Someone Should…

I have spent a lifetime in meetings. I hate meetings. Always have, probably always will. Meetings are the corporate equivalent of Thanksgiving with your crazy uncle. You have to invite him, but you hate listening to him winge on about the sorry state of whatever his current thing is while he complains about the food. At the end of the evening, everyone has eaten too much just to keep from yelling, and everyone is exhausted. The host, needless to say, wants to throw out everything and jump off the roof.

The worst thing to hear in any meeting is: Someone should… It may be a fabulous idea and may even be highly doable, but in my mind, if it’s a good idea and you had it, it should be something you want to be part of. So, instead of ‘someone should,’ why not start with, ‘I’ve noticed X,Y, and Z, and would like to do A,B, and C to solve or help. If anyone has any thoughts or wants to help me, let’s do this.’

I’ll go first: I’ve noticed that people like to take leftovers home at a dinner function for a needy population. I have committed to supply self-storing shopping bags for each family to take their leftovers home in this year. This solves a couple issues: taking things home from the event and taking things home in the future. I’ve talked about the charges in town for plastic bags. Now, they have a bag for whatever they need to bring home or bring with them. But it’s just the start.

Oh, I know! We have a lot of kids in crisis and need right here in my town. I want to make bags with soft, comfy, useful things in them like the prototype. And, it’s not just kids. I can make useful bags to carry essentials.

And so is born Unsewn Possibilities. Right now, it’s just an idea and a lot of fabric in my basement sewing room. But, the local police, schools, and my church seem responsive. So, I’m going to do it. I have 20 self-storing shopping bags on deck for the Thanksgiving dinner. The local police and elementary school are on-board with the kids’ bags. Will I need help? You bet. But right now someone is me. I should, so it’s starting in my basement. You can contribute by buying something from my Etsy shop, but if you don’t, this will still be done. It’s not someone, it’s me.

Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do?


Welcome to Pieceowork

Pieceowork is the blog/website for my Etsy shop: JBHVintageHandmade. It’s where I’ll tell stories, make suggestions, and feature specific items available.

The shop sells vintage photographs in three forms: file downloads, prints, and ceramics. The downloads are scanned slides spanning the late 1950s through 1980s. My father, Harry L. Burnett Jr, a professional photographer, took most but not all of the downloads. You can find some of his work via the Library of Congress or the Architects Office of the Capitol, where he worked for 35 years as the first official photographer.

The shop also sells what I call Things to Put Things In: bags, totes, pouches, rolls, boxes, and bowls. Mom was an avid seamstress turned quilter. I inherited her stash but not the quilting bug. Combining our stashes into random acts of fabrics, I’m sewing (on Mom’s machine) self-storing shopping bags, tote bags, jewelry pouches & rolls, pencil/pen/crochet hook/knitting needle rolls, eyeglass cases, and anything that catches my fancy. Some patterns and kits also show up when I find things we bought but never got around to making.

As I went through the photographs and fabrics, I realized how their life together needed to be honored by something relatable, not just for my family but for others. This and the Etsy shop are my attempt to honor a 70-year relationship and my own education.

A word about the proceeds of the shop. Yes, Etsy and selling things starts off as a for-profit venture, but my goal is to honor my parents. In so doing, a portion of any proceeds will be donated to the following organizations: Alzheimers’ Association, American Heart Association, and a variety of personal charities.
Thanks for shopping and reading. Please comment but spare me your nasty, vindictive, or other bad behavior. You’ll be marked as spam if you do, and possibly reported. Just sayin’.

Special Announcement

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you what’s going to happen here at Starting in October, will be the blog and news feed for my Etsy shop: JBH Vintage Handmade.

It’s taken me a long time to deal with things after my parents’ deaths. Pop left photos in all shapes, formats, and sizes. I have files of every slide taken between 1960 and 1983 when he retired and switched to totally digital. I’m offering downloads of some of these files for you to use. Pop was the first official photographer for the US Capitol architects’ office. As a professional, he could make vacation snaps look good–and he did.

The year before, Mom left sewing machines, fabric, pattern books, and a whole lot of things we didn’t know what to do with. I took what I could work with and looked at it for a while.

With JBH Vintage Handmade, you’ll get the opportunity to see and purchase some of the photographs as file downloads, prints, and his final project, photo-ceramics. Almost every photographs fits both the vintage and handmade categories.

I’m using Mom’s machine (not vintage, btw) and combining our stashes of 100% cotton fabrics (most of which ARE vintage) to offer a variety of small, useful objects: shopping bags that zip into their own pocket, jewelry pouches and rolls, fabric boxes and bowls. It’s a loving collaboration I call Random Acts of Fabric. The stash isn’t organized, so choices are made on the fly, the way I used to do any quilt project.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. This is where I tell some of the stories about the photographs and family memories.