Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
There are times when I am really excited about how my brain works. A good friend gave me a bag of her husband’s ties. He was this sweet and kind man who had recently died after a long illness. The ties were really special - representing their lives together including their first date and wedding. My instructions were to “make something out of them!” No pressure, right? I set the bag aside until the day I woke and had a clear picture of what to do. This was long before I knew about Pinterest but I had been quilting for years so I am guessing that is where this idea came from. Knowing Diane’s taste, I bought some black velvet and some tassels and started cutting. The result was one of my favorite projects ever. What I especially like it that it is not obvious they are ties to anyone but the two of us. I feel very honored to be asked to work on such special memories.
When I started this project, I had no idea how it would turn out. I have learned to trust my process; think about the problem then do something else. The answer will come in it’s own time and will most likely be revised once I start to work. It is great when I am given the freedom to simply create.
If you are like Diane and me, you have items you treasure that are stored away. I would love the opportunity create a piece(s) that allow you to live with them in your home. Contact us and we can get started.
How hard can it be to name a company? Well, after hours of searching the Internet, reading books, articles, talking to friends, sharing on Facebook, I came up with more than 100 names. Some top runners were:
Sew Sentimental – taken
Stitch’n stories – too folksy
Son of Stitch – really funny, not the right feel and surprisingly… taken
Namaste – It means, "The light and spirit in me honors the light and spirit in you." This is how I feel about my work but the name was not culturally appropriate and requires explanation.
After weeks of work my sister said, How about “Remember When?” Love it! This is how our family stories start and perfect since my work helps people tell their own story. My house is full of story starters: grandma's piano, the framed note card of my father’s analysis of sugar cookie recipes, and of course one of my first bears made from special fabrics from Grandpa & Grandma Moeschlin and Mom and Dad. I love living with them and they enviably generate questions when people visit. This is particularly important to me because I remember when I was little and I asked mom about heaven. She said she felt an important part of heaven is when people are remembered and we share their stories. I love that.
Around this time I renamed my “sewing room” my “studio” and then added that to the name of the business to make it clear that I see my work as functional art. It was a lot of work but I love the name – “Remember When Studio.”
When you want some help with story starters of you own, contact us and we will help.
In our family growing up, you needed to have chocolate milk to dunk your grilled cheese sandwiches, and the chocolate milk was always made in the same pitcher. When Mom would get it down she would say, "This was a wedding present." I always loved that connection and made me think that when I give a wedding present, I want it to be something that will be used for years along with the statement, "Jean gave this to us for our wedding." Long ago I decided this wedding gift would be a Christmas tree skirt!
The goose with the wreath was the very first ornament. My perceptive nephew Ty recently pointed out that you could tell when I when I started making more because they became simpler. The clay heart came into the picture when I started to teach, because the list was expanded to the children I knew including the children of my coworkers. At some point I realized I should make them for my siblings as well and close friends. When the children on my list started to have their own children, they were added too!
I used any method in my bag of tricks to create a unique ornament each year, learning ways to speed up the process so I could create enough for my growing list.
Finally my sweet friend, Mary Lou, who had 32 grand children receiving ornaments, reminded me that a tradition is only good when it is not a burden. My list had grown to over 200 and was feeling a bit overwhelming, so I cut it back to family and very close friends (about 60 per year).
The year my father died was the first time I created an ornament to honor a family event. The Believe ornament always is in a place of honor on my tree each year.
Now I always make ornaments that celebrate our family life.
The ornament is the last thing that is given at our Christmas morning gift exchange. It is expected and often looked at and put away. When the kids were really young, it was a bit of a let down for them. Ornaments don't hold a great deal of excitement, but as many of them now have their own homes and trees, I have heard them comment on how nice it is to have their own ornaments! That makes me smile. As my nieces and nephews marry we design a tree shirt that I can give at a wedding shower. For the children that were on my list for years, it is my standard wedding gift. I love how it brings things full circle and that I am little part of their Christmas, when the world is thinking of Peace and Joy.
Looking to for a unique wedding gift? Together we can create something special.
Recently one of my "kids" posted her birth story in her blog. I was moved when she wrote that she had a miscarriage prior to this pregnancy and had reason to be concerned about the health of this pregnancy. Thank heaven that he was born healthy. She explained, "'A rainbow baby' is a baby that follows a tragic loss, like a stillbirth, or miscarriage." When naming this miracle 4th child, the family looked for a name that reflected the hope this birth gave. They had considered the name Robin in her earlier pregnancies and some fun coincidences confirmed this as a good choice; her midwife's last name was Robinson, and the robin's nest outside their kitchen window had 4 eggs. She wrote, "I realized once Robin arrived how much it felt like the first sign of spring after a long winter of uncertainty. "
The next morning, I made this quilt top for Robin to welcome him.
I love to tell stories through fabric. I would be happy to chat about a story you would like to convert to an heirloom.
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.