My New Game Show — Make Do, Repair or Replace?

by Katy on December 28, 2012 · 113 comments

I have a special treat for you today, which is a gameshow called:

Make Do, Repair or Replace?! 

Where you vote on whether broken and non-functional items should be . . . repaired, replaced or just left as-is.

Contestant #1 is a Le Creuset dutch oven, which I purchased from Goodwill in 1990 for $1.99.

The interior lining is mostly down to the bare cast iron, and the lid has a crack in it, which hasn’t changed since the day I bought it. However, the mismatched colors are outdated to the point of retro-cool.

So . . . should I Make do, Repair or Replace?

Contestant #2 is a set of salad tongs where the elephant detail has snapped off.

 So . . . should I Make do, Repair or Replace?

Contestant #3 is my shower wall, which until recently featured a tile with built-in soap holder. The tile bizarrely popped off the wall while my son was showering, shattering into a million razor sharp projectiles and cutting into my son’s leg and requiring three stitches.

So . . . should I Make do, Repair or Replace?

Contestant #4 is a set of four mirrored Christmas stocking holders. Three out of the four holders feature a heavily weighted bottom to counter balance the heft of a fully laden stocking. The fourth stocking holder  is unweighted, and can barely hold the weight of an empty stocking. 

 So . . . should I Make do, Repair or Replace?

Contestant #5 is a vintage jet bead necklace, which although beautiful, is so tight around the throat that it makes the wearer want to turn over state secrets. (This is one of the $2.50 Goodwill necklaces that I gave my mother for Christmas.)

So . . . should I Make do, Repair or Replace?

Okay fellow non-consumers, should I Make Do, Repair or Replace these bad boys?

Please share your ideas and your own Make Do, Repair or Replace dilemmas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah December 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I’d make do with the Dutch oven and repair everything else!


Katy December 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

How would you repair the salad tongs?



Heather December 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Cut off the other elephant and sand both smooth.


Anne Weber-Falk December 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I agree. This is what I would do too.


Mary Ann December 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Repair the necklace by adding some extra chain to the ends.


Paige December 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Yes! you can always get an extender in the jewelry section at a craft store. And if its a chain store (Hobby Lobby, Michaels,etc), there’s always coupons for 40% or more off either in the sale ads or if you have a smart phone(iphone or droid) they have free apps where you can just show the cashier your phone and she can take the code off the coupon.


Alexia December 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Dutch oven — make do or replace. They are generally not repairable and cannot be re-enameled. (I’ve checked). You didn’t show the inside but you want to be cautious about the possibility of enamel chipping off and being ingested, which I understand can be a health hazard.

Tongs — make do or replace.

Necklace — repair (take it to a bead shop for lengthening) or replace.

Tile — repair.

Stocking holders — replace. But they could probably be repaired. This is just my personal bias against having such big honkin’ holders for the stockings. I favor nails or 3m removable hooks.


Katy December 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Alexia, we spent too much effort to build our beautiful mantle surround, and my husband would flip his lid if I put nails into or or stuck 3m hooks onto it.

We’ve probably ingested a fair amount of enamel through the years, but I figure that the health benefits of cooking with cast iron balance it out. (This, I ‘m aware is magical thinking. 😉 )



Alexia December 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Well, I agree that your mantle DOES look beautiful. But do you know about the 3M Command Hooks? You can put them on and remove them without damaging surfaces and reuse them with new strips every Christmas.

Personally, I love them and have used them many places (including finished wood surfaces) without damage. Check ’em out (

Another benefit — a lot smaller to store from year to year than those stocking holders!


Katy December 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

But 3M strips are a disposable plastic product, which I try avoid.



Amber December 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I would make do with the pot and the salad tongs. I would repair the necklace by adding a chain to it or giving it to a little girl for dress up if appropriate. I would repair the tile unless you have been planning on doing a bathroom update. And the stocking holders I would either find a weight to glue into the bottom or remember next year to velcro it down to the table or mantle.


Katie December 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Replace 1, 2, and 3. Repair four and five. You can add weight to the stocking holder and a jeweler can add links to the necklace for you.


Katy December 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Here’s the thing about the stocking holder. My husband and I do not do Christmas stockings for ourselves, so only two of them actually need to be functional.



Anne Weber-Falk December 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hmmm, then I would Goodwill the other stocking holders you won’t use.


Lorena December 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I would make do with the dutch oven and the salad tongs (though you may want to sand down the broken edge of the tongs if it’s sharp or otherwise splinter-y), repair the necklace and the stocking holder (add extra chain length to the necklace using jeweler’s pliers and some matching chain, and weigh down the stocking holder by hot gluing a large heavy magnet, old foreign coins, ceramic tile or some flat glass marbles into the base) and replace the soap dish (don’t ask me how to do this; I’m crafty, not handy!).


Maryanne December 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Those were my same thoughts! 🙂


Holly December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm

#1 – Use until you find an appropriate replacement, then send it off to the metal recycler.
#2 – Use as kindling. Either find an appropriate replacement or make do with a large spoon and fork.
#3 – Replace. It’s not hard, I’ve done it. But you want to use the proper adhesive. That looks like it was just caulked on.
#4 – If you like them, keep two, send two (including the non-weighted one) to Goodwill.
#5 – If your mom likes it, have it lengthened. If she doesn’t, pass it on.


One Day At A Time December 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Replace the Dutch oven. Repair the tongs (sand down the rough edges or take the elephant detail off the other one so they match). Replace the tile (having that bare spot would drive me NUTS). Make do the stocking holders and repair the necklace.


