Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Design: Feedsack Coin Purses

 Well, I did it. I could hardly bear it, but I finally cut into my little collection of feedsack fabric!

Feedsack fabric is from the 1930s and 40s era, when flour, sugar, seeds, rice, fertilizer, and feed were packaged in brightly printed cloth bags. The prudent housewife would save these bags and make useful and beautiful things out of them, like dresses, quilts, and aprons.  The sacks came in many different prints and colors, and ladies would save them up and even trade them to get just the right prints for just the right project.

If you look carefully, you can sometimes find feedsacks in thrift and antique shops. If you know what you're looking for, you can easily identify them by the look and feel of the fabric, and by the little holes along the edges where they were previously stitched into sacks.
I have found several of these lovely sacks, and I've started my own collection. I decided that, besides looking pretty, they were doing me no good just sitting on the shelf, and I want to share them with others. They needed to be made into something useful. So, here's what I've made with them so far for my etsy shop:

I thought coin purses would be appropriate. You can now carry your own pennies in a little piece of history from a time when saving pennies was an important part of daily life.
And they're cute on the inside, too!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lessons From Little Birdies

House Finches
God has created so many beautiful and amazing things! If we are paying attention, there is much to be learned from even the smallest and seemingly insignificant parts of creation. Little birds, for instance. This summer I was blessed enough to observe two little bird families at our house.

I noticed the first bird family when I kept hearing loud cheep-cheep-cheeping sounds when I was in my sewing room. I finally figured out where it was coming from when my little kitty was watching, and then pouncing toward the corner of the window air conditioner unit. She could see the shadows of the baby birds right on the edge of the outside window ledge next to the air conditioner.  If I stood at just the right angle, with my head up against the window looking down, I could see them! Little mouths wide open waiting to be fed. They would start their loud cheeping whenever Mamma and Poppa Bird were nearby.

A couple of weeks later, my husband and I were sitting out on the porch sipping our morning cup of coffee when I saw five little birds having what appeared to be flying lessons. They were landing on wires, flying up, down, and all around, always returning to our roof or the wires right in front of it. I decided to do some research, and I found out our little birds are called House Finches.  The timing would be just right for those birds having their flying lessons to be the same baby birds from the windowsill. What fun to be able to see the little birds in different stages in their lives!

A little while later in the summer, my daughter came running in the house and said, "Mom! Come outside! You have to see this!" I quickly followed her out to the porch, where she pointed to one of the hanging geranium plants. "Look!" I looked, and I saw an intricately woven nest with two tiny, fuzzy baby birds in it! Over the next couple of weeks we watched that nest every day, and Mamma and Poppa Bird watched us, making sure we didn't get too close. They were very protective of their nest, and acted very worried when we sat on the porch sipping our morning coffee day after day. The little birds grew bigger, and began to develop feathers instead of fuzz. Sometimes when we peeked in at the nest they were looking right at us. Then one day I looked in and there was only one little bird! Had the other one flown away? I couldn't believe that they were already ready to fly! They didn't seem big enough. But sure enough, later that day I checked again and the nest was empty. I was sad to see my little birds go. Then the thought occurred to me: could God be trying to show me something through little birds?

I had my own little "bird" who was getting ready to leave the nest, and these little bird families were the Father's own gentle way of preparing me for this. Just like Mamma and Poppa Bird, my husband and I have carefully nurtured and protected our little ones since they were born. And just like the baby birds, now one of them is big enough to learn to fly, and she has left the nest. It all seemed to happen so quickly! She will be back from time to time, and she will need some flying lessons and a lot of practice, but she is out there, testing her wings and fluttering around. I am protective of her, but I know that she is in good hands. God cares about even the little birdies, so I know He will take good care of her. I miss having her in the nest so much, but I am so proud of her efforts to fly! And someday, a day much sooner than I think, she will stretch out her strong, beautiful wings, and she will soar!

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:26-34 (New American Standard Bible)