Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It All Started With a Purse

I've had this purse pattern that I bought online a few months ago just  staring at me as I diligently worked on my Christmas presents for everyone. Now that I'm done making my Christmas gifts I decided it was time to get started on the purse.

(The bottom is faux tooled leather I bought on

I proudly went to show my handy-work to my husband and he just smiled and said "I never pictured you learning how to sew three years ago. It's great." Three years ago we lived in the city and I didn't know how to sew or do a whole lot of practical things for around the house.

I started thinking about how much I have learned since we moved out here on the ranch and how different my life and home would be if I had never picked up these skills. Since moving out here I've learned about canning, sewing, baking, embroidery, gardening, practical living, how to squeeze even more out of penny and many more useful skills. A lot of that it a huge thanks to my MIL who has patiently answered all my questions along the way. Some of it has just been a curiosity to learn a little more on certain subjects.

Today, most of these domestic skills have been forgotten and never passed down to future generations. The city life that I grew up in didn't call for many of these skills and so I never worried about learning them. If something broke you went and bought a replacement, if you were missing an ingredient, the store was just down the road, if your jeans ripped, they went into the garbage and another pair was bought and so on.

I had the basics down and that was all that mattered to me at the time. I knew how to clean a house (we even called my mom Martha Stewart...sorry mom :) I sort of paid attention when my mom was teaching us how to bake so I had a pretty good idea how to do things there. My mom still gets calls from me on how to cook a recipe the right way. I was shown how to patch a piece of clothing up when it was necessary, but never attempted to make anything more. The basics!

Living out here on the ranch is a whole new style of life for me. If you're missing an ingredient, you can't just run to the store, you either substitute or go to the neighbor's in-laws next door and see if they have something that will work. I've always been a thrifty person when it came to money, but my MIL showed me how to look for a good deal, compare prices, and that most of the time the generic brand is just as good as the name brand. I've learned to plant a garden so that when I want a vegetable I can just go out and pick one from the back yard (we're still eating potatoes from the garden). When there is more produce that your family can eat you either can or freeze whatever is left over. I never realized how much money it will save you. I even picked up the skill of refinishing furniture! Instead of going out and buying a whole kitchen table set, I sanded, stained, and sealed the set that has been in my family since I was a little girl and now it looks great!

I've been taught a more practical living and necessary skills to make it out here just like my MIL was taught by her MIL when she came out here to the ranch. I got back to thinking about what my home would be like if I didn't have these skills. I mentally took things away from around the house: sewing projects, embroidered table runners, canned fruit in the pantry, money in the checking account, the hubby's many times patched jeans, my refinished table, and many more things. My house would be a lot emptier and I wouldn't be as proud of it.

THANK YOU to my mom and MIL for teaching me the basics for two different styles of living, now I'll be able to pass them on to my own children!

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