Flair Enough

I have done it AGAIN. I will never win Blogger of the Year, of this I am certain. I just get too easily distracted.

FLAIRENOUGHSIX_clipped_rev_1As you would know, if you  have read at least a few of my blog entries, I am passionate about simple living, upcycling and being mindful of what really matters in life. An outworking of these together this year has been the creation of said distraction – Flair Enough. After receiving a lot of feedback from friends and hearing for the 100th time that I should consider selling some of my pieces, I decided to take the plunge. If you head on over to my Facebook page, I would love to hear your thoughts.

‘Reimagining Home and Play’ is our catch cry. Rethinking what we think we need, what we think our kids need. Reimagining a piece of discarded furniture, that can be transformed, or some old timber off cuts that hold the potential for a world of storytelling and adventure. Flair Enough is a play on words speaking of what we are passionate about.

bets chair

Reclaimed chair, reupholstered and painted.

snow white

Preloved storybook and reclaimed timber transformed into storyblocks ❤

Fair prices & Enoughism – we have enough crap in the world, and we certainly have enough overpriced crap in this world. We offer a superior starting point in gift buying or home decorating than mass produced, plastic or poorly made items. Flair Enough is about using what we have, because we have ENOUGH to go around, and adding flair, so that these pieces can be given a new life and be enjoyed once more.  If it is not upcycled, reclaimed or handmade, you will not see it on our page 🙂 Come on over and say hi xoxoxspots tent

Reliving my bookworm childhood through my bookworm children

The feeling that comes over me when I catch a glimpse of a book from my childhood is almost embarrassing. I mean, I almost squeal. It’s everything in me to refrain from running around asking the people around me if they remember the book, in case they too might share the ecstasy of my find. I’ve been able to restrain these impulses to date, but one day, I will likely stumble across something that will reveal to my fellow op shoppers that I get a tad too excited over small things.
Here are some of the books I have scored from the thrift shop in recent times – I wonder if you enjoyed these too?

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The thing is, the lads don’t always share my excitement when I come home with these treasures. Some of them, they adore (like ‘Choose your own adventure’), but I am still waiting for them to catch the excitement of Encyclopedia Brown (it will happen, believe me. Watch this space).

Stories from our childhood are special. They remind us of times of imagination that ran wild, secret reading sessions when we were so quiet that perhaps we could almost be invisible. Visits to the library were a tradition for me in childhood, and I am so thrilled when I see my lads in libraries and op shops scouring book shelves for their next adventure. And sometimes my lads are almost invisible too, cloaked by the cover of a great book and an adventure on every page.

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Quick & Thrifty redos

Uni starts again next week, so I am cramming in a few quick projects before I have my head stuck in books for a few months.

I paid $1 for a few off cuts of fabric from the op shop yesterday, and recovered a boring lamp and a few canvases I had around home. I still have more than half of it left. On a roll, I remembered I had a $1 doily and stitched it onto a footstool I purchased for $5 from the tip shop a few months ago. I had recovered it with black fabric given to me already, but the doily made it complete, and made me smile. The lads aren’t so sure about doilies…it is an ongoing discussion around here – The Great Doily Debate. I think you can see who is winning. Three v One, yet I still manage to have doily dominion.

These few makeovers cost next to nothing, and we have a few new splashes of colour and another seat (or footstool!) in our living space.

What do you have around the house that you could tweak so you love it and use it once again?

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Enoughism

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Epicurus

The trap of our time and our society is the desire for more. More money, more opportunities, more clothes, more travel, more, more, MORE!

A perfect example of this modern ill is the frequency of the donation of our “stuff” to charity. Of course the donating to charity part is good. But remember when those things that we now want OUT of our lives were things that we desperately felt we needed IN our lives? That top for a wedding, that book we simply had to own rather than borrow from the library, the toy that was going to assist in our quest to create a child genius. Now these things sit in a box waiting to be dropped off to the nearest charity bin because they crowd our lives too much.

I’m determined to continue on my quest for less. Enoughism is a concept that resonates with me.

