Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Crafty Mothers Day!

Over at Craft Magazine this past week, people have been submitting stories of their "Crafty Mamas" to celebrate Mother's Day. So here's my crack at it:

In my earliest memory, I around 15 months old. I'm in my high chair at the kitchen table with my mom and my aunts, Sharon and Karen. It's almost Christmas and we're painting holiday ornaments. My mom and her sisters had been to the statuary shop and bought some bisque ceramic pieces to custom paint. This was one of their regular hobbies (my aunts favored those ceramic masks, which always kind of creeped me out) and I can clearly remember my aunts squabbling over who would get to paint the garden gnome. I had a small angel ornament that was mine to paint and I was painting it on the tray of my high chair. I wanted to use whatever color was unavailable to me, so I would whine until it was handed over. My angel ended up with several thick layers of colors and in my mind I wanted to outline the edges in black for a refined look. But when I wanted the black paint, Sharon was using it and taking too much time with it (in my opinion) so when I finally got the black, I threw my plan out the window and instead painted the entire angel in black - front and back. This made everyone laugh and at some point, it was dubbed the Angel of Death. It was frankly kind of creepy, but it was hung on our Christmas tree every year. [At some point years later, one of the wings broke off the angel and you could see the multi-color paint sedimentary layers.]

This was the start of my life as a crafter. I have a lot of memories crafting with my mom. We continued making Christmas ornaments out of flour and salt dough, which we'd then paint. We made shrinky dinks. She taught me to sew by hand and then later bought me a My Little Pony sewing machine (which really worked!). She taught me how to use the vintage treadle sewing machine and eventually an electric sewing machine. I made clothes for my dolls and even some things for myself. (Mom always made my Halloween costumes and I was the envy of all my friends. She had a penchant for using fabrics that were too fancy for kids, so my Cinderella ball gown was made from wedding satin. Awesome.)

She also taught me to paint and wallpaper, which came in handy both for fixing up my bedroom (made my own curtains!) and also for decorating my dollhouse. Together, we made beaded jewelry and beaded flowers. We crocheted small circles (coasters?) and she taught me the delicate art of puffy painting.

I can remember my first embroidery tutorial, too. She showed me how to stretch out the fabric tightly over the hoop and then to come up with a design that I liked. She helped sketch out some flower designs on the fabric as a pattern. I started with a basic chain stitch (which, incidentally, I still prefer today) and started making embroidered pieces for everyone.

My mom has inspired my crafting all my life and never more so than now. From her I've learned a lot of technical skills and also a sense of "I can make that" (which I sometimes take one step further and think "I can make that better." Because of her and the time we spent together, today I spend a lot of my free time crafting, which is fun and therapeutic and has turned into a nice little side business for me (and a great way to make friends!).

So, thank you mom. You've given me a lot, and inspired me a ton.

Happy Mother's Day!