9 November 2009

Finding time for crafts

There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained working on ordinary tasks in the home. Gone are the days when homemakers were at the bottom of the pile. Now we have taken control of our homes, we see one of our jobs as managing the home budget and saving as much money as we can, we have stepped up to recycling and repairing, we are living frugally and green and we are enriched by that. Our lives are happily home made. All over the world handmade is making a comeback, showing us that what we produce with our own hands generally satisfies us more than what we buy at the store. We are making unique homes to our own taste full of soft cottons and linens, cutting down on the world's waste and showing our children that both the beautiful and the practical can be make at home.

I read somewhere this past week, maybe it was at the forum, that some feel guilty when they work on their craft projects at home. The idea being that if they enjoy it and look forward to it - be it quilting, sewing, knitting, soap making or whatever, it is entertainment and joy rather than work. I have never felt that way and I have never considered my knitting, sewing and soapmaking as anything but part of my housework. I don't see these things as separate crafts. To me, they are part of my everyday work.

I grew up in a time when dresses, shirts, children's clothes, soft furnishings and knitwear were homemade. If you needed a new quilt or skirt, there was no huge store where you could buy something cheap from China - you made what you needed. Store bought clothes were bought for special occasions. Most homes had piles of fabric and balls of wool waiting to be made into what was needed in everyday life. There was no other option and homemakers did that work as part of their daily tasks.

So for me, I don't hope there will be time available for me to sit down and sew or knit. I plan those tasks in with my normal everyday chores. I usually do my hand work in the afternoon and the more strenuous work in the morning. Knitting for the family and for gifts is part of my housework, sewing a new tablecloth, napkins, aprons or curtains are as much a part of my work as washing up and sweeping the floor. It all goes into the good of my home and even if I love doing it and look forward to it, it's still a household task.

I hope that you get some enjoyment out of most of the things you do in your home. Of course there are some things you won't like doing as much, but if you enjoy sewing and knitting and making whatever it is you need for your home, that is your pay-off for the tasks you don't like so much. Joy is lurking in your home, it is one of your daily tasks to find it.

If you haven't thought about your work in this way, take some time soon to look at what you do and think about the nature of your work. Plan your craft type work in with your normal housework. Never ever feel guilty for doing what you love and as long as you plan your handwork in with your more strenuous housework, you'll have time and energy for all of it.



  1. Our home are our castles. We make the decisions of what comes in and what gets done in them. If I want to do knitting or baking or crafting it is my home and I do what I feel like doing. I like the saying," If mama's not happy no body is happy". So do what makes you happy .If you were dying you wouldn't want to say that you wished that you had did more laundry or wash the kitchen floor more often. No you would have wished that you had taken time to enjoy your self and your family/friends. So I say go for it. Enjoy some time each day for your crafts whatever they might be. SheenaMarie

  2. I usually find time for my crochet in the evenings when hubby is watching tv and just wants some company. Also, if we are on a long car trip I usually take it along with me. My other crafts usually get worked on during Saturday down time. My husband and daughter are the same way, weekends are frequently spent working of whatever project he/she/I/we have.

  3. I always try to get the craftin / light working in the evening.sometimes I tend to get more behind on them than I do the housework.

  4. "Our lives are happily home made."

    I really liked this phrase from your post Rhonda. A home made home and life. A lovely idea.

    Part of being happy at home, is to learn to enjoy my work - all aspects of it. The dirty work of cleaning toilets and the more enjoyable work of cataloguing family memories in scrapbooking for example. It all has a purpose - the enriching of our family lives.

    It is a great gift to be able to enjoy our work and to enjoy the good in our work and the good of our work.

  5. It is a fantastic way to look at it! Sometimes it feels that there's a vibe in society that housework shouldn't be enjoyable. But, if you get enjoyment out if, or certain aspects of it, then you're lucky, because you enjoy your life and what you do. Great post.

  6. I agree that our crafting projects should be considered part of our regular days. I do set aside at least an hour in the afternoon to work on quilts, dishcloths, dishtowels, gift card making, and so on. These things not only supply my home, but they are also used as gift items and, therefore, they save us money as a result! I also do handwork while listening to the TV or radio at night, and for some reason I consider that my reward for a days work well done!

  7. This is interesting. I find that when I get tired I tend to mindlessly trawl through stuff on the internet or play cards on the computer; a little bit is ok but it can eat away at valuable time and at the end of the evening I feel I have wasted my time. So this evening I worked on the quilted laptop bag that I started ages ago. It is made of vintage barkcloth and recycled curtain lining and with leftover gingham for the binding and handles. I am doing it by hand because the sewing machine struggled with it. I have just started on the binding after a couple of hour's work and then it's finished. I view my crafts as a labour of love and fun too. I feel I am earning good money by saving us from buying a bag.

  8. Hi Rhonda. When I knit I feel a connection with generations of women and I also feel creative so there is no guilt about doing it. On a more pragmatic note I am a born fidgeter so having something rhythmic in my hands is soothing -- and probably a great relief for those who live with me. :)

  9. I need to find more time to craft. I really want a sewing machine but don't have room. I do knit and crochet though.

  10. I suppose the opposite can be true for many homemakers, especially those of us who are at home but have other commitments such as homeschooling - we want to make everything by hand but simply do not have the time and feel guilty because we do purchase some gifts from the store! Therefore, I have to be selective in what I choose to make by hand. I do all my own baking from scratch and cannot bring myself to purchase tins of 'Christmas' biscuits which are full of artificial ingredients but I am not an accomplished sewer and my back is turned when I am at the sewing machine and that is when my toddlers get into mischief! I try to keep my evenings free for spending time with my husband, so most of my crafting is done during the afternoon when the children are around. As they love to be at my side and watch or be involved in what I am doing, I prefer to avoid crafts which use harmful materials or processes, therefore I choose to not make soap or candles - not yet anyway. There will come a time when I will be able to discover the pleasure of these crafts; also I can purchase these hand crafted items at my local markets and support local enterprises but what is not so readily available are handmade crackers and garlands (all the store bought ones are made in China, over-packaged and fairly ordinary, very tacky and plasticky) - and this is what I love to make for Christmas! I have started a blog for Christmas which features my Christmas gift ideas and instructions for making Christmas crackers or bon bons. I will be featuring instructions for making wreaths soon. I use both natural and recycled 'faux' materials. This is my absolute passion and I do not feel any guilt but I do have to say when I see all the knitted dishcloths, hand crafted soaps and beautifully stitched aprons on the blogs I do feel a tang of guilt but I know I cannot do it all. My new blog is www.christmasateden.blogspot.com There is also a link to it at my main blog.

  11. Thank you for pointing out that we should not feel guilty about crafting. Because it's more fun than other house-work, it's too easy to think of it as a luxury or a waste of time, when it's actually a skill that needs using if we don't want to lose it.
    I just found your blog and am loving it. Thank you!
    Rosey x

  12. A few years ago it dawned on me that people who work are scheduled breaks and therefore as a homemaker I was entitled to a break too. Besides when I craft I don't eat snacks etc which is preferable for this lady who has weight issues. Crafting is more fun than watching TV too in my opinion.

  13. Wow! YES. I just found your blog through another site I enjoy, and I have to admit that I do feel guilty when I try something 'crafty' because I enjoy it so much. I've just found myself without work and am thinking that we'd save a lot of money if I were proficient at more 'do it yourself' crafts and handiwork at home. Very inspiring posts AND very useful tutorials too! I'll be back.

  14. I enjoyed this post very much. I struggle with a guilty feeling taking time to knit, sew, etc. as I like it so much; but the truth is it is part of living frugally and self sufficiently. Making curtains, Xmas gifts, washcloths, clothes etc. does indeed help our family. Thank you for pointing it out!

  15. This is a wonderful mindset, I learned this years ago when studying the Amish.

  16. Absolutely spot on Rhonda - you've got me pegged ;-))

    I associate crafts with down time and relaxation, and I have a sense of guilt if I'm crafting and not 'working'.

    However, if I'm doing crafting for someone else - like taking up a pair of someone's trousers or darning something - it goes on my mental 'work' list and there is no guilt.

    Sometimes we women do treat ourselves so harshly....

