A Little Something

The headline here at Mockingbird Hill Cottage continues to be:

 MHC: Trying to Exist on an Extremely Frugal Budget of


You think I’m kidding? I assure you, I’m not. And I’m sure that many of you are doing the same thing. But even a budget of next-to-nothing might sometimes allow for a wee purchase. Just a small one. I have to do this kind of thing every once in a while because it makes me feel a little better. No, I’m not shopper who buys things in order to feel better about myself and I’m not feeling sorry for myself. But there are times when I simply need to buy a little something and I set a limit of $20.00.

This month – November – is the month of my birthday.

It’s a big one – one that I’m in denial about, one that I’d much rather avoid.

It’s looming.

So I just might need a little pick-me-up. Because life has been depressing as of late and I have been immersed in a feeling of hopelessness.

I dropped off some things to donate to Hurricane Sandy relief yesterday and stopped in at a favorite antique shop.

I came home with these.

I love old glove boxes. I often see them in solid colors. These faded prints are harder to find. Marked down to $4.50.

Adorable McCoy pot in my favorite color. Actually, this is a Nelson McCoy pot which pre-dates the McCoy markings.

See the NM mark? This is a smallish pot with a nifty design. I haven’t purchased anything McCoy in quite a while, partly because I only have so much room here at the cottage and partly because I’m trying to live as frugally as possible. (See headline.) Interestingly, the day we discovered Mabel (my Featherweight ) which is my early birthday present, I had this very pot in my hand, ready to purchase. As I stood at the counter, I decided that the Featherweight was purchase enough and I handed the pot back to the owner of the shop. I also saw the glove box that day.

Fast forward several weeks and they were still there.

They were waiting for me, don’t you think?

I’m happy to say that the total price for these two items came in at well under $20.00.


The winner of a copy of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary is Regena Fickes. I’ve already contacted her. Congratulations, Regena!

Happy Monday.


  1. Rita says

    How much I connect with you on that feeling of hopelessness. Sadness going on all around us as we try to send what little we can to help. People being oh so unkind. A new couple moved in next to my daughter and had extra trash so they brought it down and put it in her trash can this morning. It would have been fine. They didn’t ask. Didn’t introduce themselves. Maybe I’m just sensitive but I could not do that here. I love your ideas because they do perk me up. My heart seems to have left and I just take the next step. Oh my heart is in taking care of my animals all old. And helping my daughter but……guess I just feel weary with so many things. Probably the same things other do. And then sometimes all of a sudden I feel better. Hope you do too.

    • Claudia says

      People can be very insensitive, Rita. I’m continually taken aback by what I see and hear. I understand what you mean by ‘weary’ and I must confess I feel that way much of the time lately. You will feel better. And I will, too. Stay strong, my friend.

  2. says

    I have meant to comment all summer but internet was a real issue. I have a featherweight which I love. She runs like a charm. I like the name Mable – name of my grandmother who taught to love sewing and crafting and knitting and antiques. Now that I am back on line, I hope to start blogging again as I have missed it.

    Take care.

    • Claudia says

      That makes 3. I have one blue box and another one that covered in a pink print (don’t tell anyone, it’s my favorite!)

  3. Patricia says

    I’m turning an unbelievable number this month as well–entering a new decade, I’m not so sure you’ll be this other decade yet??? ! We also live beyond frugally! But I decided I also wanted a very special birthday present!

    • Claudia says

      What is your birthday present going to be, Patricia? I will be entering a new decade. That’s all I’m prepared to say at the moment. More will be revealed.

      • Patricia says

        I don’t even want to mention the gift I’d like cause it’s VERY EXTAVAGENT!!! And we are frugal, so I don’t know if my darling will make the wish come true, although his cousin, who lives with us was looking online….

  4. says

    Claudia you are lucky to live in an area with such incredible thrift shops. I wish I could have your luck in finding such great buys. P.S. You deserve to indulge yourself on occasions.


    • Claudia says

      Well, to tell the truth, Michie, thrift shops around here are sadly lacking. These were from an antique shop. I wish I had the Goodwills and other thrift shops I hear everyone else talking about, but each time I go to one around here, I end up being disappointed.

    • Claudia says

      Glove boxes are neat, Mags. Many times they are covered in a satiny solid color. The ones I’ve seen are always quilted. They work well as studio storage. And I just like them!

