Making Our Christmas Extra Specail

Today I began looking for crafts I can do for Christmas.  Last year I started a new tradition with our children; we made our first annual Christmas tree ornament.  There are many other families out there in blog land doing the same thing.  I like to use up things I have left over from other projects, so my children and I made felted wreaths.  The only difference was we used left over fleece from ponchos I had made for the fall weather.  Over the course of this past summer I found two whole boxes of yarn at yard sales.  On top of this I was given quiet a bit when a friends mom passed away.  In holding true to the Depression motto I mentioned in a prior post, we will be using some of that yarn for this year’s ornament.  We will be making Sparkly Yarn Ornaments and possibly Felt Gingerbread Man Cookies.  The gingerbread cookie idea would give my daughter a chance to practice some beginning sewing by hand skills.

If you would like to find other Christmas ornaments you can make with your own family you might want to start looking at ideas at The Crafty Crow or The Magic Onions.  I know there are a whole store of sites out there to help you get started with your own frugal Christmas crafting with the children, but I just wanted to give you a jump start and help get the creative juices flowing.

I would like to thank the people whose websites I linked to here on this post for their wonderful ideas to make Christmas a memorial time with my family.  To me it’s more about the quality time spent with them than it is the expensive gifts I could buy.  Since each child makes their own we will be giving their ornaments to them to add to their trees when they leave home; hopefully this will help the memories of the time we spent making them as a family live on.

Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without! – L Reid

“Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!” – L Reid

This was a popular motto during the Great Depression, but as times got better many people left behind this way of living.  People over the years have become consumerist.  Many think if they want something and have the money to get it or the credit available they deserve it.  Their homes are crowded with clutter that they may not even use, much less realize what is there.  We are bombarded with ads on television, the internet, and in the paper.  We feel guilty because we don’t spend enough time with our children, so we buy them things. We have a bad day so we go to the mall and buy ourselves something.  We need to get away from this frame of mind and remember all that we have the Lord has blessed us with.  Leave the television off, get rid of the newspaper subscription, and use an add blocker on your internet browser if you are tempted by all the ads and commercials you see daily.  Spend time with the Lord and your family when you’ve had a bad day.

Times are tough right now and many fear we will sink into another Great Depression.  How can we get back to the days when it was more important to appreciate and wisely use what God blessed us with?   You can search the internet and see how other households are putting this motto into effect in their homes then try those ideas out in your own home.  I know I get excited when I search the web and see families canning the bounty from their gardens, making their own jellies and jams, taking old pieces of furniture and making something new, or sewing their own clothes.  The list goes on and on.  It is helpful to see what others are doing, because it can inspire us, but it can also overwhelm us and leave us feeling guilty.  We may like the idea of canning, so we start a garden and look forward to a plentiful harvest.  We don’t end up with the time to care for the garden and it becomes overgrown with weeds; we may feel downtrodden by the fact that we didn’t get to can like others did.  Like anything in our lives we first need to pray for God’s guidance.  Only He knows what tomorrow holds and what we are truly capable of doing.  Maybe this is not the year for you to grow a garden, but a friend from church offers to show you how she takes scraps and makes beautiful skirts for her daughters.  God wants us to take care of our families and wisely use our blessings;  He will surely guide us as to how we are to “Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!”

 


Sewing and Using our Time Wisely

I’ve not been able to sew much lately and my sewing list keeps getting longer and longer.  I have many things I want to sew, but only so much time in which to sew.  In fact because of my disability I am even more limited in the time I feel up to sewing.  Due to these two restraints I have come up with a way to make the most use of the time I have.  The first thing I do is make a list of all the projects that I want to sew, then I divide them up into groups of urgent needs, necessary, helpful, just for fun, and those I could  do without making.  This may sound like it is just extra work. If you have a lot of projects and they are constantly being added to by new needs and new ideas you’ve come across, then doing this may very well stop all of the confusion running through your mind.  Writing them out on paper, may help you make the best use of your valuable time.

Now that I have an organized list, I need to figure out how to tackle it.  I like to include my daughter in learning how to do things that are appropriate for her age, but when I have urgent needs this may take up more time than I can spend to get a particular sewing project done.  An urgent need would be something like sewing a gown for my daughter, because she out grew all the ones she had for last fall and it is getting too chilly at night for her to continue wearing her summer gowns.  When I have urgent needed projects to do I explain to her that it has to get done as soon as possible and why this is; she will need to know this as a future homemaker too.  When my husband has rested from work I will sit down and explain to him that I have some urgent needed sewing to do and need to make time for it.  This way he may be able to help me weed out other things I am spending my time on that I could put aside or drop altogether.  He can also help me by spending some time with our daughter when I am working on these sewing urgencies.

After I’ve finished all my urgent sewing I can set aside a particular amount of time once a week or more to work on things that would be helpful in our home.  One of the things on this list for me is another dress for church, since I don’t have very many.  I could’ve put this on my urgent list, but I do already have some I can wear, sure I go through the same dresses every few weeks, but I am not there to please others, but to please God.  My young daughter can help me to accomplish this by doing things she is capable of doing with my supervision and that she won’t get hurt doing.  I start by explaining to her what we are doing and why, then ask her to help me.  Here again she is learning future homemaking skills.

On my list of just for fun are usually lots of little things I can make with my daughter and/or my whole family.  One of the things on there at this time of year is a handmade ornament for our Christmas tree.  Usually I will get out enough supplies for everyone, read over the directions then get started.  Many of the ideas for ornaments come from online sites.  We like to make our own, because they are more memorable to us; not only because we made them, but also the time we spent as a family.  It is nice doing things as a family; it helps us to grow closer to one another.

And last of all is the list for things I could do without making.  When one is surfing the blog you may jump from one website to the next adding more and more ideas to things you’d like to make.  That’s fine, but when you make out your sewing list you need to go through them and be realistic as to what you need and what you could do without.  I keep this list to refer to when the same ideas pop back up again.  For us sewers it is like being in a candy store when we see beautiful handmade things that we can make also.  Be realistic, God has blessed us with the money and/or supplies to create things for our family, but we need to be good stewards of these blessings and our time.  Our family will appreciate the time this frees up for them to spend with us.

If you have other ideas for how to accomplish your sewing projects please leave a comment with your ideas and I will add them to a future blog and give credit to you, or leave a blog address for me to post.  Your ideas may help others in our situation.  Thank you if you contribute and thank you all for reading.

Homemaking Link-Up!

If you have a blog and have a post about homemaking, please go join the Homemaking Link-Up! over at Raising Homemakers.

I Want to Make Life Easier on Myself and my Family

When I was younger I wanted to have everything in my house match and liked having knick knacks, baskets, and fauex flowers sitting around.  As I’ve gotten older and busier (growing more in the Lord, raising my children, spending as much time with my family as possible, and homeschooling) I have decided that “less is more”.  When we declutter our home, keeping only what we truly need, and keeping watch on what we bring into our home, buying what is needed now and what fits into this stage of our family’s life, it gives us more time to spend with those we love and meet our goals.  I have a disability which has caused us to seek a minmalist approach to decorating.  When there are less decorations it is easier to keep our home clean.

Right now we are in the process of deciding what goes in to each area of the house.  If a particular item always tends to end up in a certain area of the house then that is where we need to find space for it to go.  This has not happened over night for us.  We have come to this way of declutering and trying to keep it that way over the last several years.  It has taken some baby steps here and big leaps there.  It really helps if the whole family is on board with this new way of living.

With my disability I often have to take rest.  When I am resting I still try to be useful.  Lately I’ve been going through papers in file boxes and any others I come across.  This is part of the clutter that often lies hidden in our homes.  It takes time to look for a particular paper when we have unnecessary ones mixed in with what we truly need.  Take time and go through them carefully and throw away or shed what is no longer needed.

Another thing I have been decluttering while resting is my bookmarks.  Many times I will think a blog is something I need and put it in my favorites, but when I go to find it again it can be near to impossible due to the fact that I have other bookmarks that are no longer needed and I hadn’t organized them well to begin with.  I have been working to put my favorites into folders with names that fit the main content of the site; a name that will identify for me personally why I bookmarked the sites to begin with.