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Traditional Homemaking Summer 2009!

post #1 of 397
Thread Starter 
Remember this thread?

Traditional Homemaking Skills

I loved it so much I was wondering if it would at all be possible to have a monthly tribe? That way maybe we could even set goals and all that. Pretty please?

I would love to start off by of course introducing ourselves and also maybe answering a few questions....

Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?
post #2 of 397
Thread Starter 
Me again!

I'm Maggie, 23 year old mama to 3 little girls (ages 5, 3, and 2) and due with twin girls in August. I am married to Rob who (or is that whom?) is also 23. He is a cable tech. I WAHM but only for an hour or so a day. We homeschool and have been drawn to simple living since the very beginning. We live in Southern California in the desert and are moving from our apartment to a rented home in a few weeks. Being on relaxed bedrest this move is suuuuper stressful! My house is in ruins because I just can't keep up with it right now. Mainly I am here to learn and take notes because there is just not a lot I can physically do just yet. I basically sit and fantasize all day about how great it is going to be to have energy to make our house a home again.

Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?
I was raised primarily by my grandparents and though they were far from traditonal homemakers I still saw a lot more going on then in the average home now. Meals and holiday decorations and all that. I loved it! I was the happiest there. I am a homebody and so making my house homey is very important to me. Maybe I have these romantasized visions floating around in my head that are totally unrealistic but I just think having a firm home base is so important to us and our children and for me nothing says that like homemade meals and a clean organized home and nice personal family items that we cherish etc.

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?
Right now I am working on knitting. I am knitting burpcloths/snuggle rags for the twins and then I am going to start on hand drying towels for our bathroom. I want to improve my knitting skills for home items and also clothing items. Oh! And I can't forget diapers. Besides that I am just trying to gather information so when I am able to do more physically it is all there to get started with.

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?
Just looking around and seeing what I have accomplished makes me happy. I was talking with DH on Saturday about how when I worked out of the home at Wal Mart I would get a lot done but I didn't really care. So the milk is stocked But when I am at home and I clean the windows it's like "yay! now the sun will shine through for all of us to enjoy!" Sounds kind of pathetic, I guess I just like being able to build and maintain a sancturary with and for my husband children and I.

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post #3 of 397
This sounds like a great thread!

I'm Betsy and I am wife and mama (one DS, age 2). Traditional homemaking appeals to me for many reasons: I believe the home is the heart of the family, my parents provided a great home life for us. They taught us to make bread, canned vegetables, froze corn, made jelly. I think the health and safety of making/growing our own food is extremely important for us and the earth. I enjoy and get so much satisfaction of doing it myself. I want our life to be filled with things that are important, not things the latest commercials or magazine ads convinced me I "must" add to my life.

I am focusing mostly on food growing and preservation right now. We are expanding our garden this year and I want eventually to grow the majority of our food. We also have chickens. And I knit but don't have much time for it, but I love cooking from scratch, making my own cleaning supplies. I also am a novice but eager to learn sewer.

I find joy just knowing what I made or grew or cooked is so superior to anything our money could buy, so much fresher and healthier and tastier. I look forward to celebrating the seasonal changes with DS and teaching him about the cycles of nature through gardening as well.
post #4 of 397
Great!
I'm Thea, A stay at home mommy to 4 children ages 5, 4, 2, and 8mo. My mom grew up on a small country home setting, with livestock and large gardens. And raised us kids with a large garden, and lots of open space.
Right now my husband and I are starting to urban homestead, doing as much as we can in the way of prividing for our food in our urban lot.
Since we are just starting out on our voiage we haven't gotten very far but are working to do our part. We have chickens and a vegetable garden - with veggies that can be preserved, and are starting to get a small plot going for herbs and strawberries.

We make all of our own bread, buns, ect. making as much as we can from scratch, I am teaching myself how to sew, and we are teaching our children respect for the land and for animals that provide for us.
post #5 of 397
Thread Starter 
So glad people are interested!

