Donna's Writings


Money: What’s “new” got to do with it?

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

–Tina Turner (song writers: Terry Britten & Graham Lyle)

I love this song, but I don’t want to talk about love today, I want to talk about something even closer to some people’s hearts: money.

I am remodeling my classroom this week, trying to use as much free and old stuff as I can. I found old shutters in the attic of my new/old house, bought a whole pile of used and run-down office furniture for $75, and have tons of photos, knitted pieces, old towel racks and robe hooks, etc. that I am not using in the house. All of these things are becoming part of the shabby-chic decor of my studio. And this is by choice.

Binky LaFaye ShopAs I was getting ready to start working on my classroom (well, helping, as my sister is the master redecorator), I picked up a copy of Where Women Create magazine for ideas and inspiration. One article featured the drop-dead gorgeous workspace of Binky Morgan, of Binky LaFaye Objects of Eld. Everything about her studio appealed to me: vintage fabrics, old lace, junk furniture (that is, furniture that’s old but not good enough to be worth anything on Antiques Roadshow!), unpainted old wood walls, a rusty old swing with torn cushions. This place looks like somewhere I would have loved to disappear for a day and explore secretly when I was a kid.

(On a side note, I’m so sad that kids can’t disappear for the day any more without someone freaking out that they may have been kidnapped. I know that it’s incredibly bad timing to express this sentiment, with the events in Cleveland this week, but I can’t help it. I think kids are over protected these days and I find it sad that everyone seems so afraid of the world.)

Describing her studio, Binky wrote:

There is a term whose meaning I identify with, “beautifully decrepit.” On the back of our property is a little decrepit stucco building. What I love so much about it is that in its century of existence, it has always been a place where someone worked and created… With the exception of a few modern amenities, it stands pretty much as we found it.

I’m leaving a lot of the parts of my house pretty much as I found them. I have decided to keep the old wallpaper in the living room, the 1930s linoleum “carpet” in two of the bedrooms, the painted wood floors, and lots of other odds and ends. I can’t afford a This Old House remodel, but I don’t want one anyway. I want to keep the story and charm of my 1877 farm house visibly in tact. It’s not in good enough shape to be worth much, but it is beautiful and charming and a part of history. 

my studio before redecoratingI try to be less of a consumer all the time. Of course, I fail abysmally, being an American through-and-through. But I am not only a consumer, I am also a producer and creator. I think it’s very important to maintain a balance between the two. I also think it’s very important to do things for ourselves. Although many times, I would have preferred to pay someone to wash our windows, clean our floors, paint our walls, and change the oil in our cars, my husband has always insisted on doing these things himself. At least partly out of the desire to be parsimonious, but also because he enjoys the process. We both cook as well. No, not every night, and sometimes we have frozen pizza, but for the most part, we make our meals from scratch. 

I’m not sure exactly what my point is. This topic, or melange of topics, is something that’s been on my mind for several years, and I haven’t been able to get it to gel into something I can write about fluently yet. But I hope that by blogging about these ideas, I can start to figure out what I actually think about consumerism, capitalism, DIY, creating as a labor of love, and more.

TAFN. I have to go paint in my shabby-chic classroom.


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