Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reposting from 2018: Advent Readthrough of Ourselves Book II

Last December I posted daily reflections on Charlotte Mason's book Ourselves (Book II). The first post is below. You can find the others (and the previous countdown using Parents and Children) by clicking Christmas Countdown in the Pages gadget, under our blog photo.
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
 For a journey, and such a long journey:
 The ways deep and the weather sharp,
 The very dead of winter.
 And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
 Lying down in the melting snow.
from "The Journey Of The Magi," by T.S. Eliot 
We begin with Charlotte Mason's book Ourselves Book II. This is the book she wrote as a guide to "realizing the vast wealth which belongs to" each and every Mansoul (or Personsoul), "how much is possible," and "the perils of the way."

How does it begin? In Book I, she described certain things that we find inside ourselves: physical appetites, intellect, imagination. Now we go deeper and find we each have the same superpower: the power of self-direction. Moreover, we're commanded not to let that power go unused, like a horse that never leaves the stable, but to educate, exercise, understand, and use it, in honour of "the Creator [who] is honoured by our attempt to know...that human nature with which he has endowed us."

What does this have to do with Emmanuel, God With Us? Or T.S. Eliot?

The Magi could not remain in their own country while the Star beckoned them: they loaded those refractory camels and set out through "the ways deep and the weather sharp." Why? In honour of the Creator, who had endowed them with particular treasures, but who had also given them the will to find and worship the Incarnate Son.

It may indeed be the worst time of the year for such a journey. Isn't December everyone's busiest time? Why start this series of posts now, when there's so much to do?

Because there's so much to do.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Intentional Thrifter does sonatinas, and stuff to read

Last week I posted my planned winter wardrobe, inspired by the colours and shapes of this poster. I took several things to the thrift store, including a grey fleece cardigan that looked like a potato sack every time I wore it. Grey cardigans have always given me a hard time.
So I was happy that the cosmic synchronicity of things led not only to a maybe-it's-pink-maybe-it's-red turtleneck pullover, but to a different grey cardigan...with a belt.
The pink-ish sweater also goes well with the blazer I found earlier this fall.
I have also stocked up on some books for 2020, when I will be done taking classes and have more time to read what I want.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Time for a winter wardrobe: Sonatinas and Snow

Season: November 2019 through February 2020

I was originally going to go a lot brighter this winter. More green, more purple. But somehow all that colour was more than I could take on right now.

Then I thought about the poster we bought this fall on a flea-market trip. Yes, that would work.


Short-sleeved burgundy/sort of brown top

2 Navy print long-sleeved top

Read the rest of the page here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Frugal Finds and Fixes in Fall

I haven't blogged here much this fall, for a couple of reasons. One is that I've been kind of swamped with course work and other writing projects. Another is that I have an IG account, and sometimes it's quicker to post snapshots there , even if only a few people can see them.

But here are some frugal and fixing updates. 

Our front hall closet had a heavy bi-fold door that was awkward to open. Mr. Fixit realized that it was also almost ready to fall off its hinges, and it couldn't be easily fixed. He replaced it with an accordion door from the home store.
He also got some LED shop-fixture lights for the garage (on sale). Good ceiling lights mean he can work on things out there when it's too cold to have the door open for light.

We spent an interesting morning at a flea market, and picked up a framed poster to go in a spot between the living room and dining room spaces.
One of the volunteers at the thrift store introduced me to West German vintage pottery with this jug (or vase, whatever). We're gradually adding things that make our new space feel like home.
Thrifted clothes: yes, I've added some new things. This teal faux-leather jacket lit up all my "where have you been hiding" sensors. It's a bit more green than it appears in the photo. Now I'm hoping the weather doesn't get too bad too fast, so I'll maybe get to wear it a few times before it's completely snow-coats and mittens.
I also found a navy silk shirt that I liked because it wasn't too heavy or too dark.
I got my hair cut at the walk-in place inside Walmart. They're usually pretty good, and inexpensive. I think I've only had one really bad cut there, and even that time the manager gave me a free do-what-we-can-to-fix-it job.

I don't usually wear bracelets--they clunk around and get in the way. But I had noticed some I liked online, made of multicoloured beads. Last week we went to a community "art walk," and an artist we know was selling similar handmade bracelets to support World Vision. So I got my bracelet, and everybody benefited.
Thrifted books: also more than pictured here, but you get the idea. I have wanted to read The Scent of Water for years, but never saw a copy until today.
Some frugality is about saying no...or later...or again, just no. I found a pair of black zippered boots, and looked at having them re-soled. One of them has a small hole, so they would need the full (expensive) treatment. What I've noticed, though, aside from the soles, is that they are just a bit higher than the ankle booties I usually wear, and they hit my legs at an uncomfortable spot. So, okay, lesson learned--that pair will be going back to the thrift store.

And a lot of frugality is about buying nothing new (or used) at all. Making do and using it up. Reading the books that are waiting on the shelf. We have been using the same dinner plates for the past twenty years, and our cutlery for almost thirty.  Also most of our pots and pans (wedding presents). Grandma's kitchen table was in our apartment kitchen, but now it's in Mr. Fixit's workroom. We have a blow-dryer that's years and years old, still going.

(But we do need a new Christmas tree!)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wear Away

What to take on a three-day weekend trip? This is what Janice at The Vivienne Files calls a six-pack. You wear three things and pack the other six.

One backpack
One tote bag
One coat
Two tops
One dress
One skirt, one pair of jeans
One flannel shirt
Two pullovers
One blazer
Two scarves
One belt
One pair of shoes

One pair of boots
And the boring bits like tights and pajamas and a hairbrush. And a re-useable coffee mug.

