This is my lovely mother when she was in her early twenties. See that gleam in her eye? That's me.
This is the first evidence of my mother's craftiness that I could find. Although she used to make my clothes, I haven't found those photos. Take my word for it, I went off to kindergarten with a set of jumpers with matching pants. I'm one of the originators of dresses over pants, you know. The jumpers were reversible, and the pants matched both sides. I think I had three or four sets. (Don't feel bad you aren't a supermom like her. This is the period when she was seeing a diet doctor and was on amphetamines.) She made this butterfly costume. She tie-dyed chiffon scarves and attached them to the arms of the leotard. She also made the jack o'lantern my sister is cuddling. He is wearing a turban squash for a hat, has gourds for eyes and nose and a long red pepper for a tongue. Ingenious!
Just what mother's day gift did my mother receive during our childhood? My dad would take us up to Pittsburg, NH (up where New Hampshire meets Canada, bienvenue!) to fish just as the ice was coming off Back Lake. We'd always stop at the 45th parallel* for this traditional photo**. My mom would have a few days to herself. My mom wasn't making our clothes any more but she was still crafting. She did all sorts of things--sewing, wreath making, embroidery, crewel, flower craft, shellacking bread for centerpieces***, home decor mostly. Around the time of this photo, she started quilting.My mother is the sort of person who goes all in when she discovers something she enjoys. She wanted to get back into playing the piano, for instance, so had a private tutor twice a week. She started riding horses, and the started taking horse riding vacations with her gal pals. So naturally, a little quilting would lead to her and my aunt owning a quilt store. (She also went to quilting camp.) Here's a photo of her (white sweater, dark hair) pinning her quilt in preparation for quilting. (This quilt now belongs to Lee, and mom and I couldn't be happier!)
This is a photo of Sissy (r), my cousin (center), and Shaunda Kennedy Wegner (l), author of the Book Lover's Cookbook and a couple of children's books+. That was our Catholic girls' school uniform before Sissy got my mother nominated to the uniform committee. (It got seriously cute, but I was long gone by then, having lived in navy blue polyester for four years.) To return to the quilt store, sure it's a picture of their first day of school but it's also a pretty good shot of the fabric wall and some of the class samples.
I know I've shown you some of my mother's masterpieces (if you missed them go here, here, here, here, and here) but this is the quilt she sent me off to college with. I helped pick out the fabrics because I wanted rainbow. (My life was all rainbows and unicorns back then.) You can see how little choice there was in cotton fabric in those days; everything has a tiny print.
Abraham Lincoln famously said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Well my mother's no angel, and I'm pretty sure my father had some influence++, but when it comes to crafting--right down to the starting many projects and finishing few...and late, at that--truer words were never spoken.
*Note, the sign has changed since the old days
**That boy is my dad's friend's son.
***There's a craft we don't need to revive.
+I didn't predict that when I was driving her home after school.
++It's true. Just the other day I said something crude, and she said, "Oh! Yore ya fathah's daughtah."