Djcnor’s Weblog

If You Enjoy Doing for Yourself

Posted on: February 1, 2009

A post back or two, I was talking about being self-sufficient and how today’s society seemed rigged so as to discourage you from gaining and exercising self-sufficiency skills. Well, in my welb wanderings, I got reminded of how much of this the younger generation is actually doing in a sort of sideways manner.

The first thing was that

www.treehugger.com

pointed me to a website of DIY websites. I’m enjoying working my way through them, and maybe you will, too. Each one has its own “flavor”. One is for geeks and techies. All of the how-to’s on another are green solutions. Another is based on the idea that anything can be basically explained in a five-minute video. There’s one that has to do with pets. Ten of them all together. See what you think:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/diy-projects-websites.html

If you find you like such things, there are two magazines you might find interesting. I sorely miss Ready-Made, which I would get on a regular basis when I lived in the US. My favorite is their McGyver challenges.

http://www.readymade.com/

This one, I only know of via the welbsite and mentions I have come across. It’s called Make.

http://makezine.com/ 

I’ve also started to collect sites where you can exercise your own creativity using toolsets that you might not actually own. You could have your own wallpaper or fabric printed, not just T-shirts and caps and such. You could have your own flat-pack (I know that sounds wierd) made.

Here are a few:

http://www.ponoko.com/

http://www.edmonds.co.uk/lfp-wallpaper.html

http://www.vgl.co.uk/print/digital_wallpaper.html

Also, since I’ve finally begun work on the piece of real Irish linen I bought last spring (It was much more of an adventure than it should have been to find some of the raw stuff and authentic Irish embroidery patterns to work on it), I tried to look up hem-stitching, a skill I learned back when I was 13. I’m not talking about simply sewing a hem; I’m talking about a kind of drawn thread work that leaves a neat row of precise decorative holes (there’s got to be a better word) along the edge of the hem where you pulled a thread or two. Like this:

http://i2.ebayimg.com/06/s/000/77/3f/1e64_2.JPG

I couldn’t find really good directions on the web. However, in my attempt, as happens so many times when I go looking for instructions on one archaic skill or another, I happened upon a re-enactment/SCA site. These groups are where these skills are being practiced at a high level now. I am glad to see so many involved in them.

So I can say I was a bit wrong. If you want the duct-tape, use-what’s-available, let’s-save-money version of do-it-yourself, or you truly want to do design-level work, the information is out there if you hunt hard enough and look in the right places.

I even had a prospective hand embroidery student call me up the other day, though one student from a town 15 miles away just isn’t economically feasable. There’s hope yet.

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