Today was a happy little day.

We visited a new baby who had smiles and cuddles and a school fete full of cheerful souls and found a pirate tent for Little Fearse for $1. Little Fearse swung on swings and slid down slides and cuddled cousins. We saw itty bitty baby animals and classrooms full of clothes and Little Fearse drank from her first Primary School water fountain. We dressed up in silly masks and costumes and squealed in a photo booth. Today was a warm and happy little day.

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Buy Nothing Projects

If you have a Facebook and you are not a member of your local Buy Nothing group then you are m.i.s.s.i.n.g o.u.t! I recently learned about the Buy Nothing projects through an entry on My Make Do and Mend Year. The Buy Nothing Facebook groups are a little like local buy/swap/sell groups, except everything on the group is given away. All posts on the group are required to be Giving, Asking or Gratitude posts and members are required to be part of a local community. Creators of the Buy Nothing Project planned this as an experiement in creating hyper-local gift giving economies, growing community and bringing about connectedness. Sound good? It did to me.

On the Buy Nothing Project page you can search for and apply to join your own Facebook group. If there is not one in your area please consider creating one. If you think it’s a great idea then there are others who will, too. We just started the second only Australian group and although it is early days I have grand hopes that one day someone other than me will actually post on the page. 😉 I’d love love LOVE to see more groups sprouting around Australia. This really is a wonderful initiative.

Read more: Random Acts of Kindness All Day Long

See you there, I hope.

Mama xo

Making connections.

There is a lovely short video making the social media rounds at the moment. It is an excerpt of a speech by Dr. Brené Brown, matched with a gorgeous animation by Katy Davis. If you haven’t seen it, here it is…

(This should be showing up as a video, but it appears to not want to do that right now. I’ll look into how I can fix this, when I have more time.)

During hard times it is the people who can make a connection me that I am drawn to. Sometimes nothing that can be said is going to help. We spend a lot of time focusing on what we can say to those in pain, instead of focusing on how they might feel and how we can support them. The friends that have been able to put their arms around me, make me meals, send me a box of organic groceries, let me cry on their shoulders – they are the ones that have made a difference in my life this year. I want to be connected – to my friends and my family and my community. I don’t think that we should only be generous and caring and think of other’s at Christmas time. I don’t believe in the significance of the changing of one year to another (I don’t believe we can wash our hands of the pain of one year by changing the last digit in the date), so it is probably just coincidence that I am making this decision at this time of year.    I am no longer going to focus so much on what I should say that I don’t say anything at all. Relationships are more important than that. I hope that in the future I can support those that have supported me (and those that haven’t) in ways that mean something.  I’d love to hear your tales of connection with others – especially when it has surprised you. Mama xo

I want to join a commune.

I have found myself, lately, thinking a lot about community and even thinking back wistfully on my share housing days. Is that a thing, being nostalgic about share housing? I had two really great periods share housing.

During one of these times I shared a flat that my Mum owned (a lot less landlord stress) with the girlfriend of one of my brother’s friends. We became really close and although the period was probably only a month or two, I still look back on the time as pinnacle in my early independence. My house mate worked shifts and I’d stay up to kick it with her for a few hours at the end of her shift. There was a lot of midnight snacks and tarot readings. I can’t remember cooking together, but I can remember the first time she went shopping. The fridge was so full of food afterwards that I had to photograph it. It had never looked like that when I was doing the shopping. There were about five different types of cheese in there. In my mind, food really does equal love.

The other great share housing experience was years later when my best friend from childhood and I shared a house in our mid-twenties. We advertised for a third house mate and after a few false starts a cheeky Irish lass moved in. We definitely did a lot of cooking (one pot, not quality), we discovered Not Quite Right supermarkets and dined out on practically cents. We watched lots of trashy TV, drank lots of crappy wine. We shared one really great Christmas together there. We even had a little garden we sort of, kind of neglected. During that time Big Poppa lived near by with two of our mutual female friends, so it was kind of like living in two ideal share houses simultaneously. At his house I did lots of house hold cooking and dishes (because everyone else was allergic or something) and it was a really enjoyable communal place to be most of the time, too.  It was a really fun time, but like all good share houses it came to an end all too soon and was followed by the progressively more angsty (or typical) share housing experiences for both Big Poppa and I. Eventually it led to both of us taking the leap (read: risk) of moving in together.

