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Traditional Homemaking Skills - Page 2

post #21 of 618
I guess I can join this one -

I've been in a medieval re-enactment group for 20 years so I know how to make a lot of stuff -

knitting, crotchet, sewing, weaving. I have a basic concept of quilting, brewing, drop spinning and soap making. I'm known for my cheese. I've dyed with weeds - ladies bedstraw at my house and woad at a friends house. I don't mind organizing - but right now I'm totally overwhelmed with a LOT of stuff.

Oh yeah - and on the weekends, we offer get together somewhere to make "something" and the kids often run free and whoever is around takes care of whoever is near them.

I'm not a stellar cook because it totally stresses me out - but I like cheesemaking and brewing is OK. I've yet to grow much successfully. The houseplants are doing OK. I'd like a low-maintenance potted herb garden.

I would like to work fewer hours per week but I've never had any desire to stay at home full-time.

I made Christmas bags a few years ago - we all have our own theme - teddy bears, flowers, snowmen. I was thinking that when I died, my DD would look back on the bags fondly. I'm starting on Birthday bags now.

Let's see - projects in the works: embroidery - decorative; camp-rope bed for daughter and I'll be taking a 6-board chest class soon. Oh - and I've got some stuff for a back-strap weaving project that just needs a little more work. I've got a short jacket for DD that has come off the loom and needs to be sewn up. It was a really cool pattern that had no waste. I really meant it to be longer but it didn't work that way.
post #22 of 618
:

I sew, knit, crochet (but DH does not like my crocheting work...), cook (from scratch, all these supposedly timesaving half-ready products are $$$), have a couple of herbs in my garden (and even harvested six beans!). But I really love to hear other peoples stories of what they do and how. Hip Hip Hurray to Mothering, it's such a great resource...
post #23 of 618
I'll join in. My father was raised on a farm, we still have farmland, and my father is (in my eyes) the king of self-sufficiency. He was a boy during the Great Depression, so he's up in years now, but he still teaches me something new every time I see him. When I quit corporate America, I decided to really get back to basics. My mother was a professional seamstress, and she lives with us, so we sew together often and I feel my sewing skills improve each time. My dd is almost 7 and can use the sewing machine with some help as well as she has pretty impressive hand-sewing and needlepoint that my mother has taught her. With my father (parents are divorced), we make our own soap, candles and I've learned a bit about wine making. I've learned open-fire cooking & baking, cooking with a wood stove, and baking with a wood stove (we have one) on my own (I am keenly interested in pioneer and Depression Era cooking) and I cook 95% from scratch. I don't grind all of my own wheat or corn meal, but know how and have a mill. I don't bake all of our baked goods and I take some help with things like commercial cereal. I can make my own butter, however it's more expensive for me than buying Costco butter. I put in a garden 2 seasons of the year and put up what we don't eat immediately. In the past few years I started expanding my canning to meats, stews, meals, etc. I don't have room where we live now, but we had animals growing up and I could probably remember a bit about animal husbandry.

I really think especially in these days it's important to get back to basics. Some of my favorite books in my home library that are fun to read and chock full of information:

Storey's Basic Country Skills
Country Wisdom and Know-How
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by the infamous Carla Emery
Reader's Digest's Back to Basics

There is so much I don't know and the more I learn the more I realize I know NOTHING compared to people who are truly self-sufficient.
post #24 of 618
I can sew (but hate doing it and am no good at it either )
I can make medicines and homeopathic remedies.
I can help a mama give birth.
I can treat someone with mental health issues.
I can inspire those that are surviving to thrive.
I can cook and keep a home.
I can make soap, cleaners, bath and beauty products.
I can defend myself from attacks.
I can cultivate food.

My Beloved husband can build a home and also a shelter in the woods.
Can hunt food & cultivate it.
Can defend us from attacks.
Can make furniture.
Can make anyone's home more energy efficient.
Can utilize traditional chinese medicine for health and healing.
Can train young people and anyone in martial arts.
Can skin a deer or other wild animal.
And can even make you a set of coasters from pine needles.

Love this thread! Glad I found ya'll!!
post #25 of 618
I almost forgot...
I can certainly dance at your wedding or other event!
post #26 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
Some of the books I read recently that spurred this were:

Back to Basics: http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-Co...3569728&sr=1-1
I LOVE Back to Basics. I want a copy of my own someday. It's awesome!

