Book Inspires Me To Return To Old-School Hobbies


This book inspires me to finish this afghan–a project I’ve put away for years.

I recently enjoyed The Prairie Girl’s Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick (2007).

In this book, Worick described information about 1800s prairie life, such as curing meat or making button lamps. She also gave instructions for 50 prairie-type projects that us modern folk can try. The projects range from quilting and embroidery to panning for gold and saddling a horse.

In the past, people did lots of these activities because they had to, we can do them because we find great satisfaction in DIY and making-do.

I loved the reminders of how satisfying it is to do handcrafts.

Worick wrote:

“I continually meet women (and men) who are embroidering and canning and putting their own twists on old-school crafts and skills. Forget about granny chic; this is prairie chic, and it’s spreading like wildfire.”

I’ve done various handcrafts since I was a young child, partly because sometimes I needed to make-do.

For instance, I didn’t have a Barbie house. So, I spent hours making my own house. I used boxes, wallpaper samples, and household trash to make rooms and furniture. I believe I had more fun making the house than playing with it later!

One of my favorite hobbies has been crocheting. However, in the last few years, I’ve put most of my creative time and energy into writing. I miss crocheting.

In fact, I have a nearly-completed afghan that I began for one of my sons when he was about nine years old. He’s 17 now. I should get it done while he still lives at home, don’t you think?

I also want to learn to knit, spin yarn, and decorate a dollhouse.

What old-school hobbies or activities do you do? What would you like to learn how to do?


  1. Marcia Strykowski

    I like that: prairie chic. Your Barbie house project must have been so much fun. I loved setting up houses, sometimes using upright Golden books for walls. Don’t you wish we had time for everything? I had been trying to keep up the guitar for a few years, but then as soon as my first book sold, all my interest went to that, my finger calluses softened up and any skills I had were long forgotten, but worst of all, like you with crochet, I miss it so much. I’ll bet your son will love his afghan no matter how old he is by the time it’s finished!

    • Deb Watley

      Thanks, Marcia! Prairie chic is a fun term! What a neat idea to use your books to build houses! You’d have very colorful walls, and you could “redecorate” at each playtime. I sympathize with you missing guitar. It’s hard enough to be faithful to an art or craft, but to know that getting back in will cause some pain or some other sacrifice, plus take much effort makes it hard to get started. And thanks for the encouragement on my son’s afghan. Winter is a good time to crochet, and he might appreciate it more now than he would have at nine.

  2. Amy Houts

    I used to embroider, sew, and crochet, but haven’t for years. I think we go through stages. Now that our grandchildren are preschool age, I will start to do some simple crafts with them.

    • Deb Watley

      I’m glad to know we go through stages. That gives me hope for getting back into handcrafts. You are also giving your grandchildren a wonderful gift by crafting with them. When I was in second grade my great-aunt taught me the basics of sewing, embroidery, and crocheting. I’m forever grateful!

  3. Mary Louise Sanchez

    I still can because we have a peach tree and I don’t want the peaches to go to waste. I continue to cross stitch and am more motivated when I know there’s a wedding or a holiday coming up.

    • Deb Watley

      Oh, yes, gift-giving is good motivation! And so are fruits that come ripe whether we’re ready or not! I used to like to freeze strawberries and corn and can green beans. Do you make jams or jellies? I tried once. That’s going to take me some more practice.

      • Mary Louise Sanchez

        Yes, I make peach jam from the peaches we harvest and make chokecherry jelly from berries on trees near our home. These make good gifts too!

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