Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter: Not a wet t-shirt event

I thrifted some summer t-shirts earlier in the year, and I have been pretty happy so far with those...so happy that I've moved on to looking mostly for fall clothes (leggings, a sweater). Recently, though, I found two more shirts that I liked. I bought them  (intentionally) to fill a clothes gap for a planned few days away later this summer.

The blue shirt is linen, except for the pocket and the bottom bit. Linen t-shirts seem very luxurious to me (yay thrift stores). Until a few years ago, I had no idea that t-shirts came in anything except cotton, polyester, and cotton-polyester, which pretty much tells you what kind of stores I've shopped at. I still don't understand how "napkin fabric" can take on t-shirt qualities, but somebody out there obviously knows how to do it.
The pink shirt is rayon, so I don't expect it to be as durable as the linen one. I chose it for the colour, the interesting stitching, and the fact that it's lightweight and layerable. The front v-neck is deep, meant to be worn over a tank top, or a swimsuit.
If you're wondering about the variations in colour, I took the photos soon after I hand-washed the shirts, and they were still damp. Just pretend I've been swimming.

Besides the two t-shirts (and the leggings and the sweater), I also thrifted some multi-coloured double knitting yarn. The thrift store price was $8 for the bag of four balls, which does not sound like that great a deal, but it's nice yarn, just what I wanted for a fun summer crocheting project, and less than I would have paid for either the yarn or the completed project at a retail store. 
Now I have something to do while we're watching Deep Space Nine.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Quote for the day: "A yearning for a taste of the other"

"The repeated attempts and failures of Pinocchio and the challenges he faces over and over to be reunited with the object of his happiness--Geppetto, his father and maker, made immediate sense to the fourth graders and held their attention. My college students began to suspect that maybe they had lost something in growing up--a sense of wonder and a yearning for a taste of the other--that might have been better tended and retained if they had been brought up on more of what we were reading in class." ~~ Vigen Guroian, Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination

The Intentional Thrifter does Cruise Night (plus a handy hint and a free e-book)

First, the e-book: Courtney Carver's Mini-Missions book is free for Kindle right now.

I was given an unexpected thrifting hand recently, i.e. a bit of cash to buy a few extra fun things. I also had the chance to drop in at the Salvation Army store, just for a change, since the summer Cruise Nights have started and I can tag along with Mr. Fixit and Grandpa Squirrel. Cruise Night trips are short, because we don't stay at the show very long; so I have to make my mind up quickly about  buying things. The store has a bit different atmosphere from the one where I volunteer; also it was the end of the day, so there were more families, more kids running around, more stuff tossed around on racks. There are only a couple of changing rooms, so you usually have to wait while somebody makes their mind up and their toddler bangs the door open and shut. But the clerks are friendly, and I've often found good things there.

I started at the dress rack, and this long dress-or-skirt kept catching my eye. Not the most practical thing, I thought, but I really liked the navy batik print. (Dark navy? Black? Somewhere in between.)
I found an off-white lace top that could go over the dress/skirt, and ended up buying both of them to make an outfit. I have other navy tops that would work over the skirt as well, so it wasn't just a random choice; and the top will go with all kinds of things too.
Handy hint for thrifters: if you don't own a stitch ripper, you should. I have used mine many times to remove sewn-in labels, or bits of label, from clothes and scarves. Sometimes people snip labels off, but they leave the sewn-in bit behind, which looks bad, itches, or both. This white top had a large, visible label sewn partway down the back (the back isn't lace, but you could still see the label through the fabric). I very carefully picked the stitching out. Surgery successful.
I was pretty happy already with the long skirt and lace top, but then I found this purple Miik bamboo dress for eight dollars..amazing. I like Miik's ethos and style, but it's usually (way) out of my budget. The weather has cooled off just enough that I might even be able to wear it this week.
I finished the shopping-spree money today, back at my regular thrift store, with a $1.50 pair of grey jeans from the last-chance rack. I feel like I should be packing these clothes up for a vacation. (But I have a big term project to get through first.)