  5. Mary D. says

    I look forward to reading your blog every day. You value what is most important – others – and deserve a little pick-me-up. I had a particularly rough day yesterday, and connecting with someone who has the same interests and likes is a delight. I bought the same color glove box (without the flower pattern) at a rummage sale this summer. My birthday is this month – I’m just not thinking about it.

    • Claudia says

      Me either, Mary. I’m sorry you had a rough day yesterday. I hope today is much brighter for you.

  6. says

    I’m not sure about the size of the glove box, but I immediately thought that -if long enough- it would be a beautiful place to store knitting needles. Financially, I’m sorry that things are so difficult for you.

  7. says

    I think things are much more special when they come occasionally, not every time we ‘want’ something. Such a sweet little pot and I had never seen a glove box before… I’m feeling pretty educated this morning! Have a more restful week and enjoy your new treasures. :)

  8. says

    First, Happy Birthday! Second, you better believe they were waiting for you! I almost never go back to a thrift store and find the same item that I passed up is still available.
    As for living on next to nothing, I know exactly what you mean! But now and then, we do need to “buy Hyacinths for the soul”—makes life sooo much nicer!

  9. Terri says

    My birthday is tomorrow…I’m now past the big one into that decade. You know, the one where everyone thinks you are just going to retire and won’t hire you. They obviously don’t have a 401(k) that has tanked a few times.

    I’d have never known those were glove boxes. Learn something new every day. Of course, these two items were meant for you…why else were they still there?

    Oh, and Happy Birthday :)

    • Claudia says

      I’m with you on the age thing, Terri. Why does everyone suddenly decide we have nothing to offer? Makes me angry. Happy Birthday tomorrow! I hope you have the best day!

  10. says

    Happy Birthday coming up. These numbers aren’t “too” bad and it beats the alternative for sure. My grandaughter said to her daddy, ” Did you know that Grammy was 60 and still alive.” Her daddy told her that his parents were in their 80’s. Off she went without a thought of what he had just said.
    We all need to treat ourself once in awhile…..like the beautiful scarf that I just received from you. I love it. It is so soft and pretty. I use the money I make from babysitting for my little things.
    we have had to live very frugal as well. I can’t post about it because my hubby reads my blogs and so does his secretary. His company keeps making cuts….layoffs, benefits and etc. Next to go is the insurance coverage. Sometimes I wonder how we can cut back any more. After donating to the Red Cross the rest of my “findings” are going to buy our Christmas for our 15 immediate family members. Every year I struggle to get things for everyone. Not alot but something…..this year will be alot less stressful. If you haven’t read my last post come on over and make a guess.
    (((((HUGS))))) Love my scarf.

  11. says

    You found yourself a great present. Love the glove box but of course the McCoy pottery is so special. Hang in there if it’s the birthday I think it is…you will survive, I did! LOL! hugs, Linda

  12. Chris k in Wisconsin says

    Oh, Claudia! Don’t dread the birthday, embrace it. Not everyone GETS to celebrate that milestone. The alternative is NOT a good thing!! Life is incredibly short. We must celebrate everything we can for the time we have!! And I believe that a few little things are soul-savers we gift to ourselves. We must do that periodically, also. You are a gifted person in so many ways, and I am so glad that I “know” you. I would be VERY unhappy if you weren’t here to celebrate this birthday and many more! In December I will be 63. Each day is a gift, and always remember that some days are diamonds. Here’s to MANY MANY MORE!!!

    • Claudia says

      Yeah, I know, Chris. All of that is true. But, nevertheless, I think I’m a lot younger than I really am!

  13. says

    Nice that they were still there and WELL under budget. A plus!
    I like the little piece of pottery. Pretty! How about that glove box? will you be display it or use it to store something special or perhaps store something ordinary? (I like to use vintage things to store ordinary everyday objects)
    =D Happy Birthday too! Pat

    • Claudia says

      I’m not sure how I’m going to use it yet, Pat. I have 2 other glove boxes that I use for storage up in the studio. I’m going to wait for inspiration!

  14. Donnamae says

    Well, unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember my mother’s pink glove box…wonder whatever happened to it? So glad those two items were still waiting for you…that’s how you know it was meant to be! And you know, it’s just a number…it’s all about your spirit, and I’d say you have a great one! 😉

    • Claudia says

      Thank you, Donnamae! The spirit has been a bit subdued lately. Hopefully it will spring back!

