Ashleigh and I came by our love of projects honestly. We don’t craft, bake or sew to keep up with the Jones’ or even to impress you all in blogland. We do it cause it’s in our genes!
Our Mom was a jack of all trades, completely multitalented and I think we both wanted to be the kind of mom she was. We started this blog, in part, because we wish that we had a record of the projects we did with our mom over the years.
We lost our Mom to cancer 8 years ago. Today would have been her 60th birthday.
So, in her honor, we wanted to share with you some of her many talents. Like…
Kathryn: I shudder to think that I passed off my monkeys as “painting”. This is actual artistic talent. She was way ahead of her time since birds are so hip right now and she loved to paint birds. This one is in my family room and it makes me happy every day.
Ashleigh: This is one of her paintings that I put in my ocean/beach themed bathroom. She oil painted mostly when we were really young, but I always loved to hear the stories behind each painting. She also had a surplus of acrylics that she would bring out for painting pots, ornaments, and any kind of craft imaginable.
Kathryn: Way ahead of her time again with the genius birthday cakes. The best was the alligator cake she made for my brother and the green frosting turned all of the kids’ teeth, lips, and (ahem) something else green for days. Good times!
Ashleigh: I loved reminiscing through pictures of the many cool cakes she made. She often taught a cake decorating class here and there. She used the old school parchment triangles as her frosting bags and whipped those up in no time. Apparently I went through a little “Big Bird” phase because we found a cake, party and costume that I had all in the same year.
Kathryn: Here is the totally fabulous Big Bird costume mom made for Ashleigh. Looks like our dog Poosey was trick or treating, too. Mom attacked sewing projects like blankets, costumes, outfits, comforters, and window treatments. I also inherited her sewing = frustration gene and my kids know to keep clear of mama when the sewing machine comes out.
Ashleigh: This is a picture of the much loved and well-worn “doggie blankie” she made for my oldest daughter when she was born. She was the only one of my kids to get something that grammie sewed, so we both treasure this so much.
Kathryn: This is in our backyard for my brother’s wedding Open House. Can you see the hanging baskets? They are a huge ball of Impatient lusciousness. At one point I counted 42 pots of plants in the backyard which she loved up and wantered by hand. I used to get so weirded out when we were out on a walk and she would say, “Oh my goodness, their lobelia is just thriving right there!” or “That blue salvia looks so great next to the foxtail fern.” Now, I wish she was here to help me make my yard beautiful and actually remember when to add the bluing agent to my hydrangeas this year.
Ashleigh: This is the talent that I didn’t learn from my mom. She was great at it, but I wasn’t interested in learning at that phase of my life. Now, when I have a horribly bare backyard, I wish so much for just a fraction of her gardening knowledge. One thing that I loved about our house was that it usually had at least one vase of fresh flowers cut from our yard. I can also remember her doing the flowers (free) for so many weddings. She was a flower arranger extraordinaire and if you were her friend, you likely saved money on your kids’ weddings.
Kathryn: Mom was a teacher by profession, spending most of her career with a gifted pull out program. She had 150 kids a week from third to sixth grade and did enrichment activities. It was so embarrassing when my friends and I would reach for some ice cream in the freezer only to find 200 cow eyes staring back at us. “Oh, honey, those are for the dissection Monday, just move the eyes to the left and you’ll find the ice cream.” She didn’t stop teaching when she came home, she used her skills to enrich and teach her kids and grandkids. This was a little “scrapbook” she made with my son and each page has simple sentences that he learned to read. It may not be acid free but it is a real treasure to him.
Ashleigh: Mom truly made her creative mark on her family and everyone she taught. She put on plays and made the costumes. She sang french songs, made french crepes, french bread, and creme puffs when she taught her “France” unit. She taught linoleum block printing, tessellations, and don’t forget the “brain unit.” Yes we also had sheep brains in our freezer from time to time. SOOOO many people have expressed to me their love for her, their “favorite teacher.”
Kathryn: Mom was always able to whip out a project when we claimed boredom. The funny thing is that our Mom didn’t just do projects with her kids. One year she hosted a neighborhood summer art camp. One friend of hers told me, “When I had Ashleigh over to play with my daughter, they just played Barbies. When your mom had my daughter over, they made a stained glass window, or hand dipped a candle or made a salt dough ornament.” P.S. I don’t know which is more of a treasure, my dress or those drapes. Sorry to assault your eyes that way.
Ashleigh: I can’t forget to include a few ceramics. Mom would bust out the clay quite often and go fire them up in my grandma’s kiln. Yes, our grandma was quite crafty too, but that’s another post. I made some really crooked bowls and vases, but my favorite has the be the “Loch Ness Monster” I sculpted for a report. That doozy is in my treasure box.
I don’t think I have any more ability than the next girl, but my mom gave me the confidence to try new things. We were always encouraged to develop our talents and express our creativity. She encouraged me to be a life-long learner and in college, she thought my calligraphy and pottery class were just as important as all of the others. I actually remember soon before I was going to be married, I panicked to her that I wasn’t going to be a good wife because I didn’t know how to cook really well, sew, garden, etc. She assured me that she didn’t know those things at a young age either and that I could look forward to refining my domestic skills as I went along my journey. Mom passed away not too long after that, but I think she would be proud in how far I’ve come. Thanks for teaching me the value of a project, Mom. I love you!
Kathryn: I take a little more after Mom in the “It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be done” category. I also inherited a little problem called “saving random things in case I may one day need them for an art project.” Only she would understand why I’ve been saving soda can pop tops for a year and she will love what I do with them….eventually. Even though our projects may be silly, I know our Mom would be totally impressed. She would probably even comment on every one of our posts. And, we would be making her one of the contributors. After all, she was the original wonder woman with a bee in her bonnet. Love you, Mom!