Lorraine December 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Replace the Dutch oven – I would be concerned about that enamel chipping in the food; repair the tongs by sanding the edges and possibly removing the elephant from the other one so they match – but be on the lookout for replacements; replace the soap holder or re-do the whole shower – if that was a plan, now would be the time to tackle that job – even if its costly (you don’t want leave as is and allow water to get behind the rest of the tiles); I’m undecided about the stocking holder – if you like them, fix the unweighted one, if you don’t need it, get rid of it; and last, the necklace is lovely – it would be a shame to not wear it for fear of choking – fix it…


kelly December 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

OK! Intrigued by this challenge. This is what I would do if I were in your place:
1. Contact le creuset and tell them of your problem. As I understand it, they have a 100 year warranty on the finish of their products. I would have a little chat with customer service and see what can be done about your Dutch oven. Personally, I LOVE le creuset, and I would not mind getting a replacement for free/shipping. 😉
2. Replace the tongs, compost the old ones.
3. Fix/replace the soap dish. Not so hard to do, and you don’t risk getting water behind the tiles. Saves money in the long run.
4. Go to a bead store OR find another necklace and add a length of chain to the clasp area of the necklace. Fix.



Peg December 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

I agree with Kelly. And, if you only have Christmas stockings for your sons, I wouldn’t worry about fixing the odd one. I’d only put out the number that you actually use.


Lynnette December 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Replace the LeCreuset by sending it back to the company. I recently returned one that was gifted to me from my Aunt’s estate, but had damaged enamel. I called the 800 number and answered a few questions, mailed the pot via USPS Flat Rate box and got a brand new pot in its place ab0ut two weeks later.

I vote take the beaded necklace apart and add more from another necklace to make a larger necklace or make a bracelet to be gifted next Christmas/Birthday/Mother’s Day.


John December 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I second this… Le Creuset has an excellent warranty. They will likely replace the dutch oven.

You will have to pay to ship it back. Not a bad deal considering the cost of a new one.


Dogs or Dollars December 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Thirding or four thing this. I’d be curious to hear what Le Creuset has to say about that puppy. Worth an email with the picture or a phone call.


Lynn D. December 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Do not use the Le Creuset if there is any chance of sharp chards of enamel chipping off. That could really shred your gut. Could you saw the hook off the mirrored star and just use it as a decorative item somewhere else?


Katy December 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I’ve been using the dutch oven probably 3-4+ days per week for 22 years. There are no shards.



Anne Weber-Falk December 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Wait. Are the pot and the lid a matched set or from two different sets? If they are mismatched would the company still replace the pieces?


Laura December 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Dutch oven: Make do until you find a replacement for a decent price. Or just get rid of it until you find a replacement if you have other pots to do the same thing in the meantime (I do understand the love for cast iron, though).

Salad tongs: Do without isn’t an option, but I’ve never understood why there are so many utensils to serve things with. I’ll say make do and sand the tail end down if it’s sharp at all.

Bathroom tile: Replace. Definitely don’t make do, or if you’re making do for a bit until you find a matching tile, tape plastic over the empty space so all the moisture doesn’t seep into the wall, you don’t want to be replacing the entire shower stall because of that one tile. It looks like some wrong materials were used to stick it on there in the first place (people are so creative, I went to a hotel once where the nightstands were held together not with glue but with spray foam insulation lol), but if you use the right materials it should last longer :]

Stocking holders: Repair, I’d just find something a bit weighty to glue in the empty space, a little bag with something like change, rice, or a hot wheels in it, I don’t know.

Necklace: If your mother loves it, repair it. If not, pass it off to someone else to worry about. I’m not sure how much labor to fix jewelry costs, but supplies aren’t too expensive if you’d want to do it yourself.


Bauunny December 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Definitely take the necklace to a bead shop – I LOVE my local bead shop who has fixed, restrung, put on new clasps, etc for many many of my thrift store finds….And for nominal amounts I must add. I say toss the salad tongs as you can readily replace them at a thrift store (at least in my part of the world there seem to be many very cool ones that get donated for some reason). I abstain 🙂 from voting on the others as they are outside my “expertise”.


Kelly December 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Keep the Dutch oven as is.

I would ditch the salad tongs if you have something else that would work.

Defiantly repair the shower before water gets in behind the rest of the tile- ormtheybwill begin to pop off as well.

The stocking holders – I’m not a big fan of fru fru. I would probably ditch those. If YOU love them – repair them.

Unless the necklace has some sentimental value or you plan to use the beads in a different project or have a young girl who would enjoy them – I would return them to Goodwill.



Laura December 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Keep cast iron… dump spoons (older wood gets lots of contaminants in it)
Fix shower asap – not that hard to do. Get an over the shower head rack for soaps etc. Goodwill has ’em all the time
Fill the stocking do-hickey with cement, glue on some felt, and voila, a heavy holder
Necklace – easy peasy – YOU can buy a necklace extender (go to


Trish December 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I would make do with the dutch oven. and the salad tongs. repair the shower soap holder, give the unweighted stocking holder away, and repair the necklace

that’s what I would do. what are YOU going to do? please, the suspense is killing me!

BTW, hold on to the dutch oven until one of the kids gets married and gets a new one for a wedding present. demand that they exchange the new one for your old one.


