The Vintage Life

The Vintage Life

America’s Houskeeping Book describes the American home as “our most vital industry.”

While there are so many differing points of view that swirl around this idea of homemaking and housekeeping that stem from past and current struggles, political views, and personal history, I’d like to venture that the home is still our most vital industry. It doesn’t matter whether you are single or married, have kids or not, rent or own, have an apartment or house. Home is where you come to, to feel loved, safe, and peaceful. It’s where you go to relax and recharge. It’s where you invite your friends and family to let them know that they are cherished and loved. Most likely, it’s what we spend most of our budget on. Why would we not want to learn how to take care of it and create that peace that we all crave?

To quote nesting place – “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” You don’t have to have the best, most expensive, most trendy house. It just needs to be clean, well-maintained, and reflective of you. I love shelter magazines and websites just as much as the next person, but I’m always looking for that one snippet that reflects me, that I can recreate on a budget or make myself and incorporate into my home.

I furnished most of my first apartment on second-hand pieces. A lot of them are still with me today, incorporated with other items to reflect my own personality and my husband’s. Make Do and Mend was popular during the 40s war times, and I’m glad to see it’s had a small resurgence. I wish that it was more broadly followed, as I think it’s another of those “old fashioned” ideas that was tossed by the wayside that really did benefit the environment. If you think about the amount of things that we throw away that could be re-used and re-purposed, it’s pretty sad. It’s disappointing that even our local donation places won’t take things unless they are in perfect condition. That is how I got most of my second-hand pieces when I first started out – I found things that weren’t perfect, made very minor repairs, and used them. Thank goodness for Freecycle groups and websites like Craigslist – it seems that the people interested in the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” philosophy have had to take to backstreet bartering in order to keep things that aren’t yet trash out of the landfills.

Aside from Make Do and Mend, the other idea that seems to have gotten a lot of bad press is the idea behind “The Ideal Housewife” (a copy of which was posted at The Striving Wife blog). Most people read it and see ‘wife as a slave.’ When I read it, I see a responsibility for creating a peaceful home. Yes, we all have moods and bad days, but I’d like to think that we should be able to leave it outside the door to our homes as much as possible. We shouldn’t be yelling at each other, being snippy or sarcastic, or making demeaning remarks. The way that I hear some families talking to each other makes me shake my head and wonder where our society is going. There is no respect – in either direction – and some of it seems to border on verbal abuse. Not being a parent, I won’t venture into my own hypotheses on what went wrong (not until I get a chance to test them out, anyway), but I do see families that are loving and respectful, so I know it can be done. I remember even growing up I would cringe at some of the things I would hear my classmates say to their parents (as well as the response they got back). I knew that would never be tolerated in my family, and it wasn’t a border that I wanted to test. My boundaries had been set very early in life, and I knew exactly what would happen if I had tried.

I think that’s why my memories are of good things – camping, going to parks, playing at home. I got to be a child, and I remember home as a place of peace and fun. It’s this same sort of thing that I work to create for my husband (and hopefully a family some day) as well as my friends.

In thinking through it all, these two things – Make Do and Mend and creating a peaceful home – are the cornerstones of the vintage life and home economics that can and should be continued. It doesn’t matter in what stage you are in life, where you live, or how many people live with you. It’s about thinking beyond ‘what’s in it for me’ and being conscientious about the people around you as well as the place you live in. I’d like to think we’re all put on this earth to make it a better place, even if it’s just in our own circle of influence – large or small as it may be.

What do you do to make your home a more peaceful place to live in? What is your favorite Make Do and Mend project that you’ve done?


Sewist, knitter, reader, dancer. Wife. Lover of things vintage and retro.


  1. […] The Vintage Life October 5, 2014 […]

  2. glendachilders Says: October 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Creating a peaceful home is so important. My own attitude affects it the most. And in our house, if I keep the kitchen counter clean, my husband is peaceful, too. 🙂 (really …he loves a clean counter.)


    • It really is true – if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! We truly are the heart of the home. 🙂

      Isn’t it nice when we realize what keeps our husbands happy?

  3. Yes I agree with the kitchen counter comment. If the counters are neat and clean my husband is relaxed.

  4. the professor and the housewife Says: October 6, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I’m writing about a similar idea this month: Home Recycled. And I knew about “make do and mend” but found a WWII pamphlet with the phrase “Renovation helps the nation.” on it. I just loved that so much! Great post, good luck on the rest of your series! Can’t wait to read some more. 🙂

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