Lately, probably partially due to my food funk, I have been longing for a commune. Specifically I have been longing for a gaggle* of exuberant, sociable friends to spend time with in the kitchen and share the house hold chores and enjoy listening to daggy music and lying around in the sunshine when we get a chance. Mostly, I’ve been longing for that gaggle of friends in the kitchen, because I’ve had so many failures lately, even of things that are usually my easy go-to meals. I want someone to teach me how to make tortillas and someone to help me cream my sugar and butter so my biscuits don’t go floury and flat, and I want someone to help me perfect pizza dough and make my own bread and explore vibrant new salad ideas with and share that bottle of wine.

When I read about times long gone I feel as though this was much more a thing – households were more open door. People knew their neighbours and spent time with them. Maybe the past always seems more ideal (I’m sure my memories of share housing are coloured rose by the passing of time).

Mama xo

*I’m not entirely sure why, in this scenario, my friends are geese.

Planning a Garage Sale

One of our goals for this year is to have a garage sale. We had great plans to organise a community garage sale in our street with the dual purpose of allowing us to meet our neighbours as well as getting rid of loads of stuff at once. In this fantasy we would all meet up for a bbq at the park across the road at the end of the day and play happy families. I probably spent too much of my youth watching Neighbours. In the two years since we bought our home we have only met the neighbours either side of us. The family who live on one side are perfect neighbours – interested, willing to bring in bins and mail when we’re away and never too nosy. The other of these is a rental and the people we originally met have moved on. We have never seen the people who moved in after them. They’ve lived there for months. They may own invisibility cloaks. My point is not that we live next door to Hogwarts (we do), but that we don’t have much of a functioning community in our street.

Thanks to FAQ Orlando for the image.

Thanks to FAQ Orlando for the image.

Well, Little Pop pointed out to me that there is a Garage Sale Trail happening in a few weeks time. Initially I thought it would be awesome to visit some of the sales on the day. Then. THEN. I realised that this takes all the effort out of me organising a sale myself and it’s kind of a community sale…. We’ve teamed up with a friend who is hosting our sale. So I guess we lose out on the opportunity to meet our neighbours for this year – maybe next year.

I have a room full of things I’ve been meaning to list on eBay. I know that I will get less for them at the garage sale, but it’s the chance to get rid of everything on mass and not have to go to the post office that appeals to me. We’ve been scouring the house from top to bottom to find things that we can sell. So far we have well over a hundred things set aside and I haven’t even started on my wardrobe or the store room.  As Katy Wolk-Stanley sugggests we have started a box of free stuff, including small toys, unstained by slightly shaggy baby clothes, randomly collecting advertising material (you know, free pens, glasses etc that you end up with all over the house) etc. All of this is stuff people may be willing to pay 20 or 50c for, but having a free box seems like a really good idea to attract your customers.

Of course, in true Mama style, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on how to run a successful sale. Here are some of the articles I recommend.

We don’t expect to make a fortune, but we hope to have fun and meet some interesting people and get a load of stuff out of the house. It will all be taken directly to the op shop if we don’t sell it, so either way it’s out of the house.

Do you have any garage / yard sale success stories or tips you’d like to share? We probably need all the help we can get.

Mama xo

Links we’ve loved #15

It’s been a while since we inundated you with links we’ve enjoyed. Here goes for a mega-episode of links we’ve loved…

We don’t know if this is a link we loved per se, but it did make us think. Floyd Mayweather clearly has more dollars than braincells. If we had squizillions of dollars would we do stuff like this, too? We like to think we’d be ethical, thoughtful, ‘non’ consumers no matter how much money we had but who knows? Gross amounts of money changes the way people think.

We really liked this post “Good bye Screen Time, Hello Awesome Kid“. It sort of echoes our experiences when removing large quantities of Little Fearse’s toys – a more settled, happier child.

So, this guy is practically father of the year. What a beautiful letter to his daughter – although it’s kind of important not to presume that there will be future husbands…

This very provocatively titled post really hits the nail on the head when it comes to judging parents.

