"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Green Week- Day 2 (Shopping)

As you can see, today will be about some of my shopping habits, and how I've changed those to help the environment.

The main thing I do is use secondhand things. The picture below is of two of my recent finds.

Second Hand Items

We drug the cubby home from the neighbor's trash last week. Jeff hated every moment of it, but it was too heavy and bulky for me to carry by myself. And my sister wasn't here.

*Off subject comments

Jenny can always be counted on to shamelessly help drag trash/treasure from the curb. Once she and I hauled away 5 rolls of carpet from her in-law's neighborhood. Brad was mortified that we were doing it, but on the second load, the people called to thank us for taking it. (We had left them a note with our phone number) I think she and I learned this habit from our mom; I have a very clear memory of helping our mom load lots of river rocks into the back of our van. They had been unearthed during construction of a nearby road and she was in the process of building a walkway. It turned out pretty nice.

*Resume relevant comments

This cubby shelving cost us nothing, except Jeff's pride. It's pretty grubby now, but once I clean it and sand it and paint it, it's going into the kids' play area. Eventually, it'll probably end up in my craft area.

I bought the sheets on top from the thrift store for about 3 bucks each. I plan to make fabric grocery bags out of them, inspired by Jane Little on the Flickr group. Hopefully, there'll be more about those by the end of the week.

I've also acquired a huge tractor tire and one mini trampoline from CraigsList, both for free. These two things represent the best part about repurposed items... you gotta be creative. One of them I think I've come up with a creative solution for, the other, not so much.

I plan to dig down in the grass and put the trampoline flush with ground level. And hope to acquire more trampolines and do the same with them, all in a row, then the kids can bounce from one to the next in a line, like an obstacle course. A friend of ours that works in insurance told me that it is one of the worst ideas she's ever heard. How can that be worse than a regular trampoline? I guess people might not see it and step onto it accidentally. Anyway, I'll put up lots of signs when I do it, so nobody breaks their ankles. Also maybe some fencing and the signs can say, "Watch out for dangerous trampolines." He he, I'm just joshin, Beccy.

I don't know what to do with the tire. I originally planned to bury it upright in the ground and let the kids clammor on it, but I'd have to remove an awful lot of dirt to do that and Sean hasn't been in serious trouble for months, so no free labor. Then I thought of making it into a sandbox, but my kids are a bit old for that. Anybody have any suggestions?

And, finally, I would like to mention the concept of a "Buy Nothing Month" (or week). This is not something that we have done. Yet. I'm working on Jeff, but it's daunting. Basically, it involves buying nothing except for food and toiletries (and I assume gas, although maybe not) for the set amount of time. I think that doing this would drastically change how we view shopping. I know we'd realize how much of what we do is simply done out of habit, without much thought. I also read about a group in San Francisco (can't find the link, grrr) that are doing this for a year. They *can* buy all the secondhand stuff they want, so that's gotta make it easier. And more fun. I was thrilled to find the sheets pictured above, after all.

Added note- I just am listening to the song Coat of Many Colors (originally by Dolly Parton, this one's by Alison Krauss) and was struck by the appropriateness. It speaks to the embarrassment of reusing materials, something that many people still associate with the word secondhand, but more importantly it tells how much love someone can put into a handmade item, something I've encountered again and again on the blogs I read. So here are some of the lyrics...

I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my momma put the rags to use
There were rags of many colors
Every piece was small
And I didn’t have a coat
And it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldn’t wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss

So with patches on my britches
Holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors
I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughing
And making fun of me
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

And oh I couldn’t understand it
For I felt I was rich
And I told them of the love
My momma sewed in every stitch
And I told em all the story
Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors
Was worth more than all their clothes


Anonymous said...

The group you are talking about is called The Compact. It's a great idea to try to buy all you can through second-hand or even for free. :) I don't know that I could do it for everything, but we actually get a lot of our goodies for free, and I love it.

I'm not a good thrifter though, at least not for anything like clothing. Thrift stores are great for other kinds of things though!

Jenny said...

I've never heard that song (or at least listened to the words). It made me cry a little. Originally just for the reason of how proud and excited the little one was to wear this coat made with such love, even more because I reminded of the judgment with which we treat each other, and finally because she was still proud of the coat regardless of others' opinions.

On another note, it's a bummer that shopping for second-hand items tends to be associated with being poor or cheap, rather than environmentally friendly.

Although I am always super excited about good finds at thrift stores, I have a slight feeling of... I guess I would call it embarrassment... because I am slightly uncomfortable when I head into a thrift store. It reminds me (and is a little scary) how strong my subconscious can be even though my conscious mind knows better. I'm working to change this long-held belief in myself.

Wendy said...

Jenny, that's what's so cool about the whole crafting community. We love ourselves a good find, no matter where it comes from. When I showed Aurora the cubby yesterday, she said that it was something Martha Stewart would be glad to fix up. I'm sure she has a team of people to fix up her stuff, but it's a good point, none the less.

People are changing and us super duper crafty types are leading the way. Heh.

Jenny said...

Ya know, I do look back fondly on the days of loading those rocks into the back of the van. I was soooooo darn embarrassed then, but now it's just a happy memory of Mom. She sure did teach us not to worry about what others think. Can you even imagine what I'd be like if she weren't my mom? Yikes!

Breanna said...

I love the cubby! One thing I love about this whole crafty community is how everyone just loves to thrift. Prior to blogging I didn't have too many people I could brag to about my dump and salvation army finds... And I just love Alison Krauss.

Wendy said...

Sorry to be going back so far on your blog, but as I found it after you'd been blogging for a long time, I wanted to go back and explore your journey ;).

I didn't see if you'd figured out a use for your tire, but I have one. A garden. I plant potatoes in tires. I start with one tire, and then, as the plants grow, I add another tire and some finished compost. I stop at four tires. The theory is that the potato plant will root at every level and the roots is where the potatoes grow. I had a decent crop last year from my potato garden - about 20 lbs of potatoes from six seeds.

Another option is what Art did here . He lives in Canada and built a "greenhouse" using old tractor tires. Very creative ;).

Jane said...

Hello! I am so tickled by your link! I love to make treasures out of trash. I have found many curbside items and transformed them with a little elbow grease and some paint. Also I hardly ever shop retail for my crafts. I find such great fabric at a wonderful thrift store which has $1 Sundays. Thanks for the link!