Sunday, October 24, 2010

make do and mend or how's that not buying stuff in 2010 going?

darning socks
during our visit to the open air museum, husband and i were struck again and again with just how few belongings people had. it appeared that most people had a large chest and a bed. other furniture - stiff couches and uncomfortable chairs - reflected that people didn't spend much time sitting indoors. they were undoubtedly too busy working outdoors or in the kitchen. and everywhere, on long, enviably-patina-ed tables there were handmade projects - sewing, knitting, mending. and it made me think of the book i've just read - make do and mend - which is a reprint of the leaflets that came out in England during WWII. leaflets on how to make your fuel and clothing coupons stretch as far as possible - saving money and reworking clothing to extend its usability. very interesting reading.

newspaper-lined shelves
i thought a lot as we went through the museum and i coveted heavy mixing bowls and those fantastic wooden dough raising troughs, about how people had good quality things and used them for years. and i remembered, with a bit of shame, my vow not to buy extraneous things in 2010. funny that, in what i decided would be a year of not consuming, we've bought a house, a car, a horse and an iPad and i may just have accidentally ordered a new 13" macbook air, which i'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of next week. it's HARD not to consume.

community knitting
i fear, after reading make do and mend, that what it would take for us not to consume is another period of rationing. we have to be forced not to do it, because our entire society is built around the notion of consumption - temptations abound around us. and i'm vulnerable to those temptations. the whisper of a lightweight, fast, not to mention gorgeous, laptop was just too irresistible for me. so, suddenly finding myself with the money for it (thank you norwegian tax authorities for giving me back a nice chunk of my money), i was utterly unable to stop myself from ordering it immediately.

knitting basket
i would truly love to get to the point where i am able to resist such temptations, but i fear as long as i have the disposable income, i will be tempted. and i will fall. this time headlong into a gorgeous, state-of-the-art macbook air. i just wish i could fall into a darning basket a little more often.

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and check out my contribution to the window project


Elizabeth said...

The community knitting is a fantastic idea. To consume less is a lifelong process and it is just as hard as keeping a diet. Sometimes you just fall of the wagon.

Anonymous said...

Having no income makes it much easier to resist. That sounds trite, but I don't mean it that way. You say it perfectly: it's hard not to consume, when you have the money to do so.
By the way, I defected to wordpress :-)

Karen said...

I enjoyed this post, you are so right.. I, too, have been trying to stop consuming so much, even buying frivolously at the grocery store.. and partly because we NEED to... but when I see a thing I want.. especially for my kids, horse or dogs... (which I am lucky to have)...I can't resist. It's a high I'm not proud of.

Love your photos. Beautiful natural light....

Karen said...

..and.. love your new header too!

will said...

It took a while but businesses figured out two important things: !. Build things with guaranteed obsolescence and 2. Convince buyers they need things whether they do or don't.

Sprinkle in social pressure, deposable income, pervasive-persuasive advertising, easy available credit and credit cards and you have the recipe for gluttonous consumerism.

And technology is the perfect product for our place in time. It evolves quickly, its always improving and available with cool new features. Who today would want to use a computer circa 1985?

Apple is a sharp and savvy business. They've done all the right things - found their niche, developed reliable products with great design, simplified the tech interface and created a cool factor few other companies have.

I went to an Apple Store yesterday ... and the new Mac Book Air is awesome. I want one asap.

iMac, iPod, iPad, MacBook Air ... I wonder, what will be the next generation of Apple goodies ... what will next year be filled with? Some things are worth consuming.

ps: OS Lion will be released summer 2011.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Favorite picture is the one with the paper lined shelves.

Tracy :) said...

Apple makes it awfully hard to stick to your "no-new-purchases" plan. Love all the photos, especially the community knitting table.

calamityjane(t) said...

love seeing your photos and reading your thoughts-- there is always something to ponder. for what it's worth, it seems to me that anyone who appreciates apple technology and buys horses for their kids has a pretty good handle on keeping priorities straight. ;-)

Rebecka said...

Way back then people had very little because there was little to be had. Everything was geared toward daily survival (unless you were a wealthy railroad baron and then the sky was the limit)
Today there is SO MUCH STUFF. Most of us have at least a partially disposable income. I think you are making wise purchases. A home, a horse (oh the enjoyment and memories that will provide for years to come) and tools that will be used and cared for and appreciated. It's not how much you buy it's WHAT you buy.

d smith kaich jones said...

i consume much less than you, but only because i have much less money. :) i think you should be kinder to yourself about this - we all want people to keep their jobs and make more money, but that's not gonna happen unless people are buying the stuff they produce. i understand the romance of less consumption, but not the reality.


Joanna Jenkins said...

I've been away for 2 weeks on vacation and deliberately waited to catch up your blog when I got back until I had time to relax and take it all it. Yours is one of my very favorite and I like to take my time looking around and drinking in your photos and stories.

What a shame to read that other bloggers are giving you a hard time! Life is too short for that stuff and this isn't high school, or at least that's what I think. I believe your intentions were true and I know you always credit and praise others. So boo on them (that's my G-rated version).... And if you need a wingman, let me know :-)

Cheers, jj

mrs mediocrity said...

it is hard, we live in a different world these days, and people then didn't really consume less out of choice, they consumed less because the options didn't exist. i don't think they we better than us at this, they just lived in a different time. we have become a world of choices, too many choices perhaps, but choices all the same. but still, so many of us choose to make things by hand, even if only as a past time...

Vanessa said...

i wish i had your problem :P

i joke. i know exactly what you mean, the hit of the simple gratification is so infatuating yet almost detrimental to happiness.


Sandra said...

Some people are wired to resist, some are not. I fall in the middle. But you are right, what you have to use for unnecessary consumption can be the key component.

I think it would be a good thing for you to consume less, but I do hope for your family you are not placed in a position of need. It is an unpleasant place to be.