Fancy Thrift, or Little Projects to Combat Cabin-Fever

Prior to being under house-arrest quarantined, I dropped off donations at a charity-run store. As usual, I went inside afterward, hunting items on my long-term shopping list.

It was a successful search.

First, I found cornucopias for my friend Sissy, who asked me to keep an eye open for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Nearby I found deer candleholders to match the motif of my winter linens, which checked off “post-Christmas candleholders.”

Then, I hit the jackpot: a folding screen.

It was a suitable replacement for the bulky, unsteady headboard in the guestroom. Buying or building a new headboard has been a goal since 2020’s list, during the upended Year of Mindful Spending. The original budget allowed for $175. I paid $24.35 for screen and candlesticks.

The folding screen was an immediate improvement. It took less floorspace and its height created an optical illusion that the full-sized bed is smaller and cozier. I added felt pads and photos that I had on hand: Sissy’s lighthouse prints and my collages of photos salvaged from a fire.

After seeing this, Sissy decided six black-and-white prints of individual lighthouses would look even better.

The deer candleholders surprised me. I liked their heft and muted color: greenish-gold, with white paint highlighting details. After removing the tacky ribbons, I began polishing them. The green “paint” came off. I realized someone had put cleaner on them but hadn’t scrubbed it off. A proper brushing removed white flakes from the depressions and revealed brass!

An Internet search produced their twins, priced $45-55.

After discovering their hidden elegance, I didn’t mind splurging on candles. Six pairs of tapers cost $10.58 at a holiday sale. The deer took pride-of-place on the dining table, where they’ll brighten this Christmas Eve and dark winter nights to come.

I can’t put a price on the enjoyment of refurbishing my finds. Work-sessions were limited by shortness of breath and frequent naps, but they gave me something to look forward to while waiting out this illness.