our movement

A Make Do & Mend the Earth Christmas

I’ve been having a bit of a think about our movement the last few days…as it gets quieter and quieter here…as I continue to find it difficult to post here as well as at Wisteria & Sunshine, Instagram and make and fill orders for my shop…not to mention trying to live a making-do sort of life…and I’ve decided to take a pause with our film festival and my commitment to posting here weekly. For now. As the year reaches its crowning, it is a full time for many of us.

In addition to all of that, I need some space and time to really put my finger on how we can best send down some roots and then grow. What will our branches be? And the little leaves, the myriad details involved? Will others want to get more involved and help me with the tending? It feels comforting to me that World War Zero, which launched around the same time as Make Do & Mend the Earth, doesn’t seem to have progressed much with a team and John Kerry at the helm, tho’ I dearly hope much is going on behind the scenes.

So this seems a good time to turn to the watching of Wartime Farm Christmas, a bonus episode of one of our series. And I may also make the time to watch a three part Victorian Farm Christmas series I noticed at youtube, as well. The holidays, especially, benefit from new eyes to the see the possibilities, which these shows can give us.

We are having a discussion about “gentle gifting” as I called it, at Wisteria & Sunshine, and I’ve realized that there are many approaches to making do and/or mending the earth, in regards to the holidays. A Making Do Christmas might look very different from a handmade or local one or zero waste one or… The first would mean almost no shopping at all. The second, more of what I have in mind, is much more gentle upon the earth than a mainstream sort…but doesn’t mean I don’t buy thoughtful things crafted by others, as well as creating some gifts from what I already have. Or so I’ve been thinking about it. It will be welcome to learn more about it what a Making Do Christmas was like during the war when we watch.

And, of course, it’s not all about gifts, is it? I have been picturing the finding of a little, wild tree on our land (which we do every year) for our Christmas tree…but can’t imagine cutting it down this year. Something has shifted in me. Yet the idea of not having a tree wasn’t met with joy, or having a Christmas branch as a friend does, or a very small, dug up and replanted tree, so I am opening up to other possibilities. And I trust that they will come. I am also going to gather some scrub pinecones (my favorite!) and plant them in pots and see if I can grow us some future Christmas trees.

I will be back here in the nearish future to share some of my own Making Do ways with decorations and gifting and more and to share my thoughts about the Christmas videos. And I will be spending the rest of November clarifying how the idea of “making do” will weave in with all of the other ways I’ve found over the years to make the holidays more peaceful and natural. Do share your own thoughts below if you feel moved to, and our Make Do & Mend the Earth Christmas may begin…

what next?

Make Do & Mend the Earth is a week old today (when I wrote this! : ) Where do we go from here? I was pondering this and an old song came to mind, one I remember playing on a record player in the tiny rented apartment I lived in during my student teaching in the mountains, and one that gave me the words to add to a long-ago art retreat experiment with painting…


That is how I feel right now. Lots of ideas and hopes, but not knowing which direction to go first or exactly where we are going…or how. If I was beginning this work ten or twenty years ago, I would be staying up until the wee hours plotting and planning and creating. As a sixty-year old woman with more wisdom and less stamina, I take things more slowly and very rarely stay up late. : ) Still full of ideas, tho’.

I am reaching out and beginning to gather artists and friends to create this movement with me. And making room in my days for this new tending amongst all that I tend already. I’ve had thoughts about having a forum here, where we could have conversations and sharing more easily…in one way. In another way, it would complicate the tending here. So I am going to let this evolve in a gentle way…gently but steadily. This is no time to drag our feet.

In my visioning, I’ve come up with a few questions or thoughts that I would appreciate your responses to, part of the steady progress…

~The messages and posters and general energy behind the home front movement during the war was steeped in patriotism. I feel it would be helpful if we had a word for “devotion and vigorous support” for the earth, rather than a country. I haven’t been able to think of one, known or created, and wonder if you can?

~Mardelle’s idea (in the comments here) of local chapters for this movement is such a radiant one. I wonder if anyone here has experience with something similar? I’ve always been a homebody introvert so have little experience with “real life” gatherings. Is anyone here a part of a W.I.? Here is a fascinating and energizing article that makes me think the Women’s Institutes might be a very good model for us.

~Do you find annotated photos helpful with seeing what Making Do looks like, in everyday ways?

~I’ve created an Instagram profile for us, but am not sure about using it. Again, mostly from the stewarding of my energy and mental peace. But it could also be exciting and supportive! And I do know that a profile can have many admins, so perhaps it could become a community effort? Not forgetting the power of our hashtags, remembering to use them whenever we are posting something that involves the “make do” spirit. #makedoandmendtheearth #anewhomefront

On Instagram @make.do.and.mend.the.earth

As pieces fall or are woven into place here, let’s keep the conversations going. And if you’ve yet to watch any of the videos I recommended, they are a very good at sparking conversation, within yourself and with others. After watching them (and I still have more of Wartime Farm to enjoy) I got better at looking at my life and home-tending in new (or should I say old?) ways, to make more connections. This moving from our own insights and discoveries outwards, rather than a checklist of actions coming at us from outside, can establish a deeper understanding and roots for growing with it all. Or so I am finding. It’s a matter of “just right.” The right amount of ideas from others is what can get our own going…as the videos have done for me.

And my next post will, indeed, be sharing one of my most important shifts or actions. One that ripples and builds in the best of ways.

P.S. As I put my finger on how and what to share here, I have realized that this space won’t be so much about those Small Ways that I’ve mentioned in a few posts already. I’ve been sharing about those in great detail (and will continue to do so and don’t have the bandwidth to share all over again here) at Wisteria & Sunshine…for more than seven years. I also share these at Instagram, in less detail. And these ways are the easiest to find out and about on the interwebs. I imagine they will be what is shared often with our hashtags…they are very important.

But there will be more focus here on the larger ways, the ways often tangled up with governments and corporations, the ones that can’t always be captured with an attractive photograph. They may also have to do with speaking my truth and opinions more boldly than I do at Wisteria & Sunshine, where women have an exchange with me of their money for my creating of a safe, encouraging, beautiful and peaceful space. Just wanted to clarify that for myself and for all who read here. It will be an interesting dance to figure out how to share my work in a way that Make Do & Mend the Earth won’t seem like a ploy to get me more business. It is all me, tho’…this and my other work. And it all has the same heart, so its not something that can be easily separated. I suppose I will just have to trust that you all trust where I am coming from.

P.P.S. The comment box is (very silly, I know and I am working on getting it changed) all the way back up at the top of the post, under the post title.