Finishing Touches

I must have as many unfinished projects as I do finished ones.

Okay, maybe not quite. But almost. Very, very almost.

I finally added buttons to a crocheted Christmas trees-and-hearts garland that has been otherwise done for several years now. After the trees and hearts were crocheted and garlanded, I had the idea that adding some metal buttons would really complete the look. Unfortunately ‘complete’ wasn’t the operative word.

Until last week. The garland had been in a conspicuous place since Christmas, and after moving it a few times, I finally just did it. I sewed those buttons.


They were from a collection of random metal buttons in a pretty little tin that was part of a sewing basket I’d bought at a garage sale when I was home on Vancouver Island one summer. The sewing basket was sold just as the previous owner had left it, with the floral tin, a tomato and strawberry pin cushion like ones I remembered from home ec, a leather case filled with curtain tassels, marbles in a purple Crown Royal pouch, several single glass eyes (for teddies, of course!), a measuring tape, buttons on cards (marked down from 15¢ to 8¢), thimbles – including a china one – and a seam ripper just some of the oddments that were clues to the person who had last owned and used this basket.

I’m guessing that she (yes, I am assuming the owner was a ‘she’) had unfinished projects also. Were the tassels meant for curtains that never were, never now will be? The eyes? Why are there only single ones? Were there one-eyed teddies in her attic?

I will never know anything, really, about this woman, but she’s left a little bit of her life to help me out in mine. The seam ripper and the packet of needles have been most useful to me, though I love the buttons the most, I think.


I have creative projects stashed here and there: cushions in need of covers; potential covers that need cushions of a precise size. The decoupaged stairs await a pithy quote. There is at least one unsewn cafetierre cover. Almost enough fabric to make a messenger bag.

These hearts, for instance. So close, so very close. They are gorgeous, with an addictive texture, but none of them have ribbons so they can hang, and the one with the roses? It has a bare behind.


Then there is this unfinished beauty. I spent an afternoon of chat and coffee sewing these with friends, but couldn’t even remember what the craft is called. I googled it, but everyone seemed to be calling it hexagons, which didn’t sound like the name I’d heard at the time. I eventually texted a friend: English paper piecing is the official title, and a lovely one at that. There is a tutorial here, if anyone is interested in making some (and hey, maybe even finishing!).

Beautiful – I love these prints – but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, and that is the crux for this incomplete little craft. And look! You can even spot a threaded needle all ready to go.


There is one other unfinished piece in my cabinet: a few rows of what was to be a blue tea cosy, to match my beautiful Royal Albert Memory Lane teapot. It was the first thing my mother-in-law, an avid knitter who taught me to knit Aran patterns, was to make for me. She too has left a few things to help me get on with projects: I have her knitting needles that she’d stashed in a Jameson tin and another wicker sewing basket full of spools of thread – so brilliant when you just need one strand of an odd colour.



Sadly, the early days of the tea cosy coincided with the onset of her vascular dementia, and one day when she picked it up, she couldn’t figure out where she was. And that was it.

I can’t quite figure out where she was either. I want to sit down with someone whose pattern-reading skills are better than mine, and sort it. This is definitely a project I plan to finish.

And now to put that garland away with the rest of the Christmas decorations.


12 thoughts on “Finishing Touches

  1. Lovely piece. Undoubtedly there are more…. I just returned from visiting my 88 year old mother in-law, a long time knitter. My suitcase was filled with odd balls of wool, knitting needles, patterns, etc. I tried to dissuade her with the excuse that airlines now have luggage weight restrictions. Nonsense, she told me. I’ve flown with silverware tucked into my bra. All her treasures have now been added to various drawers and baskets around my house, waiting for that perfect project that I might just get around to one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this piece! So many things I want to say. Firstly I also love picking up boxes from thrift stores, I once got a drawing box full of pencils, replacement leads, erasers etc in a beautiful wooden box from no later than the 50s. Another time I got a huge glass jar of vintage buttons, cut glass, leather, ceramic, metal, plastic, shell… I also have inherited my mother in laws items, like her mother’s Singer sewing machine, bobbins with her threads still on them, colour over colour in her haphazard way apparently, and a bag of assorted accoutrements, including a cut-out school crest which I’m sure she planned to sew onto a hand knit jumper someday. I love that connection to ladies from the older generations, and I’m sure our daughters and great granddaughters will cherish ours someday. In the meantime I love to see your crafts and hope some more will get finished to adorn your lovely house xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Niamh! I have a tin from a charity shop as well that mostly has buttons, but a few other weird things – it’s great when they sell ‘as is.’ And do you use the pencils? Sometimes it’s hard to actually use something that someone else has left intact. I think I may have to rob that jar of buttons….
      Yes, I hope others do cherish the things we leave behind, and I hope we finish enough things for them to enjoy as well. 🙂 There’s a couple of things I’ve made 2 of, so the kids can each have one (but I don’t think they’ve noticed!).


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