December 8, 2009

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

My husband makes great pizza. One of the gifts I wanted to give him this year was a pizza stone. But since I'm on The Compact, my task was to find one used. I was a little skeptical that I would succeed. I wasn't going to buy one new if I couldn't find one, I was just going to skip it because I've got other gifts for him.

All my gifts this year are handmade, used, or experiential. It's been fun and I'm already almost done except for the baking and wrapping.

My steps for finding a used pizza stone, as is the Compact-y way, went as follows:

1) Tell people I'm looking out for the item. I sent out an email in case anyone had one they weren't using. I got one response that I could use a paver from Home Depot instead of a pizza stone. I considered that but couldn't find a suitable paver, they were all too thick.
2) Went to two Goodwills. There weren't any pizza stones, but I asked a manager if they ever get them. I've seen tons of breadmakers at Goodwill. One manager didn't seem to know what I was talking about, the other said he'd seen them occasionally, once even new and still in the box. I made one more visit to that Goodwill, so three visits total.
3) I put up a notice on Freecycle that I was looking for a pizza stone.

After a couple of weeks, I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that I wouldn't be giving my husband a pizza stone. But because I had "put the word out," an awesome friend sent me a link to a pizza stone he saw listed on Craigslist. So I bought it! The woman selling it was asking $10 for the stone and $8 for the paddle. She told me she loved it but she was going vegan so she thought it best to get rid of it.

It's a little stained, but my friend told me it doesn't matter because a new one would get stained right away anyway. I was very happy with the gift, but since it was used I couldn't get too excited about wrapping it up and went ahead and gave it to my husband early. He can't wait to make pizza next week.

Moral of the story: "Ask and ye shall receive." Or maybe "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Or maybe "good things come to those who wait." You get the picture. It was a combination of patience, putting the word out, and Craigslist that scored this pizza stone.

It IS possible to get through the holidays on The Compact! It's been fun in fact. I wrote about Compact-y holiday gifts a few weeks back. If you missed it, click here to read the post about experiential gifts and here to get ideas for handmade gifts.

Do you ever use freecycle, Craigslist or ebay? What about for gifts? Tell us about your favorite gift scores in the Comments section.

11 comments:

This Thrifted Life said...

I use craigslist ALL the time and love it. I've scored some great deals there before, but never any gifts. Now I'm going to be on the lookout!

Your seller was right, pizza stones change color and stain pretty much immediately. Pizza is ten times better when cooked on one--enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I got what is now my favorite jacket through Freecycle; the person who had it lived within walking distance! :D

Cate said...

I use craigslist and freecycle all the time, but I don't think I've ever used them for gifts. Hm. Maybe I should start!

I make great pizza, but I've never used a pizza stone and am hesitant to buy one. Let me know how your husband's pizza tastes with the pizza stone!

Melody said...

Totally use both Craigslist and Freecycle, but the vast majority of my kids' Christmas presents come from garage sales. I just stockpile during the summer, which leaves me with a rather motley collection of stuff by the holidays, but oh well.

On the pizza stone note, my husband started making artisan bread on a borrowed pizza stone last year, and we loved it, but we didn't want to fork out the cash for a stone of our own. I stopped in for the last 30 minutes of a church rummage sale and sorted through the half-off dregs. There, for $2, was this beautiful, shiny, toffee-colored baking stone from the Carmel Kiln Company. It had original documentation attached which suggests it's at least 30 years old, but the stone is in perfect condition and works beautifully. That may have been my happiest yard sale moment ever.

Kate Sommers said...

Last Saturday Kenny was recruited to dress up as Santa for an adopt a pet give-away!
People brought their pets in to have their picture taken with Santa for $9. All the money went to help homeless cats.
That was our community gift.
All others got our singing Christmas Card by email, we sent you one too.
~Aloha

sloejennfizz said...

Read up on how to use the pizza stone online. It is very important to let it preheat w/ the oven. If you put the cold stone in the oven it could (read that as probably will) crack. The paddle I think is the key ingredient in the situation. Trying to lay out dough & top it on a 400 degree stone is...complex! Also, I learned (totally by accident) if you leave it in your oven when you turn on the self cleaning feature all the stains will disappear & it will look brand new.

Vegan Good Life said...

Odd that a vegan would be selling this. Processed vegan pizzas (essentially, any pizza sans cheese) can be expensive, and she'll likely want it back to make her own ones with sauce and grilled veggies for much less. Your gain though!

I'm an avid thrift shopper, but it is a dilemna when wanting something specific. Ebay and freecycle can come to the rescue for those seeking second-hand. Good job at sticking to your pact! Your will power is admirable.

Ellen said...

I bought a stoneware slab at a goodwill. All the stains came off with an SOS pad. Since I'd used some heavy cleanser on it, I then had to re-season it, but that was easy (spray liberally with pam or oil with olive oil & bake for an hour). I now use it to bake cookies, etc. In fact, I store it in the oven and use it for greater support when I'm using flimsy silicone bakeware.

Betsy Talbot said...

I love this story, Angela. That't the main thing I've learned in our saving experience - it isn't that you can't have things, it's that you can't always have things right away. And once you get used to that idea it makes it much easier to stick with the budget. Can't wait to hear how the pizza turns out!

Angela said...

ThisThriftedLife- Yes, I think I've had a wariness about used for gifts, but it totally depends on the gift, and who you're giving it to.

Anonymous- What a great score! Favorite jackets only come along once in awhile...

Cate- I'll report the results, we're both anxious to try it.

Melody- Your $2 baking stone sounds like the best find ever! It makes me want to stop at every yard sale, even though I never seem to find anything.

Kate- I love your community gift! I hope you have photos! Thanks for the singing card- I'm putting ecards aside for George and I to read together all at once, on a festive pre-holiday evening (with egg nog!)

sloejennfizz- I learned from the seller to put it in the oven at 500 for 30 minutes, and to use the paddle to slide the pizza onto the stone. It might take a little practice. Thanks for the cleaning tip- I assume that's not toxic!

VeganGoodLife- I think she said she was going to go all raw/uncooked. Yes, the hard thing is when you need a specific thing at a specific time. The Compact is helping me to become more flexible, which I consider one of my life lessons! I usually need to have things just so!

Ellen- That sounds great. A stoneware slab- what Goodwill did you find that at? I'm still learning thrift stores/Goodwills in L.A. What are some of the best ones? It's one of my projects for next year.

Betsy- Yes, the patience thing is definitely good for me to learn and practice. I think we've all become Veruca Salt ("I want it now, daddy!" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). A nation of Veruca Salts!

Julie said...

I bought a pizza stone at Target in 2007 or so, then I never used it. I got it really cheap and didn't know I needed a paddle till it was too late. Once I found out I needed one, I decided I wasn't going to make homemade pizza after all. (I don't know what the heck I was thinking, other than my son hadn't liked it when I made it without the stone and paddle one time!) In a frenzy of cleaning when we first put our house on the market, I put the new-in-box pizza stone on freecycle. Needless to say, it was snapped up immediately by something who probably thought I was an idiot. Well, now I know I'm an idiot because I wish I'd kept it and just kept my eye out for a good price on a paddle. I know better now, and if I find a good one cheap, I'll go for it.