I don;t want to step on their toes, I'm not trying to compete. I can't offer any useful advice to others on how to live their lives, let's face it, I'm still figuring it out myself. What I want to do is to keep an online journal as a means of motivating myself to achieve what it is that I want to achieve. If I happen to inspire someone else then that's a great bonus, I'd love to be an inspiration, but it's not my intention.
Please leave me comments - encouragement, advice, helpful links - anything! That's thwe======= <-- Barley the kitten just walked across my keyboard, allow me to start again: That's the reason I am making this journal a public affair, rather than just scribbling something in a book or saving files on my desktop - I need to feel that I'm not alone, that others are trying the same things and have maybe seen what I'm doing. So... what am I trying to do? Well let me tell you a little about myself and what my aims are. I'm newly married - we just celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary - and in my mid-twenties. My husband and I have got two small cats, Barley and Bramble, who we got from the Cats' Protection. We've had them three weeks now and they have added immeasurable joy, laughter and love to our lives.
My husband works as a teacher, but has only just started, so we're living off a credit card until his first paycheck comes in (I hate hate *hate* this) and I am recovering from a long-term illness and just thinking about trying to get into employment for the first time. Easier said than done in this current climate with no work experience to back me up. Money is incredibly tight and it won;t get any easier until next April. Until that time I need to be what Rhonda keeps calling an old-fashioned home-maker - make a budget, stick to it and look after my family's welfare and finances.
Today I went through my wardrobe to find something to wear whilst my jeans were in the wash and realised that I had no casual trousers to wear other than my 'daytime pyjamas' (aka - tracksuit bottoms) which aren't really appropriate to wear outside the confines of the home. OK, thought I, time to go shopping and buy some new trousers. Nothing exciting, just something comfortable and wearable. Wait a second. We have no money. At least, nothing that can be spent on anything except food. For the first time in my thrifty but comfortable existence I really cannot afford to just go and buy new everyday clothes when I need to. That's when I realised I needed to change my priorities.
I have a pair of very well-fitting, very comfortable jeans that I hardly ever wear because they're my 'smart' jeans. They're longer than my everyday jeans and I can only wear them with heels, but how often does that happen? I have smart trousers that can only ever be smart trousers, but these jeans could be shortened and used as everyday jeans - even better, the zip on these ones doesn't shred my T-shirts like the other one does (more on that in a moment). Time to put my preciousness aside and get the sewing machine out. Whilst it's out I'm also going to customise some of my poor old T-shirts, many of which are perfectly good, except for matching holes at waist level where the zip on my jeans has shredded them. I reckon if I manufacture some applique flowers or butterflies - or heck - even just random squiggles - I can sew them over the holes and up one side and make these t-shirts good for another year or so.
And that brings me onto something else. I have a massive advantage over a lot of women my age. I am a proficient seamstress (not excellent, but capable). I have a sewing machine. I can crochet and knit (not well, but I have enough of the basics that I can get started doing a bit more without having to completely learn a new skill) and I am an excellent cook and baker. As a matter of fact I bake when I'm stressed - nothing is more reassuring than beating the hell out of some butter and sugar when you're anxious or upset and knowing that it will magically turn into something delicious smelling and tasting that will soothe your spirit and delight your senses as well and impress your friends and family with your Domestic Goddess-ness!
So here are my aims and goals laid out in bullet-point form, because every domestic goddess loves a list:
- To restrict spending to essentials until finances are more secure
- To make all Christmas presents this year except for the one hubby and I will get together for ourselves.
- To buy no new clothes this winter if it's possible to fix, alter or diet to make the old ones 'do'.
- To make my own soap (for fun, use and presents).
- To learn to use more pulses and beans in my cooking instead of (expensive) meat products.
- To pay off the credit card and get the savings building up again.
- To sell some of my paintings and photographs.
- To use up some of my yarns and fabrics before I buy any more.
- To finish the patchwork quilt I started in 2003
- To take advantage of 'free' food more.
- To really get the hang of the recycling and composting routine I've set up.
- To finish my correspondance course and get a job - even if it's a volunteer one initially!
And here are the things I'm already doing:
- I've started a recycling and composting routine
- I make all my food from scratch myself
- I try to find and pick 'free' food where I can - just Blackberries so far, but it's a start and the rosehips are about to ripen.
- I can sew and am going to hem those jeans today!
- I have a bunch of fabric scraps and yarns already stockpiled.
- Our house is incredibly well-insulated, so we should be able to minimise the heating we use this winter.
- I use natural products as skincare mostly already - bicarb as shampoo, vinegar to condition, coconut oil with lavender to moisturise, tea tree for spots - just need to make some handcream and soap and I'm set!
I'll add more things if I think of them, but that's a good start and that's what I need today. A good start. So now I need to go dry my hair and do an exercise, then I'll pick some more blackberries, freeze them and take my jeans up. I can do this!