Gratitude Sunday: Makers And Doers

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Spring’s bright flowers nod,
wind whips slender green stalks down,
cold air feels like snow

Sunday Musings
America used to be a country of doers and makers. Have we really evolved into a country of spectators and consumers? We don’t have to be.

A movie I recently watched (Loving) reminded me of habits of people in the past. I come from a low-income demographic, so I don’t know if this was or is how the upper levels live, but where I come from we learned to do many things for ourselves.

My parents kitchen gardened. Every year, not just on a whim. And every year we canned what we didn’t eat fresh. Mom cooked from scratch every day of the year. My mother made almost all our clothes by hand with a pattern and scissors and a sewing machine. How I hated the try-ons with all the pins in place, but I’ve never had such beautifully tailored clothing since. My mother made quilts, aprons, hot pads, throw pillows, and stuffed toy animals with the left-over material from the clothing. Mom painted and crafted and allowed us to do the same. I don’t remember any of my female relatives sitting down after the day’s work was “done” without some kind of hand work like sewing, knitting, crocheting, or embroidery in their lap.

My dad did his own car repairs. He made leather goods for his fellow police officers. He brewed his own beer and wine. He refinished his little boat with his own hands and rebuilt the trailer he hauled the boat with. He spent time taking care of his tools and fishing equipment because he didn’t want to replace them, and god forbid you should use a tool and not put it back exactly where you found it. And like my female relatives, I remember my male relatives out in the barn or the garage after dinner, not just couch diving after work, beer in hand.

My folks did all their own house painting inside and out. They refinished furniture and tried to start a picture framing business, cutting and finishing the wood for the frames themselves. They refinished the wood floors in their little WWII tract home, and re-shingled the roof twice by themselves, though from the stories and one home movie I have of the last re-roofing, it looks to me like Mom did most of the work. After Mom and Dad divorced Mom refinished the floors and stripped and refinished all the molding one more time. In Mom’s retirement years she ran a business making art with recycled materials and selling them at art fairs and farmers markets. I don’t think she ever sold a quilt but there was always a new one for every new baby and every new marriage in the family and for anyone who needed one.

My parents came from a long line of doers and makers because they had to do for themselves or go without. My hubster, however, comes from a different situation where he was an only child and his father had a really good job (which included a company car – that changes your living expenses). Hubster’s adopted, and we have learned details of his birth family; his parents married a few years after giving him away and while he has five natural biological siblings the birth family was also way better off than mine. Hubster has never worn anything but store bought clothing, and though his dad never touched a car in his life, he makes his best effort at resolving car issues before turning it over to a mechanic.

Do you make things? Do you fix things? Or do you just go out and buy what you want and pay other people to take care of your material stuff?

I’m not very good at making things or even taking care of my stuff. When I was employed in the hair and beauty industry, I made pretty things, hair barrettes and bands, and simple bridal veils. After inheriting my dad’s leather working equipment I added belts and hatbands to the mix and offered them for sale in the salon booth I rented. In my last job any attempts at bringing art into my work were squelched faster than Thor can throw a lightning bolt.

I can’t sew a straight seam to save my life even with a seam guide. Mom tried to teach me to sew and I even took Home Ec. Fave memory? The apron I made in Home Ec that was about 4 inches long instead of 14. I never figured out what I did wrong; probably cut first measured last. I’m sewing-challenged. My “art”, painting, crafting, knitting, never turns out the way I see it in my mind, usually only rendering nothing that could be recognized as art or craft, and when I am disappointed it all feels like a waste of time and resources. I pine for the abilities and talent of Susan Branch and Mary Engelbreit, but it is not meant to be for me. I hammer my words into shape and even those fail me sometimes.

The last few years before my mom died she said the only way to make it financially in this society was to have a home business in addition to your day job. She advocated making and doing until the day she died.

When America began we were doers and makers with only the wealthiest of us able to pay for the comfort of someone else doing and making it for us. Women made the beer and the bread and the babies and tended kitchen gardens, while their husbands made the saddles and the kettles and the houses and dug the graves. They sold what they made out of their homes with need for a business site only when they’d outgrown their homes.