Thea~ Are there any books or anything you are reading to learn sewing? I am very interested in it myself- both by hand and with a machine. I can cross stitch so I am wondering if it will still be so foreign to me. I do know the bare basics on a machine but I also need a new one as mine has been destroyed by a friend of my mother's I lent it out to :

Betsy~ We are going to make growing and preserving food our main goal in 2011. Right now being preggers and sick it's not doable and in 2010 we want to work on basic gardening (I have a horrible brown thumb!!) and getting time managment and such down. We really do need to work on perfecting the basics for us first as we have really fallen off the wagon! 2011 seems soooo far away but I know it's not really. Can you suggest any books for growing your own food and preserveing? I am just so in love with Animal, Vegtable, Miracle!

Does anyone read Down To Earth the blog? I love that blog! It is full of such great info!

I know we have talked about this before on the other thread but I'd love to get any pointers on time maganment.
post #6 of 397
I'm in, but not a lot of time to type right now. I know a lot of traditional homemaking skills. Off the top of my head...knitting, sewing, bobbin lacemaking, cooking from scratch, canning, drying, embroidery, cooking over a fire, diaper making, and lots more. I am working VERY hard on decluttering my house and having everything has a place. I have been chipping away at it for a long time, but now I am serious. I have gotten through a lot of the emotional things and and sending garbage bags full to Goodwill and trash. When I started, I was close to what some of those hoarders houses look like, mostly it was a matter of being overwhelmed, and not a ton of money, so when we upgraded from really crappy stuff to not so crappy stuff, I never got rid of the cast off stuff. I also suffer from the "I might need this someday" issue. But I am past a lot of that. When I am on top of the house and taking care of having meals made and laundry done I feel like such a good wife and mommy. MIL is coming Thurs, so I wont have much time til she's gone, but I'll be lurking til then.
post #7 of 397
PS Love the blog link!
post #8 of 397
Great idea! I was just reading through the old thread a few hours ago.

I'm Leigh. Also 23 and mama to Dd who is 17 months.

I think I am interested in traditional homemaking because it's such a departure from how I grew up. I don't think my mother ever cooked from scratch or used anything other than commercial cleaners to clean with.

Currently I'm trying learn to knit and improve on my sewing skills. I'd also love to get into preserving. This summer we are planning on building a solar food dehydrator! I'm really psyched about that.

I like seeing the finished product in what I do. I like knowing that I accomplished something that most other people of my generation have no idea how to do. I love that by learning traditional homemaking skills, I'm somehow connecting to the mothers of a 100 years ago. There is really a of joy and pride in that.
post #9 of 397
I'm in! I'm 30, my DH is 37, we have one little boy (will be 3 in a few weeks) and another baby on the way (just found out this morning!). We rent right now, but our 5 year plan is to find a house with at least an acre or two so that we can have a big garden, chickens, bees, and lots of edible landscape (fruit trees, berries, etc). Right now we're gardening at our place in containers and on about 700 sq ft of growing space at my parents' house (they have a big field in their backyard). We really want to downgrade our lives to a simpler one. My DH has previously been a college instructor and just this year started in administration with a 8-5 schedule. Oh how we miss the teaching schedule! He could work from home so much, had summers off...it was amazing. The 8-5 5x a week schedule is LAME! I just don't think human beings should be away from their families that much (another reason we plan to homeschool ).

My focus right now is on food - I'm actually taking an online food storage/preservation class with Sharon Astyk right now - it's awesome so far! Really helps you clarify your goals and values about food storage. I'm really concentrating on meal planning, not wasting any produce/leftovers, freezing extras for later, cooking from scratch. I'm trying really hard to implement a food budget and stick to it. We just joined a CSA that starts in 2 weeks, so I'm hoping that will cut down on my shopping trips.

Our plans are to get into water bath canning this year - I've seen it done, but never actually done it myself. We picked up a pot and some jars on craigslist last year, so this this the year we put them to work!

