Challenge Update: Week Two

Buy Nothing and Don’t Covet

Having a plan is fabulous. Keeping myself accountable to this plan is painful. I did buy something this week, and although it is not actually an item of clothing, I am going to report it: I bought a little set of what are charmingly called “Bachelor’s Buttons” (no-sew buttons for denim) to complete a little crafting project.

On the other hand, I was reimbursed for a dress that I ordered in late November that got lost in the mail, so I feel like somehow I made money for my family this week. I am going to admit, though, that I had been searching my mailbox three times a day for that dress from the day I ordered it and continue to do so, as if by magic it will still turn up.

As for the coveting: I continue to be aware of how often and under what circumstances I tend to be most triggered to want what I don’t have. At one point this week, I repeated to myself over and over, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” until I got myself out of a situation. Uncomfortable? Yup. Helpful? Kinda.


One item exited the Pantheon this week: my lovely blush-colored tee. Thank you and goodbye, old friend.

One item was added into the rotation this week: A warm brown lightweight sweater which I was given by a very close friend who was emptying out her closet over the summer. It is a strange color, with a strange texture, but it was brand new, never worn and probably cost a small fortune, so, feeling fortunate, I accepted it.

I never really liked the sweater, but the friend called me this week to announce that she is undergoing a mastectomy next month and suddenly I found I loved the sweater. I guess wearing the sweater was a way to be with her when I couldn’t be with her.

I also discovered that one of my oldest, most favoritist blouses, a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law, although I wear it at least once a week in the winter, had never been entered into the inventory. It is one of what I call affectionately call my “grandma blouses”, my collection of vintage brightly-patterned stretch-polyester button-down blouses.

Go-To Catalog

Nothing really stuck out this week. I was rather frumpy this week, but in a cozy way. There is really only so much one can do when it is snowing and glacially cold out.

Plan Ahead and Mise en Place

This worked, but for one day when I had picked out a dress and leggings to wear for a funeral, only to learn that the unprecedented snowstorm had pre-empted the funeral. I ended up wearing the same frumpy six layers of turtleneck sweaters and cardigans with jeans as the day before.

Repair and Mend, Alter when necessary

My great-great-mother-in-law would be proud.

I took a crew-neck summer blouse I didn’t love and replaced the collar (by some serious trial and error) with a Peter Pan collar that I do love. I would have wanted to make it out of lace, but had none on hand, so I used stained vintage pillowcase which I know to be at least 100 years old.

I mended a big hole on a cute green wrap sweater, a loose hem on a pair of big boy pants for a scalawag.

Green Miracle Sweater

I made a mask out of some fabulous blush colored Paris Flea Market fabric my sister had given me several years ago.

Blush Obsessed

And lastly, I finished a craft project of which I am no small amount proud. Those “bachelor buttons” were for a denim obi-ish belt I made from two denim suspenders which had been attached to a skirt I inherited from a different friend. (I love the skirt, an above the knee number which looks fabulous with my lacy leggings, thank you very much. I am just not a skirt and suspenders kinda girl.)

Bachelor Buttons in Action

I hand-sewed the suspenders together so the belt is about three inches wide, then popped the denim buttons on. Voilà! A new belt that will look super cute as I pursue variations on my Norwegian cardigan and skirt obsession.


I have learned that it is much easier to make myself do things than it is to stop myself from thinking things. I suppose this is the difference between discipline (making myself do things) and self-control (thinking things)?

I felt a little like buying those buttons was breaking the rules a bit. I do not want to give myself blanket permission to start buying sewing or knitting supplies. I have plenty of fabric, lots of handspun yarn to work with. I will give myself some grace on this infraction, with the promise that I better darn well wear that belt.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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