AnnW December 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Send the pot back to the maker, or replace. Why take any chances. Replace the salad tongs. You can find something really cheap. Each piece is broken. It’s one thing to be frugal, it’s another to be totally shabby. Unless you are talking about oriental carpets. Repair the soap dish in the shower. Throw away or donate the stocking holder that doesn’t work. Fix the necklace, it’s easy with a needle nose pliers. I have found that I need to have standards. If not, I’ll go from neatness, to paint stained clothes, to dirty paint stained clothes, to clean pj’s, etc. Sometimes you just have to throw stuff away, like Tshirts that are too short. Ann


Angel December 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

From another Portlander:
1 Make do awhile longer
2 Replace – someone could get hurt with those!
3 Repair before the water gets into the backboard and grows mold!
4 Repair – you should be able to find something for a weight
5 Repair – easy enough to lengthen!


Carol December 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

-Replace the LeCreuset. Call the manufacturer first to see if you can get a replacement thru them. If not, $2 investment for 22 years-you deserve a new one! : )
-keep 2 stocking holders, charity the others
-repair the shower wall IMMEDIATELY before you have a bigger problem on your hands. Looks like a neutral white/cream. Try habitat for humanity or a big box store for a replacement piece
-add on to the beads or use as a bracelet
-saw off the other elephant, sand both end handles as well as the worn/chipped area of the spoon. Reoil them with non scented baby oil aka mineral oil


Sarah December 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

1. If Le Crueset’s warranty is as described above, why not give it a try (and continue to be on the lookout for a replacement)?
2. Replace the tongs. They shouldn’t be hard to replace, not sure saving them is worth the effort.
3. Easiest one: Repair the shower.
4. If you have a set of four, repair the least weighted one. The repair location is hidden so should be an easy fix.
5. Why not refurbish, if loved, or make into bracelet and earrings?

Can’t wait to see what you decide about these- I respect your experience and dedication:)


Mauren December 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I might be in the minority:
1) Start looking for new Dutch Oven. In the meantime, do what some of the others said and call their 800 number to see if you can get a replacement.
2) Get rid of the tongs. Again, like someone else said, wood can hold contaminants. I use the same metal tongs I use to cook other food as I don’t have anything specific for salad.
3) Fix the shower ASAP. Moisture is building behind the tile where remaining tile is because of the empty tile space. You might end up with a whole wall of tile falling down.
4) I’m too anal to get rid of the stocking hangers because they are too pretty and it’s hard to find 4 stocking hangers that all look alike (I’ve tried). I’d find some weight and cardboard and felt and make my own weight for the bottom. And it should only be used for the adult stocking that has nothing put in it.
5) Find a friend who does jewelry as a hobby. If you don’t have said friend, start looking for supplies to make it bigger yourself.


John Benton December 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I got to tell you Katie, you blog has been unending entertainment and good advice for me since I started reading it. Here are my suggestions for your items. Scrap the Le Creuset, it just wouldn’t be ethical to send it back for warrantee as you didn’t purchase it new. I most likely won’t be that difficult to find a replacement at the Goodwill.

Use the salad tongs as kindling to start a fire in your woodstove or backyard fire pit. You most likely can find another set at the Goodwill for less money than a couple of sheets of sandpaper would cost you to sand them down and they still would be stubby.

You most likely can find a recycled replacement ceramic soap dish at Hippo Hardware. Just get a small can of mastic at a hardware store and some grout to seal it.

I just love your stocking holders. If you get some epoxy and purchase some lead bb split shot fishing weights you can fix them and just seal them into the bottom cavity.

I would use the necklace in as part of an art project with other small finds glued to a background and framed to hang on the wall as a decoration.


Linda in Mass December 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I agree it would not be ethical to send the dutch oven back when you purchased it from goodwill.


Sarah December 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

I agree it is unethical to pass it off as an original purchase, but I think it’s worth a shot to contact them and let them know all the details. They should still stand behind the quality of their product.


Lois December 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Interesting items, and fun to think about each. I would replace #1. But I would repurpose it as a planter, storage for toys, or small items in the house
#2 I’d make do with the tongs. I’d cut them to be the same size, sand and seal. I’ve seen plenty without handles at all so that is an option as well.
#3 shower wall I’d repair quickly before the wall becomes water damaged, sorry to hear about your son’s stitches.
#4. these are cute, but I don’t think I would use them as stocking holders, I can see myself painting each mirrored section with a different color enamel paint, turning them on their sides as bookends. Of course you could do something like that and then bring them back out to the mantle for stockings again next year.
#5 I would repair. You can add an extension piece of chain on either side of the clasp for balance to lengthen it quite easily.


Pollyanna December 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

1. Call the company and explain the situation and condition of your cast iron pot. See if they will take any action. If not, I wouldn’t press it, since you have more than gotten your money’s worth out of it, it owes you nothing! Meanwhile, use it a little more, be on the lookout for a replacement from Thrift or Goodwill, or use gift $ or your found monies towards buying a not-as-well-known-brand-but-equivalent cast iron Dutch Oven (do you have a Home Goods store?)
2. Even up the tongs and continue to use, meanwhile keep a look out for replacement.
3. I agree with all who say repair, avoid further damage to the shower or injury to your family.
4. Keep two weighted hangers for your sons and donate the remaining.
5. Easy – add beads, links, or an extender if your Mom likes it; if not then donate to a adolescent age girl who it would fit better but not be a choking hazard (not to a young child).