“Enoughism is the theory that there is a point where consumers possess everything they need, and by buying more it actually makes their life worse off. Enoughism emphasizes less spending and more restraint in buying behaviour of consumers. Unlike Consumerism which Mirriam-Webster defines as “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable”, Enoughism is an antonym to consumerism.” John Naish.

I know that my own childhood, which was one of poverty, has caused me to have urges to give my children more “stuff” than they need. Mostly these little treasures are found in thrift stores, but even so, my challenge this year is to resist these urge to bring more stuff into our home. Whenever I have that inner compulsion to buy my lads a surprise gift, I will go deeper and ask myself a few questions. What do they really need? More stuff or more of me? I will question my urge to buy them a material gift, and no doubt I will find something within me that I can give; an idea for a creative activity or game, an extra long story time before bed, a special family dinner for no reason at all. These are the real treasures I can gift my children. Material gifts are easy to give. Creative, intentional and loving parenting is the real gift, the one that remains with them, and in them forever.

Take a look around you. What do you see? When I look around I see a beautiful family, a lovely, albeit compact family home and evidence of fun, love and learning (aka mess!) These things I now have were once only in my imagination. These are enough.

Box Fun

Today we went along to the first Big Play Box session in South Hobart. It’s a creative space for kids and caregivers to use donated, recycled materials to create. Imaginations were running wild with vehicles of all descriptions, flower beds in sand filled suitcases, submarines, spy stations, hammering nails, painting and chalk art… Endless fun!

Our boys were captivated and are now at home doing more of the same.

My heart was glad to see a crowd of kids and parents all having as much fun as one another, truly on a level playing field. Mum and Dad on hands and knees eagerly involved in their child’s project, following their child’s lead. A place where children are the masterminds, the inventors, engineers and foreman! Community concepts like this create a space that brings families together whilst reminding us that some of the greatest gifts we can ever give our children are our attention and enthusiasm for their imaginary worlds.

Play on!!

The icing on the cake, the gold coin donation each person is asked to give at registration is given to building a future for War Brides of Northern Uganda!

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A-Z of Gratitude: T is for Tea

Tea is a simple, yet indulgent experience if we take the time to make a ritual of it. Boiling the kettle and jiggling a bag in a mug and splashing milk in is nothing special. Transform the usual, lazy way of making tea by using a tea pot and a quaint tea cup and you have a different experience altogether. One to be enjoyed alone with your own thoughts, a book or staring out at the view blankly. One to be enjoyed with friends and conversation.

I adore teapots and tea cups. My dear grandmother left me her beautiful Glade Green bone china tea set. I rarely used it until a year ago when I decided that it was crazy to hide such a beautiful thing away for fear of it being damaged. Such things are to be appreciated and enjoyed. When I drink from these with friends, they always comment on the experience. It’s noted that the tea experience is different when we make a ritual of it.

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Each of my teapots have been gifts. This one was a gift from my brother and sister in law.

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This cast iron beauty was a farewell gift from young people when I resigned from my youth work position last year.

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This miniature was a gift from my hubby and is perfect for solitude tea moments.

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Sharing a pot of tea with friends somehow makes for better company than mugs of sploshed together tea. The experience is rich and the conversation benefits from the small effort of brewing a pot and laying out the china.

There are always wonderful teapot and tea cup bargains at thrift stores. Mismatched tea cups are fun. If you don’t already have a pot and cups and saucers, why not spoil yourself, and those who will drink tea with you. Head to a charity shop and buy some fine china and go home to sit for a few moments, sipping your tea without hurry.

We could go on and on about the many types of tea we can enjoy together. My personal favorites are French Earl Grey, licorice, ginger, and rooibos. I always have fruit tea on hand to share with Asher. What fun he has when we brew tea. He feels very sophisticated!

I found these quotes on Pinterest to sum up my gratitude for tea time together with friends.

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I trust you will enjoy many pots of tea with your loved ones.

Wardrobe Cleansing

Tonight I pulled every item of clothing I own out of my wardrobe. The mountain of clothes on our bed made for some giggles and jumping fun for the lads, but was a stark reminder to me of the insanity of fashion! I rediscovered a number of items that have been hiding amidst the mess that I tackled tonight. I’m sure you can relate to the, “Ah! I forgot I had this!” moment.

It’s almost 2 years since I made the decision to quit buying new clothes. I was never a shopaholic, but I did want to change my spending habits and reinforce the values I want my children to take a hold of. I have purchased just 3 new items of clothing since November 2010. I love the challenge of scouring op shops. Recently, all of my jeans had started tearing at the knees, so the hunt has been on for the perfect op shop jeans. I’ve found a few pairs, and have paid around $5 each. I’m not in love with them, but I refuse to pay $100 for the ideal jeans. I love to look good, but I refuse to be caught up in the ever changing tides of fashion. I’ve got better things to do with my time and money. I know some people are totally freaked out that someone else has farted in my second-hand jeans. I understand it’s not everyone’s thing to recycle fashion. But I’m more than happy to share bum pockets with previous wearers if it saves my hip pocket and gives much needed financial support to charities. Not to mention the environmental benefits.

Tonight I tossed 50+ items of clothing to the charity store. My wardrobe is still full, but now that it’s not bursting at the seams, I’ll actually be able to see each item, and try a few new looks.

I was stoked when I found three pairs of shoes in superb condition for $18 at St Vinnies a few weeks ago. I scored some Chuck Taylor high tops,, near new, for $8 and Asics runners or $4. For Matt, some Merrell walking shoes for $6. Brand new, these same shoes would’ve set us back somewhere around $300. Now that’s retail therapy.

A-Z of Gratitude: K is for Keen Kids

Sometimes you are struck with the realization that your children have arrived at yet another stage. Yesterday, we spent a few hours outside enjoying some glorious wintery sunshine. We decided to give our neglected veggie patch some much needed attention. In the past, the lads have lost interest as fast as you can say “pull those weeds please.” Things have changed. They were keen! Isaac spent close to an hour using a mattock to turn the garden beds over, while Asher helped with some weeding, before finding rocks to smash and grubs to play with. While he didn’t work up a sweat like his brother, we were still thrilled that the garden held his attention for such a lengthy time.

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We have a stash of old pallets behind the garden shed, so used some of these for new garden beds. The lads will have one of their own to grow their choice of veggies. It will be their responsibility to tend to their patch, and they will enjoy the fruits of their labour at harvest time if all goes well!
It’s very important to us that our children appreciate the food we eat. Growing your own is a sure way to increase gratitude and respect for the process and the produce.

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A-Z of Gratitdue: B is for Bargains

I posted C is for Chairs and realised that B is for Bargains was still in my drafts. Oops!

Day two of my A-Z of Gratitude.

B is for BARGAINS. I am grateful for bargains.

I went to the op shops again today looking for the final vintage dress to cover our last dining chair.  I didn’t find the perfect dress but I did find a gorgeous vintage top for myself for just $5. I am always rapt when I find a good bargain.

It’s about 16 months since I started my “No Buy It Diet”.  I decided to have one year off buying new clothes.  I made the rules, and decided I was allowed to buy things from the thrift shop, but after a few months I realised that made it too easy.   I changed the rules meaning no clothes were to be purchased, new or second-hand. It was such great exercise, and one that fascinated many of my friends. Women have this reputation of being chronic shoppers. I am amazed at how many clothes I have that I never wear, and have come to realise how utterly ridiculous it is that we have so many clothes.  Imagine trying to explain our fashion obsession to a family living in abject poverty who have one set of clothes for everything.    I have been officially allowed to buy new clothes since December, but have only purchased one new top from an eco store and a few things from the op shops.  I have no desire to window shop anymore. I don’t go into clothing stores to try things on. Clothes shopping is something  that just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.  I still like to wear nice clothes, and I have no trouble finding fantastic quality items at the op shops. It is much more of an adventure to go to a charity store and rummage through racks of random clothes than going to a shop filled with what the masses are wearing!

Anyway, back to today’s bargains…

I bought two lace doilies…

To attempt something like this…