This is part one of a two-part post.
Inspired by No Impact Man and The Compact, among others, I decided to make one of my New Year’s Resolutions to buy nothing (with a few exceptions*) new in 2008. I had been toying with this idea for a while, but finally decided to go for it around Christmastime (I think the stench of cheap, crappy consumerism in K-mart pushed me over the edge).
Once I made the decision, I felt so light and liberated. I went out for a last-minute shopping splurge in the last week of December (a pair of gloves for M because I finally gave up on finding the ones I bought last year, Three Kings Day trinkets for the twins, one black cardigan to replace the one I lost two years ago, four pairs of angora socks because it’s really cold here, one spiral field journal, one marbled writing notebook, and one light blue colored pencil for the sky) and as I entered each store, I thought, “I don’t have to come back here for a year!” This was especially heartening news as I navigated the poorly-planned, pedestrian-lethal, and generally disgusting shopping area known (to C and me at least) as Consumer Hill.
I was (and am still) excited to take on the challenge of meeting our needs by making or making do. It feels so Little House…like I’m Ma Ingalls knitting away at Christmas mittens while the kids twist straw into logs to feed the wood stove. I’m already imagining birthday and Christmas presents I can make (this may partly be due to my brain being poisoned by craft blogs). One project I’ve been meaning to take on for some time (even before I decided to go consumer cold-turkey) is to make pants for E and Z. Though their drawers fairly burst with t-shirts and sweaters, they are severely lacking in the trouser category because M was considerably smaller than they are so they don’t fit the pants he wore at two and the pants M wore at three were mostly hand-me-downs at least once if not two- or three-times removed from their original owner and mostly all have holes in the knees (which I intend to fix). I also want elastic-waist pants that fit over cloth diapers and don’t squish their Buddha-bellies.
I was able to unearth a large piece of midnight-blue twill left over from the Asian baby carriers I made before the twins were born and was obsessed with baby-wearing and actually thought I could wear two babies in two ABCs at the same time. I finally had a chance to cut out the pattern this weekend. There was just enough fabric to squeeze out two pairs of pants, if I made the pockets of one pair from another fabric. It involved some elaborate folding and pattern-flipping layout techniques. Then E and M who had been playing upstairs came down, and Z woke up from his nap, and in my haste to get it all cut out quickly, I neglected to flip a pattern piece and now one panel (the back of someone’s leg) will be the flat inside of the fabric, while the other three panels will be the soft, brushed twill side. In the old consumerist days, I could have driven the 40 minutes to the fabric store and bought another yard to fix the leg but now, I’ll just have to make do.
*My somewhat arbitrary exceptions to the buy nothing rule are: underwear (this may include bras, because I really could use some that actually fit); socks; materials required for making stuff (e.g. elastic), but I must complete all half-done projects before buying new ones; winter gear for the kids if I can’t find used (it is soooo important to me that they have warm boots and gloves and such in this frozen climate, but I think we have enough of everything to get through the next year); shoes for kids (M has subsisted off hand-me-downs for the last year and will really need sneakers come spring, and there’s supposedly something about kid feet needing the proper support new shoes provide—correct me if I’m wrong); renewing some (but not all) of my magazines (The Sun, Brain, Child, Orion, and the zines); photos and photo books (pictures are huge for me and I have three photo books almost put together at Snapfish that I just haven’t finalized and ordered yet) and possibly more writer’s notebooks when I fill the ones I have all up, which I hope I will.