Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Loving the Challenge...

Tif's Challenge of the Utmost Kind is having a very positive effect on my life so far... Here is Tif, with her Dottie Angel Challenge - you can read about my response here, and her original challenge here.
Instead of giving you a running commentary on my weekend Vide Greniers finds, I thought I'd let the pictures speak (mostly) for themselves, and go through some answers to questions about the Challenge, plus letting you know how it's going so far...
So, the questions first.
Question 1: Can people still buy me new gifts? Of course, if they want to, but maybe this will free people up when they realise (as my sister already does, for example) that I'm very happy to have hand made, second hand or otherwise 'acquired' gifts from them. If my family wants to track down my Amazon wishlist, for example, they could buy me a second hand version of a book I'm longing for... (hint, hint)...Question 2: Surely you never found an Emma Bridgewater tray in a Vide Grenier in southern France? (OK, I made up that question, but you need to know the truth - I already had the tray and most of its contents - only the watch was new to me this weekend).Question 2 (the real one): Is this about 'being green'? Oddly enough, not particularly. We lead as green a lifestyle as we can anyway, and if I really wanted to have less of an impact on the planet I think there are other things I would change in my life first. Instead, I see this Challenge as a discipline, almost kind of a fast, to give me a chance to re-focus my life and my spending/consumption habits. This has some eco-relevance, but it's almost more spiritual for me. Hmmm, heavy...Question 3: (OK, OK, now I'm making up questions the way John Holmes makes up letters in the Now Show, but it's for a purpose...) What about those exceptions - you haven't said anything about clothes? I buy second hand or am given (as 'hand-me-downs') nearly all of my clothes. I do quite a bit of 'upcycling' of the clothes I'm given and am keen to do more. Last winter I bought some great boots and shoes (new - very unusual for me) and I have fairly new, or long-lasting, undies, so I think I'll be OK by continuing my careful mending policies... Tights are little-needed in southern France - I'll be fine!
Spurious Question 4: Why the exception you made for Fair Trade produce? Most Fairly Traded stuff is hand made anyway, so it comes into Tif's original rules. I also feel passionately about giving fair recompense to producers around the world, and this is a realisitic way of supporting people I will never meet. If I stopped buying FT for a year it would be a negative move, not a positive one. Since food is not part of this challenge, my FT buying habits there won't be affected anyway.
So, how is it going? As I said, I'm finding it incredibly positive so far - thanks Tif!
Successes so far include the discovery that second hand filing cabinets are readily available in France - by checking on the Internet I can see that they frequently come into the Troc Shops, so a bit of patience and popping in every now and then (or checking the local websites) should find me one to sort out our filing problems within the next month or so. If I'd bought one new, it would probably have stood, empty, for a while before I got the time to set it up, so it might as well sit waiting for me, second hand somewhere - I will find it!Another phenomenal success on a more frivolous level is that I found two (two!) red-initialed nighties at the VG this weekend! Elizabethd knows how much I have wanted one of these. I saw one in Brittany for 65 euros - ludicrous! The vendor wanted two euros each for these two...She thought they were family nighties, but did not know who LR was. I think she was a bit bigger than me round the middle, though!Despite that, they do fit, and I might just wear one after a bath as a rather whimsical version of a pair of house pyjamas!
But really, I just wanted to own something(s) this fine...There was another hand-embroidered nighty in the same collection, for the same price...
Very fine work... Love it!
If you turn the embroidery over you can see it is all hand done.And this is another good thing about thrifty shopping - even at the VG prices can be cut! I only discovered this label when I got home - it means that the nighties were in a Braderie, and didn't sell...So, exceptions and failures... I have felt positively freed up not having to make decisions about buying new stuff or visiting my favourite decor shops. I've had more time to do other things... I did go into a big electronics shop and buy something I'd promised I'd get for Ben. It's a desktop hard drive, so that he can download all our important files and photos before we upgrade/replace the computer. To be honest, the upgrade needed is so all-encompassing (only the screen still works properly) that we will probably need to buy a 'new' set. However, we might find this 'new' computer second hand - watch this space. I do predict that this will be the hardest thing to fit within this challenge, this year...The tin and its contents above weren't cheap, in case you were wondering! The vendor knew exactly what she was selling, and gave them to me at a reduced price for buying the lot, but nothing over-generous. I do think I did well, though.
And finally, I've found and photographed the magazine photo which I think inspired me to re-discover all the wonderful vintage things I had packed away around the house! The photo above was on the front of an old magazine which I bought shortly after arriving in France. Don't you think it's inspirational?

