Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Homemaking skills

Homemaking skills, what they are and how we learn them, is a topic I've been thinking about for awhile. I was very intrigued when I came across this blog post via Jamie. The author asserts the value of "old fashioned" homemaking skills, explaining why they are dying out, as well as why they have made a resurgence in popularity. She also gives links to resources for those who want more information.

Here are the six skills she details, with my personal "report card" following each.

sewing--(C) Both my mom and sister are talented in this area, but I seem to have little knack or patience for it. I want to want to sew--I just don't enjoy it. I of course had home ec in junior high, and then I took sewing lessons a couple years ago (a Christmas gift from my husband, in which I was taught by a retired home ec teacher!), but I have done minimal projects since.

gardening--(B) My husband gets the credit for this one. He does the research/planning and most of the maintenance and I do the gathering and processing. We're a good team in that way.

canning--(B-) My experience is minimal. I have done this on a couple of occasions with a good friend of mine, Jody. We've made applesauce and strawberry jam (both sealed and freezer), as well as small batches of apple pie filling and spaghetti sauce. I'm always amazed by people who put up quarts of all kinds of produce to last through the winter!

cooking from scratch--(B+) Constantly improving. Blogs have been such an inspiration to me in this area, as has the More with Less cookbook. Some of my "made from scratch" recipes can be found here.

knitting and crocheting--(F) Yikes--I definitely don't have these skills! My mother-in-law gave me knitting needles, yarn and a lesson at a local store for Christmas one year (Are you seeing a gift-giving pattern?!) and my scarf, if it can be called such, was quite pitiful. I admire other's handiwork but have little desire right now to try again.

hospitality--(A) Yay, the best for last! My husband and I really enjoy opening our home to others, so this is one skill we're frequently honing. I'm thankful to those who have taught me about gracious hospitality, mainly my mom, sister, and friend Jody.

So, what about you? What's your "report card" on these homemaking skills? How have you learned some of these skills? Are you influencing others by teaching them how to can, knit or sew? I'd love to hear from you!


mom said...

Great post! These are all valuable skills and I'm glad that some people are wanting to keep them alive. :) I never thought about "grading" them, but since you asked -- I'd give myself a B in sewing (time restraints limit how much I do now, but I used to sew clothes for myself, you and Monica), gardening (though our garden isn't doing all that well this year), canning (I used to do more of this), cooking from scratch (I do this daily!), and hospitality. I'd give myself a C- in knitting and crocheting. I know how to do both, but I haven't knitted in years and only occasionally crochet. (I prefer crochet to knitting because the results are faster!) Thanks for sharing -- Love you, Mom

Liisa said...

Sewing - (B-) I can sew but am not anywhere near being a seamstress. I wish I was though.

Gardening - (C) My hubby does all our vegetable gardening and I process it. I do the flowers and things at home but continually lose the battle of the weeds.

Canning - (C) I do know how to can and can make jams etc. But I freeze all the salsa and spaghetti sauce I make as I am afraid of not getting the acid content right and ending up with a batch of botulism. So I just don't do it. My hubby also makes all our pickles etc. as he enjoys it and is very good at it!

Cooking from scratch - (B+) I am improving in this area and am continually learning. My hubby had to endure some truly awful meals though for me to learn! Poor guy!

Knitting and Crochetting - (B) I do crochet and love it but I am not an expert and my knitting skills have never progressed beyond the basic stitch.

Hospitality- I don't know what to put here - I love to have company and entertain, provide food and beverages, have guest baskets in my spare room etc. but my hubby does not have a love of hospitality so we do not have company very often.

Well, lots to think about and alot of areas I really need to improve!

Thanks for this post I really enjoyed it.

By the way - this is what the Titus Women group at our church is about - teaching the younger women skills that they may not have learned at home.


Katie said...

Homemaking skills ~ something I wish I would've asked my mom more about during my adolescent years! When I received a cookbook for a gift early in our marriage ~ my dear hubby responded ~ thank you so much! Ha! :-)

As for my report card ~ I must say it is quite humbling on skills, but some effort might make up for the lack of knowledge. :-)
Mine would look like this, I think:
Sewing (C)

Gardening (C)

Canning (F) - I just bought some Mason jars though and plan to ask my grandma-in-law to teach me! =)

Cooking from scratch (B) - I really enjoy this but there's been a lot of 'errors' with the 'trials' - that's Ok!

Knitting and crochet (F) - I need to learn!

Hospitality (B) - We love to host people, but with hubby coming and going, I find I don't invite many people over when the whole family isn't together.

Great post!

ginger said...

Hi, Carrie

I really enjoy reading your posts. I linked to you from Monica's.

Sewing: F: My sister-in-law tried teaching me when I was a teen, but I had no patience for it.

