Creative Homemaking - finding your skills

Seeing as I have been married thus far only 3 and a half wee years, I am still in the process of finding out what I am good at and what I am not as a creative homemaker. I'll try my hand at anything at least once and that is what I've been doing. When I say "creative homemaker" I'm talking about the different things that stay at home mums may sometimes find the time to be able to do. Generally these tasks used to be done out of necessity but nowadays we tend to do it just to bless our families and even as a hobby, though necessity does play a part sometimes. Some of these tasks include but are not limited to; baking, sewing toys and clothing, fruit and veg gardening, DIY home decoration and providing fun (non-electronic) games and activities for children. Basically anything you do to make life nicer, more sustainable or more fun for your family.

There is only so much one can do, but there is no end to how much we can try out from time to time. You'll find what you enjoy, what you do not, what your naturally capable of, what takes more work and how to tie a bit of everything into your repertoire. Ive tried a bit of most things and I can't say I'm a jack of all trades, nor am I a king of just one, as they put it. I'm still finding my feet. Successes and failures all taken in my stride.

Today I had a bit of both. I had a rare day where just about everything around the house was done and I had a reason to delve into the creative side of homemaking. My husband had asked me to make "Escargots" which are his favourite pastry from bakers delight. He had no further information available than that my dear male. I did not know the ingredients, I had never even seen one before, and I learned from google that the word Escargot is french for "snails" so I was really confused until I looked up "snail pastries" and finally discovered it was a danish pastry filled with custard and raisins with an icing sugar glazing. Sounds do-able, until I found that danish pastry is a rather challenging looking 3 hour process! I decided to try a shortcut recipe I had found and hope for the best. They ended up a hit with both him and the in-laws! I didn't do to badly at all! It was well worth the effort and there are plenty left for tomorrow and the next day before they go stale.

Next was my sewing endeavors. I rarely take to my sewing machine because as Ive mentioned I always have trouble with it and I so far have been quite un-skilled at everything Ive tried on it. But a family member had a baby boy a few weeks back and I wanted to make a little gift for him as well as our soon-coming son (due in July!). I decided to make two of the same very very simple thing. A small (my hand size) stuffed giraffe with a few silky taggys for the mane and tail. I printed a free, simple template off the Internet, gathered my materials and got to work. I wanted to try working off a simple template to see how I would go seeing as Ive always just winged it with creations that haven't turned out perfectly.

A few hours later, which is embarrassing as this was supposed to be a rather simple project, I had one giraffe with a missing ear, and another giraffe with both ears, but a beak-like nose/mouth, wonky taggies and a bit of a messed up closing hem. Oh dear. I worked so carefully and so slowly on them all I could do was sigh. I was both disappointed and somewhat angered at the waste of time. I certainly will not be giving either of them as a gift to my family member. One for my son when he arrives and the other for my daughter since she is too young to notice the imperfections.

Then a wonderful thing happened. I was feeling a little sorry for myself and decided to have some lunch in which time I took a picture of our daughter and mms'd it to my husband (he loves to get pictures of her enjoying her day while he is at work). She had the toy giraffe on the table next to her. He knew I had been planning to make them and he spotted it in the picture and responded "hey you made the giraffe! nice one!" to which I sent him a proper picture of them and responded: "they both turned out messed up, one is missing an ear as you can see and the other is just...wrong. :-( I wont be giving either of them as a gift." To which my lovely hubby responded "but you made them. That's a win in my creativity books. And seriously, nothing beats homemade toys! Yaaayyy!" Then when he got home he went and had a look at one, just to see what I had made, because I made it. Nawwww.... Failure sometimes causes me to loose the will to try, at least for a season, but his attitude picked me up and gave me hope instantly!

I wanted to share this with you because I think we can all be encouraged by it. You may sew a toy, bake a cake, plant some seedlings, or make up a game for your kids to enjoy and it just doesn't work out quite right or even goes extremely wrong. But take joy in knowing that YOU MADE IT. You tried your best and your family love that you tried, even when they don't say it. When you do something to bless others it may not always be perfect, but it doesn't have to be. Things that don't turn out perfect you just learn from. Today I learned that I am better off trying to sew something larger. Those giraffes were so small that they were very very fiddly to sew and work with and I think that's why they didn't turn out. Just too fiddly a job for me. Next time Ill try something much bigger but still as simple.

Then there are the times you succeed greatly, like my Escargot's today. Those moments make you feel good, use them to keep on with your creative homemaking endeavours!

Everyone is good at something but you'll never know until you give it a try. Everyone is also capable of learning things that they aren't immediately good at. This takes trial and error but keep at it and you'll see results in at least one or two areas! So far I'm finding that I am doing quite well at cooking. Be it special meals or baking treats I tend to get it at least okay but generally quite good. Sewing on the other hand is definitely something I would have to learn slowly. I don't have the time to delve into it as much as Id like to because I'm very very slow at it so its on the back burner for now. But I know Ive made attempts, and I'm satisfied with that, for now.

One lady I heard of had a rather interesting creative talent... lets call her Marie. she would make up lunches for her child to take to school. One for her child, and a few others for the canteen. The canteen would actually auction off these marvelous beautiful lunches to other parents (for their kids) and some of the lunches would go for $50-$100!!! The money went into the schools cooking program that they had going for kids interested in baking and cooking. I don't know what was in those lunch bags, but they must have been very pretty and tasty meals for that amount! How unique! Marie apparently could not organise her home to save her life and another woman from the school traded her organisation skills in exchange for Marie's cookery mastery for her twins birthday party. So Marie created a party food extravaganza for her friends two daughters and received training and practical help getting her home beautifully organised in return.

so we all have different talents and abilities and we ought to use them to bless each other when the opportunity presents itself. Again it does take time to zone in where your skills lay and then to fine tune them a little but that's no problem, your family will enjoy the benefits of your practice runs!

Whatever it is you've been putting off for fear of failure, make it a short-term goal to just dig your heels in and give it a fair shot. What have you got to loose but a bit of ego? I mean there is a difference between setting the kitchen on fire every time you try to bake a dessert or pastry, or just having a few inconvenient hiccups along the learning path. Sometimes we are better off quitting if after much effort it just is not happening. Asking the Lord's wisdom on our creative goals is important. I am reminded of Psalm 127:1 which mentions that unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain. I believe that includes what we do within our home and with our time. We don't want to waste our time, money and energy on something that clearly is not going to improve. BUT we ought to have at it long enough to say "I really did try, and I really did all I could".

So remember, prayerfully apply this old saying... If at first you don't succeed, try try again!

Proverbs 31:13

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.