family / holidays / sewing projects

sniff, sniff

A few weeks ago, two of my dear cousins came to town for a visit and stayed at my grandmother's house. On their last day, we sat together in my grandmother's bedroom on her boldly upholstered sofa, knitting, looking at old scrapbooks, reminiscing, and assessing the future. 

something special

One of my favorite things in my grandmother's bedroom, aside from that great sofa, are the throw pillows that cover it. I've said it before but one of the things I love about my grandmother's house is that her handiwork is everywhere. And those pillows are no exception. Some were gifts, some made by her children and many made by her. 

To me, they are little gestures that carry so much love, care and effort. 

And during the time we spent in her bedroom that Sunday afternoon, I determined that I would make each of the girls a pillow of their own for Valentine's Day this year. 

something special

When I was living on my grandmother's farm, she gifted me a small basket of her fabric scraps and many of those fabrics went into the girls' pillows. At the bottom of that basket, I also found a piece of the same fabric that upholsters her bedroom sofa–enough to back each of the girls pillows. 

something special

As I ironed and stitched the fabrics together and appliqued a special design on the front of each pillow, for each girl, I said to my husband, "This fabric smells like her still." It made me teary, but happy.

something special

And when those three little girls opened their presents Valentine's morning and pulled out the pillows, they clutched them and buried their noses in them. "This smells like Meemu!" And they recognized that fabric and knew bits of it were from her. 

It made all the effort and the sneaking-around sewing, and the borrowed sewing machine, and the stuck fingers, and the ripped out stitches and silly mistakes worth it.

A few weeks ago, two of my dear cousins came to town for a visit and stayed at my grandmother's house. On their last day, we sat together in my grandmother's bedroom on her boldly upholstered sofa, knitting, looking at old scrapbooks, reminiscing, and assessing the future. 

something special

One of my favorite things in my grandmother's bedroom, aside from that great sofa, are the throw pillows that cover it. I've said it before but one of the things I love about my grandmother's house is that her handiwork is everywhere. And those pillows are no exception. Some were gifts, some made by her children and many made by her. 

To me, they are little gestures that carry so much love, care and effort. 

And during the time we spent in her bedroom that Sunday afternoon, I determined that I would make each of the girls a pillow of their own for Valentine's Day this year. 

something special

When I was living on my grandmother's farm, she gifted me a small basket of her fabric scraps and many of those fabrics went into the girls' pillows. At the bottom of that basket, I also found a piece of the same fabric that upholsters her bedroom sofa–enough to back each of the girls pillows. 

something special

As I ironed and stitched the fabrics together and appliqued a special design on the front of each pillow, for each girl, I said to my husband, "This fabric smells like her still." It made me teary, but happy.

something special

And when those three little girls opened their presents Valentine's morning and pulled out the pillows, they clutched them and buried their noses in them. "This smells like Meemu!" And they recognized that fabric and knew bits of it were from her. 

It made all the effort and the sneaking-around sewing, and the borrowed sewing machine, and the stuck fingers, and the ripped out stitches and silly mistakes worth it.

30 comments on “sniff, sniff”

  1. Oh my goodness. I’m crying over here. Scent is such a powerful thing.

    I can’t help but think that the very best gift you’ve already given… spending time with her while she was still alive. There are so many who just don’t. And the tangible reminders just can’t make up the difference.

  2. Nine years after my Nana (grandma) passed away, if the wind’s just right and the air sort of sunny, I can still smell her scent in the Shaker Pie Cupboard and old wooden dresser she left me. That smell, it’s everything, somehow. I’d nearly forgotten until I read this, and the shivers are still running down my spine. Thanks for the reminder. And what goodness you captured to pass on to your girls!

  3. …and your n.idaho fam, in response, is adding a bucket of tears: the selfish “i want you here for me right now” kind, as well as the “i am so grateful she will live on in you, the cousins, your girls” kind…xo

  4. the pillows are wonderful, what a great gesture and handing-down of love. i still have some fabric from my granny’s sewing room i keep in a sealable bag to retain the smell.

  5. Such a sweet heartfelt post. Love the pillows and know your Littles will treasure them forever.And the power of scent — I’m still looking for a perfume, candle, or something that can recreate the fragrance of my Aunt Ruth’s home – something so comforting about familiar scents, isn’t there?Blessings,G

  6. I’ve been wishing I could find a way to connect my future child’s great-grandmother to him/her in some tactile way. Now I know- you’ve inspired me to take an old apron of my grandmother’s that I probably won’t ever wear but couldn’t bear to part with and use it to make pillows (or patches on pillows so if I have more than one child they can all have a connection). And it’s so true certain scents linger forever-they are so powerful! Beautiful idea!

  7. I have two boxes of my grandmother’s dresses waiting for me to do something so loving with them. Everytime I open them, I catch her scent in the air. I love your idea and it gives me hope that one day I will be able to do something as wonderful!

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