Challenge Update: Week 15

Time flies when we’re having fun, and oozes along like a snail when we are in lockdown and my only outings are to skate parks. Nonetheless, we pursue the nitty-gritty of our challenge!

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

I purchased no clothes.

I had several cases of mask-envy, that hateful pandemic condition which finds me admiring someone else’s mask, and one case of Perfecto-envy (you know who you are!!!)

Beyond that, lockdown has mostly kept me out of trouble.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

Now that the inventory is complete and I have one completely empty bin in the basement, I am considering how to best put it to use. I have always been intrigued by people who do a seasonal changeover with their wardrobes: I wonder if it is worth the time and hassle that it always seemed to me.

This year would be a perfect time to give it a try. I guess I’m going to give all my winter handknits a good wash, dry and curl, then put them in plastic bags with cedar chips my indulgent husband picked up for me to deal with my moth problem (fingers crossed, still doing okay!)

I’m curious to see if by giving my in-season clothes a little room to breathe I might find (even more) happiness and satisfaction in my Pantheon of Legends.

What I know is that when it starts getting chilly again I will groan in irritation with myself that I took my sweaters downstairs. So I may need to pick a date at the end of August to bring them up. I don’t want to do anything to aggravate future me!

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

This mid-season iffiness with the weather makes me feel off-balance with what I like. It’s hard to come up with a Go-To when it’s freezing (literally) in the morning and seventy degrees by afternoon.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

My sister Poppy and I are working on our first edition of “You Should Really Stop Shopping!”, a monthly newsletter on the art of loving what you already own. The theme of our first edition? You guessed it! Mise en Place! You can sign up for the newsletter, which is slated to come out in May, by clicking here.

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

I am happy to report that my white Adidas, which were smelling so badly that even my indulgent husband remarked on it, survived a spin through the washing machine. I let them dry in the sun on the balcony for a few days and they have never smelled better nor made me happier as they have in their second act. They are now up to 130 wears in less than nine months.

As for sewing: Oh, I have plans. I have ideas. But my sewing machine simply will not cooperate. The only repairman who does his repairs on-site has a waiting list two months long. Any place else will take up to six months. Six MONTHS! No wonder people don’t get things repaired any more.

That said, I bought my faithful little machine at Lidl in 2007. It has lived a very good life and has made some pretty cool things. I am hoping that I can find a charity to donate it to for parts… If it still worked at all I would find a way to get it back to Uganda.

Last week I offered up an “Are you there God. It’s me, Lily,” about a sewing machine.

Well, how about this? To hear her daughter was without a sewing machine stirred the pity in my beautiful mother’s heart, and moved with compassion has offered, in her generosity, to buy me a new one, an offer which I have accepted with great enthusiasm. My mother knows the importance of a good sewing machine. She has spent her retirement following her textile dreams!

Nonetheless, in the absence of a machine, I still had IDEAS! I had some time! I needed to sew!

So I did this:

I was missing some orange in my rainbow, so I took a young men’s size M t-shirt which was in my stash because I loooooved the screen print. It reminded me of the book “Mighty, Mighty Construction Site”, wherein tons of diggers come together to build some strange looking building that looks just like what is screen printed on this tee. Even my boys agree.

I lined it up next to a t-shirt I love and that fits me. I drew a red line and handsewed the sides back together. Then, I knew I wanted something asymmetrical for the neckline, so I stood in front of the mirror for a long time thinking about what might work. Then I just went for it. I pinned. I handsewed (using bright orange thread, because visible stitching is fun!)

I hemmed the sleeves, did a few pleats in the back to make it girly, and voilà! A cute; girly construction site t-shirt, all done by hand in less than an afternoon.

Round up

If I could stop breaking dishes by accident (two mugs in one week!), I would say that I am feeling like a mighty good steward of what I own nowadays. I guess we always need a little something to keep us humble.

In Other News:

Still no word from the publisher about Will of Rush, the novel I submitted during their open submissions window. One more week of lockdown here in France, then hopefully we’ll get back to semblance of normalcy. I’ll be making a plan shortly to start querying agents with my manuscript. I’m bracing myself for the sting of rejection and the boredom of researching agents. But hard work always pays off, and this will be no less true for my writing career as it is for my crafting projects!

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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