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

Is That a Fly…?

Glamor isn’t always about the standard pretty things like hearts and flowers and cupcakes. Glamour can have a bit of spirit, an edge and a dash of… something that makes you itchy and want to wash your hands.

This fly is from Lilien Czech and it’s actually a button, the type you sew on your sweater. Assuming you can sew. If you can’t, then it’s a good time to start learning. Sewing on a button is a way to get started.

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.

Kicking Around the Dust Bunnies

There are several crafty related projects I could pull out and get back to work on, rescuing them from the dust bunnies who have been keeping them company since my divorce about 5 years ago. Kind of sad to admit it has been five years and doesn’t it seem that using the divorce as an excuse for anything should be limited to just one year, not five? Anyway, that’s how it is.

I’m going to take a photo of the Raggedy Ann in progress and see if that doesn’t inspire me to get back to work on her. She has a face, I think. I seem to remember doing the embroidery way back then. I did find my old sewing box and her and her pattern and such inside of it. Once upon a time I even had a really nice and simple pattern for a teddy bear. Not that I have any kids to give them too. My neices have more toys than they care for as it is. My nephew is 12 and probably would like anything I made for him but is likely too old for stuffed animals and far too boy for a dolly, even if Raggedy Ann and Andy are classics.

I guess I could sell them but that seems crass. I don’t know why. I guess it’s to do with appreciating finishing (if I finish it) one of the many projects I have started. I have so many things like this I no longer want to take on anything new or make any kind of promises to anyone. I would like a responsibility free life. But that isn’t practical and would be kind of boring and lonely too. So, plug on.

Crochet, Sewing and Crafty Grrl in General

I want to get back to doing more crafts. I used to crochet granny squares but now I have forgotten how. My new roommate knows how to sew so I can finally get someone to help me learn how to use the sewing machine I got for Christmas just before the divorce. I was using it for a short time and doing ok. Can’t even remember how to thread it now. If it’s a choice of getting old or getting stupid I pick old. 😀

Might make plans for a crafty weekend my next couple of days off. Bring out those masses of buttons, the Raggedy Ann pattern and the half finished doll I was making a few years ago, find the sewing machine which was put away somewhere during the most recent move. I’d like to get making things again. Finally learn to use the sewing machine. I’ve got a great pattern for a dress suit to make, in jersey fabric so it is stretchy and comfortable for a plus size dame like myself. Also has the plus of being very washable too. I’m not a fan of taking anything to the dry cleaners.

Sew You Can

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t had a really good blab in here for awhile. I don’t have anything in particular in mind to blab about but, I seldom let that stop me.

I’ve got most of my old content back up again after the template change to three columns. Somethings I have just left off, they didn’t seem to be going anywhere soon or had sunk into their laurels of past glory, sunk too deep to rise again. Things like BlogExplosion which was building up and yet has fallen and can’t get up now. Things like MyBlogLog which is so clogged with splogs and fake friends that it didn’t earn it’s real estate on my sidebar. No doubt I will find new gadgets and interesting junk to fill in any gaps.

I’ve started to talk to a guy online and am getting to the point of meeting for coffee. He sounds like a person who has some depth, a thinking brain. Always a plus. I like having someone I can really talk to. There are always so many things in my mind but I have learned to keep quiet versus babble everything. Except here, where I pretty much talk to myself. I know people are reading it, I go out of my way to join things like Wordless Wednesday and Thursday Thirteen to get traffic and thus readers. I’ve concluded that I just like to feel someone is listening to me. Whatever trouble I get in, I’ll pay for it later. If I can’t work my way out of it I’ll just add it to the pile of trouble already hanging around.

Having a pretty good day today actually. I have three out of four pairs of new pants hemmed. I ordered myself Swiss Chalet for lunch. This morning I made a cup of the new coffee I bought from Second Cup yesterday at the mall. I’ve had a pretty good ‘weekend’ off work. It was sunny out almost all day today but I didn’t check to see how cold it was out there, I didn’t have to. People seem to like my flower drawings for the Thursday Thirteen post, that is nice of them. I think my drawing actually is getting better too.

