Where growing, making & good living come together

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011 challenge – end of year update

Posted by on Tuesday 3 January 2012 in anti-consumerism, frugal, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 10 comments

This morning I tweeted that I think it’s going to take me most of 2012 to catch up on all my leftover stuff from 2011 – and this is one of those things!

The Challenge

Last year, I set myself the challenge of buying no more than 12 items of clothing in 2011 – and I invited other people to join me. A good number of people signed up (or committed themselves to similar goals).

What I bought

I went until July (which was a full nine months since I’d bought any new clothes) before buying anything then raced up to 11 things by October!

I bought:

  • 1 x a woolly hoodie jumper from a charity shop
  • 4 x jeans from eBay (mostly replacements for old ones falling apart – I wear jeans all day, every day)
  • 1 x light cardigan from a high street store
  • 2 x t-shirts from Threadless
  • 2 x long-sleeved tops from a high street store
  • 1 x a cord jacket from a charity shop

I can’t tell you how many things I watched on eBay, or added to basket on other online shops, or considered at in-person shops – it was a LOT but I only bought those 11 things. By and large, I thought a lot more carefully about what I was buying because I didn’t want to go over my limit. That said: I still made impulse buys and mistakes. I love the cord jacket I got in October but that was a mistake: I’d spent most of the year trying to find the perfect spring/autumn jacket on eBay but then impulse bought the jacket at a charity shop even though it didn’t have a hood (which was a key thing for me) — I’ve been rained on so many times since then! The biggest mistake though was the Threadless t-shirts I bought in September – I’ve had t-shirts from there before and they’ve been decent quality; this batch though are awful — incorrectly sized, shoddy fabric, poor stitching = unwearable. It really annoys me that I wasted two of my quota on them! GRRR!

(The jacket, with the reason I keep getting rained on asleep in the background ;) )

Lessons learnt

Read More

October 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Monday 31 October 2011 in chickens, less than 12 clothes challenge, meta | 0 comments

Carla-cat enjoying a spot of autumn sun – the woodstore is perfectly place for sunbathing felines: in the sun until nearly 2pm but also within a short stroll of their food dishes. Purrfecto!

Goals in 2011 progress

moving swiftly on!

October mini-goals

I achieved more of these than my main goals – the accounts are finished (just waiting for John’s business accounts now then new mortgage a go go!), we finally finished the bathroom and we both batch cooked for the freezer – “ready meals” of pasta sauce, keema curry, enchiladas and spicy beef casserole (with corn bread) now await us! I also got some fabric for the cushion in the porch and found somewhere for the foam – just hesitating now about whether a soft cushion is right for there, or whether a can-put-your-foot-up-on-it wipeclean option would be better.

I think I would have achieved more on these & on my main goals if I hadn’t been distracted by other fun pursuits – crocheting and writing (the latter planning for my NaNoWriMo attempt, which starts tomorrow!).

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Bloomin’ heck, I’m getting close! I’ve been on the look out for a nicer-than-my-scruffy-hoodies jacket all year and spotted a lovely M&S brown cord jacket in fab condition in a charity shop for £5.99 so bought it even though it’s close to being too cold to wear it. I’ve worn it loads over the last few weeks. I also bought yet another pair of jeans off eBay. They take me up to eleven things so far in 2011, eep, close!

Read More

September 2011 – month in review

Posted by on Friday 30 September 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, meta | 7 comments

Wow, this month really flu flew by.

Goals in 2011 progress

Sigh, too ill to do anything much. Still a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I’ve bought LOTS of clothes this month! Partly inspired by replacements – a favourite (work) top & a (newly holey) pair of jeans had to be decommissioned from general service this month – and partly by the start of term & change of the season. I bought a pair of jeans (excellent second-hand quality from eBay), two long sleeved cotton tops (new) and two t-shirts (new). I also bought a new pair of trainers as my last pair developed a 2inch split along the sole – fixable for dry weather wearing but not for the incoming soggy winter.

