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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten

I’ve been obsessing about old screens lately. And when I start to obsess about something, I really, REALLY can’t let it go. I saw a project on line somewhere, and figured with my collection of vintage ornaments and some appropriately sized crusty old screens, I could re-create that online idea and turn it into a little Family Christmas Project for those who would want to participate...and they would have a piece of art that has a history, and that they also made with their very own hands.

The only batch of screens to be found were in Toronto...a two hour drive. I actually convinced JR to take a drive last Sunday to get those screens. Of course, we made a day of it with our friends and were thankful just to get away from all the craziness of life and visit with them without phones, internet, iPad, Facebook.

Mission accomplished...$15 for ten old crusty window screens. 

Then on to IKEA. Not that there's anything wrong with IKEA. But I do love to pop in and see their amazing displays.  But the more we browsed, the more uncomfortable I became. It's SO much stuff...the warehouse of assemble yourself cool looking low end furniture stacked a mile high.  Definitely marketed to the budget conscious apartment dweller, I think.  But it made me thankful for the stuff we do...stuff with a history. Stuff with quality construction. Stuff that's one of a kind.

I compared the price of a chest of drawers from IKEA :  Solid wood construction, and not the best of wood or construction in our opinion. In fact, you have to assemble it yourself. It's a basic simple chest of drawers that has a cool look to it and might be just the sleek modern lines that you want. NO doubt birthed in a low income factory in a developing country then given it's fabulous Swedish name. This stuff is not made to last three years, let alone three generations.

IKEA $299

Okay, this is a chest of drawers that we re-purposed this week. They are probably about 75 years old. They have had a life, and have held up through thousands of drawer slams and generations of family storage options . I'm sure this dresser was replaced by something "new and modern" which eventually brought it to live the last years of it's life holding old Christmas stuff in an attic And that's okay.

It survived. And we gave it a new, interesting life. Lovingly finished with milk paint, painted detail and hand waxed finish. 

ellen j goods $325
Well, we left IKEA and my purchase?  A bundle of sticks. $15 sticks.

When we were going through customs, the border agent asked us the usual, and we showed him our purchase in the back of the car...our bundle of sticks.

Border Agent:  So you had to go to Canada to buy sticks? They don't have sticks in New York?
We all chuckled.  JR:  I know, right? Can you believe it?
Border Agent: Well, they don't have Swedish Sticks in New York.
JR: True.
Border Agent:  Make that Chinese sticks.

$15 for screens, $15 for sticks. Chinese sticks.  Lay money that those screens in their new re-purposed life will long outlive that stupid bunch of sticks.