Friday, April 7, 2017

Hostess Shopping habits...Friday post.

I try to shop locally as much as possible.
This is especially important when it comes to food.
If we want the farms to survive as acreages
and the local farmers to stay in business we need to give them our business.

I opt to shop in smaller stores where I know the owners...
the big box stores do not offer much in the way of service
and one generally does not engage in the same sort of conversation with the clerks while conducting business as these stores are usually noisy and crowded and the line ups long
which makes waiting to get through the till a rather tedious exercise.

Having said that, there are a few exceptions...

Like linens...
Our kitchen tea towels are all made of linen.
I love how soft the linen towels get after many washings.
After years of fighting with the iron I have come to terms with the job, and I love ironing...
standing back admiring the stack of freshly ironed tea towels each week on laundry day is a just reward!

I'm not sure why ironing was in the category of "domestic drudgery"...
it never occurred to me that all I needed to do was shift the way that I thought about the job in order to embrace and enjoy the process...
after all is said and done, it is repetitive and very meditative.

Patricia Hines designed linen towels from Western Australia
found in a local second hand shop
as new ~ unused
$7.00 each

Each towel has a bit of red in the pattern which is why I bought the pair...
I have a red tea kettle and some other red accents in The Humble Bungalow Kitchen.

Coffee for my morning cafe creme comes from Italy
served in my favourite bowl
Emma Bridgewater Black Toast pottery from the UK

Since retiring I have been quite frugal...
especially with clothing.
I have kept a book where I record the clothes that I purchase and how much they cost.
It has been a great exercise and I plan to keep up the habit.

I love to shop vintage and peruse the charity shops.
 This is rather like a hobby as it can take up quite a bit of time.
If one is pressed for time this is not the best way to shop.

We have quite a few good consignment shops in town which are fun to browse.

One of my favourites is Good Things on Oak Bay Avenue.
I have consigned many household things with them...
recently we took some of Mom's items to them.
 I have purchased many more items from them that I could ever list!
(no book itemizing these purchases exists!)

Other shops are;
Value Village, Salvation Army, WIN thrift, St. Vincent de Paul, Super Chance and the James Bay Community Closet are located in town.

The Beacon Hospital Thrift Shop in Sidney is a 40 minute drive
but has a good selection of housewares, books, and clothing.
Like any second hand shop one needs to go with an open mind and look carefully at what is in the store.

Do you shop second hand?
Do you prefer to shop online or in person?

How was your Friday?

Mine was busy, but relaxed.
Yoga class, lunch out with a friend, and a wee bit of shopping
tried to go for a walk in the gale force winds
wrote this post while drinking a pot of tea
next up I will prepare a healthy dinner.

For those of you who may be curious about the lot next door...
and those who aren't please look away now.

This is the view from my kitchen window...
there is a huge pile of dirt waiting to be trucked away.
I wonder if we will have a weekend of peace and quiet.

Hope that you have some fun things planned for the weekend.



  1. Interesting that you have kept tabs on the amount you have spent on clothing. I've never done that--but may start!

    Love your tea towels. I have purchased vintage linen tea towels, but have sometimes had them wear with holes much sooner than a new towel. Any ideas why that might be?

  2. I bought two linen tea towels from IKEA which had holes in them within 3 months and we have about 20 linen tea towels that we use in rotation so I am perplexed except to say perhaps the weave is looser than the Irish and French ones that I usually purchase. Vintage tea towels have outlasted many newer ones so I am not sure what to say about your experience. It may be your laundry soap? The owner of our local Irish linen shop recommends never putting linen tea towels in the dryer! I do throw ours in the dryer but only on warm not high heat. Hope that helps!

  3. Dear hostess I am perplexed. How could your clothing costs be so low in 2015 when we went to France and you made purchases at Hermes?

    1. Exactly why my costs were so low that year is because I bought a scarf in Paris! I was not feeling like I could justify many other purchases...maybe I felt a wee bit guilty! It was a dream trip and one that I will never forget...

    2. No need to feel guilty. You have worked all your life, you own a home and new car - your husband still works as a professional, so I think you can easily afford to travel and buy little extravagances. As far as I know, we're all "going around once".

    3. Spending money on myself is something that brings mixed feelings...I suppose it is because for years we spent most of our money on the children, our home, garden and the boat. Having some mad money is so new to me that I am still coming to terms with the fact that I can take a trip and buy some luxury items...
      you raise a valid point though Kathy and one that perhaps I need to think about.

    4. I think you are doing fabulously. All your purchases are bought after much thought. They are utilitarian and look so nice on you. You have you palette down pat. The lovely things you bought in France should be something a little more special, and they are! My comment was tongue in cheek. I am truly envious of how easily you know what looks lovely on you and don't waste time and money on items that do not. It's a gift!

    5. I have bought a few things this past year that were not flattering...I should have been more cautious but I think it happens to all of us. Hopefully we learn by our mistakes and for items that cost more I need to be very sure that they will work as I cannot afford to make mistakes. My daughter has a great eye and I love shopping with her...she is honest and I totally respect her opinion and take her advice.

