Pincushions: Make Them, Collect Them and Use Them

teacup pincushionPincushions are functional, decorative and the best way to keep your sewing pins from winding up in various odd places around the house. If you don’t sew you could collect hat pins and use a fabulous pincushion to display them.

The first pincushion I remember using was my Grandmother’s standard tomato-strawberry pincushion. It was red with green embroidery, Made in China. Hers had two strawberries, hanging from the side.

That pincushion design started in the Victorian era. It probably came from the idea of having a tomato on the hearth for good luck in the home. When tomatoes were not available families would use a red ball stuffed with sawdust. At some point it became used to hold pins while the ladies were sewing. (There was a lot of hand sewing in those days).

I don’t know if my Grandmother’s pincushion was stuffed with sawdust. But the old way was to stuff the tomato with wool roving to prevent the pins from getting rusty. The attached strawberry was filled with abrasive to clean and sharpen the pins.

Pincushions are one of the pretty extras you can use when you sew. You can sew without using a pincushion. Just as you don’t really need a thimble, but the pincushion is tradition, adds history and elegance to the event. I don’t wear an apron when I cook, but I still like to look at patterns for sewing them and embellishing them. It’s not about what you need but more about what you want.

The pincushion needs to be the right size to not get in the way of your work, yet it has to hold a good load of pins as you work. It should have stuffing which is tightly packed so your pins don’t wobble around or sink right through up to their heads. I’ve seen very pretty pincushions which would be decorative but not very functional. If you buy a pincushion make sure it’s more than just a pretty face.

See More Pincushion Designs

About Green Living History

Everything becomes history, everything has a history.

I thought about starting a new blog and began writing down ideas:

  • Holidays/ events, traditions with recipes, crafts, etc.
  • Pagan/ Wiccan/ spiritual topics.
  • Green living compared to old pioneer and etc. ideas.
  • Armageddon, science fiction ideas.
  • Urban and rural exploration.
  • Women in history.
  • Canadian history.
  • Folk tales, fairy tales and the paranormal.
  • Old things, vintage, antiques.
  • Arts and crafts from the past.
  • Local history and societies/ groups.
  • Survivalist theories.
  • Living off the grid.
  • Old words and phrases.

Then I narrowed down my ideas to three topics from the list. As I was looking at the list I realized all the topics connect in the theme of history. That was interesting. I enjoy history. But, so many people think it is dull when you present it as a topic of conversation. I think they are assuming history is all about long winded tomes in the library under attack by dust bunnies and cobwebs. History is so much more! See the list above.

So, here I am, starting history.

Lisa Garza

We were away and I missed seeing The Next Food Network Star on Sunday. I’ve been watching it and hoping Lisa Garza would win. She is lovely, gracious and really knows her stuff when it comes to food and cooking. Disappointing to find out she didn’t win. But, there is a rumour that another television network has offered her a show of her own. Maybe it will give her a chance to shine with more of her real skills for crafts and cooking and all her food knowledge as well.

I found two different links to her couture/ designer aprons, both lead back to the same Couture Caviar URL but there isn’t anything up there, yet.

In addition to owning and operating a fine dining restaurant with her husband, Lisa has a couture apron line. “I see myself as a renaissance woman — I can teach the Food Network viewer everything from cooking to crafts to how to set your table and have it look like a $100,000 event.” – From Rachael Ray’s site.

A Virtual Yard Sale

I like the idea of having a virtual yard sale as Nerdy Parenting wrote about. But, I don’t know much about selling online. I wish you could use more of those selling type sites without having to register and have more logins for each one. It is kind of a nuisance to login and login and login again and again. Firefox still doesn’t remember any of my logins. I use the other browsers but they don’t have all my gadgets on them.

Anyway, I do have a lot that could be sold. Not so bad for things like books. I just take them to the second hand bookstore and get money off the books I buy second hand from the store. That works out better than having a sale and selling each of them for a quarter, or less.

Once, a long time ago, I thought it would be fun to have a craft selling booth at the flea market. There is a huge flea market in Pickering, Ontario. I would be surprised if was not still there. Too far away from where I am living now to go and see it. I did like it. Lots of junk, lots of crafts and some baking and crafts from the local Mennonites.

Button Flowers

I really like those button flowers I have been seeing in blog headers (templates too) and greeting cards. They look so scrapbooking. I’d like to do something more along the lines of digital scrapbooking. It would make a really original and interesting blog post. Working out the technical details needs some ironing out, but I will figure it all out, sooner or later. Meanwhile I drew a few myself and found some really neat links while searching for “button flowers” on Google.

Making flowers out of a little wire and some buttons, try Kiddley for a button bouquet. At One More Moore she adds leaves to her button flowers, I thought of that too while looking at Kiddley.

Artsy Craftsy Babe is gluing buttons together to make flower brooches. I love the idea. 🙂 I have a ton of buttons collected from my Grandmother, my Mother and myself, loads of buttons to work with and I do like a brooch the odd time I actually wear any jewelry. She also has fluffy flowers, made with fabric and a button.

Pink Water Fairy has a really charming charm bracelet made of buttons and flower buttons. You’d have to inherit, find or shop for just the right buttons for this one. Or just buy one from her.

Making Envelopes from the Best of DIY Blog

I really like this idea of making envelopes. I found it on The Best of DIY blog which had card dropped on Doodle Week. (Thanks). You could use all kinds of scrap and junk paper. Even all that junk I keep getting from Rogers and Bell trying to sell me more services I already have or don’t want.

