Borrowed Wisdom

February 2, 2013

borrowed wisdom outsideborrowed wisdom first pick

Throughout history, wise people have cautioned against borrowing and lending.  In Hamlet, for example, Polonius exhorts, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for a loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry“.  My question is, does it count when it’s family?  How about immediate family, like your spouse?

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A sewing instructor once told me that you should never tell people you sew.  They immediately start envisioning all the wonderful things you can make for them.  Being the nice person that you are,  you’ll numbly nod and agree to try.  I’ve seen it happen. I’ve gotten smarter though.  Now I smile and say, “I only sew for myself.  I call myself the selfish seamstress because I really don’t have time to sew for other people.”  Generally that’s true, with the exception of an occasional gift or two.

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My problem is this:  Joey asked me to make a scarf for him.  Of course I said yes, and I’m glad I did.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that I love it with every outfit I’ve put together since.  I’ve worn it three days straight, which is saying something because I finished it four days ago.  He told me I could wear it as much as I like and I quickly emphasized that he can always ask for it at anytime.   I still feel guilty, though.  How do you give someone a present and then immediately borrow it…like, every day?!!

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It’s just that when I put on my upcycled suit coat, for instance, the scarf was the perfect accent.  I mean, what am I supposed to do?!

I know that the solution is to make another scarf, although it will never be the same.  All the materials were thrifted and therefore finite, which is part of the appeal.  I’d better try sooner than later, though.  I’d hate to have the ghost of Shakespeare in my head, wagging a finger, saying, “I told you so!”

Outfit details:  Scarf, skirt and suitcoat- thrifted and upcycled, leather jacket- TJ Maxx markdown 4 years ago, hat- DSW, earrings- gift, ring- thrifted, glasses- local optician

Please join me over at Not Dead Yet Style with all my vibrant, visible friends, and then come mingle with all the fashionistas at Monday Mingle!  It’s always fun.









28 Responses to Borrowed Wisdom

  1. Rosalind on February 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Mmmm, well I speak as a borrower, seeing as I frequently ‘borrow’ from my mum’s wardrobe! You’re right – that scarf looks absolutely perfect with everything you’ve put it with, so I say revel in the sharing and also enjoy getting to see how it looks when you give Joey a turn.

  2. Veshoevius on February 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Being able to sew is such a wonderful skill to have but you’re right – it is time consuming and people who don’t sew often don’t realise that actually it is a lot of work. It must feel great to make a loved one a gift though – I once sewed my Mum a dress which she loved and I was thrilled to see her wear it. And you’re not alone in your borrowing, I bought a scarf as a gift for Mr V once that I borrowed incessantly!

  3. Ofelia on February 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    The scarf looks great with all of your outfit and I like your advice about telling people that you only sew for yourself.
    I haven’t sew in about 8 years since my girls stop wearing the cute dresses I made for them but I used to get a lot of sewing requests back then and I just didn’t know what to say!
    I used to tell people, “I’m so sorry but I have two small children to take care of”.

  4. Melanie on February 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    My take on this is that Joey must feel fantastic that the scarf you made him with such love and care is so special that you want to wrap yourself up in it, which will make his wearing pleasure even better. I’m sure he glows with delight in the talent he sees in your work.
    And of course you’d want to wear this scarf!! I love it. And your upcycled coat breaks new ground. I love how you’ve incorporated so many new elements. This is a favourite.

  5. pastcaring on February 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Oh Jean, you did a lovely job with the scarf for Joey, and I am quite sure he is happy to share… For a while, at least! A day for you, a day for him, that seems fair!
    You look so elegant in your long jacket and that fabulous skirt, and I love you in a leather jacket and cap, looking all Wild One!
    Thank you for your lovely comment on my post, I am so pleased you enjoyed it. xxxxx

  6. Pam@over50feeling40 on February 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    You are right, Jean…it is the perfect accessory for the coat. I used to regret not learning to sew…but maybe now I think I am glad I didn’t…it would have been hard to tell people NO.

  7. Megan Mae on February 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Lol! What a lovely scarf. The DH got a black hoodie for Christmas (not from me), I’ve worn it nearly every day since he got it. I’m a chronic borrower. I give stuff back if somebody asks, but I do still own many things that were ‘borrowed’ from friends… who also ‘borrow’ things from me, so we usually break even.

  8. Paula on February 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Love the mermaid skirt; very sexy~

  9. Marla on February 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Sewing is one skill I wish I had learned when I was younger. I love that wonderful scarf.

  10. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style on February 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I bet Joey doesn’t mind : > You look gorgeous in “his” scarf! Thanks for linking up .

  11. Debbi on February 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I wish I had a thimble full of your creativity. Make another scarf. Who knows you may love it even more than this one. (Although maybe not, it is a spectacular scarf!)

  12. The Style Crone on February 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    The scarf is breathtaking, and sounds like it’s a shared piece. It could be seen as creating more closeness! How could you not wear it when it looks so special with your upcycled treasures and the gorgeous suitcoat. I love the back shot, which is magazine worthy.

