Friday, November 5, 2010

Finally, A New "Sew & Tell"!

It has been far too long since I've been productive at my sewing machine, and I have greatly missed being a part of Amy's Sew & Tell. After our overseas move, finding a house, getting back into a daily school routine, my son's football games, birthdays, and much more, I'm glad to again have the therapy of sewing.

Thankfully, my mother gave me a good excuse to have something to post today. Yesterday was her 64th birthday, so my daughters and I took her to lunch at a quaint little cafe in town. (I love homeschooling. When our server asked the girls how they were able to get away from school to have a lunch date, Morgan answered, "We finished our work early so that we could come.")

When we arrived from Moçambique in late July, my mom was armed with some quilted fabric and immediately "tasked" me. She had seen this tote and this tote I made from this tutorial, and she wanted me to modify it a bit and make a tote for her to carry her Bible to church. In the midst of all our transition, this project was tucked away in the outer recesses of life; but in anticipation of her birthday, I decided to finally sit down in my new little sewing corner of the world and get to work.

Because the original tutorial includes a lining, which hides all inside raw edges, it was necessary for me to find a solution for the pre-quilted fabric that Mom chose. It created an inside raw edge that would indeed be quite unsightly. So, when I mentioned that to Mom earlier, she bought some 1/4" bias tape, which fixed the problem nicely. (I once tried to reverse-engineer a Vera Bradley clutch of Gabriela's, and I saw that this is part of her design method.)

Mom was so pleased to pull her tote from the gift bag we presented to her at lunch. We had a marvelous time. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, you must try Iovino's Cafe in Mt. Lebanon. After lunch, we headed to Cold Stone to pick up her ice cream cake, then returned to our house to find that my dad and the boys had built a fire in the fireplace. They know that this something I particularly appreciate. 

My parents stayed for dinner, and we presented my mom with her final "gift" - a letter I wrote to poke fun at some of her amusing traits. Morgan made it so that Mom can add it to the scrapbook we made for her a couple of years ago. (I posted more birthday photos here.)

Today in honor of Grandma’s 64th birthday, we want to pay special attention to her many admirable qualities, as well as to some of her… idiosyncrasies.

Grandma’s house is a place where we always feel WELCOME. Her many, many knickknacks show her girlish love of whimsy. Always a child at heart, Grandma appeals the inner youth of all who enter her home.

Her CHRISTMAS SPIRIT shows 365 days a year, as made evident by the extensive collection of snowmen and gingerbread men, seen on kitchen linens, dishes, candle holders, tole-painted crafts, sweatshirts, jewelry, and much more!
Grandma has such a GENEROUS nature. She delights in giving gifts to others. Anyone who has known her for at least 20 years has probably worn one of her famous painted sweatshirts. This particular craft, in fact, is where I got my start as a crafter.

Grandma sets a strong example for the rest of us to follow in the area of ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS. Are you finished with that napkin? Perhaps she can extend its use by saving it for dabbing acrylic paint. Or if you no longer need that Q-tip that you used to clean your computer keyboard, she can certainly find a use for it in her craft room.

FRUGALITY is very important to Grandma, so when she passes a dollar bin in a store, she makes sure to stock up rather than miss an opportunity to save money.

Another thing we love about Grandma is that she always comes PREPARED. Whether it’s change for a $100 bill or a coupon for a free week of cross-country skiing in North Pole, Alaska, it can probably be found in her large, rhinestone-clad purse. And if you should happen to fall into a vat of mire, she’s armed with plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer – and possibly even a hose – to get you all shiny and new.

With her ANIMATED personality, she makes movie-watching a memorable experience. “Ooo! Whoa! Did you see that?! It’s taken 37 times watching this movie for me to see that part of the scene. It never stood out to me before!”

A working KNOWLEDGE of her home inventory is essential to an efficient homemaker like Grandma. Ask her for a cotton ball and she’ll answer, “Go into my closet and turn on the light. On the right you’ll find my collection of suit jackets from when I worked at the bank and they made us wear uniforms. I don’t know why those silly people didn’t just let us wear our own clothes. On the other hand, it eliminated the headache of trying to figure out what to wear everyday. Anyway, right beneath my suit jackets is a stack of tissue paper – so if you ever need any tissue paper, you’ll know where to find it. Just to the left of the tissue paper is a stack of shoeboxes. I think the one on top has that extra pair of Easy Spirit walking shoes that I bought and can’t use. (*sigh*) I wish you or one of the girls could fit my shoe size. I hate to see it go to waste, and it’s too late for me to return them. Oh well. It is what it is. OK. The shoeboxes are stacked on top of that plastic rolling cart that has all the drawers. I bought that from LTD when we were still National City, before we became Northwest Savings and that unkind boss of mine made us stop placing LTD orders at work. In the third drawer down, you’ll see a bunch of Michael’s coupons and some extra packs of travel-size tissues. Do you need any of those? If you do, just grab as many as you need. I have more upstairs in my craft room. Oh, did you see what your Dad did up there for me? He does such good work. Anyway, behind the tissues are brand new bags of cotton balls. Giant Eagle had them buy-one-get-one-free, so I bought six.”

If you're still with me, allow me to share other sewing news. It's been a good week for me. I can't wait to see what everyone else made for Sew & Tell!


  1. OH...MY...GOODNESS! LOL Your 'tribute' to your mom cracked me up!!!!! LOL She reminds me remarkably of ME! (and my Gram...where I inherited so much of myself from) What a lovely (tongue in cheek) tribute to your beautiful mom! And...a beautiful bag, too!

  2. Enjoyed your tribute to your Mom. We love to watch movies with my Mom ... she loves to laugh and we get tickled watching her.

  3. Movies with mom... My mom's is the Pink panther, her mom's was an old Jack Lemon movie... Love it. the button detail is my favorite part!

  4. The bag is a lovely gift for your mom and the story your daughter wrote made me smile. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I am one of those people so blessed by your mother. Remember the year she basically did all my Christmas shopping for me at IKEA and then meticulously packaged it all up and mailed it to me!?! She's a keeper!! Beautiful bag you made for her - a visible token of your rising up and calling her blessed!

  6. Beautiful tote bag. i love prequilted fabric - makes the projects go so much faster