I also knit, although I go in fits and starts. I really want to knit some dishrags and the like, really practical stuff.

I NEED to get my clothesline put up - it absolutely burns me up to put things in the dryer on a sunny day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeighB View Post
I think I am interested in traditional homemaking because it's such a departure from how I grew up. I don't think my mother ever cooked from scratch or used anything other than commercial cleaners to clean with.
You know, I can totally relate to this. Isn't it funny? My parents and ILs and now my one really independent grandmother HATE all the traditional homemaking stuff - if someone else can do all the work, they'll buy it. Most of what I grew up eating was either out of a box or a can (except for the meat - but that was all wrapped up nice and sterile from the grocery store). Cleaning products had millions of ingredients in them. My mom and dad remember their grandparents water bath canning and how horrible it seemed. It's a family joke how bad my mom is at sewing! They have spent their lives trying to get AWAY from the traditional homemaking life - even though my mom was/is a SAHM! She does like to hang her laundry out to dry, but that's about the only "convenience" she doesn't wholeheartedly embrace. (And don't get me wrong - my mom is one of my best friends.) I just think it's really interesting that people in our generation are interested in the older, more traditional skills of our grandparents or great-grandparents. I think it can only be a plus - it's always better to know how to DIY, even if you don't have to, right?
post #10 of 397
lovely! i'm very sleep-deprived this morning, so it all sounds overwhelming. i love simple solutions, i love old tried-and-true solutions. i'm a knitter, and i would love to start sewing for the household + for my girls now. i have an 8 + 3 year old, and they love anything old-fashioned, so they're right there with me if i make jerky, yogurt, anything from scratch. i love that our home is cleaned naturally, i am in love with natural fibres. we are renting a place with a garden, which i have transformed, and just hoping that the food will grow - we have a warm front patio where i hope my tomatoes will thrive, and i'm growing a cottage garden in the back, i love the old ideas about mixing fruits and vegetables and flowers in a lovely profusion. we're planning bee + bug houses. i would LOVE to have chickens, they are allowed here, but i haven't quite made the leap. we're homelearners too, and i would love to focus more on how my girls can learn to preserve food along with me. they love to unpack the eggs into our bowl and pretend they are from our own chickens, they turn every egg so you can't see the stamp

off to read the thread! and bring my sewing machine out where we can get to it!

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post #11 of 397
subbing - love this thread - be back soon to post
post #12 of 397
er, i realise i didn't really answer any of your questions!
Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?

okay, yes, simplicity in solutions and connection with the past.

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?

we're trying to grow our own food in our new garden, that's exciting, and i'd love to learn to preserve foods. i would love to get back into sewing, and learn to quilt, as well as finishing a major knitting project.

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?

i love pretty much everything, though i find it hard to keep up with housework if i get sleep-deprived. i used to fight clutter a lot, but we've pared down when we moved to england.

what are folks working on? favourite resources? favourite solutions to household problems? here's my current favourite ...they are called sumi sticks, just a long stick of charcoal, you put it in a pitcher of water and it filters it! it can just get tossed on a compost or buried after a few months of use. no more plastic.

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post #13 of 397
I think I fit into this...

My name is Emily. I'm 22, and a SAHW in grad school. Just a cat at this point. I do online classes, so I'm at the house most of the time. My DH and I are living in government/military housing, and are planning on moving in July to another military housing area in TX, then moving again in 6 months!

Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?
It's real. And when I am making bread or cooking soup...I feel connected to all the generations of women who came before me, also making bread and cooking soup, etc. I like eating real food that I know the ingredients for, and have helped to grow. I like using cleaning supplies that I could drink if I wanted to!

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?
This is our first move together, and we need to downsize a bit. Now that we know what we have together, and what we really use on a regular basis, we just need to go through things. We're also planning on getting rid of some bigger things--my desk and chair, my sewing machine cabinet.
Although not traditional, I've recently really gotten into scrapbooking, so I'm hoping to keep working on that.
And I guess I should pick back up with teaching myself to knit, because there are so many Waldorf crafts that I want to be able to do eventually.
I've got some herbs and a tomato in pots, but when we get to our first "real" duty station, I am going to insist on a garden!

