Monday night at a charity dinner, a table mate posed the question I am asked frequently of late, “So, what are you doing with all your time?”
That answer came easily: "I am making curtains.”
My little black sewing machine has been humming this week, stitching window coverings for our sweet baby Jamie’s nursery. The last curtains I recall sewing were for Barbara’s kitchen in her newlywed apartment in the historic Bellefonte Laundry building. Those same versatile curtains now hang in Alexander’s bedroom.
I remember making curtains for our first home on Lyndhurst Road in York. We remodeled the kitchen of the 1922 red-brick, semi-detached, two-story house in a tree-lined section of East York, not so dissimilar to where we live now. A stay-at-home mom with three young children and a need to make our one paycheck stretch for the entire month, I did a lot of things to save money. I learned to can and freeze fruit and vegetables from the amazingly prolific postage-stamp-size garden in our back yard and from the abundant pick-it-yourself York County farm opportunities
I baked bread, participated in a great network of hand-me-down clothes swaps for my children, and clipped coupons. I painted walls, refinished furniture, and learned to hang wallpaper. I cut my children’s hair. I stitched Halloween costumes and Christmas outfits and I made as many Christmas presents as I could conjure to make. There was a strong economic reason that The Living More With Less Cookbook was well used in our home.
That same financial reality was oh-so-clear when Barbara and I were pricing blinds for the baby’s room. The tally of the cost to cover the windows and shutter a closet was a bit staggering. “I could make you curtains for so much less, “ I confessed, adding “and I have the time to do it.”
The most difficult part was selecting fabric from afar but with the magic of the internet, we finally found a print (David Walker’s “All Over Dinos” ) in ample yardage at a price that didn’t break the bank. Even though sewing rod curtains is pretty straightforward and simple, I found great general directions here.
With three valances made, the closet curtains complete, only two sets of half curtains remain to be sewn before the batch is ready for delivery, and I get to hold my newest, now smiling, grandson. It will be a pleasure to see these red curtains hanging in his room.
While guiding yards and yards of fabric through the sewing machine's feed, I pondered this circularity of life “before work”and “after work.” Years of employment and saving provide us with a financial security we didn’t have during those lean times of establishing our home and raising our children. And yet now, amidst considerations of sustainability, leaving a smaller footprint, and living green, it seems important to rethink the amount of things we buy and to reconsider the types of the things we do. Our nation, in particular, has developed (Really? Are we?) into a portion of this globe consuming a vast percentage of its resources. And I, along with so many others, question our moral responsibility as a stewards of this world, a world God has created to be enjoyed by all His children. If we are to live lives reflecting God's glory and intention, we who have so much should seek to live with less, so those who need it most have enough.
P.S. And here are the new curtain in the baby's room, along with Nana and Jamie, napping. Bliss.