year of trying to live with less stuff

Tuesday 30 December 2008
in an effort to dislodge this procrastinating baby out of its home, I've been trying to keep as active and moving around as much as possible. My husband and I went to a museum where I watched the frazzled mothers trying to keep control of their boisterous kids, and no doubt they were looking at me thinking 'just you wait!'. We've also wandered through the crowded shopping centres checking out the post christmas sales but honestly this year I'm a bit 'meh' about shopping and didn't buy anything at all. Sure things are heavily discounted, but nothing appealed at all.

Maybe it's because my body and feet are too fat to try anything on, but I'm hoping it's more because I'm over accumulating stuff. I'm starting to feel seriously claustrophobic in our half house with all of our posessions crammed in while building works are going on, and I finally managed to move the last of my stash out of the baby's room and literally into nearly every other room of my house including several large bags at my parents house (I realise how much I actually have now which made partly ashamed but mostly deliriously happy!). I'm sure there will be an avalanche of things coming in to the house with the new baby, plus we'll be buying a few big ticket items (new lounge suite and tv) we've been putting off buying for a few years until we had finished renovating, so I'm going to make it my personal mission to reduce the amount of things that I personally buy and bring into this house for me at least. One step at a time I guess!

So what does this all mean? Well:
1. I know we all say this at one point in time, but a key thing for me this year will be buying less fabric and using more of my fabric and notions stash. I know I can probably hold off on buying fabric retail, but I may waiver when it comes to op shops and garage sales! But I am going to limit myself to buying new fabric only for project specific requirements if the stash doesn't hold what I need (but that's unlikely) but I'm also going to plan future projects on fabric and patterns I already have to minise this happening.

2. Finish off my UFOs because they represent a waste of my time, money and space plus they are a lost opportunity for a new outfit. Although some of these will depend on regaining my previous body measurments to make them work.

3. Refashion even more clothes this year than last, because I have a huge collection of clothes from my gran and other sources that just need a tweaking to give them a fresh start at life.

4. Use up toiletries and cosmetics before buying new ones - I can't believe how many barely used bottles of bath gels, moisturisers, sun screens, eyeshadows etc that are accumulating in my bathroom!

5. For every thing that comes into the house, I'm going to try to get one thing out either to someone who will love it or to a charity shop.

So whilst I'm sitting around waiting, I put number 3 on the list into action and refashioned a stretched out white t-shirt into a front opening nursing friendly top by cutting it open down the centre front, sewing on a placket from scrap fabric, added some fabric around the armbands for decoration and put on some big white buttons from the stash. And now I have a top to match some pyjamas bottoms I made recently at no cost to me:

From this, a stretched out white cotton t-shirt that has seen better days but isn't ready for the rag bag yet...

 this, a sweet new top to match some pyamas bottoms

Also now that christmas is done and dusted I can share with you the presents I made. For my mum I made some loose black linen elastic waist pants and a jacket made from a cotton sateen in a black and white chrysantheum print that I bought from Spotlight eons ago. I used Simplicity 3874 for the jacket, which I've made three times before for myself in red, as part of a skirt suit and from a repurposed curtain. I added a self covered large button and a ribbon loop enclosure because it does sit better when closed, and I used the black linen for the contrast fabric to match it to the pants.

I also whipped up this quick bag (no pattern, just winged it) instead of using wrapping paper to present it to my mum. It's from a small piece of home dec fabric I had in the stash bought from an op shop and lined with some grey cotton also from the stash. It turned out pretty good since I didn't use a pattern, I basically just folded the fabric in half and squared off the bottom, and added a top band and handles:

For my husband I made a small bag for his golf tees (again no pattern just a rectangle with a zipper), and a larger bag for his golf shoes using this simple box bag tutorial over at dragon[knit]fly blog. The black fabric is some leftover black cotton from the stash, the shoe bag is lined with a plastic coated bag that came free with the Sunday newspaper last year for runners in the City to Surf 14km 'fun run' (the biggest oxymoron I've ever heard). I added some red and grey bias trim to match the colour scheme of his golf bag and he was suitably impressed:


  1. Great to catch you again, as I've been away for a while and just checked in to see if you've had the baby! Hope you're going well though!

    I totally understand the 'stuff' thing, a few years back I got a real chill about buying 'new', and mostly because of the waste 'new' things create. Have you read 'Affluenza' by Clive Hamilton? It was a good grounding for me, and also cemented my re-using other people's waste! Yay for us opshoppers, it's so much better re-using and going for the stash rather than the retail stores.

    All the best for the last of the pregs, hope it all goes well lady!


  2. I love the refashioning of the cotton tee to make a pj top. I think that is a super idea for new tees that are so plentiful and cheap over here (also which I don't like that much).I like repurposing things when I can so enjoy seeing what someone thinks up. If you think there is too much stuff in the house now just wait until all the toys and accessories move in with you. I am still trying to get the three adult children to reclaim some of their "treasures" that they want to leave at mom's.
    Let us know when baby arrives. I always check to see how you are as I am expecting a grandbaby any minute as well. My daughter got put to bed several months ago so with a yr old and living in another town,granmas life has radically changed. My only sewing is on the internet or in my head but that is ok. One finds really fast that only getting the healthy baby is important. Best wishes for an easy delivery and a beautiful infant. mssewcrazy

  3. You have been busy and your bundle of joy is coming...I promise! I totally understand your goals for 2009 but keep wondering when you are going to have time to do this...I will be sitting right here watching and waiting! :)

    Have you tried jumping up and down yet? Just kidding! *LOL*

  4. Those are all really good goals, and ones I, too, try to strive for... I find really helpful in posting good tips and ways of thinking about having "less stuff". The happiest times in my life have also, strangely, been the times when I've had the least stuff...

  5. I really like the gifts you made for your mother. Especially that handbag! I like the little pleat at the top. It really adds.

    Watch a funny movie. (I have probably suggested this before.) I laughed my first baby out after watching "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Michael Caine and Steve Martin.

    WV: clenctra. As in, "Mourning Becomes Clenctra." Hey!! A baby name idea!!

  6. Great goals and it just feels good to get your money's worth out of the "stuff" you already own! You do such a great job at refashioning items...I really like the pj's.

  7. The gifts are great!

    I have the same New Years plan. Last year I read a book called Not Buying It. It was quite motivating. If you can track it down I recommend it.

  8. Oh Dear , My first two daughters were 2 weeks overdue and one was eventually induced. All I can say as a GP obstetrician and mother is that there is nothing much you can do and DO NOT use castor oil-it NEVER works and makes you feel sick. At least you can get a little bit more of your SABLE sewn down. Good Luck. Janine

  9. I am impressed with your projects! I especially love how you transformed the white t-shirt into a nursing top. I will have to keep that in mind for next year. I LOVE the golf-shoe bag. I have all sorts of ideas for cute accessory bags for my golf bag now, thanks to you!

    Hope you're feeling well, sounds like 2009 is going to be a fab year for you.