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I have been managing a little making again, and started with an engagement present. It is for the sister-in-law whose husband died the year before mine (yes, that is a little complicated!) meaning, our husbands were brothers. I am really pleased she has found someone new to be happy with and wanted to make her something, as although we are very different people with different tastes (she is much more elegant, and has a degree in the philosophy of science) we both enjoyed being able to have intellectual conversations at family gatherings and discuss books when the mainstream of the conversation was what third cousins were doing 150 miles away 😉

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When making a gift, I always have a think about whether I am giving a reflection of myself, something purely for the recipient’s taste or some combination. This time I leaned more towards what I wanted to give, a piece that rejoices in her happiness with a touch of sympathetic magic (wellwishing) in the making.

Then I said in the card I hoped it wasn’t too eccentric for her 😉

As it is only 7cm square it won’t be too dominating… but it has some of my current concerns in, mandalas and fibre bundles.

I started with a collage background, and two possibilities, one plainer, so I could go with ideas as they came up, and by decision time, they were very different.

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Comparing the two side-by-side helped me realise the first was too clumsy, and I cut the beads and button off, and put it all to one side (yes, you will be seeing it later 😉 ) I still liked the second, so on I went, choosing tinier and tinier elements, oh my…

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Final touch was a machine cord loop for easy hanging, and that was secured by stitching the bead loop on the front at the same time.

Why? It is a little more fiddly, but it means the weight of the elements are braced against each other, with less drag on the twinchie canvas, which as you will see from the shot of the back is… more of a bargain than a quality product 😉

The Japanese, the Hindu, the Tibetans all have  ritual mindful sewing, and many contemporary slow stitch groups are connected to the prayer and good hope Christian church sewing circles, where women met and stitched quilts and baby clothes for the needy…the idea is that by consciously investing the process with good wishes, the recipient will feel loved and energised in themself as well as receiving the physical aid of the item.  Of course it also bonds the community and makes the group focus on positive action for the good of everyone, so it really is a shame the groups fell out of favour, with fundraising for bought goods taking over in some places.

I use this mindful technique a lot, as among other things, it helps overcome self consciousness about making, the worthiness of what you are offering as a gift etc – all good to pass on to anyone you know with social anxiety or low self esteem!

Making for others, even from patches and leftovers, often makes people feel very aware of how rich they are, and this ties in nicely with linking to zero waste week, which runs from 2 – 9th September http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/

for which I will be trying to post everyday with zero waste ideas – as the focus this year is food, and I have already posted about sprouting seeds, there will be at least one upcycled post – but how appropriate is that?!!

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