some of you may be wondering if i actually followed through on my last post. so i’m here to tell you that: i did! (mostly). and i wanted to report on how it went and what i learned.
first of all, january is the month that retailers have their biggest sales. although i did delete all of the “40% off of the clearance price” emails, they conveniently have that in their email title, so i got a painfully strong sense what i was missing. i could resist anthropologie, and the gap, and restoration hardware, but when tea collection (the cutest kids clothes on the planet) sent out their sale email, i did have a moment of inner conflict. how could my kids possibly continue to be well dressed if i didn’t buy them new things?!?! (oh, right, with the dozen cute other things already in their closet.)
psychoanalyzing my own shopping patterns was a very interesting part of this whole experiment. i realized that i am a very predictable consumer. if you tell me i am getting a percentage off of the lowest clearance price, i will bite every time– whether it is something i actually need or not. because, I AM SAVING SO MUCH MONEY!!! HOW CAN I REFUSE? bah. blech. ug.
i did not get around to making my cardboard animal bust (quite honestly because the one i saw online as ‘DIY’ is actually a kit that you still have to BUY… boo.) however, i did make some really cool paper dahlias.
i had some old books of my own and a bunch of paper already lying around so i put it all to good use and created some three dimensional art. i also went to goodwill in search of more large pages for making more flowers and came home with these three jumbo beauties:
“the romance of ballooning”?! yes, please. i should have included something in the picture for scale because these books are enormous. Michelangelo alone might weigh 10 pounds. and ‘the romance of ballooning’?! it’s so rad i have to show you some pictures of the inside:
things like this cannot be found. they find you.
to my good fortune, my neighbor happened to be hosting a clothing swap mid-month! although i had just purged my closet in a major way during the holidays, i squeezed it even further to get some really good stuff out that i just don’t wear. and, of course, i managed to find a few things to bring home that add a little spice to my life.
as far as borrowing, i did have another near moment of caving when netflix suddenly and without warning stopped streaming the show ‘brothers and sisters’ just as i had become completely engrossed in season 4. i will admit, i looked on amazon to see how much it would cost to buy the remaining seasons… but then it occurred to me: check the library! and to my delight, they had them! although the solution didn’t come to my door via 2-day express delivery, it was pretty darn close. it made me realize how i’ve become used to getting what i want when i want it. a healthy dose of delayed gratification does a person good.
and the rearranging! i didn’t torture kevin with any furniture hauling, but i did finally hang a whole stairway with pictures and frames that had been accumulating since we moved into our house (3+ years ago…). now i take a trip down memory lane at least 17 times a day.
in terms of inspiration, i started to explore pinterest for the first time last month. talk about dangerous! it is sort of like shopping for ideas, isn’t it? and the best part is that it doesn’t lead to an actual purchase in the end.
lately, i have also been inspired to get to work in the yard. the weather here has been so marvelous (sorry to you who are buried in snow), that the seed and fruit tree catalogs and books are finding their seasonal home on my bedside table. i will confess that i did place an order for fruit trees this month. technically, it was piggy backing a replacement order from last year and TECHNICALLY, they are FOOD, and TECHNICALLY, are plants really NEW? ok, i’m justifying. can you forgive me? you will when you taste my elderberry wine…
those boots that i splurged to buy a couple of years ago were worn with great intention this month. i was also given, yes GIVEN (thank you jac and gabe!) a pair of vintage frye cowboy boots, just in time for the portland old-time music gathering. talk about great timing.
i took my own advice and consulted the ‘smitten kitchen’ blog and made her delicious mushroom marsala casserole. i was NOT sorry even a little. and i got to taste marsala which is not only the pantone color of the year, but a tasty fortified wine. just talking about the casserole has me wanting to eat it again tonight.
kevin was out of town for a week of this month, and so to kill time one morning i treated the boys (and myself) to a goodwill trip. i first made them each pick out 2 things that we could drop off at goodwill, and told them they could pick 2 ‘new’ toys. it was amazing how much time both of these sets of decisions took, especially for 4-year old, jude. painful, really. it was as if choosing the wrong items (in either case) could dramatically alter the outcome of his life. so after 30 minutes in the toy aisle at goodwill, going back and forth between the rescue helicopter that had a broken door and the baggie of superhero figures and weird bobble-head doll, i gave the 3 count. and the baggie proved itself the confirmed best choice when it was discovered that spiderman’s eyes lit up. yes, they do.
and in full disclosure, the one additional ‘new’ purchase that i made during the month was a part to repair my broken banjo. jude was studying musical instruments at school, and i had been asked to come in and play. when we arrived and i opened the case to play, strings were spewing out in all directions. for the instrument geeks: my tailpiece had cracked right in half. i do adore my banjo, so i went right home and emailed the maker. he responded promptly and said, yes, he quit using those tailpieces because they were breaking. and apparently i could easily fix it myself by ordering the new tailpiece. not really something i could make myself or get second-hand, so…
i should also be clear that i did not carry this over to my ‘found’ business. although, one would think that with my propensity for repurposing it would be no big deal. which is true. but we also planned a trip to Portland this month, home to one of my favorite leather supply stores. and boy, did i do some damage.
overall, this was a really good exercise for me. it made me think a lot about not only WHAT i buy, but WHY i buy and even HOW i buy. it seems that the scarcity of time that parenthood brings on somehow gave me a free pass to be less frugal or creative with how i fill our needs and wants. it felt like a healthy change to step outside of the consumer mainstream for a minute.
so, will i continue on to a ‘buy nothing’ year? um, no. but i am contemplating the coming season of lent and what i might surrender for that. stay tuned…