week #19 1st time

Showing someone how to do something for the first time was an item already on my list but it seems that in our current lockdown this is something that many people will be doing, whether they like it or not! Spending more time as a family has given us greater opportunity to share knowledge and skills and I’m helping my daughter to use a sewing machine as my particular challenge activity for this week.

Over the past few weeks our family have talked about cooking techniques, how best to tackle a 1,000 piece puzzle and about money management as the kids come of an age to have adult bank accounts and savings. We debated and looked up how to bleach a pair of jeans, I showed them how to paint a wall and how to make a claim on travel insurance. We’ve discussed wine and explored new foods together. None of these things were planned but have just happened. This isn’t a one way street, in return us parents have learned about tiktoks, depop and how to use all the features on instagram.

So this process of sharing knowledge goes on continuously, particularly when you are bringing up children, but try taking a specific activity and pay attention to how you share that knowledge or skill, it is rewarding. It isn’t just younger children who appreciate and enjoy parental attention, try it with your older ones (or even grown up ones!) too and see how they respond.

The heart dances with joy when you’re sharing.

Debashi Mridha

The other thing that enhanced our activity together was the sewing machine. It is a beautiful, classic Singer that I believe dates from about 1922. It belonged to my daughter’s Danish great great grandmother so its lovely that she wants to use it. I’m hoping it doesn’t electrocute us as the wiring also looks like its from 1922. Perhaps I should fix that at some point! The other aspect is that the threads and other sewing kit comes from my own grandmother’s beautiful wooden sewing box. It’s full of wonderful odds and ends including buttons in an old metal cigarette box that dates from the 1930’s. So a small family history lesson was included too.

The sewing was a success, a sweatshirt was cropped and hemmed and will now be worn more, so it has a new lease of life and avoids the recycling bin. The offcuts are being remodelled into a protective face mask. There was a quite a bit of doing and undoing along the way, some sighs and giggles, and definitely a growing appreciation of the skills involved in dressmaking. We have another target which is to join the ranks of those making scrubs for the NHS and the fabric is on order. I’m hoping that some straight line stitching on a plain fabric is within our capabilities!

My tip for this one is to pick your skill or topic, this is about what the learner is keen to learn and less about what you want to teach. Perhaps this wasn’t exactly a new challenge but I have thought about sharing knowledge differently which has made me appreciate it more. A definite ‘yes’ to will I be doing it again and also a good score for our thrifty fifty and fifty shades of green as we up-cycled an item or two along the way.

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