Gardening: B: I have just tried this year and have peppers and herbs growing like crazy.

Canning: Never did it

Cooking from scratch: B+ : I do this a lot

Hospitality: C: I don't have many people over, but I am trying to get better. I'm having a couple of ladies over in awhile for lunch.

ginger said...

I forgot crocheting and knitting:

Crocheting: B+ I used to do a lot of it
Knitting: F I always found this difficult.

Ginger said...


I would really love to see your mother create a blog. I can imagine the wealth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom she could impart. (I just wanted to add this even though it doesn't fit the question.)

autumnesf said...

Nice to "meet" you to Carrie!

Sewing - B - I can but I don't often as I can usually find things cheaper on sale than buying all the stuff (I don't have a stockpile).

Gardening - D - I really want to learn! In Nebraska I could stick tomato plants in the ground and have a bumper crop...but it wasn't me!

Canning - C - I can but I don't do it much now that I don't have all those tomatoes.

Cooking From Scratch - A - would be A+ if I did it a little more often - but I hate dishes.

Knitting and Crocheting- F - havent been able to find someone that can teach an extreme lefty.

Hospitality - D - my husband doesn't like company so we rarely have anyone over.

Amanda said...

I love the post Carrie. These are all skills I wish I had A's in. :)
Sewing-B...I have done a ton of it in the last year, bags, curtains, altering/fixing clothes...I love it.
Canning-C+ with much desire for continueing... I just started doing this in the last year.
Gardening- B...I love our garden, but my husband does more of the 'dirty work,' but we try to do most of it together.
Cooking from scratch-B...I enjoy to experiment and I just joined a coop to help me get more great ingredients.
Knitting- F, crochetting B...I know how to crochet and use to do a lot of this, but haven't in a few years.
Hospitality- B-... I love to do it, but know I could do more. :)

Mary Ann said...

What a fun post, Carrie!
Here are my grades:
Sewing(B)-I am a decent seamstress and can sew beginner to intermediate clothing and projects. My mom and sister have taught me the basics-both are accomplished home seamstresses!). But mostly I've learned by lots of trial and error and experience.

Gardening(C)-I keep trying. Some things work, some don't.

Canning(B)-I haven't done a lot of canning yet but had good success with what I have done-pickles, applesauce, apple butter, potato soup mix(with help from my sister) and strawberry jam. The Ball Blue Book of Canning is very helpful!

Cooking from scratch(A)- I love to cook and bake and am considered to be pretty good at it. I am constantly looking for ways to help others, especially young wives, to learn this valuable skill.A new friend came over last weekend to learn to bake bread.

Knitting and crocheting(F)-I know barely the minimum in knitting and nothing in crocheting. I desperately want to learn to knit. My mom makes beautiful intricate crocheted doilies and so far neither of her daughters has picked up that skill.

Hospitality(A-) -My husband and I both love to have others over. I give myself an A-minus in this because I've fallen off the bandwagon lately and have not been as hospitable as I should be.

Tracy said...

sewing--(A) I took a class in 7th grade, and then sewed a few things that summer that DID NOT fit. I forgot all about it until several years ago. I'm happy to say that I can now tackle most patterns given enough time!

gardening--(C) I take care of the flowers for the most part while Hubby does the veggies.

canning--(F) I've never even tried, though I want to very badly. The jars are expensive to start, and it scares me!

cooking from scratch--(A+) I LOVE to cook and feel so good about feeding my family.

knitting and crocheting--(F and B) Knitting, is a disaster for me, but I can crochet some.

hospitality--(D) I used to entertain all of the time. Then my grandma moved in with us and the entertaining stopped cold. I got tired of her acting put out when we would have guests and called it quits. Oh, how I long for the days when we could fellowship around the table with other saints.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Love this post, Carrie.

Sewing--C--I can do it, but I don't enjoy it

Gardening--D--I might like it better if I lived in a different climate

Canning--C--I think about doing this, but rarely act on it

Knitting/Crotching--F--maybe I'll try it one day.

Cooking from scratch--A

Hospitality--A (I'm generally much better at this in the fall, winter, and spring than I am in the summer!)

Ewokgirl said...

Sewing (B)- I'm trying. I've sewn some gifts recently, and I've received compliments. I have several other projects lined up. All are simple, which helps boost my confidence.

Gardening (F)- I tried this year. Tried and failed. All my veggies died tragic deaths.

Canning (D-)- I attempted this last year. It was kind of pointless, but I succeeded with one thing that I canned. Canning doesn't make much sense without a garden.

Cooking from Scratch (A+)- I love to cook and bake bread. My bread is much anticipated by friends at Christmas.

Knitting and Crocheting (F)- Don't know how; don't want to learn.

Hospitality (B-)- I don't really like entertaining in my home, but I do it when called for. The stormtroopers like hanging out here, so I guess that's a good thing. And I've been told by more than one person that my house feels peaceful, so I guess that's an accomplishment.

gail said...

good post carrie!
i'm ok at most of these, but am trying to get better with some. cooking from scratch, sewing and hospitality are my priorities to get an A+ on. gardening we are putting on the backburner since we're moving to an apt with no patio or deck. knitting i enjoy and am learning how to do more than scarves and dishcloths. and canning, i've done, but just don't have an interest in doing it.

i think you should go with your interests and your talents. maybe you can barter some sewing things for your homemade pies or something.

ps: i agree your mom should start a blog. we'd all love to hear from her. i always love seeing her comments.

Ewokgirl said...

Wanted to add: Have you read Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson? It's a wonderful book about the spiritual aspects of daily housework. I love that it is a Christian book without an agenda, as so many of the other Christian housekeeping books tend to have. It's really just about the beauty and godliness of taking care of one's home.

Linds said...

Good post Carrie!

First I'll say that before Mud-man and I were engaged I didn't cook at all and I sewed only a little, the rest I've been learning.

Sewing (B)-I love to do it, but I'm often sloppy and hurry through things.
Gardening (C)-I'm sure trying but it's a lot of work. Flower gardening would be an F
Canning (B) - I'm learning but just beginning, it's very addicting I think :)
Cooking From Scratch (A+) I only say this because we really don't have a choice with all the allergies, we cannot buy most prepackaged food.
Knitting and Crocheting- (A-)I enjoy knitting and have learned a lot in the last year. Crocheting however I cannot do...at all!
Hospitality- (C) This makes me sad. I do so want to have people in to our home and work on make our home a place where people feel welcome...why don't I do it, I'm not sure.


Angela - Life w/ One Busy Boy said...

Ok - here it goes...

Sewing: B: I'm pretty decent...but sometimes too quick and my lines are as straight as they should be.

Gardening: B- : I could do better w/ weeds. :)

Canning: C: I've done it a few times...nothing fancy...would like to try some more risky items and produce in large quantities.

Cooking from scratch: B+ : I love to cook and think I'm pretty good at it. Especially baking.

Hospitality: A: I get a lot of compliments in this area. I love to have people over and think this is my spiritual gift.

Thanks for the fun way to take a look at places we can all improve.

A, B & C said...

Wow! What a great post.

I'll just start with the worst and work my way up...

I'd get an F in knitting/crocheting and also an F in canning... I've never done either one.

I'd get a B- in sewing. I enjoy it, but just never find the time.

I'd give myself a B for cooking from scratch (mostly baked goods) and also in gardening, since I love my colorful window boxes.

Finally, an A for hospitality. We have big parties four or five times a year, have lots of get togethers for holidays, and seem to have people over for dinner parties at least twice a month. I love it. And... just thinking aobut it... I should post more about it!

Thanks for the reminders to sew more and maybe learn something about canning and knitting!

Jamie said...

I'm glad you liked the post. Wasn't it a good one? I pretty much only gave myself good grades on gardening and cooking from scratch! Sewing, canning, and knitting and crocheting are all pretty much failing grades! :-)

Melody said...

This will be interesting...

Sewing- I would give myself a D. I have sewn before, in high school, but my projects didn't exactly turn our wonderful. I can sew a button or sew a seam if I have too. I can also sew a stitch on a scrapbook page. :)

Gardening- I would give myself an F because I have never really done it. I have a strong desire to have a garden but it didn't happen this year.

Canning- Another F, also something I would love to do.

Cooking from Scratch- I will give myself an A on this one. I love to cook and I love to bake. I can do both from scratch.

Knitting and Crocheting- Here is another thing I would love to do but alas an F also.

Hospitality- I guess I will give myself a B- on this. I love to have people over it just doens't happen that often because of our location and because I want my house to be perfect even though it obviously can not be.

I think of all the ones I would want to work on the most Hospitality would have to be the main one followed closely by knitting.

Amy said...

Oh no! A report card on myself? Hmmm??

Sewing- D- I took a sewing basics course and have not touched my sewing machine since.

Gardening- B- I try very hard to garden, but I am still learning how to do it. We did plant tomatoes and herbs this year and they look really good.

Canning- D- I have only canned once, I just don't make the time to do it, but every summer I wish I would make the time for it.

Knitting/Crotching- B- Am teaching myself how to do this stuff with the help of my mother-in-law. I haven't done anything major like a sweater yet though :)

Cooking from scratch- A. I totally rock this category, wish should make up for my lack of canning and sewing desires ;)

Becky said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog today to read this fun post! It really made me think about how lacking I am in some of these skills.

My own report card is pretty embarrassing. Hopefully in the next few years I can work on some of these things. I did my own report card on my blog.