand circle to the next Ben Franklin [Marker D]. Score, they had three packs of mediums in stock. Maybe they never stock more than 3 or 4 at a time? But that would mean going to the only other known Ben Franklin store [Marker G] wouldn’t get me up to my goal of 8 packs. Crap. Time to break out the big guns: JoAnn Fabrics [Marker E] and Hobby Lobby [Marker F].

Though they were both far out of town, they’re both really big and located off a nearby highway with a high speed limit and low traffic volume. So basically, the need for speed* tricked me into what I would later find out was a bad decision.

*If you’re rolling your eyes because this sounds like a typical testosterone-fueled poor decision, allow me to remind you the decision was also swayed by the possibility of finding CLOTHESPINS at a JOANN FABRIC or a HOBBY LOBBY. I was deserving of a masculine moment, okay?

Anyway, you’ve probably guessed where this was going. Sherry actually did some calling around and they both said they had clothespins, they just didn’t give her specifics on size or brand, so I had to check those things out myself. Spoiler alert: both JoAnn and Hobby Lobby failed me (once again, only large, small, and mini sizes). At least the Burger King I stopped at in at between them didn’t let me down (it had been over an hour of clothespin hunting and clearly I was growing weak). So with almost all hope lost – and visions of a half-filled clothespin chandelier creeping into my mind – I trudged my way to my last Ben Franklin [Marker G] where Sherry had also called ahead for me (but couldn’t get any assurance that they had the specific brand and size that we needed).

Here’s where I should’ve been ecstatic: they had them. But here’s also where I felt like an idiot: they had nine packs. NINE. Yep, had I gone here in the first place (a mere 8 miles from home, no less) I would’ve found all of my clothespins in one spot. No two hours wasted. No getting tired of cashiers joking “you must have lots of laundry to do!” No Burger King-induced stomach ache.

Oh well. Shoulda, woulda, coulda right? Even by calling ahead and identifying places to avoid (Target, the dollar store, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc) it was still was a pretty exhaustive tour of my fair city. The bright side is that the chandelier is shaping up to be really cool. Sherry and I have been experimenting with a lot of different clothespin patterns and we can’t wait to finalize things, hang it up, write a picture-riffic tutorial, and share the results on Tuesday morning (and hear what all of you guys tackled if you opted into the whole Pinterest Challenge thing too).

The only bummer? We have four leftover packs of unopened clothespins to return to Ben Franklin, my new home away from home. Yup, there was a mild to moderate over-calculation. So we really only needed four more packs in the first place (as opposed to the eight that I bought home). In the words of the always eloquent Homer Simpson: d’oh.


  1. Jen says

    You know, the other side of “Husband – John” is that she has to keep her husbands filed. ;)

    Seriously, though, I did the same thing … it got me my phone back once when someone could tell who in my contacts to call to return it.

    • says

      Yeah. I totally get the husband label in the iPhone. It is something I was thinking of doing as well so that if anyone needed to use my Phone to make an emergency call on behalf of me, they would know who to dial. Esp. where my husband has a girl’s name (don’t tell him I said that). Wanna guess? LOL!

    • Jane says

      I used think that was goood idea to add “husband” as prefix to mu hubby’s name just so if it gets lost somebody could use it to call..but then I thought what if it falls in the wrong hands?! Somebody could do a lot with just knowing which number to call..ya know..So now I removed the “husband” part :)

    • angel p says

      definitely true! I was at a party once and a girl passed out and had to be taken to the hospital. Luckily in her phone she had labeled her brother as “brother bob” or whatever his name was. If it had not been for the brother label I would not have known who in her contact list was family to call and send to the hospital. BTW, my own phone also says “Hubby” and then my husband’s name just for the same reason. :O)

    • LauraC says

      “Like she knows so many other Johns that she would get confused withouth the whole “husband” part.” – hahaha. Literally lol. All these comments are cracking me up. Oh, did I just say, “cracking?” Soooo dating myself! :-)

    • Sarah M. says

      Here’s a good tip for anyone who happens to be perusing the comments – program your significant other’s number in your phone with ICE: In Case of Emergency. Law enforcement is trained to look for ICE in cell phones first. You can program the same number with your husband’s name, and then just make a duplicate contact listed as “ICE_name of spouse.” Or you can give a little shout-out to Vanilla Ice and just call it “ICE ICE Rob” like I do for my hubby. hahaha!

  2. Theresa says

    YAY- a Sunday post :) I was checking just in case… my lucky day ha ha!

