Thursday, May 15, 2008

a box full of life...

I had a recent experience that is very precious to me. I am purging and downsizing my studio, something very hard for me to do. But, I feel so strongly about this. I am taking small units at a time to make sure that I don't get stuck into 'overwhelming mode' and then feel like I need a vacation from cleaning. I had three bulging bags of material, scraps, remnants mostly and chose a sturdy medium sized box to become the new storage container. I decided that after that box was filled everything else had to go, so my choices needed to be wise. I do all sorts of things with material, so the smallest scrap is still something I consider useful. Sewing is one of my passions and when I was a new momma, I took pride in making my babies homemade clothes and holiday dresses. (This was something my children stopped loving by about 5th grade...I know you sewing mom's and dad's can relate ;D)

As I went through the bags, I came across every remnant of fabric I ever sewed. My sons and daughters baby clothes, many staples like, bathrobes, shorts for Mark and dresses for Angela. The loads of pillows I have made throughout the years. Pajama's for the neighbor kids and my sisters. Curtains that I loved to often change. Stuffed Teddy Bears, Easter Bunnies and Doll clothes. And all the many matching skirts and dresses I created for Angela and I.
As I touched each piece of fabric and noted it's colors while cutting most of it into more manageable pieces, I remembered a tradition...I used to make a big deal about going to the material shop with the kids and allowing them to pick out their own materials. I enjoyed the lessons they would learn by seeing a big bolt of material turn into something useful with a little hard work.
Their choices said a lot about them at that time. Mark choosing bright wacky colors for board shorts and Angela with her pink and purple flowers. One dress I made her called for a white apron to tie around her waste...very Holly Hobbie at the time. She named her dresses and that one became her cooking dress which would get worn as much as possible.
Today's project took me all afternoon and was very emotional, as I shed a lot of reminiscent tears. I filled the box, gave the rest to good will, or the garbage and then labeled it, "a box full of life" rather than "material" in its designated spot on the shelf. My fingers held a lot of history today, my private life's history and my mind is already reeling with idea's to turn those scraps into keepsakes for my two children.


Blogger tricia said...

Box filled with a ton of memories and many new ones to come. I think it is so cool that you want to make something for your kids from these pieces of life. I hope you are having a good day today.


1:09 PM  
Blogger LEstes65 said...

Awesome. So very hard to do. You inspire me. If you could see my house, you'd know I need a touch of you in my head!

My grandmother always kept rectangular scraps of material - she was a life long seamstress. After years of making us all clothes, slippers, clothes for my dolls (I still have some Barbie clothes she made me), she had tons of scraps.

When I was in college and too cool for home made clothes, she and my grandpa made each of us grandkids two quilts from these scraps. One personal size for sitting on the couch and the like. One was for a double bed. I still have the big one (the small one was lost in a horrible cat pee incident).

I adore my "Muzzy Quilt". It's really a Muzzy and Poppy quilt. So special.

I can't wait to hear what you have decided to make!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Gudl said...

That is a touching post.
The photo looks great.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Oh Darlene ~~ what a box of love and life ~~ I could just picture, the doll clothes, the PJ's the pillows, and had to laugh at the story you told me about the "pillows" for Angela at college....You are so special and I can't believe how much I am missing you.....~~ You make me want to go and get my sew machine out and start sewing...
Love and Hugs
Wanda Mom

5:26 PM  
Blogger giggles said...

I don't know if any of that fabric in the photo is yours but I had things made out of three of those materials. The funky purple on the bottom left was a dress. I made curtains for my kitchen in the early eighties from the middle calico brown and orange print.I decorated it like an old fashioned kitchen with crocks and shelves and butcher block counter tops. And then the top left the small purple flowers print was a dress from the early nineties.... So funny to see them in that photo...Strange almost! The bottom row also has a familiar pattern, flowers that I had something made from too! Still trying to remember what....Oh I think I lined a baby quilt with it!! Yes that's it! Woooh thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Hugs Giggles

11:36 PM  
Blogger Constance said...

I remember those days of sewing projects for my kids too! It's been a long time since I made something on the old sewing machine. I have 4 grand-daughters so I actually have someone to sew for once again! I think the reason I get so reflective is because it's a chapter in my life that has been written and the book continues to move forward. Those days with my children are gone forever! Today is our youngest daughter's 21st birthday, sigh! One really nice thing though, is she loves to sew and is even considering a career in fashion design. One thing's for sure though, she will be making alot of clothes for her own kids one day!

3:39 AM  
Blogger Midsummerprism said...

I can almost see you folding, re - folding, stroking each piece of cloth as you gently lay each one on top of another inside that pretty box. At the same time your emotions spinning one after the other as you think of all those years..and the years to come.

Ooooh'...I bet some day when you have grand kids it would be equally fun to make something for them as well:>

4:53 AM  
Blogger Eileen W. said...

What a lovely way to spend a day! Remembering, cherishing and loving- all through fabric!! This reminded me of my mom and her sewing- we had the best Halloween costumes ever!! :)

I do want to learn to sew, it such a wonderful art. Hugs and love to you as you sort through a very full life! xo Eileen

6:54 AM  
Blogger maggiegracecreates said...

My Mom is making scrap quilts and I love going through the rows and remembering the fabrics.

Glad you are feeling better.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Under there... said...

Such a moving post...Wow! It is amazing how ordinary, everyday things can be so full of meaning for us. When it comes to the sacraments, we would say that is the means of grace: 'take, touch, eat, drink--do this in remembrance of me'
I am delighted with your idea of maiing keepsakes to give to our children who can keep those meanings and memories alive. I had to clean out all of my late grandmothers material after she had passed away. I am positive that each piece had some cherished memory and meaning, but no one knows now. It was sad. By giving them away to your children you will make sure they stay alive. I think that is as the heart of 'if you give it away, you gain, but if you keep it for yourself, you lose it.' Great post.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Dana Jones said...

Oh I think your children would adore a quilt or pillows made with remnants of their favorite and familiar fabrics from their rompers and bibs.

7:19 AM  
Blogger sweet expressions said...

you are such a inspiration I am sure what ever you create with those full of life materials your children will keep forever!

love ya

8:49 PM  

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