And to the right is Gabriella’s creator, Great Aunt Margaret.
We had a lovely visit last week from Rubio’s grandmother nanny Joy and her sister Margaret, Rubio’s great-aunt. Margaret (who would be very embarrassed to see herself on the internet!) is a talented seamstress and our house is filled with beautiful things she has made for us including a huge patchwork quilt she made for our wedding in fiery autumn hues of red, yellow and orange, a lovely bright patchwork cushion and more recently a series of beautiful toys for our lucky boy.
As well as Gabriella we have Kanga and Joey who like to play hide and seek, and now Ren the little brown dog who has a very chewable nose!
My sewing is of a slightly more practical nature at the moment, lots of mending and patching and sewing on buttons. Call me strange but i do enjoy a bit of calming, therapeutic darning. Making something torn whole again, gently replacing lost threads, weaving accross the hole until that beautiful indian cotton top is mended and wearable again.
So far this year we have bought very few new things that are not on our ‘ok to buy new’ list (shoes, underwear etc) but then i realised there are more things missing from this list… how about
…both of which i bought new last month! Once again we went through the options of buying second hand but i could’t find second hand beeswax candles anywhere unsurprisingly! A compromise is buying beeswax candles made locally and sold in the ‘Made in Stroud’ shop, or at the farmers market. Second hand swimsuits are easier to find but in the end i chicknened out of buying one on ebay in favour of a new one i could try on from a ‘slightly’ ethical shop. ah nothing makes insecurity and vanity more apparent than buying swimwear! I suppose i should write the difinitive list of things that we think are ok to buy new, but then actually that’s a bit of compromise isn’t it, when we should be looking to buy everything we can second hand and only when that fails go down the easy route of buying new.
Perhaps the list should just comprise of these few things:
-food and drink
-toothpaste and other cosmetics including my contact lenses
-toothbrushes, glasses when they finally fall apart
-Stationery and art materials
And almost everything else can be found second hand, ‘freegled’ or borrowed. It might be worth Ed and me reminding ourselves why on earth we are doing this, what is the point of not buying new? Do we mind what it acheives or affects in the big scheme, or are we simply concerned with making our own lives more simple and reducing our need to work for money (as opposed to working for actual material gain i.e. allotment work)? For us this is not just an interesting economic, ethical, sociological and personal short-term experiment, it is tightly bound up in how we live and how we will continue to live. We are not economists, we don’t know what would really happen if everyone lived like we do (we can imagine bankers, mortgage brokers, insurance companies and big chain stores wouldn’t be happy!), but we do think it is important for us to live both in an environmentally gentle way and in a way that gives us time to dream. Opting out of the consumer ‘work/buy’ cycle is our way of doing this.