Today my mom would have turned 94. Sadly she passed away all the way back in 1990 when I was only 24…she was 61.
One of the best things my mom ever did for me was to put a needle in my hand. She patiently taught me many of the crafts I still am enjoying.
Here’s a clip from my baby book…
I was 3 1/2 in when the photo was taken. Mom writes, “This is the 1st time Joey (yep, they called me Joey) took a needle and threaded it and some material and tried to sew and she ended up sewing it on to her pants, she is showing it to Judy here.” Judy is my sister. She would have been 20 at the time.
Here’s a closer view… What a rag-a-muffin I was. Dirty shirt, dirty pants, one sock on and one sock off…yep, I was a total rag-a-muffin. Georgie, my granddaughter is often the same way. So much so that we tease Kelli that she picked Grace as Georgia’s middle name because Georgie is very much a tomboy.
Anyway, back to me and my stitching. I was 3 1/2. My mom thought nothing of giving me a needle and thread. I’m so glad she did. That first day I had a needle in my hand was recorded here in this picture.
Mom either taught me or facilitated my learning of so many crafts.
We didn’t have a lot of money. We never went hungry. We never felt deprived, but my parents lived from milk check to milk check. They were dairy farmers living on a small farm in southern Minnesota. All of us in the family knew the milk check came on the 1st and the 15th of each month.
Somehow, Mom always found money for sewing and crafts.
If I wanted to learn how to crochet, we would go to the Ben Franklin or Woolworth’s store and get a crochet hook and a ball of yarn. If I wanted to sew Barbie doll clothes, she would buy a pattern and give me free rein and a guiding hand to help me do it…sadly, crochet never stuck.
I tried everything…a latch hook rug, knitting, candle wick embroidery, embroidery, cross stitch, sewing doll clothes, sewing my own clothes, quilting..she truly valuable the enjoyment one gets from crafting, and she passed it onto me. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
She taught me to embroider shortly after this picture was taken. Oh, I was terrible at it as a four-year-old.
She never criticized me. She would gently encourage me to try this or that…but never mean words…never words that didn’t make me want to quit. I thank her for that.
There are three things my mom did for me that I hope I did for my kids and now my grandkids.
1-She modeled crafting and sewing. We always saw her sewing. She didn’t have a sewing room and often sewed on the dining room table.
2- She didn’t criticize what I did or make me feel inferior. If I made a mistake she said we all do…and she’d rip it out for me. She gently reminded me that the more I did it, the better I would be at it.
3-She never made me feel like I was too little. I remember playing in the button box at the table while she sewed. I remember her teaching me to iron handkerchiefs when I was only four or five. I loved it and felt like such a big kid. She always let me try. I first used a sewing machine sitting on a kitchen stool with a box under the table and the foot pedal on the box. I was never too little.
Mom was a real talent with a sewing machine. She was short and short wasted with bigger hips. She would buy clothes and then tailor them so they fit her the way she wanted. She made my wedding dress and prom dresses. My brother was in a band and she jazzed up his clothes with trims and fringe to make him look more hip.
My mom’s talent went beyond normal crafting. She reupholstered furniture. She could lay carpet and linoleum. When they remodeled their farmhouse, it was my mom, not my dad that helped the carpenter. She was a real talent.
Right here in the blog post is where I REALLY wish there was a picture of my mom and me. Sadly, there isn’t one. Back then selfies and cell phones weren’t a thing and Dad wouldn’t have taken a picture of her and me. This is a gentle reminder to all of you who shy away from the camera: Someday you’ll be gone and your daughter or son will really wish they had a picture of them with you. They won’t care if your hair wasn’t perfect or you were wearing old clothes. Please just take the picture because someday it might be your daughter sitting at a computer all teary-eyed because there is no picture to insert into their blog post.
I’ll close and say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. Thanks for putting a needle in my hand on October 19, 1969… and thanks for snapping the polaroid photo and writing down the memory. You started my love of the needle and crafting. It was the best long-lasting gift you could have even given to me. Thank you so much.