Words to Live By

make-it-doAs I look ahead to the new year, I reconfirm my commitment to one continuing resolution: “Make it do. Wear it out. Use it up. Do without.” These words are stitched in a handmade sampler on display in my home. It was handmade not by me; I have no talent for traditional decorative crafts. I acquired the sampler second hand and I keep it to honor the artful artisans and frugal homemakers who travelled this Earth before me. And besides, I just like it.

I like the idea of making it do, wearing it out, using it up, and sometimes doing without. That’s why I still live in a fixer-upper “starter home,” reusing existing housing stock. That’s why I shop second hand and from the curb, and why I think long and hard before buying something brand new. I try my best to reuse, recycle, and repurpose despite today’s throw-it-away consumer culture.

If an ordinary picture is worth 1,000 words, then this sampler featuring these particular 11 words to live by must be worth 11 times as much. At least that much, I’d say.

Laura Sternweis


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