Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making a Made Do

This blog is called A Make Do Life. My life is make do. Doing with what one has. Not always buying new. In years gone by woman made make dos. "What in the world is that?" people ask. Basically - a pin cushion. They were rather whimsical. Something very functional and decorative at the same time. Fashioned of wool, linen, or cotton, into flowers, birds, animals, fancy shoes, or just a round ball. Most of the time they would be attached to a pedestal of some sort, such as the base of a broken oil lamp or a candlestick. Kind of like junk out of art that we do so much of today.
I've had this candlestick for years, and rarely use it. The idea has been in the back of my head for a while to use it to make a make do. Yesterday I got out this recycled washed wool, drew a pattern and sewed. Before I stuffed it I sprayed it with some grubby spray.
You can see the difference in red color. It gives it a nice aged look. Next, stuffing.

My grandmother taught us to always save hair from our hair cuts. She learned this from her ancestors who came from the "old country". They were very fugal people, and used everything. The ultimate recyclers. Nothing was thrown out, everything was reused in some way. They stuffed their pincushions with hair. When the pins and needles were pushed in, they were lightly oiled and sharpened rubbing against the hair shaft. When my older children were babies, I used cloth diapers. The diaper pins quickly became dull. I would run the pins through my hair each time I changed a diaper. The pins would slip through the cloth easily then. Through the years, I've saved hair from my children's hair cuts and used the hair in pincushions. This is the hair my son saved from his last hair cut. Into the pincushion it goes. Hair stuffs firmly and smoothly. You don't have to work out the bumps.

Finished. A Red Cardinal. My grandmother's and mother's favorite bird.
Ladies of long ago would have something like this at their side to put pins in while sewing. Maybe a fancy one would sit on their dresser to hold hat pins. My grandmother had one shaped like a flower, where she would put her corsage pins and a few safety pins. She would use corsage pins for many purposes, (another story) so always wanted some handy. This is a visual memory of grandmother, honoring her make do life.

11 comments:

Mad Red Hare said...

Well, I learned something new. I will have to start saving my hair from now on.

A Romantic Porch said...

That is SO interesting. I have never heard that story about pin cushions and I have also never heard of saving hair for stuffing things...thank you.

A Romantic Porch said...

Oh and the cardinal is adorable...so creative you are.

Vickie said...

Oh my gosh all the kids just had haircuts and it was all thrown away. Next time I will be saving and collecting it for a new project. I wonder... maybe you would know... could you use dog hair? I ask because I have a collie that sheds non stop. The cardinal is beautiful. Take Care :)

Mrs.Kwitty said...

I've never heard of using hair as a stuffing, especially for pincushions! How interesting! Your birdy is adorable! And it must be special knowing that your son's hair is in there.
Smiles, Karen

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries and Eggs In My Pocket said...

Loved your words on this...and when it comes to making do... you do very well! Love your pretty cardinal. Blessings, Kathleen

Sharon/primthyme said...

Hi Debbie,Thank you for stopping by my blog !! I see you live in an old house also. I love the make do !! Please stop by my blog,I have 4 awards for you ! Please pick them up !!
Prim Hugs & Blessings ,
Sharon

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

That came out so cute! I just re-read the "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingallas Wilder and she made her Mom a thing to keep her hair in for Christmas. That was the first time I ever heard about saving hair was in that book.

Manuela

debbie said...

DEAR DEBBIE,
HOW FASCINATING....I AM JUST IN AWE. LOVE...LOVE YOUR BLOG. I AM GOING TO PUT A LINK TO YOUR BLOF FROM MY BLOG. I LOVE THE CARDINAL WHEN YOU FINISHED IT.
IF WE HAD USED THESE MAKE-DO LIFE TECHNIQUES OUR WORLD WOULD BE MUCH RICHER.
I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO LOOK AT MY HAIR LAYING ON MY BEAUTICIAN'S FLOOR WITHOUT SHARING YOUR STORY.
BLESSINGS
debbie

Farm Chick Paula said...

That is a beautiful cardinal, Debbie!!
And I love the story of how you save hair- I never thought of doing that!! I always threw mine outside and let the birds use it for their nests.

The Vintage Rose said...

This is such a beautiful story thanks for sharing! The red cardinal is delightful and so meaningful. What a wonderful idea to use hair for stuffing! {but I wonder if health regs would stop the sharing of this hair beyond family}