Friday, June 01, 2018

The Intentional Thrifter: The most fun you can have with a "large ladies" sweater

Today was a busy day at the thrift store, because we are having a big June book sale and there was lots of pricing to do. But I did have a few minutes at the end to go shopping. The bargain rack today was mostly men's clothes, and the dresses were sparse, so I checked out my "second tier" of clothing areas: accessories and "larger ladies." Don't laugh, I've found great stuff hanging there.

 This is what I found first: a big purple scarf with pink roses. Definitely a keeper.
From the "large" aisle: I liked this long cardigan even before I tried it on, and then I realized it has a bonus lighter grey inner layer. You can put one layer or the other to the outside.
Or tie them up together. Or even wear it upside down if you're feeling adventurous. This one is also a keeper, although I probably won't be able to wear it much now until the fall. We've had a heat wave here for the last week.
Two thrifty treasures, and a teaching book as well: fifteen minutes well spent.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

From the thrift store: easy box making

A very frugal find at the thrift store: a punch-out craft book with some of the models detached but not assembled. Normally this would go to paper recycling, because of the loose pieces. I liked the floral designs on the boxes, so I bought it anyway. As you can see from the photo, I have already glued some of the easier boxes together.
What are the boxes for? I don't know yet! I might use these ones as bedroom decor, and save the rest for gift boxes.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Quote for the day: Teachers shouldn't be invisible

"At the beginning of my career I believed I could measure my success as a teacher by how much my students didn't notice me...But when it comes to learning critical thinking, it seems students constantly watch us, at least at the outset, to see what the process looks like...There's something essentially false about your asking a learner to do something that you haven't done first." ~~ Stephen D. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The intentional thrifter (yardsaler)

Mr. Fixit and I went to some yard sales this morning. I was a bit low on cash, so I was looking only for rock-bottom deals. The sales at houses didn't offer much, but at the end we lucked out at a church sale. Mr. Fixit bought an electronics item for five dollars, and I found these things for even less than that.

Lightweight grey and navy striped sweater: my two favourite neutrals.
Cookbook and a pack of re-usable plastic party skewers. I had a copy of this book when we were first married, so it's just for nostalgia. The skewers will probably get used at summer birthdays.
Teapot. Well-used, but still nice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quote for the day: Something else teachers need to learn (or unlearn)

"The language of student learning is, on the whole, fairly bloodless. Learning objectives, learning styles, domains of learning, transfer of learning; all these suggest that learning is primarily a cognitive process to do with processing information in various ways. Yet as any teacher knows, learning--particularly that involving risk, discomfort, or struggle--is highly emotional. Sure, there are times when boredom and apathy reign supreme. But there are also times when anxiety, terror, shame, and anger are paramount. Fortunately, too, there are times when students feel joy, pleasure, pride, and love. It is interesting that no assessment protocols I know of make any use of these words or terms like these." ~~ Stephen D. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher

Friday, May 18, 2018

Quote for the day: Something teachers need to learn

"The ability to listen and learn from participants [students] builds mutual respect. It affirms the dignity of all; it is the basis of empowerment. To listen is to be on an equal footing; listening means putting yourself in the place of the other. How can educators construct a setting in which there isn't a growing 'we versus them,' no matter how genuine our intent to do otherwise?...the art of listening is an important pillar in building structures that counteract some deeply ingrained, top-down teaching habits. At the base of all this is the educator's genuine belief in people's potential and [his/her] willingness to let go of some power and control." ~~ Rick Arnold et al, Educating for a Change (1991)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

New feature: The Intentional Thrifter

At one time my thrifting activities were randomly acquisitive.

Sometimes there's a strategy in that. Amy Dacyczyn once wrote about trying to scrounge cross-country skis for her family of eight. After passing up some partial sets, she realized that, having lots of storage space, she would do better to accumulate a big pile of boots, poles, and skis in different sizes, and then match them up to her people.

As young parents, we did the same thing with little-kid clothes: if a baby or toddler haul came along, we saved as much as we could for the next nothing-fits emergency. I accumulated craft and sewing supplies, and kids' books, although I was pickier about those.

