Tag Archives: lessons from the past


16 Jun
JW and Marcelyn Brown, my maternal grandparents

One of the characteristics I admire so much about previous generations is their resourcefulness. They lived by the mantras of, “waste not, want not” and “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” In our fast-paced, 2-day-delivery world, this is not a skill at which we are adept.

Recently I was decluttering my craft supplies. Thanks to my sweet Mom, Aunts and Cousins, I’ve inherited many things (mostly quilting related) from my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. It’s been hard to let some of these things go because of the sentimental attachment and the historical appeal. But, my clutter threshold is fairly low and I do better managing a smaller inventory of items, so I determined to let go of some things.

As I sorted through, I was in awe of the materials they used for pattern guides, storage bags, and quilting designs. They let nothing go to waste!

There were tissue box tops, panty hose packaging, old panty hose itself as bands, bread bags, holiday gift boxes, detergent boxes and more. They put our current attempts at “reduce, reuse, recycle” to shame!

Tissue box tops, scrap cardboard, and bread bags
Worn out panty hose cut and used as bands to secure groups of quilt-block patterns
Holiday gift box as quilt block pieces
Panty hose packaging insert as a pattern for a quilt block. Sidenote: look at my grandmother’s lovely handwriting!
An assortment of scrap cardboard. Nothing went to waste!

Amazing, right?!

As an aside, I thought these old magazine cutouts and this pamphlet were so interesting! I’ve got loads more and I can’t quite part with any of them. If I do, I’ll try to find a historical society that would be interested.

What’s something you do, or remember someone from a previous generation doing, to be resourceful?


John 6:12

And when they had eaten their fill, [Jesus] told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

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