Erica December 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

#1 – Make do, it’s pretty cool looking the way it is
#2 – Repair as the others said or just straight up replace. Salad tongs, even funky looking ones are a dime a dozen at thrift stores. I saw a giraffe set today at mine.
#3- Repair or at least patch up. ReStore, if you have one nearby, might be a good option.
#4 – Repair, the set is lovely and it really just needs something ot weigh it down, doesn’t even need to be pretty since it’s on the inside!
#5 – Repair – get some silver jewelry chain from a craft store and add a few inches ot the back.


Molly December 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

1 – make do. Cast iron is just dandy.
2 – repair. I bet you could find something fun to add to be the elephant’s friend.
3 – replace. You don’t get another option on this one. Replace it with a lovely nonshatterable soap dish.
4 – repair. Should be an easy fix.
5 – repair. Should also be an easy fix.

Did i win???


Lindy December 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I love this post.

Pot: You seem to be fine with it or you wouldn’t be using it.

Salad Tongs: Repurpose. I would cut off the elephant handle and make it for a flower pot poke (don’t know what you call them). Maybe crave something on the handle part, like the name of a herb etc. The hand craving is just to nice to throw away. Buy new tongs at Goodwill.

Shower Wall: Fix, glue another soap dish on.

Stocking Holder: Fix, Seems to be an easy fix. Those are really cute too!

Necklace: Fix. That is a beautiful necklace. I have bought inexpensive necklace lenghteners for the same problem with a couple of mine.

Hope you do this again soon!


Suzanne Percy December 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I would make due with the pot, replace the salad tongs, repair the tile and the stocking holder and find a freakishly thin necked person to give the necklace to.


Practical Parsimony December 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

1–Call company or make do.
2-Sand down the tongs
3-My floor lamps have a heavy piece of iron underneath to weight them. Perhaps you could find a heavy piece from a scrap iron place.
4-Right now, get something up to keep water and moisture out of the wall. Later? I don’t know. replace or put soap holder over shower head.
5-Find an old necklace with chain of the same color and add chain. Or, maybe you can find just a chain to add length.


Sarah December 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

What I would do:
1. Research the safety of using as is. If it checks out, make do, but be on the lookout for a replacement at a great price.
2. Probably make do and be on the lookout for a cheap replacement. These show up in thrift stores all the time. I might ask my husband to use his jigsaw to reshape the handles and sand them down and oil them, but his time is precious, so maybe not.
3. Repair. I’d research how to do it myself – I’m pretty sure tile is not hard and since it’s only one piece, it wouldn’t be tedious either.
4. Repair unless a great replacement came along super cheap or free. Not sure how, so it might take a while to get it done.
5. I’d be tempted to use the drop section to lengthen the rest of the necklace because my preference is for plain jewelry w/o dangly pieces OR take the necklace apart and use the components in new jewelry OR take it apart and sell the beads on etsy.


Betty Winslow December 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm

#1 – Replace, for health reasons.
#2 – Make do: Snap off other elephant, sand down edges.
#3 – Replace.
#4 – Keep two functioning ones, give others to Goodwill.
#5 – Either lengthen so it’s usuable, or pass it on.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl December 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I only have one opinion, which is that the shower should be fixed. Even if there’s hardibacker behind the tile (I’m guessing it’s not, since your house is old), I wouldn’t want to leave it bare because of moisture concerns.

Plus, having that missing hunk out of the wall would drive me nuts!


Katy December 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm

We redid the tile surround when we bought the house in 1996. And I have set myself a one-week deadline for replacing the tile. I measured it today and it’s 5″ X 7″, so I have the information I need.



Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary December 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

I’m in total agreement here. Not to say the other items aren’t important, but please fix that tile before the water causes much more damage.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl December 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Oh, I had an idea. I don’t know what kind of metal the stocking holder is made of, but if it’s the right sort, could you stick some heavy magnets onto the bottom to make it stay put?


Jessica Wolk-Stanley December 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

My turn now:
1) Try to get a replacement Le Creuset after explaining the provenance.
2) Keep an eye out for salad tongs at GW. I might have some you can use.
3) Leave the soap dish as is. It’s wabi-sabi and shabby chic. Or cut into backing board and have a recessed soap cubby that can’t fall out and hrt any one.
4) Christmas Stocking holder…it is very plasticcy looking and I didn’t want to tell you before in case it would hurt your feelings but it isn’t nice enough for your beautiful mantle. Toss it. Or recycle it at New Seasons so it can become deck material.
5) Duh. Fix the pretty necklace!


cathy December 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Totally what Jessica said….except for the first 1/2 of #3. The soap dish wasn’t attached properly to begin with, so you may already have a moisture problem behind your tiles and into the wall. I saw above that you’re already planning to replace it…good choice, hope there isn’t any other water damage.


Katy December 29, 2012 at 12:06 am

The stocking holders are not plastic!

Jeez . . .



Tracy December 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm

You can season the parts of the Dutch oven that have lost their enamel, just like you’d season unenameled cast iron.


AFS December 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

#1 if it hasn’t changes since 1990 mit’s not likely to get any worse- continue to use it.
#2 Repace the tongs they are very cool but have definatly seen better days.
#3 replace the tile before you have costly water damage to contend with.
#4 Stocking holders should be very easy to find right now (my goodwill has all Christmas merchandise 75% off) purchase one of similar shape use it’s weight to repair yours so you can keep the matching set.
#5 add a few links to the back of the beautiful necklace so it is long enough


Laurie Bennett December 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Absolutely replace the salad tongs. If they are wood & not bamboo, they will harbor bacteria whenever they touch food. I used to teach people how to cook (8 years) with an emphasis on quality/efficient/good kitchen tools. My humble opinion.