  17. This is such a timely post! I was thinking those exact thoughts over the weekend while knitting a cup cozy- since I enjoy knitting, sewing, etc. does that make it not work? Not worth while except as a hobby of some sort? Am I really pulling my share of the load around here? Thanks for posting about this today... I think I have the common mindset that work is never enjoyable, it's tiring, boring, just something that has to be done. I usually don't have time to knit in the spring/summer/early autumn, as planting, canning, drying, etc. take up all my time, instead saving sewing and other craft work for the cold fall and winter months. Thank you for showing me that we can still be productive in that way!
    Your pictures of yarn are beautiful. I love the little snapshots that you share of your home!

    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  18. I don't really think about which "box" to put my crafting in. It is part of looking after my home and part of my me time. As long as I enjoy it and there is something useful, either for the house or a gift, at the end I think it is time well spent. Beats sitting in front of the latest reality tv show as far as I'm concerned :o)

  19. Rhonda,

    Great Post! I have been knitting in the evening just because it is so relaxing and I enjoy having everything done around me:)

    I have also found that I enjoy washing dishes by hand:) I get that same calmness as I get from knitting? Strange?

    I have been trying to make a few of my Christmas gifts but I am not in hurry I like to take things at a slower pace and you know who I learned that from? You!



  20. This is a lovely post Rhonda! You have expressed some of these ideas before. I was thinking of you last night as a sat and crocheted myself a dishcloth. I had to remind myself that this is a worthwhile activity that deserves to be included in my day. Thank you for the encouragement to enjoy my blessed life as a mother and homemaker.

  21. My great grandmother was a seamstress by trade in Norway. She brought her skills to when she immigrated to America. My grandmother was a farmer's wife with many farm as well as household chores, so I don't remember her crafting or sewing much. It skipped a generation and my mother was an expert seamstress like her grandmother. She made all of her own and my clothes, plus knit type shirts for my dad. She was also crafty with household decorative items. For most of my life it looked like I missed the crafty gene and my (self imposed) work schedule didn't leave much time. But now that I live in a remote cabin I find that I did inherit the gene and am now nurturing it's development with cooking, canning, crocheting and other things for our home. I just wished I started sooner. - Margy

  22. I was just feeling guilty today for these things! Thanks for helping me look at it another way. I appreciate what you share so much!

  23. I am so glad to see this post - I am a recently returned to home mom. I worked for nine and a half years and finally was able to come home. I use your laundry soap recipe and have for a bit over a year - I cannot believe how much money we have saved just doing that!!! I LOVE doing crafts - mostly quilting and often feel guilty for taking time to do so - never again - I do it for our home - it IS part of my 'home'work. And the cloth napkins I have made, and need to make - I will work it into my daily chores without guilt from now on... thanks.

  24. Hi Rhonda, I came across your blog today - congratulations on being the no. 2 ranked Australian female blogger ! Quite an achievement considering the competition ! I spotted a friend in your Friends & Neighbours section, Ronell (Myfrenchkitchen blog). Ronell is a good friend of my Mum who lived in France near Ronell until very recently. It's a small world isn't it? I am in Sydney and run Whiteport, an online homewares store specialising in decorative home furnishings & accessories all themed around a stylish white palette.

    Why white? Because white products are simple, timeless and complement any colour scheme. The possibilities are endless when you decorate with white. If you were interested, I'd be happy to set up a discount shopping coupon exclusively for your readers.

    Hope you have a great week. Look forward to hearing from you and keep up the great work with your blog.


  25. Hello Rhonda -Jean
    I came across this posting and it reminded me of so many things , sorting through my grandmothers button tin when I was little ans recently reminded me of the books written by Helen Forrester.
    She wrote 4 books initially that focused on her life which went from wealth and comfort to utter privation. In it she learns much on how to survive and what she leans from a neighbour and how people as poor as she is now survive. There was one passage which speaks of the neighbour buying from the rag and bone man old woollens which were full of holes and how she unravelled them washed the wool and knitted into new garments. That and my grandmothers tips have never left me. So I throw very little out just pass on my exsess to someone who may have a use for it.
    Happy crafting
    Devon England




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