Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red Tomato Pincushion "Re-Do"

Last Tuesday, I told you about my "Special Pincushion Class" at our guild retreat and mentioned to you that in my next post I would tell you about something you can do with your "stale, red tomato pincushions. Of course, that's assuming that you have "stale" red tomato pincushions. You may think yours is just fine. I have always thought they needed a "little something," but never gave it much more thought than that. Until I saw a blog featuring a lovely red tomato pincushion or two.

These red pincushions have been around for a very long time. I have had several, ultimately getting rid of them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought little of disposing of them when they became worn and tired. Not any more!

I visited a know how it go to a person's blog you visit often and there is a comment or you see an interesting "favorite blog" listed, etc., or you visit the blogs of those making comments on your own blog. Next thing you know you see something interesting and you learn! Isn't this one of the really grand things about blogging?

I was "visiting," scrolling through a blog when I saw red tomato pincushions....these really caught my eye. Turns out they were in the collection of the blog owner and were made by her grandmother...oh, yes...just my kind of thing....vintage, with bits of tatting, buttons, etc. I loved them immediately and wondered what had made this grandmother "decorate" her red tomato pincushions. Thinking we all need to add some beauty (wherever we find it) to each day and knowing that this grandmother didn't want to waste a thing (I'm pretty much of the same mind)....I imagined what was running through her mind when she pinned these bits of beauty to her "stale" red pincushion.
Yes, she had taken tiny bits of handmade lacy things, buttons, etc. and embellished her pincushions.....making them beautiful to my eyes when I found them out in cyberspace week before last. Her decorations were pinned on! Oh, what a simple embellishment, so easy, so beautiful. I emailed the granddaughter and asked permission to copy this idea and show the class I was to teach later that week. Permission was given and the rest is history. So, go visit for

When you visit the blog....scroll down to her post on August 26th, entitled "It's RedNesday @
It's a Very Cherry World" and check out her grandmother's pincushions. See you if love them too.

So, I went out and bought several pincushions, embellished them with bits of lace I had on hand and took them to my class, drawing names of three students and presenting them with their own embellished tomato pincushions. One also went to the whole group as one of the door prizes. I also brought one home...the largest one you see here. They are ingenious really, you can look at the "bits" of decoration all you want to and when they get "stale " to you...unpin them and add something else. Or, if you love them, as I did the grandmother's....well, then, you can leave them as is and hopefully, they will enthrall someone else down the line.

So, having had a seed planted in my brain....and embroidery being one of my passions...I set about this weekend to do my own "thing" with some tomato pincushions. Here you have a blue one (I've just learned they come in different colors!!) and a red one. (And, yes, Deb...I have a purple one, just not decorated yet!) On the blue one, I removed the thread "ribs" completely, on the small red one, I replaced them with floss the color of the flowers. Also, on the blue one, I stitched the "strawberry" down flat, on the red, stitching it down in an upright position. Simple embroidery stitches....all in variegated version of embellishing these everyday pincushions....just not removable.

Also, working on these pincushions made me wonder...just what really is inside these?
I was under the impression that emery powder was in the strawberry so as to sharpen your needles and pins when needed. And, I've always heard that the tomato was stuffed with sawdust. Turns out the tomato IS stuffed with sawdust, covered with a papery plastic, but the strawberry is stuffed with sand rather than emery. Interesting.

So, there you are. Red tomato pincushions...not so stale after all. Who knew? (Thanks, Robin!) Take care, pat


craftydiane said...

I love the way you dressed up the pincushions! That is a great idea. I had a really old tomato pincushion one time and I cut it open and there were tons of needles in it! Can you believe it?!
Have a Blessed Day,

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Pat these are darling, i especially like the blue tomato.
Very brave of you to cut open and see the innards!

Judy said...

Oh awesome they are. I think I have two boring red pincushions somewhere. I wonder what is inside mine?

fiberdoodles said...

So I'm wondering ~ did you re-stuff the tomato? I never gave these old things a second look until now. How wonderful they look all dressed up! And the blue one is too cute ~ please do show us the purple one when it is finished ;) Well now I am ready to pick tomatos! Thanks so much for sharing!!



brenco1 said...

Delightful as usual. I love the way you explain things. The blue one is my favorite one. Have you found a green one yet?

Aida Costa said...

What a great idea :)

I like my tomato pincushions because they're functional, LOL!! But I agree they look prettier when fancied up :)

Robin Ennis Willson said...

What a lovely post...and thanks for mentioning my beautiful, talented Grandmother. She was a dear, and loved to decorate things, and make use of even the smallest pretty piece.

I do think it's funny that you threw so many away and then went out and bought see that's why I hate to throw things away - it's inevitable that I'll need that very thing later on - but only if I threw it away. LOL

You did a beautiful job with your new cushions. I especially love the blue one!

Robin Ennis Willson said...

P.S. - One thing of Grandmother's pincushions had the thimble holder dangling from the top, like a strawberry runner/bud. Seeing yours attached is an interesting different approach.
:) :)

sparkle jars said...

Oh, these are remarkable! I love this idea!!!


I really like your pincushions! everytime when I read your posts, you have a good and nice idea, now yours pincuhions are the best! Have a lovely day!!

Nicolette said...

Great job, Pat. These are simply lovely. Guess we can always use the opportunity to dress up our tomato pincushions, can't we? Consider this a designer award from Furniture and Design Ideas.


Laura Haviland said...

Just beautiful Pat,enjoyed your blog.
I joined as a follower of your blog.
Hugs, Laura.

Anonymous said...


A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.