(Almost everything pictured, except for the boots, the backpack, and some of the jewelry, came from the MCC Thrift Store. One sweater was consignment. Oh, and the plaid shirt was from Giant Tiger.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Isness? (Quote for the day)

The course I'm taking has us talking about ontology, which reminded me of something that Madeleine L'Engle wrote in A Circle of Quiet.
"...[Alan] reads me a quotation from Sartre about the isness of an oak tree; but Sartre felt depressed and threatened by this; the idea that the oak tree simply is seemed to diminish him. I suppose the perfect isness of anything would be frightening without the hope of God. An oak tree is, and it doesn't matter to it--at least Sartre thinks it doesn't; it is not a thinking oak. Man is; it matters to him; this is terrifying unless it matters to God, too, because this is the only possible reason we can matter to ourselves: not because we are sufficient unto  ourselves--I am not: my husband, my family, my friends give me my meaning and, in a sense, my being, so that I know that I, like the burning bush, or the oak tree, am ontological: essential: real."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Frugal Finds and Fixes: To Top That Off

We've been in our new place for several weeks, and it's starting to feel more like home. While we unpacked pretty quickly, there were still some unfinished bits and temporary messes...well, there are still things to work on, but the big needs are taken care of and the messes are fewer. I find Dana K. White's two cleaning-out questions very helpful, especially when it comes to large, strange assortments of stuff. Her first is "where would I look first for this?" Someone's bleeding--we don't have an obvious medicine cabinet in any of the bathrooms--so where's the first, easiest place I'd look for bandages? I think the cupboard right over the stove would make the most sense. But that still isn't where they are, so I need to fix that.

The second question is, "If I suddenly needed one of these, would it even occur to me that I already had one?" And, obviously, that I'd then know where to look for it. This is where White's Decluttering at the Speed of Life meets Marie Kondo: everything needs to have a home. It can be a weird home, but if that's where you'd most easily put it away (Kondo) and where you'd instinctively look for it (White), that's fine. I'm not sure which question or which voice I was following when I shredded some thirty-year-old work contracts (don't ask me why I still had them): just call it a Greek chorus of "no, it would probably never occur to you that you had those buried in the bottom drawer. Even if the chance in a million happened that somebody actually wanted to know what you got paid for two weeks' temp work in 1991."

I already posted about the amazing bedroom closet. I'm still full of awe and gratitude for that space. I attached plastic shower curtain  rings on the end of the bottom rack, and looped scarves through them. (I do better when I can see things than when they're hidden away.)
We re-purposed a metal decoration that had been hanging outside, for the kitchen wall.
The plumbers finally came, fixed a few things, and replaced one bathroom sink. Mr. Fixit asked if I could make the boring brown bathroom more interesting, so I tacked a travel clothesline to the wall and pinned up some favourite postcards (I had mini clothespins from a long-ago craft project).
We found a ceiling fan for half price, for the upstairs bonus space. This is the best time of year to find deals on barbecues, fans, and patio furniture.

Mr. Fixit did a bunch of fixing, pulling out, and cleaning up in our little backyard space.

In cheap entertainment, we've been watching a library DVD of Stargate Atlantis Season Four. We're also watching Stephen Fry's lawyer-in-a-small-village-surrounded-by-crazy-people series Kingdom, and the first season of The Saint.

We've used some two-for-one hamburger coupons when we wanted fine dining with no cooking. We also improvised a pot of vegetable soup one night. The freezer compartment here seems to work much better than the one in the apartment, so we're planning to make freezer meals soon.

We've also been to a couple of early-fall yard sales. I didn't find much more than a box of stationery, but Mr. Fixit found a small vintage record cabinet to hold things in his not-in-the-dining-room-anymore workspace.

Speaking of workspace, I used mine to finish off a new study guide. (Just throwing that in.)
On to clothes: I'm happy with my fall #Project333, but I did find a couple of nice extra things on thrifting trips. The first was from the store where I volunteer. No, I did not strictly need an animal-print tunic dress, but for a couple of dollars I thought it would be fun to try out being a person who wears an animal-print tunic dress.
Later, I happened to be in the Mission Thrift store with Ponytails (not a usual thing, but it worked out that way); and I came across a blue cotton t-shirt. I would have bought it anyway, but I was a bit blown away by the label. If that name means anything to you, you'll know why. My very lucky day.
Finally, I got in a quick visit to the Salvation Army store last night while Mr. Fixit and Grandpa Squirrel were looking at Cruise Night vintage cars. This is what I found: a red leather vest with an embossed floral design.  
And that's hard to top.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

It's September: new capsule wardrobe

Fall 2019 Project 333: Stand Fast

Tom Thomson's The West Wind has the usual dark shades of water and hills, but it also includes bits of bright blue and dark red. To paraphrase this reviewer, there is nothing wussy about this tree: it's ready to take on the cold winds.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Intentional Thrifter (and Yardsaler): Baskets and Brooches

Yesterday we stopped at one yard sale. I found two lidded baskets for a couple of dollars.
I cleaned them up a bit, and Mr. Fixit wrangled the bigger one back into shape (it was just warped enough not to close nicely).

The little one is keeping our fake-fall-flowers company.
And the big one is holding bread.

I found the brooch on the left at the same sale, for a dollar. The one on the right was thrifted awhile ago. I don't often pin a brooch on clothes, but I like stringing one on a chain as a necklace.
Consignment store find: one of those sweaters that doesn't look too exciting on the hanger, but which immediately makes itself at home in the closet like it's always been there.
It's already made friends with my flannel shirt and a necklace. (Still too hot for that here, but I'll put it on hold.)
Also this one, from the thrift store. Neither of the sweaters are lifetime-quality materials, but I'm hoping that if I treat them kindly they'll last for awhile.
(Thrifted scarf.)
Fall is coming!