Monday, June 08, 2009

The Work of Her Hands

It is so important for women to have a worthwhile work to do with their hands. The work of the hands engage the mind and give a kind of relief from stress. Proverbs 31 speaks of "the work of her hands." It does not say "let the amount of parties she hosts praise her in the gates," or the amount of speeches she makes praise her," or "the stylish way she dresses." There is probably a good reason that the verse emphasizes "the work of her hands," instead of all the other great things that can be done.

In past posts I have told my own reasons for the belief that I have that women should learn to do useful things with their hands. One reason is that it prevents a kind of frustration and idleness that can result in other things that are destructive, rather than constructive. When people do not have a skill and do not know how to do anything, they find it easier to smoke, drink, throw dice,** (to gamble)or constantly text message friends, until they find that half of life is gone without having made one single thing of any beauty to be remembered by or to pass to the next generation to copy. Our hand work tells something of our values, our customs, and of our beliefs about life.

The older women can do a lot to help the younger ones learn to keep a pretty house and make things for others. Just one student makes a class, and once a week a lesson can inspire some younger woman. If you can't get anyone to come to your home, you can teach something online, whether it is cleaning, sewing, cooking, knitting, or gardening. I do hope to move on to some of those other important skills, but today I have an easy card that fits into a regular sized card envelope, that some child might like to try.
This is a picnic basket card that can be used for an invitation or a letter or a card. It is made with white card stock, a gel pen, a small rubber stamp, crayons, and a trim for the handle. You can make your own handle with paper or any kind of ribbon you have. Notice the clasp made with a strip of card stock glued on the right and left sides, through with another strip is placed. You can see it there in the middle.

This is the pattern for your template for the picnic basket card. Right click and highlight it and then paste it on another document or on your own email to send to yourself. Then print. You might be able to get someone to help you do this. I hope it comes out alright for you.
Notice where the strip of card stock is placed at the top, inside the card.

Just use your rubber stamps (sometimes available at the dollar store) and color the image with crayons. Write your invitation with a matching gel pen and outline your card with the same color.

For a variation on this card, copy the pattern below and make pockets, dishes and a picnic blanket to put inside.

This is what the inside looks like with the special pockets and picnic accessories. You have to use printer paper for these things, or any lightweight, thinner paper.

You can click on this to view the details.
The plates are rubber stamped with the same image as the outside of the card, and outlined in green crayon. Please click on for a larger view. This is a free hand drawing made by me, and so it might not be completely accurate. You may have to do some trimming after you fold your card, to make it fit evenly. I make my shapes by folding paper in half and drawing half of the object, then cutting and opening it up to full size.

After you get it all put together and folded and closed with the clasp, you can make a stand for it by cutting a rectangle of card stock and folding it in half. Then glue one half to the back of the card, putting the cut edges even with the bottom of the card, and stand it up.

Even though I do a lot of sewing and gardening, I put paper crafts on the blog because they are quick and easy and you can do them with people who have beginners skills. You can click on the photo at the top, and see more details of this card craft. The enlargement will show you what the clasp looks like.

To make it look like a woven wooden basket or a wicker basket, draw broken lines with a gel pen or any other pen, across, and then alter lines going vertically, as shown. Then, use your gel pen to color in, but not solidly.
**"The best way to throw dice, is to throw them out." - advice written by an author who lived between 1835 and 1910


Lydia said...

If you are making this, you may wish to make the picnic blanket and the silverware more to scale, by making them larger.

Diane Shiffer said...

very cute card.. i'm thinking this might work for my daughter's mid-summer birthday party invites♥

and i love the idea of keeping one's fingers busy with worthwhile things. i try to always have some handwork available. and my girls have followed along in my example. even my daughter with down syndrome carries knitting in her handbag. it's so nice to have something like this to occupy one during waiting times, or even during social times. i have found that having something to divert my attention to has enabled me to avoid situations/conversations that are becoming a bit gossipy or unwholesome, if you know what i mean.

quiet and calm industry is a good thing for any woman♥

Laura said...

Thanks for this great post. Sometimes when I am sitting for a while in my attempts to learn to sew, I feel like I may be "wasting" my time. Thanks for the fresh perspective and stressing the importance of passing this on to our children!

Lydia said...

The pockets could be done a completely different way, by gluing the lower flap up on the sides, and inserting a letter or other things.

candy said...

I always love your craft posts.
They are simple yet simply beautiful!

Candy :)

Jennifer @ Her Southern Charm said...

I couldn't agree with you more. What's the saying, "Idle hands is the devil's work."

Lydia said...

I think it was "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." It was commonly believed at the time that this saying was popular, that unless someone was doing something useful or beneficial, their hands would get into mischief.

There was a sewing book I quoted from in an older post, where a sewing teacher said that the girls she knew who sewed or did some kind of work with their hands, were the most stable mentally and well adjusted girls, who were also the most content at home and who did not have constant upheavals in their lives. I have seen that, over the years, when womankind gave up hand work, more women seemed more troubled than ever before. I do not know if I am the only one that remembers when women took their hand work with them where ever they went and felt no shame in working on it while waiting somewhere, riding, or listening to a speech or visiting. It seems like it was not that long ago! It would be quite a revolution if women began taking their work with them again on trains and buses and to meetings. I do not know what caused it to stop, exactly.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I am new to your blog, and have been enjoying your blog posts. I appreciated your post about keeping busy with your hands because I am "one of those women" who isn't very creative with my hands, period! I think knowing how to do projects with your hands also creates patience, which is something I sorely need to improve upon.

I've signed-up for a sewing class this fall at a community college in hopes to revive the sewing skills that I lost long ago as a child. However, there is so much more I need to learn!

Lydia said...

Lady Sophia,

I believe one reason an entire generation of girls did not sew, was in the way it was taught. It has to be taught in a way that makes them see the possibilities.When I learned to sew, it gave me something above worn out clothing found at rummage sales in the 1950's. If I could sew, I could spend just about the same amount of money for a new piece of fabric, and have a new garment. I could make matching accessories and many other things with the scraps. It was very motiviational. When girls were taught to sew, some teachers began with a very dull color and a boring project or something hard to follow. There has to be some one-on-one training also.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, Lady Lydia. It is just what I need at the moment. Your encouragement was greatly needed.

Kind regards,
Sonya, Australia

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I so enjoy reading your blog. With Father's Day just around the corner and you being so creative, do you have any crafts that would be appropriate for a child to make for their father?

Lydia said...

I will see what I can come up with, and in the meantime, maybe someone could post some links to crafts for that day.

By the way, someone finally was able to get through to me and identify the problem with my contact link on the side, and I corrected it, so my email from this blog is working.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever think you should do handwork in church?

You were the one who really encouraged me to get back into sewing and all kinds of fiber skills. Some people said it was such a waste of time, because after all that work, your special garment gets worn out or ruined, or turns out wrong.

I have made so many mistakes over the few years I have been doing everything, but I am still enjoying the process. Even if I mess up, I feel I'm one step closer to succeeding. I don't view my practice work as heirlooms that have to be guarded - I allow myself to have a lot of practice. Maybe it confirms to me that it is appropriate to take a great deal of time to make things that are beautiful and special (meaning a home and family). It confirms to me that I'm going to be here at home a great while, I might as well make something I like - I'm not going anywhere, like back to work.

Also, I observed that in my Mom's generation, sewing was taught as something that should be done so perfectly that it was nerve-wracking. It seemed that even the girls' practice, where they should have been allowed to just get the hang of things, was graded and scored in home ec. for precision, instead of joy and creativity.

Love your blog,

Robin said...

I love your projects! I'm going to start saving scraps of papers, bags, and other items, so my children can start doing these crafts when I'm reading to them. My daughter, especially, would love the tea cuts, the hats, anything with flowers, etc. Just gorgeous!

Katrinka said...

Lyida, You're paper crafting ideas are wonderful! I have been inspired to make my own cards, bookmarks, wrapping papers, etc. from your example!

I found an old book recently that I bought from the library years ago(they seem to want to sell all the old -- all the good -- books and I try to take advantage of that). It's entitled, "What Shall I Do With This?" by Margaret Hutchings and it was published in England in 1963. I always think of you when I read it because she takes everyday things (sometimes throwaway things --- she has a chapter entitled 'In the Wastepaper Basket') and makes amazing little crafty things out of paper plates and felt and old oatmeal boxes, etc.

I also years ago used to receive the Workbasket magazine and have many back issues, some 'antiques' and there was a regular column entitled 'Women Who Make Cents' and the ladies would send in tips on how to make bazaar items to sell for a few pennies apiece. Some of their ideas are very useful, too. I love reading these old magazines, because homemaking, sewing, crafting, etc. was considered a full-time job and an art.

I also have heard that there used to be radio programs on daily to encourage the homemakers that gave tips on sewing, cooking, crafts, decorating, etc. How wonderful it would be to have one of those today!

Thanks for your beautiful and encouraging artwork. Because of your inspiration, my paper crafts are beginning to look more professional and less like a kindergartener!! Your blog is like a visit on the radio, only we can tune in anytime we want.

Suzanne said...

What a pretty project. I do like to keep my knitting close by. It is very relaxing, well most of the time as here and there you drop stitches and can't for the life of you find them...LOL! All ends well though:-)

Michele Scercy said...

I wish I had been taught how to do more crafty things with my hands. I have never been taught how to do any of those type things. I do not know how to sew, cross- stitch, crochet, knit, or anything. I have started to teach myself how to make candles, but I haven't done it alot. In a way I have looked at it as a wasted of my time. I might just pull out my materials this week and have another go at it.