Monday, August 26, 2013

"Useful Hours": Stitching Update

 Submitted by Linda
This past Sunday I had the privilege of visiting the Huntington in San Marino for a visit to the "Useful Hours" exhibit. My companions for this escape from my 'two mile radius' were my mom (center), and my traveling pal, Liz (on the right).
We started our outing at the amazing tea room there, near the rose garden. Their tea is by far my favorite, and didn't disappoint. (Since it's a buffet, we were able to eat 47 of the cucumber sandwiches if we wanted to!) 

We weren't allowed to take any pictures, but the exhibit features needlework and painted textiles from the 19th and 20th centuries, made by girls from ages 9 and up.  It made me remember Mr. Bingley in our beloved Pride and Prejudice: "You all paint tables, and play the piano, and embroider cushions! I never heard of a lady but people say she is accomplished!" 
Aside from seeing such well preserved samples of samplers, and such, I loved the inscription on the sampler from which the title "useful hours" came:
How blest the maid whom circling years improve
Her God the object of her warmest love
Whose useful hours, successive as they glide
The Book, the Needle and the Pen divide.

My mom and I agreed that we no longer need to worry about all the time we spend stitching in the evenings, since they will now be considered "useful hours".  

Here is an update of how we've been spending those hours. Recently, my mom showed me a very old and tattered hankie that had been her mother's (my grandmother). We were discussing how to preserve it, when one of us had the idea to make a little pillow or sachet. My mom did that, and was able to insert the crochet trim from the edging into her tiny pillow.

She did the same thing to some cross stitch projects that she had stashed from my childhood. They were stitched to close to each other, so couldn't be framed. We can't remember who stitched them, her or me, but I think I'm the type that wouldn't have left enough space, so I may be the guilty party. Sadly, sometimes I'm not a 'measure twice' kind of a girl. Anyway, she added some pom pom trim and voila!
I love how cute they look tucked into a basket!
Up until recently, this cross stitched pocket lived in the bottom of my stitching basket. My mom had stitched it on a very oversized denim shirt, and when styles became more fitted and I started feeling dorky wearing the huge shirt to school, I cut off the pocket (because how could I trash that patriotic apple?)
I decided to follow her lead and make a cute pillow for my house. I dug into my stash of old lace, and now I can finally enjoy that apple again!
The exhibit at the Huntington runs through September 2, 2013.

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