Now, living in a smaller space and with less maybe-someday storage, I have to be more intentional about what comes home. Of course we are also beyond the stage of saving up kids' clothes and learning stuff. And at this point you might think my whole point is going to be "buy less, don't accumulate."

Well, sometimes you do buy less, and sometimes you don't. Like Amy, you may be over-accumulating with a purpose. Maybe you want as much red, white, and blue yarn or fabric as you can find, because you're planning a patriotic afghan or quilt. That's intentional. Maybe you need a hundred canning jars, because you're going to give everybody salsa and jam for Christmas. Or a bunch of flowerpots, because your plants are growing like crazy and need to be shared. Or every travel guide and history you can find about your bucket-list place, so you can plan a better trip. That's not hoarding, that's intentional.

My personal-stuff and home-stuff thrifting over the last couple of years has gotten more intentional, and that's developed a strange side effect. I now wander into thrift-store aisles that I used to ignore, and ignore the ones I used to spend all my time in. I price adult books, not children's, and I rarely look at the kids' books out in the store; I just don't need any. Until recently, I would never have bothered with business books, but I'm finding now that some of them are helpful in the courses I'm taking. Our needs change.

You can thrift more intentionally when you've narrowed down a basic colour scheme, or when you know what the gaps are. Our main living space here has a lot of beige, brown, and green, plus some floral things here and there. If I saw some table linens in those shades, I might pick them up; but not if they were neon pink or black striped. My eyes have gotten trained to think "yes, that's like our living room."

Very recently, I found a purplish button-up cardigan on the 75% off rack. It will go with all my favourite scarves, and my grey skirts and pants. Yes, it's May, but I'm putting it away for fall.

And that's intentional.

Good reading for today: Where did Charlotte Mason stand?

On the Northwest by North blog: was Charlotte Mason progressive, classical, or unique?

Recommended for your educational pondering.

Monday, May 14, 2018

From the archives: Charlotte Mason yet to come

First posted April 2010, part of the Month with CM series. (Edited somewhat.)

Where does CM advice become the most nitty and gritty? If we want to have the "whole package" as Charlotte Mason described it, but still need to work within our own context and circumstances, what stays and what goes?  How long will Kipling and Kingsley continue to be meaningful? Where does old CM meet new CM, and your CM meet my CM, and become timeless CM, CM without boundaries?

Is it in the general comments, the principles and philosophy, given in her six volumes...which transition into the later parts of those volumes, describing specific work and practices of the PNEU schools? Or the technical details of the Form III Programme #90 for 1921? Is it only in CM's own books, or in the more diverse viewpoints given in the Parent's Review articles? Is it in Eve Anderson's teaching tool DVD's, or in PNEU teacher Mrs. Norton's taped interview with Susan Schaeffer Macaulay? Is it in the array of books by various parents and educators that have attempted to bring CM principles into the 20th and now the 21st centuries?

Is it more meaningful for me to track down Selfe's Work of the Prophets (used in 1921), in hopes that I can either use it as is or learn from it as a comparison...or to read suggestions from thoughtful CMers who have found new books that meet the same needs? How much should I worry if the nature notebook or Book of the Centuries doesn't get off the ground? Why do we recommend a leisurely education, and then realize that, according to the Form III schedule, our twelve-year-old is supposed to be narrating Dumas in French and starting German as well?

Did Charlotte Mason herself succumb to a few late-Victorian educational fads, or was she simply selecting the best of the new ideas that had come in at that time? Is that what we should be doing--pulling the best from our own educational time? Is there anything now worth pulling from?

What do you imagine a CM education might look like for your own great-grandchildren?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New page: Summer Project 333 Clothes

Season: Summer 2018 (for as long as it lasts)
#project333 (link to Courtney Carver's home page)


Édouard Manet, "Carnations and Clematis in a Crystal Vase"

Friday, May 11, 2018

Peaceful happy thrifting

Found at the thrift store: a copy of Make Peace With Anyone, and a blue and green necklace that reminds me of stained-glass windows.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

From the archives: Sometimes we have to disagree

First posted May 2007; edited slightly. This was the first year that our oldest Squirreling was doing some of her schoolwork at public high school.

