Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Memories

I've been a frugal sewing person for a long, long time. I've been saving fabric from other projects for well over 30 years.
Thirty years. That's a long time when you think about it.
Tonight, I needed to clean and organize an area in my sewing room. My task involved cleaning out a WWII trunk filled with fabric and prepare the space for two bookcases I purchased.
I opened the trunk and started sorting. There was the black printed fabric I had made curtains and a tank cover for the bathroom in our old farm house when my oldest son was two. There was the off white printed fabric that had covered all the windows in the front two rooms of the farm house. That particular piece used to be the bottom part of cafe curtains; its mate was a brown fabric with the same print and it had been the top part of the curtains. Oh, I so remember measuring and measuring all these different windows to make sure I had the length and width right. Old farm houses don't come with windows that are all the same size!
There was the fabric that I had used to make my oldest son and his dad matching shirts for Christmas. Button down with plackets. I remember making them and interfacing the collars and picking out buttons in two different sizes that were designed the same. For the presentation, I packed my son's shirt in one box and wrapped it with my husband's name on the tag and wrapped my husband's shirt in a box with my son's name on the tag. My son opened his first and had the oddest look on his face. They rarely wore them at the same time, but it was great.
Oh, and darn, I remembered that other bundle of fabric - the ugliest orange and turquoise tropical fabric that had been a pair of "jams" my son wore in the 5th grade. Now we call them board shorts and the fabrics are not quite so gaudy, but this fabric was the height of 5th grade fashion at that time. What am I going to do with it now?
I also found the fabric I had made curtains and bumper pads with for my twins, who are now 24 years old. There were two coordinating fabrics to begin with, and I have very little of one of the fabrics and about a half-yard of the other now.
I also held some Austrian silk that I've had since I was a kid. I doubt I'll ever make anything out of it, but I have it if I want to.
All of the above fabrics missed the "give away" and "throw away" piles. I simply had to keep them. I might make something out of them some day, right?
Going through your stash of saved bits and pieces can provide a wonderful hour or so of wistful remembering. I highly recommend a trip down memory lane. You just might come away with a plan of attack for using some of those prized fabrics!

Friday, July 25, 2008

About me

I'm an aging former hippie wannabe located in Williamsburg, VA, USA. I welcome you. Together and on our own, we can manage this disease and live long, healthy lives.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Patsy Quilt, Part 3

Here's the quilt - including the block in the lower right hand corner with Patsy's name embroidered on it. I did encircle the signature with ribbon to reinforce the hand embroidery. It's hanging on the line now, and when it dries, I'll shake it out, package it up, and send it on its way to my grandnephew.  I think I'm as proud of this as any quilt I've made thus far.


Patsyquilt072108s 


Patsyquilt072108c 


Patsyquilt072108b



It's done - The Patsy Quilt, Part 2

The quilt for my nephew's baby is done. I took the last hand stitches tonight as I completed attaching the gingham binding. The back is fleece; the front is primarily made of fabric recycled from a quilt my sister, Patsy, my grandnephew's grand mother, had made in 1977. I shared some of the story of the quilt in this blog post.
When Brian, my nephew, married Joanna, there was a single rose on the altar at the church. It was there in honor of his mother, my sister. At the reception, Joanna had placed a photograph of Patsy on the grand piano in the room. She wasn't there in person, but they thought of her and had her at both the wedding and the reception, and it sure meant a lot to my side of the family to see these tokens of remembrance.
My sister is a big part of why I sew. She could make the most elegant things out of the most simple of materials. She could make anything. She embroidered the most beautiful items. For a time, she would take a simple chambray shirt and embroider the yoke en toto, usually adding something to the front pocket. Those shirts were amazing. I had one, but who knows what happened to it. I didn't realize the work of art I owned until it was gone. She could draw simply anything. It was amazing. I wanted to be able to do the things she did. I learned to embroider from books and never came close to the quality of her work, but I was very proud of it. I saw some of her early quilts and knew they were made of things she already had. I started saving every bit of fabric I could to make a quilt someday. I've since made plenty, but they started with a big paper bag in which I collected bits of this and that. She used to joke that she was the "Maxwell Housewife."
Later in her life, she didn't sew much. I always wished she would - she was so good at it!
I'll post a picture of the completed quilt soon. It needs to be washed on the gentle cycle and hung in the sun to dry. I think it's beautiful. I know it's beautiful. It's a work of Patsy's art combined with my desire to give my grandnephew a little something to grow old with. We miss my sister. She was something else.

The Patsy Quilt, Part 3

Here's the quilt - including the block in the lower right hand corner with Patsy's name embroidered on it. I did encircle the signature with ribbon to reinforce the hand embroidery. It's hanging on the line now, and when it dries, I'll shake it out, package it up, and send it on its way to my grandnephew.  I think I'm as proud of this as any quilt I've made thus far.


Patsyquilt072108s 


Patsyquilt072108c 


Patsyquilt072108b



It's done - The Patsy Quilt, Part 2

The quilt for my nephew's baby is done. I took the last hand stitches tonight as I completed attaching the gingham binding. The back is fleece; the front is primarily made of fabric recycled from a quilt my sister, Patsy, my grandnephew's grand mother, had made in 1977. I shared some of the story of the quilt in this blog post.
When Brian, my nephew, married Joanna, there was a single rose on the altar at the church. It was there in honor of his mother, my sister. At the reception, Joanna had placed a photograph of Patsy on the grand piano in the room. She wasn't there in person, but they thought of her and had her at both the wedding and the reception, and it sure meant a lot to my side of the family to see these tokens of remembrance.
My sister is a big part of why I sew. She could make the most elegant things out of the most simple of materials. She could make anything. She embroidered the most beautiful items. For a time, she would take a simple chambray shirt and embroider the yoke en toto, usually adding something to the front pocket. Those shirts were amazing. I had one, but who knows what happened to it. I didn't realize the work of art I owned until it was gone. She could draw simply anything. It was amazing. I wanted to be able to do the things she did. I learned to embroider from books and never came close to the quality of her work, but I was very proud of it. I saw some of her early quilts and knew they were made of things she already had. I started saving every bit of fabric I could to make a quilt someday. I've since made plenty, but they started with a big paper bag in which I collected bits of this and that. She used to joke that she was the "Maxwell Housewife."
Later in her life, she didn't sew much. I always wished she would - she was so good at it!
I'll post a picture of the completed quilt soon. It needs to be washed on the gentle cycle and hung in the sun to dry. I think it's beautiful. I know it's beautiful. It's a work of Patsy's art combined with my desire to give my grandnephew a little something to grow old with. We miss my sister. She was something else.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Buzzing around the sewing machine

Today is my twins' 24th birthday. Twenty-four years ago, I gave birth to a very small girl and a tiny boy, and after a few years of health issues, developmental testing and treatment, and on and on too numerous to express in just a few sentences, they've grown into lovely 24-year-old adults. The girl is always easy to gift. She has 1000 things in mind. The boy, not so easy. But! Every time I ask him what he wants for this occasion or that, the response is always the same - "A jar of bees."
Why a jar of bees? I don't really know, but it's just the stock answer!
I picked up some bee fabric a couple years ago, intending to make something bee-like for him and just never got around to it. Today, I was sitting at the sewing machine working on pot holders for an upcoming sale and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bee fabric. I stopped what I was doing, cut some squares of denim and some strips of the bee fabric and made a pillow top. I cut a simple jar shape out of the bee fabric, neck of the jar from some white, and snipped a piece of double fold black bias tape for the jar top. Two hours later, I have a stuffed "Jar of Bees" pillow!
I attached a note saying, "Dear Tom, Here's something I know you've always wanted - your very own jar of bees. Happy Birthday! Love, Mom." Then, I put the pillow on his laptop, where I know he'll find it.
Breaking it down, the bee fabric cost about $2 a few years ago, the denim is recycled, the white is recycled, and the black bias tape was something I already had. I zig-zagged over all raw edges and used polyfil I already had. So, really, the cost of his pillow was about $2 plus a hefty dose of love. Frugal birthday giving with a heart.
I love to make simple things that may mean something to the recipient. I hope he gets the humor in the pillow and gets a smile on his face. It doesn't cost a lot to make a person happy. So, keep your ears open and listen for little things that those you love want or like. Then get that sewing machine humming and put it together. Recycle something you already have or make it out of alternative fabrics and threads that you can throw together with your imagination.
Frugal sewing definitely doesn't have to be dull and this pillow was as easy as it comes. No pattern. Low cost. Done.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM AND ALLISON!