Thursday, December 19, 2013

MAKE DO & MEND: Why do we throw 'old' items out when we can explore ways to transform them?

I am listening to the soundtrack of Garden State as I am writing this entry. Garden State is one of those movies I've been wanting to see for years but, for some reason, never get around to. Since I've arbitrarily called the day off, I saw it and I loved it. I knew I'll love it. 

...And the soundtrack is just super.

One of my favorite lines in the movie was quoted when Andrew, Sam, and Mark were leaving this quarry home after visiting a man named Albert and his family. Albert shared to the three that he was hired to guard the place and at night, he would go down the 'infinite abyss' to explore. Andrew, upon bidding farewell to Albert, remarks "Good luck exploring the infinite abyss" to which Albert replied "You too."

I believe it was such a meaningful message that relates to almost anything in life. In my life, it is a recurring message that bounces off from the very moment I wake up in the morning to the time I eat my breakfast, before heading to my little sewing space, and until the time I decide to go to sleep and call it a day.

Explore the infinite abyss.

There is indeed no end to what's possible. We are all explorers entitled to that infinite abyss.

Speaking of explorations, it was almost a month ago when my mom went home from Singapore for a while and asked me to make her an iPad case. I have to say that whenever someone speaks to me about something they want to have done, my mind powers on instantly like a computer designing pieces in my head in an instant, taking into account all user preferences, calculating fabric requirements, etc. (I know it's so nerdy!). I suppose the same mental pattern, or at least a similar one, happens to almost anyone when confronted with an idea which they are just beginning to figure out...which happens probably everyday. :) In other words, we are constantly exploring, I guess.

And like in all explorations, we will be presented with options. For the iPad case my mom wanted me to sew, I initially planned on using felt fabric with batting and interfacing for the iPad case. Option 1, hence, was a complete overhaul.

When I got hold of the old case, it made me sad because it looked very sad. hehe

Carrying out the Make Do & Mend spirit, I decided to redesign the existing case instead of completely throwing it out. I opted for this Option 2. :)

I opened up the dilapidated case, took out the boards and just sew on a new fabric cover which my mom chose from my box of swatches..

I used to not know  to iron but sewing required me to. :)

Hand sewing the top of the board covers.
Sometimes, we are so eager to throw out something old to give space for something new when we can still explore ways to make good use of what we have. In a world of instant gratification, of course, there is little room now to explore and discover the wonders and joy of hard-earned successes.

THEN AGAIN, we will be amazed by the many ways we can literally 'transform' something if we only take the time to truly discover the possibilities. :)

Before and After story of my mom's iPad case.

I used denim for the side holders. The denim is from mom's pants I altered a year ago! :)
Braided elastic for the top holders.

Happy that it stands still even without magnet. :)
It can also be used like this.

Trivia: The denim I used as side holders were actually  leftover denim I kept from my mom's pants which I also altered a year ago! :) This is quite a similar upcycling process I did with the leftoever denim I kept from the pants I altered from my sister's boyfriend. I made it into a bow bracelet.

Bow bracelet made from scrap/leftover denim of altered pants.

Upcycling especially becomes significant in our lives when we have things that have become personal to us that we just do not see belonging somewhere else. So we keep them or take a part of them with us and make our very best to give them a new life in a new form.

When I make pieces for other people and I have scrap fabric from the projects I made for them, they somehow automatically occupy a 'personal' corner in my room. I do my best to use and maximize them in other projects that I do so that nothing is wasted. Thinking about this now, I am amazed to just picture all of these handmade 'stories' literally coming together to create more stories and more and more and more....:) That way, it becomes an astoundingly infinite storytelling process that involves so many personalities and characters and even generations.

I am honored, always, to be able to create and tell these stories.

So which items do you have now that you are considering to replace? Maybe you don't need to replace them after all. You might just need to have them 'transformed' into something new. Think about it. :p

Ever exploring the infinite abyss with handmade love,