Before this month, I’d bought three things, so now I’m up to nine items in 2011. A few months ago – when I had bought anything for more than six months, I’d have been surprised at that. While I didn’t NEED these things, my existing clothes (which generally pre-date the start of the challenge by at least six-months/a year) are wearing out.

Growing & Chickens

Read More

August 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 1 September 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge | 8 comments

Cor, another month that seems to have taken its sweet time to come to a close – again, not dragged but the beginning of the month feels very long way ago now.

(Lemon curd, with cinnamon, which I made one day to accompany a fig-and-fennel soda bread test loaf.)

Goals in 2011 progress

We tried to go sea-fishing but failed. We haven’t had a lot of food from the garden – a few courgettes/marrows, tomatoes, potatoes but nothing major-major. I’ve been sewing quite a bit but for decorative rather than practical purposes. I haven’t made anything with wood. I have baked quite a bit – actually done quite a bit of experimental baking & cooking, trying out new ideas for recipes – but not made cheese. Basically, I’ve got a lot of goals still to accomplish and an increasingly short amount of time to do them in!

On the plus side though, I did slightly better with my month’s mini-goals: we sorted out the bills stuff (2), I researched the ISA options and decided it wasn’t worth switching until next year (1), cleared out the cupboards (4+5), nearly stuck to my budget (3 – see below), would have done 6 if there wasn’t a damp problem in need of investigation, and made a purse (8). Not great but better.

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

After buying two things in July, I bought another thing – a light “so very me” cardigan – at the beginning of August. My old cotton cardigan has seen better days so this is sort of a replacement and will be useful in the next few months over t-shirts/vest tops.

One of my favourite pairs of jeans has developed an unfortunate (and very difficult to fix) hole in the bum so I’m on the look out for a replacement pair but not seen any yet.

Anyway, no other temptations or anything else from the exempt list so I’m just up to three items so far in 2011.

Growing & Chickens

As I said above, the garden has not had a hugely productive month – which is a bit of a shame. I’ve run out of preening steam too so it looks a mess as well. Sigh. September should bring lots more tomatoes (we’ve got lots of green ones at the moment) and more courgettes, and hopefully our first achocha. Two out of four of our achocha plants have pretty well developed fruit on them and finally, the other two — which have grown up together against a wall and are MASSIVE (15ft tall, 8ft across) — have finally started fruiting too. That might result in a lot of fruit!

The chickens have had a good month – no broodiness and Ginger definitely started laying again (she went broody in the middle of June, came out of it finally about a month later but I couldn’t be sure that she was laying again until mid-August when we finally got six eggs in one day). With six eggs on some occasions, we had a grand total of 157 eggs, an average of just over 5 a day.


I had given myself a budget of £100 for my SAVE-as-much-as-you-SPEND (corrected!) categories this month and if I hadn’t gone completely craft supply crazy, I’d have made it. I spent a whopping £55.75 on craft stuff this month: mostly embroidery threads and cross-stitch fabric but also £17.20 on yarn from Bobbins in Whitby. The yarn was a complete impulse buy – I saw it, wanted it, had a vague project in mind but not great plans to use it ASAP (since I can’t knit/crochet in the summer) – and that blew my budget, pushing me over to spend £110.66 in total. *shakes fist* Yarn aside, I do know that all the embroidery stuff will keep me quiet for a long time so while it was a lot of money, I probably won’t need to buy anything more for ages.

Aside from crafts, restaurant/takeout food wasn’t too bad this month (£46.42) but I could easily have saved about a tenner of that by taking sandwiches, snacks & drinks with me when I was teaching during the day, rather than using the Coop. Naughty. It did also include expensive fish’n’chips, donuts and other seaside treats when we were in Whitby.

Transport costs were quite low for the month (£30.70), especially since £16.70 of that was last night alone (a return bus ticket then a taxi fare when the meeting overran and I missed the last bus, grr). I didn’t buy any books – used the library a few times instead. Entertainment was a newspaper one Saturday (and all the crafts, of course!). The silly thing was my cute vase. Household stuff included the wool blanket, some photo frames, a bathmat, and an oven thermometer – wild ;)

I spent £175.74 in total, after bills and food shopping – my lowest month since I started tracking spending (the previously lowest had been June, at £188.91). Bit disappointed that I “wasted” some of it on impulse yarn and actually wasted some of it on unnecessary lunches, but I’m not beating myself up about it too much.

