Last year I showed my Mom the Needlepoint Christmas Stocking I made for her showing two penguins hugging each other with her name ‘Pauline’ on it. I explained that she was the bigger penguin on top and I was the smaller penguin below. Then I gave her the crocheted Popcorn Corner-to Corner Blanket I also made to keep her warm. She started crying, saying they were beautiful; Then added sadly that she didn’t teach me how to do any of those things. But I corrected her right way!! “Mom,” I reminded her, “You taught me how to sew, knit and crochet when I was only ten years old!!” Then I added, “If you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things I do today.” My Mom not only gave birth to me, but she gave birth to my creativity.
I would watch my Mom all the time while was she made my sister and I all of our dresses for school. At the time I didn’t mind that my sister and I were dressed alike because I was proud that my Mom made them. None of my classmates had dresses like we had. Besides, the dresses Mom bought were made of nylon and I just hated those ‘sticky icky’ things. They itched and made me scratch like crazy, but Mom told us we looked cute in them. Who cares about cute, when you itch all the time?? So, it was no wonder when one day we had to go to a party and Mom dressed us in those icky dresses. I rebelled (true Leo that I am) and said I wanted to take it off and wear one of Mom-made dresses. Mom tried to reason with me, telling me that the dress on was more ‘dressed-up’ than the one I picked out. But I wouldn’t accept (again true Leo) and kept trying to take it off, stating (also stubborn Leo I am) I wouldn’t leave until they let me change. Well, my parents decided to leave the house anyway (which was actually a trick to scare me and just went around the block). That didn’t stop me from wanting to take off the dress, but I still couldn’t unbutton it. I few across the street to my friend’s house to ask her to unbutton me, knowing I could watch my house from there. Meanwhile, my parents had returned only to find the house open and I was nowhere to be seen! When After my friend finished, I went home. My parents were not happy with me, but I defended myself and said I could see the house and I HAD to take this icky dress off!! Well, the lesson was really on my parents and they admitted to each other that I adamant about it, so they let me change into the dress I chose by my Mom.
It was no surprise that I hounded my Mom to let me sew like her. So at the age of ten, she bought the fabric and pattern and taught me how to make a simple sleeveless blouse. It was plain by normal standards, but it was my first project. And to this day, I have made hundreds of different clothing from tops and jackets to dresses and pants – which does not include the hundreds of Barbie clothes I made. Mom coached me on all of the things after that first blouse. But Mom started it all.
I went on to sew for not only myself, but relatives and friends too. I think the hardest items I had to sew were the different bridesmaid dresses for several weddings I was commission to do unpaid. Nothing like having to sew five or more dresses for different-sized bridesmaids especially when those dresses that had to be corrected for size and then hemmed. It wasn’t so bad for those girls that lived locally, but usually for those that lived far away and only arrived a few days before the wedding, I had to stay up late several nights to complete the dresses on time. I think the worst case was when I made a bridesmaid dress for a girl that was as busty in front as she was in the back! Took me a while to figure out that rather than to try to adjust the pattern, the solution was to make the front the same as the back and thank goodness it fit!! No surprise that this caused my retirement from the seamstress business for good.
Knitting and crocheting gives me real relaxation, another thing I can thank my Mom for. And now that I have time to do those things during the medical treatments I take, I have made a bunch of blankets, baskets, scarfs and beanies. No, it not for only the ‘elderly’ to do, but for those who are creative and like to make things and give them away. It is an item that for those that receive them remember for a long time. Once I crocheted a blanket for a friend that supposed to be a gift to her grandson. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think she gave it as a gift…she kept it for herself!!
My Mom also sacrificed a lot for my sister and I to be in the arts. She made sure we took dance and piano lessons, chopping vegetables at my Uncle’s Chinese Restaurant at night. It was hard and grueling work, but Mom did it for us. I started dancing as a Sugar Plum Fairy in the Christmas Show at the age of five. No, don’t think anyone in the class knew what we were doing, we kept bumping into each other. But we were sure cute, if I do say so myself. I advanced all the way in ballet to toe shoes, modern and tap. That gave me the training to allow me to hit the dance floor with a vengeance!! Love dancing. I still love playing piano to this day. Nothing like house-sitting for a friend that had a house with a street that surrounded the whole house. I played to all hours of the night and bothered no one!!
When the scrapbooking craze came out, I went along right with them. I even became a Creative Memories Demonstrator to get the supplies at wholesale. Since I had hundreds of photos, it was easy for me to organize and eventually make complete scrapbooks into Memory Books to relive the events and trips of my life. A blog article on Easy Scrapbooking with appear in the lineup.
The last addition to my crafting has been card making. Hallmark has been nice, but it gets expensive and my relatives and friends truly value my handmade cards using stamps from Stampin’ Up! Invoke Arts and the different vendors at the Stamp Conventions held three times a year (or at least I think that do). Going to card-making workshops, and craft fairs has been rewarding, and yes, expensive too, but well worth it. More in depth on this in another article.
So, you can see my Mom was a great contributor to my life in many ways. And yes, Mom, you did teach me a lot for which I am eternally grateful, and I will always love and miss you.