Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

That ought to be a simple enough concept, don't you think?  It's something we've probably all heard a million times, just in the first decade of life.  But do we really ever listen to these little quips and phrases that our elders toss out periodically?  I don't think we do, at least not as a culture or society.  Everything in our world is disposable, from the utensils and serving ware we use and the napkins we wipe our chins with to our children and our spouses.  We're a society based on instant gratification, and anything that takes work or a time investment must not be worth having.  Wait... what?  Doesn't that sound backwards to anyone else?  Since when has it been the better part of valor to stick your hand out and yell "gimme!!" at the world like a spoiled toddler?  Then, when things don't go our way, stomp our feet, throw a tantrum, and break what we have so we can go get a new one?  That just doesn't sound anything like what my Gramma taught me.  We'd spend hours shelling peas, or peeling apples, or stewing grapes.  We'd spend days in the kitchen canning, freezing, and jellying.  We'd sit on the back steps and skin frogs, clean fish, and dress squirrels.  We'd get up super early to chase chickens out of the roost so we could get eggs for breakfast, go down to the well for water, and spend afternoons quilting, piecing, and mending.  No, I'm not over 65.

What happened to that?  I know we all wear rose-tinted glasses when it comes to our childhood.  Well, a lot of us do at least to a certain extent.  But I remember doing this as late as 1994-1995, when I was 14-15.  I wasn't a totally typical teen, but I was obnoxious and obstinate.  You'd think I'd balk at doing all that stuff that resembled work, but I loved the time with my Gramma, and I still adore cooking and crafting.  I hope that I can bring half of the skill she taught me to the table when I start this new venture.  My friend Terri said that it's amazing what comes back to us once we start using it again.  I sure hope she's right, because I'm going to need all the help I can get!

I'm excited, though.  Excited and a little scared.  I don't want to fail at this.  I've got some really high standards to live up to.  My Gramma was a trooper and as role models go, I don't think many people could've had a better role model than her.  She worked hard from before sun up till after sun down.  She never complained, and she's the reason why they lived as well as they did on a sergeant's pension.  I never once heard her complain, either.  She believed that anything worth having was worth hard work, and you only get out of a life what you've put into it.  The gods never did give her half of what she put in, I don't think, but that never deterred her, either.  I really want to make her proud, and I want to take good care of my husband.  He's never had an easy row to hoe, himself, in my opinion.  I want to be able to take the hoe from him for a while and let him go sit in the shade for a minute with a glass of lemonade.  I've hoed some overgrown rows, and none of them have made me turn around, yet.  I don't plan to let this one get the best of me, either.  I want to take this situation that could be tough, and make it into something we can both be happy with.  I want to be my Gramma :-)

In the waste not, want not vein of thought, I was thinking about all the change that we basically throw in the trash can every time we use a paper towel.  I've been packing a lot recently, too, trying to get as much done before he get's home as possible.  That way, when he does finally get here, all I have to do is load up and roll out.  (But I'm not excited at all... it's only over a month away.  YeeeeeEEEeeeEEEe!!!  It's like waiting for Christmas!!)  I've been paring down my collection of stuff, too.  Particularly clothes.  I've lost 85 lbs since the end of 2009, so I have a lot of stuff that just absolutely does not fit anymore.  While rummaging around and tossing stuff, I found a stack of kind of dingy old white t-shirts.  I am supposed to wear them under my uniform in summer, but I usually wear wife-beaters instead.  T-shirts are just too blamed hot in these Georgia summers.  By summer, I mean anything after February, pretty much.  I was going to toss the t-shirts in the Goodwill basket, when I checked the label:  100% cotton.  Sweet!  I knit, crochet, and sew, and I was thinking about getting some fabric or yarn to make some dishrags, towels, and napkins out of, but I've decided to hack up my old t-shirts instead.  They're plain white, so the bottom rectangle of the shirts are going to become napkins and paper towel substitutes.  I can dye or embroider them, if I'm feeling really artsy-craftsy.  The irregularly shaped yokes and sleeves will become dust rags and cleaning cloths.  I've started cutting them up, but I probably won't get them hemmed till I move.  Everything is boxed up, right now, with the exception of a few hanks of yarn and some knitting books.  But it's a start on that waste not, want not.  I wonder what other stuff I can repurpose or reinvent out of my old clothes and other bric-a-brack?

I'll try to take pictures of projects as I go.  I may not get them all up until after I move, but we'll see.


  1. I was thinking about these t-shirts the other day...Some of the scraps could be cut and braided into rugs as well. They could dyed any color you chose. Dyeing is simple enough and works very well (just wear gloves! I once went to a party in a beautiful forest green sweater freshly dyed...with hands that matched, lol!).

    Come over to the house when you've a spare day and look over my vintage Woman's Day magazines. There are features on how to make over furniture, how to make old pieces of clothing into new. In fact, if you need a sewing machine, Katie had an extra one she left here and told me to use as I wanted. I could give it to you. It's just a basic model.

  2. I love looking at those old articles. They had some creative ways to cut costs, especially in the 40's. I will be changing to days next week, so maybe we'll have a coinciding day or two :-)

    I might have some books on natural dyes, too. Boxed up... like everything else. A basic model would be directly proportional to my skill level! ;-) very basic. That would be wonderful!


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