How was your August?

Read More

July 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Tuesday 2 August 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11, meta | 2 comments

So here we are again, at the end of another month (or rather the beginning of the next one because I’m a bit behind). I can’t even remember the start of July – I was busy with drama stuff on the second weekend but even those shows feel a lifetime ago now. The month hasn’t dragged really, or been super busy (apart from that drama stuff) so I don’t know why it’s felt so long … at least I got my money’s worth out of it I guess!

Goals in 2011 progress

We’ve had quite a bit of food from the garden this month – LOTS of courgettes, some potatoes and other bits & pieces. I’ve not done the “whole meal” but we’ve had a number of courgette & eggy things so that’s part way there ;)

Aside from that and just about hitting my at-least-once-a-week baking target, I’ve not really done anything else goal-y. I didn’t have any mini-goals in July as I didn’t have anything pressing, so I can’t even say I was busy doing those. Since June was equally unmotivated/lazy, naughty Louisa, naughty!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I’ve actually bought something! I bought my first item of clothing in 2011 – a charcoal lambswool/angora woolly hoodie from a charity shop. It is exactly the sort of thing I like and was only £3, and I suspect I will very, very much welcome it next winter. I didn’t buy any new woollies at all last winter and was struggling a bit by the end of the season. If I don’t shrink it the first time I wash it, I think I’ll probably live in it from November-March ;)

That purchase seemingly opened a mental “I want to buy clothes!” flood gate. Mid-month, I spent *ages* looking for stuff online and started looking more closely at clothes rails in charity shops … but couldn’t find anything I liked enough to warrant buying. However last weekend, I bought a pair of jeans on eBay (the same size/brand/style I always wear, so they should fit fine) and nearly bought a top too but got outbid. The jeans aren’t desperately needed as I already have four pairs but they were a bargain and I wear them all the frickin’ time, so they’ll be very useful all the same.

I also bought a couple of things from my exceptions list: I bought a five-pack of cute but basic knickers, and two everyday bras. These were replacements as I cleaned out my underwear drawer the day before and had “retired” two bras and 29 pairs of knickers – it was looking a little empty after that!

So my “12 in 11” total is now at a grand 2!

Growing & Chickens

Read More

June – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 30 June 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 5 comments

I seem to have been writing a lot of review-type-posts lately – all very introspective (sorry!) but I do very much learn from my past mistakes so it’s good to think about them. So then, June….

Goals in 2011 progress

We’re finally starting to get good food from the garden so I could see myself easily doing “full meal from the garden” thing in July. I haven’t made any provisions for the off-grid stuff though.

I’ve been starting to take cuttings of various herbs and will continue to do that – and I’ve come up with a way of measuring success of that goal — a list of things I’d like to successfully propagate this year (and a few things I’d like to try to overwinter – since that’s a similar idea).

My making stuff with wood has slowed down – boo – and aside from a little embroidery, haven’t done much craft stuff either – no outfit sewing either. Inspired by this tutorial though, I’m going to set aside a day in July to do a bit of sewing and I’m also tempted to join the Crazy Aunt Purl holey jumper KAL — that would be my first knitted jumper (and, um, actually my first knitting since I fell in love with crochet nearly two years ago!).

No more fishing progress – boo again – but I might try to get us a day booked in before the main school holidays start – I think I have a week window between being busy with drama and the holidays so better get a move on!

Not really baked that much, not made cheese, not done any cold-smoking and not met any internet people. Been a bit lazy recently really! Recapping that here make me feel I should be a bit more motivated in July!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Not bought anything this month – so my clothes buying tally is still zero (with just a few second-hand/BNWT bras from my exception list last month). I can’t believe I’ve not bought any clothes for over seven months now!

Read More