taking something old... making something new.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

heirloom pillow

I made this pillow a while ago, but haven't had the time to really sit down and blog about it. Or rather, it wasn't part of wedding preparations, so I saved it for later and just realized that I hadn't posted it yet. Originally, this was a hand-stitched tapestry that my grandmother (on my mom's side) made years and years ago. Up close, it is incredible. The thread she used is thick and wooly and there are so many subtle details that give it depth. I'm sure it must have taken her a long time.This hung on our wall in a picture frame at home for as long as I can remember. It was one of those parts of your house that you never look at because it's been there for so long, and I remember even thinking that it looked old and tired because it had just always been there. One summer when I came home from college, I rediscovered it as my mom was going through the house getting rid of old things. I think this was the first time I really looked at it and fully appreciated the craftsmanship that went into it. I decided that it was not getting the appreciation it deserved, so I asked my mom if I could have it. She is a practical woman and not prone to being incredibly sentimental about items, so she said yes. I made it into a simple A-line skirt. The front of the skirt was of course the tapestry, while the back was out of a darker green silk shantung. Wish I had taken a picture of it, it was really quite unique. The only problem was that in the last 10 years, I wore the skirt perhaps twice. 1. Because it was difficult to find something to wear with it that could complement without competing, and 2. Because it was very very uncomfortable and itchy. The thread used is wool, I think and even with a lining and a slip, it drove me crazy and kept me itching the entire time I wore it. This spring, as I moved my things into our new house, I rediscovered the skirt and knew that this piece needed to be appreciated once again. I love pillows and knew it would fit perfectly within my home. I backed it with this beautiful teal-blue stretch velveteen and used the same fabric for a piping around the edges of the print. It's wonderful to have a little piece of Grandma Laird in my home.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I bet Kate Middleton will never spraypaint shelves

I'm not usually one to obsessively follow Hollywood couples or english royalty, but I did check out William and Kate's wedding on Friday. Perhaps it's because I'm still on a high from my own wedding and really wanted to see Kate's wedding dress (which I absolutely loved.) They really looked happy and I loved the way William would steal glances at Kate during the ceremony and exchange coy looks with his brother. They really did look blissfully happy and it reminded me of my own blissfully happy wedding a mere three weeks ago. So needless to say, love was in the air, and William and Kate were on my mind this weekend as I set about the daunting task of organizing and cleaning the post-wedding mayem in my sewing room. I sent husband away for the weekend so I could tear apart the house and clean to my heart's desire. I started by taking apart the shelving unit I bought off craigslist a few months ago. These are pretty heavy duty industrial shelves and they looked the part so I decided to spray paint them white to make them look a little daintier--if that's possible. As I sat outside in my bare feet and sweat pants, spraypainting second-hand shelves and thinking about the royal wedding, I started to wonder what life would be like for the Duchess of Cambridge. I'm pretty sure she'd never have to find couches off the side of the road to re-upholster or buy $7 chairs at Value Village for her kitchen. And I'm pretty sure that after the wedding, she won't spend the next three weeks cleaning up after it. The funny thing is, I don't mind. I actually feel a bit sorry for those born into that sort of privledge. I love that I can take apart an old couch and put it back together, that I can find use in somebody else's discarded wares, and that I can enjoy the satisfaction of cleaning and organizing my own home. Growing up in a large family, I was raised on garage sales, hand-me-down clothes, and thrift store prom dresses. I've learned so many useful skills and enjoy every minute of creating and the mess that comes with it...

And here is the result of all my musings. A before shot of the chaos in the sewing room post-wedding: And now, after a weekend of organizing and painting. I am now ready to create again. Don't those shelves look dainty?