Friday, April 17, 2009

A way of seeing... frugal beauty and answered prayer

I plan to answer some comment questions but there are so many gotta do's both in the house and outside right now. I will answer some soon! We finally have a dry and sunny day, I'm about three years behind in laundry, and I let the dishes pile up in the sink. When my husband said something, I reminded him that what he sees undone is what I normally do each day. :)

I recently went to the only food pantry I visit each month. It is the food pantry where one has to be recommended based on income by the Salvation Army and it is by appointment only. They have a section where the clothes are free for anyone to take home. I look through it each time I visit because I believe in keeping an eye out for God's blessings.

There... among the free coats... was a gorgeous all weather coat in my size. Yes, it was exactly what I needed since my old one finally fell apart! Now my only clothing need is a pair of SAS summer sandals. (I check Goodwill quite often.) How amazing that the perfect all weather coat in my size was there on the one day that month that I'd be picking up groceries. Definitely a "God thing".

On the way home, I was thinking how being frugal is not only about "not shopping" but knowing where to shop (and when, as in keeping my eyes on a Spring baking sheet at Target and checking to see if it was on clearance after Easter... it was). I'm thinking of actually creating a price book as my memory gets fuzzier each year and it was never that good to begin with.

As you know, I truly believe having beauty in the home becomes even more important as there is so much bad news and uncertainty around us. I thought I'd share some results of my looking for inexpensive ideas for the house (as in... placing myself in a position to be blessed with little money).

I've loved the "look" of English homes for a long time so I had an eye out for a silver tea service. I found this one at an antique mall for $25.00 one year that I had a little extra to spend. It was tarnished but it shined up quite nicely. It looks just like I wanted, as if it came out of the pages of Victoria.

The matching tray is much larger than this one but I switched to this round tray so it would make room for the other items. This tray came from Goodwill, as did the cut glass and silver jars (which actually were purchased for Stephanie). The larger teacups came from Goodwill and garage sales, the tiny teacups were purchased when we went to visit friends in Amish country in Northern Indiana last year... full price but cheap. The lavender flowers were purchase at a garage sale and the red flowers from Goodwill.

I've mentioned that I love primitive country as well as English country. This cabinet used to sit under the window but when hubby brought home the "buffet" from his sister's place, I moved this to the other wall in the dining area.

The vintage sewing machine once belonged to my husband's grandmother. It had not worked for years so when I inherited it from my mother-in-law, I cut it out of the table it came in and it has been a piece of beautiful art on this table for years. The little plate was a gift from a friend who reads this blog. :)

Stephanie called me from a New England tag sale last summer, asking if I'd be interested in a folk art tree and bird just like the one in the cottage we'd stayed in Lancaster County. YES!!! I just love the way it looks with the sewing machine. Once again, two different decorating styles but they look lovely together. At least I think so. :)

I stole the above picture from Stephanie's blog. So many of the items in this picture came from tag sales in New England, garage sales here in the Midwest (I gave her the silver bowl with Christmas balls in it... garage sale!), and Goodwill. If I remember, her dining table and buffet were purchased through e-bay at a very good price.

This picture is worth clicking on to enlarge!

Since I was committing theft anyway, I thought I'd share this collage picture she put together for her blog. It is SO "cottage style" and I just love it. I see some items purchased at Brimfield when we went together (one of my favorite days) and a couple from a garage sale we attended the last time she visited here. There are two or three objects she took with her from our home when she married. I love what she did with the quilt behind the old window.

What you can't see is almost everything here is displayed very high... out of reach of small hands. I know she will forgive me for swiping a couple of pictures as I did want to show you how cottage style can be accomplished with little money, too. :)

Whenever I look throughout my house, I see God's love and compassion. He has "made my boundary lines to be in pleasant places". Sometimes I find things free or very cheap. Sometimes He provides through gifts (like my lovely Anchor Hocking jars), the camera that makes it possible to share with you, and even the computer I am using here on the sofa. Other times He has provided money to pay for an item on sale ("never pay full price" is the family motto).

But it all comes down to "a way of seeing" (as is the title of an Edith Schaeffer book). It's about expectations... putting ourselves in a position to be blessed instead of complaining about not having more money... by "shopping" thrift stores, garage sales, knowing what grocery store sells what we need at the cheapest price, watching for sales, looking through the "free bin or racks", knowing which aisles at Goodwill will have tea cups or baking dishes, and finding inexpensive books in lots of places.

