Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Life in Stitches

I wonder if you ever sew...for the sheer joy of it?
Or perhaps, your joy is in knitting or painting, crocheting or making fairy gardens, cooking or "homesteading"...or dancing!?
Patricia Edwards certainly sews for joy!
I have kept her story, torn from a New Zealand House & Garden for years & years; perpetually inspired by such joy & the enchanting embellished blanket she's created for her granddaughter Annalise.
I have found myself a vintage woolen blanket just the same & from time to time I lay it out & fluff around with doilies & lace, buttons & ribbon flowers & day I will embellish with great joy.
It's funny the old thing about "gifts" isn't it....Patricia says that in her earliest memory she is a very small child sitting on a very large lawn at home in Taupiri, in the Waikato, sewing clothes for her doll. Hers was a completely self-taught & self-directed pastime as her mother didn't sew.
Around about the same time I found Patricia, I was also greatly inspired by a warm & wildly creative foster mother Alice Shopland who recreated all the delightful clothes below from op shop finds & cast-offs. You can find more about Alice's story saving grace just here.
Soon after "saving grace"& while working at Port'o'Call, I looked up from serving high tea to find myself utterly captivated by a sweatshirt (never mind the woman wearing it!) As it happened, it had been purchased in Auckland and for a good deal of money.
So, with such grand inspiration stuck in my head I began to look out for suitable sweatshirts for remodeling.
Fortunately, the cotton sweatshirts tend to have been made in the prettiest of pastel colours & even more handily, someone else has paid the big money for them before they make their way to the op shops.
I discovered that they hang better & you get a nicer result if you can find them in larger sizes.
I usually cut off the bands at the wrist & around the bottom.
You just know when you've found the right combination for each creation because quite suddenly you just love good if you don't 'cos you just won't wear it.
Everyone of them, of course, turns out differently.
A very nice way to make use of some spare pretty bits & pieces.
 Some things just happen the way they do quite practically, like these wee mother of pearl buttons... added to stop the lace from flapping around when I put it on. What looks wonderful when flat doesn't always look the same with contours!
They all enjoyed their outing in the winter sunshine....although not everyone was so keen to visit the grass with every big gust of wind that day.
I think I need to still take the bottom band of this one. It doesn't hang quite right yet.
I dyed the doily to work in with the wine & green colours.
This was my first attempt & I still love it

I am always inspired by Robin of Magnolia Pearl & her breath-takingly imaginative & romantic feminine expressions of beauty.
Vintage-style gathering is such a blessing. This week in the Hospice Shop I came across these odd shaped Sanderson cushion things ($3 each) & thought that they might be good for summery picnics but when I got them home, I found that they were a perfect save for our tired old it's comfy & squishy & happily Sandersony.  
There's lot's of night here just now so we've been trying to remember to light our candles especially when Rob's home...he works 5 evenings a week which is a little upside down.
So we find that we do not get up very early & we do manage to (mostly) walk together in the mornings. The mid-winter prunus blossom in the park is such a delicate joy.
I guess bees don't hibernate.
Perhaps the winter fragrances seem the sweetest since there are so few of them.
The very first flower on my white daphne has emerged...oh heavenly!
And the sol d'or have burst forth like sunshine to brighten the drabbest day.
Quite ridiculous that I have been watering all week!
Thank you so much for coming to visit with me.
Wishing you a creatively happy week...& a little sheer joy!


  1. Catherine - I so enjoyed looking at your beautiful creations and the creative people who have inspired them.

  2. What a lovely post. Your upcycled tops are fun and the idea for the blanket - oh I hope you do get round to making one, it would be so special. Bettyx

  3. Hello Catherine,
    Isn't lovely to make or remodel something and love it so much. Creativity with a purpose, I like that.
    Anne xx

  4. Thank you for the inspiration and all the photos! I shall embellish a sweatshirt today! I have a clay pot colored sweatshirt that will be perfect! I also have a few gray sweatshirts that I could fancy up. Yahoo!
    I'm always so happy when you post because coming over here and looking and reading is so encouraging!
    Good idea to light the lights for yourselves. (BIG hug, Gathering Katie!)

  5. Lovely post, I love your creativity and I sew for the joy of it!

  6. Hey, my favourite Bohemian! The sweatshirts- such pretty genius. I spotted the first one straight away and it is my very, very favourite! Unlike PP I wouldn't even know where to think about starting, but I know exactly the soft feel tender touch of those much-loved jumpers and I'm imagining how fine it must be to edge the lace and loveliness with your finger tips. Perfect music for such musings too!

  7. I love your idea with recycling old sweatshirts. When I was a teenager we did that with charity shop finds to save money. Funny how much we forget things when we grow up - and we should not! Your sofa is great too, looks so inviting. x

  8. Hello Catherine, (I wrote a comment yesterday but thinking maybe I wasnt signed in properly??? )
    A beautiful, inspiring post as always - waited all day on Sunday for your post as such a dreary day, then big powercut so couldnt read it til Monday!!! Funny as I have the cutting about the "blanket lady" torn out on my sewing room notice board & have long admired her fine work. Your revamped sweatshirts are just amazing - makes me feel like having a go. LOVE your candlelight & your Sanderson cushions. You seem to thrift such wonderful Sanderson finds my friend., Have a great week, love, hugs, friendship, Julie X x x x

  9. Catherine, a visit here is always so calming and beautiful. Have I ever sewn for, but I'm going to, thanks to your inspiration and encouragement.


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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