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Phylameana lila Desy

Healing and Mom's Button Jar

By August 9, 2013

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button jarI learned to sew when I was very little. My mother was a patient teacher. She would pass the jar of buttons over to my sister and me. With needle threaded and thread knotted we would make string necklaces out of the buttons. Most of the buttons were white shirt buttons made from shells. But there were also an odd button assortment of different sizes and colors in her button stash. I still remember there being a couple of pink heart-shaped buttons in that jar. And there were half a dozen brassy buttons with an anchor image on them that must have been rescued from a child's tattered sailor suit. Mom never tossed out old clothing without first snipping off the buttons for the button jar.

We learned quickly to be careful so as not to stick the needle point into our fingers. Of course we did bleed sometimes from pricked thumbs and fingers -- ouch! But, no matter, sewing was too much fun to mind! My sister and I would sit on the floor and string the buttons one by one until the jar was empty while mom was bent over the sewing machine or sitting on the couch darning my father's socks. Yes, she darned my father's socks! She taught me how to darn socks when I grew bigger. Darning was boring, but embroidery became my first love. I made cross stitch butterflies and flowers onto pillow slipcases and tea towels. So pretty, and I felt very proud of my stitching accomplishments. Mom also taught me how to crochet and how to quilt. I ended up teaching myself how to knit because mom never quite got the hang of knitting. She is left-handed and struggled with knitting instructions that were written for the right-handed.

Sewing and Healing

crochet I'm not sure when I first connected-the-dots between sewing and healing, but the connection is certainly there. Sewing can be a form of meditation if you approach it right. I don't find sewing on the sewing machine especially comforting, but I'm sure some people do. I prefer stitching by hand for my own stitching therapy. Concentrating on the needle in hand helps to free the mind from troubled or chaotic thoughts. If the project you are working on is not too complicated the mindless repetitiveness of making the stitches can be very relaxing. And when the project is done you will have a handmade item that was created with your healing hands. Hands are wonderful tools of healing. You knew that, right?

Answer my Healing Sewing Poll

I'm currently crocheting a tote (see photo above), the pattern is simply row after row of SC (single crochet) using a double strand of yarn. I haven't decided yet if I will keep the tote for myself or give it away to someone else. Either way, I'm enjoying the healing process of putting my heart to the task of making it. It might be fun to a belong to a knitting circle for socializing and making some heart-connections with other nurturing women -- but for now I'm enjoying sewing by myself.

Teaching Kids to Sew

button jar Phylameana lila Desy

Focus Friday - This post is part of a once-weekly blog feature focusing on a singular healing topic. If you would like to get notifications delivered to your inbox each Friday alerting you to the Focus Friday topic please subscribe to my newsletter. In addition to the Friday delivery subscribers also receive my standard newsletter sent on Tuesday mornings. The Tuesday edition highlights new articles, newest blog posts, and includes links to a variety of healing topics.
August 11, 2008 at 10:03 pm
(1) Connie G. says:

My grandmother taught me to stitch. She had a button jar too and I loved looking at all the treasures it contained. Stitching is very healing to me too. A few minutes stitching takes all my worries away and makes me breathe easier.

August 12, 2008 at 8:47 am
(2) Marilyn M says:

thank you for sharing your memories. I learned to sew in 4H, an apron. Today, I do every needlecraft I can. It gives me my sanity in this crazy world. I can think thru many things while doing anything from crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, quilting; and most often create things for a charity. Namaste

August 12, 2008 at 11:17 am
(3) Teresa says:

Sewing takes me in to a different place. It relaxes me when I’m stressed. It is the only room in the house that is just mine. Starting with a piece of fabric and turning it into something beautiful does wonders for me. I get many intuitive messages because my mind is peaceful and quiet.

August 12, 2008 at 11:23 am
(4) Ann says:

I have found that when I sew I use the creative energies of the universe. I enjoy quilting. And when I make a wallhanging or quilt for a friend I am able to choose fabrics and designs that will mean something to them. It is the Creativity that inspires me.

August 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm
(5) Jorge says:

Si! I live in Mexico, button jars, and cookie tin boxes with buttons and crochet needles,wow memories more than 40 yrs old, I had a “quilt” blanquet my granmother made when I was one year old I spent my best and worst times as child, last christmas I shared with my best friendsome of the terrible memories I spent in that blanket and she had her mother make me a similar blanket that now that I have worked out the “bad” memories, is now my best companion, this new blanket and this new Me have been camping in energy places, in sweatlodges, energy workshops, reiki,etc..sewing is so symbolic is like mending broken hearts, puting yourself togheter, and creating beauty which I think is our final mission, Gracias for sharing and your beautiful website…Jorge

August 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm
(6) Janet W says:

I miss hand piecing my quilts. When my daughter was young, I always had a basket in the car, packed with projects I could work on when I waited for her to get out of dance class, flute lessons and all of the other “mom on hold” tasks. Now I don’t seem to make time for hand sewing, and it truly is one of the most relaxing things you can do.

August 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm
(7) blissfulbeader says:

My great grandfather babysat me a lot until I was 5, and he taught me to loop the old-fashioned mattress buttons for my uncles furniture business. Grandfather was a furniture builder and grandmother was a seamstress and upholsterer and I learned about sewing by her side from a very young age. Although I don’t enjoy using sewing machines, I do love to embroider, knit, crochet, and more than anything else, I have a passion for beadweaving that I actually built a small business around.
Now I can do my beadweaving for 6-12 hours a day and sell the jewelry I make in a couple of high-end gift shops here in our tourist town. I’m always amazed and extremely grateful that people will pay so much for it.
The beadweaving feeds and replenishes my soul, and selling what I make allows me the blessing of being able to continue buying new beads with which to weave my joy and contentment.
It truly IS meditative, calming, and creatively rewarding and even exhilarating… and enables me to boast that I live a stress-free life because of it!
:) m

August 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm
(8) Susie says:

Thanks for sharing. I sew for a living. Love being creative and was taught by mom and other relatives. And yes I’m the one when sailing that leaves pieces of thread that escape when sailing

August 12, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(9) Brenda H says:

Sewing by hand or machine and cross stitch have been very healing for me. I took a class in Jr. High and fell in love with sewing!

After having a stillborn and a hysterectomy Sept/07, to say my life was in shambles is an understatement. My oldest son wanted a pirate outfit for Halloween and as my husband had to be home for 6 weeks while I recovered physically, we didn’t have money to buy one. After I was cleared by the doctor for lifting, I set up my machines and made him one. As I cut and sewed everything together, my heart slowly started to heal and I felt so much better. Seeing his proud face while in his outfit, soothed my heart too!

Now, anytime I feel blue about any part of life, I hit my sewing room and get started on something. I start feeling better within minutes!

Driving used to be my time to think and go over things. With gas so high, sewing has become my new way to destress and think things over.

Although I sew for myself once in a while, I mostly love to sew for others. Something about giving something you made just for them has a spiritual and healing value too. I think it’s because you are saying, “I’m giving you a special part of me because you are worth my time to make it!”

August 16, 2008 at 11:03 am
(10) Eva says:

I had a problem with my thumbs and could not cross stitch for a while and I really missed it. I find that when I cross stitch anything that is bothering me goes away because I have to concentrate on what I am doing. It really is good for the soul and the mind. Thank God for the friend who started me cross stitching.

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