    Good luck with the clothespins & can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. shannon says

    So here I am, taking a smartphone break from my project, and I think, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a stealth weekend YHL post?” And there was! I feel your pain. While I haven’t driven around for 2 hours gathering supplies, I have been the victim of more-steps-to-this-project-than-I-ever-imagined-when-I-committed to-it-by-taking-the-doors-off-my-cupboards. But it all be worth it in the end, right? RIGHT?

    • says

      Haha I was hoping the same thing. It’s Monday here in Australia-land, and I’m spending my lunch break indoors due to drenching rain and no umbrella (mine got broken in the last bout of drenching rain). I came here in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, there’d be something new, and ta-dah! There was!

      So John, while I’m sure it will be small comfort, your epic journey has served to entertain me on an otherwise boring afternoon! ;-)

  4. Beth says

    I found some at Target yesterday.

    Also, I was in a goofy Ben Franklin’s Crafts commercial when I was in 4th or 5th grade.

  5. says

    You DO deserve “husband of the year” for that one — Dan gets the cold sweats just talking about a trip to the fabric store. (His mom had a slight Yarn Barn addiction back in the day…)

  6. says

    i probably shouldn’t mention this now, but the dollar store across from cloverleaf mall had these yesterday morning when i was in there…

    but what kind of road trip story would it be if you went there first and they had them in stock? that would make for a boring blog – so i’m glad for the long version! :)

    • says

      Haha, poor John. The good news is we got super huge packs for $1.99 each, and they fit the squares in our wire fencing perfectly, so it’s totally going to be worth it. At least to me. Not sure how John’s gonna feel. Haha. Just kidding, he’s already pretty excited about how it’s all shaping up.


  7. MichelleLG says

    “husband john” reminds me of the theme song from The Jetsons where everyone is named (“his boy Elroy…daughter Judy…Jane, his wife”) :o)

  8. lcg says

    hahaha…maybe CALLING the stores ahead of time would be an option next time Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • says

      I actually called a few of them while John was out driving around but all of them said “yup, we have clothespins” over the phone (but it was hard to get them to definitively confirm that they had the right size and brand that we needed to keep it looking consistent)!


  9. Amanda says

    I should change my phone to “Boyfriend – Brian” … you know, just in case I forget. Hehe. ACTUALLY really funny story, back when we first started dating, his name in my phone was something completely different because our relationship was a secret (We worked together) and I would often leave my phone out on my desk so I never wanted someone to see when he texted/called me. Sneaky, sneaky. I changed it pretty quickly though (about 2 months) as I was wanting to see his REAL name come up. Now that you know that story …. uuhh?

    Though the commenter above’s example of having the phone returned to is smart! Where I work, people always lose their phones so we’re always calling “home” “dad” “mum” numbers to try to get it back to them before the battery dies. I’m some times nervous to call “mum” or “dad” in case it’s one of those really awkward “I haven’t talking to my daughter/son in 5 years” situations … ehk!

  10. says

    I love SURPRISE posts! I’m with the first poster (Jen). My first thought went immediately to Sherry having multiple husbands…not multiple Johns/Jons. :-) Can’t wait to see the chandelier. I did not get into this round of the pinterest challenge, but we will soon.

  11. says

    I scored some pretty cheap clothespins yesterday at our commissary on the military base here, I’ve got the setup that I need for my shade just need a light kit… My husband and I have spent the last two days putting up new lights, I don’t think he’s going to be keen to my idea of another light project… We shall see before the end of the challenge…

  12. says

    I labeled my husband in my phone too! Just because I watch way too much CSI/Law and Order and I wanted them to know who to call if they found my body dead on the side of the road. Morbid enough?

    • Jessica says

      If it’s any consolation for being morbid, I have the same thought after watching many, many crime shows like that. :)

      Also, I don’t use the “husband” label, but I would hope that someone would look at my favorites list and see him first and my mom and sister next. And since I don’t have pictures of them, I have an “I <3 my hubby" graphic for him and an "I <3 my sister" graphic for her, so maybe that would help also. :)

  13. says

    I have my husband labeled in my phone as “husband” too. (And my parents as Mom and Dad.) Its more of a in-case-of-emergency thing. If something happens to me someone will know the first person to call.

  14. says

    What an adventure!! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    I also label my husband in my phone as Dan-Husband. That way, if there is an emergency, they know who to call. Otherwise, they’d probably call my mom or dad first and not the hubs. People think it’s funny I do that too. :)

  15. Karen says

    LOL… sounds like my luck.

    Wal-Mart always has tons of clothespins, tho.

    Jus Sayin’ :)

    Can’t wait to see this chandelier.

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