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?
DH and I have only been married for 7 mos, and I have had a little bit of a rough time getting adjusted to this new role. For a long time I felt silly that I liked doing the traditional things: cooking, cleaning, baking, laundry (I don't really like to sew, but I can--I've made some pretty good quilts) because at college, I kept being told that I have "so much" to do in this world, and I felt like I was wasting away at home. But now I realize that I do feel fulfilled in my role as wife and student, and that's ok. It may not be amazing, but my husband is always full of appreciation for the simple things like buying the groceries, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry. And if he things these things are significant and worthy of thanks and praise, then I guess they are!
post #14 of 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post

Betsy~ We are going to make growing and preserving food our main goal in 2011. Right now being preggers and sick it's not doable and in 2010 we want to work on basic gardening (I have a horrible brown thumb!!) and getting time managment and such down. We really do need to work on perfecting the basics for us first as we have really fallen off the wagon! 2011 seems soooo far away but I know it's not really. Can you suggest any books for growing your own food and preserveing? I am just so in love with Animal, Vegtable, Miracle!

Does anyone read Down To Earth the blog? I love that blog! It is full of such great info!

I know we have talked about this before on the other thread but I'd love to get any pointers on time maganment.
When I was first married, my mom bought Stocking Up for me. It tells you how to harvest, freeze, dry, or can anything. There are also lots of recipes, and even recipes for Kim Chee (which I just discovered recently) and real pickles. I also am using How to Grow More Vegetables to try and increase my growing yields and sustainability of our soil. It's confusing so far. Has anyone else used this?

About the time management thing...I'm not so good. I spend way too much time researching and getting ideas on the internet and not enough time DOING!
post #15 of 397
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recs, Betsy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstandlee View Post
About the time management thing...I'm not so good. I spend way too much time researching and getting ideas on the internet and not enough time DOING!
Oh this is so us as well! Of course right now all I can do is research but given the opportunity we have always gotten stuck in the mode "oh this looks great! we should do it" and we don't. *sigh*

Quote:
Originally Posted by artparent View Post
what are folks working on? favourite resources? favourite solutions to household problems? here's my current favourite ...they are called sumi sticks, just a long stick of charcoal, you put it in a pitcher of water and it filters it! it can just get tossed on a compost or buried after a few months of use. no more plastic.
I have never heard of sumi sticks. They sound nuts! I'll have to check them out.

Right now we are basically trying to live through this pregnancy and move.
post #16 of 397
post #17 of 397
Hello!
My name is Tammy and I have a 2 year old daughter that I am a SAHM mom to. Dh is military so he is gone often but when he is here we are a happy family. We currently live in Southern Georgia in a house in the burbs that we are trying to sell. We have been working on simplifying for a few years. We want to rent a house here for the time we have remaining and are thinking about buying a house in Florida, where I am from and where we hope to return to when he retires. Once we sell this house we will be debt free and intend on keeping it that way. In retirement (early-we'll be 40) we intend on living off his pension and my VA disability and cruise part time on a sailboat and live part time in a townhouse or small house in Florida. We are a small family by choice and do not plan on having any more. We feel that by keeping our family small it will allow us to live the life we want to easily. We intend on homeschooling our daughter (or boat schooling ) later on.

Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?
It's simple. I know what's in my food. I feel that too many people nowadays don't know how to do anything and that might be our downfall in modern society. We are so dependent on big box stores and industrialization (as a whole) that we may soon suffer the consequences. I believe in Peak Oil and think that eventually our Western lifestyles will be forced to change and the earlier I get started the better . I am a first generation American on my mom's side and I was partially raised in a very different lifestyle. For instance, when my dh (then my bf) met my Grandma and Great Aunt (Oma and Tante) for the first time they said they would make grilled fish for us since we didn't eat other meat at the time. So they went outside and dug a hole in the ground and put rocks in it and a metal grate over the top and grilled the fish! I was mortified at the time but dh thinks it was cool : My own mother had her issues and often wasn't the mother I wanted her to be. She really wasn't into homemaking that much.

