Sunday, May 13, 2007

The No Buying Plan is a No Go for Madame B.

I was reading an article a while back about this woman who got fed up with dealing with the repercussions of buying stuff all the time; she was facing bankruptcy and her house was drowning in clutter. She decided to stop shopping cold turkey. She went one whole year without buying any non-necessities. She gave up eating out, going out for movies or concerts, no non-necessities. I was impressed. It would certainly mean a lot of staying home and sometimes that’s what we are trying to avoid by buying, buying, buying.

Trying to work out a plan like that for my own life is pretty difficult. I don’t think I could go without dinners out here and there, and definitely have no interest in giving up movies, but certainly, I could give up buying clothes, shoes and silly baubles for a while. But how about making things? No more buying crafty stuff? I feel sure that I would miss that. Are these little projects distractions or something at the center of me? It is tough to say for sure.

What I like about handmade crafts has something to do with taking the time to make these things in a world that goes really fast and quickly duplicates items in factories. I still love the idea of the singular object, an original, made one at a time and by hand that is meant to be loved and held on to, not used up and disposed of. And I like the idea that the hand of the craftsperson is present in the finished object. When you use a bowl that was thrown by a friend, you pause for a moment to think of them as you hold it in your hands. That will never happen with a bowl from Pier I.

Craft ideas I’ve been planning lately are: little knitted stuffed animals I found on (I’m having the oddest compulsions to buy baby stuff), embroidered hankies, finishing my lovely photo albums, bulletin boards made with recycled wine corks, reworking funny vintage jewelry and clothes, doing crazy ribbon embroidery on pillowcases, baby blankies and jean pockets, the Polaroid a day idea, learning to crochet and make thousands of silly little slippers and hats, a family tree in a shadow box made from paper, a bracelet made from coins or seashells, flowers made of tissue paper…the list is constantly growing. Besides, I know I couldn’t reasonably attempt to not buy anything in China. I think this no buying experiment is one I can admire and respect, but will have to put off for the time being.

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