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Home Sewing: Is it worth it?

Once upon a time, many moons ago, your Aunty used to teach workshops on spinning. This was a time of Birkenstocks and flowers in the hair and dirt under the fingernails and livestock out in the barn that needed to get sheared once a year. And once in a workshop, I was approached by a very earnest couple who asked me this: “I want to make a sweater – what sort of sheep should I get?” And I asked what their goal was. If it was to get sweaters, then they should go to a store and get sweaters. If it was to learn how to knit, then go to a yarn store, get some yarn and get lessons and learn to knit a sweater. If it was fiber work, they could buy fleeces and learn how to clean and dye them and get them carded for spinning into yarn. But NONE of any of those things, I explained, was as expensive or time consuming as buying, raising, and caring for a sheep. And this has a bit of connection to a topic that is near and dear to my heart, which is: Is it worth it to make your own clothing or clothing for family members? This is a two-part post which talks about this in terms of this issue. (more…)

Don’t Save Money — SAVE MONEY!!

Money You hear this from people all the time, “I saved xxx much money.” “I got a great bargain; on sale, it was $xxx but I paid $yyy.” “I found a way to only pay, $xxx for thus and such; I saved so much money.”

As many of you know who read my other diaries, I am someone who believes in the power of language. I believe that words and their meanings have almost a magical quality to change our thinking. Think about the phrase “Homeland Security” – think about what THAT’s done to us.

Aunt Toby is here to announce the opening salvo (remember that detergent?) in my war against any of the words starting with the letters: S-A-V. That word and all of its daughter and sons (saved, saving, savings) have basically lost complete meaning. And here is my reason why: People think that “saving money” (that is, paying less for something you are going to buy anyway, or buying something based on the discounted price) is SAVING MONEY.

What you really DID was “NOT SPEND MONEY” or, perhaps more clearly, “NOT SPEND AS MUCH MONEY.” You did not actually SAVE MONEY. (more…)

Don’t be Seduced By All The Bargain Sales Right Now

You’re getting them; I’m getting them. With the state of the retail sector, we’ve all been getting them for at least a month: the most amazing, attractive, drool-worthy emails from retailers that we have (or perhaps have never) either visited, filled a shopping cart for, or purchased something from. (And yes, I do know that ending a sentence with a preposition is ‘a bad thing’, but I could not figure out how to do that sentence without that.)

Now that the holidays are over, it’s even more tempting. I received one today with the headline: “The one you won’t want to miss: $5.99 and UP!!!”

That’s the sort of thing that, except for the fact that I have never been able to use my store credit card to shop ON their site, would have, in the past, had me with the plastic out, clicking off item after “bargain” item. But, I have taken an entirely different philosophy about my closet these days that I would like to share. I think it works for all genders and certainly makes ME feel that I’ve got one more thing under some modicum of control. (more…)

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