Traditional Yankee thrift isn’t obsessed with money. It’s not frugal for the sake of frugal or only buying things on sale. It values mindfulness of priorities, adeptness at record-keeping and investing, yes, but doesn’t make spending or not spending the only focus of one’s existence. It’s not frugal in all things which is why one can be affluent yet still enjoy this fine art of living that involves creativity, intelligence and self-confidence. Only those who worry about status will spend money in an effort to “keep up” and impress in ways that go beyond taking a healthy pride in one’s appearance. It’s why online “influencers” are so good at encouraging people to spend money on image management and status brands come out ahead when they can put a price on transitory self-esteem. New Englanders value independence, so what better way to live than to spend money that doesn’t involve checking in with any prescribed aesthetic or current trend?
Many of you know how much I love vintage kitchens which is why I didn’t update the one in our house. I really like the one above from Realtor.com with the mod Emilio Pucci-esque ceiling in this 1908 Prouts Neck estate! A hobby of mine is looking at homes online. I’ve been enjoying the MLS regularly since around 2005 when I was looking to buy a house, but then I never stopped because it’s a lot of fun to check out the interiors of old homes. I’ve noticed that charming old kitchens are getting harder to find now because the newer buyers of the older homes are updating them. But are they always nicer?
Is that Godzilla punching my roof as I type this post? Kind of, only its name is February. It’s the occasional sound of things expanding and contracting when it’s in the single digits or below. It also means my house is nice and toasty inside. We had an ice storm on Friday, and while they can be extremely destructive, like cutting power for days or weeks, and most recently lifting me in the air before smacking me on my behind (I’m getting PT now, recovery is up and down but happening), it can also be beautiful. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon. I love how the sunshine makes the icy branches gleam brightly as if I’m living in an enchanted fairyland.
Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:
While the world is abuzz about the Duchess of Sussex “stepping back” from her royal duties (seriously, though, I didn’t see that coming and apparently neither did the Queen!) I’ve stepped back in time and from the fancification of Duchess potatoes with this simple, frugal 1915 recipe found inside a Portland, Maine elementary school book. All that is required to make these tasty little puffs are three ingredients plus salt and pepper for seasoning.
Yes, I’ve just completed another thrifty “makeover” for our bedroom! This time I wanted bright colors to help offset the prolonged darkness of the short Maine winter days. I also ended up returning the heavy wool blanket we bought online last year because it turned out to be falsely advertised as being free from mothproofing. The label on the blanket stated otherwise, in another language! Sneaky!! To the merchant’s credit they took it back past the return date once I explained why I “waited” until then. Before I share the specifics of my thrifty purchases for the newest vintage makeover, here are past snapshots:
I wasn’t planning to post anything until after the New Year but feel moved to share this. Last night Wayne and I watched the 1972 Lawrence Welk Christmas special, and we actually watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday “nights” (5:00 p.m.) when it’s on Maine PBS. I’ve had a rough week but watching this last night was so helpful in rekindling the Christmas spirit. Unapologetically*, here are the top six reasons why I think this show is balm for the soul:
Yes, it does feel strange to have Christmas without assembling and enjoying my vintage aluminum Christmas tree! We both miss it! If we had the space I’d do two trees, but that’s not an option in our cozy little 1,200 sq ft house. However we are really enjoying having a real tree this year. Good news is that in addition to supporting the local economy, our tree will not be going to the dump in January but will be brought into our woods to provide a home for wildlife and provide nutrients for the ground.
Here’s our cute tabletop tree decked out with vintage trimmings for 2019!
(In case you missed it due to a technical glitch that may have prevented email notifications going out I recently went behind the scenes at Maine Wildlife Park!)
In October I wrote about pickpockets lurking in the billing departments of some phone providers after I discovered Wayne had been overcharged for years. This past month I noticed that my AT&T cell phone bill had gone up about $5 so I logged into my account to see what was up. Turns out I was “given” a “bonus” of 3GB I’ll never use or wanted that comes with an added price of $5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a bonus something received vs purchased? My old plan was phased out so I have no choice but to pay an extra $60 plus tax annually. Such is the way of 2019. However, I dug a little deeper in AT&T’s website and found something very disturbing.
“A snug and a clean home, no matter how tiny it be, so that it be wholesome; windows into which the sun can shine cheerily; a few good books (and who need be without a few good books in these days of universal cheapness?)–no duns at the door, and the cupboard well supplied, and with a flower in your room! There is none so poor as not to have about him these elements of pleasure.” -Samuel Smiles, Eliza Cook’s Journal, 1850
There was a lone late October rose growing on one of the bushes that I cut and placed in a stem vase today. I came across the above quote minutes afterward! It really speaks to me. One doesn’t need to be poor or have a large, modern kitchen to enjoy the many riches to be found in the simple things! Here are some more gifts I’m appreciating right now: