Today is my mothers's birthday. I'm sure if you asked how old she is, she'd tell you she's "old enough to know better." I cannot tell you all how wonderful my mother is. She's my support, my good friend, one of my biggest cheerleaders and she gives great advice when I ask for it (and sometimes when I don't.)
When I was growing up, waking up on Saturdays in our house meant heading downstairs to see Mom in the kitchen, her hair pinned up with a large barrette, singing along to the sounds of oldies playing on the radio while she baked bread or did dishes. She worked full time and still managed to bake most of our bread and can and preserve a vast amount of fruit and vegetables from the garden. She also managed to sew most of the clothing my sisters and I wore until we grew old enough to prefer jeans and tshirts to handsewn clothing.
Mom has been responsible for my education in many things. She taught me how to cook, bake, can and preserve, knit, crochet and sew--all tools that have served me quite well since then. She taught me how to appreciate sarcasm and how to laugh at myself. She inspires me in so many ways, the least of which is her tenacity and her zeal for life; she took up tap dancing at an age when many adults are starting to think about slowing down and recently she's started spending a great deal of her free time hiking through the hills and mountains near her home on the coast of Maine. In short, if you asked me to pick the perfect mother for me, there would be no contest, I'd choose the one I got every single time.
Happy birthday Mom, I love you more than I can possibly ever put into words. I feel so lucky to have you.
Seen in the parking garage when leaving Sock Summit late yesterday evening:
Yup. Parking lot yarn detritus. The knitters were here.
My birthday this year is bittersweet. I'm excited to be turning 30, excited for the start of a new decade of my life and excited because I just plain love birthdays. But it's a hard day in that it's the first birthday my dad isn't here to sing happy birthday to me. When I turned 27, I thought he forgot my birthday. He came home to messages on his answering machine from both of my sisters reminding him to call me so on my 28th and 29th birthdays I got emails from Dad that said the following:
28: (subject line "burpday")
Happy Birthday . This is to let you know I haven't forgotten
and to keep my answering machine from overloading with messages from
your siblings to remind me. I will give you a call when I get home
from work around 10 . Love Dad
29: (subject line "HAPPY BIRTHDAY")
I will give you a call after I get home from work tonight.Have a
Happy Birthday . Love Dad
My dad had a way of calling on people's birthdays that involved singing loudly before actually saying hello to the birthday person. I would answer my phone and he would belt out the birthday song and follow it with "HEY. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. This is Dad." As though I didn't know.
While I'm missing my (crazy) father, I'm also thrilled that my mother is here for a week-long visit. We're partying it up with friends today, I'm entering my 3rd decade on this planet as I hope to go on--with good friends, good food, and a gallon of margaritas.
(cross-posted on Cathartic Ink).
I do not profess to be either good or speedy at cross-stitch. I generally leave the cross-stitch pieces to my mother (who is very good, and far speedier than I am) but not too long ago I came across some great, simple pieces on etsy that have called out to me. One of these is currently in progress, the other is finished and sent off to a swap partner.
First, the finished. I cannot resist a fat-bellied gnome, and this one from sewingseed is particularly glorious. I happen to have a great deal of natural colored linen fabric that I trimmed from the bottom of some IKEA drapes; I believe I cut about 18" off the bottom of each panel which left far more fabric than I felt comfortable throwing away! I used a small piece of this fabric to stitch the gnome on. Once it was done I gave it a quick wash and press and turned it into a wee fat-bellied gnome sachet:
I stuffed it with some lavender that I've kept stored in an air-tight container; I harvested and dried it the first summer we lived here, when we discovered that I'm horribly allergic to it. Very short bursts of exposure don't bother me too much so I threw the buds inside, sewed it closed and tucked it straight into the mail. The sewing was super quick and easy, but the stitching took me about 6 hours because I might just be the slowest stitcher ever.
My work in-progress is for my husband. We're both big fans of Doctor Who so when I came across this Pixel People lineup of all 11 Doctors by weelittlestitches I knew that it was something that he had to have for his very own. I'm a little bit further along than this image:
I've since stitched the 8th doctor in too, so I have 7 doctors left before I can wash, press and frame it. My one regret is that two of the doctors have a fair bit of un-outlined white and I chose white 14-count aida cloth to stitch it on so I might have to figure out how to help those doctors stand out from the background a little bit better.
A note about some great service I received getting set up to start these projects. I bought most of my initial supplies at Mindy's Needlepoint here in Eugene where I was treated with great respect despite my lack of knowledge about what I was buying. I was given a recommendation about what needle size was correct for what I was doing and got some great help in finding all of my floss colors. Two thumbs up.
I'm writing a second blog these days, one that is more personal. As a part of my coping and healing process, I've started writing letters to my father. I kept writing them in my head, but wanted to record them in a less sieve-like way for days when my memories have faded. Obviously, I'm not going to forget the important things, but there are so many tiny little things that I don't want to lose.