Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gifting without spending

18 days ago I nearly threw in the towel on 'Buy Nothing New' for a baby gift for a work friend. But I  got a second wind today and made this little guy:



 Isn't he cute??? And he even looks like the one on the pattern!

free pattern from here
But of course, my little helper wanted to do some craft too...so she made a mug cosy out of calico; well, I  made it and she coloured it in - same difference when you're 4!



I am so chuffed I made something I'm happy to give as a gift - and I didn't spend a cent on it. Hooray!! Mission accomplished :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

'Buy Nothing New' meets the brick wall of perfectionism

Okay, so my last post explained how I got caught off guard by an upcoming tween birthday party, so this time around I was determined to be prepared. My friend's wife had a baby during the  holidays and I wanted to give them a present - but I didn't want to give them something secondhand, so I decided I would make something. I have a fabric stash the size of my Mt Washmore (which is good for a stash, but bad for laundry) - so I began searching pinterest for something cute to make. I've made stuff before for the kids, this should be no problem. But it seems a handmade present comes with the complication of pride. And my perfectionistic streak just wouldn't let me be happy with anything I made...

Enter, my first attempt - a softie koala. Now in the photo on pinterest it looked like this:
from pinterest
but for some reason it turned out more like this...
perhaps I was being too ambitious.

So I tried something easier:
from pinterest
And while it turned out beautifully, it was honestly just too easy. It only took me about 15 minutes from start to finish. That just didn't seem like enough for a newborn baby. I mean the mum had to PUSH THAT THING OUT OF HER BODY!!

So I thought perhaps a nice easy baby quilt. Seriously I must have been getting tired by this stage cos I buggered up EVERYTHING!

So I give up. I getting this kid a bunch of brand new Bonds Growsuits and that's final.

I'll try BNN again tomorrow :-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stop the Clock - I've fallen off the BNN wagon

Yep - stop the clock. It's 21 Jan. Only 21 days in and I've made the distinct thudding sound of someone falling from a wagon.

Not so much because of something I wanted or even needed - but for gifts for a birthday party.

I thought I was covered for the inevitable requirement of presents - I even have a pinterest board labelled "pretty frugal gifts" where I pin so many great present ideas of things I can make that would be appropriate and well recieved by girls in the preschool to tween age range (see below for some random cute examples):

Owl and Kitty bags - via pinterest

teeshirt fabric bracelet - via pinterest

glass tile pendants - via pinterest

pom pom necklace - via pinterest


But I was caught off guard.

The invitation came in just yesterday for a joint party for two tween girls on this sunday! And quite frankly I just don't want to spend my last few days of my holidays making presents - no matter how gorgeous these girls are!!

So I caved. We went shopping.

My budget is still ok as I bought some great things the girls will love ON SALE! But nonetheless the presents are new. Made from resources which didn't really need to be produced over again - as more than enough already exists in the world to have made these gifts from recycled materials.

So lesson learned. I need to be much more prepared if I'm going to get better at this. I need a present drawer with things I have pre-made and can draw on when I don't feel up to making something on the spot.

Prior preparation blah blah blah... ;-)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 - My Buy Nothing New Year

from pinterest


That's a seriously big challenge - I hear you say ;-)

And to confess I was very nearly tripped up on day 2 by some very pretty (and bargain!) canisters which I was mentally arranging in my kitchen before I caught myself and ran from the store for safety!

And it's now the end of day 9 and I'm still going strong. I have bought myself a pair of 3/4 jeans, a pair of denim shorts, a skirt and a belt (all from country town church oppys) - and all for the total princely sum of $9. So I've restocked my summer wardrobe, bought nothing new and saved money.

Which is actually the perfect example of the 3-fold reason I want to give this challenge a go:

1. Conscientious Consumerism
Firstly I want to take a really good look at my spending habits and work at becoming a more conscientious consumer. Why waste resources the earth can't afford to waste on something that has already been made. Additionally I want to instil in the minds of my children that we should not carelessly just dispose of things. And we do not constantly need more.

