Camel jacket (similar here)
Hello, Friends! I hope you've had a wonderful week so far! Let me share with you what I found in my bookcase when I cleaned up and reorganized my book collection on the weekend. Tada!
You might not be able to read the title since it's in Indonesian language, but I bet most of you recognize the illustration of this darling little girl holding a rag doll with her Ma and Pa. Still don't get it? Read the writer's name: Laura Ingalls Wilder. Rings a bell? Yep, it's the Little House book series, the classic children series loved by millions on the life of Laura and her pioneer family.
I very much enjoyed reading these books as little girl, but I found out that re-reading them again as a young woman in my twenties, and now as a grown up woman in her mid-thirties, brings new perspective to the stories. I appreciate Laura's positivity and cheerful attitude so much more. I admire her resilience and no complaint personality. I respect how Ma kept her calm and sweet demeanor so her children will not get worried sick - despite her own fear, I imagine - when Pa had not come home for three days - and might never come back - because of the storm. There are so many good values in the life of this family: love, faith, frugality, hope, teamwork, manners, and many more.
Today I'd like to highlight one of them: frugality.
Waste not, want not, use it up, wear it out, make do, do without.
In the past, the women did not have a closetful of clothes like we do today. They sew several dresses for each season, and that's it. They grew their own food and cattle, and made do with everything they had around them, including the bones of the animals they butchered and watermelon skins, and made delicious food of the things that we might throw away in these modern times! They used and reused every scrap of fabric: first as clothes, then as patches for clothings, then as diapers and rags. They hoarded pantry staples like coffee, tea and sugar in used tins and cans. They picked up windfallen apples.
And the most amazing thing of this scarce situation is: they still made an effort to create beauty for their home and surroundings. Even eating during journey across they prairie, they sat down and used proper eating utensils, washed their hands and face prior to sitting and down to eat, and minded table manners. They swept and cleaned their home, and garnished the table with wild flowers in a tin vase, even if "home" was just a carriage pulled by horses in the middle of nowhere. Pioneers were amazing people. They made the best of even the most difficult situation and lack of neccessities.
There is no shame in being frugal. Being frugal is different than being stingy. Being frugal is not just about pinching pennies. It's all begin in the mind. You can dress up with clean and pretty clothes coming out from thrift stores and look like a queen. Spending the same amount of money, you can also choose to neglect your appearance altogether and dress in drab, dirty, dawdy clothes. You can "dress" your home with garage sale finds, painted and washed, and made a castle. Or you can mourn your limited budget and just choose to "let it go" until you can get more money to buy branded furniture from expensive stores.
I will not say that I can truly relate with Laural Ingalls' situation. Though I'm not rich financially, I've never been poor either. Still, I have been taught to live frugally all my life, thanks to my mother. Always live below your means, Child, that's what she taught me. Mom came from a poor family, and over the years she made something out of herself, so she and my father could provide their children with a much better life financially than they had on their own childhood. My brothers and I never want of anything: food, clothing, education, books, toys. We had everything we needed and in moderation most of the things we wanted. Still, Mom always taught us, especially me - her only daughter - to waste not, want not, use things up, wear things out, make do, or do without.
We live in society that might mock frugal values. Well, we don't need to shout from the rooftop that we shop in thrift stores and wear hand-me-downs, but if people find out, it's no shame, either. If you feel good about yourself and your own value, you won't need branded clothes to identify your dignity. Branded clothes are good, but they are not what define who you are.
Besides, I've always been the one who believe in recycling for the environment. We are responsible to protect the environment for future generation, like our forefathers did for us. I'm not a hardcore environmentalist, but I try to do what I can, in small and big ways I know how and can.
It's also applicable on clothes. Actually, these are old pictures of ensemble that I wore before my pregnancy. The flower top was actually a dress. Yes, I cut it up into a top, because I think the dress was too short and too tight for my age. Hubby said I can still rock it, but I don't think it's appropriate nor modest, so I refashioned it into a top, because I still love the happy flower pattern and the bright yellow color.
If it might sound like I'm preaching, I do apologize. I am just so passionate about frugal living and recycling, I'm getting excited sharing about it. Haha! That's why I'm so into refashioning, repurposing and remix and match. I shared about how I styled my old office uniform into several different outfits here in this post. Please visit to get ideas on how to style a black shirt into different looks: whimsical, chic, classic and feminine look. If you read my maternity style posts, you will also find how I alternated my daily clothes into pregnancy clothes, then turned it back after giving birth. I only bought two maternity dresses throughout my pregnancy, and maternity underwears, and that's it.
I also want to reiterate, though I love fashion and dressing up and I do take a good care of how I look everyday - or most days -, and just like so many other women I love shopping and buying new clothes and accessories and purses and shoes, at the end of the day let's put them all into perspective. They are stuff. They are gifts from God. They are material gifts. You might think you bought them, but actually they are given to you from the Lord. The Lord gives us everything we have: our health, our family, our money, our house, our clothes. Let's enjoy them, take care of them, make good use out of them, share them, but do not make shopping and fashion and wardrobe your god, if you know what I mean. ^__^
So, do you refashion any of your clothes? If yes, please share in the comments.
"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change."
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: