Thursday, 7 October 2010

On the brink...Part Four


Gosh, are we at Part Four already??? My, my ~ time sure does fly when you’re having fun ;-)

I admit I got just a teensy wee bit sidetracked in Part One, didn’t I! I started to tell you about Tif’s (dottie angel) Challenge of the Utmost Kind but then wandered off in a different direction. Ho hum, such is the way my mind works! Still, my wayward brain is back on track now, so here’s the low-down on my version of The Challenge.

Actually before I jump in and start rambling on, perhaps I should tell you that Tif does point out that it is quite okay for any of us who’d like to have a go at this to exclude certain things from our own Challenge ~ like Tif and her undies! She is also at pains to make clear that The Challenge is meant to be a fun way to get creative in our home and with our wardrobe, therefore we shouldn’t become disheartened if we slip up from time-to-time :-) I’m glad that Tif took time to mention both these points, because it’s the nitty gritty details that I often get hung up on…..and then give it all up as a bad job and another ‘failure’ to notch up on my belt. Now I have no good reason whatsoever for making any excuses ;-)

Like Tif before me, I too have been pondering My-Life-As-I-Currently-Know-It, so it felt extremely auspicious that I came across her Challenge of the Utmost Kind again at just this particular time. To give you a quick recap, last year Tif challenged herself to spend a year of thrifty and creative living, aiming to buy only hand-crafted or pre-loved items for her home and wardrobe (with the handful of exceptions I mentioned previously). This has involved Tif getting creative by making whatever she or her home has needed. Many other bloggers have taken up this challenge too and finally I feel ready to join in.

Dear readers, this really is going to be a Challenge of the utterly Utmost Kind for yours truly! I shall be going ‘cold-turkey’ on my Ebay habit, for a start ~ no long, slow, gentle withdrawal period! (Actually, I have already tried the latter…..needless to say, it didn’t work ;-0) Then there is my very close and, on my part at least, loving relationship with Amazon ~ eeek, I’m coming out in a cold sweat! And what about those catalogues and brochures which drop through my letter-box on a regular basis, tempting me with their oh-such-good-value sale prices???


It seems that this could prove to be a very difficult 365 days, aiming to keep on the straight-and-narrow of buying only things I truly need, as opposed to the little trinkets and fancy fripperies that catch my eye! Lordy, my ‘wants’ far, far exceed my actual ‘needs’!

So how will I be able to resist, I am already asking myself? What will I do to occupy/distract/amuse myself for a whole year? The answer, of course, is that I will follow in the trail-blazing footsteps of Tif and the other stalwart followers-of-the-utmost-challenge, boldly going where previously I have feared to tread! I shall turn over a frugal, thrifty, creative leaf! I am Woman: hear my sewing-machine/knitting needles/crochet hooks/scissors roar! Ooooh, I feel positively dizzy with the excitement of all the possibilities ahead of me ~ what a good job I’m sitting down!

Right, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and discuss the things that I have decided will be my exceptions. First off, Adrian and I are ~ as you know ~ gradually sorting out the house and garden, both of which could be classified under the heading of ‘home’. However, it seems logical to me that basic raw materials for these projects should be excluded from The Challenge, especially so far as the garden is concerned. I’m hoping that we will be doing some decorating, too, so paint, wallpaper, etc will also be an exception. However, I will do my utmost to use my not-inconsiderable stash of fabrics/old curtains/bedding for creating 'new' soft furnishings!

Secondly, should any of the ‘white goods’ give up the ghost then they will be replaced with new, energy-efficient ones. On a similar note, I have had in mind for some little while the issue of replacing pots, pans, baking tins, etc. I’ve come to the conclusion (through experience!) that it really is a false economy to buy cheap ‘n’ cheerful items which get a lot of wear and tear and so, when they have been needed, I have replaced said items with sturdy, made-to-last, good quality ones. I hasten to point out that I’m not actually anticipating the mass demise of my remaining old pots and pans! Should the need arise, however, then I will be sticking to my sturdy, good quality rule :-)

As you know, my Shed is absolutely stuffed full of all sorts of crafty, creative raw materials which puts me in the very fortunate position of having lots of scrumptious things to work with! Even so, I will be making another exception for if/when I run out of basics such as sewing notions, glues, pens and pencils, etc. Right now, I have a pretty large stash of fabric and yarn, too, so will be working through what I have before I think about buying anything new (or pre-loved for that matter) in that area. I’m hoping to see a quite considerable reduction of my stashed goodies by the end of the year!

As far as ‘wardrobe’ exceptions for myself are concerned, I really only anticipate perhaps having to buy the odd item of underwear from time-to-time and possibly footwear. So far as my actual wardrobe is concerned, a good third of the clothes living in there don’t fit me right this minute…..and up in the loft, I have three suitcases full of a wide range of smaller sizes! If my hoped-for weight reduction actually comes to pass, then I think I’m covered ;-)

All this, you will no doubt be relieved to hear, now leaves only the final task of deciding when to begin my Utmost Challenge. Tif chose to start on her birthday, which is very sensible, but mine has been and gone and won’t be round this way again for another eight months! The 1st October would have been a good date ~ you know, a new month and all that ~ had I actually had all this planned out in my head at that point, of course. The 1st November seems a bit of a way off; I know it’s only three weeks but a lot can happen in 21 days and I don’t want to get blown off course before I’ve even set sail! Oh decisions, decisions!

Okay, let’s be logical about this: I have only one item on Ebay which I am bidding on, and that finishes today. I will therefore place no more bids ~ in fact, I will be visiting straight after I have uploaded this post to delete EVERYTHING I am watching. G-g-g-gasp!! I will give myself a couple of days to get used to the idea of this Utmost Challenge, and all that it entails, and therefore declare that:

As from 10th October 2010, I shall be taking part in the Challenge of the Utmost Kind; other than the exceptions listed earlier, I promise to do my utmost to avoid purchasing new items for my home and wardrobe. Instead, I shall be getting creative by making things myself or buying necessities which are pre-loved or handcrafted. I shall also endeavour, so far as possible, to make or buy handcrafted gifts as appropriate.

Phew ~ wish me luck!

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