  15. says

    Claudia – You made some great buys!! The glove box is so neat but, of course, I LOVE the McCoy piece. When is your birthday? I don’t think that being 29 is too bad !!!


  16. says

    Hi, Claudia…the glove box and pot patiently waited for you. Some things are just supposed to happen, and the universe doesn’t mind waiting sometimes. :-) I truly understand the frustration of trying to be frugal and thrifty…it seems like the older I grow, the less I have in the bank…and that is NOT the way it’s supposed to work! And now my husband just got another hefty paycut at work, so I’m trying to cut a budget that is already thin, thin, thin. You are so right…sometimes a $20 and a trip to your favorite antique store can help us stay sane!

    • Claudia says

      I know – we should have money in the bank and time to relax at this age. What’s wrong with this picture?

  17. says

    The big one is OK. Your McCoy will happily settle right in with your collection. Featherweights are wonderful, a great choice for your birthday present. We are having sunshine today after a couple of rainy weeks so I am planning my day around sunshine (more garden clean up and some organizations/clean up in the sheds).

    Happy Birthday thoughts all month long are winging your way with best Regards to You.


    • Claudia says

      Thank you, Joy. We haven’t had a consistently sunny day yet. It will peek out for a while and then it will get cloudy. Oh well!

  18. says

    Claudia, I love your treasures, and I’m so glad they were there waiting for you. Great price, too.

    While my troubles are primarily a matter of adjusting to the loss of friends, I’m still coming out from under a two year period of loss through deaths of several of my nearest and dearest (top ten friends). it seems to have hit me square in the face as of late. I’m trying to stay busy with lots and lots and LOTS of chores that need to be done (and got sidelined while I was sick) and repairs that need to be made. But every now and then, I just stop and cry. It can be in the middle of the grocery store which makes it a wee bit challenging to a person who does not like public scenes… at least where I’m concerned. Others in the same boat would garner my sympathy. Somehow, when it’s me, it is harder. I get mad at myself and feel guilty for not coutning my blessings, particularlly the friends I still have.

    I’m so sorry you are going through a rough time, and I wish I could be there to help. Please know I’m thinking of you across the miles and sending tender thoughts your way…



    • Claudia says

      Sometimes it’s very hard to count our blessings, Sheila. Life and loss can be so overwhelming. Be kind to yourself and let yourself cry when and where you need to. Sending you hugs, my friend.

  19. Janie F. says

    My husband lost his job after 23 yrs. two years ago and it devastated us financially and emotionally. But we were more fortunate than most in that position as our home and our van were paid for. He was on unemployment for a while and it helped but it was still rough going. My babysitting helped provide and we were grateful for every cent I brought in. Going
    shopping for anything but groceries was out of the question for so long. It was really hard not to be able to buy anything.
    Then when things got better we discovered thrift stores. If I have $10 to spend in a thrift store once a month it gives me such a lift. Books for 25 cents each and clothing that looks like new have lifted my spirits more than once. I just feel like we all deserve a little lift now and then and I’m glad you found these little treasures. Hope you enjoy them!

    • Claudia says

      Thrift stores, flea markets and antique shops are such fun. I love to see what I can get for a bargain, Janie. Is your husband back to work? I know how hard that can be.

      Now, if only we had our house paid off!

      • Janie F. says

        He has filled out many, many applications and was only called in for one interview but didn’t get the job. One of the mom’s I babysit for has a small florist business and he delivers flowers for her now and then, not a lot of income but still something. He was 59 when he lost his job and 61 now so we will be surprised if anyone hires him. I have been
        frugal my whole adult life and it has really been coming in handy now. When I start feeling sorry for myself I think how much worse it would have been if we’d taken a loan out on our home all those times when it needed work and we didn’t know how to pay for it. Here lately I’ve begun to see this time in our lives as a challenge that we are more than capable of meeting and that has really helped.

  20. says

    I splurged on a tall Starbucks frap last weekend…and I had to use coins from the car console to do it..but it tasted twice as good as I remember.. A forced/chosen frugal budget does have rewards that cannot be measured.

  21. says

    I went rummage sale-ing with my neighbor this past weekend and got a couple of things myself! This rummage sale was supposed to be HUGE. It’s hosted by a county here annually. My neighbor went last year and she told me that they spent almost three hours there! Well, this years was a quarter of the size as last year (this was my first year going so my neighbor told me that) but it was still pretty cool. I got two really nice picture frames for $1 each, a small pitcher/vase that I will put twigs in for my Winter mantle. We also went to some other stores and I got a couple of notebooks, some wrapping paper and a pitcher for the kitchen. I had a budget of $40 (I was really hoping I would find A LOT at the annual rummage sale, but that’s okay). And I spent LESS than $10. Awesome.

