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March 2011

Buying ‘handmade by someone else’

It seems a little silly to write a post on ‘buying’ when we’re not doing any buying at all. But I guess it’s sort of like dieting and chocolate, if you can’t have something you talk about it, think about it, and dream about it. Or in this case write about it.

Handmade_dress_foxs_Lane_1

I’ve been thinking of writing a post about this gorgeous dress I bought Little Eco a few weeks ago from Foxs Lane. Then today, after reading Kate’s expression of appreciation for her own little online shop, I couldn’t help but share my love for her sweet handmade dresses.

Recently, I haven’t had time to make anything beyond last minute birthday presents. I really wanted to make Little Eco a cute dress. Something with short sleeves. Something that was girly and cute, yet perfectly suitable for wearing while climbing trees or riding a bike or jumping over water.

Handmade_dress_foxs_lane_2

Something a little different. Something made from vintage floral sheets. I really wanted to make something similar to the sweet dresses Kate makes.

I chose the pattern, selected the fabrics from my stash. And then nothing….

I just couldn’t find the time. I contemplated, isn’t buying ‘handmade by someone else’ as good as making your own? Surely even better?

I returned to Kate’s shop and shopped…..

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…and soon after we received the sweetest dress ever.

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Exactly what I wanted, yet so much more.

Do you enjoy buying ‘handmade by someone else’? Feel free to test my no-spend determination and share links to your favourite online handmade shops in the comments.

There’s only one day left to enter the Planet Boab giveaway. Entries will close midnight Thursday (Australian eastern standard time). Good luck :-)


Our {more or less} No Spend Month

Recently, our daily ‘miscellaneous’ expenditure has crept up.  Coffee in a café. Op-shop treasures. Take-away lunch. Thrift shop finds. Newspapers. Garage sale bargains. Snacks. They all add up.

Op_shop_vintage_kids_pictures {Some recent second hand treasures that were too sweet to ignore}

Often, I’ll start the day with a $50 note in my wallet and by the end of the day it will be gone, with nothing to show for it (except a much needed coffee, a lovely lunch that I didn’t have to make, a treat for Little Eco, and yet another second hand find that was too good to ignore, but that I really didn’t need).

Op_shop_timber_bowls {A few more recent op shop treasures that I really didn't need}

Or lifestyle is currently far from frugal.

Inspired by Eileen of Consumption Rebellion, we did a no spend week almost a year ago (you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here). At the completion of that week we’d planned 'to regularly have no-spend weeks to remind us of the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’'. That was almost a year ago, and we haven't done the challenge since. We decided we're well and truly due for another no-spend challenge.

Second_hand_glasses {another recent second hand find that we actually needed. I’ve been looking for pre-loved glasses just like these for months. Then last week I found these for 50cents each at a local church fete}

But things have changed around here a little since the last challenge, making a no-spend week not really that much of a challenge. We’ve found our pantry storage groove, and in reality we’d have a few months worth of dry-goods in there.

Dry_goods_pantry_storage_1 {part of our pantry, full of a range of dry goods that we eat regularly}

We’ve also changed what we eat. Most meals these days are based on a pantry staple (like chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, or rice) plus veges.

Dry_goods_pantry_storage {five large plastic buckets that sit in the bottom of our pantry are filled with dry goods. A jar can hold only so much. When a jar becomes empty we simply top up from our bucket storage system}

Speaking of veges, we paid for a years worth of vegetables at the start of the year. We’re lucky to be a member of the local Purple Pear Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm and each week we receive a box of lovely fresh organic vegetables. So we don't have to pay anything for our vegetables for the rest of the year.

Purple_pear_CSA {Mark from Purple Pear CSA farm growing vegetables especially for us (and around 30 other local families)}

Given these changes since our last attempt at the no-spend challenge, we’ve decided a no-spend MONTH would be a more appropriate challenge.

We’re starting tomorrow!

A whole month of {more or less} no spending

IMG_2375 {Little Eco sharing her last pre-challenge treat with a friend at the farmer's markets today}

Obviously, we don’t want this challenge to affect our health and wellbeing. It’s about reminding ourselves of the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. It’s not about depriving ourselves of ‘needs’. So there are a few exceptions.

