About Me

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I'm a textile fanatic.  If it has to do with fiber, it's for me.  I love my almost fourteen year old son, cats and sheep.  I love historical costuming and most days you'll find me researching or reproducing clothing from any one of many time periods that have caught my fancy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Dedication to Mum

This whole blog is dedicated to my Mum.  She passed away August 22, 2011, after many years of poor health.  She had severe asthma, all of her life, and severe scoliosis for most of it.  Mum was a warrior and a lady.  She battled and won against breast cancer and was a twelve year survivor.  Mum developed severe osteoporosis that caused her spine to degenerate further and left her in constant pain, but it never stopped her from sharing her talent and blessing everyone around her.  Late in life, she became a lay leader in her church and on her passing, my Dad went through the training and became a lay leader in the church as well.

Mum taught me to smile through tears, and to make lemonade out of lemons and share it with all that I can.  No matter how much pain she might have been in, each day she followed her beloved father's admonition and got up, brushed her teeth and her hair, put on fresh clothing and a smile and got down to the business of the day.  She might have to climb back into bed for a rest, an hour later, but she got up.

Mum taught us with love, patience and understanding, but she was also very firm with my siblings and me.  She expected us to give our best, no matter what.  She told us, "There may be all the reasons in the world why something didn't get done, but there are no excuses."  Boredom was something that wasn't allowed either.  If we were bored it was because we were being too lazy to think of something to do.  And God forbid that we should say we were bored, because she would find something for us to do and it wasn't always something we were going to enjoy.  Usually though it ended up being something that would change life as we knew it.  One of those times happened for me when I was three.  I told Mum I was bored because the fittings for the local theater company (Mum volunteered as the assistant Costume Mistress.) were taking longer than the four had patience for.  After we had dusted all the seats in the theater (I told you it wasn't always something we were going to enjoy.), and had figured out how to use the lighting board and curtain and scrim controls (Not bad for kids who ranged in age from just short of three through a very grown up six.), the others went to play hide and seek, but I wanted to see what Mum was doing.  She sat me down, threaded a needle and showed me how to sew on a button.  When I finished the second and third ones all by myself, she handed me the button box and marked where she needed each button to go on a costume.  I was hooked and there was no turning back.  By the next year's season, I was helping with fittings and could unstick any troublesome fastenings.  I remember lacing an actress into her corset and tying the bow.  I was so excited because it was the first time I had tied a bow without help.  By five, my hand-sewing looked like a machine sewn seam from the right side.  I helped mum with making the costumes for "Anything Goes" and "My Fair Lady," and I got to be part of the crowd that got Mr. Doolittle to the church on time.  I was one of Mrs. Snow's children in "Carousel."  I had thought I was bored but what it really was, was that I just didn't know what to do.  Mum didn't let my age stop me.  She just figured that I was pretty clever with a lot of things and maybe I was ready and the only way to know was to let me try. She loved to tell people who were knew to the theater, and were surprised to see me making costumes,  that after the day she taught me to sew buttons, I slept with a thimble on my finger for a week.

Mum was a very talented artist, and she gave me my favorite painting when I left for college.  It had hung on the living room side of one of my bedroom walls.  The summer before college, I worked for a sailmaker, using industrial machines for the first time.  One night my parents heard a thumping sound coming from the entry area.  When they investigated, they saw the painting in its frame bouncing away from the wall and then thumping back again, over and over again.  They went into my room and found that I was sewing sails in my sleep.  The sails I worked on were huge and heavy, and it took a lot to maneuver them on the machines.  The presser foot was lifted and released by a foot pedal and I could only manage to stitch about two feet before having to stop and reposition, and this is what I was doing in my sleep, which was why I kept kicking and pushing into the wall, which was causing the painting to thump against the wall.  Since the painting was already my favorite, because it was our view from the dining room, and I had been born on Key West, FL, it was a no-brainer that this painting was meant to be mine.  I have it hung in my sewing zone, so I feel like Mum is with me while I sew the clothing that we loved so much together.

Mum was also a great fan of history and it is because of this that our whole family got involved in reenacting, but that is a story for another blog.

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