Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Letting Go And Not Letting Go... Happy Birthday My Brother xxx

This week I've been doing a lot of clearing out. The amount of STUFF reached saturation point and it had to be done to allow some oxygen into the house. I shifted several boxloads but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Much of the stuff is relatively easy to let go of but the obstacles arise when faced with MEMORIES and all the feelings which arise when confronted with letting go of things which represent a connection to a time or more painfully, a person, who is no longer here.

One of the boxes I opened was full of patches I had cut out of my brother's T-shirts a few years ago after he died. It was a bit mad maybe to do that at the time but it was all mad anyway so we find whatever ways we can to get through times like that. I'd managed to take most of his other clothes along to Oxfam... smart suits and shirts, but his T-shirts were a lot more personal and evocative. Even a spiritual medium that my family saw a couple of years ago mentioned his T-shirts! They were the start of many a discussion or heated 'debate'! Some of them we agreed on, some of them we totally disagreed on, some he printed himself, a couple I bought him. They were always changing through the years reflecting a range of his politics and interests, usually controversial in some way, sometimes music or TV ones like 'The Moody Blues' or 'Lost'. The Moody Blues ones I've kept as whole T-shirts because my son wants to wear them one day. Another I kept to wear myself...

There are lots I remember which he must have got rid of over the years. One I cut up for use as my son's fancy dress zombie rags last Halloween (that was one I'd found particularly annoying at the time, a 'John Major's Roadworks, No Left Turn' one).

I miss seeing what he's going to turn up with next. More recently we'd found possibly a lot more common ground than we were ever really aware of.

Finding this box of 'rags' I decided I needed to do something with them or let them go. Despite listening and reading to many inspiring minimalist teachings in the last week, I realised I'm going to need to take it more gradually. This was one I found interesting:

But I decided with the approach to my brother's birthday, I wanted to hold on to them a little longer. Feeling a sense of urgency to finish the project I decided not to go for the neat and profesional approach but instead the more raw and ragged one, because that was more in touch with how it FEELS to be sewing together a blanket made out of my brother's clothes (because he's not here to be wearing them). So no tidy hems or precise lines and measured placements. And it felt GOOD to do it and to finish it.
I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with it. After all it's highly doubtful that I'd get much sleep with Margaret Thatcher on the bed!!! (albeit a particularly poor artist's impression taking off Che Guevara). The other side has a bit more of a peaceful ambience...
I did get the strange sense that he was watching and finding the whole thing quite entertaining with a sort of 'you're mad' expression. Which is OK with me. And wrapping it round me did kind of make him feel a bit closer.
One of his T-shirts which I liked the most was the one he printed about his own business he operated at home... particularly the No.1
So Paul, today is your birthday, you'd be 48 yrs old. There hasn't been a single day since you've been gone that we haven't thought of you, but we're especially thinking of you today. You will always be missed and always be living here in our hearts. Whatever we agreed on and disagreed on in this mad world, it all got a different perspective when you were no longer here to give it your voice. I wish more than anything you were still here, even the bits that used to wind me up something rotten! I'm comfortable writing this here online because I can't quite believe that wherever you are, you haven't devised some kind of gadget to enable you internet access! I reckon it's as good a place as any to get a message to you. You're still around, I know you are... Happy Birthday Paul xxx

Friday, 12 October 2012

I Made An Umbrella Skirt!

I've been wanting to do this for ages and have got quite a collection of broken umbrellas waiting for transformation into something useful again. Any windy, rainy day and they're easy to find on a stroll around the city, sticking out of bins, blowing about the park or flapping on the beach.

Today I did it! Took a couple of those old umbrellas and did something with them! The result is not going to win any fashion shows and I was too impatient to iron it (it really does need ironing!) but I improvised a design, spent a couple of hours cutting and sewing and figuring it out and it kind of works.

The fabric is 100% upcycled umbrella, actually two umbrellas as I decided to alternate the polka dots with a plain black. Then I added a waistband of purple ribbon with some elastic inside. Part of the front black triangle is left open (kind of a wrap, with another one beneath) so that it's not tightly restrictive... for climbing over fences and running and dancing, because skirts can sometimes be stupid and stop you doing stuff like that.

Yes, it does need ironing!

An umbrella skirt also has the advantage of being waterproof so that you don't have to worry so much about Autumn picnics and wet patches on the grass or mossy logs or damp benches... Also, I guess a waterproof skirt might be useful if you're prone to laughing so much that you p.... Actually I haven't done that for a very long time!

All this was so satisfying that I may not ever buy clothes from a shop again!  ;-)  Hmm, there's an old tent waiting in my bedroom that I found abandoned on the beach a few months ago. Now, what could that be...

There are some beautiful umbrella upcycling ideas here by some very clever people: