I have never been impoverished. Sure, I felt that there were times where I didn’t know where money would materialize from to keep myself going, but I always made it through. I never had a utility shut off or been evicted. I haven’t gone hungry because I had no food. At one time, my husband and I were living so close to the edge of ruin that I called a hot line for Public Aid. Because I worked, I was told I did not qualify, even though my paychecks were clearly not enough. I had rented an apartment, so I had a roof over my head, I did not qualify for help with that either, even though I could barely afford it. I guess I should have felt lucky enough to do that. I guess there were folks worse off than me. But at the time I remember being so angry that I paid into these plans and could not get help. We changed the way we looked at money and now we’re doing ok, but it took years to get to this.
But I am dealing with this very situation right now with a family member. It’s the hardest thing to watch, while I sit comfy and warm in my own home. While I throw away more food than this family member can purchase, I feel boatloads of guilt. I frivolously spend on ridiculous things I don’t need, and this person is months behind on bills.
I’m sitting by and watching, and lately, getting more and more involved. My other family members don’t understand. But other than sending my hard earned money, what can be done? It’s really sad and hurtful.
To bring this all somehow back to crafting and quilting, with the economy being what it is now, everyone is going back to “thrifty crafting” and looking back at depression era fiber art. Not only were quilts made of old sheets, clothes, or whatever you had on hand, but EVERY scrap was saved and used. In particular, the Yo Yo. (or as Project Runway’s Angela Kessler would say: Granny Circles) What posessed anyone to make items out of hundreds or even thousands of yo-yo’s is beyond me, but they are addictive. I have been saving any usable scraps of fabric big enough for a yo-yo, and making flower bouquets out of them. Cute, and fun, and fast. And certainly thrifty.