Monday, May 12, 2008

new and modern

Disclaimer: The post is a little more rant-like than I usually write, but I'll be back to general craftiness soon.

I recently found this old sewing book, The New Encylopedia of Modern Sewing. It must have belonged to E's grandmother or greatgrandmother. I love reading through it, finding language or ideas that make it apparent that it was published in 1942.

It touts sewing your own clothes as a means of conservation, and conservation as patriotic and valuable during 'the present emergency.' I found it interesting that, while we're all waiting for our rebate checks (to buy more stuff made in China), and during our present emergency of a different sort, conservation is the last thing on some people's minds. E and I (and many others, right?) are making a conscious effort to cut back and to be aware of the resources we use and how we choose to spend our money. No, I don't always sew my own clothes:), but we've taken lots of easy steps, and a few hard ones, to get moving in the right direction.

I've never really connected the ideas of conservation and patriotism, but if it will get Americans to stop and think, then OK!

Has conservation become a part of your life? I'd like to know what steps others have taken.


  1. hi kayla:
    this is a dear topic for me. i used to be heavily into environmental activism. i kept at it through my teens and early twenties until i realized that the only way to make the necessary change was for each person to take the initiative in his/her own life. so i have been focusing on doing this for myself. as you know, when i moved back to jacksonville we lived for a year without a car. we intentionally moved to a place that would make that possible. what we were missing though was the way we were able to live in japan. no central air/heating, line-drying our clothes, water conservation, public and pedestrian transportation, locally grown seasonal foods. i know these can be accomplished in america but i am lazy. i also want to be someplace where i can learn techniques that can be passed along to others. there are many things i don't do that i wish i could (or know i should) like cloth diapers or eating vegan (constantly). what i am seeking is sustainability, which is a more balanced path than the radical activism of my youth. and though sustainability is a very trendy word these days, i adore it. sustainability gives me hope and comfort, it gives us a chance to be human and humane. it gives us the opportunity to adopt the necessary measures and adapt our lives accordingly. it is all about one step in front of another.

    hope you are well. take care.

  2. Hi Kayla,

    I had a similar train of thought a few days ago. I did go spend part of my "economic stimulus check" on some fun fabric, and while I enjoyed that, I did feel a bit guilty.

    It reminded me of the start of the first Gulf War, when I asked my history teacher if we would have to start collecting ration stamps like I'd heard about from my grandparents. It's a different world now.


  3. First I just want to saw, rant as much as you want! You did it in such a thoughtful concerned way and not a I am angry ARGH rant. The argh rants are no fun to read, the insightful ones are. Anywho... have you seen The story of stuff? If you havent go to and watch the video it will be the best 15 minutes of your life and will continue you to want to keep changing. We as a family have made a much bigger effort. We look at labels of where things are made. If it is something that is "made in china" I try and get it from a thrift store instead of adding to the junk already here in the world. I am big on reusing things. I make an effort to make gifts. We dont use plastic or paper bags any longer. We want to join a CSA farm. We try to support local small family run businesses. I honestly feel that if each person makes an effort this world will really change. Plus keep talking keep questioning. Just by this post alone you have probably changed one persons thinking who then will talk to someone else and the ball has now begun rolling.

    It is a hard thing to do but it is such an important thing to question. It is sad that we are in such a consumption driven enviroment. Just because we have the cash to consume so much doesnt mean we should.

    (sorry for the rambling, this is a cause I really care about!)

  4. Sometimes it takes a good wake up call to change for the better. It seems a movement for buying less, shopping local, and thrifting are becoming the norm. (you mean I'm no longer the weird one?)
    I just hope this isn't a temporary change. The gluttony of the 90's was an awful time. I don't think the low low prices did anyone any good.


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