Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Upcycling--Gift Pillows

I think I have mentioned before that I volunteer at a community resale shop. I love it because the proceeds help pay for worthy causes in our area. And I work with a group of wonderful women.

One of the side benefits, however, is that--along with huge quantities of things that I would never buy--I occasionally find a treasure. Recently one of those treasures was a small pile of beautifully appliqued pieces of fabric. It was clear that they once had been part of something else and that someone had, like me, felt that they should be rescued.They reminded me of the needlework I saw and admired on a trip to Panama a few years ago. My guess is that they originated there or somewhere close by. Although I am trying to decrease not increase my own pile of projects. I couldn't resist them. Here are a couple of examples:

So the question was, what should I do with them? Well, my sister's birthday is coming up, and she has three chickens. (Each hen is fondly named after one of our great-aunts.) What would be more fun than to make her a pillow depicting her chickens? The piece was just a little too small to fit a standard 12 x 16 retangular pillow form, so I sewed a narrow strip of black around each side of the block to make it the correct size and then cut a backing of black the same size as the completed front. (The smaller pillows I simply stuffed with polyester fiberfill.)

I like the way the black edging frames the piece. It is truly fabric art:

One of the amazing things I saw in Panama was the purple crabs on Isle Iguana. When I found the crab square, I knew it had to go to a friend who shared that adventure with me:

I love the simplicity of the cat, and it made me think of my sister-in-law who has an incredible way with animals, including her beloved cat. So this pillow is for her:

It is true that these blocks are unique and things like this don't come into the shop often. However, we do get quite a few needlework projects. Some of them have been completed and framed but are ready for a new frame or a new way to be displayed--like a simple pillow. Others I have seen come neatly folded in a bag, the stitching completed but not displayed. That was the case with this Irish Blessing counted cross stitch. Once again, I turned it into a pillow, and it became a birthday gift for another amazing sister-in-law who was born on St. Patrick's Day:

So next time you are browsing at a thrift store, flea market or garage sale, look for a hand-made work of art like these and give a gift that has been loved twice.

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