Rieann December 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Hi from W.Aust.
I agree here, even up the tops of the salad servers, sand them smooth and oil, and they will work for years.

Jet necklace, re string, add in small extra beads or just some extra chain links, to lengthen. Opportunity to learn a new craft.

Replace soap holder ASAP to minimise water damage, and for aesthetics,

Cast iron casserole, it has been working well for ?19 years, what has changed? just keep on using it.


Rieann December 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Hi from W.Aust.
I agree here, even up the tops of the salad servers, sand them smooth and oil, and they will work for years.

Jet necklace, re string, add in small extra beads or just some extra chain links, to lengthen. Opportunity to learn a new craft.

Replace soap holder ASAP to minimise water damage, and for aesthetics,

Cast iron casserole, it has been working well for ?19 years, what has changed? just keep on using it.

Stocking holders, two are OK, you only use two, ditch the others.

Cheers from a very hot Western Australia (around 100degrees F.)


Renee CA December 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

You will tell us what you decided on each one, won’t you?


tna December 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I’m sorry about your son’s leg, ouch. I would fix the shower and donate everything else. My definitive question for an item to be in my possession is… ” Do I like/need this so much that I’d be willing to carry it on my back walking across the world.” It’s a bit silly but there is a lot of truth in realizing that what we “possess” really owns us and dictates much about our lives.


Katy December 29, 2012 at 12:04 am

I use this pot, it has function. And the tongs are functional with or without the elephant.



tna December 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That’s what matters, that you want and value the items enough to carry them with you through your life. Getting a replacement for the pot from the company though, would involve packaging and shipping and the poor holiday fatigued UPS guy would have to carry the heavy thing up to your door. ; )


Jupe Blue December 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Even very well made items have a lifespan. Sometimes functional isn’t enough. Good looking and functional is better. Plus you are dedicated to finding things used and given enough time you could find replacements. Especially since you seem to enjoy the hunt.


Kat December 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I agree with with Jessica Wolk-Stanley on all counts.


Pat December 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Number 1 …. I would move this to the camping gear, and use it there.

but that is after I had found a replacement , for the house.

2. I’d take off the elephant, and just sand the rough spots on both pieces, and keep using them.

3. I’d check other tiles to make sure they were going to stay on, then replace with another tile, or if you can find a water proof holder for the soap that would fit the space put it in after you clean out the old grout.

4. I’d find a heavy piece of metal and use some metal fixing putty and re weight it, then cover the bottom with a little glue and felt. They look very pretty.

5. To me this is a simple fix. Take the chain and 2 small jets from the dangling piece and add them to the necklace in the center front, to add length, then reattach the single larger jet bead, chain piece and the last piece of drop Jet. It would keep the look and add a little length to the necklace. If you still need more lenghth then just add the same amount of chain links to each side of the back closing. Just make sure to use the same amount to keep the necklace centered. ….. I love Jet, my Dad gave my Mother a Jet necklace while he was overseas in Scotland during the 2nd world war. I have worn it often and wouldn’t part with it.


Shelley December 29, 2012 at 1:51 am

Dutch oven – make-do at least until you find another amazing bargain.
Tongs – replace; I love the big plastic fork and spoon that link together and work sort of like scissors. Dead cheap and great design.
Bathroom tile – repair fairly soon; I worry about leaks around tiles causing longer term damage.
Stocking holders (always wondered if people actually put nails into their mantels!); can you just replace the one that doesn’t work? If they have to match, look for a creative way to add weight (something industrial and heavy?)
Jet necklace – I’m not that big on jet myself, though I did buy a brooch when we visited Whitby a few years back. I’ve got loads of inherited costume jewelry that I find too short to enjoy and am taking up jewelry making to learn to re-configure some of the pieces. Others will go on eBay.

Great game!


Karen December 29, 2012 at 6:24 am

You can buy a set of magnetic clasps, which generally includes one silver-tone and one gold-tone extender. The set I got had 3″ extenders, and I paid about $10 for the whole set.


olympia December 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

So far as the Le Creuset goes: my neighbor told me she was able to return her own Creuset (bought at a yard sale) for a new one when it got damaged. Not sure if they’ve tightened their return policies since then, but it’s definitely worth a shot!


John December 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

Dutch oven: Replace. WalMart sells a Tramotina brand that is $40 or less and is easily as good as Le Creuset. Well worth the money. Flaking procelain is not something I want in my food PLUS the cracked lid lets steam escape that I need for cooking.
Tongs: look for a pair @ goodwill or use those.
Shower: Wow! This is penny wise and pound foolish! Replace ASAP with a new one or viist a habitat Restore for a used one. Water getting behind the tiles could create a HUGE repair bill and damages later.
Necklas: add chain at the clasp. EASY and cheap. This is one of those “why even ask” questions to me.
Stocking holders: repair. Easy. Double sided tape or hot glue something of weight in there. No question.


Madeline December 29, 2012 at 8:23 am

The salad tongs: You probably use them almost every day,I’d say you will be uplifted by replacing them ..I find almost new sets at Goodwill or church thrift store, often. Not very expensive.

Le Creuset: I use these up till they absolutely fall apart. Keep eye out for a thrifted one (hard to find!!) or, ask someone to give you a new one for birthday,Christmas, etc.. it will probably last the rest of your natural life!! And you USE it a lot–I believe in a few good kitchen investments, like the Frugal Girl says..