The only downside is that I have a ton of paper I could use up this way but very few letters I can write. It’s been a long time since I was penpalling and all my Grandparents are deceased. Still, if I joined up to exchange postcards (which I would like to do) I could make my own fancy and unique arty envelopes to ship them off in. 🙂

Strawberry Jam with Ginger

“My Mother isn’t coming for a social visit, she wants to inspect us, dissect everything I’ve done with the house, the girls and you.” Blair pulled the blankets back over her head.

“Your Mother is coming to see the girls and us. You make her sound like a hyper critical bitch and she’s really pretty sweet.” Bob pulled the blankets off the bed, trying to force Blair to get out of it. “I had Alice and Claire all dressed up but they wanted your strawberry jam on toast and now they’re all sticky. But they loved the jam Mommy made.”

Bob sat on the bed next to Blair while she curled up, tried to pretend it wasn’t too cold to go back to sleep.

“Did you like the jam?” Blair said.

“I did. Now get up. I said we could make the jam this morning, together. You didn’t have to stay up so late just to make jam. I offered to just buy some so you could put it in the mason jars and let her think you made it.”

“She would have known.” Blair laughed. “I wanted one really homemade domestic thing done before she comes out here. I wish I could have made bread too. I just couldn’t keep myself awake long enough for it to rise twice.”

“Come on, get up, your Mother isn’t as evil as you want to think she is.” Bob gave her a playful swat on the butt. “I’ll change the girls, you have to get yourself changed and showered. I can put coffee on once I’ve got the girls all frilled up again.”

“Thanks.” Blair rolled herself out of bed. She avoided looking at herself in the mirror. Just turned on the shower, peeled off her nightie and stood under the hot water, letting it sink into her befogged brain.

Half an hour later as she was pulling her hair into order with a big ‘bad hair day’ barrette she heard her Mother arrive. “All hail the Queen.” She murmured quietly.

It wasn’t that her Mother was a demon in disguise she just had higher standards than Blair could ever meet. Over the years she had given up on ever being good enough or having everything done well enough. Her Mother would come in and take over. Blair hated having to be nice and let her Mother re-wash her dishes, re-order her closets and re-arrange her flowers on the table even.

Then came the advice, always well meant. The girls should have another hair cut. Bob really should be treated more like the man of the house and why can’t Blair just let him sleep in instead of expecting him to be up with his daughters every morning. Not that Blair never helped out. She worked nights and Bob worked days. It wasn’t easy being a couple that way but they wouldn’t have to do it forever. Bob liked his mornings with the girls, especially on weekends when there wasn’t a rush for school and work. Blair was the afternoon shift, home after school, until Bob was there to get them into bed.

Blair pulled a shirt over her bra, put a smile on her face and went out to bell the dragon.

“Blair!” Her Mother’s eyes lit up and she came over for a hug and kiss. No, dragon wasn’t fair. Her Mother really did love everyone, the family. She just needed a few boundaries… just as they say on those afternoon talk shows.

“Hi Mom.” Blair hugged her back.

“Bob and I have just been having coffee with your great jam. I think you put ginger in it? It’s really good. I just wish you had waited… you and I… we always make the strawberry jam together. I nearly stopped and bought two flats of strawberries on the way here today, just hoping we could make the jam this weekend.”

Her Mother, the dragon, the demon in disguise, gave Blair a watery smile. “I like that we can still do some things like the jam making and the crafts for Christmas. I don’t get to do much of that with you any more. Your sisters never did those things, it was always you and I. Kind of silly to get emotional about it. You did just fine without me. You’re good at so many things. Always have been.”

Blair felt her own tear attempting to leak out. “I wanted to make bread to go with the jam too. Just got home from work so late last night… I have everything, fresh yeast, flour… Claire and Alice can help and Bob is really good at taking over the kneading when my arms get tired.”

Blair laughed. “I’m glad you’re here Mom. I always liked making jam, bread and holiday sewing things with you. Now that you’re here a few days we can teach Claire and Alice how to do those things too.”

Blair’s Mom smiled, wiped a tear remnant away and sat at the table. She sipped her coffee, looked at the girls in all the frills and bows on the pink dresses they wore. Bob really had outdone himself on pink and frills. “You know… later we could take the girls for a little hair trim. Maybe a little styling up too. They have such nice curly hair, it’s a shame you don’t do just a bit more styling with it Blair…”

Blair smiled patiently but inside she was rolling her eyes… Mothers!

For the Short Notice Short Story Competition at Hunting the Muse. Let me know if you catch any typos. I think I have them all and then I seem to find one more each time I check it.

Outside the Envelope: Spider Catching Grrls

Outside the Envelope – Spider catching grrls. This is one I drew and then my nieces added to it. I was teasing them about making hot chocolate including fresh spiders as one of the ingredients. (Likely it’s just one of those things you have to be there for at the time). Anyway, when we were doing arts and crafts I drew the three of us catching spiders. I had the bucket and the girls were going to pick them up. Neither liked that idea.

Then Emma Jeanne drew a big sunshine in blue at the top and a big spider in blue at the bottom. Roxanne wanted to make sure everyone would understand the action. So she drew circles around the spiders and arrows pointing to the bucket.

Nice how for me it was just a drawing, something to do while spending time with them. But, for them it was important. So important that they wanted to make sure it was done right and well. That’s why I kept it. I like to remember how important the little things are, especially when you’re still a little person.

Outside the Envelope