2. Simplify
This last statement brings me neatly to my 2nd reason; to simplify my life. I have found it increasingly difficult to keep on top of all the STUFF. The living room had become so overwhelmed by toys etc that I could no longer face tidying it. The folding pile had become a lucky dip for what-to-wear each day because we all just have so many clothes. We do not need everything we have and we certainly do not need more. In fact to help out with having too much already I filled 6 garbage bags with all the children's toys - except dressups, their xmas presents, and their very favourite toys - and put them into the cupboards in the laundry. The children know nothing has been thrown away, so they are calm. And I can tidy the living room every night, so I am calm. Our clothes are next in my cross-hairs.

3. Save
The 3rd point to this challenge for me is to save money. This is a no-brainer. Everyone wants to save money. And I want to save money in order to travel. I want to buy experiences for my family - not more possessions.

from pinterest


In other New Years news, I have come-up with a word to set the tone in my mind for how I wish to view 2014: balance.
This word came to me out of the blue, and is so perfect. Balance in consumerism. Balance in spending. Work-life balance. Emotional balance.

I'm so in love with this word I may even get a tightrope walker tattoo :-)


Saturday, November 16, 2013

is anything 'pointless'?

via pinterest


Pondering the point of it all again. Only this time I think I may have something resembling an answer.

And one of the things I beat myself up over is doing something which doesn't have a specific necessity. Which isn't going to have any great outcome. Or which is (shock horror) just for fun.

Take my new hobby of hama beading. What the hell is the point of that? Surely I'm just wasting time I could be tidying the house or cooking or teaching my children to be concert pianists or international tennis stars. Other parents do that. It's true. But the truth is I like to sit and make pretty things with those annoying beads that spill everywhere everytime the table is bumped. And my older kids love it too.

What about bushwalking? Don't get me wrong, I love to bush walk - but it's not exactly solving world hungry or curing cancer. It's just a pointless amble through the scrub.

And worse, what about activities that might actually kill you? What could possibly be the point of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (aka skydiving)?

But here's the epiphany I've had: all that frivolous stuff that doesn't seem to mean anything, adds up to make you who you are. Maybe hama beading teaches me patience; I know it bonds me with my girls. Maybe bushwalking gives me health and time to think. And maybe pointlessly risking your life to jump out of a plane makes you believe in yourself more. Makes you more aware of the amazing things you can achieve. You might just do something truly awesome in the world because you did something silly on your weekend.

What do you think? Is there a point to a life of distraction after all? Is distraction actually purpose in disguise?




PS: I will never skydive. Just saying...

Monday, October 28, 2013

mugs, beads, distraction and meaning

Distraction or meaning? I've been discussing this concept with people lately - and the consensus is that there is nothing wrong with distraction. I was arguing the angle that distraction is 'distraction from living a meaningful life'. But friends have posed the less extreme way of thinking that distraction is fun, and time out from stress. And that sometimes being distracted is a powerful way of stepping back from a problem and therefore seeing it more clearly.

With this is mind I have made myself more open to distracting activities over the last two weeks since my last post - exploring two wonderful projects. Both would be great shared with kids - but this time one was shared only with a friend. Getting out with my friends sans kids is a relative luxury these days, but I ran away last saturday and didn't come back until after dark!

My friend, Shimmer Brite and I went to one of those 'paint-your-own-pot' places.
AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

My mug!!

Shimmer Brite's mug


Not just that I was away from my kids giggling and generally being silly with a buddy - but the creative process was such a wonderful relief for my overworked stressy brain. I became so absorbed in the activity that I wasn't thinking about anything else in my life. Although I have to admit putting paint to ceramic sent my perfectionist streak into apocalyptic melt down!

So we went for alcohol after...problem solved :-)

Just the thing to cure my raging anxiety...

I have promised the kids I will take them there in the holidays - cue another kind of stress...

The other creative activity I wanted to explore this week was hama beads. This kind of ticks every box for me in the creativity field - no particular skills or talent required, can finish a project in one sitting, and can get absorbed in the activity so as to be a distraction from daily stress. In addition it makes fun colourful little do-dads.
Tweenie snagged this for her room the second she saw it!

I'm currently working on a series of little birdies to hang from a ribbon by my kitchen window
based on a design I found on pinterest
So what's on for this week? ...expect hama bead instagram updates :-)

Thanks for reading
xxxCate