Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I grew up with very thrifty parents. My mother came from a middle class background, her father being a postal employee and later the Postmaster of Montpelier Vermont. My Dad was raised by foster families in Northern Maine. Both were born in 1917 and came of age during the Great Depression so I guess being frugal just comes naturally to them. Growing up we had the Helene Curtis Shampoo with Egg pictured above, but my Mother always cut it with water so we didn't waste it. Regular milk was cut with powdered milk and I rarely remember having orange juice unless it was at someones house. When our towels got frayed the edges were cut off and re-hemmed. My mother made most of my clothes and I longed for store bought clothes like my friends had. My Dad had a variety of jobs as I grew up and he worked very hard to make sure that my brother and I had everything that he didn't have as a child, especially stability and a sense that we were loved unconditionally.

I bring this background up because in these trying times people are turning to thrift to help save some money and to give them a feeling of doing something to stave off the uncertainty. Since spending the last couple of months donating tens of thousands of dollars of clothes and home goods to charity I am even more aware of not spending on unnecessary items. I have always loved to shop, but I don't part with money easily. I love to look and look and touch. I am a very tactile shopper, but now I go into my favorite shops and I look and look, but the temptation to buy is not there. Then I received the MacKenzie Child catalog and I was appalled. I love all their wares and I know they are expensive because they are mostly hand painted, not mass produced in China. But who in the world would pay $325. for a MacKenzie Child charcoal grill? It appears to be a less than $100 Weber grill with the lovely Courtly Check pattern. People...charcoal grills sit out in bad weather ( I know, mine is out on the snowy deck as we "speak"), they are meant to get dirty. Yes, you can wipe off the outside to keep some of the crud at bay, but this is the ultimate guilt inducing grill. It just boggles my mind!

Okay, done now! Later I will tell you how I spent virtually the same amount of money but got something that will last for years and years as long as the cats keep their little claws out of it, and it looks so good in my Living Room.


PS. Thanks to Andrea for remembering Desert Flower, now I can rest peacefully until I try to remember something else that just eludes me. Sad to say it happens fairly often these days.

PPS. Please don't feel sorry for me and take up a collection to buy me the grill...I love my yucky old black, non-guilt inducing one just fine!


  1. I never understood why someone would pay $300 for the same grill that cost $100 somewhere else. Because of the name? I am one of those that doesn't care about names. If it works, I am a happy camper!

  2. I have always been a pratical shopper. I scout out bargins, shop at thrift stores, etc. I love the Courtly check pattern of Mackenzie-Childs, but when I see that grill I think...I could do that! So, if I really wanted something like that I would do it myself. But you are right. A grill gets messy really fast. The person that buys that grill, will not use it. It will be prop.

  3. That grill is darling! But I woulnd't buy it. I would however copy it! I think it would be darling on a deck or patio.

    I do like to see the costly things and then try to make my own for much less money.

    Sadly there are many people with way to much money so they are the ones who would buy it.


  4. I love to touch, fondling my husband calls it, when I shop. I grew up poor and have spent so much money trying to make up for what I always wanted but never had.
    As I have been cleaning out closets and drawers I'm seeing a pattern of waste, things I could'nt live without but don't use.
    My habits are changing, rapidly. Waste not, want not.
    A side note, when do I make it to your blog faves?

  5. Never a big shopper, but I am always my own worst enemy. If I pick something up and walk around with it long enough, I will flat out talk myself out of it and put it down...and I know this about myself. So, on those days that I know I really shouldn't buy aything, I just walk around a bit and soon that's the end of it. Weird, I know... :)

  6. I'm also careful about spending money. I feel guilty if I indulge myself too much, so I try to be a bargain shopper. You're welcome about the desert flower lotion. I remembered it because my mom and I used to buy it. I loved it!

  7. I'm much more careful now that I'm not working full time. I really think about it before I buy it. I used to be a real clothes horse now I'm more likely to get stuff for the house. My favorite place is Homegoods because they have really cute stuff at good prices.

  8. Let's see, we can find a black grill on craigslist or freecycle, then paint it white, then add the black checks...make a great flower to visit freecycle and craigslist!


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