Tub/Tile: Repair! ASAP!!

Stocking hooks: I find them to be too bulky, Ditch two and keep two that work for the kids..

Necklace: Depends on if mom really likes it–get an extender.


katie December 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

1. I would keep using it but keep an eye out for a second hand replacement.
2. am I the only person who thinks the elephant tong is really cute?
please do not cut him off. can I have him if you decide to cast him off?
3. find handy person to repair tile.
4. repair stocking holder.
5. repair necklace

ps. I love your blog! I find a lot of inspiration here and I am thinking of joining compact for 2013.


Katy December 29, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thank you so much for your kind words!



Jill W December 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

You are a genius – this is such fun!

#1 – repair (or make do)

#2 – replace

#3 – repair/replace (not sure what the difference between repair/replace is here, would you glue back together all those sharp shards? Hope your son is healing well!)

#4 – repair

#5 – repair – get a jeweler to add length to the chain, or DIY if capable!

Fun game – hope to do it again! 🙂


Pat December 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree with Jill but definitely get rid of broken /worn out wooden salad set.


Ann December 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Yes. Please replace that salad set. We don’t need to go UGLY…


Sarah December 29, 2012 at 9:47 am

The jet necklace would be easy to add a length of chain to use as a extender. It just needs a jump ring to attach the chain should take a couple of minutes to do. It has to be a repair job 🙂


Heidi December 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

Here’s my vote:

1. Replace or find substitute among something you already own.

2. Just cut off the other elephant and sand both down–voila! totally “new” pair!

3. Replace all tile in shower. I would question if water is getting down between the wall to make a bottom tile fall off. Seems like this could keep happening. Ouch!

4. Seems like this could be an easy repair.

5. If your mother really likes the necklace, any jeweler can add more chain to extend it.

I would like to see a version of this game show on TV! So fun for us frugal types.


Jupe Blue December 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Dutch Oven – if you use it as much as you note, replace it. Obviously you love it and deserve one that’s beautiful and in good shape. Try the manufacturer route or keep your eyes peeled on Craig’s list or E-Bay.

Salad Tongs – Put those in the big green recycle can and pick up new ones on one of your trips to Goodwill. Frugal doesn’t have to be frugal for frugal’s sake. Broken items are not a joy to use.

Shower – repair ASAP. You don’t want water running down the backs of the other tiles. Maybe don’t need a soap holder replacement, but how about a pretty tile ala the ones you have in your kitchen as an accent.

Stocking Holder – repair if you love them, keep your eyes open for used if you don’t

Necklace – extend the chain or look for matching beads to extend fully. Isn’t your mom “crafty” that way?


Celeste L. December 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I agree with all of these suggestions. You might also try Etsy when looking for a dutch oven.


Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire December 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

My understanding is that Le Creuset has a lifetime warranty. Contact the company to find out if they will replace it. I would not use that pot in its current state. The conventional wisdom is that it’s not safe to use chipped enameled cast iron. I’d err on the side of safety.

Replace the salad tongs. There’s no replacing that other elephant. No need to use broken and unattractive things.

The rest can be repaired. The necklace can have an extender added up by the clasp. The soap dish can be replaced. It’s easy enough to add a weight of some sort to the stocking holder. Or, just leave it alone, as I think you said elsewhere that you have more stocking holders than stockings. Should another holder break, you can take the weight from it and add it to the one that’s not broken but unweighted.


Rachel C December 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

1. Replace – Probably not safe to use as is.
2. Replace – They look like they are ready for retirement.
3. Repair – You don’t want water to get behind the tiles.
4. Replace – Lots of these show up at garage sales.
5. Repair – Easy to fix – many readers have already given some great suggestions!


Jennifer December 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Replace 1 & 2 and repair the rest (or get a new soap dish or plain tile & then fix it). At a minimum I would seal off that space asap so it doesn’t turn into a bigger problem.


Annie December 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

1. Replace the lid if possible, I’m not sure if the crack could be a safety hazard but I’m VERY cautious about stuff like that. If the pot is worn down to the cast iron you need only season it occasionally like you would any other cast iron pan to keep it functional. Can you sand off the rest of the enamel to avoid ingesting any more if it?
2. Replace-it’s easy enough to find these cheap somewhere. But I would repurpose the old ones if you can, the fork maybe for gardening and the other tong as a kitchen spoon.
3. Repair with regular tile if you don’t really need the soap dish part, it would probably be cheaper. (My husband also cut himself on a broken one once. Hope your son heals well and quickly.)
4. Repair, they are so pretty! Maybe you can find a paperweight at Goodwill that will fit into it?
5. Repair. Add some chain to the back, or mix in beads from another similar necklace. I have a large neck and have to do this for many necklaces and no one has ever known the difference.


Katy December 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm

The lid crack hasn’t changed in at least a decade, and I don’t see what the hazard would be.



Annie December 31, 2012 at 6:52 am

You’re probably right. I checked their website, and did some other Googling, and no one mentioned anything about cracks being unsafe. (I guess my concern comes from being raised by overly-cautious parents, they were always planting those “what if” scenarios in ours heads.) Maybe one day you will be lucky enough to find a lid at Goodwill or FreeCycle…
Happy 2013!