I keep a list of needs and Godly desires and as I see a "possibility" (like a couple of old Victoria magazines on the free magazine rack at the library or the expensive roasting pan I noticed on a bottom shelf before leaving Goodwill one day), I know Someone has taken me there for that time and that place and I am content as He provides each need.


Vee said...

You lifted some lovely photos from Stephanie's! I must get over there and take a look around soon.

It's always fun to read about your gathering and finding what you need. It's almost like reading a detective story.

Yay for the wonderful coat. Now we'll just pray you in the sandals that you need.

Love the vignettes you've shared and that folk art tree is delightful. Stephanie was nice to share.

Enjoy your outside chores today while the weather is nice.

scrappy quilter said...

Beautiful beautiful post. Love the pictures, loved the words. What a deal on your coat. Hugs..

Nancy said...

I agree that frugal luxuries can lift the spirits and make a house a home.
I noticed the Boopie glass candle holders on Stephanie's dining table. I have purchased several sets, for my daughters and myself, at Goodwill over the years. There are treasures there! Recently I purchased Haviland china, made in Bavaria, at Goodwill, for a ridiculously low price.
Congratulations on finding the coat you have been wishing for.

Rain said...

Beautifully said! I agree wholeheartedly. This kind of contentment and gratefulness that you share I believe really pleases the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Yes I too look around our home and see so much love all around. The tresures bought on trips with my husband to the used stores, the things handed down from my large family..although they are all gone now, I am reminded of their love everytime I see something that was theirs. Through it all though I too see the hand of God as things we truely needed were 'there' when we least expected to find them and at a price we could afford. Although we have always had to get most of our purchases at the use stores we were taught to never get junk. There are so any good quality things to be had even if you sometimes have to wait for them. Also we keep a price in mind and although it is nerve wracking to sometimes pass up something because even used the price is too dear that day it is something we try to stick by. If you cannot afford it , well you cannot afford it..used or not! :) Used stores have certainly kept up with higher prices as things got more expensive everywhere. Here you seldom see any collectable type things like your lovely tea cups and such. I've been told most of the stores sell the better things on Amazon themselfs. I think even being here today seeing this blog is from God. I don't recall when or how I started reading your blog Brenda but you have certainly kept my heart home and kept me centered on Who is the center of it all. Thankyou. Jody

Anonymous said...

I love "treasure hunts"! God is so good at supplying our needs and even simple wants.

Yesterday a friend called from Cheapo Depot and told me to drop everything (I'm at work mind you) and get there quickly because the store had cases of cat I was able to buy 4 cases of 212 3-oz. cans of my cats fav foods for $35 a case! I have 848 cans of cat food to put in my "pantry". What a blessing considering I have a multi-cat household and help with rescue groups. Plus, each can had a coupon attached for even more food/blessings. I feel soooo blessed. God even takes care of the animals He's placed in my care.

I love to ask God for something I need and then sit back and watch how He will perform his miracle of provision.


the pleasures of homemaking said...

I agree! When I walked through Target before Easter I had my eye on some cute cake pans that I knew would be 50% off the day after. Why buy it then - wait and it'll be at least half off. I do wish people wouldn't gobble everything up right away and wait it out though. We all could get things much cheaper if people would just learn to wait! That's really how I shop - that and getting lucky at the thrift store.

Yay that you got a wonderful coat! I hope you get as lucky with the SAS shoes!


Heather said...


I love your silver tea service! I have been looking for one for awhile. What an awesome God we serve!

Love, Heather

Bernideen's Tea Time Blog said...

What a lovely post! I am thankful for your blessings!

Packrat said...

So pretty. I love to see how others decorate.

I too love rummage sales, yard sales, and thrift shops. Some of favorite things have come from them.

Charity Grace said...

What a wonderful post. I, too, love it when God blesses me with cheap or free gifts. Sometimes it's all about waiting and not being impatient...The right thing comes at the right time.

Heather L. said...

I love the pictures of your house! We love so many of the same things (and the same stores) :) I've been looking for sweaters to felt and haven't been finding any but today I found the jackpot at Salvation Army -- and they were all 50% off!!! Yay! 19 sweaters for $24. That was definately a blessing.