Sewing and repairing

6 May 2008
We had a public holiday here yesterday so I took full advantage of the day to finish off a dishcloth for a friend and to do some sewing. I love to spend time in my little sewing room. I'm surrounded by fabrics of all colours, threads and yarn, and tins full of bits and pieces. The world always looks good when viewed from my sewing room. it puts a gentle slant on everything. Hanno was also very productive, although I have to tell you rarely a day goes by when he isn't. Yesterday he was busy in the shed making nesting boxes for the chooks. He's recycling some old cupboards for the job.

I tinkered around the house tidying up and putting things right for the week ahead and when order was restored and the bread was reading for baking, I went to my sewing room. I had two small tasks to complete before I got on to my main task - Shane's quilt, which is my ongoing project.

The little tasks were to make myself a pencil case for work and to fix an old leather wallet. The pencil case became a priority last week when I snapped a pencil in half dropping books into my basket at the end of the working day. I have been struggling with keeping pens, pencils, markers and highlighter together so I always have them at hand - I often need to take them to meetings. Now that I'm getting on in years, I find I have to write everything down or it might be forgotten. I used to have a brilliant memory and could remember pages of text, now I know I will forget if I don't make notes. And I make a lot of notes. LOL! I go through a large notebook in about three weeks. Anyhow, I knew a pencil case would make things easier for me but when I saw what was available in the local shop - plastic junk from China, I decided to make my own.

It's made of scraps I had in my stash - just two pieces of fabric sewn together with a sheet of wadding in between so pencil points didn't poke through.

And here it is, ready to go into service today, along with my notebook, address book and diary. I'm quite happy with it. It only took about 30 minutes to make but I know it will save me more time than that looking for my pens and highlighters.

My other project was to repair an old leather purse/wallet. I bought this wallet about 15 years ago and I put it in a drawer when the lining ripped away from the leather edge. It's a wonder I didn't throw it away, which I often did in those days, but the leather is really soft and it was a favourite, so it survived. As well it should have. I used a strong upholstery thread in my sewing machine and slowly restitched along the lining and then reinforced the edges. It's like new again! It gives me a great deal of pleasure to make and repair things for myself and others.

What I make is better than what I'd buy and it's unique, made exactly how I need it to be. I think my life is made better by recycling and making things last as long as they can. Oh, I still waste a few things but I'm getting better by being mindful of what I'm doing and always being aware of the impact my actions have on my surrounding world.

ADDITION: I'm really happy to tell you that I was selected as one of the winners of Little Jenny Wren's blog anniversary giveaway. Thanks Jenny!


  1. I would love to know more about how you repaired the wallet, Rhonda!

    I have a much loved (and from my spendthrift days, v v expensive) leather wallet from which the lining is torn.

    I have sewing machine needles suitable for sewing leather but only polyester thread - do I need special thread for leather? I would love to give my wallet new life. If not then I'll make do with an old one, because buying new is no longer my first option!

    Thanks so much for your blog, Rhonda xxx

  2. I love making things from scraps! Your pen/pencil case is great!

  3. Anita, I used an upholstery thread - Gutterman, I think. I doubt you need the stronger thread though. Just a good quality thread would do just as well. It's just a matter of cutting away all your frayed areas, lining up the edge you want to repair and sewing slowly. The needle will go through the leather quite easily. Good luck.

    Hi Debbie! Thank you.

  4. I'm looking forward to the day of having a room filled with fabrics, yarns, etc... Someday :) In the meantime I will contain myself with my knitting baskets by the futon.

  5. Congratulations Rhonda! I was excited to see you had won.

  6. "Hanno was also very productive, although I have to tell you rarely a day goes by when he isn't."

    I have to say this reminded me so much of my dad - he is always fixing, tinkering etc.

  7. Hi Rhonda,

    So glad to see you are still here. I sat down with my porridge and cup of hot tea to read your daily musing when there was an error message saying the site was having technical difficulties. So glad all is ok.

    I just love reading your blog and

    Congratulations on your win.


  8. Hi Rhonda Jean :) What a cute pencil case - and I love that sassy red! Congrats on being chosen at Jenny's - can't wait to see what she sends. Love, Q

  9. Rhonda, what a lovely pencil case! You've put me in the mood for making one for my phone cupboard which is a riot of pencils, pens and textas - the sort of riot that means you can never find what you need when you need it. That might be a fun project for later in the week. Lisa x

  10. Brilliant post Rhonda, thank you.

    I won't have a sewing room in my new place but I plan to have my sewing box and rocking chair right beside the window (I love to hand sew, its so relaxing whereas machine sewing is often fraught).

    I was lucky enough to be given some upholstery sample books and having seen your photos I realise that the smaller pieces of fabric are ideal for projects like this so my sister and I will be working on them for her next charity sale. Thanks for the prompt.

    My Dad mended our shoes as we were growing up and he mended his own right until he died; he used to sew leather patches and cuffs to his working jackets and mend anything that he could; I acquired a darning mushroom last year to help with my own darning. ‘Make do and mend’ is the way to go!

    Congrats on your win too!

  11. I love repairing things too. I'm ashamed to admit that only a few years back, I could throw away a shirt in a perfectly good condition, just because it was missing a button or something of that sort. I had no idea how to replace a button! Thankfully I have learned a bit since then, and also find a great pleasure in it.

  12. Congrats on your win, Rhonda, I love Jenny's blog so I'm curious to see what she'll send!
    Glad to hear your wallet was easy to repair. I have one that is old but still in good shape, but I rarely use it anymore. I try to keep as little as possible in my wallet so I have a teeny tiny one right now!

    Hope you all have as lovely weather as we have right now. Spring has sprung here!
    Christine from the NL

  13. Love your pencil case- very groovy! My leather wallet was looking rather tired and i gace it a good coat of black boot polish and a buff and it looks ready for another 10 years of service.

    Seeing im no longer in the paid workforce (kidwrangling instead) i need to make every little thing s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

  14. I love the pencil pouch. I always find such inspiration here. Thank you Rhonda Jean.



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