Sunday, June 17, 2012

What is provident living?

My parents always taught us to be independent--to decide for ourselves, solve our problems creatively, and to make it work (maybe that's why I like Tim Gunn, besides the lovely suits).  My dad was a public school teacher and my mom worked a business out of the home which basically means we never had a lot of money, our clothes were handmade or hand-me-down, and the latest whatever came nowhere near our olive green carpeted apartment.  Despite what to some might seem an impoverished childhood, I was a happy child with a great childhood.  Why? 

Quite simply, it comes down to the fact that my parents were actively involved in our lives and didn't let us use the lack of something to hold us back or be our excuse for quitting.  Maybe that's why I love quilting and sewing and canning.  Maybe that's why I see the work of re-purposing something (or upcycling as the trend is now called) as a challenge to my creativity and intelligence.  Garage sales and thrift shops are treasure hunts.  Dare I say it's kind of fun?

So, what's this all about?  Well, I was helping one of my sister's set up her blog, Sound the Note, where she wants to cover information and tutorials that fall under the genre of provident living.  Of course, that led to a discussion as to what that really meant.

A poster from WWII, still a good habit to follow.
We both agreed that it is a lifestyle that allows the individual or family to be self-sufficient, independent and wisely using all resources.  This could include anything from being prepared to take care of oneself during a natural disaster to recycling aluminum foil to conserve resources and energy to using dinner leftovers instead of throwing them away to cleaning up the clutter in your house to paying off debt.

You know I had to bring up the fact that quilters are a fabulous example of this lifestyle--we cut up fabrics, often from old clothing, save our scraps, and take what is a utilitarian item, a blanket, and make it into a piece of art.  And that sewers often give clothing a make-over, so that it will fit a new size or become a new, more stylish item.  (I just finished re-making a camp shirt into a blouse!)

Here's ten things I'm trying to do this year:

1.  Eat all the food on my plate--so if I can't eat that much, take less instead of wasting it.
2.  Walk to the post office and store rather than take the car (I really don't live that far away).
3.  Don't forget the fabric grocery bag--I've got a lovely new one from the Green Bag Lady.
4.  Take a smaller glass of water instead of drinking half and then pouring out the rest. 
5.  Re-make or re-purpose at least ten items of clothing for myself or others.  (2 down, 8 to go!)
6.  When possible, have my shoes re-soled instead of tossing in the trash and buying new.
7.  Make/try my own hair cleanser/conditioner and deodorant in re-usable containers.  (And it works!)
8.  Use fabric I already own for at least 60% of every quilt, craft or clothing project.
9.  Watch half the amount of television--substituting the reading of skill-based books instead.
10.  Learn two new skills. 

So what do you do to live a provident lifestyle? Or, what do you wish you knew how to do to practice provident living?
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  1. Growing up, that WWII poster was a mantra at our house, except it had an extra line:

    Use it up!
    Wear it out!
    Make it do!
    Or do without!

    I always hated the last part. LOL

    And I lived {mostly} this way until somewhere in the 90s I was so busy with kids, house, job, etc. it seemed like too much trouble. But I think that attitude caused a lot of trouble too, and now I'm moving back toward a making do attitude.

    One thing I'm finding with quilting is that even the smallest scraps have potential. I'm using the leftover triangles from my Swoon block to create a mug rug for a swap. It takes a little effort, but it's worth it.

    I think I've come full circle.

  2. I upcycle clothing all the time...especially for my daughter as she loves unique one-of-a-kinds.

    I use all my scraps sewing them together to make "new" fabric like my header on my blog.

    My friend and I take turns every other week driving to the gym so between that and doing earrands on work days I usually just have to fill up my tank once a month.

    We have a veggie garden....I need to learn how to can more than just Company Best Pickles!:) We do freeze tomatoes and peppers.

    Made over 45 grocery bags giving family 4 each one xmas. Used leftover black denim...don't know why I had black denim!! All our vehicles have at least 5 reusable grocery bags.

    Recycle and Compost!;)

  3. I do provident living, but mainly because I'm broke! Any old clothes are kept to be sewn into something new and we make do and mend as much as possible.

    I made a load of fabric shopping bags from The Green Bag Lady (I won one in her giveaway last year!) and hand them out to anyone that asks. I'd never pick up a plastic bag in a shop.


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