  4. I love the red chairs on your patio, they add a wonderful punch of color.

    Keeping track of clothing expenses might be fun, but that's not my problem, it is buying plants for the garden that is my big weakness and I am not too sure I want to face the results of that list. LOL

    1. I have that same problem....roses and flowers find their way onto the cart so easily at the garden centre! They bring such joy and beauty into our lives and gardens!

  5. I'll concentrate on your beautiful red chairs,not the dirt!
    I am writing down all of my purchases together for a long time,sometimes I put them in departements,but mostly not
    Your linen tea towels are beautiful,I have only a couple of plain white-blueones and one with red poppies. I dry them in the sun,with the others, and they look fine.
    Love to buy local stuff,as long as it is possible-it is very important for local brands and producers
    I've forgotten to mention at Sue's High navy dress I've bought in spring,too-it is from one of our brands -Linea!
    Lavazza is one of my favourites coffee brands (and when in Austria,I like Julius Meinl)

    1. I started writing down the purchases as I had no idea how much money I was spending on clothes and was surprised...shocked in fact, and now I am content with fewer garments and keeping the cost in line is better for the budget!
      I have seen a few things from the Linea line of clothing...all lovely. Navy is a classic colour that you can wear all throughout the year. I'd love to see the dress on you.

  6. Thanks for sharing your information re linen tea towels and clothing. We are closing in on retirement and there will be changes. I hope new homes fit into neighbourhood. Pat from Ontario.

    1. I hope that you will enjoy a wonderful retirement...there are so many fun things to do and with many courses offered at the community centres one has to choose where to focus their energies! It is a fabulous opportunity to explore new things.

  7. Clothing expenses and restaurant meals are my downfall. I should track dollars just as I do (sometimes) food and exercise. I have been six weeks in Oaxaca with just the contents of a carryon bag and I always have something to wear. I love Lavazza coffee and I can always find it on sale. I don't mind ironing although I live in an apartment with a large communal laundry room. I have set my board up down there (no one irons anymore so no one bothers with it) and I iron whenever I do laundry. There should be some beautiful decorations in Oaxaca this week-end so I plan to take photos. Have a happy week-end!

    1. Restaurant meals can easily add up...I try not to drink wine at lunch and opt for tea and water. It is not just for Weight Watcher's it adds extra to the bill and I do enjoy meeting friends for lunch during the week.
      I rarely find Lavazza coffee on sale...I must look more carefully and buy it when it is on sale.
      Look forward to seeing your pictures of the colours in Oaxaca

  8. I love your tea towels too(!)
    Inspired by you and a few other bloggers, I have curtailed my clothes shopping to the times when I visit my daughter who works in a clothing store. I pretty much have what I need and so the purchases are for what I want. But they must fit into the big picture and I have saved for them.
    I do love thrift/consignment shops. (I once scored a terrific leather jacket with embossed pewter buttons for $25, which cleaned me out of all my cash for the week. A few years later it was sent to Montreal for cleaning to the cost of $40!) My favorite shop closed over the winter. Another re-located and I found it just last week. The local wealthy women of the town where my daughter lives have a fundraiser for charity twice a year. Last fall I spent $110 and came home with 4 sweaters, a silk blouse, 7 scarves, a light overcoat, and a purse. I will be unable to attend the spring event, but that means I can put aside more $$ for next fall.
    I am glad the construction crew is using the heavy equipment now when it is still cool-ish so that the machinery noise will not be overwhelming when you want your windows open. There can be a rhythm to the hammering that can fade into the background. Carol in VT

    1. You have a great plan. To save ahead and budget your shopping and purchases for your clothes...spontaneous purchases can be a pitfall!
      Love the sound of that charity fundraising sale!

  9. As you so rightly say linen tea towels are the best. I usually purchase them from National Trust properties in the UK when visiting and it is an easy souvenir to pack. I am not as enthusiastic as you with the ironing though but do agree that it is meditative. I once designed a whole course at my ironing board!!!

    1. I bought a linen tea towel in Paris and it took up very little room in my carry on...they make great Hostess gifts too. I think my friends may bet bored with me giving them so many...I usually add a lovely soap or a tube of hand lotion and sometimes beeswax candles wrapped in the towels!
      Your ironing board sounds like it might be masquerading as a tall desk !

  10. Irish linen tea towels! I did not like them at all when I was in my teens, because it was my job to iron them during the summer! They never went in the dryer, always line dried, and then Mom would dampen them, roll them up, and put them in a plastic bag and throw them in the fridge for a day or two. She swore they ironed better, as the linen fibres relaxed.

    We still have some very old towels; they are thin, but oh so soft and perfect for drying crystal. I think, with maybe a few exceptions, they all came from the Irish Linen Store on Government Street. That store was one of the first stops on any trip to Victoria, along with Sydney Reynolds...

    1. My sister and I had chores too and not all of them were enjoyable!
      Your mother's habit sounds very appropriate from all that I have read in the domestic home economics books of the 1950's and early 1960's.
      The Irish linen shop is still in business but sadly Sydney Reynolds has been gone for some time now....I used to love looking in the windows at the Spode and the Wedgewood pieces...oh and the Waterford crystal.

  11. I like that idea of keeping track of clothing purchases in a little book. Although I have a vague idea how much I spend, and my husband does update our budget on the computer each month ( I'm sure I would hear about it if he was concerned ;) ),I think it would be a good exercise for me.
    On Friday I was, in fact, shopping at a Salvation Army! I was looking for some little overalls and jeans for my granddaughter to wear when they come to visit later this month. My husband, who is the gardener, wants to get her out in the gardens with him. I did, however, find some things for myself. The bulk of my shopping is second hand shops of various sorts. I agree that you have to go with an open mind! I feel lucky if I stumble on something I was particularly looking for, but you do have to be flexible.
    I hope you did get a bit of repreive from the construction over the weekend.

    1. I hope that your granddaughter has fun in the garden and she will look adorable in those overalls! You will have to take a few pictures and share them with her when she is older. Enjoy your is such a special time when our grandchildren are in the house!

  12. Ironing tea towels is something I do sometimes, but I don't beat myself up about it if I don't get to it. They do look so pretty when ironed. I bet you're curious about what's to happen in the lot next door. I hope your weekend is a peaceful one, without construction noise.

    1. It has been a quiet weekend so far...and glorious sunshine today!
      One of the linen cloths that I do not iron is from the Irish Linen shop and it is specifically designed for drying and cleaning glass. It is quite a loose weave and so it works incredibly well and leaves no streaks.

  13. I like to support our local vendors. It is easy with books, gifts, and children's clothes. Most of the boutiques are quite trendy, and I am bit of a classics girl.

    I do hope you are having a quiet weekend.

    1. I think patronizing the wee shops and chatting with the owners is a much more enriching experience than going to the vast stores on the outskirts of town...
      I do shop at Costco but not on a weekly or even a monthly basis.

  14. I love your tea towels - and they would be perfect in my kitchen! :-) Like you, I actually find ironing to be relaxing and I just love the way everything looks afterward, stacked neatly in my linen cupboard, or hanging in a row in my closet.
    Since my (at least temporary) retirement in September I have been tracking expenses for the household, electronics, clothing and books. I have bought about $60 worth of household decorative items, exactly $38 on clothing (yoga pants) and just under $100 on books & magazines (my personal weakness). However, I had to purchase a new printer last month and on Friday, a new TV (both items had completely packed it in) and this week I will need to purchase a new shredder as mine has also given up the ghost! Why do big ticket items all die at once? But hopefully all these items will last for a good number of years as I try to go with quality over quantity.
    I am lucky in that I can support many local vendors in my neighbourhood - especially for food - and they are required to show where food comes from so I also purchase "Grown in Ontario" whenever possible. We have a campaign on in Toronto for all of us to "Shop Local" meaning all the small vendors in our own parts of town - Toronto was really a series of villages and neighbourhoods that eventually amalgamated so many still have shops reflecting that history - much more fun to visit than the big box stores.
    Like Madame La-Bas, eating out is an expensive habit that I am trying to curtail. I will now often suggest meeting for coffee and a treat rather than lunch, friends and I often split a meal as portions are so large, or I bring half home for another meal. And, because I am home at the moment I have invited friends for meals and they will often bring wine or dessert so much cheaper for all of us.

    1. Electronics seem to expire in clusters...we have had that same issue here.
      Lunch out is a weekly event here too and I often opt for a bowl of the daily soup or a small salad...I am trying not to overeat these days as I am still over my WW goal weight. It has taken a back seat since Mother passed away and we have been so busy with the estate that it may be some time before I get "back on track."
      Books used to be a big ticket item for me but now I use the local library for most of the books that I read...I do have a weakness for cookbooks and beautiful books. I am considering buying Paris in Bloom which came out a month or so ago...

    2. I'm also getting back on track weight-wise as it has been a very sluggish winter and I have gained! But I don't go completely cold turkey - I ry easing into it over a couple of weeks and then it becomes a habit that I can keep.
      Books are truly my weakness, although I have been better about using the library over the past few months - and I've had good luck with books that I've really enjoyed.

  15. Sorry to say it - you are in a for a noisy construction season - once the excavation is done, the banging starts! Hopefully, the build goes quickly, and they go on to quieter inside jobs.

    1. I have no doubt that you are correct...I will just have to learn to live with it and be grateful for the quiet times!

  16. I remember my mother ironing while listening to soap operas. You'll understand, but I'm sorry that I can't iron. It aggravates a problem I have with a nerve in my neck. Love your posts and enjoy seeing the updates on the building going on.

    1. I hope you don't aggravate that nerve...just refuse to iron!

      I used to fold my babies diapers while watching General Hospital!
      We had 3 dozen diapers to wash and hang on the line most days and the folding was so easy that I could still watch the babies slept during the daily 60 minute show!

  17. I'm from Western Australia but recently moved to Brisbane in Queensland. Your tea towels made me smile. I love our Sturt Peas and Black Swans.