Monday, January 13, 2014

Ikebana, a Gift for the Senses

What better time than February to be reminded of the beauty of nature? These lovely Ikebana arrangements, on display at the Japanese Embassy, were a welcome sight for the winter-weary guests who attended.

Not only all the colour, but also the fragrant-filled air, were gifts for the soul.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dressing a Tea Shop Window

I've often thought that I would like to be a window dresser.

Well, it looks like know I'm going to get my chance.

My friends at my favourite tea shop graciously allowed me to do their Christmas/winter window display.

I had such fun making all the sweater hearts to add a cosy feel.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Here's to Buying Nothing New for a Year!

At the beginning of this new year, and after some thought as to what kind of change I want to create for myself, my intention to “buy nothing new for the year.”  I place this phrase in quotation marks because, as usual, when you do some digging, you find that an idea you had is in no way original.  Sure enough, my desire to get away from compulsive consumerism is in not a novel idea. I found countless versions of this sentiment online and one site devoted to the concept named it “buy nothing new for a year.” 

My reasons for trying this out over the coming year is not really about saving money. I tend to buy most things second hand and try to limit my retail therapy. If I do save money over the year, then I will happily put that money into savings to go towards travel and other activities I want to do. For me, it’s more about not wanting to buy more things that I do not really need, nor have the space for. 
Perhaps what really brought this home to me was watching a news report showing people actually wrestling each other to the floor over an item on sale in a store on Black Friday. What have we come to? Fighting over discounted sales is madness. People were willing to line up for hours just to buy more stuff, when they already have too much stuff. I am also aware of the fact that much of what we buy new is made from resources that are shipped or flown to other countries, only to be manufactured and then shipped or flown back for sale here in Canada. Not only is this consuming lots of energy, raw materials are being used that needn’t be. So my reasons are also environmental. Moreover, I realize that I can use up a lot of the things I already have, or repurpose them. Or I can make use of other people’s cast-offs, thereby recycling, re-using or re-purposing. So much less stuff to hit the landfill.
I will certainly be buying second-hand and there will be some exceptions to buying new (for example, food, toiletries, underwear, two favorite magazines I buy monthly, and items that I find when I travel). Visiting the dentist, opthomologist or other health-related expenses will also be exempt.

I am actually in good shape going into this year. I have plenty of new underwear in stock thanks to a buying spree at Marks and Sparks last August when I was in England. And I just bought new eyeglasses in December. So there shouldn’t be too much that will need to make it onto my exceptions list. The hardest thing will be falling completely in love with some item in a store and not giving in to temptation. I am hoping this won’t happen too frequently since I tend not to go shopping at regular stores too often, and now certainly will go even less.

I will, however, continue to frequent thrift shop, visit flea markets, rummage sales, church bazaars and garage sales. And I will also be popping into antique shops from time to time.
And I will still be getting haircuts, visiting art museums, spending on transportation and the odd meal out. This is not meant to be about being stingy or denying myself pleasure, rather I want to try to get as creative as I can to find alternative ways to meet my needs. Gifts for others are certainly going to be an area of particular challenge.

Over the coming months, I will check in from time to time to share what I’ve been experiencing and let you know how I have been living up to my new year’s pledge of not buying anything new for the year.

Anyone care to join me?