My parents lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War, and they learned to be frugal. Every material possession they acquired was used until it had no use left. Articles of clothing were passed down until they were completely worn out, and then they were torn up and used for rags or quilt pieces.
Just about every yard in the neighborhood had galvanized tubs, tea pots, and coffee cans full of flowers blooming from springtime until fall. Just because continued use had worn holes in the bottoms of these vessels, there was no reason to throw them away. At a garden tour in Bend, Oregon, several years ago, I saw a garden built by professional landscapers that included flowers in 'vintage' pots that they had scrounged antiques shops for, and people were oohing and aahing over what a cute idea that was. It was quite gratifying to know that I had been doing that all along.
My first quilt piecing was done by sewing tiny strips of fabric onto a paper square cut from the Sears catalog. Grandma only passed them on to me after she had used all she could for her own quilting.
I still love scrap piecing, and have made many quilts from bags of fabric scraps that my good friends donate to me.
We would have loved to have been able to buy beautiful fabrics to cut up and design with, but we learned early to use what we have. We didn't know we were 'green' and cool and were saving the planet; we just didn't have any money for new fabric.
I am definitely not a hoarder, but it is extremely hard for me to toss something that has value left, especially handmade items that have people's sweat and talent and lives invested in them.
. . .to be continued. . .