Annie December 31, 2012 at 7:26 am

You’re probably right. I checked their website and a few other places online and it was hard to find any mention of it being a hazard. (I guess my caution stems from being raised by over-cautious parents who always warned us with “what if” scenarios.) Maybe one day you’ll find a lid at Goodwill, FreeCycle, or such…
Happy 2013!


coco December 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

1. Replace
2. Replace
3. Repair
4. Repair
5. Repair


Paula December 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

5: I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this idea for the necklace but I didn’t see it suggested when I scanned… try using a big beautiful length of black grosgrain ribbon. You could do a continuous loop through both loose ends with a big pretty bow at the back, or a single length and make the bows deliberate looking at either side. It might take the addition of two larger jump rings if you want a wider ribbon. I’ve seen lots of people on Pinterest doing this, not even out of necessity. I hope I explained that well enough?


Ruby J. December 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

1 & 2: Replace. That pot is worn out to the point of being downright scary. Le Creuset may be hard to find, but cool salad tongs abound on the second-hand market. May the gods of thrift smile upon your search.
3, 4 & 5: Definitely repair. The broken soap dish is an opportunity to showcase a lovely decorative tile.


Susan K December 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Looked up warranty info, because I could NOT believe it would be covered. Per the website:
This Lifetime Limited Warranty covers the original retail consumer purchaser of the utensil, or a consumer who receives the utensil new and unused as a gift from the original retail purchaser. Coverage terminates if a covered consumer sells or otherwise transfers the utensil (this warranty is provided only to consumers, and all express and implied warranties to non-consumers are disclaimed


Susan December 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

#1 – replace. I’m worried that this pot will explode like a stove-top IED.
#2 – make do. It’s just the decorative part, not the functional part.
#3, 4, 5 – repair. I know you can do it!


Jen December 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Replace the Le Creuset. And the salad tongs. I have a pair of nice ones from Hawaii (koa I think, no animals on the top) in my gift drawer which I would be happy to send you if you’d like. I haven’t re-gifted them because I can’t quite remember who they came from! Life is too short to use crappy kitchen tools.
Repair the shower ASAP before it becomes a bigger problem.
Fix the last two if you like them enough, but don’t bother if you don’t!


Joanna December 31, 2012 at 7:44 am

1. Pot – Make do.
2. Salad Tongs – Replace. Not so much because of the missing elephant but because of the deterioration of the wood in the spoon part. There are so many cool salad tongs everywhere. I would probably keep the
3. Tile – Replace/Repair. I would think that water would be getting behind other tiles at this point which could lead to big problems.
4. Snowflake weights – Get rid of them. 🙂 They are dust collectors that you only use 1 months out of the year.
5. Necklace. Extenders are very cheap at places like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. I would put out a call on Facebook or Freecycle to see if a crafter has one hanging around. All you need for the repair is needlenose pliers.


Emily N December 31, 2012 at 7:45 am

1. How does the pot function? If food is sticking, replace, other wise make do.
2. Replace.
3. Replace. The other commentors are probably right about the potential for water damage.
4. Repair. Those are some cute stocking holders!
5. Could you turn the necklace into a bracelet?


Jennifer December 31, 2012 at 8:27 am

Well, that is one well-loved dutch oven.

1. I have a plain cast-iron dutch oven that works fine (though I LOVE my Le Creuset better – easier to clean), so I don’t see the problem with using it as is and just keeping your eyes peeled for a replacement. I wonder if you could even have it re-glazed?
2. Replace – though I did like the idea of sanding the pieces down, too.
3. Repair, and soon – Water can creep down behind the remaining tiles and those could pop off, too.
4. Replace – Fortunately you have another whole year to find one!
5. Repair – Extending the length of the necklace shouldn’t be too difficult. You could probably take it to a bead shop and ask for some advice – or get them to do it relatively cheaply. Since you only paid $2.50 in the first place, it’s worth repairing since it’s so pretty!


Ellie December 31, 2012 at 9:35 am

Huh, it’s interesting how the opinions vary!

If it were me, I would do the following:

Make do with Dutch oven while searching for its replacement It’s still functional, but the lid is wearing out – so start looking for a new one second-hand, and when you do, recycle old one.

Make due with salad tongs while looking for replacements. The spoon part as well as the handle are broken. I’m sure there are many nice salad tongs to be had for a song at a garage sale or thrift store, so there is no reason to keep using broken stuff. Try to think of a way to re-purpose the intact handle, because it is kind of cool, and compost the rest.

Repair the shower ASAP, the one thing everyone seems to agree on. I would repair, not replace, because the exact same thing happened to me as happened to your son, just minus the stitches – the soap thing just suddenly fell out and shattered and cut my foot, just not as bad. I don’t trust those soap holders! We repaired using some old tiles we had lying around.

Repair the stocking holder when you find some free (or near-free) object to glue in as a weight. You like the set and you use them, and my feeling is that you might as well keep the things you have in good repair…especially when the repair can probably be done essentially for free.

It’s really easy to find chain extenders for necklaces – I’ve seen them at Goodwill and they cost hardly anything. Or use a black ribbon, as someone suggested.

Let us know what you decide!


