On Saturday I realised it was the 23rd of April. That meant it's been a whole year since I signed up to take part in Tif's Challenge of the Utmost Kind to buy only handcrafted and secondhand. Before I joined in, if I had the pennies, I bought what I wanted. Desire was greater than need really. Being skint forced me to think more about buying just what I needed. I reasoned that taking part in the challenge would make those times when we were skint a bit more fun. Mind you we've always lived a fairly thrifty life. The only new furniture we own are the sofa's and fridge and they were presents from my folks. The rest has been collected or inherited along the years as we prefer this style to new stuff.
I've made clothes and worn charity and vintage since I was a teenager. I've always loved to make things for our home, for the Buns and gifts for others, but they've always taken second place to making things to sell. As the months of the Challenge rolled by I found myself really thinking about what I needed and we needed as a family. It became a really refreshing way of shopping. The time I might have wasted in shops or online quickly buying new stuff is now spent making stuff which is even better. I've found it impossible to avoid book and yarn shops though. I've been tempted and given in there a few times, but even so that's been to make things for us.
Wearing the same clothes has been dull at times. Favourite jeans sprouting holes everywhere has been plain unfair. I've patched tatty jeans and made it a feature, rather than chuck them out. My most loved pair have five patches on them. I've also re-discovered my love of searching out vintage clothes, when they actually fit me, before I preferred buying new vintage style. I haven't gone off this idea though, I still love Noa Noa.
I've also started making clothes again. I did treat myself to a great book with tons of patterns in it. I reasoned that made sense as then I could make lots more clothes. I've always loved buying clothes and to be honest I'm getting pretty bored with the clothes I have got, but I just can't see myself rushing out to buy things for the sake of it anymore.
The most important change that has happened as a result of the challenge has been for me to be less wasteful. I'm not saving string and bits of soap yet, but I'm getting more like that. We only ever buy the food we need now so we eat really good home cooked food, no tv dinners. The bin isn't filled up with food that we never got round to eating and the hens, rabbits and Alfie will always help out by scoffing the leftovers.
Thankfully I've always been a hoarder so when I've felt the need for a change at home there's always been something in the stash to make a new cushion cover or two.
I couldn't believe my luck when I found some 1930's curtains I'd never finished lining. The ones we had in our bedroom got so grotty they had to come down and in my stash a beautiful pair were hiding waiting to be made and hung.
Although technically my year is up, there's no sense of it being an end of a year as I like this way of living much more. I certainly won't be denying myself something new if I need it and like it now as plain old desire is good too, but I won't be rushing out to get things I really don't need. I've always got more of a buzz from finding that much coveted thing at the car boot or in the charity shop anyway and making something myself gives me real pleasure. On the whole it's been more about rethinking what I already did so I'm really glad I took part in Tif's great idea. Now I can get back to lusting after a pair of red shoes I've seen and hunt them down.