Also subbing.

And here's another thought...do your DPs know traditional skills (or want to learn) like carpentry, basic plumbing, car repair, etc.?
post #27 of 618
Hi! Definitely jumping in here!
I LOVE being a homemaker! : I've been a homemaker for almost 16 years! I have my 5th child on the way.

I was definitely not raised in a home with a mother who was a homemaker. Being a homemaker starts in the heart and flows from there. I fended for myself most of the time. I was not taught how to do *anything. at. all* except make a box of mac n cheese. I knew I wanted more for my family.

Since I was not taught these things, I've had to learn on my own, or through friends or books or whatever. I can cook pretty decently now, and I got a sewing maching last year. I did learn to sew in school (home ec) but am having to re-learn since it's been so long. So, I can do a lot now and am continuining to learn more! I want to be the best homemaker for my family as I can be.

I am a SAHM and have not worked for 16 years. I homeschool my children so we are home a lot. I believe a home should be a sanctuary for the family, a place that's cozy and comfortable where my family wants to be and where others feel that when they visit.

Right now I'm working on little touches that make a home cozy and inviting. I have my fall decorations up and a vase of fall flowers on the table. I like to always have something baking (or just finished baking), coffee brewing or dinner in the crock pot. I think those aromas make a home so cozy and inviting!

I love what I've read so far in this thread! ::
post #28 of 618
Thread Starter 
My husband is interested in learning traditional skills too. He knows basic household carpentry, window work, auto repair. He is very much a DIYer and likes to learn new things. He is an excellent outdoorsman and is very experienced in camping, survival, orienteering, and basic field first aid.

He can't out-fish me though!


I also just put out my fall decorations and Halloween stuff, since I love this time of year so much!
I am hoping to get a bushel of apples next month and can some applesauce!
post #29 of 618
I love the home arts. I love to cook and knit, but I also sew a bit. I've been known to make preserves and bake bread too, but not too much lately.
post #30 of 618
Thread Starter 
Oh and I just took the plunge into cast iron cookware. My mom had a cast iron skillet when I was a kiddo but I've never cooked on one.

We just got a 12" skillet and a 8" skillet. I also got a 5qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven. All Lodge-pre-seasoned line.

Tomorrow I am making roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, etc. in the Dutch Oven for dinner for friends. Hope it goes well! Any tips for cooking with cast iron for a newbie?
post #31 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
And here's another thought...do your DPs know traditional skills (or want to learn) like carpentry, basic plumbing, car repair, etc.?
I don't know that I belong on this thread or not, but this stuck out to me because my DH can build or fix just about anything, household, car, etc. He takeson projects he's never done before by reading a little bit about them (like when he tinkered with our plumbing and added a whole house filter, or replaced our hot water heater), and then it's like he just knows what to do. It's amazing to me.

As for me, I love to bake, and I like to cook. I can mend things if I need to, but beyond that I don't sew things from scratch; I do know how to use a maching so I could learn to sew more if I needed to. I learned how to knit this year but haven't practiced nearly enough; I did enjoy it, though. I like to do fun crafty things with the kids.

I do not like cleaning (but it gets done), I'm not real big on decorating (uh, very minimally here), and I have a black thumb for growing things.
post #32 of 618
I wanted to read everyone's responses because they look so interesting but I just skimmed through them because baby is happy and I'm in the middle of a sewing project so I'm trying to take advantage of having my two hands free.

When I first became a SAHM the first year was pure survival, then I gradually got the hang of it. In the past three years I've learned to sew, crochet (I discovered that I find it boring), embroider, quilt some funky blankets for the kids, and knit some scarves and sweaters. I've also gotten much better at cleaning and maintaining my home and I've learned to cook many more things.

What inspires me is books, magazines, Fine Living network on tv, HGTV, Oprah, blogs and there are tons of photo sharing groups on Flickr.com Corners of My Home is a favorite one, among many. It's fun to see how other real people live.
post #33 of 618
The traditional skills involved in keeping a home really interest me. A lot of what I know now I learned after DH and I got married, but I think my parents gave me a good foundation of basic skills to build on.

