I come from a long line of crafty women. My grandmother, whom we called Nanny, was a mass-producer of everything crafty. She knitted, crocheted, sewed, baked, decoupaged.. well, you get the idea. Oh, she also sang in her church choir, spent some time as an independent hair stylist that would be called in for weddings requiring french braiding, AND would often be called upon to can tomatoes for her neighbors. Don’t even get me started on her dill pickles! When she started a new project, she would do it with gusto. I personally possess half a dozen decoupaged picture plaques from the decoupage phase, 6-10 crocheted blankets for each child I have, myself, my cousins – there were 9 grandchildren – and some of OUR children all have handcrafted quilts that she made.
And then, there was the time of the throw pillows. Keep in mind, this was in the 80s where everything was in excess already and just close your eyes and try to imagine. Her throw pillows were often pastel colored, draped and piped in homemade lace, satin and ribbons and were of every shape and size. She very often crocheted doilies to place on the pillows and no two pillows were ever alike. They were true confections. My mother alone could have kept her in business – she had at least 10 pillows on her bed, and my sister and I had close to the same between us. I thought they were truly the most beautiful pillows I had ever seen and have to say, I think that time was the only that I made my bed so carefully, arranging each pillow over and over again. My friends were jealous. As word got out, before long, she had started a small business making these pillows, and I believe at one time, she was hand-making up to 100 pillows a week. I’m completely guessing of course, but it was a lot – it might have been even more than 100 – she was an amazing woman.
I have a fraction of the talent my Nanny had, but one of the things that stuck with me, is a love for throw pillows. How else can you change a room for less than $20, and even less if you’re making them yourself? I love the versatility of a throw pillow. Adding the right throw pillow can take a room to a whole new level – a room without them looks stark and uninviting. Adding pillows says “curl up with me” or “nap”. Nothing else can provide the decorating versatility that a pillow can. The right grouping of pillows can set a theme to a room without making a permanent change.
I’m a little fickle – I change my mind and like to mix things up constantly – throw pillows allow me to do that without having to take out a second mortgage and they are small and easily stored. I have holiday pillows, outdoor seasonal pillows and my home, I have some pillows that I have recovered 3-4 times as my tastes change. In my girls’ rooms, I used pillows to set the theme. K has a Paris theme – given that she might grow out of this in next few years, I used mostly accessories, including throw pillows, to set the theme. In B’s room, she wanted a zebra print, with lots of glitter and sparkle. When – not if – their tastes change, it’s not a major thing. We can swap out a few accessories, a few pillows, and voila, new room! There are not many things in life that are THAT easy.
I miss my Nanny. I’m so grateful to her for all she taught me and I wish I’d taken the time to learn all I could from her when she was still with us. Still, if she could hear me I’d say, “look Nan! Pillows!” and she’d probably laugh in that way she had. Since I am showing you photos of 8 pillows, maybe I learned I little more from her than I thought – either way, I will keep on making pillows, I will think of her whenever I do.. and I will always, always cherish my large inventory of decoupaged plaques.