Green and Thrifty

Oh lordy, I am such a Good Mother. I took the children camping. Yes, we went out in to Nature and got sand in our sleeping bags and played card games and had Fun. I haven't ever been camping before without someone else to put up the tent. Well, actually, I still haven't. Rosy and Posy put up the tent. We went with another non-camping family, and a dear lovely friend who is an experienced bushwalker and camper, and who was very gracious to us all really, even though I expect we were very trying. The excellent news on the green and thrifty front is that a)camping is cheap, b)we miraculously had all all equipment we needed, except a pump for the air mattresses, which we c)managed to borrow from a friend, because really, how many air mattress pumps does one neighbourhood need? (that is not a rhetorical question, it is a homework assignment..)

In other green and thrifty news, remember last week I was wondering how to get my hands on some second hand school uniform? Well, I asked The Girl (who has finished school now, and mostly worn out her school uniform) to canvass her friends with a view to selling their old uniforms. And the other day one of her friends dropped in to say good-bye as she flies off overseas for a gap year, and brought with her all her old uniform for Rosy. And her mother won't let me pay for it. That will keep Rosy in dresses for years, and probably Posy as well, when she gets to high school. Goodness, the universe does provide, doesn't it? And sometimes just for the asking..

That leaves me just needing to find some extra uniform for Posy for later this year. Posy is currently wearing the size that Rosy wore all the way to the end of primary school. Posy, at the same age, is a head taller, and will need a bigger uniform soon. I don't know anyone older than Posy at school who doesn't have a little sister to hand their uniform down to.. I will plot and plan. Lacking a useful second hand clothing shop, many parents resort to putting up notices outside the school office, you know, "Wanted to buy, Girls' Size 12 summer uniform", so I will try that and see what happens..

And  guess what? I did some DIY. I have decided that the bare walls around the house need decorating. And of course I am not going out to buy anything for this project. A few months ago, while clearing out cupboards all over the house, and boxes in the shed, I collected all the old, unused frames and unhung pictures into one place. This many.

Oh dear. So this week, I took two cards from my card stash, that I have been unable to bring myself to use because I like them so much. They are by Tasmanian artist Kit Hiller, and are of two birds who visit my garden occasionally, the New Holland Honeyeater, and the Eastern Spinebill. It is always an occasion when I see these bush birds in my suburban garden, so I have decided to give in to my greedy desire to not share these cards, and hang them on the wall instead. Embarrassingly, I had to get The Man to explain how to use a picture hook, (no I didn't need to buy picture hooks either, I found some in the shed!), but did manage to tappity tap them in all by myself with the hammer. So yes, pretty extreme DIY happening here at Chez Blueday. Clearly, after all this effort, I need a little rest before I tackle any other walls, but I am sure there will be more decorating to come. Stay tuned:)

I moved the pot pourri from my bedside table to the new cupboard in the loo, but now I am wondering if it is too much. I am a bit of a fan of understated minimilism (otherwise known as Limited Dusting Style). As Coco Chanel suggested, 'Always remove one thing before you leave the house. Less is more.' I tend to always remove one thing in the house. And then another thing. So, pot pourri, or no pot pourri? Thoughts?

Isn't it excellent that I am publishing photos of my loo for your delectation?

What fun projects have you been up to that have required Not Buying A Thing? I am issuing a No Spend decorating challenge for the week. I'll do another quite boring one this week (well, I expect it will be boring. I have form with that), and if you do one and post photos, I can link to it next week. So here is your challenge - hunt around your attic, basement, sheds, and the boxes on top of the wardrobe for objects that you love, but never quite found the space for, or forgot to frame, or forgot you even own. Give away something you don't love at all, and make space for your cherished, forgotten, or newly discovered objet d'art. Post it on your blog, and tell me in the comments, and I'll link to it. Or just shout about your cleverness in the comments, and we will all tell you how marvellous you are to be such a thrifty decorator. Remember, the only rule is Not Buying Anything. I can't wait to see what y'all have in the attic!!


Heather said…
I love camping! I have to admit, though, that I've never gone without a man to put up the tent for me, either my father or my husband. I think it is wonderful that your girls are so skilled! As for the potpourri bowl, I like it, but I'm all for less dusting so I understand why you may not want to keep it out. I don't know if I have much in my house for the challenge. I filled 4 large bags for charity on Monday and I've been feeling light as a feather without all that extra stuff around. Take care, friend :)
Anonymous said…
Excellent idea Ms Jo. Thrifty renovations on a zero budget. My kind of reno's. Stevie-boy is talking about removing the wall between his small music room and the larger middle room to make one large music room. I am not going to encourage that sort of thought (no matter how cheap/free it is to accomplish) because that would eat up my newly assimilated craft room! My idea of redecorating the house on an extreme budget is taking the (rarely used) duster and going around and removing all of the spider webs. You would be AMAZED at how much nicer it all looks without the spider webs. Good exercise, free, VOILA! I am onto it! Does anyone have a home for about 400 repatriated daddy long legs?
Judy said…
I love camping and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Will you do it again? I bet your girls loved putting the tent up too :-)

I love the easy cleaning of a bare surface, but I think it is better with the pot pourri, otherwise there is a temptation for clutter to accumulate on the empty surface instead. I love that you chose frames in different shades too.

