Gift Giving Guidelines for 2015

Over the past few years, we have dramatically changed the way in which we consume in this family.  So much of what we own is second hand, and a lot of it has been spruced up to suit our style. I started a Facebook page last week to chronicle some of my projects – Flair Enough.  The name of the page implies a few things I am passionate about – fair trade, enoughism (we have enough, we don’t need to succumb to the pull of thinking we need more), supporting local, and working with one’s own hands to create something. I am saddened that we live in a society that, to a great extent, values the glitz of shiny packaging and plastic over the innovation of resourceful creativity.  I have enjoyed many projects where I reclaim something that was no longer wanted, and transformed it into something we use, enjoy and others always notice. The latter is never my motivation, but it always happens. Resourceful resonates with the people I know, because there is a fascination with many regarding the simple act of transforming someones trash into a delightfully practical addition to our home.

This year, I am going to try and focus on transforming our gift giving for birthdays,  births, weddings, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s days… My aim is to do one of the following things when it comes to giving gifts:

1.  Shop at home first – Use what we already have in our present box.

2. Buy second hand – Often times you can find new things that have been thrown away, or at the very least, a great quality second-hand item that can be repurposed or given flair.

3. Support local – A beautiful gift of flowers or condiments from the farmers markets, or pieces from local designers are a much better choice than mass produced plastic.

4.  Experiences – Rather than the standard fare of plastic, an experience is a great gift alternative.

5.  Make it – Handmade is a winner with me, and I believe this to be true for many.  To be honest, I am not sure of how well I will go with this one, because I do have a boom or bust reputation with all things handmade, be it crafty or cooking. Sometimes I nail it, other times, it is catastrophic. Like the time I posted a photo to Facebook of a caramel slice I made. I asked people to guess what it was. Lasagne they said.

I guess at the end of the day, I think we have enough of the stuff that they keep trying to sell us more of. I like to put a lot of thought into gifts, but I find that it is hard when others do not share the values that I hold to, so I then crumble under the weight of invisible expectations and buy the sub-standard gift.

I will leave you with this print I found at the thrift store on the weekend, which serves as a wonderful reminder to us.  I wonder if you will consider joining me on this journey?

allyouneedisless

x

Feeling cushy

Tonight it felt good to start and finish a project in an hour. I whipped up a few cushion covers using thrift shop items: a pillow case, off-cut fabric and zips. I paid around $1 for the supplies I used.

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I am thinking some napkins might be next on the list of straight line sewing projects for me.

Loveliness

It’s a week of loveliness. I’ve decided. It’s a very busy week, but it’s lovely.

Aren’t clean windows lovely? I washed our windows this afternoon. When you appreciate the lovely things in your life, even the tedious things are acts of loveliness. To enjoy our stunning view through clean (well, a few smudges here and there) windows is thoroughly gratifying.

Isn’t biscotti lovely? To bake something extra special to share with my family is lovely. Messy, but deliciously lovely. (Experimental success: gluten free, pistachio and chocolate biscotti, mmmm.)

Sunsets; they happen every single day, but never cease to be lovely.To walk along our beach at sunset… You guessed it- lovely.

To find my post-exam creative project – a vintage telephone table that I can add some colour to – that’s luxuriously lovely!!

So there you have it, I’ve decided. Despite being the big study week, this week is going up be a lovely week, full of lovely things, lovely moments and lovely thoughts. Ah, lovely.

I hope you find and create the loveliness in your week.

xx

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Creative urge splurge…soon

I want to plan our 2014 holiday (because we are taking the lads overseas).

I want to redecorate our bedroom (thanks to Kirstie’s Vintage Home).

I want to recover a chair (because I have cute boys with messy hands).

I want to paint my office chair (because white is nice, but green might be fun).

I want to dust my camera off and take some photographs (because it makes my heart happy).

 

But I must study (because I have a Child and Adolescent Development exam in 10 days and I have a LOT of content to cover).