I think I need to do more real writing again. I miss it. Blog posts aren’t, generally, real writing. Not for me anyway. I don’t have a topic which I have researched and put some thought into. That is what writing should be, it should include some planning. True I have been keeping WordGrrls going with the daily writing prompts but that isn’t the same as a short topical article. I did have an article started about rural exploration, so I could get that back in the works. If I could post a short article about something here, not each day, maybe once a week, that would be constructive and good discipline for getting back into some real writing versus blog babbling.

I found my sewing box today. Still can’t find those web design books and that is making me crazy. But it is nice to have found the sewing box. I had forgotten I had so much stuff in there. One whole box full of assorted buttons, full to the brim. I am looking up some craft ideas for buttons. No doubt I could make something truly great with so many of them. I had thought I would use them for crazy quilting and maybe I will. The problem with quilting is having to iron the patches in order to have smooth, straight seams.

I finally wrote that letter to the guy I met through work. Maybe I never mentioned him here. He was one of the callers from Florida about cable TV, I’m tech support, remember? Anyway, he started out having a fit about the cable service. I was softly groaning about having to listen to another one of “those” callers. But somehow he toned down, said I was one of the nicest, most polite people he had talked to in trying to deal with the cable company. He was working up to asking me out but I told him I’m in Canada and then he asked if he could be my pen pal. That must have been two weeks ago now.

I wasn’t sure about writing. I’ve got myself stuck in this way before. People in need tend to cling hard to someone nice and then you can’t get them peeled off again so easily. I like having my freedom, I’d never deal well with someone clingy. Not that I’m a hard bitch, but I don’t want to always have company or someone who needs me, versus someone who wants me. Also, I am giving out my home address to send a note. It is too bad he didn’t have Internet and email, that would have been safer correspondence. Anyway, I found a really great card at the mall yesterday and have it ready to mail down there. Another nice grrl thing to do. I scanned the card, it really is a nice one. I talked to him awhile and the only things I really remember are that his wife and kids were killed, he works all the hours he can put in now because of that and he is in the newspaper business – I forget just what he does. I will mail it when I am waiting for the bus to go into work tomorrow.

I’ve seen two commercials on TV now for male enhancement, that means they must actually be buying such stuff. In a way it seems a pay back for all the body image problems they cause to women. Yet, how can men be so gullible? I guess the same as women have, those who get boob enhancements. Terry Lynn, who has too much focus on her boobs I sometimes think, is going to get a breast reduction. Her back has been sore, she even left work early one day.

I’ve found a site where I can upload my blog drawings. I still don’t feel I can qualify them as cartoons or comics. Among people who actually can draw mine look pretty out of place, to me at least. I’m going to see if I can get them uploaded today. Also, I was invited to add my photos of abandoned houses to a site with abandoned places in Ontario. Quite nice to be asked. I have not got much done there either. So, plenty of projects to keep me busy for the rest of my last day off today. Isn’t it a good thing I get another 2 days off next week?

Probable Doomage

I feel wiped out. Graham is bringing the car tomorrow night or the next morning. So I can try the road test again. But, though it has the safety done that light for the ABS is still on and I am afraid that the tester will use that as a reason not to let me even start. That will mess up everything in so many ways. At least Graham is doing the car now. I had pretty much given up on all of it this past week. Still, really need to be handed the key before I have real faith in it actually happening. I don’t have a good feeling about the road test. But, it’s important. I have to get that back and give myself a chance to get through it and to the other side.

Funny how it ended up being on my birthday. Most birthdays I don’t feel concerned about the year, the mileage. But, this year I am a bit more aware of it. Partly cause I seem to be the oldest (or very nearly) person at work. It bothers me. Like I’m not where I should be, don’t fit in and all of that stuff. It makes me feel older too. I’ve been thinking more about those damned grey hairs, everyday I look at them in the mirror before I head off to work.

What can you do but keep putting one foot in front of the other? I can’t make it all work out and I can’t turn off how I feel but I can keep going forward, or as forward as I can. Nothing is ever so simple as a solid, straight line.

I might get my tree started tomorrow. I can at least pull out the box with the tree and whatever decorations I can find from the closet, basement and the dresser where I bought a couple of new tree ornaments. I miss when we used to make our own ornaments from felt. Maybe that is something else I can do once I am not reliant on buses. I’m sure I can find a crafty store with a supply of felt and sewing notions.

Watching The Princess Bride tonight. I was surprised they played it twice in a row tonight on Vision TV. I thought I had just missed it when I got home tonight.