Thursday, December 11, 2008

Week 5 Day 5

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands." Proverbs 31:13

Organization and Laying the Foundation for the Fiber Arts
What do you need to know about sewing and fabrics even if you don't sew?



Organization Tips -- The Kitchen:

"To get your kitchen in good working order, first think of it as a coffee shop -- a gathering place for food, fun, and conversation. Is your kitchen a place where you would like to spend time? Does your family congregate there? Are there good traffic patterns, both for the cook(s) and the spectators? Do people work and visit together easily in there or get in each other's way? Is the light enough for you to work there at night? Is there adequate storage space? Do you have easy access to spices? Do your young kids have easy access to nonbreakable cups and dishes? Is there enough workspace? Are the people who use the kitchen most left- or right-handed? Does anyone have a special physical condition that limits his or her ability to bend or stretch? Analyze your answers to these questions and brainstorm as a family about possible solutions to problem areas.

"Then, rethink your kitchen in terms of work centers -- where you perform specific tasks like cleaning, chopping, cooking, and making lunches. Each center revolves around a major appliance, some storage space, and a work surface. Think of how you can store equipment and food near the center where they'll be used -- pots and pans near the stove, baking good and utensils near the mixer...this will save steps."

From The Family Manager by Kathy Peel.

My note: There are some things about our kitchens that are beyond our control. Unless we are willing to embark on a remodeling project, we will likely have to live with certain traffic patterns and a certain amount of storage space. Any kitchen can work if we give it some thoughtful attention, so there's no room to be discontent with what we have to work with. The key with kitchen organization - as with all home keeping -- is to do the best we can with what we have.

However, we can use Mrs. Peel's questions to spur our thinking. We can borrow ideas from our local coffee shops, restaurants, and commercial kitchens to make our kitchens workable and inviting. The experts who have design commercial eating establishments put a lot of time into studying what is efficient for the workers and is satisfying to the customers. We, too, want to be able to move about our kitchens efficiently and to create satisfying experiences for our families.

For your home keeping notebook: Evaluate your kitchen and jot down what you really like and also some thoughts for improvement.

For your Book of Days: Make a memory with your meal tonight. Write down any thoughts about the time you spend together. Be especially sure to record anything precious that your loved ones say. Take a photo of the family gathered for dinner and of the table you have prepared. You don't need to fix a fancy meal for this. Just revel in the ordinary pleasures of gathering together as a family around the dinner table. You can make happy memories over a plate of sandwiches.

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17

(Note: If you're just joining us, we already looked at the sink as a work station in the kitchen. Check out that article for ideas.)

Challenge for today: Take everything out of one drawer or shelf, clean it out, and re-organize it. I'm going to clean and re-organize the drawer in which I keep spatulas, etc.

2nd Challenge for today: What do your cabinets look like? Do you need to wipe off any splotches of grease or batter? What about wiping cabinet doorknobs?



Preparing for the fiber arts:

Beginner level:

Whether you sew or not, you should keep some hand sewing needles around to sew on buttons, hand-repair rips, etc. Here's a primer on the different types of needles that are available. Needles and pins are fairly inexpensive sewing notions, so it pays to invest a little more for good quality ones that will not damage your fabrics.

Know your hand sewing needles.

I have to darn some tights today, so I thought I'd include this simple video about how to darn. My tights are made of a thinner fiber, so I will use a thinner fiber and a smaller needle than is in the video. Note that darning needles are long needles with eyes large enough for heavy darning thread or embroidery thread. Did you know that instead of using a darning mouse, if you don't have one, you can use a light bulb to hold your work in place while you darn? Don't fall asleep during the video about darning. LOL. I suppose it's hard to make that exciting. But, especially in our current economy, darning is a useful skil to know.










What do you need to know about the fiber arts even if you don't sew? Notice that the worthy or virtuous wife looks for wool and flax. This implies to me that she searches for fine quality materials. Even if you do not sew as she does, you can learn how to distinguish the quality of fabrics and whether or not a fabric item is well made or not. Of course, you do not expect the same quality from a Wal-Mart T-shirt as you do from a dress in a higher end boutique. Even if you are paying Wal-Mart prices, however, you should expect a minimum of quality. Otherwise, you may snap something up at a "good price" only to have it fall apart on you after a few washings. Understanding these principles will also be a boon to you if you are a thrift shopper. You'll be able to recognize the real "gems" in the racks of thrift clothing.

1) You should have some familiarity with types of fabrics and their qualities. This will help you when you shop for clothing, upholstery, rugs, etc., and also when it comes to maintaining these items.
2) You should be able to recognize whether a fabric object is constructed well or not. You should be able to look at seams and tell if they are well done and whether the fabric has been cut and put together properly.

One way to learn about fabrics is to visit a fabric store. Even if you don't intend to purchase any fabrics, look at the labels on a fabric bolt and note the texture and feel of the fabric on the bolt.

You should also learn how to iron and how to press -- the two are slightly different. You should know how to work with fabrics in the cleaning and drying process.

NOTE: I INCLUDED THESE VIDEOS ABOUT IRONING FOR BEGINNER LEVEL KEEPERS AT HOME. HOWEVER,I'VE BEEN IRONING FOR MANY DECADES NOW, AND I PICKED UP SOME TIPS. SO, EVEN IF YOU ARE AN ADVANCED HOMEMAKER, YOU MIGHT ENJOY SOME OF THESE.

THESE ARE ALL SHORT VIDEOS. OF COURSE, MANY OF US IN MY GENERATION BUY CLOTHING THAT DOESN'T NEED A LOT OF IRONING. YOU CAN ESPECIALLY AVOID A LOT OF IRONING IF YOU ARE QUICK TO TAKE YOUR CLOTHING OUT OF THE DRYER. HOWEVER, WITH A RETURN TO NATURAL FABRICS AND LINE DRYING, IRONING IS BECOMING A LARGER PART OF OUR LIVES ONCE AGAIN. MY CHILDREN ACTUALLY IRON QUITE A BIT.

I LOVE THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE WOMAN IN THE APRON. SHE REALLY MAKES ME WANT TO IRON SOMETHING RIGHT NOW. THAT'S SAYING A LOT. LOL.



















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