We love this community cabinet idea, but are not sure if we’d want to host one. Would you do this in your front yard?

We have heard many parents say that they just couldn’t handle having to lie with their child for an hour or more each night to get them to sleep. We understand that sentiment so much, but this is what we have to do sometimes with Little Fearse. Not every night, but often enough. Sometimes this is harder than other times – sometimes Mama has work to do or Big Poppa has to go to TAFE. Generally though this is a time we have learnt to cherish. This post made Mama cry because she realised suddenly that Little Fearse won’t be Little Fearse all her life. One day she will be Medium Sized Fearse and one day she will be Big Fearse and then she won’t need us like she does now. *sob*

We’ve been feeling quite sad this week and it has made us realise that there is a real link between buying stuff and our emotions. There are two aspects to this – firstly, it is much harder to care about buying nothing new when we are emotionally ragged. Secondly, buying things (although they have all been second hand and mainly small toys) has given us enough of a happy buzz to be worthwhile to us. What a sad world, where we make ourselves feel better with stuff. This situation has made us realise just how happy we have been this year, which is a wonderful thing to realise, even when you’re feeling sad.  We just hope we can find a way to deal with sad times without needing to accumulate stuff. This article talks about the link between happiness and consumerism through advertising. A worthy read.

This video is weird, because it’s pretty much exactly what a day in BP’s life looks like.

BP has been listening to this song on repeat – a pretty nifty cover of Jackson Five’s I want you back. In the meantime Mama has been indoctrinating Little Fearse in the Beatles fan club. So far this video has been a favourite for both of them.

Joy of Joyfully Green has nominated us for a Liebster Award. We’re honoured! Stay tuned for our response soon, but in the meantime, check out the great list of like-minded blogs Joy nominates. We also highly recommend a trot into the archives of Joyfully Green itself.

Have a great week,

The Fearse Family

“Community” is more than just a cute television series.

I was speaking to a friend toady about our BNN project and she commented that it had been pointed out to her by a third party that she and I were like ‘polar opposites’  in the way we consume. She is someone who loves shopping and loves higher end, quality brands. She buys most of her things new, but has no aversion to Ebay, choice hand-me-downs from friends or the odd opp shop surprise. She will happily spend money on clothing or items that are good quality but pricey. I’m much cheaper. I have only recently learnt to weigh up cost versus value (on the way to learning this I purchased a lot of crappy goods that didn’t last and stayed in lots of very cheap, flea bitten, filthy accommodation…I also subjected BP to this). I buy second-hand whenever possible. This is because I really enjoy the thrill of the chase and also feel better about it ecologically and economically.

What my friend pointed out was that if she hadn’t purchased all the things she did when her daughter was born, I wouldn’t have benefited from being able to borrow all those things when my daughter was born. And that, I believe, is a very important point.

Buy Nothing New works for us because we have a supportive community behind us. We have friends who are happy to hand things down, lend us things they’re not using and ask around for us. Yesterday, after a call out for help with plastic wear on FB, we were gifted a beautiful pile of vintage Tupperwear from a friend’s Grandma’s cupboard. So gorgeous.

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Without this community we may still be able to complete a year of BNN, but it would be harder and a lot lonelier. I think that it would be rare for such plans and schemes (as BP likes to call them) to succeed without that communal support.

On the birth of Little Fearse my brother and his partner handed down so many, many things they had used with our nephews and no longer needed. Many of our wonderful friends offered us boxes and bags full of clothes their children had out grown. We were loaned Jolly Jumpers and Exersourcers and Bouncinettes and many other gadgets with cute names that babies enjoy. We have even been gifted two prams in the 8 months since Little Fearse was born.

We consider ourselves fortunate to be surrounded by a very generous and kind hearted group of people. This is a little shout out from the beginning of our travels through 2013 to say that we recognise how blessed we are to have you, gifters and loaners – community, behind us with our quest. We hope we’ll learn something worthwhile this year, something we can share with you in return.

I’ll end with this quote, not because it is spectacularly relevant, but because it will really annoy BP:

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
― Ani DiFranco

xoxo Mama