09 August 2020

Gathering Up the Fragments

I read this early this morning, gathering up the fragments, and it really made my heart sing.

That's what I do. It's how I care for my family and our home. It's how we live a rather luxurious lifestyle on a very modest income. It's how and why we live debt free, cashed up and laughing.

One of the things a frugal home does is use everything. Nothing goes to waste. Even the tiniest fragment of leftovers is used.

Sometimes we forget that little bits of anything can be used up. We look at that spoonful of potato, or strip of fabric or sliver of soap and think it has finished it's use, there's nothing more to be done with it, and so we throw it away.

When we do that we are putting our money in the bin. Now I don't know anyone who would voluntarily put a $1 or $5 or more in the bin. In fact just about everyone I know would go through that bin to find that $1 or $5, and definitely would if it were more. 

So we need to be aware of the value of what we throw away. Not just the dollar value, but the usefulness. 

This week I've dehydrated three bunches of celery. All the celery, except for the very last 2cm of each bunch. The stems were sliced and dried. I pulled the leaves off the skinny stems and they were dried. Then the skinny stems were sliced and dried too. I'm aware of the trend to try and regrow celery from the base, but honestly, celery takes far too long to grow and takes up a lot of garden space and needs lots of water, so growing celery for me, right now, isn't worth it. If celery ever becomes outrageously expensive or hard to get, then I will rethink. This week the bokashi bucket was fed three celery bases. 
This is what the leaves from two bunces of celery look like after they've been dehydrated.
Nothing from those bunches of celery was wasted. It was all used. The $5 those three bunches of celery cost will be realised in full. No money in the bin.

The peanut butter jar looked empty, and so Wayne put it aside to be scraped. That jar wasn't near empty, there was at least another two tablespoons of peanut butter stuck around the sides, on the bum on the bottom of the jar and under the rim. Out came my trusty silicone spatula and it was scraped clean, with the scrapings going into the new jar. Peanut butter isn't overly expensive, but it's not the cheapest of spreads either, so there's no way I'm going to be putting it in the bin. 

That's just two examples of gathering the fragments this week.

Another was when I repaired the blanket off our bed. This blanket is about 40 years old, but it is so warm and cosy, and we just love it. Unfortunately the satin blanket binding was frayed and torn, so I took it off, and accidentally tore the blanket. Yikes!

I don't keep satin blanket binding in m fabric stash, so I had to get creative. First I repaired the rip, by carefully overlapping the ends and then working a buttonhole stitch over it. 

Next I had to look for something to use as binding. In the linen cupboard I have a pile of pillowslips that don't match sheets anymore. A lightbulb went off - one pillowslip would be enough to make binding for the blanket. 

It only took a few minutes to unpick the seams and press the fabric flat. Then I cut it into strips, joined them and stitched them across the top of the blanket. Cost: absolutely nothing. No waste, the blanket is good for another 40 years (I hope!) and one pillowslip has been repurposed into something still useful. 

Another example of gathering the fragments is my card making. I use lots of cardstock and patterned papers, cutting shapes for the embellishments. But nothing goes to waste. If I cut into a sheet of card or piece of patterned paper, I use it all. Once the card is made, there is often enough left to make a matching bookmark and gift tag to go with it, or to be used separately. If there's anything left then out come the punches and I'll punch out flowers or leaves or hearts or stars or whatever to be used on other cards. All the fragments are gathered up and used. 

Yesterday was an extra special COVID-19 card day. We were supposed to be in Tasmania, with Carol, but because of the crisis and the extra restrictions for we Melbournians, we couldn't go. So we had our card day online. During the day I was able to make lots of cards, most of them using up scraps and leftovers.  These Christmas cards were made using up strips of card that were left from other projects. I love them, and nothing was wasted. None of my craft budget went into the bin.
Circles punched from scraps of cardstock
I found this gorgeous vintage Christmas paper in the scrap bag, but there were only 4 sheets - just enough for a mini junk journal
This was made from scraps of DSP in the scrap bag too - nothing goes to waste!
Some people see scraping the peanut butter jar or punching shapes from tiny bits of cardstock as being mean and scrooge-like.  They see repairing a 40-year-old blanket with a repurposed pillowslip as something shameful, that I'm to be pitied that I had to do that. Don't, I didn't have to, I could easily have gone online and spent $300 on a new blanket. But why would I when half an hour had our blanket we love as good as new?

I see it as not putting the money we work hard for into the bin. 

Everyday I gather the fragments and make sure everything is used up. How much does it save us? Honestly, to the exact dollar I don't know. But it does mean that we live a much better lifestyle on a very modest income because we gather the fragments and don't waste anything. 

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