Instead of giving you a running commentary on my weekend Vide Greniers finds, I thought I'd let the pictures speak (mostly) for themselves, and go through some answers to questions about the Challenge, plus letting you know how it's going so far...
So, the questions first.
Question 1: Can people still buy me new gifts? Of course, if they want to, but maybe this will free people up when they realise (as my sister already does, for example) that I'm very happy to have hand made, second hand or otherwise 'acquired' gifts from them. If my family wants to track down my Amazon wishlist, for example, they could buy me a second hand version of a book I'm longing for... (hint, hint)...Question 2: Surely you never found an Emma Bridgewater tray in a Vide Grenier in southern France? (OK, I made up that question, but you need to know the truth - I already had the tray and most of its contents - only the watch was new to me this weekend).Question 2 (the real one): Is this about 'being green'? Oddly enough, not particularly. We lead as green a lifestyle as we can anyway, and if I really wanted to have less of an impact on the planet I think there are other things I would change in my life first. Instead, I see this Challenge as a discipline, almost kind of a fast, to give me a chance to re-focus my life and my spending/consumption habits. This has some eco-relevance, but it's almost more spiritual for me. Hmmm, heavy...Question 3: (OK, OK, now I'm making up questions the way John Holmes makes up letters in the Now Show, but it's for a purpose...) What about those exceptions - you haven't said anything about clothes? I buy second hand or am given (as 'hand-me-downs') nearly all of my clothes. I do quite a bit of 'upcycling' of the clothes I'm given and am keen to do more. Last winter I bought some great boots and shoes (new - very unusual for me) and I have fairly new, or long-lasting, undies, so I think I'll be OK by continuing my careful mending policies... Tights are little-needed in southern France - I'll be fine!
Spurious Question 4: Why the exception you made for Fair Trade produce? Most Fairly Traded stuff is hand made anyway, so it comes into Tif's original rules. I also feel passionately about giving fair recompense to producers around the world, and this is a realisitic way of supporting people I will never meet. If I stopped buying FT for a year it would be a negative move, not a positive one. Since food is not part of this challenge, my FT buying habits there won't be affected anyway.
So, how is it going? As I said, I'm finding it incredibly positive so far - thanks Tif!
Successes so far include the discovery that second hand filing cabinets are readily available in France - by checking on the Internet I can see that they frequently come into the Troc Shops, so a bit of patience and popping in every now and then (or checking the local websites) should find me one to sort out our filing problems within the next month or so. If I'd bought one new, it would probably have stood, empty, for a while before I got the time to set it up, so it might as well sit waiting for me, second hand somewhere - I will find it!Another phenomenal success on a more frivolous level is that I found two (two!) red-initialed nighties at the VG this weekend! Elizabethd knows how much I have wanted one of these. I saw one in Brittany for 65 euros - ludicrous! The vendor wanted two euros each for these two...She thought they were family nighties, but did not know who LR was. I think she was a bit bigger than me round the middle, though!Despite that, they do fit, and I might just wear one after a bath as a rather whimsical version of a pair of house pyjamas!
But really, I just wanted to own something(s) this fine...There was another hand-embroidered nighty in the same collection, for the same price...
Very fine work... Love it!
If you turn the embroidery over you can see it is all hand done.And this is another good thing about thrifty shopping - even at the VG prices can be cut! I only discovered this label when I got home - it means that the nighties were in a Braderie, and didn't sell...So, exceptions and failures... I have felt positively freed up not having to make decisions about buying new stuff or visiting my favourite decor shops. I've had more time to do other things... I did go into a big electronics shop and buy something I'd promised I'd get for Ben. It's a desktop hard drive, so that he can download all our important files and photos before we upgrade/replace the computer. To be honest, the upgrade needed is so all-encompassing (only the screen still works properly) that we will probably need to buy a 'new' set. However, we might find this 'new' computer second hand - watch this space. I do predict that this will be the hardest thing to fit within this challenge, this year...The tin and its contents above weren't cheap, in case you were wondering! The vendor knew exactly what she was selling, and gave them to me at a reduced price for buying the lot, but nothing over-generous. I do think I did well, though.
And finally, I've found and photographed the magazine photo which I think inspired me to re-discover all the wonderful vintage things I had packed away around the house! The photo above was on the front of an old magazine which I bought shortly after arriving in France. Don't you think it's inspirational?