Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tender reputations

Reputations are a complex thing. Sometimes based on thorough information, sometimes just a few incidents strung together, the reputation is a tricksy thing for sure.

Some guy you work with is always crabby and kinda mean? I'd bet that guy has a bad rep. What if it turns out dude has chronic back pain, and once that's fixed, he's perfectly lovely? You might change your mind about the guy, right?

OK. So. You could jump to conclusions about me if you simply knew that I have failed time and time again to get a handmade gift completed on time. You could. Jump away.

However! I've realized that it's not that I wait until the last minute. It's not. It's more that I tend to underestimate how long a gift is going to take to make. So, instead of calling me a procrastinator or shirker of deadlines, you might just call me a bad forecaster of the future. But then you'd be the one who'd look silly. Because who among us can tell what the future holds? Right?! OK, then.

This brings us to the top-secret item I was working on: A birthday gift for a good friend. I started working on it well in advance, and it took longer than I'd expected. More on that in a moment.

The birthday girl had once told me a story about how her grandmother and her mother, as they got older, would enter their bedrooms at night and say warmly, "Hello, bed." Like they were being reunited with a loved one. My friend thought that this -- being so pleased to collapse into bed at the end of a long day -- was a sign of aging, until she suddenly realized she'd started doing it, too. For her 40th birthday, I designed and embroidered a couple of pillowcases for her.

The pillowcases were store-bought (good thinking there), and I had originally planned on embroidering an identical set, both just like the one above. Except.

These took so much longer than I expected. So very much longer. And not just because of the do-over. That fishbone stitch or herringbone stitch, whatever it's called, takes forever. (So I'm a perfectionist. And, yes, it would go faster if I weren't. I'm aware. There's no need to yell.)

So, the second pillowcase -- made an hour before her surprise party -- looked like this:

You can even still see the outline of the embroidery hoop there, that's how fresh it was (how short on time I was) when it went into the gift-wrap. It's pretty and simple, but it also took me a very long time.

Obligatory photo apology: I managed to shoot these pictures while putting on my make-up, blow-drying my hair, and figuring out what to wear to the party. It was getting late. This was the best we could do.

Take-home lesson? You can't accuse my friend of being old, and you can't say I don't try. Because she's not, and I do. Sometimes you just have to make modifications to an original idea, that's all. (And truth be told, sometimes you have to admit you dabble a little in the perfectionism. Meh. It is what it is. Rock on!)

20 comments:

marit said...

what a lovely set of pillowcases!

Nora said...

Yes, it is what it is - and these are beautiful, unique and very personal.

kim said...

They are lovely - both of them! And what a great story. I'm sure your friend will cherish them and your thoughtfulness.

Ashley said...

lovelovelovelovelovelove SO MUCH.

I'm getting pretty close to demanding that you start uploading your photos to Flickr so I can favorite them over and over again.

Also "hello, bed"? Brilliant. I love my bed in exactly that way.

tiennie said...

I love it! Your friend will appreciate it so much! If not, send them my way, K?!

JYGreen said...

Gorgeous! I love it. Such a special gift.

Kirsten said...

What a perfect gift for your friend. I think there is something quite charming about saying "hello, bed" it means you have had a full and busy day, and now deserve the comfort and bliss of your bed.

Since I am not much for fortelling the future, you will not see me judge.

Stacey said...

both are beautiful. I really love the simplicity of the one with the single leaf. That is A LOT of work!

Mary-Heather said...

I love them. Truly beautiful!

maryse said...

i think they're both brilliant. and prefer that they complement each other.

Carol said...

You are just overly optimistic! Nothing wrong with that.....

Kristy said...

Oh my goodness! I think these pillows are just wonderful. Simply beautiful and elegant.

And I like the single leaf. It is striking on its own and it makes the "hello, bed" pillowcase that much more special.

No matter how busy I get or how many days (ridiculously!) seem to pass between visits to your blog, I am never ever disappointed.

PatchesMom1973 said...

wow! very nice embroidery!

Kristy said...

Also, the pictures are outstanding.

jane said...

I love the pillowcaese and I must admit that I too say hello bed!

annika said...

these are fabulous! I have to make myself some for the winter!

Leslie said...

Well, you're not the only one who's been late with gifts! I think the set is wonderful, and how cool of you to remember the story and then to make something wonderful from it. Your embroidery is beautiful!

matthew f. said...

I saw them in person. They were splendid. I wish someone loved me enough to give me things like that.

Fiberjoy said...

Yes! That's exactly what happens, all the time. Underestimating the length of a task. Usually by a long shot. You'd think I'd learn.

Those are two beautiful pillowcases! Matching, not identical are better, that way one quickly knows whose is whose.

(Pointed here by Tienne - one of the world's fastest knitters!)

Laura said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. :)