Friday, October 21, 2011

this one's for you, mom

(Family photo, 2000. Me, Loo-loo, Mom, Dad, Maloree, Nick)

Years ago, and I mean years ago, like when I was still vegan and working at Starbucks, my mom had the idea that we should start an internet shop with handmade stuff like baby quilts and jewelry. It was when we first started sewing together, making quilts, and when I mean we, I mean her.

(this is a quilt she made for her BFF Stephanie's daughter, Jessica, for her wedding. Gorgeous!)

(and I made this one for a friends baby- yellow and green because they weren't finding out the gender. Turned out to be a boy. And yes, she hand quilted it for me.)

 I could draw out patterns and figure out the measurements, cut all the fabric into neat little piles of squares. Arrange the rows in order and bring them to her when she was ready. But it was her that sewed them all perfectly together, matching seams. And when it was all finished, she would set it up in the living room, and hand quilt it all alone. I never had the patience, nor the interest to learn to hand quilt. A few baby quilts and a gorgeous full sized one for me, with picos all along the edges (those are teeny tiny interlocking triangles meticulously placed and hand sewn in) before she gave me my very own sewing machine for Christmas in 2004.

(See the picos? I adore this quilt. We found the fabric one day, and died, then bought a ton to make me a quilt. Aren't moms the best??)


That's when I really started to sew on my own.

No, that's not quite true. That was the year that I lost my mind, and ended up in rehab for 37 days. I started sewing on my own when I had to move back home, when I lived in her basement, when my parents gave me a very generous second chance. 

(Loo loo the genie, and Maloree the frog. My mom tie-dyed the fabric, then make that entire costume.)

(me the giant M&M, Loo-loo the bee, and Nick the ninja turtle. How lucky we are to have such a talented, patient mom! And P.S- that M was heavy!)

As far back as I can remember, my mom has always had a project or 2 going on in her sewing area. In our first house, it was a table in the corner of the basement with a stained glass lamp hanging over it. She made us Halloween costumes, clothes, doll clothes, whatever was needed. In the house that they currently live in, she would bring it up from the basement and sew on the counter. Now of course she has the fabulous kitchen to sew in, until her sewing room gets finished in the basement.

But she would say, all the time, how we needed to get a booth at the arts festival or something. I was always like "I can't do that! I'm not good enough! Nobody wants to buy that stuff! We wouldn't make any money!" And so on and so forth went my excuses. But she never gave up. Even with my negative attitude, she simply and patiently kept suggesting her ideas. 

It wasn't until 2008, after getting married and moving into a new place that had room for a sewing table that I really, seriously started sewing. I worked at a baby store, and saw all the things that new moms went gaga for, and said to myself, "I could make that." (psst, my mom knew what she was taking about!)

Now, the first few things I tried my hand at were terrible, I mean really awful looking. But you gotta learn somehow. Hand dyed onesies with wool felt appliques and flower hair clips. I have kept them, in the deepest, darkest corner of my sewing room, so I can see just how far I have come.

We'd get new inventory in and I'd snap photos with my phone and show them to my mom- can we figure this out? Lets make this! And that! And every time, she would help me pick fabrics and come up with ideas about how things were made. And never once did she say, "I told you so!" (and she totally could have, BTW.)

She constantly encouraged me to try new things, supported me when I felt like a failure, showed me what to do when I did something wrong, and praised me when I finally got them right. 

I quit my job, because it made me unhappy. I started to sew full time, really developing my skills and honing my talents.

My mom knew- way, way before I ever did that I could be the person I am today. Today I have my own internet business, selling my handmade things. I have had a booth at an event, and have invitations for more. People actually want to buy the things I make! Granted, I don't make any money- I just make enough to keep going. And I could care less- happiness is payment enough!

I have finally arrived at a point in my life where I am so insanely happy doing what I do, that I almost can't believe it. And I have my mom to thank...

We are such a great team, having different strengths and different styles. We can finish each others sentences. You should see us in a fabric store- One of us will pick something up and say "Don't you think this is perfect for the..." and the other know exactly what project we have in mind. And then proceed to pick out the rest of the fabric and the excitement is incredible! We get big ideas and loads of inspiration, the perfect fuel for conquering the task of learning a new pattern, technique, or project.

We love going on day trips to far away* places like Ogden, or Springville, to find fabric and delicious places to eat, as well as antique shops to forage for treasures.

When my mom would call me and say "Wanna go to the fabric store?" it was like Christmas. I miss that so much. 

I don't go to fabric stores here. One- because I already have an insane amount of fabric stashed away, and two- I don't have extra money to buy more fabric. And the fact of the matter is, that going to the fabric store by myself is not any fun, and I can't pick good stuff without my mom. Period. Like I said, we are a great team. 

Can you even imagine the damage we could do here in San Francisco?!?

(squirmy Nick, my mom, and me.)

Mom, I love you. 

I have so much to thank you for. You built me up, so much- that now I am able to live my dream. Remember when I used to sit in the basement making clothes or furniture for my troll house? Or when I would sit on the floor of my room making beads and sculptures out of clay? I wanted to keep creating forever. It gave me such comfort and peace. I never thought it would be possible to continue doing it as an adult- but here I am. You made me, mom. And I will owe you for the rest of my life.


*ok, those places aren't that far away- just enough that we like to make a day out of it.

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