Hmmm! I will think about your challenge.
Jo said…
Fran, I am not sure that removing the spiders is decorating, so much as undecorating. Although I suppose you are changing your decorating style from Halloween Gothic to Clean Queen. Doesn't it feel marvellous to do a big cleaning job like that? It always makes me feel like I'm so virtuous that I can take the rest of the week off:)
Judy, camping, hmm, I'm still not entirely sure why people want to leave their nice comfortable houses with actual beds and go and sleep in Nature inside what is essentially a very large plastic bag. But yes, of course the children liked it. Children always like things that involve lots of work and discomfort for their parents:)
And do join in the challenge, I just know you will think of something intriguing..
Anonymous said…
Camping, eek; I suddenly have the urge to declutter my camping supplies!

I have a no-spend challenge at work. Every second Friday, I have been leading a drop-in afternoon crafts group - with no budget. We only have children's craft supplies at the library, like construction paper and glue sticks. So I have devoted myself to creating attractive paper crafts that appeal to adults. So far we have made snowflakes, 3D boxes, collages and decorative banners.

Bek said…
Yay camping. I have very fond memories of family holidays camping as a child.
I'm for the with pot pourri scenario. But like a few little knick knacks scattered around the place.
What about flowers? They are my el cheapo but classy decorating strategy of choice. And all for doing a little gentle pruning. My current lounge room arrangement has buddilja, rosemary, fennel seed heads, lavender and nigella. All from the garden, all needed to be pruned back anyway.
Linda said…
Impressed that you took the family camping. I'm with you - camping has never entered my head as something I would like to do, so I never have and at my age it's not likely I ever will. Like your decorating idea. I prefer the bowl on the cupboard but wouldn't have the pot pourri. A bit like camping, pot pourri is not something I like!
Anonymous said…
Brilliant about the uniforms. I think so many uniforms get tossed in the rubbish, as people often think others wont want their hand-me-downs. (On that note I had a parent at school complain about the use of that phrase or second-hand, when she was asking for uniform support. Go figure!)

Camping is a cheap way to have holidays - unless you get caught up in needing all the gadgets. Mr S loves camping and wants to go more often, or even at all, as I no longer want to go. Maybe some glamping!
Jo said…
Dar, I love your idea of a no-spend craft challenge. That is completely brilliant! Those little 3D origami boxes are gorgeous - my girls make those.
Bek, yes, garden flowers are wonderful. I just have to remind myself to change them when they need it, because vases of dead flowers is not the look I am going for.. yours sound lovely:)
Linda, I bet you sew gorgeous things instead:) I started making pot pourri a couple of years ago because I have a plethora of roses and lavender, and felt the need to do something with it all!
Lucinda, I love second hand everything, so no complaints from me there:) and we already have enough camping gadgets, so can now camp away for years without buying anything else as far as I can see. The children do a lot of hardy, character developing wilderness camps at high school, hence they can put up tents and cook on tiny stoves with aplomb, while I, um, sometimes help, sometimes merely get in the way.
Anonymous said…
Gosh, we are failing epicly on the not spending anything to rearrange the house type thing - I've finally moved Chaos into his own room (he's only been pestering me for about two years, he had to keep his side of the shared room clean for six months. Which he probably did if you took it out of the full two years!) We bought a new bed for Mayhem, and new sheets and doona cover for Chaos (apparently, the purple crushed velvet and satin one on the bed wasn't um. Manly enough for a 12 year old boy!)

But, in moving him, I did donate a load of stuff to the oppy - including two painted plaster cats (one was a metre tall!) that had been gathering dust at mine. It wasn't that I didn't like them any more - more that I just don't really have anywhere to put them. I'm pretty sure the two cats moved in with the oppy lady on Friday. She was delighted with them and I saw her patting the bigger one as I left!

Camping. Less said about that the better. If I was meant to camp, 5 star motels would NOT have been invented!
Jo said…
Ha ha, Miss Maudy, I have been there, I renovated, remember. Now I'm repenting:) I'm glad your cats have found a happy new home.
I totally agree re the camping, however sadly 5 star hotels mostly charge more than $10pp/night. Darn.

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