I love to cook and DH thinks I'm pretty good at it. He frequently brags about my cooking to his friends and :
I can can. Mostly jams and jellies, but I want a pressure canner so I can explore veggies and broth/soup.
I sew moderately well. I've made curtains for several rooms of my house as well as all the curtains at my sister's house. I've also made several purses and costumes pieces. I have successfully made a few articles of clothing.
I have done a bit of container gardening in the past. Now that I'm a SAHM maybe I can explore that more.

I kind of suck at the whole keeping a clean organized house part though. I am working on getting better.

The last few weeks 2 friends have been coming over a few days a week while we dew costumes for ourselves and our DC to wear while we attend the highland games. It's been really fun, kind of like a quilting bee.
post #34 of 618
To answer the DP's skills/aptitude question upthread...

DH is more handy than his father is and DH is less handy than my father is. DH's father worked in sales and never had time to fix things in the house, from what I gather. I also don't think it is something he is suited for regardless of time/interest. My father was an Eagle Scout as a kid and he worked in construction (well, a skilled electrician) most of his career. He has both the aptitude and skill for this stuff.

I learned a lot of these skills growing up in my father's care (mom and dad divorced when I was 3) and I owned more power tools than DH when we met! LOL

For the last three years, my dad has lived two minutes walking distance from us. I call him when I need help fixing something. Mostly because he is retired and likes to be useful. Also because DH works outside the home and has a commute and would sometimes rather NOT be the one to fix everything. The three of us have done many home improvement projects over the years, even before my dad moved nearby. He'd drive down (9 hours) with his tools when I called with a request. Obviously he was here for more than a HIP!!! LOL

Given his upbringing and career (computer programmer), I think DH is better off in these skills than other men I know who work in office jobs. He could certainly learn some more of these skills and brush up on some others, but I have faith he would learn quickly if the need arose.
post #35 of 618
I can cook from scratch, bake bread from fresh ground wheat, sew, knit, make homemade cleaning products, garden. Thats about it.

subbing. This is a great discussion.
post #36 of 618
I'm in!

I've always wanted to live a back to basics type of life and now I've been able to do it staying home with DS for these past 3 years.
I didn't grow up that way. We had a house in the city, both parents worked, I was a latchkey kid, lived by a microwave, etc. But I've always been very creative and kept myself very busy.

So now.....
We spend most of our time outdoors....DS gets to roam for a few hours every morning and evening. Especially while I'm hanging out clothes in the morning or tying our goats out and in the evening when we let our chickens roam and tend the animals, put the goats up, etc. He just loves running around barefoot and these potty training days, commando. LOL
He picks fresh carrots from the garden and helps drag watermelons in, pick beans, etc.

Here's what we do:

-I cook from scratch-use cast iron, pressure cooker, crock pot, freezing foods to help with nights I might be tempted to eat, make all sorts of mixes from scratch, etc., even grind our own wheat by hand
-Preserve food by drying, canning and freezing-tons of mason jars in my pantry, it's beautiful!
-Keep chickens for eggs and eventually meat
-Keep goats to help keep brush and all at bay
-DH gardens and grows a wonderful variety of veggies and herbs
-Sewing everything from clothes and quilts to diapers - which has helped convert the household to cloth items
-All natural house cleaning
-I'm a soapmaker and have built a small business with this on the side, and it's helped to eliminate a lot of commercial products from our home, we rarely have to buy more than food
-I keep an infant for a friend, earning some extra money and giving me practice for if we have another one
-Use as many non-electric devices as possible
-Hang clothes on the line....not quite adventurous enough to wash by hand yet
-buy second hand as much as possible for lots of reasons
-keep consumption as low as possible...I hate having to find space for 'stuff' and that money is better spent elsewhere

We pretty much tackle anything we can, we're big on DIY and getting things done with what we have on hand or as cheaply as possible.

I do struggle with the aesthetics of the home....it could probably be more cozy, but I struggle with not wanting a lot of clutter or things to dust laying around, cost of dressing up the house, etc.....it's been my latest struggle/adventure.