17 comments:

Catherine said...

I love all the linens! So pretty! And ,yes, that is an inspiring photo!!

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

What a fabulous and wonderful challenge! Oh how I'd like to do this for myself (it would be VERY hard trying to convince my four kids to commit to this when it comes to clothing though - lol - they do regularly wear each other's outgrown clothes, however). I ironically passed up on a $5.00 gorgeous blue wool sweater at the thrift today; perhaps I'll go back tomorrow! ;)

Serenata said...

I've joined you! Brain now worn out from all the thinking - LOL

Love the pretty nightwear - it is gorgeous.

Pomona said...

It's lovely to hear how you are doing - I must admit that even though I said that I would start on 1 Oct, I have not bought anything this week. I think I would have felt that I was cheating if I had rushed out to stock up!

Wonderful nighties, too!

Pomona x

Sarah said...

I do love that picture as well. It's the blue mostly I think and the calming nature of it all. I also have been very good, but it's been very easy so far. I have no great desire these days to buy anything except craft items. Gosh I wish I could buy jars of buttons or even tins of them over here!! Why don't we have them?

Lululiz said...

Proud of you, girl, you are doing so well!

Great vide greniers finds yet again. The nighties are lovely. Its so rare to find them reasonably priced these days, you were incredibly lucky to get them so cheaply. And as for the tin with those gorgeous bits.......... sigh

A Bun Can Dance said...

Dear Floss
It's good to hear more about your motivation for taking part in the challenge. I can fully understand the idea of 'fasting' - this is very much how I feel about it. If the next 50+ weeks can make us more 'conscious' in our shopping habits then that will be a huge achievement in itself. Your finds at the VG are all beautiful in themselves. I really do think there is a 'power' which we've connected to by taking up this challenge, and the 'power' will provide for us..... just like the birds in the trees. "All we have is all we need".
Thank you for an inspirational post,
Denise x

bekimarie said...

Well done you, you should be very proud of yourself!
Gorgeous nighties, what a find!
((hugs))
Beki xxx

Forest View by Jayne-Marie said...

Hi floss,
Thanks for stopping by on my blog. How I envy you living in France. We lived in Brittany for a few years on an organic smallholding. Unfortunately due to major family health problems on both sides of the Channel, we had to return to the UK leaving our formar life a distant memory. During our time there we spent a lot of time visiting a local depot vent. We had some very good purchases, and due to the poor lighting some pieces of furniture that was used as fire wood ! a cleaver sales ploy. Spookily the lady who ran the DV in a barn on her farm made annual visits to the Cheltenham Antiques market which was around 30 miles from where we lived (and have returned to). Small world.
Please pop by again and let me know how your challeng is going.
best wishes
Jayne-marie
xx

claire said...

It sounds like a great challenge......
Please do contact me about the advent thing - sounds very interesting x
Love those nighties :)

Alison Russell said...

The nighties are gorgeous! I don't think I'd be able to find anything like that over here :( Good thing I sew!

I've been debating joining the challenge myself. I think I could make a go of it, but I don't think DH would be on board :/

jus said...

What beautiful nighties...I don't think I'd have the will power to keep those just for bed, gorgeous! All is fine here in NZ, it's Samoa that has taken a real thrashing, so, so sad!
Have a great week, x

Mami said...

Hi,Floss
Your challenge is great,so i should consider of a waste for myself.It's seems creative and clever life what you're setting up.Thank you for tellng us.

Michela said...

I really admire your strong will...and your VG finds!

Lucy Pursglove-Jones said...

What a great challenge, Floss. Xx

Lola Nova said...

Wonderful post. Beautiful nighties!

sue15cat said...

I'm seriously thinking of taking part in this challenge too, but I am dithering and pondering...should I just go for it?

Sue xx