Monday, February 4, 2019

The Year of Mend

Do you participate in this business of selecting a personal word for the year, as a focus? It seems to be the offspring of making New Year’s resolutions, which never resonated with me. But a word is something I can get behind. Several friends and I chose ‘mindful’ last year; it was nice to have folks to check in with from time to time. This year we all seem to have found an individual word to focus on. One friend selected ‘purge’; another is seeking that Danish concept ‘hygge’.

My word is ‘mend.’

When I came across it on a quilt artist’s blog (it was her word a couple of years ago) I knew immediately this was my focus. After last year and all the changes it brought, mending feels like exactly what I need, both for myself and plenty of objects in my life. 

I started thinking about the difference between mending and healing; healing feels like something that just happens (if you’re lucky), but mending is something that you do. You take something into your hands – a hand knit sock with a hole, a fifty-cent music box that no longer plays, your heart – and you make it better. It's an act of will rather than patience.

I want to mend.

For fun, and to keep the word in front of me, I made a little banner and hung it in my studio.

A month into the new year, and I've already had plenty of opportunity to practice my word! The socks with holes are getting darned, my bare yard is getting planted with a backbone of substantial shrubs. My arthritic knee is undergoing a series of injections to see if we can postpone replacement surgery for a year or two. I'm interested to see just where this word takes me. I've also decided to keep an eye out for examples of my word, and by golly they are out there. I was at the humane society thrift store the other day and noticed this long vintage nightie, probably homemade. 

It must have been a beloved piece, because one underarm has been patched with a gusset and then also finished by hand on the inside.

There was little in the way of garaging this weekend; on Friday the one sale I found yielded only a stack of magazines (Bon Appetit, Better Home  & Gardens) from the free box. On Saturday I went by an estate sale that had started on Thursday; I was going to skip it but someone told me there was sewing stuff there. I was bemused to find this among the varied collection of yarn.

Prices were by my standards quite high, but as the lady running the sale said to me when we chatted, her job is to make the most she can for the client, who in this case is in a nursing home. I can respect that…but it appeared that she would have quite a bit unsold at the end. It must be difficult sometimes to decide how to price things.

I ended up spending ten bucks, which included a bag of assorted yarn, 

about half a yard of lovely cotton fabric, 

and a small zippered purse for my garaging cash. 

I plucked this cut-paper mermaid off a wall, liking the color and slight iridescence; 

turns out it was a Hallmark card but I still like her. I've hung her up in my bathroom.

I was about to pay up and leave when I spotted a framed piece I liked. I may have mentioned that I now live by a creek, which is frequented by Canadian geese. One of my favorite memories of this house will always be the spring day a pair of geese brought their babies by for us to see.  Papa Goose swam protectively around Mama and the babies as they foraged a few feet away. (And I cannot share the picture with you because it's among all the pictures I lost with my faulty hard drive.)

So I brought home these handsome geese, 

and as I came into the house juggling several things I dropped the bag holding my finds. It made a really loud crash on the floor, and sure enough, the glass was broken. Dang it.

But…easy to mend! The size turned out to be a standard 8 x 10”, so I scooted down to the thrift store this afternoon and checked the aisle of donated art and frames. Sure enough there was a never-used frame the right size marked $2 on a tag that was the half price color, so I got my replacement glass for a buck. (The frame itself will be re-donated.) Even better, I managed to change out the glass without injuring myself on the broken glass.

See, mending is way better than healing!


  1. That is a great mantra, It would mean my whole house my ind, my attitude.

    1. Exactly! And so perfectly in tune with frugality - "make do and mend!"

  2. I love your wall piece you made with mend on it!! Great job. I hear ya about the prices at estate sales- double edge sword, the stuff needs to bring in money but its also got to sell.

    1. When I had my moving sales last year the best gift my buddies gave me was to come and price my stuff for me! They go to sales all the time too so I knew I could trust their judgement. My head was in such a whirl with all that was going on that I just about could not make a decision of any kind, my mind would just go blank. Good girlfriends will get you through anything!

    2. Amen on the good girlfriends!!

  3. What a wonderful concept, and funny how once we focus on an idea we see signs of it everywhere.. such as the red heart mending yarn. A sign from the Universe that you are on the right track!

    1. Don't you love those signs from the universe? I can't wait to see what else turns up this year.

  4. Hi, I know this is an old post but I happened to find it when I googled "mend" as a word for the year. It came to me this morning, reading a poem "A Candle Indoors" and a line says "Come you indoors, come home; your fading fire
    Mend first and vital candle in close heart’s vault". I have mending to let happen in my life, in a lot of ways! Your page looks fun, I will check it out.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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