Sixteen years of Treehouse talk
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
2. Tell us about a time in your life where it felt like you were figuratively riding a roller coaster.
3. Favorite treat to eat at an amusement park or state fair?
4. Are you easy to get along with? Elaborate.
Wow, that's pretty hard to answer for yourself, isn't it? And it depends on who you're dealing with...spouse, friends, neighbours, business people, telemarketers?
I saw a meme recently that said you should try to be the person your dog thinks you are. I don't have a dog, but it's still good advice.
5. Something on your calendar to see-do-read-accomplish or just enjoy before month's end?
Yes, several things, but not stuff I can get into here. Some of it involves poetry. Some of it doesn't.
OK, to read: Effortless, by Greg McKeown. It's the sequel to Essentialism. Because of the other see-do-read-accomplish, I'm finding that getting it read is a bit effortful. But I'm trying to get it finished before it disappears on my Overdrive account.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
Happy National Thrift Shop Day for yesterday. I bought a one-dollar scarf to celebrate.
Monday, August 16, 2021
This mostly-thrifted travel wardrobe is posted in honour of National Thrift Shop Day (August 17th), and is inspired by similar stories on The Vivienne Files.
Their sister-in-law is an artist and designer who works in natural and hand-dyed wools on beeswax-coated board. Recently she sent them a notecard with a photograph of one of her pieces, inspired by a summer on the St. Lawrence Estuary.
"Do we have any estuaries around here?"
"Could we go somewhere that's sort of like an estuary?"
"How about Owen Sound?"
"Oh, cool. We could go see the Tom Thomson Gallery, and do some hiking."
What will she pack? She starts with this teal jersey dress.
No, it's not a silly idea. She knows lots of different ways to wear it.
By itself with a belt and a necklace
With a long cardigan and ankle boots (and tights, of course)
(There's another way you can wear the cardigan)
Under a vintage ultrasuede coat
Monday, August 02, 2021
A few years ago, I decided that I really liked ankle boots. I found a funky pair at the thrift store, and then a couple of plainer ones from a clearance aisle. But they are all now on their last legs, so to speak. So I planned on replacing them this fall with something practical and neutral.
Then these came along.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
It happened again this week. I thrifted an otherwise-nice blouse that turned out to be too tight under the arms.
Blame the lack of fitting rooms.
Maybe I should just stick to non-clothes for awhile. After all, I did a good closet-clean-out-and-fall-check-in recently, and I could really get along for quite awhile without buying much. I was given a few donations by a daughter, and I also have a few colder-weather things I found at the end of the winter that got stored and sort of forgotten.
But it can be frustrating to feel like you're on an un-roll. How do you win back your thrifting confidence?
Well, consider first of all that you might already have enough stuff. Really. Because if you're looking for something you really need, like a pair of jeans when your last ones are wearing out, you're more apt to put your heart into looking, care more about what you find and get it right, than if it's a random blouse. The blouse was mostly my fault: I should have looked more carefully at the size tag, I was probably going too fast. Sometimes choosing something quickly is okay, but other times it's a sign that you're just adding too much to your salad bar plate. There are definitely times to take a break.
If you have a bunch of things that you've already thrifted (or yard-saled, or swapped) and haven't really used, this is the time to dig them out and give them some appreciation. I read somewhere recently that buying something brings a certain commitment along with it. By buying a book, you're showing that you have the intention of reading it, right? You buy a game, and that implies that you want to play it; a puzzle, that you want to put it together; some fabric, that you like it enough to want to sew something from it. You buy the bread machine or the smoothie maker because you want to make pizza or drink healthy green things. So have you done those things? That's not meant to be a guilt inducer, but a fun, creative-juices approach that might make future thrifting a little clearer. If you use the fabric to sew doll clothes or pillows or stuffed toys, that might give you ideas for future projects that also need fabric, or trims, or patterns, or sewing gadgets. But if you can't bring yourself to pull out the materials and make something, that's a good sign that your sewing days are done: don't buy more.
You can switch to a different category of things to look for. I never used to look at table linens much, but over the past couple of years I have put together a collection of placemats, napkins, and runners, plus assorted candles and holders, because my husband and I enjoy making dinnertime a daily "event," even if it's just leftovers. This turned out to be a good thing when we weren't able to go out to eat for a long time.
You could help somebody else thrift, or library-sale, or whatever it is you do best.
If you have enough self-restraint, you could look at things and learn about them, but don't buy anything. Look at the art up on the walls, or the silent-auction or other premium things you usually pass by. Enjoy looking at the colourful dishes, even if you'd never use egg-cups or Bunnykins bowls. That's pretty much what I do when we visit antique markets: occasionally I buy something, but most of it is just looking, admiring (or not), helping my husband look for old radios, and remembering an uncle who liked clown pictures, a neighbour who had those same funny canisters on her counter, or a friend who had that coveted Barbie carrying case (but I had the Country Camper). Patience pays off: we looked at and said no to a lot of old chairs before we came across the ones we bought last month.
So, yes, in the end, patience is probably the big thing. Keep looking, and stay open to adventure.
Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here to add your link to the party. See you there!1. Four words that tell us something about your July?
