Tag Archives: decluttering

Valuing the strands and threads

As if I needed any more challenges in life, but apparently I do;

because last month, I added  another task to my portfolio, by challenging myself to help an older family member declutter items which have been in the family for at least 60 years, and possibly longer.

As the expression goes, ‘What was I thinking?’  Some rather vainglorious and grandiose thoughts, I must confess, especially considering I haven’t even finished decluttering my home.  Be that as it may, part of the challenge, for me, is to learn how to sell online.

And I am  learning….. things like, it’s not easy to get your product noticed, and it’s not easy to make any money. ( I can hear some of the writers among you having a  knowing giggle!)  So far, I have had 5 sales out of the 6 items placed on the New Zealand  equivalent of eBay, known as Trade Me. I have made enough for two cups of coffee. 😀

Take a look at what I have done, and what I may do yet to add some cream to the coffee.

Sold!

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold!

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Yet to sell!

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Unsold! Unwanted? Unloved? Uncool?

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Yet to list!

Lister's knitting silk, reels and cotton

Lister’s knitting silk, reels and cotton; possibly antique

Looking at these photos, you might ask, wouldn’t it be easier and more efficient to help by dispatching everything to a thrift store or a skiff? Undoubtedly it would.

BUT

my heart says every item in my relative’s house arrived  there through love and/or hard work, and  often via much saving of pennies. Cottons and threads, for example, would have been gifted, or chosen with  care and extreme thrift. At one time, they meant a great deal to someone or other in my extended family. They gave pleasure, and comfort, and much-needed beauty, and, sometimes, a little extra cash.  So, the very least I can do is honour them and give them a gracious,  kindly send-off to a new home. 🙂

PS (post strands): Many of you will know that on  22nd February we, the people of Christchurch, will  commemorate  the 5th anniversary of the ruinous earthquake of 2011. Most of us were hoping for an easier and quieter  commemoration than in other years. We were beginning to feel well- adjusted to the ‘new normal’. Unfortunately, the peace in our minds was badly scrambled by a 5.7 earthquake last week. Old, unwelcome memories came racing back. And, as the ground has rumbled and rocked all week to varying degrees,  the old memories have taken a firm hold again.

Preparing  the old threads and cottons for sale, holding them, admiring them, wondering about them,  saying goodbye, reminds me that although we say, in times of natural disaster, that possessions are unimportant, that is not entirely true. Possessions have their own ‘life’, their own history, which is intimately connected to ours.  As I write I am remembering all  those people in Christchurch who lost homes and belongings 5 years ago, and who didn’t have the luxury of saying a proper goodbye to them and everything they represented; memories, love, beauty, place, friends, birthdays, hard work, extravagance, thrift, income, hope, laughter, grief……..

And on another strand; the small island nation of Fiji is  tonight meeting one of the greatest challenges in its history ~ Cyclone Winston https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/02/19/catastrophic-cyclone-winston-bears-down-on-fijis-main-island-in-worst-case-scenario/  Please hold Fiji and its people tight in your thoughts over the next few days as they face the prospect of losing life and property.

© silkannthreades

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Radiating Kindness

My interest in decluttering was flagging.  Alys, at Gardening Nirvana, who is a professional organiser in RL,  offered some timely, kindly advice. “Set a timer, ” she said, “and go all out for 15 minutes or so, and see how much you can get done.”  So I did. Yesterday. Worked like a charm. I raced through a heap of files, containing documents dating back to the 1990s, some of which, ( oh irony of ironies ), related to a storage facility I once used in New York!

Sigh of bliss…. so satisfactory !  to achieve so much in so short a period. And not only did I declutter, but I also discovered, tucked away in a corner of a shelf, a small  Helen Exley giftbook , called Words on Kindness.

It’s the dearest wee book, full of wonderful quotes. Several of them I greeted like old friends. Others were as new, to me, because I had forgotten them completely. Many of them moved me deeply.  The quote I have open before me today is this:

Even as a mother
protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all
living beings;
Radiating kindness
over the entire world.
The Buddha ( c 563 – c 483 B.C. )

A painting, Mother and Child, by Edgar Degas, illustrates the text. I cannot find a link to that painting.  Instead, I have selected this painting by Mary Cassatt who worked closely with, and was influenced by, Degas.

Mary Cassat "Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window" by Mary Cassatt - [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

Mary Cassatt “Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window” by Mary Cassatt – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

As I read Words on Kindness, in another part of the world, far, far from me, a champion of mothers and children, a champion of kind words and deeds, was celebrating her 91st birthday. I am referring to the remarkable  Dr Catherine Hamlin, co-founder, with her husband Dr Reg Hamlin, of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  Dr Catherine, has spent more than half a century living in Ethiopia, serving some of the most marginalised women in the world.

” In the 1950s Catherine and her late husband Reg went to Ethiopia to train midwives, but their attention soon turned to the plight of the fistula sufferers.

Together the Hamlins perfected the modern technique for obstetric fistula surgery and
 have treated more than 40,000 women, more than 90% of them cured.”

– See more at: http://hamlin.org.au/#sthash.QyWleIWz.dpuf

An award winner documentary,  A Walk to Beautiful, was made about the fistula patients, and the life-changing care given at the Fistula Centres in Ethiopia.

 

More about the work of the Fistula Hospital and Dr Hamlin can be seen  here. It is a difficult, even harrowing, video to watch but it is ultimately a testament to the transformational nature of compassion and  radiating kindness.

If I can stop one heart
from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life
the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson (1830 -1886)

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

© silkannthreades