Grounding. Soothing. Gentle. Crafted. Mindful. All words I would describe using handmade items in our home. I become more thoughtful about the items I am using, remembering making them or wondering about the people who have made them. As they move through my hands or as I wear them there is gratitude.
I hope you find my four tips helpful in some way.
1. Create a stash for future projects. eg. building materials, fabric, sewing materials and yarn.
Tip: In Australia the wool factories often have sales at the start of summer, I stock up then.
Get a Spotlight card (VIP club member), and always use it, you will save a lot of money and keep an eye out for the sales. You can also buy from Spotlight online and use your card discount. (This isn’t a paid sponsorship, I’m sharing this tip because I’ve saved $100’s using the card and not everyone knows about it.)
2. Can you choose a handmade option when something needs replacing.
We all start somewhere. What is important to you? What would you like to change to handmade? What do you already have that you would like to build on?
For me one thing I wanted to focus on was having more handmade items in my wardrobe and in my daughter’s wardrobe. This is now a life long project. I have made dresses, scarves, shawls, tops, poncho’s, cowls and hand warmers. See the previous blog post for my Fairy Wren Cottage hand warmers pattern and also the Homemaking & Handmade category at the top of the page for inspiration.
Some other things I make for the cottage:
Crochet or knitted dish cloths. Curtains. Cushion and Pillow covers. Aprons. Bread Bags. Christmas bags – eco alternative to single use wrapping paper – the easy to follow tutorial is in the Homemaking and Handmade category at the top of the page.
3. What can you make using what you already have?
The front cushion above is made from a vintage tablecloth. We are about to take down timber shelving in our laundry to make way for a clothes drying rack. The timber shelving will be taken a part and reused to make a cabinet elsewhere in the cottage. Another example; Lil has made puppy dog chew toys from old clean tshirts. Step by step it all adds up.
4. Focus on what you can do.
What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing or wanting to learn about. Making something hand made that is cost effective is a good motivator.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If you can’t afford to replace something and it is important for you to have handmade, save up. Michael and I have never been afraid to go without or making do while saving up, we sleep better at night and not worried about a credit card debt. It’s good for our relationship too, less stress and more focus on working together on our goals.
Keep in mind house hold furniture like tables, chairs and dresser drawers are often cheaper and made out of solid timber vs new furniture made from mdf or prefabricated materials that cost much more.
Not everything in our home is handmade, although most of the doors, windows, kitchen, beds, cabinets, wardrobes and shelving are. Yes, Michael is a carpenter but it was also cheaper for him to make these things, they are better quality and like all good things it has taken time. Yes, it’s great that he is able to make these things but it does mean sacrificing family time, relaxation time and fitting these projects in between paid work and on weekends. For us it is worth it because we prefer handmade, finacially it helps us move forward and it contributes to the way we have chosen to live.
I’m proud of our little handmade cottage and homemaking. I know there is a lot of stigma around homemaking but caring for my home and family is freeing, it saves us money, there is less stress, less debt, we are comfortable and cosy, most of all it gives us freedom to make choices that feel right for us.
Sending Light and Love, Jude x
Tips for a handmade home.
October 7, 2022