There's been a bit of a shortage of Thrifty Mrs C posts of late. Not because I haven't been thrifty. Oh no. More a lack of time to write about being thrifty.
I've also been getting the feeling that my Thrifty Friday Five just wasn't working – some weeks I had something I wanted to write about, but as I could only think of four points I didn't. Or there were other subjects where I had so much to say that I couldn't distill it down to just five points. So, I'm moving on and instead I'm just going to aim for a Thrifty Friday post instead.
So, what to write about this week? Well, the thrifty thing that I've actually been talking to friends about lately is Kirstie Allsopp's latest Channel 4 show – Kirstie's Fill Your House for Free. I'm going to start with a little disclaimer though. I love Kirstie Allsopp and was delighted to meet her at BritMums Live! back in June. She was completely down to earth and exactly like she is on TV. She was also very generous with her time and happy to spend time chatting to anyone who came up to her and posing for photos with bloggers. I've also been a big fan of her TV shows. Admittedly there were times that I got frustrated as I felt like she was only scratching the surface with a craft, but it was still brilliant to see these crafts getting air time in the first place.
When it comes to her latest series I was again a fan. The aim of Fill Your House for Free was to show that you don't need a huge budget to fill your house with funky designer things and that it is possible to take another person's cast-offs and repurpose them for your own needs.
Now, I am a big supporter of recycling and repurposing stuff, so I am very keen to see others being encouraged to do so (although selfishly it does mean that there's more competition for stuff!) There were some great things demonstrated in this series. Admittedly I might not have wanted all of them in my house, but they were still impressive and it was really lovely to see how pleased the people featured were with the finished results. It was indeed inspirational.
The only thing I disliked about the series was that I can see how to some watching it may have all seemed a bit like a needed a lot of practical skills and design know-how. Whilst I am a crafter and am happy to turn my hand to many new things I'm not someone who has a design vision. I can happily copy what someone has done, or follow instructions, but I'm not so good at looking at a pile of junk on my own and knowing how to turn it into something awesome. I felt scared when I saw some of the projects featured, so I'm guessing others might have done too.
Although many of the base items used were sourced for free, the skill, manpower and tools to turn them into what we saw in the series meant that actually if you didn't have all those things they weren't really free. You would be repurposing things and saving them from landfill (which is fantastic), but it's not as simple as gettimg someone else to do the work for you. For anyone with a fear of DIY it may have been even more frightening. I'm guessing the title "Kirstie's Fill Your House whilst Repurposing and Reducing Landfill" probably wasn't a catchy enough title.
Now I know it wouldn't necessarily make good TV, but what I'd actually like would be more tips about how to identify a quality piece of second hand furniture and how to restore it properly. A step-by-step guide as to how to make new curtains from vintage fabric that you might be given, how to strip layers of varnish off a wooden table before painting it, or how to clean up a bath that may have been sat in someone's garden for months so that it can be then used again for it's proper purpose. I guess it would almost be like a "Fill Your House for Free 101" show where you learn the basics before moving on to the more advanced things that this series featured.
A search online suggests that there are some videos on YouTube to help you with some skills, some for B&Q even presented by Kirstie herself, but I still think a prime time TV show pulling it all togther would be good. A couple of weeks ago I also found a useful little book in a National Trust second-hand bookshop. Second-hand Style may have originally been published 30 years ago, but it still has in it some great tips about buying second-hand furniture and how to go about restoring what you buy. I'll be using that as my little bible moving forwards and hope that I find some nice furniture pieces so that I can put into practice what I learn.
Small steps – then one day maybe I can work up to designing and building a funky table from scaffolding boards!