I am fortunate enough to have been brought up to look after myself and taught everything from basic gardening, sewing a button or a hemline, cooking, DIY… Now you may say well thats all well and good but whats that to do with sustainable living, well you see if you cant cook, you will probably be living off processed packaged microwavable food which is bad for you[think high salt and suger content, artifical colours&additives…] and bad for the environment [all that non biodegradable plastic has to go somewhere]. If you can’t sew, you are much more likely just to leave a tear which will get worse with time when a few stitches coud have dramatically prolonged the life of your garment. Well, you get the idea. Not only will being largely self-sufficent save you time, stress and money but it will also help the environment! 🙂
So my advice is if you want to learn how to sew, ask a friend or join a sewing club, same goes for cooking or gardening.., if on the other hand you have no interest in learning how to do these things, you pobably know someone who does like to do these things and maybe you could do a swap of favours. If you need something big done like a room painted or a birdhouse built, but don’t know anyone, you could go to http://www.skillswapireland.net
There is so much joy to be found in making your own things, there is nothing like that pride and satisfaction that comes from knowing that you made something creative and inspiring. I find it incredibly relaxing letting myself get lost in the process of transforming something from my imagination and dreams into something real and tangible. When I am in the midst of doing something creative whether it be painting a picture, digging a vegetable plot or cooking a three course meal, I can become lost in that glorious feeling of the energy of the universe flowing through me and renewing my soul. Sounds a bit metaphysical I know but its all about letting go, enjoying what you are doing, who you truly are and just being.
Its never too late to try something new and there is always something new to try. I used to paint, work with clay, weave, write, scrapbook,take photos and do a million other things when I was growing up and for a while when I was in university, I felt I was able to revisit my love for craft making again but five long hard years in the ‘real world’ left me drained and uninspired. Thankfully, in the last year, I’ve begun to rediscover the happiness I found in creating and have trying out lots of new things like painting on glass, crotchet, kite building and marbling. I’m back cooking and gardening and my world is coming to right again. I’m having great fun making homemade presents that will mean so much more to my family and friends rather then something they didnt really want or need bought in a shop. My next new craft project is Felt making so I will let you know how that goes and maybe upload some photos!
Oh a great book for people starting out is ‘Homemade: Gorgeous things to make with love’ by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson. There is a great quote in the book that I’d like to share with you on the benefit of making homemade:
‘Our homes become havens in times of global uncertainity, and knowing that we have the skills and resources to make things of use and beauty for those we live around and love – without costing the earth – can b a source of great comfort and pleasure.’