Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vows about Stuff (Look what I made!)

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know not to get me started about "stuff."  As in:  having too much, letting your kids have to much, building an appetite for too much...

Oh, don't get me started.

Years ago I weeded down my sewing and crocheting projects to just a handful and vowed to not buy any more stuff until I had completed what I had. And then vowed to use whatever I brought home. Right away. Due to lack of space, time, and finances, this was something I needed to do.

I vowed, when out shopping in stores, at thrift stores, or at yard sales (not often), to not ever bring anything home unless I knew EXACTLY how I was going to use it, and use it immediately.

I've gotten pretty good at living by this rule.

The past few weeks, I did a collaborative yard sale with some friends.  I brought home two pieces of flannel fabric and one skein of hand-dyed handspun wool yarn (cost: $0.00 because I waited until the sale was over and raided from what was going to Goodwill).

I used it. Look what I made--for my 14yo daughter, if the mismatched socks weren't enough of a clue that these photos are of HER, not me: Two pairs of super-cool flannel PJ pants for winter, and one felted wool hat!

OKAY... YOU may not think Daffy Duck is cool. But she does!

Those are penguins, in top hats, I explained to my husband as he was squinting at the finished product.

I also brought home a ball of plain yellow yarn, because my daughter and I are making these to sell at a craft fair to raise money for her choir's trip to Spain next June:

Then, I also had my eye on this adorable little tin piece:

How to use it? How to use it?  Oh... just ten cents!  I KNOW! I had been wanting a pencil cup for our school room!

And then there was this adorable little handmade pottery bowl. Ten cents.  So cute! See how the blue in the bowl matches some of the paint in my house?

Well, I had made a mental note that I needed a nice soap dish for our newly remodeled bathroom (which we had to re-do because the shower floor caved in--part of the unexpected surprises you get when living in a 100+year-old farmhouse).  This was perfect for our old farmhouse. 

What about you? Do you need everything you buy? Do you use it?

The only reason I encourage women to think about it is because:


I'm glad I learned to simplify, cut back, and pay attention. Not for the sake of money, or things. But for the sake of simplicity, and sanity, and teaching my children how to build appetites for good things, and make wise decisions.  For the  sake of the current budget God has chosen for us to live on.

And I really do appreciate when I find exactly  what I need, and know it is just what I needed. There's nothing ambiguous about it. Just satisfying and simple.

Don't think I apply this "judgment" across the board--we all use and need different amounts of different types of stuff! I know several ladies, including my mother, who have the luxury of being able to have a fully furnished sewing room, with the financial freedom to stock it fully, and the time and skill to use the room wonderfully with all sorts of creative talent (my kids have been very blessed by her delighting in sewing for them, and passing on fabric freely to me for a desired project!).  I have a friend who has a beautiful, fully-stocked scrapbooking room for her scrapbooking business. They have the room, and that is their life.  Me, on the other hand, had tubs and bags lurking and stuffed in closet corners, untouched for years.  Not the same! I needed to think differently about my sewing and crocheting!

And I don't know about you, but there's something about sewing or crocheting that leaves me satisfied, too. I don't know why, but that "Look what I made" feeling is nice for us girls somehow.  With my oldest poised to leave the nest... I COULD have a sewing room! :-)  What have YOU made lately? You can share it here, like I did:

needle and thREAD

Happy stuff-management!


  1. Ok...ok....are you referring to my stack of supplies I bought at Hobby Lobby the other day???? hahahaha!! Just kidding!

    I totally agree with you and this post is in perfect timing for me because Collin is going away for the weekend and I'm thinking it's a great time to raid his closet.

    The problem is, he's got boxes of Legos, army men, and hot wheels, which have a lot of value - financially and emotionally :(

    I'm one of these people that want to see where my things are going when I give it away (control freak maybe?)

    So, if there was a family that suffered loss or poverty or some other reason for me to hand deliver these things to them, I would not hesitate.

    On the other hand, the thought of them ending up at Goodwill just irritates me.

    How do you handle this? I know you have an opinion, so hit me! (as in...let me know :)

    1. I don't think you're a control freak. I think that is being a good steward of good things. For example, when Breton cleaned out her closet last fall, we had some clothes that we just gave to Goodwill, but we had some things that we chose to give particularly to friends--they were too nice and we wanted someone we knew to enjoy them--I could have sold them on consignment or on eBay, but it was enough for me to know they were going to be enjoyed and cared for by someone who would appreciate them.

      Gabe would disown me if I ever sent Legos to Goodwill. He would choose to sell them on eBay or Bricklink--but you know his are going to be inherited by his brothers. My husband is all for selling collectibles on eBay, if you can't find someone you're happy to give them to. It would be a good stewardship lesson to leave the decision to Collin about whether to save, sell, or give.