You know, I find that there are a lot of things I do as a homemaker that I'd classify as a struggle/adventure. LOL Can't be too fun without a little challenge, right?
post #37 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
Excellent book. I flipped through this book about a year ago.
post #38 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
Lately, I have been very interested in learning the traditional crafts of homemaking, like quilting, canning, growing, sewing, making candles and soaps. And also the specific details of housecleaning, cooking, and creating a safe, happy, and fun home for my family.

I was reading on another thread in SAHPing about some moms not knowing if they would consider being a housewife after their kids are grown and gone. To me, I think that I will always be the homemaker even after my dd is gone. If I can learn some more traditional crafting, it would make my work more purposeful to me. To feel like I am contributing more to our household. More like in the old days when the Housewife was something to be respected and considered essential for survival.

I also think that with the way our economy is going, there is going to be more of a need for these traditional skills and crafts as families have to find ways to be more self-sufficient.


So let's hear your thoughts!
This is an interesting thread. I guess my thought is that I don't have to be a full time homemaker in the traditional sense to practice and hone "homemaking skills."

I am very interested in quilting, canning, growing, sewing, making candles and soaps, etc.

I like reading and learning about these things very much. I guess I figure I can work full or part time outside of the home, and still be a quilter, sewer, candlemaker, etc, in my recreational time.

I am currently a SAHP, but I'll be returning to work soon. I was interested in these topics even before I had children and before I stayed at home. I guess I don't really see them as homemaking skills but rather artisan crafts, talents, and interests.

These are things that I wish my husband would take an interest in, as well. Someone mentioned the book, "A Handmade Life" in this thread, which is a book written by a man. I think added to the list of skills and talents you mentioned, I would also add woodworking, perhaps, and maybe animal husbandry, and a few other things.

Lastly, I think in these economic times, it will be important to know how to live frugally and do things yourself, which a lot of these skills allow, but I know for me having a paycheck which brings a steady income is more reassuring right now with falling 401ks and increasing unemployment.
post #39 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
I don't know that I belong on this thread or not, but this stuck out to me because my DH can build or fix just about anything, household, car, etc. He takeson projects he's never done before by reading a little bit about them (like when he tinkered with our plumbing and added a whole house filter, or replaced our hot water heater), and then it's like he just knows what to do. It's amazing to me.

As for me, I love to bake, and I like to cook. I can mend things if I need to, but beyond that I don't sew things from scratch; I do know how to use a maching so I could learn to sew more if I needed to. I learned how to knit this year but haven't practiced nearly enough; I did enjoy it, though. I like to do fun crafty things with the kids.

I do not like cleaning (but it gets done), I'm not real big on decorating (uh, very minimally here), and I have a black thumb for growing things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
My husband is interested in learning traditional skills too. He knows basic household carpentry, window work, auto repair. He is very much a DIYer and likes to learn new things. He is an excellent outdoorsman and is very experienced in camping, survival, orienteering, and basic field first aid.

He can't out-fish me though!


I also just put out my fall decorations and Halloween stuff, since I love this time of year so much!
I am hoping to get a bushel of apples next month and can some applesauce!
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
I LOVE Back to Basics. I want a copy of my own someday. It's awesome!

Also subbing.

And here's another thought...do your DPs know traditional skills (or want to learn) like carpentry, basic plumbing, car repair, etc.?


I am so glad to see the interest in husbands/men homemaking and householding skills.

I also like that the book "A Handmade Life" was mentioned because the author is male. It's interesting to see a male perspective.

I really wish my DH would take interest in some of these things (he has sometimes) but it would be something that we could share if he did take interest.

Anyway, it also reminds me of my original thought that this topic is not "women's work" in any way and that you can have employment outside of the home and still be a homemaker and interested artisan type creative skills.

I actually like having skills in the job world and in the world of homemaking. One difference I see is that sometimes women give up or forego outside employment in order to pursue homemaking, but men rarely do.
post #40 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
Oh, I totally agree that you don't have to a be a SAHM to be a homemaker!
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by knittinanny View Post
Subbing. I'm a homemaker, but not a SAHM or a SAHW. I work full-time outside the home and unfortunately will continue to do so after we have children (I make twice as much money as my partner and will always, since he's a preschool teacher). I don't think that being a homemaker and SAH full-time necessarily go hand-in-hand - there's many different ways to make a home!


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