2. Four of your favorite summer foods?
Cherries, ice cream cones, blueberries, watermelon.
3. What were you doing at a quarter past four yesterday?
It's way too complicated to explain here.
Briefly, trying every which way to get through the gate of an online castle that preferred to keep me out. (I'm not a hacker, it was all very legitimate, but try explaining that to the kniggits on top of the walls.) But we eventually figured it out. Thank you to my husband who kept an eye on the pizza in the oven while I dealt with the cyber dragons.
4. fore!, four letter word, four sheets to the wind, ten-four, 24/7, four eyes, these four walls....pick a 'four' phrase and tell us how you relate currently
Four eyes? Yes, I did get to the optometrist last week and did a computerized peripheral vision test (jacked-up version of the thing you do when you get your driver's license). I guess all those rounds of Space Invaders paid off.
5. Something you own that is four years old?
Something four years old would be whatever we acquired the spring/summer that we moved from our house to the apartment. So that would include the mundane stuff like the clothes drying racks, but also the little table we bought at Ten Thousand Villages, and the painting of a local farm that is now hanging over our bed.
Monday, July 26, 2021
By listening to thy chatting fears
I have both lost mine eyes and ears.
I'm hoping that this series will be about using eyes and ears, but that it won't be too much of a prattling conscience.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here to add your link to the party. See you there!
Wednesday, July 07, 2021
2. Last time you were 'thrown in at the deep end'? Explain.
As in unfamiliar, uncomfortable, sink or swim? I have one of those coming up: a virtual meeting with (hopefully) friendly but mostly unfamiliar people, and I haven't been told much yet about what to expect. I am not exactly what Jan Karon calls She-who-loves-surprises, so I'm hoping some of it gets clarified before I have to take a deep breath and press "join."
3. Sun, sea, sand, salt...your favorite when it comes to summer?
Right now we are settling for the nearby manmade lake.
4. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands...pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.
Sands of time = sanding and waxing time. We recently found two antique oak chairs at a flea market, and we've been working to restore them.
The vendors had put cushions on the chairs to display them, but they didn't include them in the sale. Underneath the cushions were very old, sagging seats made of canvas webbing, which Mr. Fixit pulled out (there were a lot of nails!) We bought a piece of plywood, and cut two seat-shaped pieces to replace the canvas.
We gave the chairs a coat of natural-coloured Minwax, and then bought a can of oak-coloured for the next coat. They will get another wax touchup in a few days.
This is a good time of year to look for chair cushions, because there is so much patio furniture still in the stores. We didn't want something that looked too outdoorsy, but we did consider outdoor cushions because the chairs are a similar size to some patio chairs.
However, we then got lucky at the local Homesense: these four feather-filled, made-in-England pillows were on clearance. Actually three of them were on the clearance rack, and then we found the fourth with the regular-priced pillows, so we asked if we could get the same discount for it, and they agreed. It never hurts to ask!
So now we have our Papa Bear and Mama Bear chairs in the living room.
5. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you're a parent where on the scale do you land?
Not even going to land, just going to fly by that one.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
Since our last Hodgepodge, we've celebrated Canada Day and our thirtieth wedding anniversary. And some other things I can't quite remember. Maybe I was burying my head in the sand.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Suddenly my scarf had a value attached to it.
Canadian politician Pierre Poilievre recently made a video showing his attempt to buy something at a coffee shop for a quarter, and all he came away with was a stir stick. In a similar vein, about four years ago I wrote a post about trying to figure out the difference in perceived value between a thrifted top and a similar-fabric, similar-colour dress bought new from a "conscious" clothing firm. There was really no conclusion; I supposed that trying to make comparisons between them was apples and oranges.
Let's say that I put the scarf on (it's been a bit chilly) and we went out to drink coffee on the Tim Horton's patio. (Because we're still not allowed to sit inside.) Let's say that the wind blew the paper cup over, and the coffee spilled all over the scarf, undoubtedly ruining it forever unless some dry cleaner knows how to get coffee stains out of blue cashmere/silk. Has this just been my most expensive (hypothetical) coffee stop ever? Or did I only ruin something that cost me just slightly more than Poilievre's coffee stirrer; a scarf that cost exactly the same as a polyester one from the dollar store, so it wouldn't even be worth cleaning?
Let's say that I had gone shopping in Toronto, had stopped in at that boutique (it's near my aunt's house), had fallen in love with this scarf, perhaps had some gift money in my purse, and had decided to fork over the hundred dollars plus tax. If I had somehow then left the package behind on the train coming home, I would most certainly (besides kicking myself very hard) have gone to great lengths to track it down. Would I have done the same for a dollar-store scarf? Probably not so much. But what about this one, where paid-value is much much less than retail-value? Where does respect-to-the-maker (or even respect-to-the-animals) come into that? And, finally, what about stewardship? If God provided the scarf, should what I actually paid for it even be a consideration, in terms of wearing it, storing it carefully, keeping it safe from streams of coffee and unintentional train losses?
It's much the same question I asked that time I messed up a thrifted-but-originally-expensive skirt. Is the value of something based on how much or how little you paid, on its appraised or resale price, or on its usefulness or importance in your own life?
I still don't know. Maybe.