Monday, March 31, 2014

The Joy of Making Things Ourselves

A baby sweater and hat made by Mara.
  We love making things around here. Hobbies abound at our house- sewing, knitting, carving, crocheting, cross-stitching, paper crafts, rug making, beekeeping, gardening, painting and much more. A hobby is something that is done for pleasure and it is true that we totally enjoy those activities but the enjoyment is so much greater because we are able to make things that are useful to us as well. Not only do we have fun in the making but also in the using.

Mara and the recipient of the gift she made.
  I think in our modern world that we have stripped away a lot of the fun from life in the way things are generally done. Instead of having a large variety of work that we can find very fun to do we instead might find ourselves in a job where we do one type of work over and over again (of course this is not true of every occupation but it is of many more than just factory workers), and then they just go out and buy things that are ready made (clothes, bread, you name it) and so they don't get the fun and satisfaction of making something for themselves to use. Then they feel the need to go off to find some other sort of fun or entertainment because they really haven't enjoyed their day.

Me and my new hat (knitted by me)
   I am not saying it is wrong to live that way and I do think you can learn to enjoy your job even if you are a factory worker that does the same thing over and over again, but personally I would far rather live a lifestyle of much more variety and I think many others would be happier living that way as well. When you start making much of your stuff yourself (which is a gradual process as you learn a variety of skills), you will find that it will save you money and that making it is a lot of fun and that it is far more rewarding to use something you have made over something you picked up at the store. You will also find that making things yourself does indeed take quite a bit of time but since you are saving money you can potentially work at other jobs a little less and also much of this work serves as recreation as well.

Back view of hat when worn as a slouchy hat.
   There are so many things we do that we very much enjoy once in a while as we do them but would not really enjoy them very long if I had to do it day in and day out. For instance I don't mind helping with butchering the few times we do it each year but I would not like at all to have it for a full time job. (Though I would guess there are some butchers out there that really love their work so this wouldn't apply so much to them.) I also really enjoy sewing but would not enjoy doing it day after day as my back would really hurt and I would miss being out in fresh air and doing more active work.

  Variety in our work is not only good for our mental health but also our physical health. I can keep my body in shape by the physical labor that I do (gardening for example) but also have times of rest when I work on simpler things like knitting or card making.

  Friday was an example of some "work" we did that really truly only felt like fun. We went out to tap the maple trees at my parents' house. We do this so we can get syrup for the year but oh how very fun the process is! I love getting out in the fresh Spring air and harvesting from the bounty that God has provided.

 Off we go into the woods - Grandpa and Aaron lead the way.
 A hand drill works very well for making the right holes.
 Mara gave tapping a try.
My turn to work on it.

The sap isn't running to much yet but it should start before long. We didn't get everything tapped that morning but we did do about 20 trees. Some very fun work with good fresh air and physical activity. When the syrup is ready not only will we enjoy it's sweetness on our pancakes but also the memories of time out in the woods.

  Now I do think there is a danger in the ideas presented here - when we make things ourselves we could get to attached to them and forget that this is our temporary home and that our focus should always be on Jesus and preparing for heaven but I know also that people who buy things can also face these temptations. So whatever we do let's have the right focus.

 But for me, I like the simplicity of making things (as we are able) ourselves, truly enjoying life and feeling a connection between all parts of my life.

   I feel I may have rambled some but I would love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings!

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1 comment:

Christina said...

I totally agree. I think that's how it is meant to be with food as well. Back when you HAD to grow your own food, it was much more appreciated going in your mouth. I doubt there was much grazing and snacking in those days.
I wish I could tap some trees too. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!
Blessings, Christina


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