I LOVE buying vintage items ... or just plain used! It's a way of life for me - why pay more when you don't have to?
I belong to some local Swap groups, mostly for exchanging and selling used toys and kids' clothes. Recently a new mom posted her dismay at the price of toys for girls. (Someone had listed a trendy doll furniture set for $100 still sealed in the package.) As the mom of a newborn baby girl, she expressed the need to "start saving now" for this perceived inevitable downfall soon to be experienced! I think maybe she just needs to stay on the Swap a bit longer ... and see all the used doll furniture selling for a pittance!
"Buy everything used when you can,
and only buy new when you can't" V. Buchanan
Everyone is keen on saving the environment these days aren't they? Find some old vintage handkerchiefs for the boys. Wash and iron them. Even if he doesn't want to use them at work or at home, they're handy in the car for coffee spills or wiping a spot off the windshield. Indispensable in his pocket while working in the garden or the workshop for wiping the sweat off his hard-working brow!
Young children are the easiest. With usually boxes of toys to choose from, you can put together a nice little collection of toy cars, doll clothes, board games (check to make sure all the pieces are present) or some little stuffed animals. Take them home and give them a good clean. Plastic toys can be wiped down and the little crevices cleaned with a wet Q-tip. Stuffed animals can go right in your washing machine, with mild soap and cold water on the gentle cycle. Let them sit on a towel to dry. Barbie and doll clothes can be washed in the sink in a similar fashion. When dry, mend any little tears. Put them all together in zippered toiletry / cosmetic bags or small decorative boxes from the dollar store. Parents will appreciate that your gift comes with its own storage ... and not all that ridiculous plastic packaging that takes a hacksaw to get in to!! Seriously, this reduces frustration on Christmas morning when the little one has to wait for scissors to be found, packaging to be cut ... not to mention cutting or untwisting all those superfluous tie-downs. And then somehow removing the delicate plastic toy without breaking it!
The amazing thing is that by shopping this way, you actually will find you think more about the person you are buying for. What do they really like? Would they be able to use this item? What could I pair it with? You spend less, yes, but the result is actually more personalized ... and thoughtful, which is ultimately what gift-giving is all about!
~ Ending with a Heart-warming Story ~
My daughter was indoctrinated early into the thrill of the thrift store. Honestly, from the earliest days (when she was still in a carriage), I wheeled her in. She soon learned how quickly Mom would say yes, when a coveted toy was only $2, versus a brand-new toy in a "regular" store, complete with its copious packaging ... and retailing for $30. My sweetest recollection was when she was about 3 years old and playing with a Winnie-the-Pooh musical toy. It had a keyboard and Winnie, Tigger and Eeyore figures standing up at the top ... all ready to chime in when pulled. When it was time to leave, she reluctantly put the toy back on the shelf without even asking if she could have it (already she knew I had a limit on the "physical size" for toys). I told her to bring it along to the cashier and the look on her face was so dear - "We're getting it???" she breathed. That is the pleasure of second-hand shopping and that is the pleasure of being able to say yes, when a toy is only $3.99 ... with working batteries included!!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018
So many apples! We've made Apple Pies, Apple Cider, Apple Sauce, Apple Muffins, given apples away, each eaten the recommended "apple a day" and ... here is the latest batch of goodies - Apple Chutney!
Last year, our apple trees didn't produce too much, so I didn't put up any chutney. This year I was delighted to be able to make a large batch. I thought I followed the recipe I used two years ago, but I guess I looked at a different version ... in a different cookbook! (Meadow Sweet Grove has quite a few cookbooks ... some inherited, some rescued). This time, a happy mistake was made! I thought the chutney looked a very deep red, I thought it smelled a little different; but I couldn't figure out the difference.
I gave a sample to the"top taster" here at the Grove, and was told it had a "delicious heat" and tasted just like Red Pepper Jelly! So I consulted my recipe from last year:
Apple Chutney Recipe: its-apple-harvest-time.html
... and have ascertained the difference!
I had doubled up on the red peppers, practically eliminated the yellow pepper (I'm a big fan of using what you have on hand ... and I only had a small portion of a yellow pepper available). I used regular old white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. And the last "mistake" is a little habit of mine (sometimes not always appreciated) - I upped the spice - in this case, cayenne pepper ... just a smidge you understand.
The result is fantastic!
Enjoy with crackers and a sharp white cheddar.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018