In order to avoid doing any work on my uni summer project (and because I like sewing) I recently made a patchwork pincushion for a friend’s birthday. I got the idea and pattern from Very Berry Handmade, and my first attempt went terribly wrong when I tried make the cushion bigger than the pattern dictates but somehow grossly miscalculated things (probably to do with my terrible grasp of both numbers and logic, and for whatever reason sewing with a seam allowance two times too wide).
Anyway, I’m happy to say that attempt #2 went well (considering I’ve never really done patchwork before), and I was kind of sad to give it away. But I did. Selfless.
If you’re very interested, there are two more pictures on Flickr – one of the back, which is plain but embroidered with an “A”, and one of the ladder stitching I did to sew the cushion up at the end; it’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it! I hope she liked it.
I also “made” the pins as well. It’s the simplest thing in the world, and quite cute (I think) – I have a rather large collection of Swarovski crystal beads from back in my jewellery-makin’ days, and all I did was break out the superglue and glue the beads up against the pin head. It takes a while for the glue to dry, but if you’ve just made a pincushion it’s not as if you haven’t got anywhere to put them while it does!
I’m not known for my Christmas spirit. I’m quite a grumpy old man, really; I don’t much like shopping, “enforced jollity”, or people feeling obligated to run out and spendspendspend. Maybe it comes from working in a shop, and from about mid-September witnessing shoppers become more and more stressed and rabid and worried about not getting something “good enough”, or maybe I am actually just a grumpy old man inside. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas Day is awesome. I love the actual day, where you get to eat chocolate for breakfast and hang around with people you love and have lots of food and play with new toys and watch Dr Who.
One thing I do love about the run up to Christmas is wrapping presents. When I worked at Lush, one of my favourite things was wrapping gift boxes for people, and things haven’t changed. Wrapping paper! Ribbons! It’s great! Not even sticky tape disasters can dampen my spirits when I’m wrapping things!
You just can’t beat brown paper. I love me some brown paper. This year, I bought a cheap rubber stamp and an ink pad (the paint pen is an old favourite!) and went to town, printing my own personalised wrapping paper.
Way back in week 3 of Change by Design (oh my goodness, check out how long I’ve been a student for already!), Jonathan gave us a wee blogging prompt that I keep going back to thinking about.
Think about something you were given, or have given to someone else, and how its meaning has changed from when it was made to now.
At first I couldn’t really think of anything that fit in to this topic, but then after ruminating for a while something popped into my head.
A few years ago, when I was about nineteen, I went through a month-long phase of being seriously into making friendship bracelets – I think I’d found an old instruction sheet from when I was about twelve, and decided that it would be an ace way to use up the ridiculous stash of embroidery threads I’d amassed since then (which is nothing compared to the stash I have going now, by the way!). So I knotted and knotted and knotted, and produced friendship bracelet upon friendship bracelet. And I think I probably just threw away most of them in the end, but one ended up absent-mindedly tied around my boyfriend’s wrist one day. And it stayed there. And it stayed there. And it’s still there.
Well… the original one lasted about two years and then fell off, but I made a second one to replace it, which is still holding strong.
I find it really interesting how something very insignificant can grow to somehow have a significant meaning to someone, and have memories and sentiments attached to it, and I find it especially interesting how that can happen completely arbitrarily. Why does some embroidery thread knotted together now somehow have any special meaning to me, and why can’t I really explain it?
I suppose this bracelet now means something to me because he kept it. I could have thrown that one out with the rest of them, he could have taken it off and thrown it away, it could have fallen off and not been noticed. But he kept it, and when it did break, it was already something important. It had quite quickly become something more than just thread.
People don’t always love the things that are expensive and flashy, I suppose, and often it’s simply the gesture of giving a gift that is appreciated. Rather than reserving sentiments for precious metals and expensive price tags, often it’s just a case of “I love this because it was given to me by [someone].” or “I love this because it reminds me of [something].” or “I love this because [someone] made it for me.”
Someone did once ask if Iain was a Buddhist after spotting it, though.