Starting the Long and Sentimental Project

Inside: As we approach Labor Day, starting the long and sentimental project seems like a fitting end to our DIY summer—and something to look forward to in the cool and crisp days ahead.

Starting the Long and Sentimental Project
The start of my project. Notice the inspiration photo–Dad, Mom, my brother Vince, and me, straight from the 70s.

Mom stopped by with a couple of Dad’s shirts. We’d just finished the folk art flowers and were considering possibly doing a third if we could find some complimentary material. Comparing the shirts with the flowers, we didn’t find a match. But I liked the colors. And they were Dad’s.

Mom said that she’d thought about making a quilt with his shirts, but sewing wasn’t really her thing. “Maybe you can make something with these,” she said.

I brought them up close to my face and breathed in. Although freshly laundered, there was something of Dad still in them. A lump formed in my throat, and I swallowed hard but managed to smile in spite of it. I could make something with these.

I’d made a rag wreath before using Mike’s castoff shirts, with reds and blues and tans. That project had been born of desperation, an attempt to focus my mind elsewhere as I battled depression. I would work on it here and there when I needed the distraction. There’s something therapeutic, healing, in doing handwork. The colors together looked very patriotic, so I gave myself a loose deadline of finishing it by Fourth of July, which I did. Then I set it aside.

Winston the cat.
Curious Winston deciding what he thinks of the new project.

This time, there is no desperation or hurry. No formal attempt. Just the shirt I chose because of the fall colors in it—though fall is not a deadline—and a good pair of scissors to start cutting strips. And a 12-inch wire wreath for perspective at this point. I’m starting with simply cutting the strips because I won’t know how much I need and might have to tie in other material to make it work. I’m figuring the shirt will yield quite a lot, though. Dad was tall in the torso, which gives me more to work with.

It’s not a quick project. It’s a project for when the nights turn cooler and the days grow short. For late hours by lamplight. For passing blustery winter afternoons as the soup simmers on the stove. I have in mind to start it sometime after Labor Day. Here and there. Little by little. We’ll get there.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Rag wreath project. DIY
Inspiration for my project. A picture of Dad and me.

Do you have any long projects you’ve been meaning to start? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related posts: How to Distress a Mason Jar

Making Folk Art Flowers


Next month: Back to School, Back to Life. Look for simple suppers, coffee love, and a decluttering challenge, plus reflections and all the news fresh from the farm.

4 Responses

  1. Patsy Reiter

    I became teary-eyed reading about your wreath project. Can’t wait to see the results. Patsy


      Thanks, Patsy! I’ll bet you have a few projects of your own going. 🙂