Once again something like the "Mars and Venus" syndrome strikes at the blog world, in the guise of a plea for less divisiveness between die-on-that-hill-homeschoolers and those who feel there are equally acceptable educational alternatives.

We could go on in this vein for a long time, you know. "Much-Read Blogger" continues to swat at some of the "divisive" flies that are buzzing around him, his fans pull out their swatters to help, and the rest of us either duck for cover or come swatting back the best we can. Is the issue of divisiveness really the point of these "I know I'll be sorry I posted this" posts? To be frank I think they sound more like politely-disguised attacks on positions with which "Blogger" doesn't personally agree, so it shouldn't be surprising that a bit of fur has to fly over them.

The fact that you exist in whatever way you do is bound to make somebody out there uncomfortable or annoyed, no matter how laid back you are about it. If you've read my snowman condo story,* you'll know we have considered this ourselves. Among homeschoolers, our three girls are considered an average-to-small-sized family; in the mainstream world, just three (who would certainly not only build snowmen but throw snowballs at each other as well, making a fair amount of noise while doing so) are enough to make some kinds of neighbours cringe. Our kids don't burn things down, but they do make noise. We don't have a pet alligator or grow pot on the porch; but Mr. Fixit does do whatever car repairs he can in the driveway, and sometimes I do have several cars here at a time for a meeting. Some people don't like that, you know? Some people had a problem with the big yellow phone van that Mr. Fixit used to drive and park in the driveway, but that's what kept us fed.

If I happen to mention that we had three wonderful homebirths, some people will say that's fine or tell me that their brother's cousin just had a homebirth as well. Other people, though, will assume that I a) feel superior about that, b) think that everybody else should have homebirths, and/or c) must be slightly demented to have thought of doing that in the first place. Some people are just on a different track to start with. There are some people that I'd think were crazy if they said they wanted to give birth at home. But you see, it's not what I say about it that becomes the issue for a lot of people; it's just that we did whatever it was in the first place, so it's assumed that we must hold some kind of militant position on it. We also vaccinate our kids, buy whole wheat pasta but also an occasional bag of marshmallow cookies, and teach them Lutheran catechism even though we now go to an Anabaptist church.

But I digress.

Why did we start homeschooling? It wasn't out of a religious conviction that everyone should homeschool. It was what was right for our family and our child (just one at the time) We had quite a few reasons, large and small, including the fact that the school system here seemed more interested in finding ways to cut back on "optional" things (like special education) than they were in doing what was best for the kids. That is not the same as saying that schools themselves, any schools, must be inherently bad. If I held that position, then I would be at odds with Charlotte Mason, who provided for the needs of both schools and homeschoolers.

If there was a Charlotte Mason school around the corner, would I send them instead of teaching them here? I can't answer that one. I can only answer for things as they are here, now, for our family. In that sense I do agree with "Much-Read Blogger" because I think he's trying to say that each of us should look to our own convictions and listen for God's calling in making decisions about education. I only hope that he's just as serious when he says that he would afford us equal respect for our choices.


*Earlier that year, we were looking at condo townhouses, and someone warned us that the neighbours in those units were very fussy about noise and children and cars with hoods open and other normal parts of life. Apparently there had been a family there with several children, and in the winter they built a snowman on the "common area" between the units. Someone complained to the property manager, and Frosty disappeared. We decided that it did not sound like a good fit for us.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

If you had ten Canadian dollars...

1. Ten dollars at the discount grocery store buys three bananas, a package of tortillas, a package of peppers, and two small bottles of pop to share. (What's for supper? Fajitas made with leftover chicken, along with reheated rice and a can of beans.)

2. Ten dollars buys two DQ cones. Not happenin' here. Well, maybe sometime in the summer.

3. Ten dollars buys three cash bus rides. (Tickets are cheaper.)

4. Ten dollars buys a package of ten razor blades, or a three-pack of socks.

5. Ten dollars at the thrift store buys a scarf, a 75% off cotton cardigan, and some books.

How do you spend ten dollars?