domestic sewing : confronting the throw pillow situation, a re-write and little paintings

ann wood's brooklyn studio

It’s pretty New Yearsy around here. I’ve got all sorts of plans and aspirations for the year ahead. Before the end of 2018 I made myself finish a personal project, I confronted some domestic sewing.

Like you, I wanted to start the New Year with a solid throw pillow situation. It has been kind of a mess for a while, definitely not bringing me joy. I had a bunch of ideas to make it better but they had been lingering on my someday list. For years. Deadlines are awesome. Making the dawn of 2019 the due date got me motivated to churn out some decorative pillows. Once I got going it was fun.

couch cover from antique grain sacks

And I made a cover for the seat too, from grain sacks I got in France last summer. They got super soft after I (machine) washed and dried them and I pieced my favorite parts together. They have lots of beautiful mending and I love the colors.

vinatge and antique fabric pillows

throw pillows

I made the pillow covers from old fabric from friends (including some glorious and ancient things my friend Ching sent me) and more things I picked up at French flea markets last year. By the way there is one spot open in each of my trips to France this summer  – click here for June 21-28  and click here for July 1-8. Come to France with me! And then go home and make some throw pillows…

ann wood in a mended dress

With the couch in happy condition my first official work project of this year was a long overdue re-write of my about page. Especially if you are a new visitor it’s a good place to start.

And also in the New Year’s department I re-committed to my daily painting and drawing project. So far so good. Daily practice is no joke, it’s brutal sometimes but I know I’m better off doing it in lots of important ways. The positive effects on my thinking, creativity, idea generation and focus are huge. I’ll scale back to drawing when traveling probably but if I flake on this again you should yell at me.

small art, made every day

The holidays were unusually happy and slow and peaceful for me. I spent a lot of it in pajamas eating cookies with a cat on my lap (I regret some of the cookies). It was pretty nice but I’m happy to be back to business as usual now. How bananas are you? I’m pretty bananas. I require huge amounts of time by myself to think and work and I like routine a lot. I’m luxuriating in time and space and ordinariness now, percolating all sorts of ideas….


  1. Rosemary B

    Happy New Year
    The holidays are always stressful, too much planning and doing,
    I am taking care of my daddy age 95 and doing pretty good, and my retired hubby slowly going blind from glaucoma, but he is areader, and a genuis, so he is always enthusiastic.
    And then the two daughters, husbands 4 granddaughters, flakey sister, and ornery brother. I am hoping to continue what I am working on, several quilts, make apattern from a favorite blouse, imaginative play with the babies etc etc
    Keep from getting mentally decrepit
    Your pillows are sweet. Yes, painting is good. That reminds me, i need to play 30 minutes of piano regularly.

    • Hi Rosemary, It is like a full time job, trying to keep from getting mentally decrepit. I hope you have a marvelous and creative 2019! ann

  2. your lovely surroundings speak volumes about the creative spirit within you.
    thank you for sharing both pictorial and verbal glimpses. happy new year.

    • I have so much fabric stacked up for throw pillows! It has been collecting for years and I am a lot older than you. Just glad I can look back at years of other kinds of sewing and remember that something got done, just not pillows.

    • Hi Tabitha, The shoes are No.6 clog boots. They were a birthday gift ages ago. I never would have chosen them for myself and I love them!
      Happy New Year,


  3. Ann, this is marvelous! Your creativity is inspiring, what a gift you have!♥️

  4. I think your drawings are — well, genius.
    I hope for a book.
    They are so mysterious and always tell their own little intriguing story without words. Words seem welcome, too, tho.
    I think these are your most amazing expression, and i absolutely love your 3-d pieces.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing them.

    • Thanks so much Cynthia,

      I have a sort of picture book swirling around inside me… The drawings and paintings are for me, my most important expression.

      Happy New Year!


  5. Suzanne M

    Oh, Dear Ann, what would we do without you — sharing the intimate coziness of your space and all of your wonderful creations. It’s just the inspiration I need to get off the couch (pjs and all) and declare an official end to the holi-daze and the beginning of new creative head space. And now I must tackle my workroom…… Oh dear. I think more coffee and a stale Christmas cookie are in order.

    Happy 2019! This year will be better than ever.

  6. I have to smile about your solid throw pillow situation. My throw pillow situation is still queasy/questionable, but there is hope! I made two pillow covers using some gifted velvet fabric – I can do it! Need to make more, and get the proper size inserts, and make two or three big 27” ones…maybe by next New year’s!

  7. I’m new here, but inspired. Love the textures and colors of your home, and of course, the paintings. Looking forward to more!

  8. Ann,
    I am so pleased that you enjoyed a happy, peaceful, and slow holiday season. Your home looks as lovely as you are. Thank you for sharing.

    Also….Yes to throw pillow deadlines! Yes to daily practice! Yes to France (only theoretically for me right now)! Yes to 2019!

    Cheers to 2019!

  9. don’t regret the cookies. no one has ever said “I wish I ate more salad” on their death bed

  10. Jennifer W

    Happy New Year (from Australia) to a lovely lady who does lovely things. I can’t sew to save myself, BUT – I have bought a sewing machine and am watching Youtube videos to learn the basics and am looking forward to sewing something very soon! I have been on your mailing list for quite a while now, and reading your missives always makes me happy. Thankyou 🙂

    • Jillian McKimm

      Like you Jennifer, I too am from Australia( Melbourne) I’m not that great with a sewing machine but I LOVE hand sewing , repairing, upcycling and find Ann Wood so inspiring, and encouraging! It is like an email from a kindred spirit, giving me that gentle nudge and sharing great ideas to inspire me to “do something.
      ” Thank you Ann, Happy New Year!”

  11. Oh my goodness! I love how your pillows turned out! Yes, I require so much alone time. I don’t get much having a toddler at home, but the little I get, I enjoy being creative the most.

    Your fabrics are always so gorgeous! I’m always on the hunt for pretty second hand fabrics—but just the i get ones are so hard to find, haha!

Comments are closed.