Erin December 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

I’ve been told that LeCreuset will refurbish or replace all their products and have a lifetime warranty. Might be worth looking into


Meredith in SA December 31, 2012 at 11:29 am

#1 – Repair or make do – It depends on whether the damaged enamel is inside or only outside the pot. The cracked lid doesn’t worry me. I bet you could get the pot re-enameled or stripped pretty inexpensively. This repair might defeat the purpose of frugality, but you’d still be preventing waste.
#2 – Replace: William Morris said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I think we should replace the OR with AND.
#3 – Replace, and quickly, or at least find a way to keep water out from behind the remaining tile: What a great opportunity to find another vintage soapdish, or a new-fangled kind of ceramic shower organizer. Hooks for your loofahs or washcloths? A slot for your razor? You might even find a piece of ceramic art to mount there.
#4 – Repair: Those are both useful, AND beautiful enough to leave on the mantel all year long! I bet you could find a heavy piece of scrap metal barstock to epoxy in place, and then glue some felt over it.
#5 – Upcycle!: A great opportunity to mix these beads with another unused necklace and create something totally new, beautiful, AND useful.


Nicole December 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

You need to set up a clickable survey for this!

1 – replace. The usefulness FAR outweighs the cost.
2 – replace
3 – repair
4 – repair (weigh an intact one and the broken one to see how much weight to add. Try adding washers [epoxy them in] or maybe call a metal supermarket [you know, where welders shop] and look for a piece the right dimensions and weight)
5 – modify to be wearable.


Danyel January 1, 2013 at 5:10 am

Make do, make do, repair, repair, repair.


sparkling74 January 2, 2013 at 4:23 am

Get rid of the LeCreuset pan STAT! Can you imagine where all the lining of the inside the pan has gone??? Like teflon, I would get rid of that the second it acted like it might be flaking off. Ingesting years of that cannot be good.

All the rest could be repaired or made do with.


Katy January 2, 2013 at 8:16 am

But the damage is already done at this point.



barbara January 2, 2013 at 6:30 am

I like the stocking holders, but I had a stocking-h0lder dilemna myself…My stocking holders took up too much space on my mantle where I wanted to put other decorations. I’ve found a solution for next year – the purse hooks that hold your purse on a table in a restaurant! I found them 2 for $1 at Dollar Tree. They are designed to counter the weight of a purse and should do for a stocking. And…I’ll still save my valuable mantle space.


Ann January 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

Hi Katy
Replace the Le Creuset dutch oven as the company has a life-time guarantee on it’s cookware.
Replace the Salad Tongs, as the wood is split and could habor “germs”
Repair the Shower Soap Disk “after” checking to make sure that the shower isn’t leaking — don’t want mold!
Definitely repair the Christmas stocking holder
Repair the vintage jet bead necklace. I’m sure you have things on hand to lengthen the necklace


Fanny January 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

#1: I’m tempted to say “repair”, but how can one repair this kind of thing? I’d make do with it if I had one, as you seem to have done so for the past 20 years, but I would keep my eye open at Goodwill for a “new” used dutch oven, so that when one is available, you don’t feel guilty about throwing out your used one.

#2: I would repair these, by cutting off the elephant part on the spoon and also doing a clean cut on the fork one, then sand both so that they are of equal size and match again. The elephant could make a nice Christmas tree ornament or find another purpose.

#3: REPAIR!!! Leaving this as is could seriously weaken the wall and/or yield leaks, and you do NOT want leaks in your house. You could however cheaply repair by inserting a simple, non soap-holder tile there, instead of looking for a more expensive soap holder tile.

#4: Repair! I don’t know if kids play with plaster in America, but I remember when I was a kid we used to have plaster molding kits at home (I live in Paris, France), I’ve found this on for instance:
Plaster is kind of heavy and should do the trick very cheaply if you’re using a kit from an old box nobody uses any longer. Even better if you can pour cement there as it might be heavier.

#5: Repair! This is SO easy to do! Just buy a packet of 10-20 small rings in the same color of the necklace metal for close to nothing and add the same number of rings on each size of the snap until you have the length you desire. You’d need round bending pliers for this but I’m sure you have some at home?

Good luck with all the repairing!


Heather January 5, 2013 at 1:13 am

Only one I have an opinion on is #5. Repair.

I have had so many necklaces where the clasp has broken that I’ve gone to my local craft store to get more. Then, it only takes needle nose pliers and a steady hand to fix clasps. Yours is a bit more than that, but still an easy fix.


JaneUlness March 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Some of that is a no brainer, and some are a matter of preference. The shower needs to be fixed or it wll do damage. The necklace is a quick fix with a couple of jump rings from Joann or michaels or another old necklace. Themchristmasmornament hanger can be fixed with some gorilla glue and what is left over from fixing the shower. Toss the salad set. And the pan is it safe to use. ??? our goodwill had pans on sale for forty percent off this week.


JaneUlness March 28, 2013 at 9:41 am

I’ll try this again. If I keep getting erased because the computer thinks I am being redundant I quit.
I would fix the shower first, it costs too much to repair more damage later. I would ditch the salad set, tongs are a better alternative and can be used for a lot more things. The necklace can be fixed using the components you already have. Black jets are really expensive of they are real. The Christmas thing can be fixed from the leftovers from the shower project. I’m not sure the pot is safe I’d check into that. A good pot is an investment, better than throw away pots. My cast iron pots are years and years old. Still going strong. I guard them with my life! LOL
I want to Eco moose on consumables, but will use the money I save on what I consider an investment. Buy once and never have to replace it. We are too much of a throw away society.


AFS June 17, 2017 at 9:13 pm

I know this game show “aired” a long time ago but I saw a salad tong while thrifting recently, If you ‘made due’, I can pick up the replacement for you. If you want it I can get it and mail it to you. You can contact me through


Katy June 18, 2017 at 10:04 am

Thank you so much for your kind offer, but I’m perfectly happy continuing to “make due.”


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