    I feel honored to have been gifted the blue cowl and “armlets,” knowing that it took precious time to create. Thank you once again for your generosity!

  13. Vix on February 4, 2013 at 3:36 am

    That scarf is just beautiful, I bet Joey’s more than happy to share especially as his beloved looks so utterly gorgeous in it. The coat is an absolute joy! x

  14. Rose on February 4, 2013 at 7:29 am

    What a wonderful scarf. It can be an item that is referred to as “ours”, in the same way your house is “ours” and the kitchen utensiles are “ours”. Lock your guilt away in a drawer and forget the key!

    As far as lending, I think I may have learned a lesson. I did lend someone money, gladly so, but from that day to this (4 years ago) she has never mentioned it, nor made any attempt to repay. And we speak almost every day, so it is not as though there is a break-down in communication. (At least about other things!) I am too chicken to ask her for it, and although I do plan to ask for repayment (I need it) it has undercut what I orginally thought of her character. And there is always the possibility that she will be offended and I will have lost both money and friend. Yet, if the same circumstance were to occur again, I think I would do the same. Except this time I would establish a repayment program right from the start.

    Much love from England,
    Rosemary of

  15. Tamera on February 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I am forever thankful my grandmom and great-grandmother taught me to sew and I paid attention in Home Ec in middle schhol/high school!! It’s becoming a lost art!! I swear peoiple look at me in awe like I’m a brain surgeon or astrophysicist when they learn I can sew!! LOLOL

    Stunning scarf and outfit!!!

  16. Sabine on February 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The scarf is so beautiful. I think Joey will be happy to see you wearing it and admires all the wonderful details, which he can not see when he is wearing it himself. Unless he is looking into the mirror.
    You look great with the glasses.

  17. Louisa on February 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Totally lovely, as always!

    If it were me, I think I would make another scarf and get him to pick which one he likes best and keep the remainder. Sharing is OK (I shared DH’s fingerless mitts yesterday when my hands were cold) but at some point you are going to both want the scarf at the same time and somebody is going to have to gracefully give in and let the other have it. Besides, I’d consider it a fun challenge to make an even better scarf the second time!

    I rarely get asked to sew for people but nearly everyone in our family has a pair of my handknitted socks! They have to ask first and they get them on my schedule – not theirs. Good evening knitting for me.

  18. Emalina on February 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Gosh you’re a talented seamstress! Looking beautiful in that lovely scarf, and the mermaid skirt is wonderfully romantic.

  19. Trina on February 4, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    It looks to me like Joey needs a new scarf, I don’t think I would be giving it back, it’s so striking and versatile. Great idea on sewing, I’m definitely going to try using that more often.

  20. Tamera Beardsley on February 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    What a FABulous scarf! So gorgeous and all the more magical because of what it was made from…. you are such an artist my dear!

  21. Amber of Butane Anvil on February 5, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I wonder if, when we think so lovingly of someone as we make something, we weave that into the object itself? I love the full-length photos for your amazing silhouette and the closer-ups for your radiant warmth and such lovely details. The scarf is so beautiful with both coats, so luxurious!
    Love you so much, xoxo

  22. Kaffesoester on February 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great scarf and fun story Jean! Like lots of readers above suggest, there’s really only one solution to this – you have to make another!

    Your upcycled suit coat is amazing – a piece of art! The scarf is perfect with it, and I can fully understand your trouble not borrowing it every day! I also love the look with hat and leather jacket – and those fantastic glasses!

  23. pao on February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    That just means it’s great and you put your all into it. You don’t want to give away something that you don’t care about either, or that doesn’t represent you fully. Make another or some others and share them between you two. And have fun. xoxo

  24. Diane on February 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Have no worries or guilt about this for in a way it represnts the fullness of the commitment that is made within the bonds of marriage. For several hundred years, traditional marriage vows have included the phrase “With all my worldly goods I thee endow.” An updated version states, “I bestow upon you all the treasures of my mind, heart, and hands.”

    This gorgeous scarf clearly fits the description of a treasure that came from your mind, heart and hands! But that also means that he bestows it back to you as part of his commitment of love. So wear it and enjoy it!

  25. The Good Will Hunting Paralegal on February 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Jean, what a funny story. You are an amazing seamstress, and I don’t blame the hubby for wanting a scarf made by his talented wife. Maybe you could make one in a different color for him? Or a similar one for yourself? Or schedule a time share for this scarf? lol

    You make me want to get out my sewing machine.

  26. anne-marie bruun on February 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    You look real good with the beautiful blue color to the beautiful black clothes. It’s a great scarf you have created – Beautiful. And you look great with glasses they fit you perfectly well.

  27. Nicole Feliciano on February 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I love the pop of cobalt on you. Maybe you just need to make another–and them sell some on ETSY!

  28. LaTonya on March 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Just discovered your blog and I’ve fallen hard for your style and vibe. Thanks for being here.

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