Drawing On Your Resourcefulness, Not Your Resources

“I am sure no one needs me to spell out the benefits of a do-it-yourself approach to Christmas. In the present economic climate, as the cliché runs, the high cost of this annual saturnalia, coupled with the thought of all the bills to come, must make parents everywhere come out in a psychosomatic rash round the time of the first frost. The solution is to draw on your resourcefulness rather than your resources, in other words, do-it-yourself.

Without going to the lengths of breeding one’s own turkey, and brewing one’s own liquor (though I’m all for that too) it is possible to slash the cost of Christmas at a stroke by making presents, cards, decorations in the peace of one’s own home (let others tramp the cold, wet streets and elbow their way through crowded stores) from a variety of inexpensive materials. It’s not only possible, and financially desirable, it’s also entertaining, absorbing and thoroughly rewarding, as I hope this book will demonstrate.

First, I’d like to veto the notion that home-made articles need apologising for. This attitude is hopelessly out of date, and belongs to the Age of the Amateur when home-made suggested flaccid jumpers with pompoms at the neck, wee felt Scotties to pin to your lapel and sinister disembowelled dolls into which you inserted your carefully folded nightdress. Nowadays, we say not home-made but hand-made, and complacently await envious oohs and ahhs. Not since Victorian times as there been such a fever of knotting and beading and patching…quite seriously, there couldn’t be a better moment for do-it-your-selfishness-the handmade look is fashionable and sought after…”

How I sighed with pleasure at reading this passage the other day! Although it is about Christmas (only one hundred and something days away!) it sums up what I love about making things and crafting in general, in cooking, in living the way I do-drawing on your resourcefulness rather than your resources. Although, having said that, I do think if you are going to go to the trouble of crafting or cooking, you should do it with nice things. No point labouring over a scarf to have a scratchy nasty result, or baking a meant-to-be-sumptuous chocolate cake with cooking chocolate! Although…it is nice to know craft and cooking can still be done when funds are low…

But enough, I digress! Read through that passage once again. Now tell me when it was written? This year? Last year? 1975! From a book by Jocasta Innes, that I picked up at the car boot sale that we did, for 20p…..

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