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?
Currently, I am trying to grow herbs and cherry tomatoes in pots. But the heat down here is so intense they are fading. I believe there are 2 growing seasons in the South and I will have to try again later in the year. Mostly, what I've been working on is simplifying: drying clothes on the line, growing some food, removing paper towels from the house, cooking from scratch,etc. So far I've put aside 2 gal of u-pick strawberries (they have all been eaten though by now) and 2 gal of u-pick blueberrries. Since I know how much we'll eat this time, I'm going back for another 2-3 gallons before the season is gone. With the house being on the market, I'm sort of out of my element right now since I have to keep the house in ship shape condition all the time. Also, I've recently picked back up my jewelry making. Love it!!

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?
I find joy in a clean, uncluttered home. I find joy in simple summer days in the backyard with my dd running around in the sprinkler or picking blueberries with her at the farm. I find joy in an uncluttered schedule whereas other moms in my area usher their kids off to 3-4 activities a week. Sheesh! I find sewing, crocheting, and jewelry making calming to me.
post #18 of 397
Oooh! I loved that thread!

I'm Miriam, mom to three year-old triplets and a 14 year-old parrot. We live in a condo in So Cal, but are looking to move (please G-d!) into a house in about 6 weeks. We are slowly moving to a TF diet, too, so I find myself doing more stuff like fermenting and making things that I can't buy.

Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?
What a hard question! I guess the best way is that it is what I do. Like AP, I just do this stuff because I like it.

What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?
Well, i was going to be trying my hand at milling my own flour, but I had to use my grain mill money to buy a new mixer because my Kitchenaid died and they won't replace it. So I'm going to work on sewing, finishing my sweater and socks that I'm knitting and canning. I got into that late last summer so I missed a lot of the great produce.

Also, if we do move (please G-d!) then I will be purging a lot more and setting up the new place. Basically busy, busy, busy! But I really want to move so I'm praying for it.

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?
Again, it is just something I love. I love having fresh baked bread on the table and jars of homemade stuff in the fridge and pantry and arts all over the house. It makes me smile the way take-out cartons don't. I also just adore it when my girls get pleasure doing the simple things like washing dishes and tell me that they are knitting with a colored pencil and some yarn.
post #19 of 397
I'm Barbara, 32, wife to the guy I fell for sophmore year of high school, SAHM to my twenty-seven month old daughter. I'm due with our second child in late September.


Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?


It is more or less the way I was raised, so it just seems right to me. My mom makes homemade bread, and has as long as I can remember. I used to complain that we never had any food because we just had ingredients, nothing packaged. We always used more "elbow grease" than anything when cleaning and reused our cleaning supplies (no disposable brushes, used rags instead of paper towels etc). While my mom knows how to knit, crochet and embroider she didn't do much of it while I was growing up. She sometimes made us pajamas at Christmas and the occasional special outfit.

In addition, "modern homemaking" seems so wasteful to me. I walk through the cleaning aisle at the supermarket and can't imagine buying all of the one-time-use items that are supposed to make life so much easier. Everything is disposable now and it really makes me sick when I get started thinking about it. Not to mention the money drain those things would be!



What traditional homemaking skills are you looking to learn or improve on currently?

For most of my life I've been a very picky eater. That started to change when I was pregnant with my daughter and is still changing. So while I know how to cook from scratch my repertoire isn't that broad, shall I say? I'm enjoying trying my hand at making more stuff at home. So far I'm pretty regular with pasta, sauces (bbq, tomato, hot sauce etc), and bread (although i do often get bread from my mom). I've made cheese and yogurt. We're on our second full year with a CSA and I'm learning a lot about how to store, preserve, and use all of the different types of veggies we get.

