Selling up and Running Away

Selling the Lot!

Selling the Lot!

Entertainer Denise “Ding Dong” Drysdale decided not only to sell her Gippsland home of nearly four decades but everything in it too. She put all her possessions up for sale in a local community hall in September last year – including mementos of her long show-business career, costumes and dresses worn to award ceremonies and all her household stuff. Continue reading

The Simple Beauty of the Button Box

My Button BoxI inherited my Mother’s button box – filled with buttons of all kinds collected over decades from discarded dresses, cardigans and blouses which were often turned into cleaning rags or rugs after salvaging the zips, hooks and buckles as well as the ubiquitous buttons. Left-overs from sewing and knitting projects also went into the box. Not only spare buttons but scraps of darning wool, lengths of embroidery thread and all sorts of miscellaneous haberdashery were always kept “just in case”. My mother’s generation knew the meaning of frugal.

Her button box, which was an old, faded and worn chocolate box, contained buttons and buckles she had also inherited from her mother, aunt and grandmother – more than I would ever need in a life time but too sentimental and useful to discard. I’ve kept up the tradition and added to it in a small way and was lucky to find a crafty lady who made me several necklaces with them so they weren’t just hidden away.

I love to wear my button necklaces. They are unusual, pretty and much admired – and it’s nice to be able to share the joy of them with others. I remember some of the clothes that they came from and I always feel close to the women who saved them and handed them on when I’m wearing the contents of the button box.

Button Necklace

My “box” is actually an old tin which I occasionally enjoy rummaging through just to feel the smooth textures of the buttons as I did when I was a kid. I’m thinking about how else I can give these old buttons new life. One idea I pinched from is to create a “button tree” on canvas.

I met a woman recently who was devastated to discover that her sisters had thrown away her Mum’s old button tin when clearing her house after her death. It was the only thing that she had wanted to keep as a memento of her mother. The button tin held memories not only of buttons past but of happy times sewing with Mum or rummaging through the tin to find a suitable button to replace a missing one.

So, I decided to continue the tradition – a symbol of thrift and frugality – by gifting “starter” tins of buttons to my nieces. As people become more interested in recycling and up-cycling, mending and making-do, the button box or tin could well make a come-back in every home.


Map Your Treasure My Precious!

Treasure MapI’ve made several Treasure Maps (Inspiration Boards or Vision Boards) over the last few years – when starting a new job or project, at the beginning of a New Year or new season, for a milestone birthday or simply when I want to attract new things into my life or change direction. My move to Tasmania was supported by my maps. Continue reading

Try Cancelling Christmas

ChristmasThe Silly Season is over with for one more year and for many, that comes as a quiet relief – even if you essentially enjoy Christmas, New Year and all the “holiday” celebrations. It’s often intense, sometimes frantic, occasionally regretful and money, which you could probably have put to better use, has been wantonly spent.

A few years ago, disappointed by the amount of wasteful consumption, downright gluttony and forced bonhomie of the seasonal celebrations, I cancelled Christmas. No tree, no decorations, no cards, no gift giving (except in a very token way to the little people in our tribe), no overt consumption of food and drink, no parties. It was a blessed relief and more in sync with my values so I’ve kept going with it.

I’ve been questioned about my decision – sometimes incredulously – and been labelled a Scrooge but there are many who’ve given me a congratulatory pat on the back and said that they wished that they could do the same. One woman I know goes overseas alone each December to avoid all the obligatory parties and excesses. Another decided to spend Christmas Day helping those less fortunate by cooking and serving a community Christmas Lunch.

I’ve found it interesting this last year following the 1 Million Women campaign to reduce waste over the holidays and The Story of Stuff Project on Facebook – both coming up with different ideas to make Christmas less wasteful and more creative.

So before we forget about Christmas until next September when the stores start to fill with decorations and “gift ideas” and we are bombarded with TV ads to go spend big in order to really celebrate, think about what you want Christmas 2015 to look like. If it was all too much last year, how can you celebrate in a quieter, more meaningful way without the excessive consumption, waste, stress and spending?

We seem to have forgotten that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and not about some fat guy in a red suit distributing largesse. It can be a time for quiet reflection, reconnecting with friends and family, thinking of others, being generous with your time, creating traditions, making memories, sharing……. or not. The choice is yours to make but decide well before the event how or if you will celebrate and share that decision early so that no one is unnecessarily offended or disappointed.

The Dark Clouds sometimes have a Silver Lining

Room with a ViewThere is a dark side to Tasmania and I’m not referring to the mid-winter, Dark MOFO festival or to the “dark stain” of the island’s convict history. There are no longer bushrangers roaming here – they have been replaced by the real estate industry and a disturbing lack of consumer protection.

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Moving on and Settling in

Kingston BeachWhen you move, “flit” or relocate, you are not just leaving behind your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues but that tribe of others who are a part of your support network – hairdresser, doctor, dentist, plumber, nail technician/beauty therapist (for some), vet, barista.

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