Ever since I was little I have been creating things. Somehow it seemed to come naturally for me. I started sewing clothes for my Barbies. It then moved on to clothes, and other things. Once, I had been patiently waiting for my favorite shorts to be repaired and my Mom seemed to be taking her time. Finally, while she was gone one day I pulled them out of the basket, removed the broken zipper, found a new one in her stash and replaced it. All by my self. I was about 10. My Mom was shocked, amazed, and confessed that she hated doing zippers because she always messed them up. I reveled in the praise. It motivated me to learn more, to sew better and to work harder. That moment is forever etched in my mind. Do you remember that day Mom?
I think what seemed to come naturally has a whole lot more to do with the nature of my Mother and the other good women in my life than from my innate desire and ability to create. You can not be around these women without being inspired.
My Mother is amazing. She often claims that my siblings and I got all of our artistic talent from my Dad. Perhaps much of that is true. I have to tell you though, that my Mother deserves a much larger amount of credit than she thinks.
She claims she has very limited artistic ability. Even when I mention that she does have an artsy side, she claims that all she ever did was sew. Umm, HELLO. You were a Kindergarten teacher for goodness sake Mom. You had to be creative to get through one single day in that classroom. (Just saying.)
My Mom made us lots of clothes. She made dresses, shorts, taught us to tie-dye (there are those infamous tie-died socks that made it into a family photo) and made us dolls, doll clothes, gym bags, pencil cases, and more. I think a culminating moment would be when she made my Sister's wedding dress.
She can smock. I'm only beginning to learn about smocking and it has me amazed. There's the sewing machine version, and then there's smocking by hand. She did it by hand! I seriously need her to teach me. This is a dress she made me:
When I mention the dolls she made us, I'm not talking about rag dolls. I'm talking about gorgeous, full size dolls. This is my Maggie Muggins Doll that she made for me:
Can you believe this woman tries to say she's not artsy?! She's now blessing her grandchildren with that talent. Making them blankets, doll clothes, clothes for them, and adorable Sock Monkeys! Her talent has been a source of inspiration to me for a long, long time.
Her Time Spent Teaching
My mother taught me so much. I am still in awe of her patience with me as I learned to sew. I look back at the moments when I bawled buckets because I couldn't get a pattern to lay out properly and am amazed by her patience. She calmly and lovingly comforted me, and then helped me see how to get everything to fit.
I am amazed with her patience when she knew I had a deadline (ie. a dress for a dance) and watched me procrastinate to the very last minute. There were moments I hand sewed hems in the car on the way to said dance. She had patience when I cut corners by not finishing seams, pinning things instead of sewing them, didn't line up naps properly, and cut out a piece backwards. (We won't go into detail on my cooking - that's a whole other story.) Ah, looking back I am amazed I kept on sewing sometimes. But she taught me that making mistakes were OK, you could always alter, adjust and even just start over. Even if it meant hours of ripping seams or running out to buy yet more supplies.
She was a patient teacher. She was loving, and she gave constant praise. She still does. She wasn't just my teacher, she was my cheerleader. So while she can sit back and give my Father all the credit for her talented children I can not. She gave so much of her own time, talents and energy.
Her talents go far beyond the sewing machine, she works magic in the kitchen and makes the best pie crust ever, delicious Hamburger soup, Chili, and the best rolls (buns) ever!
While I could continue to go on and on about my Mother and her awesome talents and abilities, I won't. Thank-you Mom for all you have done for me. You have no idea how much you have inspired me over the years.
I can not go on and on about how my mother inspired me without mentioning her Mother. She tells tales of her Mom opening up a magazine, seeing a cute outfit and making it for her. My Grandmother quilted, sewed and had many talents. Looking back I can think of at least 4 quilts that she made for me. Hand quilted, mind you. Her talents extended beyond fabrics as well. Her melt-in-your-mouth shortbread was out of this world! Dinners at her house were always fabulous!
I wish I had a picture of one of those quilts to show you, but instead I decided to show you some of her needlework. This is a runner she made for a buffet. (The back edge is left straight.) Can you imagine the time required to make this? The detail amazes me!
My Dad's Mom also inspired all her children and grandchildren. I think every grandchild received an Afghan crocheted by her at one point or another. I remember the Christmas that all the grand-daughters got dolls that were dressed in outfits she crocheted for them. She too had many more talents. I can't begin to describe her ginger-bread cake to you. Mmmm. Maybe someday I'll share that recipe with you.
Is it any wonder that I love to make things with my own hands? No, not when you look at the talented women who inspire me. I wish my Grandmother's were still here so that I could call them up and thank them for all they have taught me. They really have no idea how much their grandchildren have learned from them. My grandmothers were truly two very blessed women.