Homesteading for the Modern Woman

by theobfuscatedone

You’re a modern woman who wants to bake her own bread, right?  Or is that just me?  In some earlier post that I am too lazy to link to (I’m also sensing that this is a trend…) I enumerated all the crafty/artsy things I do (how can I be lazy and highly crafty/artsy?)  The list was not complete.  No, it turns out, with some of N’s prompting (I really didn’t need much, more just an excuse), that I am quite the little Suzy Homemaker.

As of late I have dyed several things (that is an ongoing project since I still have a pair of my pants and a pari of N’s to do), baked bread (turns out I remembered the basic bread recipe and omg fresh baked bread is omnomnom), hand sewed patches onto a pair of N’s pants, ironed (and enjoyed it.  WTF?), have several ongoing knitting projects, cooked large quantities of food (and surprised even myself with how well I can cook and how much I can simply rely on basic cooking rules to make something tasty), and have generally become what I was obviously meant to be: a housewife.

Now, being a housewife has NEVER been something I aspire to.  Those women work WAY too hard for my lazy ass to consider that a viable option.  I would probably also be expected to bear and rear children and that is never going to happen, so, no housewifery for me.  Until I accidentally turned into one just by discovering that as long as I am moving and creative, I am happy.  I really should have known that this would be that case, given that I know I am a kinesthetic learner and am generally happier moving around and DOING THINGS.  However, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would take it so far.

People, I have a dedicated dye pot.  You know, just in case the urge to dye something jumps up and starts to strangle me.  I am also building a little sewing kit for myself, which is coming along nicely.  And let’s just say that I have a knitting stash and more needles than I know what to do with.

In honor of the joy of housewifery, here is a list of things you should learn how to do, in order from easiest to hardest.

1) Dye.  Dyeing is super easy, only requires a minimum amount of attention, and is pretty much idiot proof.  If you somehow missed a spot, you can just re-dye (which is what I am doing today.  My pants got dyed, turned the perfect shade of blue, but when I put them on, I discovered a light spot.  Back into the dye pot they go.)  Just remember that dye is toxic so you should have a dedicated dye pot that you never put food in.

2) Needle felting.  This one is super easy but requires some specialized equipment.  Needle felting tools can be found in most craft stores.  Once you have that, grab some wool, a wool garment, and felt on some cool patches.  My attempt to do this failed because I have limited patience and it’s only fun to stab something about 50 times ( note to self: don’t choose stabbing as a murder method, you will get bored.)  After 50 you’re just wondering when you get to wear the sweater.  But don’t let my impatience deter you.  Also, choose wool for this project because, while angora can felt (you’re looking for any fiber that has “scales”, which, when stuck together via friction, mat down into felt), it seems to require more needle action before achieving the desired effect.

3)) Bake bread.  Bread is super easy.  If you’ve got flour, fat of some sort, yeast, warm water, salt and some sort of sugar (there’s lots of honey in this house so that’s my go to yeast food), and about 3 hours, you have bread.  There’s about 10 minutes in that 3 hours where you will be doing manual labor but that is a small price to pay for freshly baked bread.  Delicious.

4) Knit.  Winter is coming supposedly and you want to be prepared, right?  Well, that means woolens.  Hats and fingerless gloves are my go to knitting projects but maybe you fancy pretty lace shawls, scarves, or festive sweaters (if you fancy festive sweaters, check yourself.  You probably think these festive sweaters can be given as gifts.  You are wrong.  No one likes “festive” sweaters because in this context “festive” equals horrifically hideous themed sweaters prominently featuring reindeer and the colors red, white, and green.  No.  Also, sweaters are a ton of work and if you wanted to give them as gifts, you should have started them about 6 months ago.  Choose hats or, better yet, fingerless gloves, and you have a chance of having gifts to give and your sanity by the time Christmas rolls around.)  Other than time, knitting only requires that you learn two very easy stitches and most everything else is simply a variation on those two stitches.  Find some Youtube videos and some yarn and knit!

5) Iron.  Why is ironing last, and therefore indicated as the hardest, on this list?  Because ironing looks easy but requires more patience and core strength than most people are equipped with.  Even I, who for some demented reason enjoys ironing, can only do about 3 shirts before I have to stop and remind myself that sane people actually do this.  Ironing requires a confluence of patience and attention to detail that are hard to sustain, even for the seasoned ironer.  Ironing men’s shirts is particularly taxing because they are broken down into parts, there are buttons and pleats to work with, and there’s a lot of fabric to contend with.  Ironing is not for the faint of heart.  But, if you feel that you are up to the task, there is nothing quite like a well ironed or even semi well ironed shirt to make you feel accomplished.  As for the core strength required to stay in an upright but bent over position, try yoga.

Who am I kidding, try yoga just to try yoga, then thank me in the comments.

Anyway, I’m off to dye and play house.

Side note: you guys really suck at commenting.  I even prompt you and while you will happily “like” my posts, you won’t comment, even when I deliberately ask.  Let’s fix that, eh?