Challenge Update: Week 14

Even though things with my challenge have become measurably less painful and easier to live with, I don’t want to stop doing a weekly update. So you’ll have to excuse this double-post day!

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I purchased no clothes.

Did I covet? Yes, yes I did, thank you for asking.

Two friends sent me photos of their closets. Genevieve, because there was an amazing blue crochet cape she wanted to show me, and Deana because, well, she clearly was sent by Satan to tempt me. (I am kidding. I am kidding. I am kidding. Am I kidding?)

But seriously! These women have the most amazing collection of vintage clothes that remind me of a dream I once had when I worked at Walt Disney World. Our “uniforms” called “costumes” were provided to us and at Epcot, where I worked in Guest Relations for a spell, we could actually walk into the costuming department and get our costume for the day. The place was floor-to-ceiling clothes. A warehouse full of clothes.

(Sidebar, please: I don’t know if I am legally allowed to spill behind-the-magic secrets about working at the Happiest Place on Earth, and I really don’t want to get into any trouble. But I promise, it was amazing working for the Mouse, even if I did only get paid a pittance to do so.)

One time, while working for Mr. Mouse, I had a dream that I had died. When I got to heaven, heaven was the costuming department at Epcot, only with beautiful vintage clothes organized by color and they were all mine.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

The inventory is complete!

This feels amazing, because now that I have worn everything at least once, it means that everything has been washed at least once. This makes me think that I am somehow making a dent in my moth problem, which has been plaguing my family for five years. I don’t know that it’s true, but it sure feels like I have outsmarted those little pests.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Here’s something: now that the vast majority of items in my closet either fit, have been altered/tailored to fit me and the body I currently live in, or refashioned into things that make me happy, I feel like I could literally reach blindly into my closet, pull something out and know that I will look great.

I haven’t needed to rely on my Go-To Catalogue. I have so many perfect things that I want to wear that I don’t have enough days in the week to wear them all.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

I need not belabor the point. I’m a passionate, evangelizing convert.

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

Now that the basement bin is empty of everything but the emotionally charged stuff, I have a small stash of refashionable items. Among them is the bathrobe I wore immediately before and immediately after I gave birth to my first child. I wore it then and never again. And yet…I love it. I want it to be something that I wear regularly, but I am not a bathrobe kinda gal.

I want this lined up in my closet next to my rainbow dress.

So I got in touch with my fabulous internet stranger/friend Jo from the Sewing and Refashion group on Facebook, and we put our thinking caps on. We’ve got some ideas to turn it into a summer dress that will be pretty darn adorable, and get me over my fear of putting zippers into clothes.

One small hiccup: While I do believe that handsewing is a viable option for beginning refashioners, I am not a beginner, and I have big dreams. I don’t see me sewing zippers into dresses by hand.

I am going to need to beg borrow or steal a new sewing machine. I do believe that my old one, with whom I am hormonally cycled up, has breathed its last (oh, if this could only be true of my peri-menopause. Light a candle for me.) Its tension issues have finally gotten the best of it.

This was not something I counted on when I started my challenge, and is not an expense that seems justifiable given our budgetary constraints around here. I mean, I did just invest my savings from not shopping into a Blue Yeti microphone for my podcast.

I am adding a new sewing machine to my prayer list and hoping that God will have mercy on me. This challenge was his idea in the first place. He has a vested interest in not leaving me high and dry. While he’s at it, if he could throw in a sewing dress form so that I can do some of the trickier fitting things I’m dying to try, he is welcome. (Are you there God? It’s me, Lily!)

Round up

I am just so…this sounds so flighty…but I am just so happy. It isn’t like me to say things like that. I am generally an upbeat person. I often have joy oozing out of me. But this feels like when you see the sunshine after a long period of clouds. “What is this strange luminous orb in the sky?” Success, progress, well-placed faith. It has opened up a vein of happiness I didn’t know I possessed.

In Other News:

The podcast is coming together. Along with Poppy, we have some pretty fantastic ideas to keep you entertained, including a gameshow segment called “What Did Gigi Do?” We have music to intro our program, provided by some of my musician friends and to which I cannot stop listening. We have twisted the arm of a French man to record our disclaimer with his fabulous smiley and vaguely seductive voice. (This, I guarantee you, is its own reward.)

Something new, also: As my cousins and aunts and I reflect on our Gigi, that fabulous, beautiful, broken, entertaining woman, so many stories have come to light that make her make sense. I am getting an itch to write the story of Gigi’s life through the lens of what made her who she was. Who she was, in part, made all seven of us granddaughters who are. My aunts Diane and Annie have been precious resources, providing historical records, photos and anecdotes. My cousins all have something to add.

My goal is to provide Gigi with the dignity she lacked by piecing together what broke her. I want us all to find forgiveness, and through forgiveness, heal the brokenness of our family. It’s a lofty goal. But Gigi has loomed too large over all of us for too long. Gigi was epic. She deserves an epic send-off.

All that, and I am still working on my other novels. I haven’t heard back from the publisher yet…it should be sometime in the next few weeks. Once I do get that rejection letter I am expecting, I will have to develop a plan to start querying agents. But that will require that our lockdown in France end so that I can wrestle my days back from my scalawags.

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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