General ramblings

Halfway….

March 12, 2013

I know I am a little bit late with this, but guess what? 1st March saw us reach the halfway point in My Make Do and Mend Year!!

It has flown by, and as I’m sure you all know, I am LOVING it!!

I do a monthly update on how things are going for this great site, The Upcycle Movement. And I thought the halfway point would be a good time to think about what I have learned so far about Buying Nothing New, and I figured as I am writing it anyway, I would share it with you lovely lot too 🙂

So here it is, my Top 10 Things I Have Learned about Buying Nothing New (so far…!)

  1. It will change your life! In a good way. Just by stopping and thinking a little bit about other alternatives to new before you rush out and buy something, can make a HUGE difference, not just to your life, but also in the grander scheme of things (I’m talking saving the planet here people-it’s BIG stuff!). A little bit of Make Do and Mend can help to #makeitbetter. Just think if we all did it-even just a bit!
  2. More often than not, you don’t really NEED the thing you want. I’m not suggesting we should all go around depriving ourselves of the nice, pretty things in life, but if you are going to have to make it, or mend it, or really hunt for it, it kind of helps you clarify what you really need!
  3. Mending things gives a great sense of achievement! You are all no doubt bored by now, of my tales of patching,
Does it add 'character'? I could always claim to making a statement...

Does it add ‘character’? I could always claim to making a statement…

but it is so satisfying mending something so it can live to fight another day, rather than just chucking it out, and buying a new one. I think our washing basket is testament to this!

4. You can never have too many glues…Hubby has a stock pile of many different sorts. I have no idea what they are all for, but apparently they are all Very Important. Oh, and get yourself some Sugru.
5. There are lots of websites now dedicated to giving away stuff-that’s right-stuff for free!! Check it out. It is also a great way of ‘re-homing’ stuff you don’t want or need anymore-allowing you the self-satisfied glow that it has gone to someone who          really needs/wants it AND you’ve saved it from landfill. Give and Take days, or Swap Shops also seem to be springing up more and more, and are a great, interactive version of the online sites.
6. There are lots of alternative shopping experiences to be had. As well as the obvious ones like car boots and charity shops, there are flea markets, which are awesome. I used to be scared of antiques shops, and some of them are they very up-market ones, but most are a bit like organised junk shops, so don’t be afraid to go in for a rummage! Also, give your local auction house a go. We have one near us, that has an auction every 2 weeks, and you can leave a bid on paper, so you don’y actually have to be there in person. And I love, love, LOVE all the vintage markets that there are now (I blogged about it here and here)-none of it is new!

Vintage fair17. Beware the bargain!! I bought some slippers for SmallSmall from a charity shop that fell apart, and also some wool that was in skeins and I ended up in a huge tangle with it. Sometimes there is a reason things are in the charity shop!
8. Buying things on E-bay is hard (also be careful, as there is so much new stuff on there now), as until you get it, you don’t really know what you are getting. My boots that fell apart within a month are a case in point.
9. Plan ahead-things like family birthdays and Christmas are easy to plan for, as you know they are coming up and they are generally at the same time each year..! My top tip for Christmas is to start in June…. Also, if you know you are going to need something at some point, like we need some wellies in the next size up for BigSmall, then keep your eye out before you actually need them, and snap them up if you see some!
10. Think outside the box-sometimes you just have to be a little bit creative. For example-making an egg box Christmas tree..!

Egg box91

Another example I was really chuffed with was my mother in law’s birthday present-meals for the freezer might not be everyone’s present of choice but she was delighted!

So there you have it. I was initially worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with ten things, but actually I had many more. This year is teaching me a lot. It is changing our lives, and it is empowering me to believe that if we all work together, we can #makeitbetter.

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  • Reply Chris March 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I love the idea of no waste and even bettter no buying new stuff so with this in mind I have just gone throw the free Kindle craft books and came across Simply Fleece by Bonnie Scott, I have a couple of old fleeces where the elastic has gone and some of these would make lovely presents following the instructions in the book. I really love reading how you are getting on.

    • Reply Jen March 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Oooh, I love the sound of free kindle craft books! Just need to find me a secondhand kindle now….Would love to see some pics when are done 🙂
      So glad you are enjoying the blog

      • Reply Chris March 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        Amazon do a free kindle program you can load on your PC. Free kindle for Free books can’t be bad

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo March 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Yay go you! Cant beleive its been 6 months already! You are doing so well, you are truely an inspiration. Oh btw, the easiest way to wind skeins into balls of wol, it to untwist the skein and then put it over the back of a chair (my Mum used to do this when she pulled apart jumpers to reuse the wool – she washed it in skeins and then rewound it). Loking forward to the next 6 months of blogs and beyond. :o)

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks Jo, and thanks for all your support and comments 🙂

  • Reply Debs March 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

    You are an inspiration! I have long been thrifty and hopefully a little bit green. It gives me great satisfaction to find a way to upcycle ordinary things. You are right, if everyone did just a little bit it would make a great difference. Keep up the good work. You are an eco-hero!

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Wow, thanks Debs, that’s is so kind.

  • Reply Hattie March 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Ah you are brilliant! I can’t get enough of your cheerful take on life!

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Hattie!

  • Reply nicola baird March 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Six months in and you sound as if the experience has been opening doors not closing them. I know that i love the mending i’ve done and the homemade items [eg, working on a bedspread to try and use up my rag bag of excess material). But i sometimes think of the section in Anna Karenina (book not film) when Kitty {anna’s brother’s wife] has mended a dress and is proud of it until she sees anna, or another rich, well-dressed, fashionable woman and suddenly feels dowdy again. Until media images reflect more of the patch and less of the box-fresh it’s quite hard to sweep enough people along with the make do and mend mindset. Not impossible of course, well done for all your energy in this direction! nicola http://homemadekids.wordpress.com

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Nicola. I think making do and mending could (and should) be the way of the future (but I guess I would say that!). The fabulous Scrapiana runs a Big Mend (like a Knit and Natter but mending) in Bath and Bradford on Avon, and I know a lady in Warminster who wants to start a regular mending session, so this could be the start of a revolution..!! Here’s hoping 🙂

  • Reply mehubbyandthekids March 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    You are doing fab. Very inspiring. If only I could get hubby on board!

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Maybe you could do a trial week to try and persaude him..?!

  • Reply hmk71 March 13, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Well done Jen- you’ve done brilliantly!

    • Reply Jen March 13, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Thankyou! And thankyou for all your support and your lovely comments 🙂

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