I think I may get my love of collecting and keeping little things from my Grandmother. She has always been a magpie. She is elderly now so her wings have been clipped, but she always kept everything. And I mean everything. As children, whenever we were at her house and asked for something then she had it. Somewhere, from a draw or a cupboard or a box on a shelf, she would pull out what we needed.
Last year, when my mother and I were at her apartment helping organise things, we discovered a whole wealth of treasures squirrelled away; beautiful vintage tins, my mother’s baby clothes, embroidered table linen, amidst other saved items like old egg boxes and tinfoil sweet wrappers all flattened in a pile.
Amongst the items was this lovely little pinny. It was my mother’s when she was about three or four, a similar age to my daughter now. I love the detail in the simple dots and pleats and my Grandmother’s darning just adds to it. Little patches of history of that give it so much character.
Like my grandmother, I love to collect and keep little things that I don’t have a purpose for. But I know that at some point I’ll have an idea for… or an occasion to use… those beautiful felted balls, that vintage ribbon or that old tape measure. It means that when I have an idea and want to get straight on with making, then I can usually rummage around and find something suitable to make it special, rather than write a shopping list and lose the momentum of the idea.
The clothes hanger in the photo is one that I made using scraps of fabric that I already had. It is a project from The Homemade Home with step-by-step instructions if you want to try it at home. It now hangs in my daughter’s bedroom to be enjoyed by a fourth generation of little girl. Something to make me remember my family history and smile.
To me, this kind of family treasure is priceless.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.