This is a little out of my normal posting content range, but it is relevant! In the midst of all the house chaos, I am doing the 30 Day Tiny House Challenge from Let's Build A Tiny House
. Things are just too crazy to try and KonMari, so this at least helps me feel like I am making a dent. It is mainly focused on downsizing, but it also has challenges like "Buy nothing all day" or "Take a shower in under five minutes".
Create a list of the top 10 reasons you want to live tiny.
This was harder than I expected. There are a lot of good reasons to go tiny, but some of them are so similar that I think I could have condensed my list to five reasons.
1. Mental freedom - not feeling like I am owned by my possessions or by consumerism.
2. Environmental impact.
3. I want to spend less time cleaning and picking up, as well as the larger maintenance involved in house owning (such as cleaning your windows twice a year).
4. Save more money/spend less money. When you're on as tiny an income as I have, you have to manage your money very carefully. I've gotten much better at this, but could do better.
5. Spend my newfound free time on quality experiences, such as getting more exercise, traveling and learning a new language.
6. To not have the stress I get when I have too many possessions that aren't useful or bringing me joy.
7. Have better relationships. I feel like there have been times when I have been so inwardly focused (for example, sewing all the things!), or obsessed over things (for example, not having the right outfit to wear out) that prevent me from going out and spending time with people or even just having the mental space to care about others.
8. I want to feel good about my lifestyle. I talk a big game when it comes to the environmental and mental impact of living a certain way, but I struggle as much as most people with actually following through. I believe strongly in walking the talk and want to live up to my own standards.
9. Get outdoors more.
10. Find self-worth in my actions, not in my stuff.
Ditch the junk! Donate, sell, recycle, throw out 2 items.
I was more successful than I expected on this day.
1. I put a set of knives in a pile of items to give to my sister, who is getting her first apartment.
2. I listed a sewing pattern on Etsy.
3. I recycled the LL Bean catalog that came in the mail right away, rather than flip through it and then set it down somewhere where it would sit for a month.
4. I sold on Amazon a spare french press beaker we bought in the wrong size.
Recycle old newspapers and magazines.
This was a tricky challenge. We don't get a newspaper and currently don't subscribe to magazines. I had recycled all my home decorator magazines earlier in the year. So instead I made an effort to go around the house and pick up the random to do lists, flyers and receipts and recycle those, as well as do some more unpacking and recycle the paper from that.
Folks, the summer is flying by! How does this always happen? We're still working on the new house, but spirits are low. It is hot, humid and with each layer of flooring you rip up it gets less exciting and more disheartening. I'm in the middle of filling in textured walls with joint compound while James is doing flooring. We're sleeping on a mattress on the floor, living out of our suitcases and cooking on the camp stove. Tiny houses are looking ever more enticing...especially the prefabricated ones.
In the midst of the chaos I did manage to do some sewing. In fact I'm trying to do something crafty every day to keep my sanity, but we have building deadlines, so sometimes I have to actually prioritize. I made some boxers from good old Simplicity 9958 for my Dad for his birthday. I believe I have made this pattern about 10 times now! I used some quilter's cotton from JoAnn Fabrics. It is very hard to find masculine prints at my local store, which is much smaller than my old JoAnns. However, I think I succeeded, I can envision this prints on Gap or Banana Republic boxers, no problem.
My biggest accomplishment this summer is finishing my Reef Knot Tank. I've been wearing it more than I expected, so that is good. I took some photos on Knit In Public day, when I wore it out for the first time. As I've noticed before, unlike when my sewing projects aren't 100% to my satisfaction, my imperfect knitting projects still get tons of wear. I'm not sure if it is because most of my sewing project errors are in the fit or because I am a little more free with my design choices when sewing and therefore don't always make things that suit me well.
My shirt dress from McCall's 6696 is still on hold, since I need more thread. In the meantime I've cut out James' linen pants from New Look 6876 and serged the edges.
I only got three photos the last week. It was extremely hot and humid and we had guests for four days so it was tricky making my wardrobe work around that.
This is a 5 year old dress now (Simplicity 2591). I made it for a challenge back when the Sew Weekly was still going. I still think it is one of my best fitting and most flattering garments. Beside me is my progress on McCall's 6696. I wanted to finish it to wear on the 31st, but it just didn't happen. I'm also a little disappointed in that it is less flattering than I'd hoped - I think the waistband makes my short torso look extra short. So much for feeling elegant and cute like Betty Draper. Should I have known better? Yes. Waistbands are why I also usually don't end up wearing skirts and I don't think any of my dresses incorporate them.
I was so excited to be able to wear this. It is one of my favorite makes, but the high cut neckline and longer sleeves make it a bit warm. I haven't blogged it so I'll go ahead and do a quick blurb. It is Simplicity 6912, from the 1960s, a junior pattern with a matching bag and head kerchief. The whale fabric was an Ebay purchase and the Spongebob licensed ball fringe was from JoAnn's. It coordinates a little better in real life as some of the balls are green, not yellow. It is a bit more snug this year but the french seams made for a delightful fit with no alterations when I originally made it. I've found a regular misses size pattern that is similar if I ever want to attempt this style again.
It's over! And for the most part I succeeded, surprising, given how many me-made garments I've donated. I celebrated by wearing my new Hey June Lane Raglan.
1. Stick to my color palette.
I really do know what colors I prefer. But sometimes a pretty fabric (especially prints) get the better of my judgement. While I don't want to eschew such things completely, I want to buy them in mind with projects not for me. For example I can do home dec projects or sew for my American Girl Dolls with them.While this will probably leave me with a closet of almost exclusively blue things, I really never get tired of blue. To illustrate...
Flattering Color Choices (and good hair days):
Unflattering Color Choices (and bad hair days):
2. Make garments more like what I would buy at the store.
Not to put down hand made or unique garments, but if I want more wearable me-mades, I am more successful when I look at a pattern and ask myself if I would buy that garment at a store. Why do I keep thinking just because I made it it will automatically be more flattering or fit my style? Too often I am attracted by a fun illustration or the idea that I will look like the model instead of being realistic about my body type. The Hey June Lane Raglan and the underwear I made this season was a great step in that direction.
3. In conjunction with above, sew more consciously of my body's shape and what is flattering to it.
Happy Me Made May! How was your experience?