A New Twist on Re-purposing

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
Havelock Ellis

This past week has been about preparing for change. I am back in our New York home and devoting a portion of each day to sorting through the accumulations of many years lived in this house. I found a great book,  The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo, which has helped me quite a bit. Marie suggests asking if each piece of clothing and other household paraphernalia brings joy to your life. That is an interesting way to clean out things. I tried it with my clothing and found it quite effective. The second part of the process involves being willing to let go of the piece, once you have determined that it has outlived it’s usefulness for you. That is obviously a bit trickier and I found Marie’s perspectives most helpful in actually getting those clothes into a bag for our local Goodwill store.

While carrying on this household sorting, I also was completing another pouch. I had to smile as I realized the re-purposing of cast-aways were the base for the pouch.  I had never quite looked at my use of vintage cloth and hankies in quite that way before.

The pouch uses both some “lace cloth” I created from scraps from other stitching projects, and some vintage hankies and fabric remnants I had in my stash:


Lace Cloth












Bits and Pieces











Here you can see the place of honor for the lace cloth bit in my pouch:


The vintage hankies, which others had let go of in their own cleaning efforts, now repurposed, add to the beauty of this piece.


Front of Pouch











Back of Pouch













It gives me great joy to take these bits and pieces and give them new life. It also makes me chuckle. I am supposed to be cleaning out, but I couldn’t resist a trip over the weekend to our local antique mall to see what other items might have been cast off by previous owners. I found enough vintage embroiderie anglaise and lace for new projects to keep me busy re-purposing for quite a while!


Linking, as always, to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday Blog.

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  1. These are really lovely. Its worth bringing these old yet new things into your life because you are giving them new life. Good luck with the other decluttering – very hard to do!

  2. What a wonderfully successful way you’ve created to utilize the lace treasures!

  3. I love the variation in white and texture you capture using the old linens/lace. Super!

  4. What a creative idea to use otherwise discarded but still precious pieces!

  5. It is very satisfying to repurpose. When I do, I always think that the person to whom they belonged to in the past would be happy if they knew how their pieces were being used. And the way you add them to your artwork is certainly precious.

  6. sorting out a house with a life time of possessions, I do not envy you that. I suggest you throw everything away that is not embroidery related? I love the new ”essential” finds…..

  7. A gorgeous pouch! I really like the way you incorporated the lace into your pouch. Great job!

  8. Love these re-purposed projects! Great ideas, Judy.

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