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Make It Last: Prolonging + Preserving the Things We Love

by Raleigh Briggs

Microcosm Publishing

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Despite the fact that Raleigh Briggs uses a seam ripper in exactly the opposite way that I do, this woman knows what she's doing. And not in an "oh, look what skill I've re-discovered from our ancestral past" kind of way, but in a "this is how I've always done it and how you could, too" manner that reeks of Foxfire with a touch of illustrative savoir-faire à la Mollie Katzen.

"Clothes" rivals Pinterest in its offering of indispensable advice for mending, patching, and darning today's cheap-ass disposable clothes, and if basic sewing instructions are what you're after, look no further. Sew a button (the right way), fix a lazy zipper, and waterproof your jogging pants... all easily, affordably, and non-toxically. One exception: use the pointy end of the seam ripper to start loosening a seam, and the blunt end to complete the job (you're welcome, from my grandma).

If you happen to be a gardener, you'll find the expertly illustrated collection of ways to make all sorts of edibles last in "Food" handy. Even if you buy your produce like normal fully employed people, follow Briggs' simple directions for storing, canning, and drying veggies and herbs, or hop on the foodie train and ride it from lacto-fermentation to making jerky to salt-curing fish (really?) like a champ. Don't worry that you'll need to buy a $500 dehydrator or ditch your microwave -- Raleigh here is a regular old human, not a hipster robot. Refreshing.

It's in "Home" that Briggs reveals her love of the hardware store. You'll need to -- want to -- head there to find supplies for fixing squeaky, sticky, or loose doors and for patching walls, fixing windows, and restoring tubs, sinks, and toilets to workable order. This is important stuff, people, and we're not talking quick-fix WD-40 so-called solutions here. Though none of these instructions is particularly labor-intensive, knowing how to make repairs the right way saves time and aggravation in the long run, while making your home a much nicer place to simply be.

Make It Last