What can you do with a remnant?

What can you do with a remnant? Quite a lot, whether that remnant is a piece of cloth, a scrap of paper or a measure of time.

I learned about using remnants from my mother. She often bought leftover end pieces from a bolt of cloth. Those short pieces were usually marked down enough that she could buy them with the remnants of her grocery money. She sewed that calico or checked cotton into blouses and shirts for my siblings and I. With the leftover pieces from those sewing projects, she made dresses for my dolls.

Panel for Mola

Panel for a Mola

Remnants are prized by quilters who have turned using them into an art form, as have the Kuna women of Panama. The Kunas make beautiful blouses using a reverse applique technique. Those blouses, called molas, are made with matching panels attached to a yoke with sleeves. Many of their designs contain areas with small slits exposing bright colors underneath.  They are thus able to make use of the smallest sliver of cloth.

I take the same attitude with patterned paper and card stock. I don’t throw away the scraps from my paper crafting projects. Instead, I pull out paper punches and snap out small flowers, leaves, stars and paper buttons to use as embellishments on my greeting cards and scrapbook pages. I make those decorative elements when I have little remnants of time – while I’m on hold on the phone, waiting for cooking water to boil or while I’m watching the evening news.

Using remnants of time is also the way I make headway on many writing projects. Like all writers, I long for uninterrupted hours to play with words, but the other demands of life mean I don’t get hours very often. So, I keep a list of little writing chores that can be done in small segments of time.  Choosing a title, editing a paragraph, reading an article for research, rewriting a lead are tasks I can be accomplish in a 15-minute time slot. The secret is to know what I’m are going to do when I find myself with a little segment of time open in my schedule.

Me, with my family in a Kuna village in 1983. I am wearing a Mola.

I think this urge to save remnants is a reflection of being created in the image of God. After all, he puts great value on remnants. He instructed the Israelites to use a remnant of cloth on the back of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:12). He used Joseph to preserve a remnant of the Israelites from famine (Genesis 45:7). As we study the New Testament, we see him extending grace to many that society considered throw away people.

Remnants of cloth, small pieces of paper, miscellaneous moments and discarded people can all be redeemed for useful purposes.

Now, I wonder what I can do with this leftover sock I found in the dryer.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lanita
    Mar 20, 2010 @ 22:12:11

    What great examples of the importance of remnants and what a great application to our spiritual lives! And I love the quirky ending after such a serious point.


  2. Kenda
    Mar 22, 2010 @ 13:48:01

    Another good tip–that of using not only cloth remnants and paper scraps, but bits of time–along with great images and a wonderful take-away. I really enjoyed this post. Great job!


  3. Linda
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 06:36:32

    Connie, thanks for the inspiring reminder about remnants; I particularly appreciate the value God places on those who are “unsuccessful by the world’s standards.” Throughout His word, He provides examples of ‘remnants’ He uses; one amazing one is Gideon and 300 men! I am determined to be part of His remnant 🙂 Blessings on your day!


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