Get your craft on

In the wake of the global recession, many people reevaluated their relationship with the goods and services they had relied on. Many people found they could no longer afford the luxuries, conveniences and services they had used before, and some questioned if their reliance on these had reduced their joy in life’s experiences. In incredible numbers, people took a skeptical look at their consumption habits, and many chose to move towards simpler living and producing more of what they wanted.

You can see this trend in the explosion of local foods, home canning, and artisan food producers, from craft beer to sea salt.  You can see it in the desire for people to churn their own butter, raise their own chickens, brew their own beer and keep their own bees.   You can see this trend as traditional crafts like as sewing clothes, quilting, knitting, crochet, and even lace making have grown in popularity, especially among younger people who’s parents or grandparents didn’t pass down their skills to them. What these people share is a desire to reclaim the skills that were lost when convenience took the place of craftsmanship.

The global recession and a slow recovery have helped to nurture a widespread trend toward thrift and reuse, frugality, recycling, architectural salvage and Do It Yourself (DIY).  In fact there’s now a “DIY movement” worthy of the Wall Street Journal to write a thoughtful report. “A confluence of factors is shifting this movement from the fringe to the mainstream, chief among them the anxiety brought on by the Great Recession—DIY is simply cheaper than the alternatives. DIY also seems like the savvy, even chic thing to do at a time when frugality and anti-consumerist sentiment are proliferating. The Internet is also a key factor, helping DIY-ers learn from and inspire each other. And in a world where mass-produced goods dominate, DIY allows for a sense of discovery and a way to stand out from the crowd.”

The role of the internet is undeniable, as sites like Pinterest allow users to share ideas for crafts, and projects, as well as directions and advice.  Sites like ebay and Etsy allow DIY entrepreneurs to sell the fruits of their industrious labors.

Growing in parallel with the DIY movement is the rising interest in sustainable living, urban agriculture, emergency preparedness, homesteading and maker culture. Each of these fields has devoted and knowledgeable experts, many of whom operate insightful and resource rich blogs that offer vast amounts of instructions, details, and guides.

This is not one of those blogs.  We are not experts.  We are learning as we go, seeing what works for us and what doesn’t. This is a journal of our journey, trying to DIY and homestead as best we can in a townhouse, exploring the practicality, frugality, and enjoyability of projects as we work through them.

Our greatest limitations are space and cost. Our home is only 1500 sq feet, we need approval from the homeowners association on anything we want to plant, and we can’t keep any animals beyond house pets, so we won’t have colorful posts about beekeeping and laying hens, unfortunately. Cost is an issue for any project, and we think a bargain is best, so we’ll try to share the costs involved in the projects we cover.

We hope you enjoy sharing this journey with us.

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