Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Make Do And Mend Year

Vintage fans, meet Jen. Jen is our first guest blogger and she's about to embark on a year of thriftiness. We are going to be checking in with her along the way but she's only just got started, so I'll hand you over to the lady herself.

"My name is Jen, I live in the South-West of England, with my lovely hubby, our two fantastic, amazing little boys-BigSmall who is nearly 4, and SmallSmall who is 1, and two crazy cats called Nigella and Clarrisa.
I started sewing just after our first little person was born, having never even touched a sewing machine before, and then discovered crafting of all sorts. Along the way I also found a new love when I stumbled upon the vintage and retro revival that is so big at the moment, and now I am a devout upcycler and vintage lover, so making and re-loving old and vintage items is very much a part of my life.

But then I decided I needed to take it one step further, and launched myself in to the challenge of My Make Do and Mend Year.
"My Make Do and Mend Year" is basically this: a personal challenge, to go a whole year without buying anything new. So I can choose to make, make do, or mend, but I can’t buy new. I can buy secondhand, pre-loved, re-conditioned, vintage, retro…just not brand spanking new. And it all starts on the 1st September 2012.

Essentially I'm doing this because Making Do and Mending is good for the planet, good for the bank balance and good for the soul! In our family, we are in the very fortunate position where we have nearly everything we NEED, and most of what we want. We really don’t need any more stuff. And the planet certainly doesn’t need any more stuff. And my bank balance could do with a break from buying stuff! It also dawned on me that the things in our house that I like the most, are the one’s that have taken a bit of thought and time and love (a bit like the children…), and not the instant fixes we've gone out and bought with little or no thought.
If I can just stop for a minute before I buy things, and think ‘do I really need this?’ then I might buy less, buy better and spend less. If I don’t really need it, then I have to ask how much I want it, and if I really want it, then I should be prepared to wait a little bit longer and look a little bit harder, until I find what I want second hand, or can make something similar!

That it will all be a breeze, we’ll sail through with no problems, making beautiful things, falling across gorgeous vintage finds, mending things in fiendishly clever ways, and stoically making do when this isn’t possible…
Seriously though-I hope that it will make us, as a family, more aware of what we’re buying. It takes out that instant gratification part of buying, as everything will involve more thought and planning.  In turn, I hope that this will make up more appreciative of what we already have, and what we do buy.
I’m looking forwards to having to be more inventive and there is a part of me that is really relishing the prospect of ‘making do’, and the challenge of thrifting and making and mending. Plus, it’s an ideal excuse for visiting vintage fairs and flea markets…!

There is a tiny part of me convinced that on the 1st September, the boiler will blow up, the car will break down and the fridge will stop working, all at once and all in spectacular fashion.
I know I will really miss magazines. I love leafing through vintage and crafty mags, lusting after the gorgeous things, and adding to my ever increasing ‘want to make’ list.
I’m not sure I’m going to be very good at ‘making do’. I’m quite impatient and not very tolerant of things when they aren’t exactly as I want them. Hmmmm, can anyone spot a potential stumbling block here?!
And lastly, I’m already slightly worried about Christmas!"

Follow Jen as she embarks on her challenge, and throughout the year ahead, on the blog:

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1 comment:

  1. My friend, her blog called Domestic Ecowarrior, did the same thing a year ago.
    I don't think her blog is easy to find thou, and she hasnt blogged for a while as she had a baby 8 weeks ago. However, as she is from Chile, she has always had the attitude of buying from car boot sales and has some lovely vintage things, (everything is so expensive here!).
    She started before vintage became popular again.
    I shopped in charity shops etc only, in the 80's as was a mod so had 'done' 'second hand' thou still have some stuff that I can't part with.
    Karen has some lovely baby clothes and all from car boots.
    Jen, magazines are recycled too, which is what I do with my craft and other mags to my friends. There is always freecycle/freegle too.
    Will be interested to hear how you get on. Another friend has just had another baby and is the opposite of my ecowarrier friend!