My home growing up was filled with handmade items. We had quilts laying around that my grandmother had made. Every year my aunt sent us pillowcases that she had embroidered Aunt Martha’s designs on. My mother sewed my clothes on and off for years while I was younger. And up until she passed away, my grandmother Ida would come stay with us and I don’t think we had a visit where she wasn’t making things while she was visiting.
When I went to visit extended family, their homes too were filled with the same sorts of things. My grandmother’s home in Oregon was overflowing with things that she had made or other family members had made. I remember the back bedroom with this tiny little bed perfect for my 8 year old self. Overflowing from it were little handmade dolls and stuffed animals and other crazy creatures. The bedding, from the pillowcase to the bedcovers, were made by the hands of those that surrounded me in that house. But in those memories I don’t honestly remember my mom or grandmother sitting much with me in an organized fashion and sewing. Maybe I didn’t have any interest at the time. I honestly can’t remember. But I do know that this life surrounded by handmade things was very natural.
Fast forward to today and I’m still surrounded by things that either I’ve made or things passed down to me and to my children. My daughter pulled out my old life size Annie doll – complete with all her matching clothes from the 1980’s movie. I sat there thinking about this doll and the connection that she is to a woman that I dearly miss. And I thought about this home that we’ve made for our children complete with a mix of things handmade and store bought.
I wonder at what point handmade things became this Pinterest thing and not merely a natural thing in our homes? At what point did life transition from making things as a fact of life to making things as a hobby or to be fashionable? When I was growing up it was not unheard of to have toys that your grandparents or even parents had made. It was becoming a little odd, but definitely not something that we felt like we needed to write up a tutorial for to share with the world. We’ve lost such a connection to making things as necessity that the necessity has become that we make a tutorial or a pattern or teach a lesson or find a class.
I’m thankful for this connection that I have to my past generations. And I’m thankful that making in our house has become a little more natural of a thing. Because that’s what making is. It’s not a skill that someone possesses and someone else doesn’t. It’s something that all of us are able to do. We are all makers and designers. Whether we make things with metal, fabrics or food.