Merriam-Webster defines homemade as being made in the home, on the premises, or by one’s own efforts. And that’s the key isn’t it? The effort part, I mean. In our modern world of technology, convenience, and instant gratification, it’s a simple thing to purchase ready-made items – be they food, clothing, decor, gifts…you name it and you can find it packaged up and ready for immediate use. And there’s certainly a place for that – I’ll be the first one to admit that I take full advantage of the wonders of modern civilization – but there’s a joy that I get from making something myself that no amount of convenience can replace.
Deep thoughts, right? It’s not something I ever used to think about – 10 years ago I’d have laughed out loud had you suggested that I’d be in such a mood at any point in my life – but as I’m making my home, my new lovely dream home, and looking to the future (a few years yet, parents and in-laws!) when I might have some tiny people running around, I find myself wanting more and more to have the things around me be things that I particularly love. And lately I’ve been finding that the things I love the most are the photographs that we’ve taken, the special meals we’ve made and shared, the handmade cards given on momentous occasions…the things that I’ve invested my time and effort in.
My birthday is approaching (next week!) and I’ve had several bewildered reactions to my statement that I am making my own cake, and gladly. Friends will offer to purchase a cake for me so that I can “enjoy my day” and not have to make all that effort, but I want to. You see, in my baking, I rarely make anything that I choose. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the fruits of my labors – far from it! – but I usually make things at the requests of others, or because I know that my husband or my guests or whoever will particularly enjoy it.* So for my birthday, I would like to make something spectacular that I alone have chosen. I’m not a bad baker so I’m sure my friends and family will enjoy it as well, but really it’s my birthday, and I’m making the exact cake that I want. And I will enjoy it all the more because I’ve taken the time to create it myself.
Where’s all this coming from? Where’s all this going? I guess that I’ve just been so inspired lately – so many wonderful projects that I have in mind for my home, my garden, my kitchen. One of my favorites of the modern conveniences is our present access to almost unlimited inspiration via the internet. It seems almost everyone is an artist these days – sewing, writing, building, cooking, designing, photographing, and on and on and on. And all of these words and ideas and images make me so eager and excited to create my own things that will inspire my family and friends and guests in my home – to share some of the joy and satisfaction I get from the creation of something lovely.
*Please don’t think I mind making things for you! There’s no greater compliment for me than to have someone request that I make something for them. I’m flattered that you think I can do justice to your favorite dessert/meal/jam/etc, and no time spent in my kitchen is wasted when I know someone’s going to enjoy and appreciate my efforts. And let’s be honest, I love to cook, so really I’m doing it all for me anyway [insert evil laugh here].