Blue Jays and Cardinals


Don’t worry, this post is not about baseball teams !

My Mom really likes birds. In all the homes she has lived in there has always been several well stocked bird feeders hanging outside a window. Watching the birds at the feeders is better than TV for her entertainment. So for christmas I made her some paper pieced bird potholders.


The templates are from a book called “Quilter’s ark: more than 50 designs for foundation piecing”, by Margaret Rolfe.


I hope she uses them, she tends to make all sorts of appreciative sounds and then puts them away for “good”. I would be quite happy to go to her house and find that they have been through the wash a few times !

Several of my other potholders left with a friend just before christmas and she emailed that she had hung them in an arrangement on her wall. I guess that is using them but, like the pottery that I used to make – I feel that using a handmade item completes the form/function idea behind good craftsmanship. I remember making a teapot, mugs and tray set for a client once and her telling me when I delivered them that she didn’t intend to use them and was going to display them in her kitchen wall unit. Yikes ! and I spent so much time making sure that my teapots didn’t drip and the handles worked well !

Do you enjoy handmade items more with use or do you use them more to decorate with ?

Thanks for having a look.

I’ll be linking up with Amanda @ CrazyMomQuilts for Finish It Up Friday



16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ann
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 10:39:08

    Very sweet. Love the cardinal!



  2. Mel J.
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 13:56:26

    Super cute! I agree with you, I make things for use and hope that the recipient will do so 🙂 Although a nice display, not so bad either.



  3. allisonreidnem
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:17:20

    Excellent pot holders as always! I’m certainly not an artist or an ‘art lover’, practicality wins every time with me. I look at things and the question in my head is, ‘What’s it for?’ (Saying that, I do have a tray decorated with a beautiful piece of handmade lace that I don’t use.)



    • Colleen
      Jan 16, 2016 @ 07:37:15

      Thanks Allison ! I’d call myself practical as well. I agree that some items are just too fragile for everyday use and are just meant to be appreciated from a distance or maybe under glass ? If I ever find and can afford to buy a beautiful antique quilt I will probably hang it on a wall rather than wrap myself in it…. I guess it all depends.

      Liked by 1 person


      • allisonreidnem
        Jan 16, 2016 @ 07:54:39

        Yes! I think it was William Morris who said something to the effect that ‘things in our homes should be beautiful or useful’. Some friends and I were discussing the joys and tribulations of decluttering and agreed that is a good maxim to apply to each object – and I think that leaves room for some things to be appreciated without actually being used. So the tea set you so carefully made to be useful became someone elses thing of beauty!


      • Colleen
        Jan 16, 2016 @ 08:08:00

        that WM quote went through my mind too ! I hope over time she started using the tea set but I really don’t have any trouble “letting go”, it may not seem so by the way I post though, lol !

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Cate
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 08:38:00

    Hi, Some things I display as beautiful art work. That way I see them all of the time, when I look at them they make me smile, and they usually brings smiles to many other people that come to visit. Somethings are just to precious to put in a drawer, or to spill coffee; or break. And when you see them you always think of the people that loved you enough to make them for you; and then of course you have to smile again! Your work is treasured! 🙂



  5. margaret
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 20:09:26

    I like to hide away my quilts but use everything else.



  6. Tracey
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 21:48:23

    I have only made one usable quilted item. I needed to learn how to paper piece, so a friend I got together and made a four section square potholder. Except it was so nice that I didn’t want to use it. It just sat in my drawer and I looked at it when I took out a knife. And if i did use it, I’d make sure that I had a clean pot! Well, it got its first stain this past summer and I use it for anything and everything these days. Its hard to use and “wreck” beautiful things!!
    Are you keeping warm up north today??



  7. Colleen
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 07:56:51

    I had thought you were a pro sewist by the way you are getting those FW blocks together ! So I am surprised to read that you’ve only made 1 useful thing ! – no other quilts ? I do think that using handmade items brings more joy than just having them in the drawer but you have to “take the wrapper off” – so to speak… get used to using pretty things that make you smile and then when something like a stain happens and you see that the world doesn’t end you are encouraged to enjoy what you have and not keep it for “good”.
    GAK ! – the weather up here, -27 C yesterday and our septic tank decides it’s tired of waiting for the hydrovac truck. we’ve been calling that guy since Nov ! It is soooo hard to get any kind of services out here !!!!!!!!!
    and we’re not done with it yet. I would definitely rather be at the beach ! how ’bout you ?



  8. Dolly
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 14:59:42

    I like to USE them ! For one thing, I enjoy seeing them so often…….then there’s the second thing….when they’re used up, I have an excuse for something new !



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