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wearing the same clothes everyday

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Not in the way you are thinking.

Sheena Matheiken  has pledged to “wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion.”  The Uniform Project caught my attention this week as a slightly difference angle on anti-consumerism, compared with all the not buying, seasonal eating projects.

Disappointingly it isn’t the same item of clothing, she’s got 7 identical dresses. And she does seem to wear mores bits and pieces with it than I imagined when I thought of accessories.

The concept’s interesting to me because the IA in the Woods won’t be able to indulge in much clothes shopping.

Kottke mentions some predecessors but Matheiken is unusual in actually making the outfits appealing. Mostly.

Written by Karen

June 13th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Posted in simplicity,thrift

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sheep in a box

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We’ve got in the habit of buying whole pigs direct from the farm but I’m more comfortable buying supermarket lamb (they don’t tend to be intensively farmed either way). Mutton, however, is still a rarity in the supermarket so we’ve shelled out on a whole sheep, which comes as:

Pile of mutton

Also known as:

  • 4 Leg Joints
  • 4 Shoulder Joints
  • 10 – 14 Loin Chops
  • 12 Cutlets
  • 4 Chump Chops
  • 4 Pieces Scrag End
  • 2 Breasts Rolled
  • 2 Kidneys
  • 1 Liver

All in all, about 20kg of the stuff. That should see us through to pig-time.

Written by Karen

August 9th, 2008 at 6:40 am

Posted in food,thrift


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Went blackberrying yesterday with Mum & Dad in the Lee Valley park, up near Turnford. And yes, as countless dog walkers and cyclists asked us, it is a bit early for blackberries. But global warming being what it is, we still came away with 2kg of blackberries. If the number of green berries on the brambles is anything to go by, then the next couple of weeks should see a blackberry bonanza.


So my half of the haul was a 1kg of blackberries, earned from a half an hour ramble through beautiful woods with M&D. The walk is something we’d normally do so the blackberries are effectively effort-free. Tesco’s blackberries are on special offer at £1.99 for 150g so my tub of berries is worth around £13.

Mum will make jam but most of mine will become blackberry frozen yoghurt.

Written by Karen

July 27th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Posted in food,thrift

a bit of a luddite

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I recently completed an online survey on the Guardian website which made me realise what an utter disappointment I must be to the advertisers involved. The whole survey seemed to be focused on establishing the breadth of my electronic life and it really brought home to me how far from an early-adopter I am.

I didn’t get a mobile till 2000 and it still doesn’t access the internet or take pictures. I’ve only had digital camera a year. I don’t have digital telly, don’t download music, don’t own an iPod (or…whisper it…another MP3 player) , and I really don’t want an iPhone. Really.

In my household our wishlist includes a pig (and the farm to put it on), a telescope and a Malamute. Buying throw-away electronics just fritters away the pig fund.

Would quite like an EEE though.

Written by Karen

June 1st, 2008 at 9:39 am

Posted in simplicity,thrift

romanticism, environmentalism or just plain perverse?

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Also on the Thinking Allowed ‘Hoodies’ episode that I mentioned a while back was a piece on city planning.The piece covers ‘the traditional and futuristic notions of what makes a good city’ and decisions that we now perceive to have been destructive but at the time were motivated by a desire to get rid of Victoriana, to build better roads etc.

It seems that one generation’s modernisation is often the next’s wanton destruction. The romanticism that my generation has for things from my grandparents time horrifies my parents. They see it as a retrograde attitude. They have none of the nostalgia for period properties & antique fittings, they merely associate them with the hardships and limitations of their childhoods (cold & drafty houses, filled with dark wood and laboursome devices). Their values are of the 60s, warm, clean, light modern houses, scandanavian furniture and labour-saving, electronic devices.

My mother-in-law was amused to see we have a manual coffee-grinder and politely inquired if we knew there were electric versions available. We got it partly because we’ve been looking at our electricity consumption and also trying to buy devices that last longer. I’ve been increasing shocked at how many electronic devices I end up chucking. But there’s also a kind of motivation that I call the From Scratch Diet i.e. you can eat as much as you like of anything that you make from scratch. Sod Atkins…bread can’t make you fat if you had to knead the bloody dough yourself. Not that coffee makes you fat but you get the idea.

Mum just thinks we’re on some weird puritanical kick.

Written by Karen

May 31st, 2008 at 9:30 am


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Jared Spool, at the IA Summit, created human graphs of customer satisfaction with Starbucks, McDonalds, Microsoft & Apple.

I commented over lunch that I was a bit baffled at the extreme positive scores that Apple received. I mean I get the idea that Apple does some stuff very well. But the idea that there is nothing to complain about just doesn’t fit into my world view.

A fellow diner said “but surely as a user experience professional you should value ease-of-use”. Well actually this user values cheap, durable electronics with a long battery life. I’m trying to save for a farm, developing an Apple fetish would get in the way of that goal.

Now admittedly Macs are alot prettier than my PC. But I’m really not bothered by the Apple aesthetic. It is just too sleek. I want them to look like this.

Written by Karen

April 19th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Posted in thrift