Monday, June 02, 2014

The dilemma of STUFF

I've always been someone who cares about the environment. When I was in year 11 my friend Erika and I started the "Environmental Club" at school with the view of raising awareness of what we can do to help the planet. We didn't do a whole lot but the ideology was what mattered more at the time.

And ever since, I've tried to do my bit. We donate money to Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society, and up until recently (when we got solar panels*) paid the extra money for 100% green power. We recycle nearly everything, compost food scraps, buy recycled loo paper (Who Gives a Crap - seriously worth it, check 'em out!), don't believe in air conditioning (which is horrid on those 40+°C days), and generally try to be good environmentally-friendly citizens.

However, there's a downside to all of this. I have a tendency to not throw stuff out. We have boxes of clothes which we've been storing to give to a good home. Atti mostly wears Dante's hand-me-downs, Elora wears (some of) Atti's hand-me-downs, and we have friends with a little girl and now a wonderful one year old nephew who will be the recipient of many items. But storing and sorting the clothes is a bit of an issue. We have boxes of the stuff cluttering up our upstairs hallway area.

And then there's furniture. After witnessing the old family lounge being crushed to smithereens in the council garbage truck one year (I thought the council would take it away for charity or something) I'm reluctant to put out anything useful or in fairly good nick in the Council Cleanup. In any case, our council has changed from a twice yearly "everyone put things out at the same time = local community scavenge weekend" to a "book your pickup" which means there's no opportunity for people to pick up second hand items, and possibly save a treasure from landfill. Instead it all just gets CRUSHED in the compacting garbage trucks. It makes me cry.

Hence we have a garage full of old furniture... Some of it ours, some of it my parents', some of it my brothers' (I think, but probably not as much any more). Dan refers to the garage as "the shed". There's no room for a car.

Anyway, the original point of this post was going to be this: I'm torn between my desire for nice things and a nice house with matching furniture and hand made items and beautiful artworks, and my in-built core belief of "don't throw it away if it's still good"... where "good" means still useful and doing its main task. For example, we now have three sofas in our lounge room. None of them match. One is the pair to my parents' leather lounge set - the other is at their place. Dan hates the leather, and it's a hideous very '90s peach colour, but it's comfortable to lie on (for me anyway, being shorter). I can't bear to throw it away. Our other lounges are Ikea ones, one a sofa-bed and the other a hand-me-down from a friend. They're comfy but ratty. Still doing their main task of being a place to put one's bum.

And so on. The kitchen, which was put in by my father in the '90s using recycled materials from a house he was renovating (so probably early '80s vintage cabinetry). The bathroom (what was it with the love of peach-coloured things?) has cracked tiles and shower screen. Get the idea?

I don't know what to do. How do I reconcile these two opposing feelings?

* More in another blog post

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Burns on two wheels (mostly)

My kids are addicted to screens. The boys especially. I think, perhaps, they may not be the only ones in the world who are affected by this problem.

So I try to make sure they have some screen-free time every day. Not just while they're sleeping, and especially during the holidays. Every afternoon from 2 o'clock they have electronics-free time for two hours or so. And Sundays are No Computer Sundays in our house.

Yesterday I took it a step further and took the family out for a bike ride. Elora got her own bike (with training wheels) for Christmas - she's been super eager to use it (more than just around the back yard) - and it means that we can now utilise the fantastic bike paths around our suburb as a family. The most surprising part was that even Atticus was willing to come. He is usually reluctant to do ANYTHING that involves leaving the house (except going to school, and if he can bring his iPod).

The park wasn't far - would usually take me about twenty five minutes to walk there - but it was sunny and hot and it was the middle of the day. We got there eventually, after many rest stops. These guys needs more exercise! After a pleasant lunch, some sitting around in the shade and playing on the flying fox, we rode home, almost perishing from the heat. Funny how the trip home always seems so much faster.

Not an overly exciting excursion now that I look back at this post, but the start, I hope, of more adventures on two wheels (plus a couple).

Sunday, January 05, 2014

First finished sewn item

In line with my new-found productivity (having tidied the sewing room somewhat during the Christmas break) I present my first finished item: an Everyday Skirt (pattern by Liesl+co)

I cut out the pieces when I went away with friends in October. That weekend I made a skirt using size M which was a trifle big so cut out a size S for my next try. Unfortunately we ran out of time and then the end of the year happened and it didn't get done. Until yesterday!

The pattern is simple and instructions easy to follow. It didn't take me long to sew it together, even with the unpicking when I accidentally sewed the back piece on backwards.

The fabric is a cotton/spandex print I picked up from Spotlight. The pattern makes me think of windows in an abandoned warehouse. I went to a little bit of trouble to make sure the pockets matched up. Pretty happy with that minor detail. 

Also, I have to say I love that this skirt had pockets and an elastic waist band. No zippers!

I wear my first skirt to work on a regular basis and can't wait to add this one to the rotation. I've got a few more of these skirts planned as well. A great addition to the wardrobe. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

To do: 2014

It appears 2013 went by and not even a whisper came from me to this place of writing. I'll try to post some more about it if I can, but in short:

- I started (another) new job in January
- It's permanent
- I've really enjoyed the year learning the ropes and getting to know the team
- It was four days/week but I'll be full time from 2014 onwards
- Dante started high school in 2013
- It was a challenge at the start - no one from his primary school went to his new high school - but he'd settled by the end of the year
- He grew over six inches in height over the course of the year
- He's doing well there academically too
- Atticus has seriously come out of his shell now that he's out of his brother's shadow at school
- It's such a relief
- Elora is a star in her class, loved by all
- It was the year for her birthday party
- She won the Citizenship Award at the end of year Assembly
- Her school report said "future SRC material"
- I went away to Craft Camp twice this year
- Did some sewing and knitting and crocheting
- Made plans for many more craft projects
- Enrolled in a Certificate IV TAFE course (online delivery)
- Blinked and the year was over

So now I'm putting myself on the road to hell, as the saying goes, as I am full of good intentions for 2014. Resolutions, even. And once again in point form, in no particular order:

- Sew more clothes for myself. I've been pretty happy with the few things I've made and can't wait to make more.
- Sew more in general
- Run. I did the City2Surf a few years ago and loved it. Then I hurt my knee and can't run much any more. Gonna try and get that sorted out.
- Start/finish my TAFE course. I enrolled but I haven't started!
- Read more
- Write more

Umm. I'm sure I had a lot more in my head when I started writing this but of course now they've gone. Or maybe they just don't seem as important now as they did at the time. I think I've listed plenty to keep me busy!