Change is better than a holiday

The weather persists at being not-very-autumnal, but there is apparently still the instinct to prepare the burrow for winter. I’ve noticed among friends and family local to me that I’m not the only person going through the urge to rearrange and offload items no longer needed before the seasons change.

A common sight in Australia, or at least around the Perth metropolitan area, is roadside collection. Our normal weekly rubbish is removed by a truck with a big robotic arm rather than physically handled by the rubbish collecting people, so household goods like furniture and large items aren’t placed out on rubbish day. To account for this, many of the city councils announce they will be taking large items from the roadside at a designated time. This is, of course, a treasure trove of pre-loved furniture and other goodies, if you’re willing to browse through what some people have deemed rubbish.

That whole “one man’s trash” idiom at work.

I’d been looking at buying some new shelves and lamenting the high cost of such things – remember, the instinct to prepare for the coming winter had set in already, because I swear, the seasons will change and it will be glorious and rainy and gods, I can only hope this growing drought breaks in a big way. Then I saw roadside collection had started while driving through to work. Of course, I love recycling/upcycling, and generally finding ways to reuse valuable resources instead of seeing them sent to landfill. In the process, I also get a bunch of things I need for free? Awesome.

For a couple of days, the housemates and I set out to cruise around those neighbourhoods. We affectionately referred to the process as “scrubbing”. You know, the TLC song? Scrubs have no money? Well, maybe you had to be there to really get it, but the experience was both rewarding in terms of the many great pieces of furniture which were salvaged, plus we spent several hours entertaining ourselves.

We filled the front room with our acquisitions, and have spent the subsequent days clearing space, donating old goods of our own to the local charity shops, and rearranging half the house. It feels good. Change is better than a holiday, because it’s more permanent, and makes a difference every day.

~A

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Of baby things, part deux

A much-loved second child has added to my friend’s family. As baby number two is born within two week of my godson’s birthday, I’ve been passing on baby clothes. Even for someone who isn’t a mother of any human children, I find baby clothes to be so sweet and, of course, remember how adorable my godson looked in so many of those suits! (The four-legged furry children don’t take kindly to being dressed in clothes.)

A while after my godson grew out of his first batch of baby clothes, I was speaking to his mother about how she had a certain attachment to some of the suits, particularly the special “coming home from the hospital” t-shirt and pants set we’d picked out. I made the suggestion, why not “upcycle” the clothes into something the baby can keep? For those not in the know, upcycling is the trendy term for a kind of recycling, crafting new things from existing materials.

We came to the conclusion that upcycling her favourite clothes into a stuffed toy for the baby would be awesome. At that age, my godson had a fascination with owls (not without a bit of influence from me, of course…), so I sketched out a pattern for a big stuffed owl and spent a couple of days cutting and sewing together panels of his old baby clothes into a toy.


These days, Owl-cush is misshapen and deflated from all the baby love-wrestles he receives.

The belly-panel with the puppy picture, and the pale blue eyes, tufts, beak, and feet are from my godson’s coming home suit. The other pieces were either deemed super cute, like the grey elephants and mint stars, or I picked them for the matching colours. All in all, I discovered baby clothes don’t have nearly enough fabric for crafting with – which is why there ended up being so many sections – and it’s rewarding to make a keepsake which the baby will love, and the parents will cherish for the meaningful inclusions. Plus, no one feels like they’re keeping too-small baby clothes solely for sentimental reasons!

And it gives me more excuses to make cute things.

~A