Out of all the people in my family, I take after my grandmother the most. We're both crafty in all sorts of ways (knitting, sewing, painting, etc.). She was very religious and I was talking to vocational directors and actually almost became a religious before I left Catholicism entirely. We were both readers in a family of not-readers.
But one of the other ways I am like her, is that we are both make-do-ers (confession: I'm not sure how to do tenses here; my grandmother is passed away but I am present tense so if I jump back and forth between past and present tense, that's why).
Grandma was born in the late 19teens so her teenage years were during the great depression, and then her twenties had WWII. My teenage years were spent in a shitty neighborhood full of crime and roaches and not enough food to eat, and my twenties were full of dead-end jobs and getting in debt for schooling that didn't get me any better employment and then the economic crash of 2008. So we both learned to adult with not a lot of store-bought consumerism.
My living room curtain is a tapestry I bought in college, tied with my graduation cords from medical assisting school, hung with clothespins on a rope I made myself on a lucet that runs across both sliding glass doors and I also hang laundry on. The lamp base is one of my parents' old lamps from the 80s, with a shade from a lamp of mine where the base broke. The end table is a storage truck turned on its side full of fabric for sewing that is mostly old clothes.
My mom and dad might make things occasionally (my mom knows how to sew but doesn't do it much anymore; my dad knows how to build but likewise), but otherwise, they buy things for a purpose. A curtain is a curtain and you wouldn't use a blanket or a tapestry for a curtain. A curtain rod is a curtain rod and you wouldn't string a homemade laundry line across your living room at all, let alone to hold a curtain. An endtable is an endtable and you wouldn't use a trunk for one. If part of the lamp broke, you'd go buy a new lamp instead of mishmashing two pieces from two broken lamps together. Etc.
A prime example of this is I went with my mom recently to Bed Bath and Beyond because she wanted to buy a new bath mat (as in, the rubber grippy kind for inside the tub, not the rug kind for outside the tub). She wanted a new one because in December she had fallen on ice and had to have surgery on her knee; while she was laid up she wasn't able to clean the bath mat as usual and now she felt it was too gross and wanted a new one.
I gave up bath mats years ago and now use an old towel - one inside and one outside the tub. I don't have purpose-made mats for either end. Mom thinks I'm hella weird for not having proper bath mats. But ya know what, when they're gross I throw them in the washing machine. Easy!
Grandma was like me; having come of age in the era of "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" ...and in a family of THIRTEEN CHILDREN no less ...and then going through the war where there would have been shortages and rations and whatnot as everything was being put toward the war effort, she couldn't just pop down to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy a new whatever she needed. Grandma was always making her own, even when it wasn't financially necessary (though she and Grandpa had seven kids of their own in a two bedroom apartment, so it's not like my mom grew up in luxury). When I was little she kept a drawer of toys for the grandkids that were basically random bits like empty thread spools and milk bottle caps and we thought they were the best building blocks ever. I still keep my thread spools and use them for various crafts! I even used some to build the faeries' chariot.
More than once, I'd mention some craft I was making or thing I was building for myself and Grandma would say "that's wonderful" and other family members were like, "why don't you just buy one?" I would get mocked by family members for not spending while they claimed bankruptcy, from, you know, all the spending they couldn't afford.
Purpose-bought aqua globe on the left, and then once I had the idea, pieced together setup on the right with a ginger ale bottle. I have another one that I took the bulb off a turkey baster and used the long skinny part for the bottom and stuck a plastic bottle in the top. Sometimes I just invert a bottle without a funnel part. All works.
I get a lot of satisfaction by making things for myself. Maybe it's not "fancy" or "proper" or a signal of wealth like buying everything from a store is, but it's unique and colorful and a sign of creativity. I listen to some lifestyle bloggers/vloggers, especially minimalist bloggers, who talk about having a "color palette" for their home of beige and cream and other plain colors, for the aesthetic. Nah. Mine is a patchwork quilt of color and plenty of things to look at, and I love it. 😄
I like it when everything has a story and a reuse and a memory. I like the joy of looking at things I've made. The uniform beige house might be "soothing" to some, but I like my living space to be alive.
Some of the things in my home, my grandma made, and I treasure those too! I have quilts and a painting and various other things she made, and they are among my prized possessions. I mean, do you remember and keep forever the thing you were given from Walmart and treasure it? Or do you remember and keep forever the quilt your grandmother made with her own hands? Yeah. Quilt every time. :)
Can we talk about how beautiful my grandmother was? 💚
So yeah. Even if I was rich, I would still make things for my home. I like it better this way. And bonus: it's eco-friendly to use what you have instead of always buying new. I mean it's not like I wouldn't buy some things if I was rich, of course I would. But I would still get satisfaction out of making and repairing others and continue to do that.
And my home would still be a riot of color. Have a great week, everyone! :)