No-sew blue jean valance

window treatment using blue jeans

I am a big fan of recycling and repurposing items. And I enjoy being creative and trying new things. So when I decided that my kitchen curtains were just too ratty to keep using, I wanted to try something that no one else that I knew would have done. I had been saving old blue jeans to be cutting pieces from them to try to make a quilt, and I hated to throw away the upper parts of the jeans that would not be used for the quilt. I was watching a television show about decorating tips and there was a tip about using blue jean uppers to make throw pillows. The thought occurred to me that they would be really cute window valances! And so it came to be… I get a lot of compliments from people when they come to the house and see them for the first time. Believe it or not, there was no sewing involved!

Hand made or ready made – quality or quantity

Craft vendor table of my hand made crafts

I love to craft. I love to sew, quilt, knit, crochet, and do decorative painting. For several years after I retired I spent all of my free time crafting. I liked to think that I would make things for my friends and family for Christmas presents and they would love them. And there were times when I thought that I might be able to sell some of the items that I made, for a profit. Some people think that there are folks “out there” that are willing to pay more for a quality, hand made item. So far I have not met very many of them! Most of the people that I meet and talk with would prefer to save money by shopping at flea markets and at Wal-Mart. We have become a disposable society and do not value hand made items as much as we used to. When someone makes something by hand, just for me, I am thrilled. That is a huge act of love, something that I cherish much more than material objects. But most of the people that I know have a different perspective – they want more items and they want to get as many of them as they can get for as little money as possible.

The ready made items are usually made in a foreign country, and are of a lower quality than what you can sew yourself. So before I sew (or buy) an item of clothing I ask myself the big question – assuming that this item will fit me forever, is this a classic style that I will always want to wear for many years to come, or is it a passing fad that will be “so last year” that I will only want to wear it a few times before giving it to Goodwill. And then there is the time factor “do I really have the TIME to sew this?” I have so much fabric that I have purchased with projects in mind that I will probably never get around to sewing! I just don’t have the time!

And there have been items that I have made by hand, to sell, and found that customers were not willing to pay the price because they wanted hand made quality at flea market prices. And there have been the hand knitted scarf gifts to nieces that took five hours and twenty dollars of yarn to knit, and the girl thought it was a wonderful gift – and so did her cat! She used it as a cat toy! When she showed me how she was using it as a cat toy, I asked her to let me have it, and when she gave it to me I handed it to her mother (my sister) and told her that it took me five hours to knit and $20 for the yarn and I would appreciate it if she would put it “away in a safe place” until the girl could appreciate the scarf as a scarf and not as a cat toy! And then there are the quillows that I’ve made – my family LOVES them SO MUCH that they are afraid to USE them, for fear that their kids will ruin them, so they are packed away until the kids are grown and moved out of the house, and any hand made items given to them are “too good to use.”