Wednesday 29 February 2012

Mending things

This is just a little make-weight posting as I am currently researching something but not ready to write it up just yet.

The new header photo, by the way, was taken in early May in the Cotswolds near Stroud. I wanted something to remind me that spring really IS nearly here now.

In the past, it was common for a woman - be she married, single or a servant - to sit down in the evening and "relax" with a pile of mending. Things to be hemmed, collars to be turned, socks to be darned, rips to be mended, and that old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" never far from their minds.

In this throw-away consumer age, many people are more inclined to throw away things which need mending, or aren't perfect, and I am sure some either don't know how to mend something or have absolutely no inclination. Of my two daughters, one sews and mends, and the other brings stuff home to me to fix!

As money is tight for us, and we are "olds" now, who grew up with the skills passed on to us by parents who lived through the restrictions of wartime, you will already know that we belong to the "Make Do and Mend" brigade! My husband has been busy this week repairing (for about the 4th time) our ageing wheelbarrow, which got slugged by a 2 cwt chunk of tree trunk a few days back, and flattened! I thought it had really had it this time, but with his trusty drill and some galvanized steel tubing, he has brought it back from the grave, and although it IS a tad wonky still, it is usable once again!

You may remember me mentioning all the frogs out in the pond. Well, here is the wildlife pond with one gigantic mass of frogspawn, just starting to straighten out from round black blobs into more elongated shapes.

And then the frogs decided an overflow pond was necessary, so they moved across to the main (fish) pond, and carried on there . . .


  1. I have just sat down - with a pile of mending!

    I like your wheelbarrow repair - Compostman had to do similar for the trusty 2 wheel barrow recently

  2. Frog Spawn! I remember when ... oh well, those were happy days -- but then so are mine now, so I can't complain. I was born into the make do and mend brigade but soon learned to be like the next generation. Working full time and raising two teenagers tends to make you find the less-time- consuming way out. Love your banner photo.

  3. As a long time 'mender' I have learned that some items are well worth the time to patch or repurpose--other times I look at something and measure its worth against the time required to salvage and the cost of a suitable [quite possibly second-hand] replacement.
    I used to darn socks, something I don't do now other than a really special pair of heavy wool ones.
    Our wheelbarrow, like yours, has seen hard use and had several reincarnations--because they are very expensive and 'they don't make them like they used to!'
    Last summer I snapped up [at the charity shop] several items of clothing, labels that are pricey when new--discarded by the original owner, I assume, because of missing buttons.
    A few minutes of rummaging my button box [another anachronism!] a few stitches and I have a fine linen skirt and delicate batiste blouse fit to wear most anywhere.
    There is great satisfaction for some of us in mending/making do--although I concede that others may need to apportion their time and energies elsewhere.
    When it comes to larger things, such as machinery or tools--are you famililar with the term 'con-toggle'--using what you have to put something back together in working order, but in a way that wouldn't please the purist?

  4. MM - never heard of con-toggle before, so it must be American : ) Have you heard of the North-country expression "to fettle" something? That's to mend or fix it. We have a much-fettled wheelbarrow now (so does CW by the sound of things!) I agree with you about some things being worth mending and others not. I draw the line at mending knickers (there are times when a gal just HAS to have new ones), but I do have a pretty pair of warmish socks I'm about to darn as the toes are going. Oh, and the button box. Tam asked for one, so I did one for Gabby too, who was VERY puzzled as to why she might need one!!!

    Chris J - it's horses for courses, some things just have to give when you are really busy. Our mending is 'cos we can't do much spending these days : )

    CW - lovely to see you again. You and I sound to be living parallel lives right now!

  5. I remember well my Mama sitting down with a pile of mending at night and sewing during the day. I enjoy the creative process of sewing but "mending" really is no fun! ;-)

  6. Wheelbarrow looks pretty darn good to me. Husband did a master job. I see it, as long as it works and does the job, it'll work.
    With Amish and depression era grandparents, and parents who struggled to make ends meet, I had to learn to make do. We just didn't have money to just spend, so I learned to sew, or as I got older, I learned to re-purpose clothing into something else, ie: my name sake, I loved denim and could do many things with it, including clothing, purses, and lots of other things. Amazing how these kids just are brain dead about many things, except iphones and parties, which is the way it is here. :")