There’s so much we could do. I know we have to have safety regulations, but I’m to the point where I would love to be able to pay somebody to make me quality home cooking at a reasonable price. I’m not fooled by grocery store delis and bakeries, “food” full of gross chemicals I can’t pronounce at horribly inflated prices to pay all the hands involved; it’s just fast food in drag.

And it’s not that I need clothing, but I’d love to have an outfit where the shoulders are where my shoulders are, and the darts are where my boobs are, and nothing is too tight or too loose anywhere, and the length of the pants and the top and the skirt are exactly the right proportion for my height.

I’d love to have a mechanic I can trust. Time after time I feel taken advantage of. But I don’t have the knowledge and can’t do it myself so they have me over a barrel. Home repair people too.

I’d love to be able to garden like my parents did, but I’m starting from scratch. With a half hour’s worth of steam in me I seem to re-do the same task day after day and nothing gets planted. I’d love to have somebody make me a couple raised beds and help me get a head start on that. I need raised beds because of the hubster’s scorched earth policy in yard care: if it’s lawn grass level it gets mowed. What do you mean that was a flower bed?

I have all kinds of desires I’d love, but since I don’t need much, and don’t have cash, I get to do without. I don’t feel deprived. I feel greatly abundant because I have a home full of stuff and a half hour’s steam every day and an ugly yard of my own. I feel abundant because I have working appliances and a solid roof and a working car. I feel abundant because I can still think about all the lovely stuff we can make and do and occasionally I can make it or do it.

And with this silly, strident, supportive voice of mine I can encourage you to keep on making what you make and doing what you do. Try selling what you make, or marketing what you do. Turn your home into a cottage industry. You don’t have to go Shark Tank (though cool if you want to), just make yourself another revenue stream. Our world would be interesting if we could eliminate the need to go to a workplace, and create our lives out of our homes. We’d still have plenty of social interaction. Maybe more so.

Anybody got my dinner ready yet? I’m on my way over.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – A creamy star magnolia. The first tulips; check out this neon orange. Soft yellow ruffles, yet another daffodil face. A fantasy of blue-purple grape hyacinth river with pink tulip trees. And these tiny pale pink fairy bells.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Burglar (1987, rated R) with Whoopi Goldberg, one of her comedies about a bookstore owner who moonlights as a cat burglar. A Murphy’s law comedy, yes whatever can go wrong does, and Whoopi’s character gets to kick some serious ass. Totally a fun movie. * Finished season 2 of Schitt$ Creek (2015, not rated TV series), it will be fun when season 3 comes out.

Currently ReadingPachinko (2017, fiction) by Min Jin Lee. This story is set in Korea and Japan, the plot is intricately interwoven, and an interesting look at history on the average person level. I am halfway through the novel and we are finally entering the pachinko scene. * Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places (2016, sociology/haunted places) by Colin Dickey. Parks and cemeteries and entire towns. Oh, my!

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting a job done I’d been wanting to finish.
  • My doctor suggesting I cut my medicine in half rather than prescribing an additional medicine. Yay.
  • Old TV sitcoms. Nothing beats The Andy Griffith Show and the home town wisdom of Mayberry.
  • How bright and beautiful my red Christmas tablecloth looks on my table. Looking forward to changes coming soon.
  • The patience one develops while revising one’s own work. Trying to be gentle with myself while also being my own worst critic.
  • Time to write. Time to re-write. Time to re-write. Time to re-write.
  • Watching my lilacs mature. I love all the stages. They are likely my all time favorite flower. My mom’s too. These bushes are from clippings from bushes my grandmother brought with her when she moved to Oregon. I think of my grandmother, my mom, my brother who potted them and started them for me, and my son who dug the holes and helped me plant them every year when they bloom.
  • Discovering the least expensive way to wax my legs and still being able to do it myself.
  • The beach in my mind when I can’t get there for real.
  • That my brother is retired from the Navy and no longer under the threat of serving active duty. While I appreciate why we have a military force and the people who serve and have served, my belief is we have too much war and not enough peace.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Art, Family, Gardening, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Homemaking, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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