It’s Curtains For The New Look – Repurposing A Dream


My great aunt Wylly was always full of surprises. In addition to being a talented children’s book author and writer, her gift giving, present wrapping skills made every gift she gave a magical experience. Her packages were never wrapped in tidy boxes or perfectly shaped bundles and the ribbon didn’t always match the color of the paper, but inside could be anything. My sister Margaret and I treasured every gift she ever gave us even when we received things we were not sure we would ever use.

Forty years ago when I was nine, I received the pin cushion you see above. Aunt Wylly had taken the time to make it special by embroidering my name on it and adding it to a sewing box stocked with some of the things a young girl just learning to sew might need.

I never became the world’s best seamstress. In fact, it’s generally touch and go as to whether a pattern I’m “trying” to follow will come out as it’s supposed to, but I must say, with a few pins and a bit of imagination I can sometimes surprise myself.

It’s raining here as I work on repurposing some drapes, a duvet, and a bed valance that all were a part of my past life. Along with an old bed frame of John’s, and a few other pieces, I’m creating a dreamy new look for the guest room. John has taken to calling it the oldie worldie room and I think that fits it fairly well except the real oldie bits are being repurposed into a new look that mixes my world with his in a way that I just know is going to be a warm and welcoming place for our guests.

I’m stretching my skills a bit to do some things I’ve never done before and I hope to have it finished before I leave for Georgia in about a week. That said, I need to get back to work now. My new sewing machine has just been plugged in for the first time and I’m ready to give it a go…after I read the directions of course. Do you remember when I wrote about something big that happened because I didn’t read the directions?  Go here to find out.

10 thoughts on “It’s Curtains For The New Look – Repurposing A Dream

  1. How lovely that a gift 40 years later is still being used. My daughter is 9. How many of the gifts that she got at her last birthday will still be a part of her life so many years into the future…?!

  2. What a lovely pin cushion. I bought my niece a sewing basket for her 16th birthday, like my grandmother bought for me. Just caught up on your news, I hope you are enjoying your trip. xXx

  3. Your repurposing of duvets and bed covers reminds me of Marlena deBlasi in A Thousand Days of Venice, when she marries her husband and moves into his (horrible!) Venetian apartment. If you get a chance to pick up the book when you’re in the States, I highly recommend it, think you would like it!

    My mom just made a little display case for all her pincushions. I found her the cutest Cath Kidston one when I was in London this time last year. It was a little felt flower basket.

    I have been wanting to get a secondhand sewing machine, and one showed up on Craigslist this weekend for 50 euros. I think it’s quite old, but it does still have the instruction sheet. (Whether I can understand sewing terms in French is another matter!)

  4. Wow you still have it after all these years…. 🙂

    I was made a sewing stool years and years ago, goodness knows why, I cannot sew anything, tried once, but just not my thing..also I get so confused when trying to measure for the material!!

    Thank you for your lovely comments too Elizabeth, very much appreciated.

  5. My mother has the same kind of pin cushion but nothing as special as her name sewn in. this is a banner post. Please post pics of your creations!

  6. i love that pin cushion. my mom has one like this but it doesn’t have a name embroidered in it. this makes it very special. I can’t wait to see what you do with your room . i’m sure you’ll share photos right? ; )

  7. Your post reminds me of a friend who also has a knack of wrapping gifts beautifully. Her packages are often wrapped in brown paper but she adds interesting things like dried flowers and beads threaded on string…they’re almost too good to unwrap.

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