Monday, January 23, 2012

wear it out! (a giveaway)

Allyson and I have been tossing around the idea of a giveaway. But this isn't your typical giveaway.
Giveaways seem to be all the rage these days. Ten years ago, I would have jumped at the chance to win a giveaway - any giveaway. Pre kids (and pre the ensuing clutter and cramped apartment), if something was free, I was on board. Was it something I really had a use for? Perhaps not. But it was free! Career fairs at my university with all the accompanying free pens and stress reliever balls? Count me in! A free t-shirt I would probably never wear for applying for a credit card? Sign me up!

But now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. I feel almost panicky when someone offers me something free. Where would I put it? What if I ended up not using it? Then I'd have to find someone to give it to or else feel incredibly guilty just disposing of it. I'd certainly hate to provoke a similar state of anxiety in someone else by offering them something they might not want.

But here is what we would like to give away: the opportunity to make use of something that might otherwise end up in the trash.

Some of my own favorite art (in clothing form) has come about because I was trying to make the fullest use possible out of something. Some of my favorite results have been:
 My husband's pants, destroyed during a biking accident, now a tribute to his uncomplaining recovery and a favorite of my daughter.
A great Christmas gift from my husband: alas too small for me, but, with a few modifications, perfect for the 5-year-old.
Second-hand leggings, in good condition when acquired by my daughter, but soon stained and with a few holes in the knees - now just as comfortable, but also a one of a kind canvas for reminiscences of our sojourn in Santa Cruz.
 Unflattering second-hand overalls from a good friend, now the coolest maternity overalls ever.
A nondescript shirt my mom picked up on clearance and passed on to me, now bearing a flock of geese for my bird-obsessed daughter.
Kind of ugly corduroys, now an ode to spring and gardening.

It's a bit of a New Year's resolution for me to not buy new clothes until I'm sure I've used up what I already have to its full extent. I'm even trying to curb my trips to Goodwill and the resulting purchases of things that go into my "to be repurposed" pile. More clutter, you see. Even though I'm potentially saving something from the landfill, I'm still adding to my own pile of STUFF. So instead I'm trying to look at my own things and find some way to make them useable for a bit longer. In light of my inattentiveness to past New Year's resolutions, I'm going the extra mile with this one and helping others fully wear out their things as well.

This isn't a random giveaway. To enter, leave a comment describing the item you'd like to extend the life of, as well as why it may have some sort of special significance to you. We'll then choose the one that sounds like the project with the most potential. The winner will send the item to us, Allyson or I will work our magic on it and then send it back.

Is this giveaway even viable? Will anyone be interested? Am I the only one obsessed with the old-fashioned idea of "use it up, wear it out"? I guess we'll see.

This giveaway will close on Monday, January 30th. We'd like to make this a continuing project and so plan to do a similar giveaway once a month during 2012. Here's to wearing it out!


  1. Wow... what a great idea! I have some (ugly) brown velvet overalls that belonged to my aunt who died when I was only 15. I have kept them all these years, not ever really wanting to wear them but not wanting them to be thrown out either. Even if you guys don't end up choosing me, those gardening overalls might just have given me the right idea, but having you work on my aunt's overalls would be pretty special!

    1. What a wonderful sentiment to go along with the overalls - I'd love to do something with them so you can enjoy using them!

  2. awesome idea. Though my top choice would probably be my wedding dress, I will instead choose my 'getaway' dress from the wedding. I know it could have an awesome new life as an 80s inspired punk dress for my daughter, but it's so hard to dive in....

    1. Amanda, that sounds like an amazing project! So hard to decide between these. I'd love to work on a project for you, though I would be a bit intimidated as well, expert seamstress that you are. But I hope you'll enter the giveaway for next month - maybe I'll have mustered up enough courage by then :)

  3. I too have a huge pile of things to be repurposed. I finally cut up some t-shirts this week and made "yarn". I am crocheting them into a washable rug for just inside the front door. The project/item I can't decide what to so with is a beautiful pink cashmere sweater set that was handed down to me but is too small. I want to make something for my daughter with it but I can't settle on just what would be the right thing. I am currently thinking short sleeve (she hates long sleeves) cardigan, but I am afraid to just go ahead and cut into it.
    BTW, I found you through Prudent Baby and love your blog! Thank you for the giveaway chance!

    1. Ooh, I love working with cashmere. Sounds gorgeous! I hope you enter the giveaway next month (we'll be doing a random one this time).