"This is not meant to be a depressing year. The aim is for a certain shedding of non-essentials, but for a lot of fun and challenge and celebration of all things long-lived and handmade! I think it could be a great year..."Lots of you have been asking how it's gone, and I've just collected up a montage of thrifty, long-lived and handmade items from the past year, to accompany my answer to you.Was it hard? Not particularly!
Did it make changes in your life? Yes, mostly very positive. I've found myself realising that the 'quick fix' of buying something when I feel low is quite ineffectual. I only ended up still low and with less money! Having to sit and wait for something, to decide if I really want it, and to search for it second hand, is fun and painless.
Have you felt deprived? No, although without the Magazine Swap, which we've held twice now, and without my wonderful birthday subscription for Country Living, I would have found it hard to live without magazines.
Has it worked for the boys, as well as for you? Yes and no. I never deprived them of something (although I used the Challenge as an excuse to get them to spend their own pocket money, instead of mine, once or twice!) You see above a whole set of Son 2's favourite books, collected by me and the wonderful Serenata, my fellow Challengee, in charity shops. Son 2's clothes are almost all second hand or hand-me-down, and he's happy, but Son 1 has shot up this year and I've had to buy him new clothes as teenaged clothes are very rare second hand.
What did you cheat on? Well, as warned, the computer broke and we bought a new one. We broke so many glasses over the year that I bought 9 new ones!!! I also bought two kitchen knives when I was ill, as we just didn't seem to have enough and I hadn't the strength to wait and go charity shopping. I also did buy a fair number of presents new, although plenty of others were within the bounds of the Challenge.
What practical goods did you manage to buy second hand or get fixed? The food processor, above, was a great find in a second hand shop. Of course, they're not cheap when second hand, but perhaps one third of the new price, which is pretty good. We also got the second hand dishwasher repaired rather than buying a new one, and Ben picked up a second hand washing machine from a colleague who was emigrating.
Did you make much? Well, yes, before Christmas - I made plenty of Christmas presents. Once I was ill, in January, February and onwards, I really lost the will to sew, and although I baked an awful lot, I made relatively little. That's perhaps not what I expected when I took on the Challenge, but it's not caused a real problem. I'm better now and hoping that the return of the cooler weather will re-motivate me with crafting!
Have you been really looking forward to September 20th (the end of the Challenge year)? Not dramatically! I do want to buy some new undies and a matching pair of earrings, though. I've been wearing odd earrings for months now, as I lose them for a pastime. That can look fun at times, but not very professional...Will you continue? Yes but less fixedly. I have learnt a lot, gained time and saved money, had fun and made or deepened friendships. So I will certainly continue, but I won't panic if I really do need to buy something new.
Well, there are the answers to actual or implied questions from my blogging friends! It only remains to thank Tif Fussell/Dottie Angel for this great idea, and to carry on, along with blogging friends around the world, in our different interpretations of the Challenge. I AM going to buy a pair of Cath Kidston cloth shoes next springtime, though... or maybe two pairs..?