Tag Archives: upcycling

Patch Happy

full leg

Bitten by an anxious little Datschund, I was left with  punctures in my calf (healing nicely with soap and water and hydrogen peroxide) and a gaping rip raveling my favorite linen summer travel pants. I was on vacation. I could cut the trousers off above the tear and hem them but I like the long capris length when it’s cool-ish and I can roll them up when it’s really hot.

First I tried a bright contrasting patch, thinking to create a funky look with Sashiko embroidery, tiny stabs (running stitches) in a contrasting hue. Maybe I could stitch an interesting design that included the shape of the hole?

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You can see the stitches showing on the right side of the leg, it gets covered soon. I can see the outline of the frog but it’s not satisfying. Yet.

 

 

It just wasn’t working for me and it called even more attention to the tear. So I removed most of the white cotton thread and bound the edges with a whip stitch and then a blanket stitch in matching thread. The pants remained in my luggage the rest of vacation while I pondered the many ways of patching to keep the appeal of these dear pants. I knew I had a collection of batik frogs about the right size in my studio.

I needed a patch that would

  • cover the hole and prevent it from further raveling
  • look good when pants are rolled up, too
  • be fun during the repair and when wearing the modified pants
  • use hues and motifs that would go with just about any top I might wear
  • use materials that are already in my stash
  • use only hand stitching, why not?

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What a lively frog! On the inside of the pants, Shashiko style stitches around and over the design secure the patch over the tear and hold down the pinked edges. I wanted the tied thread ends to show and the edges to fray. You cans see stitches showing through to the right side above.

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I stitched some embroidery on the outside patch (a scrap) to lively it up and then attached it over the hole and inside the lines that show from the inside patch. The top stays open to form a little pocket for a fragrant insect repelling herb or something secret.

 

 

 

 

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I can peek inside the pocket patch to check on the tear and give it comfort from time to time, a reminder of how this all came to be.

 

 

 

Brown stitching from the outside patch shows on the inside patch and I think that’s just fine. Funky and homegrown is the intention here.

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Rolled up, the inside patch now shows and I think it’s rather interesting. Having 3 patches on this rip makes one pant leg a tad heavier than the other. If you find me listing to one side or walking in circles please lend me your elbow and set me back on the path. A disturbing accident is now a happy patch experience and the pants are good to go again.

This was so much fun I patched a design on my worn Gramichi outdoor pants with more sashiko stitching. Take a look here.

 

 

 

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Smudge Day

 

Every autumn I look forward to lighting a bonfire and tossing onto it things that are no longer useful to me like an old rag rug Mom made that even the dogs won’t use anymore, and outdated income tax forms more than 7 years old, and a small note describing a relationship that is no longer helpful, or even a portion of the relationship that needs to stop. Smoke removes negative things and purifies them, and us, so the ancient stories tell.

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Smudging is similar and it doesn’t require such a huge flame. It can be done indoors. I try to smudge the guest room between guests, even if I only burn incense. I felt it’s time now to really smoke the negative energy out of that room and my home so I studied up about crafting my own smudge sticks and took myself on a gathering walk outside my door.

For this smudging to remove negative energy I bundled a section of a mullein seed stalk with sage from my garden and dry pine needles. The sage was fresh  and the mullein damp. I didn’t give the bundle time to dry so it was hard to keep it smoldering yesterday when I held it by hand and whooshed the smoke with a group of feathers. Today I initiated a rescued cast iron cauldron that Rusti Shilling discarded. I swear on a stack that’s her name.

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My ideas was to kindle a fire and let it settle to coals to keep the smudge stick smoking. I collected some twigs from beneath a pine tree in my yard but they weren’t as dry as I thought. Crumpled gratitude notes from my gratitude jar flamed easily but not enough to keep the twigs burning. So let’s try 3 tea candles. Three is a good number and I shaped them in a triangle. That did the trick.

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I got the smudge going outdoors on my deck then brought the cauldron into the guest room and set it up on an inverted iron pot to protect the floor, keeping it well away from bedding. I’ve washed sheets and bedspreads and I left all the bedding unfolded on top of the bed. I also opened the closet doors and the adjoining bathroom door, and opened the window a bit. All the while I was telling the unwanted energy and spirits to go away, they are not wanted, they are not useful today, they are free to go. Repeating it over and over as I walked and wafted the smoke through the area.

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This method sustained a lot more smoke and I hadn’t thought to disable my smoke alarms ahead of time. I discovered how sensitive they are to even a little smoke not even in the same room and that’s assuring. I let a little smoke out of the guest room into the rest of the house and then closed the door so the smudge would work most effectively in the areas most used by guests. If you’ve been a guest, don’t take offence. This is something I do to prepare the room for the next guest and I prepared it for you, too. I like the energy of some guests so much I don’t smudge the room for a long time so I can feel the good vibes longer.

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Finally I placed an inexpensive item on the smudge stick that was left by a guest who experienced a really negative energy, intense but brief, while staying here. I expected it to smolder and put out the tinder but instead it flamed up. For safety I took the pot outdoors and let it burn up most of the remaining elements.

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I’m all about safety from fire at my place since I live out of town and no fire truck is able to get here in time to save my home. Rusti gave me this cast iron lid, too, which doesn’t fit the rusty pot but it worked wonderfully to smother the fire.

So now I have released negative energy from the new-to-me cast iron cauldron and my home. Tommorrow I will burn lavender, holy basil, rosemary, and mint to bring healing, protection and calming. I feel like this iron pot will be a handy and safe “fire pit” for me, and I like that it’s portable. Some years, like this one, I haven’t had a bonfire because it’s too dry and grass fire is still a danger. This year I’m starting a new tradition for smudging my home at least once every autumn.

Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not This Time of Year Without . . .