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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

life * utensils . . .

handmade quilt circa 1989.

One year my sister gave each member of the family a handmade quilted lap-blanket for Christmas. My blanket has been used sparingly and kept more as a keepsake. The one she gave Mom and Dad, on the other hand, is now worn and faded from constant use. When I pulled the blanket out of the cedar trunk to photograph it, it struck me how differently I had approached using it as compared to my parents - a difference reflective of our generations.


Today, handmade items are often the product of a hobby. For the generations before us, they were the residuals of necessity. Wooden clothespin dolls were made to entertain the small child while the mom worked around the house and likely because they couldn't afford to buy a porcelain one. Blankets were made from scraps so they could stay warm on a cold winter's night. People knitted hats and scarfs because it was freaking cold outside and it was necessary to avoid getting sick. They were not keepsakes, they were not props, they were not collectibles - they were life utensils.


Most of the items I have inherited from my parents and grandparents have been well used. The frayed corners, chipped rims, scuffed buttons, and faded patterns are a true testament to how much each items was appreciated and the ultimate complement to the person who handmade it.

I do believe I'll just keep this blanket out.

11 comments:

  1. Love your journaling today. It's so true how things are viewed and used so differently now than they used to be. The quilt your sister made is beautiful. And you did amazing compositions of the spools, thimbles, buttons, etc. Love all your shots.

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  2. Love the button shot! Great composition!

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  3. Love this post, Nicki, both the photos and the journaling. I am a quilter, so it really struck a chord with me. There is nothing that makes me sadder than when I make a quilt for someone and they fold it up and put it away so "it doesn't get dirty". IT'S SUPPOSED TO!!!! Quilts are SUPPOSED to be loved to death....just like you said in your journaling. Use it up, wear it out.

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  4. Love your thoughts on the things we use. We are definitely in a different frame of mind as compared to our parents and grandparents. Great photos here--I really like the compositions.

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  5. Your so right about the differences with generations. So many antique items used to be necessities and are props to me today. Very cool post!

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  6. Beautiful heirlooms! Love your shots!

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  7. Beautiful thoughts, Nicki and I love the pictures!

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  8. Such a beautiful post Nicki, I really enjoyed reading it and seeing your special items. I'm glad you're going to keep the quilt out :)

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  9. Love your thoughts on this. Wonderful pictures.

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  10. I was so happy whenI got to the end of your post and saw that you're going to keep it out! I'm deep in decluttering mode these days, and it's just silly all the things I come upon that I was going to "save" but ended up having to useful life function, cause they got "saved" instead of used. Wonderful journaling!

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