Saturday, 26 January 2008

Update, questions, and chocolate

Mini-challenge:
I have finished the linen cupboard, and have started on the study. I have cleaned the study numerous times, but it will never stay clean until I get rid of enormous amounts of 'stuff'. So, I have decluttered my yarn, fabric, and sewing things. Probably got rid of about 35%.

Currently I am working on my Scouting stuff. I have stepped aside from my role as Andrew's assistant so now it's time to clear out all the stuff I no longer need. Lots of stuff can go to the Scout Hall or go to Andrew or be chucked. There will be very little which I will want or need to keep. Hooray!

After that I'll be starting on my light table. It's such a handy piece of furniture, but I keep using it to dump boxes of 'stuff' on.

And at some stage I may have the courage to tackle the desk.

I have 'before' shots, but lack the courage to post them just yet.

Consumption Challenge:
We are coming to the realisation that we will need to set a small budget for household-repair-type-spending. It simply isn't possible to purchase a second-hand plastic light fitting thingy, or a very specific lock gadget which we need to keep Elliot off the back steps. With a 30 year old house, repairs are inevitable and unavoidable.

Currently our bank balance is looking extraordinarily healthy which is such an encouragement. I think we may have our credit card paid off in record time at this rate.

I am discouraged by a number of things I was previously unaware of or able to ignore:
Like sour cream, which I buy lots of, has a recycle number '5'. In our area we can only do 1, 2
and 3. :( I hate it every time I chuck a container in the bin. I'll have to find some glass sour cream containers.
Like the amount of junk mail we get which is urging us to buy. I am not tempted by the catalogues, but it saddens me to think of all the spending we used to do just because. I will be putting up a 'no junk mail' sign on our letterbox.
Like advertising in general. It makes me sad to think of people buying stuff because they are told to. I left graphic design out as a career option because the same issue made me sad.
Like hearing that Chadstone (bl%*&y enormous shopping centre) just broke the record as being the first shopping centre in AUSTRALIA to top $1,000,000 (yes, that's one million dollars!!!) in sales in one year!!!!!! They're already talking about how to top it this year.

Questions:
I am able to find many sewing supplies (velcro/zippers/bias tape) in op shops, but what should I do about things I can't find and aren't reusable? Eg: fusible webbing/interfacing.

Where do things like toilet brushes and toothbrushes fit into the grand scheme of the Challenge? I can easily crochet up some dish cloths when we need more, but my skills are limited when it comes to making brushes. Buying new ones seems to go against the Challenge since they are poor quality, not recyclable, and have a very short lifespan. Any ideas?

Chocolate:
Have I mentioned that I'm doing the slave-free chocolate thing too? I can't justify my own pleasure causing children in another country hurt, lack of freedom, and worse. I am usually addicted to choc, but after reading some of
Eilleen's posts I seem to have lost my infatuation with it. Still trying to find a fair trade choc which I like. I'm sure there's one out there.

7 comments:

ColdCloth said...

Oh wow, so you have the catalogue blues too? I used to enjoy looking at catalogues (we have a no junk mail sticker on our mailbox but we get catalogues in the newspaper) but now it just makes me sad. All that stuff that people don't need but are encouraged to buy. Hey did you hear that in the USA the govt has decided to give huge tax breaks to every family (works out at over $1000US per family) as they reckon that the US economy is consumer driver and that if everyone spends their $1K then they can stave off a recession??? What the??!! That's an awful lot of stuff being consumed.
Can't help with the containers but with the sewing needs, have you looked at some of the small online shops? At least if you buy from them your money is going to support a small business and not a big corporation or department store. I'd be really interested in peoples' comments about toothbrushes and toiletbrushes. I do my best not to buy things from multinational corporations but you can't avoid it with toothbrushes. I've heard for people hanging their toothbrushes out in the sunlight to destroy bacteria and prolong its life (and I do that with my toilet brush every so often) but I'd LOVE to be able to buy brushes that are made to last and are not manufactured by a big company. Well done with your decluttering - you are going great guns!!!

Eilleen said...

That is so great how much you've culled! Well done.

I still haven't done the study, btw. I went into it today but then conveniently decided to be out all day instead.

And yaay on the CC!

