"It is possible," she keeps saying in Chapter 5 of The Hidden Art of Homemaking. It is possible to learn to weave your own cloth. It is possible to make your own pottery. It is possible to blow your own glass, and all the rest of the things she lists. And then she jumps off into the topic of play houses for children.
She does clarify this, at one point, and says that she's not suggesting that everybody do everything on her list. Which is a good thing.
Crimplene into amazingly nice comforters for MCC.) Woodworking tools, a sewing machine, painting gear all take money and storage space.
"evil sewing machine." However...there are people out there who are even less confident about making stuff than I am. I hear it all the time: "I'm not crafty, not even one little bit." "I couldn't do that." "Who has time?" Sometimes, like me, "Who has money?" And whose fault is that? Could it possibly be craft gurus in the magazines and on TV who have turned Making Stuff into something that needs an advanced degree, a special studio, a whatsit machine from Michael's before we can even think of starting? Even Edith may inadvertently scare us away when she starts talking about pottery wheels and glass blowing.
But look at her bigger picture. Even look ahead to the gardening chapter, where she's talking about growing morning glories in a rooftop garden, during the Depression. A packet of flower seeds and an old tub didn't set the Schaeffers back much; but it was more than most people would have thought of doing. Remember that list of nouns? Imagination, beauty, connection with the natural world and so on. Rather than wilting with intimidation before those with better tools, bigger budgets, or longer-honed skills, look at the small places you could start. I personally can't keep houseplants alive, but you might find joy in a pot of African violets or basil or cactus. (I have a lovely pot of artificial flowers (see photo) that I bought on clearance at Michael's, and both its cheerful colours and the fact that I don't have to water it make me very happy. Also, Dollygirl made a very realistic vaseful of tissue-paper flowers from the directions in a Klutz book.)
my post last year about the online book Mary at the Farm? Mary gets a lesson in "you could turn these old faded clothes into something beautiful" from her Aunt Sarah. (I've never figured out why she hauled a trunk of unwearables along on a summer visit, but whatever.) She's getting married and wants to make her house beautiful; Aunt Sarah points out the possibilities for recycling skirts and dresses into comforters and "collar bags."
"Mary, sometimes small beginnings make great endings; if you make the best of your small belongings, some day your homely surroundings will be metamorphosed into what, in your present circumstances, would seem like extravagant luxuries. An economical young couple, beginning life with a homely, home-made rag carpet, have achieved in middle age, by their own energy and industry, carpets of tapestry and rich velvet, and costly furniture in keeping; but, never—never, dear, are they so valued, I assure you, as those inexpensive articles, conceived by our inventive brain and manufactured by our own deft fingers during our happy Springtime of life..." ~~ Mary at the FarmAs Edith points out in other parts of the book, she just wants people to have spaces to live in that make them feel happy, safe, encouraged, connected; that turn dull and same into original and beautiful. Beautiful can cost a lot, but it can also be cheap or free. Beautiful can take huge talent and lots of time, or it can be a quick perk-up with some paint. And since what's simple for me might not be for you (something I could run through my sewing machine vs. something you could nail together in your workshop), having that common goal gives us an extra opportunity to work together and maybe inspire each other.