Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#69... Make something new from something old

My grandmas were great at this... Grandma Dorothea had nine kids, and Grandma Eugenia, twelve, and they were raising their families through the depression and the wars. So they did a lot of "re-creation" in the literal sense of the word -- repairing clothes, darning holes, renovating hand-me-downs, fixing toys and furniture, and making quilts. I still have my graduation quilt from Grandma Eugenia (she made one for each of her 77 grandchildren!), though it's getting a little tattered. Grandma made it from patches of my cousins' outgrown dresses. I'll never forget how when one of those cousins came to visit, we sat on my bed and she identified bits and pieces of dresses she and her sisters had worn.

I also have a couple of quilts from my grandma's daughter, my mom. Here's a picture of grandma's quilt, right, and a purplish one my mom made me from scraps of a maternity dress I once sewed for myself.

One of my favourite children's story books when my girls were little was a book by Canadian Illustrator Phoebe Gilman, called Something from Nothing. I'm sure it's still findable at most libraries, as it should almost be a classic by now. It's the story of a little boy whose tailor grandfather makes him a coat, then a vest, then a tie, then a handkerchief, then a button -- all by restyling the original coat. And with every adjustment, a little mouse family who lives under the tailor's floorboard uses more and more of the scraps to furnish their home and clothe their little mice.

Would that we were all so resourceful! I know what my next renewal job will be: repairing the patches that have worn out on my precious quilts... In the meantime, why don't you tell me about a "redo" or "recycle" success of your own?

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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