Handcrafted and Thrifty

31 Oct 2009

Dressing table and the elusive Miss Elsie Broad

So I have been facing my Challenge of the Utmost Kind for a little over a month now, beginning September 24th.
And how has it been going you ask?
Well, pretty good I answer, very interesting really.

The first Monday of the Challenge the iron blew up in the most dramatic way-smoke, blue flames,loud noises - while Stephen was ironing his shirt for work.
My first thought , after making sure Stephen was unharmed , was 'does this mean I have to find a second hand iron' followed by 'I'm sure mum has an extra iron'.

Stephen , however, was sure that even though the iron had blown all the fuses on that side of the house if he just pulled the iron apart he could get it to work.
Luisa , another Tassie Challengee, was certain a new iron could be seen as a business expense and really I suppose she was right but as it turned out Stephen was able to repair the iron and I have hardly given it another thought.

Superman Stephen also restrung all the pictures that had been lying around since he repainted the bedroom managing to use the screws that he saved from the back of the washing machine that he dealt the death blows to a few months ago.
He has also used the glass from the front of the washing machine that was in fact a wonderful bowl shape, he has given it to Poppy as a new water bowl.
He has taught himself to use dad's welder so he can repair the scythe he uses to cut the long grass at the bottom of the garden and he fashioned a key for Celia the sewing machine's wooden cover, he used an old bicycle spoke.

All of this and probably much more and he isn't even on the Challenge, he doesn't even know about the Challenge.


Now I must admit to a couple of indiscretions but I'll blame them on birthday presents or the lack of.
You see in desperation Mum gave me money for my 50th birthday, to spend on whatever I wanted but I couldn't find anything at the time.
But even before the ink had dried on the Challenge I found several books I couldn't live without and decided it was OK to buy them as they were really part of my August birthday present.
That's fair isn't it.
Anyway , the money is gone now, the books have all arrived and the Challenge continues.

Oh and I did buy a magazine, Donna Hay, completely forgetting myself and reverting to old habits.
But you will be pleased to know I felt so guilty when I got it home and remembered my vow that I returned it to the supermarket still in its unopened plastic bag with accompanying free teatowel.

Old doll

I do need some new summer clothes, which I will have to sew when I find the time and I'd love a couple of knitted short sleeved jumpers, 1940s style, made out of a fine cotton or similar.
But of course making your own clothes is not instant and while my knitting time is turned to toadstools instead of much needed clothes they will never be made.
I haven't actually finished the two cardigans I started earlier this year, although Kate's is so close to being finished .
It only needs a concentrated effort over a week or so and it would be done.

This is the part of the Challenge that has really made me think.
The number of things I begin and then don't finish or more likely take an eternity to finish, that clutter my cupboards while they wait to be finished, that stop me from being able to start something new or worse that I start anyway and then add them to the growing pile of WIPs.
Things that drag me backwards and hold me there.
It is shameful and also means that I have very few clothes to wear or in the past I might have bought something just to tide me over until I finished the thing I was supposed to be making.
Now I can't buy unless I can find what I want at the op shop and it is going to force me to finish what I have started.
It is freeing to know that the easy way out is no longer an option, the only way I can wear something new is by making it myself.
It is a slower option but such a great opportunity to truly get back to the way I used to be - a person who made most of her own clothes, not just the occasional skirt or shirt but I used to make most of the clothes I had in my wardrobe.

When I go into town now I don't have to look at anything with any thought of buying.
I can try on clothes to see which styles and colours suit without even having to consider whether I would want to buy anything because that option isn't there.
It is so freeing.
I don't have to think about shoddy workmanship or the difficulty of finding anything not made in China.
Not that I have bought many clothes over the past few years anyway but I guess the opportunity was there.
Now window shopping is all I can do and I can look at shops in an entirely different way, much like the way I used to shop many years ago, try on heaps of clothes styles and colours and then buy some fabric or yarn and make my own or what I will do now is check through my stash of fabrics and yarns and shop from my cupboard.

So 5 weeks into the challenge and I am finding I enjoy being forced to examine my actions and having to fall back on my own resources.
I think it will make a better me, a less lazy me, it will force me to use my time more wisely or go without - my choice, accountability,to know how much I can do and what I want to spend my time doing, to plan more and- GASP- be more organised and to use a little more of my creative moments on myself .

Can she do it, it's a Challenge of the Utmost Kind.

a quack of ducks