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!

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Forgot to post these when we found them! Two chairs for the dinette, found during a thrift shift.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

It's National Thrift Shop Day. Help them go out of business.

I'm not going to mark National Thrift Shop Day by suggesting that everybody out there should go and buy something at a thrift shop (although you know that's one of my favourite things to do).

I'm not even going to mark it by suggesting that everybody should donate something today (although you know how much fun I have unpacking books at the MCC store. It's Christmas every week).

I'm going to suggest something far more radical.

Non-profit thrift spite of all the good they do by raising money for the ministries and charities that run them and by giving lots of stuff a potential second life...reflect something about our world, our culture, our attitude towards buying and un-buying stuff, that isn't a good thing. In a perfect world, ministries that run thrift stores would have to find another way to raise money, because people would be buying just what they need, using things longer, fixing what's broken, trading what's outgrown, borrowing what they can, re-purposing things themselves. And those organizations wouldn't totally mind that, I think, because any one of them accepting donations of Stuff must deal with an Increasingly Big Headache of Responsible Disposal.

So keep the thrift store of your favourite charity in mind today by not buying one particular new thing (besides food or other consumables). That way, when that one unbought thing doesn't arrive at the hypothetical end of its usefulness to you, you won't have to drive it to the thrift store. Nobody will have to unpack it; nobody will have to price it and hang it on a rack; nobody will have to pay the cost of the computerized cash register system and the credit card fees; or (if it sits unsold) nobody will have to bale it up and figure out where to send it next. By not buying something new today, you've created one less future thing-in-thing-out decision for a crew of staff and volunteers. Wasn't that easy?

(But you could also send the charity a financial contribution.)

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Frugal Finds and Fixes: We Moved Again Edition

Moving house can feel like the ultimate creative chance to re-use and re-purpose, because everything goes into a new spot. But it can also feel very costly when the decorating fun-money gets re-purposed for a garage-door-opener replacement, a dryer-vent overhaul, and an anticipated visit from the plumber. Just saying. We also had to buy a stepladder, a garbage can, a recycling bin, and a bunch of bits and pieces from the hardware store to make things work better.  But we are happy about the things we didn't have to fix or replace, like the appliances and flooring.
Our townhouse isn't officially much bigger in square footage than the apartment. But since it's two stories plus a basement, it feels roomier. There are more empty spots, like the breakfast nook (or dinette, whatever you want to call it) between the galley kitchen and the back deck. We have been using  a very old card table in there, but today we replaced it with a vintage Formica-topped table. It's not very big, but it is prettier and less wobbly than the card table. Now we just need to scout out some chairs.
Mr. Fixit thrifted a putting-on-shoes stool for the front hall.
More on the house as we go along!

In other frugal news: 

Sometimes you have to wait awhile for things to come a good-quality t-shirt dress from the thrift store.  
I found this really bright scarf to wear with it.
Lydia says it's my Sarah Saw a Blue Macaw scarf.
These capiz-shell earrings were a case of when it really pays to wait. I saw them months ago on the Ten Thousand Villages website, but they were not that high on my priority list. Then I thought they had sold out forever; but they suddenly reappeared for two dollars during a clearance event. (The makers get paid in full no matter what.)
Mitford books and life-simplifying books from a yard sale, all free for the taking:
A very useful pair of navy pants from the thrift store. The photo is pretty bad (the light was terrible), but they look better in  real life. I also found a pair of beige pants at a consignment store that has an annual half-price sale in August. (Almost everything I've ever bought there has been during August.)
Finally, in the nice but not necessary department: while we were searching for tables at the antique market, I found a "bundle" of three sugar bowls and creamers, all three for five dollars. I put down the beautiful book about William Morris textiles that I had intended to buy, and took the not-matching-but-very-pretty pieces instead. (The first teapot shown was from a yard sale. The second came from a very out-of-the-way antiques place right after we moved to the apartment. History repeats.)

Friday, August 02, 2019

Quote for the Day Number Two: Don't be too true to yourself

This may be one of the most interesting one-liners ever from Charlotte Mason!

"Loyalty is to be expected of him who is not true to himself." ~~ Ourselves 

Update: See comments, Phyllis added a text correction. It turns out all the words are there, but a stray period changed the meaning of the online text.  Am I disappointed that CM wasn't being quite so ironic? No, I think she did say more or less the same thing elsewhere.

Quote for the day: Charlotte Mason says we can but do what we are able for

Eliminating schedule clutter and online overload  is a popular theme these days for minimalist media people (for instance, the book Digital Minimalism). In this quote from a chapter on Loyalty, Charlotte Mason points out that we may have to risk being thought "unamiable" if we say "no" to certain requests.
"Thoroughness and unstinted effort belong to this manner of Loyalty; and, therefore, we have at times to figure as unamiable persons because we are unable to throw ourselves into every new cause that is brought before us. We can but do what we are able for; and Loyalty to that which we are doing will often forbid efforts in new directions." ~~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves