Monday, March 10, 2008

Craptastic Cheapsakes!

What goes better with a morning cup of coffee than a clever turn of phrase?

Like this wit-twister I was treated to this morning from a column by Lizz Winstead in the latest issue of Plenty magazine, “ The great family heirloom is quickly being replaced with craptastic cheapsakes.”

After wiping the laugher-sprayed coffee off the front of my pajamas and the moisture from eyes I realized that Winstead had summed up in two words what I’d been trying to explain for years as to WHY I shop at thrift stores (besides the money savings), WHY I like “ugly old” furniture and knick knacks. And ultimately WHY I quilt and give handmade gifts when I can. Because I don’t think this world or the people I love who live in it, need any more cheaply made, non-durable, non-sentimental things that are soon out-dated and more likely than not out of commission.

Tell me…when was the last time you lovingly ran your hand over the pressed particle wood desk purchased in 1995 from Desks R Us and pondered how its’ future recipients would cherish it and what memories it would hold for them? As a matter of fact…is that desk you bought back in ’95 even still being used…or did it fall apart the last time you moved it from one side of your office to another?

Or linens. Do you suppose our daughters and grand-daughters will pull out our JCPenney pillowcases from the spring 2000 bed-in-a-bag collection and press them with lavender water before tucking them neatly onto the guest bed, thinking all the while about all of the seconds that some underpaid worker in Bangladesh or Malaysia took in pulling them from the assembly line?

How about the latest video game console or iPod? In 25 years will your grandson cling to an Xbox 360 and shed a respect-filled tear over Microsoft’s craftsmanship?

I have to agree with Winstead when she says, “I have the sneaking suspicion that 100 years from now, my great-great-grandchildren won’t be clamoring through my attic saying, “Oh look! It’s one of those vintage Air Poppers. I think I’ll make a lamp out of it!”

Oh, I know it’s very PC to be “green” these days, and that Winstead’s article is more about saving the earth than saving memories, but I’m more accidentally green rather than purposefully so.

When I’m quilting or crafting or buying for my home the heirloom angle is always on my mind. I also think about all the stuff I have sitting around my house that will end up in the landfills without a second glance and believe me, I have plenty of experience with this as I’ve already sent hundreds of “craptastic” items that way.

This ideal has come over me just in the last few years. Now, when I’m shopping I ask myself, “Will my kids want this in 20 years?” and “Will it even be around then?”

I ask myself the same question when I’m quilting. Since I hand quilt almost exclusively, I take special care in the quality of the work I put into it, hoping against hope that the project in my hands will make it beyond the average lifespan of a cheaply manufactured “must-have-today-so-I-can-replace-it-tomorrow” Walmart special. And while my needle glides in and out of the fabric I enjoy imagining that one day one of my descendants will be rummaging through MY attic and find a REAL treasure.

**Addendum: Please realize that while I did enjoy this article by Lizz Winstead I do not endorse her political comedy or views. I just thought her turn of phrase was witty. Don't read too much into it, all righty?**


Storybook Woods said...

You preach it sista, very well said !!!! Clarice

diXymiss said...

Ditto Clarice ~ my sentiments eXactly!

Finn said...

Hi Michele, what a delightful blog you write *VBS* Definitely a gal after my own heart.
I feel like the world is drowning in 'disposible' everything, including people.
As a very old hand quilter, with failing vision, I'm still trying to get the message of process and purpose across to the younger 'instant fix' gals. I know how busy they are, but most are simply bypassing even the learning of how to hand's a pity.
Love your 6 word memoirs, and the bags you made a just great. Keep the faith baby, and thanks for stopping by over at the Orphan Train blog. Hugs, Finn

Vaughanville said...


Thanks for stopping by. You know it is frustrating to me sometimes that I can’t get more quilts done like so many machine quilters. I feel like that phrase, “so many quilts, so little time” applies more to the hand quilter than any because we have to be very selective in which quilts we put our hundreds of hours into, yes?

I appreciate your kind comments.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this article out, Michele. You've justified my study renovation. I got rid of a cheap particleboard desk and crooked shelves, and installed some that aren't going anywhere and fit with the 1910 decor. Now I just have to hand down my whole apartment!

Laura, who can never remember her Google password

Gumbo Lily said...

"Craptastic".....I'll remember that! Good stuff here Michele and I'm standing with you on this. I'm planning to do some ribbon embroidered sheets for wedding gifts. I can't wait to start needling.


Vaughanville said...

Oh, ribbon embroidery! That will be gorgeous. I'm considering a whole cloth whitework quilt for my sister's, but I better hop to or I'll never make it.

Share pics when you've finished, all right?