The ups and downs of attempting to go a whole year without buying any new clothes...

...without becoming a naturist, as the title suggests

Saturday, 1 January 2011

December - Getting Crafty

***Merry Christmas and a Happy Frugal New Year!***

I was slightly anxious about what I might have to write in this entry, anticipating that in all of the Christmas madness I might have resorted to the easy option of high-street shops to get presents. Happily I can say that, although I did have to pay a short visit to a shopping mall *shudder*, the majority of my presents were either hand-made, recycled or useful in some way! Several people received my handmade jewellery or cards ( which I make as a hobby anyway. I gave others gifts that I, or my family, had been given in the past and were new and unopened, but would suit someone else much better. Originally I felt torn - it was an amazing way to recycle, and I knew that some of the recipients would approve - but was it really just a bit cheap? So, in my usual style, I set about some conscience easing and googled 'regift' to see whether it was being slated by others! To my surprise, I found a website devoted to it! (

Other presents included razors, vouchers and a laptop, which most of the family clubbed together to buy for people who decided they would rather receive one gift which they needed, rather than many gifts, which they perhaps didn't need.

I bought R a pair of Jeans from Howies; he's wanted them for ages and will wear them until they disintegrate, so I don't feel bad. I also spent £17 of the closely guarded Fat Face voucher on some lovely wrist-warmers for a friend.

In terms of presents I was given, R has replaced my ancient CAT boots (with a huge hole in each heel) with a new and totally lovely pair, so that I have dry and snuggly feet for 2011. I feel it has been far too long without a shoe picture, so here they are!!

I also got some bits and pieces for the kitchen, a moonstone ring, a few pairs of really lovely socks and thick tights (the kind I couldn't usually justify buying for myself), a pair of pyjamas and a black long-sleeved t-shirt. My mum kept up the make-it-yourself theme and knitted me a hot water bottle cover, which I love!

I suppose the point of listing my presents is to make it clear that I wasn't given an entire wardrobe full of clothes for Christmas! And I certainly didn't buy anything in the sales!

I have bought quite a few things for myself this month; all second hand. At the start of December I had some excellent finds at a car-boot sale in Bristol, I got a black top (£1), a black wrap-over cardigan (£1) and a pair of tie-up trousers (£2). Had to buy some leggings as my one remaining pair had become thinner than tights, so got two pairs of black and one brown from Joe Browns for £23, but got £1.69 cashback on Quidco (my favourite website of 2010!) 

I also satisfied a 'shopping urge' by finding a Uttam butterfly dress on ebay for £7, which I have wanted for years.

At one of the many Christmas markets which I took my jewellery to, I bought a lovely GAP t-shirt, a brown patterned skirt for work and a brown woollen jumper for £7. The jumper is to felt and make into (hopefully) wrist-warmers and a skirt. I've never felted anything before, but have been told I just need to wash it on a hot wash with wool detergent until it has shrunk roughly 30-40% (must remember to measure it first!) Does anyone have any felting tips? I will let you know how it goes.

This is the next phase of the project... if you can't find what you want: make it. I've got lots of projects either planned or part-completed at the moment; felting the jumper is the first, then I plan to decorate the wrist warmers with some crochet flowers (I was also given a crochet book for Christmas and have practised by making a little hat for my friend's new baby). I'm hoping that being able to crochet will also enable me to 'tweak' charity shop finds to make them a bit more individual. I have been knitting for over a year now, but am still just making large squares to make a blanket and practise as many stitches as possible. Hopefully this year I will knit something 'real'! I'm also going to try to dye more things. I've got two white/cream bedding sets which were handed down to us a couple of years ago when we moved into our first flat. White is not a good colour. My refusal to use anything but Ecover washing liquid means that sometimes I don't exactly get the Daz effect with my whites (and no, I am not willing to compromise) so I am going to dye one purple to look at the effect. If it turns out fine I will do the other set and some white towels we have; who knows, I might even get creative with colours and effects! Again, I will report back on the progress!

So, watch this space for knitted, crocheted, felted and colourful creations... 

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