Re: interface - during my challenge, I just stitched either a thicker fabric underneath or sewed fused plastic or even unfused plastic! Yes, its not as convenient as the iron on stuff, but it still works. I actually like this now better than the other stuff.

For me, one of the most rewarding things about my challenge was getting to extend creativity in all parts of my life. I figure, if the men stuck in Apollo 13 were able to fix their shuttle and get back to Earth using their small amount of rubbish, then it is possible to find a substitute for everything. :D

For toothbrushes, I have to admit during my challenge I experimented with a few things - using toothpicks and mouthwash blah blah. Anyway, I found this: Another option is to go this way: http://www.ecoessentials.com.au/dental-care/monte-bianco-toothbrush-natural-bristles.htm

The brush head does get thrown away but its less than having to throw away the whole thing.

Recently I found this: http://www.naturaltoothbrush.com/ I want to try it.

Keely said...

I've been getting depressed looking at all the catalogues we get. We used to have a No Junk Mail on our old letterbox, then my Dad made us a new one (letterbox) and we now get so much junk mail - I'm putting a No Junk Mail sticker back on it I decided this weekend, over the christmas period it was insane! I remember reading Elieen's blog and Im' sure I remember her fusing old plastic shopping bags and using that?

Theresa said...

You are doing really well T and I'm so amazed by those shoes you made STILL! (I keep coming back to just look at them).

Seeing as we have a PO Box, DH suggested removing our mailbox completely - I was going to buy a NJM sticker too, but I think this is an even better idea as they cant possibly *not see* the sticker! Now just to get him to do it ;)

For our challenge we haven't quit spending so to speak, but just decided to re-evaluate where our $$ go - so we have opted for local, small businesses than the big chains, but also want to choose ethical and sustainable options.

I guess the best you can do is try some online research and see if there is any other way to source those things that seem so hard to buy 2nd hand or make yourself.

As for the materials thing... well feel free to post a list of things you would like, because I have so much stuff in my shed its not funny so if I can help out that would be awesome (not to mention you'd be helping me de-clutter our shed too).

Keep up the great work though!

Tanja said...

Thanks for all the encouragement!!!

ColdCloth, that's nuts! How can they just hand out money (or huge tax cuts, same thing) and tell everyone to spend it so glibly? There are people in the USA who do not have basics like running water and electricity. I wonder if they've considered giving them a boost? Grrrrrrrr! And they probably don't pay tax so they won't get a cent. Grrrrrrrr!

I'd rather go without buying anything if I possibly can, but thanks for the suggestions. I'll def be shopping from small home businesses as much as possible after the Challenge.

Eilleen, how are you going to clean your study in 2 days??? LOL!
I know what you mean about improvising. I'm having a ball figuring out how to do something in a different way with what I already have. Frustratingly I already have a whole stack of normal interfacing, it's just the fusible interfacing and fusible webbing which I am trying to ration in case I can't find any secondhand.

The toothbrush issue still bothers me. Elliot just got his first molar (and I didn't even notice) so a facewasher is simply not going to cut it anymore. I have a design for a wooden toothbrush in mind, and Andrew has the skills to make it, but the bristles will be the prickly issue. (Oh dear, bad sense of humour). I'll keep thinking...

Theresa, if you have any fusible webbing (sticks 2 pieces of fabric together) or fusible interfacing (sticks to one piece of fabric and stiffens it) please let me know! :) We'll arrange a swap, yeah? I'm also keen to find boyish fabrics in plain colours and retro prints, but having 2 girls I'm assuming you don't have much of that. ;)

Keely, how does that work? Are you talking about making a rectangle out of fused plastic and writing on that? Let me know if you find it so I can have a look. I didn't even think about how to advertise that I don't want advertising material. Maybe I was thinking of going to the hardware store and buying a sign? LOL!

Tanja said...

ETA: I'm also after some skin-tone cotton velour (ie anything from white through to brown) or something else which will make a good face and hands for a cotton velour dolly for Elliot, and some Christmas fabric. Swap ya for some shoes, eh? LOL!

Eilleen said...

Sorry no velour.

RE: the sign, you can cut out letters in one colour and fuse it on to another bit of plastic in a different colour. If you google fused plastic banner, I'm pretty sure you will see some examples of what I'm talking about.

And sorry, I don't have any velour at all.