Posts Tagged "handmade"

Doing It Myself

Posted on Dec 15, 2009 in Featured, Simple Living | 4 comments

Doing It Myself

My husband and I have talked for a long time about the idea of being more self-sufficient. When we lived with my sister, we collaborated on a huge garden and we learned a lot from my sister who makes a lot of things herself rather than buying. Some of the changes we’ve made this year were done for financial reasons but we often find that making decisions for financial reasons reveals other bonuses you might not have expected. Food-wise making things from scratch gives you total control over the ingredients for instance. Product-wise making items often means that you can choose materials that won’t end up in a landfill. You can also reuse and up-cycle to reduce the impact of acquiring more things and by making rather buying, you teach your children about self-sufficiency and hopefully, skirt around some consumerism issues. Things we used to buy regularly that we now make ourselves are: ice cream, bread (though we have an awesome local baker that we support at least once a week for our sliced bread), mayo and granola. The bread recipe we use required a baking stone and rather than buy one, my husband had a potter friend fire us a flat slab of clay and we’ve been using the artisan bread recipe from Mother Earth News. My sister also makes her own yogurt, crackers and pasta noodles. I’m itching to try cheese although it feels kind of daunting to cut out buying cheese completely. And in a way, who would want to?? In the last couple of months, having closed my business, I have a lot more time to do things with my hands in and around caring for my kids. This Christmas especially I’ve been getting a lot of joy out of making things. Some of my recent projects have included: A magnetic Advent Calendar that is about counting down the days, rather than counting up the chocolate or little gifts every day. I wanted a calendar that was not disposable and that didn’t focus on getting something everyday. I stumbled on this idea (using a cookie sheet and scrapbooking papers) last year and loved it right away. A Caterpillar Dress for a swap with members from my old Due Date Club at Mothering.com from when I was pregnant with my daughter. I have made 1 which I sent in the swap and I’m making 2 more out of the remaining fabric (1 for my daughter and 1 as a gift). The corduroy was store-bought and the satin was an old housecoat I got from a friend. These dresses will fit from age 1-3 because as Little Miss grows you just start layering it over pants and it goes from Dress to Tunic to Tank Top. A Baby Blanket for my daughter to replace the one I knit her while pregnant and which got lost when she was 4 months old. I’m doing a different pattern this time, from Natural Knits. I still have 3 squares left to go + blocking + sewing together + knitting the edging. Do you think I can get it done in the next 9 days??? Our Stockings. I would like to maybe re-do these at some point in the future and do a nicer job using nicer fabrics. For now, I whipped these up in an hour using some cheap fleece. I like them. They’ll do for now. Popcorn Garland. This is our first year with a real tree. We used a little potted Norfolk Island Pine when we lived in the bus but it just wasn’t the same. Last year we travelled for Christmas so no tree. As a result, we’ve been married for 7 years and have almost no Christmas decorations. Plus, we’re in our first year of a new business so we don’t have a lot of cash. We did the old-fashioned popcorn and cranberry garland. Aaron and I sat up doing it one evening after the kids were in bed. It was a lovely way to spend the evening, sipping wine and chatting over a shared project...

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