1 July 2014

Cutting my costs with baking, sewing and knitting

I've spent the past few days baking, sewing and knitting. They are such simple, old-fashioned tasks and I know my great grandmothers (and yours) would have been doing something very similar over the years, way back when. I like how these older tasks so easily fit into modern times, filling life with interest, meaning and purpose; and replacing acquisition for many of us. You see it more and more now - younger women and men taking up the needles, learning how to bake and cook, and being satisfied and enriched by it. I am so pleased this is happening because it means that these traditionally women's tasks and crafts will go on and can be passed on to younger girls and boys, women and men.

 Date scones - a winter favourite here.

As well as that connection I have with older times and the interest and purpose these tasks give me now, baking, sewing and knitting/crochet also help me cut my household costs. Buying bread flour in bulk helps me produce good bread for my family for less than the five or six dollars a loaf from a good bakery. I completely bypass the supermarket sliced bread, and have done for many years, because I don't want the artificial flavourings and preservatives that come with it, or the plastic it's wrapped in. I believe I can make a loaf of equal quality to that from a good bakery and although I haven't costed it for a few years, I guess it would cost me about three dollars for a good loaf baked at home. It's a saving of about five hundred dollars per year based on three loaves a week.

Similar savings can be made if you have a yarn and fabric stash. Making gifts and the soft furnishings you need at home using the fabric from your stash will save you a decent amount each year. Over the weekend I made a lamp shade using fabric I had here. It's much prettier than any I could have bought, I have unusual taste in these things and I doubt I would have been able to buy anything close to what I like, so it's a win-win. I save money and I also get a lamp shade that suits my taste and blends in beautifully with what we already have here.  I'm also using resources I have on hand, don't have to go out to buy what I need and the icing on the cake is the satisfaction I feel when I look at that lamp. Not just now but into the future as well.

We will welcome a new baby into our family soon. Tricia's son Danny and his partner Laura are expecting a daughter and as part of a gift for the baby, I've started knitting a little dark pink hat. It's a washable, organic wool and cotton blend, done on straight needles, because I didn't have a suitably sized pair of circular needles on hand. I hope it helps keep the baby warm because she will live in the Blue Mountains where it's very cold. Once again, I had the yarn and needles here, so getting our gift underway hasn't cost anything. I love being able to welcome a baby with home knitting.

It's a worthwhile exercise to collect any fabrics or yarn anyone offers you over the years. You might also find inexpensive fabric and yarns at your local second-hand shops. Even if you have no projects in mind, building a stash will help you when you do need something. Having the materials on hand helps you cut your costs, it inspires creativity, it gives that all important feeling of self-reliance and if, like me, you believe that homemade comes from the heart, your gifts will be a fine indication of your feelings towards the person you give your gift to.

I think of my stash as another form of stockpiling. It saves time and money and allows me to have my own materials on hand when I need them. Are you using your stash for your projects too or are you trying to build up a stash?

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