The exceptions

1.    Bills will be paid.
2.    Medical and health expenses are exempt.
3.    $50 per week for fuel.
4.    $20 per week for local milk and organic fruit.
5.    Our weekly cleaner. We’re telling ourselves she’s exempt cause it wouldn’t be fair for her to lose four weeks income from us, but in reality keeping her is about maintaining our wellbeing and sanity. To me, weekends are for family and adventures, not cleaning. After four days at work, the last thing I want to do is clean.

Despite these exceptions, I still think the month is going to be a doosy of a challenge.

How about you, how little could you spend in a week?

Would you consider going a day, week or a month without spending?

Wish us luck :-)

Still in the mood for more pre-loved treasures? Head on over to this weeks Flea Market Finds.

Only four days left to enter the Planet Boab giveaway.


Sharing my favourite ethical and eco t-shirt: Planet Boab GIVEAWAY

I’m finding it relatively easy to be green when it comes to clothing. I’ve (more or less) stuck to the ethical clothing pledge for the past year and a half; buy mostly pre-loved; and have managed to whittle my wardrobe down to no more than eight of anything. No more than eight shirts, eight t-shirts, and so on (I know, I said I’d do six, but I’m not quiet there, yet).

But there’s one annual purchase of ‘new’ that I can’t live without. I have to have at least one new t-shirt each Summer. Thankfully, I don’t have to break the ethical clothing pledge to buy one. There’s plenty of ethical companies out there making t-shirts from environmentally friendly materials.  Trust me, I’ve tried my fair share.

Unfortunately, I’ve mostly been disappointed. One of my pet hates is throwaway clothing. Clothing should last more than a season. So I’m not fond of t-shirts with fabric so thin that they last only a few washes, or that lose their shape after only one season. Organic cotton still comes with an ecological cost, albeit less than conventionally grown cotton, so if I buy a new t-shirt, I want it to last. Thankfully I discovered Planet Boab t-shirts.

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Planet Boab hand-printed organic cotton t-shirts

I bought a Planet Boab t-shirt around eight months ago. Their t-shirts well and truly pass the ethical clothing pledge requirements. They're made here in Australia in a sweatshop free factory from 100% certified organic cotton.

I was drawn in by their quirky hand printed designs, and being a lover of anything to do with native plants, I couldn’t resist their Kangaroo Grass t-shirt. Recognise it? I love this top so much that it was one of my six for the six item or less challenge. I've worn this top at least once a week (and often more) for the past eight months and it's still in great condition.

The Giveaway

I was so happy with my t-shirt that I contacted Planet Boab to say thank you. Being more than happy to share my love for Planet Boab tees, I cheekily asked if they were interested in doing a giveaway here at Little eco footprints. They generously agreed! Yay!

{You can win}

A short sleeved Planet Boab t-shirt of your choice.

{to enter}

Head on over to Planet Boab, check out their range, and pop back here and leave a comment letting me know which of their hand printed designs is your favourite.

Entries close midnight Thursday 31st of March.

{bonus entries}

You can receive up to four bonus entries by leaving additional comments for sharing this giveaway via facebook, twitter, email, or on your blog.

{The small print}

The prize is a gift voucher for $57AUD  which covers the cost of a short sleeve t-shirt plus postage within Australia. International entries are welcome, although an international winner will need to pay the balance (above $57AUD) to cover international postage.


Installing speed bumps to television viewing (& some housekeeping)

Tricia_March_1
I’m over at Childhood 101 today sharing my latest strategy for decreasing television viewing in our household.

If you're wondering what speed bumps and a tea party have to do with watching television, head on over and check it out. 

Housekeeping

Apologies to my email subscribers who received my last five blog posts for the second time today. It was an unexpected consequence of me setting up the domain name littleecofootprints.com. Hopefully today's email was the last of the duplicate emails.

The old address Littleecofootprints.typepad.com still works, so you don’t need to change your links, bookmarks, rss feed or email subscriptions.

I’ve also got a new email address tricia (at) littleecofootprints (dot) com.


Who needs to buy toys when you can play with bits of nature?

There's been loads of playing with bits of nature around here recently.

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A banana leaf tent was hugely popular. I simply tied banana leaves onto a sawhorse.

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The bark that recently fell from Little Eco's fairy seats became a canvas for chalk drawing.

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A paint pen turned a quick beach trip into a crafting activity, with Little Eco creating her own story stones (can you tell she's drawn our dog?).

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Have a look around. What bits of nature could your children play with?

For more play inspiration head on over to Childhood 101's We Play.