Spending, sewing, thinking, saving

During May, I set myself a challenge of curbing unnecessary spending.  So, apart from food, fuel, and toiletries, I allowed myself three ‘extra’ purchases –  I couldn’t go completely cold turkey.  And the big three turned out to be… an e-Book, a tin of Dylon dye, and a saucepan (for dyeing in).  Turns out I could go without most things for one month, but not craft materials.

Here I am perfecting the stylish use of Co-op-advert-as-apron:

Wanna see what went in that saucepan?

I’ve had this cotton knit dress hanging around for ages – I spotted it in a charity shop and fell for the intricate detailing at the neckline. I took it in at the princess seams, up at the hemline, lopped off the sleeves, and got a fairly good fit, but somehow it never got as far as my wardrobe.  Turns out all it needed was a colour change…

I’ve blogged in more detail about this dress, and the inspiration behind it, over here at the Sew Weekly

Anyhow, now that it’s June, in theory I can go back to my happy spending ways… talking of which (bear with me here) have you ever read Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald?

 I know it’s a great work of literature and all, but I found it pretty long-winded.  I’m a fast reader, but I almost lost the will to finish it there in the middle.  But.  It does have one of the most awesome descriptions of a shopping trip, possibly ever:

“Nicole bought from a great list that ran two pages, and bought the things in the windows besides.  Everything she liked that she couldn’t possibly use herself, she bought as a present for a friend.  She bought colored beads, folding beach cushions, artificial flowers, honey, a guest bed, bags, scarfs, love birds, miniatures for a dolls house and three yards of some new cloth the color of prawns.  She bought a dozen bathing suits, a rubber alligator, a travelling chess set of gold and ivory, big linen hankerchiefs for Abe, two chamois leather jackets of kingfisher blue and burning bush from Hermes”.

If I were to go on a crazy Nicole-style spree right now, mine would go something like this:  the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern, a walking foot for my sewing machine, grosgrain ribbon in twenty different colours, a huge bunch of crocosmias, and yards and yards of yellow chiffon.  Ooh, and yellow spray paint, some merino wool in a bright bright blue, one of these beater whisks, the Wiksten Tova pattern, a box of Laduree macaroons, a beautiful bra or two, masses of silk jersey, and some handmade jewellery from Etsy.  And while I’m here, some heart-shaped teacups, Teapigs licorice & peppermint teabags, some thick Guipere lace, and a really snazzy camera.

But, fun as that would be, I’m learning something about this slower pace of spending.  I like being more intentional and really considering whether what I buy will be used and/or appreciated… not just played with for 5 minutes and then discarded or stored away.  Fitzgerald follows up the grand shopping list with another list of “some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole” in factories, farms, plantations and shops, the “ingenuity and toil” behind “such processes of hers as wholesale buying”.  His final comment on the trip is “She illustrated very simple principles, containing in herself her own doom” – isn’t that intriguing and provoking?


So no mad splurging this month.  Instead of adding things to the shopping basket, I’m pinning them on Pinterest – maybe to buy in future, or just to enjoy and inspire.  I love moseying back through these pins for a personal visual feast!  If you’re interested, I’m at: http://pinterest.com/amyellablue/ …I’ve even got a board just for sewing patterns.

What would be on your dream shopping list right now?

4 thoughts on “Spending, sewing, thinking, saving

  1. I saw this on sew weekly and wondered when you were going to post it to your blog!
    Lovely colour. I love your shopping wish list. I have a similar very long mental shopping list too!

  2. Cool dye job, what an awesome colour! I also enjoyed reading your post, with the extract & then your list …. I think the rule of 3 things is a good one – I am trying it too, but fear I have tripped over to 4 now…no more this month, promise!

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