I know how to knit, crochet, embroider and sew although I'm most into sewing right now. I've made a lot of clothes for my daughter (mostly pants and dresses, some soft shoes, slippers and hats too though) and a few simple skirts, aprons and purses for myself. I would like to try my hand at more intricate sewing patterns; maybe a fancier dress for my daughter or a tailored shirt for me. But, with limited time I tend to tackle small projects that can be completed quickly.

Oh, and the big thing that needs improvement is organization in a little house. We have a 900 sq ft house without a lot of storage space for all of my craft stuff. I have lots of spots where I put things just to get them out of sight until I can deal with them, but I just never seem to get to them.

How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?

At the end of January I made my daughter a pair of jeans. I modified an overall pattern from the 1970s to make pants and added pockets. They are her only pair of jeans so she wears them a lot, maybe twice a week. When I see jeans on other toddlers they are often are sagging because the fabric is too stiff and thick and the waist band isn't form fitting enough. And the jeans always seem to be made with adult styling - like the traditional five pockets with the zipper and the button fly (Overall I don't understand a lot of the kids clothes that are sold these days...why make kids into mini adults?).
Watching my daughter play around in the jeans a made her...seeing her get days of fun in them...that is the joy. Okay, I'm six months pregnant so this may seem a little too emotionally gooey but I dress my daughter in my love. She is running around, kneeling in the dirt, sliding down the slide protected (since clothing is for protection, right?) with my love. You know? That is the joy. Sorry for the long example. More frequently making dinner and enjoying it with my husband and daughter is where the joy comes from.
post #20 of 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by clemrose View Post
I'm Barbara, 32, wife to the guy I fell for sophmore year of high school, SAHM to my twenty-seven month old daughter. I'm due with our second child in late September.


Why does traditional homemaking speak to you?


It is more or less the way I was raised, so it just seems right to me. My mom makes homemade bread, and has as long as I can remember. I used to complain that we never had any food because we just had ingredients, nothing packaged. We always used more "elbow grease" than anything when cleaning and reused our cleaning supplies (no disposable brushes, used rags instead of paper towels etc). While my mom knows how to knit, crochet and embroider she didn't do much of it while I was growing up. She sometimes made us pajamas at Christmas and the occasional special outfit.

In addition, "modern homemaking" seems so wasteful to me. I walk through the cleaning aisle at the supermarket and can't imagine buying all of the one-time-use items that are supposed to make life so much easier. Everything is disposable now and it really makes me sick when I get started thinking about it. Not to mention the money drain those things would be!


How do you find joy in traditional homemaking?

At the end of January I made my daughter a pair of jeans. I modified an overall pattern from the 1970s to make pants and added pockets. They are her only pair of jeans so she wears them a lot, maybe twice a week. When I see jeans on other toddlers they are often are sagging because the fabric is too stiff and thick and the waist band isn't form fitting enough. And the jeans always seem to be made with adult styling - like the traditional five pockets with the zipper and the button fly (Overall I don't understand a lot of the kids clothes that are sold these days...why make kids into mini adults?).
Watching my daughter play around in the jeans a made her...seeing her get days of fun in them...that is the joy. Okay, I'm six months pregnant so this may seem a little too emotionally gooey but I dress my daughter in my love. She is running around, kneeling in the dirt, sliding down the slide protected (since clothing is for protection, right?) with my love. You know? That is the joy. Sorry for the long example. More frequently making dinner and enjoying it with my husband and daughter is where the joy comes from.
Oh, that's sweet. That's what I think homemaking is: caring for and protecting our families so that they can be healthy and happy.

I don't feel "homemaking" really exists anymore. At least you wouldn't think so by walking through the big box stores. Chemicals, disposables, and premade things done for you so you can get on with your real life. Well, my real life IS homemaking! And I'm not satisfied with what stores and companies spend billions of dollars trying to convince me I need.
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