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Healing and Mom's Button Jar

Focus Friday

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Button Jar

Button Jar

(c) Phylameana lila Desy
Healing and Mom's Button Jar
(c) Phylameana lila Desy

I 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

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?

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 

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