 

Multi-tasking has always been my way, yet I have managed to get things done in life despite my tendency to become easily distracted. But the past four months have shown me things about myself that I am quietly pleased to recongnise.  I have been more focused than I have ever been in my life. I have prioritised more efficiently, and I have delayed gratification like I never have before.

My creative urges are screaming out for attention, but they are being told to wait. Not to go away, but to take a seat and wait for me to finish what needs to be done.  At 11.10am on the 12th June, I will leave the exam room and these urges can have my full attention for five whole weeks.  Delaying gratification makes the gratification so much more…gratifying!!! Creative urge splurge coming up! (Be still my beating heart, get back to the books).

On that note, I best get back to what needs to be done 🙂

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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Thrifty and Nifty

They say a change is as good as a holiday. I’m not sure about you, but it’d either have to be an insanely cool change or a really crappy holiday to make that statement ring true for many people. We have had some changes around here in the past 24 hours, and I feel like I’m on a holiday. You probably think I need to get out more… I’ve decided that changing rooms is almost as good as a renovation!

My friend Betsy visited yesterday and we were inspired to create a few entirely different spaces in our small home. Matt was outside mowing the lawns and came inside to utter chaos! We did not spend a cent, but it looks like we spent up big. What a wonderful buzz to repurpose and reimagine spaces and pieces. I think I can safely say I’m Queen of Thrift these days:

thrift·y/ˈTHriftē/ Adjective: (of a person or their behavior) Using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

A rundown of the switcheroo:

We removed a black futon that was sharing our dining space  and put it in the kids play room, which is now referred to as the “kids only lounge”.

Here’s Bets and Isaac enjoying the new space.

We then took the playroom drawers, full of train tracks, dinosaurs and all kinds of imaginative and playful things, and transferred it to the dining area. Sounds crazy? Not when you embrace the fact that kids want to be where Mum and Dad are. It gets tiring trying to motivate children to pack their toys away. This way, they have an area where they can play to their hearts content and they can reduce the laps up and down the hall to pack up.

I want to have a home in which we relish in being the playground of lovely, lively lads. 20120611-212203.jpg 20120611-212248.jpg

Living in a small house means we have to make use of every nook! This area, now a quirky, creative space used to be almost bare and a source of frustration for me. Now it has a purpose! I can’t wait to make use of this new space. This desk used to be in our bedroom, becoming a dumping ground for stuff. Now we have more space in our bedroom, and a new nook in the open plan space. 20120611-213345.jpg

We painted a bookshelf that was a bit useless to the boys (not deep enough!). This sits nicely against the desk and is a neat way to disguise creative mess. 20120611-213452.jpg

I’m happy that my dear grandparents vintage radio now has a place to be admired, and to serve as a physical reminder to me of the many mornings I heard the crackle of radio news while I ate breakfast in their kitchen as a young girl.

Thrifty sure is nifty.

A-Z Gratitude: C is for Chairs

I am thankful for chairs.  Think of the times you have had to stand somewhere longing for a chair, with none to be found.  These are the times we realise how wonderful chairs are!  I bet you have been to a wedding or a funeral or a school event that meant you were standing for long enough to start to shift your weight from one leg to another.  You look at the old people and start to wish you were 80 years old and someone would offer you a seat.  Chairs are a wonderful invention.  They enable us to relax. We have many meaningful conversations while sitting on a chair.  We drink coffee in our favourite café, on a chair.They are everywhere, yet we take them for granted.  Not I!  I applaud the humble chair, and as I sit here on my favourite chair in our house, I am grateful.  Grateful for the four legs and the bright yellow cushion that supports my weight (that is none of your business).

I am so excited about chairs today because last night I completed my dining chair makeover.  Using the vintage fabrics I found at op shops – a curtain, a few skirts and dresses and a shirt (this chair has pockets!).

Here they are:

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Now go and make yourself a pot of tea, find a comfy chair and appreciate it. 🙂

Fence memo boards

I made the boys a memo board each for art work and photos for their bedrooms yesterday.  We have a stack of old fence palings so I gave them a quick sand and painted some wooden pegs to glue on them.  A super quick and easy project which means that the lads can display their creativity in their own space.