Quick Query: What Useful Skill Do You Wish You Had?

It's been a while since I've heard from many of you... so, in an attempt to draw you out of your online "shells", I have this question for you:

If you could pick ONE of these useful homemaking crafts/skills to instantly acquire and be able to use in your everyday life, which would you pick?

(A) Sewing - to make clothing, draperies, and other cloth goods that look professional
(B) Cake Decorating - to bake and design beautiful cakes, from the simple and elegant to the elaborate and detailed (great talent to have for kids' birthday parties!)
(C) Furniture Refinishing - to take hand-me-down or antique/used furniture and wisely select fabrics, recovering and refinishing to look elegant and professionally done
(D) Knitting/Crocheting - to make nice-looking quality afghans, sweaters, and other items from yarn
(E) Carpentry - to design and craft quality furniture and other useful wooden items
(F) Painting - for everything from wall hangings to detailed decorative painting on furniture and walls to designing unique wall treatments

Please share which you would pick and WHY-- how it would be helpful in your current life! :) Can't wait to hear from you!

Graphic from allposters.com: Alphonse Mucha, Moterosso Villa


Anonymous said...

Sewing... I wish I could make clothes for my daughter. The clothes I love are way out of my price range. My mother made me so many things as a child (quilts, dresses, overalls, doll clothes, curtains, halloween costumes, etc), and I would love to do the same for my little one.

Anonymous said...

My pick would be between C & E, or some combination of them. I like working with my hands, & am proficient enough at some of the other things you've listed....& I would love to add woodworking skills to my repertoire. What a useful thing it would be!


Anonymous said...

That's a tough decision. I can't pick between carpentry, painting, or refinishing furniture. Mostly because we bought a house in October and still haven't the funds to furnish it! Can I pick all of the above? :D

Jess said...

I'll go ahead and weigh in on this one too... I would definitely choose cake decorating in this season I'm in. I'd love to have all of these talents for sure, but with four birthdays coming up in the next 3 months (everybody but me and Silas), I'd love to be able to make really fancy-looking and fun cakes.

I've made some pretty good ones in the last couple of years, but they still are most certainly of the homemade-look variety. Which is OK, but it would be really neat to be able to make things look professional and super-nice. It would just be a fun talent to have!


Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Sewing for me. I would like to make my own curtains, clothes, bags, anything really :) On a side note, last year I took the Wilton courses in Cake Decorating offered through Michael's or A.C. Moore craft stores, and I really enjoyed it :)

Joanna said...

Since I already sew, decorate cakes and crochet with some measure of humble skill, I pick C. I don't really care about painting and carpentry is something I'd like my husband to instantly pick up so that leaves the furniture refinishing to me, which I think sounds like a very fun hobby and since we're about to be buying a house that's over 2 times the size of our current apartment and money doesn't grow on trees, this seems like the perfect skill to acquire overnight so that we can furnish the house in a money-wise manner. I'll let you know tomorrow if said skill is acquired.

Steph VG said...

Sewing. Hands down. I don't like a lot of what I see in stores, and commercially-made clothing fits funny, usually. PLUS, of all the windows in our home, not one has a curtain. I really would love to be able to make them myself.

Christine said...

I would love to learn how to sew; I could certainly use it for making my little ones' clothes.

Janel said...

Although I make an incredible butter cream frosting, it isn't for piping and roses. Cake decorating isn't something I've mastered, at all. It would be really neat to have something other than great frosting with sprinkles ...jimmies if you're from New England. ;)

I can do/have done all the others. I even have a bathroom to finish painting this week. :)

maria said...

I'd pick E, as we're hoping to finish part of our basement and I can use all those skills I can get!

Terry said...

Sewing and knitting are the ones I'd like to be able to do. I would love to be able to knit a baby blanket or scarf for my baby. And I would also love to be able to make the kinds of clothes I wish were in stores but can hardly ever find (or afford when I DO manage to find them).

dcrmom said...

B - Definitely B!

CCokelee said...

I would definitely say sewing because I am almost 5 months pregnant and I long to make clothes for my children. Sewing is definitely a dying art.

Serena said...

Since I'm a tolerable seamstress, am slowly improving my knitting/crocheting skills, don't really care for cake (I'm more of a pie girl, ANY day!), and my husband paints houses for a living, I would choose carpentry! I love beautiful wooden objects, and there are so many useful things to be made from wood. My grandpa is a carpenter, and I absolutely love everything he's ever made. I have a little wooden box that he made in high school, in the 40s, that is very special to me. So, I have very pleasant associations with carpentry, anyway! I ignored Furniture Refinishing, because I figure the refinishing part my husband would do, while the recovering part would apply to my seamstress skills. ;)

April said...

I would like to be able to decorate cakes. That would also mean learning to bake really great moist cakes. My reason is two fold. I would love to make them for my girls. I could also see it becoming a side business, which sure would help with the budget!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to learn to crochet, because it's something I could do while spending time with my husband... but it's pretty tricky!

So, I'd pick d.


Jaime said...

I can do cake decorating well enough to suit me.... so I would definitely pick sewing. Knitting/crocheting would be fun, but I see that as more of a pastime than a trade, for lack of a better word. I think it would be fantastic to know how to make all of our clothes, etc.

Mrs. Bethany Hudson said...

I'm torn. I think I'd have to choose sewing, because I always have such great ideas in my head for what I would do to improve designs to make them more modest--or to make them fit! I'm a size 0 and it's hard to find stuff that isn't made for preteens. But, I would also love to knit/crochet. Speaking of which, I should ask my talented MIL to teach me to knit.

Amanda said...

Oh, sewing, definitely. I have such a hard time finding clothes I like and that fit well. I'd love to make clothes for my husband, too.

I'm slowly making progress toward being better at crocheting.


MaryBeth said...

Furniture Refinishing or Carpentry. A combination of both would be nice :)

My desire for these comes from some of our very well loved, hand-me-down furniture needing some help!


Tamsin said...

Sewing, definitely - haberdashery is the area that I think is most over-priced in terms of the materials/labour that go into it!

I always thought knitting my own clothes/blankets would be the cheapest option, until I realised that a ball of wool over here costs, on average, £3.50 ($7). That's a lot for even a small knitting project! Sewing seems to be worth the effort, though.


Erin said...

It would be sewing. No thought about it. I already enjoy sewing but I often get frustrated because the things I sew don't turn out as well as I'd like.
That way I'd be able to make pretty feminie clothes that are modest and actually fit properly and look good. And I could bless the people around me by making things for them too. :)

Lynn said...

I wish I was better at all of those things. My grandmother was an excellent crafter. She taught classes out of her home after she became a widow, in painting, pottery, and other things. She was so gifted. She tried to teach me many things and I did not take the time to learn them. Yes, she showed me the basics of knitting, crocheting, and sewing but I did not spend the time I should have learning from her. I could have learned so much more. I realize that now as an adult. I really wish I could sew though. I am tall and find modest clothes hard to find. If I could sew I could make myself and my daughters clothes so that would be the one I would really like to know. And if any young girls are reading this take the time to learn these arts from those that know them. You will not regret it.

Robin said...

I would like to be able to do all of those things better. And to make time to do them.

If I had to pick one (or two), I'd pick cake decorating and then furniture refinishing.

It wold be nice to make awesome cakes for birthday celebrations.

I'd love to redo our bedroom set, but am afraid of the time it would take and that it would look worse when I'm done.

Claire said...

DEFINITELY sewing. I learned when I was younger, but then I just didn't do it for so long that I wouldn't know where to start. I wouldn't make clothes as much as curtains and things for the house.

~Tami said...

Carpentry! I would make a desk that works for me. I would make a bookcase that would hold all of my books. I would make some closets that were big enough to hold our clothes and storage! My mom is very talented. She has made me a few bookshelves and cabinets. She can sew. She can re-upholster furniture. She can do so many things, all because she couldn't afford the real thing as a stay at home mom. I really look up to her talents, as I have none of them!

yoshi3329 said...

I'd pick (C) it would be nice when something like my favorite cup's handle breaks I could fix it.

:..Rebekah..: said...

I was going to say sewing, but then I remembered how frustrated I would get when I was learning to sew. I didn't like following patterns, and I didn't have the patience for the details. I love to be in the kitchen creating new things, and I love baking, so I think I will pick cake decorating. It would also be a good way to generate some income, and a good home business. Beautiful cakes would also make lovely birthday gifts for loved ones and friends. Fun question!

Gina said...

Let's see...
A-check. I don't know about professional, but good enough for me:)

B-Not really important to me.

C-Ooo, this would come in handy. May I submit a project in need?
The 3rd picture. I've been needing to do that one for a year. Instead, I banished the chair to the basement.

D-I knew how to crochet once upon a time, but I'd really love to learn to knit. That's been a desire of mine for a while.

E-That's what my hubby is for!

F-I can hold my own. Again, happy with what I've got in that department.

So, I guess I'd pick D. I can just keep that chair in the basement! And knit it a blanket!!

Kim said...

Wow - Silas is your first non summer baby, huh?

I would say cake decorating. I love to bake - I am lousy at decorating. Really, really bad at it. So if I could have that skill, and it would be marketable, that would just be fabulous.

See also - floral design. I'd love to be a florist.

Jess said...

You're right-- unless you can find a good, inexpensive source for yarn, it's not worth it to make a lot of knitting/crocheting projects. But when you CAN find good deals on yarn (which happens from time to time for me-- at Hobby Lobby in America, not to mention yard and estate sales... and at a store just up and around the corner here where I live now), and you have good patterns to follow, you can make very useful things. But good yarn prices are a must, in order for it to be "worth it".

I too would love to know how to do things with wood. :) All of you ladies are tempting me away from my choice of cake decorating. Truth be told, though, that's why I did this poll-- cause I'd honestly love to know how to do any and all of these things well. (The only one I really do somewhat well at present is crocheting.)

Yup, he's the first one that's not a summer birthday and doesn't have an exactly-two-year age difference with his closest sibling. He & Maranatha are 21 months apart.

Funny you said that about the floral design-- I almost included a (G) option for floral design, but deleted it before publishing the post. :) It was in my brain, anyway. And yeah, I'd love to be good at that too.

Fun responses-- I thought you guys might enjoy this question. ;)

Domestikate said...

Hmmmm, since I have dabbled in all but (D) I would pick knitting/crocheting.

I'm not a great seamstress, but can make simple things. I made some fun cakes over the years (but homemade looking like you said). I have refinished some chairs, and my hubby is much more gifted in that area as well as carpentry, so I don't see the need. And as a garage sale/curbside shopper I have brought several things back to life by a coat of paint or some decorative painting. And, to add to your recent comment, I took a floral design class years ago, that was fun.

But, I have always wanted to, but never have been taught to knit. I have actually been toying with the idea of going to an elderly care facility and seeing if one of the lonely grandmas would teach me the skill.

Another skill I would like is gardening. I've been trying a bit, but I am afraid my thumb is not quite green yet.

Catherine R. said...

Hi Jess,

I don't know if anyone else was slightly offended about this (maybe it's just me in my epic sensitivity) but I am wondering if anyone has been commented less (been in their shells) because of the link you put on one of your previous posts about 'why I don't read your blog'. To me it just read as; 'I think your blog is lame and I don't read it but you can still read mine because it's better'.

A little off topic but I'm just being honest : )

Bobbie said...

Hi Jess
I would pick C.
There is something about elegant wood, I just love.

Jess said...

Wow, Catherine,
I didn't intend it to come across that way at all. I honestly just thought it was a clever and truthful post to highlight. I don't have much time to read blogs in the first place, and so I certainly wasn't directing it at anyone in particular. I actually thought some people might read it (as I did) and glean some tips of what NOT to do for their blogs if they're wanting to gain readership.

I'm sorry you found it offensive; that wasn't my intent. And as for not hearing from people, what I really mean by that is that I haven't been posting very deep or thoughtful stuff lately... it's been a lot of labor talk and links, etc... so I just wanted to hear from my bloggy friends and see a few familiar faces. I really am sorry that I offended you with that link- it wasn't intentional at all.


BTW, as a sidenote, just to assuage your sensitivity, I couldn't possibly be talking about your blog anyhow, seeing as how your blog is for invited readers only, and I wasn't invited to the par-tay. :) So it's impossible that I would be directing a random link I came across at you, whose blog I can't even access.

Tamsin said...

Re Catherine's post - I don't know if others felt differently, but I certainly didn't feel that that was your motive in sharing that link (which was hilarious!)

Really love your linky posts as you seem to come across so many interesting things; it's kind of you to spend time bringing them to attention of others.


Anonymous said...

Carpentry, I guess; I know a little about even that but less than I do about any of your other choices. However, I do not enjoy cake decorating at all and gladly double-team a cake with my mother (I bake, she decorates!) whenever possible.

-Mrs. Gillet

Anonymous said...

Cake decorating would be tempting...I'd end up eating all of my "work." I've learned how to knit (and LOVE IT!) so I think my next pick would be sewing...I'd love to make my girls cute dresses!!

Nancy said...

Sewing, definitely. I can't even sew a button. I just checked out a book from the library that shows you how to use socks to make the CUTEST little stuffed animals, but you have to know how to sew to do it! :(

Pam said...

Sewing, definitely. I wish i could not only sew for my kids but also teach them how to sew. It is sew(pun intended)important in their future, on little things.
My mom taught me how to decorate cakes(nothing elaborate but fun) and cross-stitching and dad taught me about carpentry, painting, and refinishing, brick laying and wine-making; go figure, I was the boy he never had.
Congrats on the new family member, who is really cute. And you look fantastic, btw.
This brought back some great memories.

Julieann said...

Oh, How fun--I will pick sewing since I am working on this:)

It will be helpful, because I could make all sorts of pretty dresses and nighties for me and my daughter. ( I do make them, but they are not to be worn out in public yet...LOL--the dresses that is) Everytime I see little House, I want to make that little night cap the girls wear to bed..:)

What a fun post!


Brenda said...

Sewing! I would love to be able to make more than I can now. (Which is basically anything in the shape of a square or rectangle!) I would love to be able to do this b/c it would save money in that I could make clothes for my girls. Great skill to have in my opinion!!!

Jen said...

G)Keeping it magazine spread clean.

Or just clean in general. I struggle so much with this. It hurts my heart on a daily basis.

MacCárthaigh Family said...

I think carpentry would be a great skill. I just don't always get the point of 3 piece suites of furniture!? I like the idea of built in furniture!
God bless.

Anna said...

I would choose sewing. I know a few of the basics, but would like to learn more. My two little girls love skirts and dresses, and it can be hard to find inexpensive skirts and dresses in stores. I have a neighbor who is teaching me a little at a time.

Catherine R. said...

Well, thanks for clarifying even if I am the only one who read too much into it : )

Actually I was intending on inviting you to my blog but I honestly can't find the location of your email address on your blog. I had to go private temporarily because I have been getting some really awful comments from psycho blog trolls lately.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely pick sewing. It's so hard to find fashionable clothing that's modest! There are a couple of tubs of fabric in my garage which I bought with good intentions, but I usually can't get through a project. With two little ones running around, my time is limited. So if any of you know of a way to instantly have the skill, please let me know!

Pepperpot said...

I 'know how' to sew, but most of what I 'know' is just the way that I do it! I'd love to learn how to really sew, and all the techniques, and be good at reading patterns and such. I mostly have a heart that wants to quilt. I have a denim quilt of my own that's been in the works forever, and I also have a quilt that my grandmother started that I would like to complete. I'll quilt both of them, but I have a lot to learn! :)

helpmeetintraining said...

I would pick carpentry! Wouldn't it be amazing to eat off a table you made with your own hands?!?

Heidi said...

'Cause wood is the coolest stuff on earth. Sometimes looking at it makes me want to cry, it's so beautiful. :~)

1Cor1031 said...

This is a tough one... how about knitting/crocheting. Then I could repair some items that are stored away.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through another blog (that I found through another blog lol). Hopefully you won't mind if I answer your question.

Knitting/Crocheting would be a great skill to acquire. I've tried numerous times to pick it up, but b/c of the CTS in my left wrist, I never last long enough to make anything. I would love to be able to make wool longies (for covers for cloth diapers) for future babes.

Christine said...

Sewing, definitely. I stink at it. Yet I'm creative in most other areas, so I struggle through with little ability. I make Halloween costumes and other fabric projects just by experimenting!

Mom said...

I would have to pick D -knitting/crocheting - I have a need to do something with my hands - I make jewelry for that reason, so that is something that I have wanted to learn for quite some time, and there would always be a reason (baby blanket, scarves, etc.) to make something useful and nice.

Love you, Mom

Brandy said...

I would love to sew! So many clothes at the stores are not my style or modest enough to want to wear them. Plus, like others said, when you find what you like it is expensive. I also would have fun making things for our house: curtains, pillows, slip covers, etc. Maybe one day I will get a sewing class in my schedule.

Christie said...

Hands down sewing. I am working on that skill right now. I love making dresses for my daughter and I. My little son's dressing needs are easily filled with hand-me-down and lightly used clothes from friends. However, I want my daughter to be a little lady and most of the clothes (even for infants) are just shirts and pants. I want my little one to wear dresses, and I would love for us to have matching outfits (We have just a few now). Of course if I want my daughter to be a lady I must be as well. So although I would love to pick up all of those skill I would definitely say sewing.