  22. says

    Happy Birthday month, Claudia. I have several friends with November birthdays and a couple of family members as well. I say that November is going to be a good month! Look how well it started off with those treasures you spied awhile ago still waiting for you. We have to take our pleasures where we can and it’s usually the simpler pleasures that have the longest lasting affect. Ann

  23. says

    Wow, you were so lucky that those treasures were still there! I could only wish that I could find a McCoy pot for such a price! I also adore turquoise so very much! I think it’s just great that you get to do retail therapy with so little $$ and get such treasures! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  24. says

    Claudia, you need to let us know the date of your birthday so we can all be here singing to you. You know, I celebrated one of “those” decade birthdays in July. Mine was the one that begins with a six. Not so bad. I’m just glad they keep coming.

    I’m glad you gave yourself a bit of a treat. You deserve treats.♥♥♥

  25. says

    Happy Birthday month Claudia – I hope it´ll be a good one for you.
    Love that little glove box. It´s so pretty and definitely meant for you

  26. says

    oooh I’ve never seen a glove box! So cool. Yes, those pottery pieces must have been waiting for you. Why else would that lovely color of McCoy still be there. Around here the re-sellers would have snatched all of that up the first day so it was meant to be!
    My husband and I have a small (and I mean small) personal allowance so that we can feel like we can buy an occasional little something like a coffee or me, usually something at the thriftstore or craft store. It’s lovely to be able to buy yourself a small something now and then. I think you really think about your purchase instead of just mindless shopping and therefore probably really appreciate and enjoy it all the more. At least I do!

    • Claudia says

      I think being frugal and allowing yourself a little treat every now and then makes the treat all the sweeter, Manuela!

  27. says

    I’m on a limit budget as well, I have been on S.S.I. for two years now, I’m very grateful for it but it’s difficult to live on a limit income…I too every so often go to purchase a few things…like this weekend..I posted about buying a new tea pot…and a few other things..and it made me feel better…nothing to feel bad about…it’s just a little pick me up and satisfying …. I don’t drink smoke or do drugs…thats what I say …have a lovely afternoon with love Janice

  28. Patti says

    That pot and glove box was meant just for you Claudia! Some things are just meant to be! Enjoy them!~Hugs, Patti

  29. sew susie says

    Lovely little pot and glove box, you have a wonderful eye for finding treasurers that need a new home.
    You have done wonders with your home as it is lovely, I enjoy reading about your decorating, garden and special antique/thrift finds
    No matter how difficult times are, you show us all that pleasure can be found in simple joys.

  30. says

    I agree. Claudia. Sometimes all it take is something small to bolster our spirits and give us bit of delight. I have never seen a glove box like that one and the little McCoy pot is locely.

    I, too, have basically quit purchasing. I need so much less than what I now have. I have spent all day sorting through 35 years of Christmas collections to parcel out to the kids- I am not buying any more Christmas..

    The big birthday won’t be so bad! We are as young as we feel. Somedays I feel like a kid. Blessings- xo Diana

  31. says

    I am poised with the same frugal issues. AND I do give myself a $20 budget from time to time. I find I am so much more careful with my purchase and really treasure it more, Great McCoy find, a pattern I do not have!

  32. says

    Wishing you a terrific birthday, no matter “which” one it may be. :) I love what you bought. The color of the little pot is lovely.

  33. says

    I hate to think of you as feeling hopeless, sweet friend. So many of us are living in very difficult times. I often say I have champagne tastes on a water budget. (used to be beer budget, but I don’t have even that now) I am hoping that things will pick up for those of us of a certain age who are self employed. As for the birthday, it is just a number that I have already reached. We’re definitely getting better with age.


    PS I love your wonderful finds.

  34. says

    Those beauties were definitely waiting there for you, Claudia, and it was meant to be. I have two glove boxes (enamel) that I found in an antique shop… I think one was $3 and the other was $5. Both a real steal, I thought. I use them for all sorts of things. (Someone told me once, when I was reaching a “milestone” birthday, ” Well… consider the alternative. You could either be having another birthday… or you could not.” And when I think of it that way, I’ll always take the birthday!!)

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