What do I get her for Christmas?

terry and anneAnyone who follows this blog knows that my husband is my biggest supporter. He seems to have this undying faith in my abilities. And while I may want to believe that this is based on everything I have done in my life, I know that isn’t true. You see, I have had the privilege of knowing his mother for 24 years.

I like to think of myself as a Jack of all Trades, but a master of none. I do minor construction & I also work in fabric (obviously). My mother-in-law was the master. She not only did minor construction, but at 60 moved out to California to attend the College of the Redwoods to become a fine furniture maker. She sewed clothes (her dress for our wedding!), quilts, crocheted, embroidered, knitted… I will always treasure the embroidery she did of our home. She used a 3X5 photograph, divided it into 1/4″ squares to pixilate it and perfectly recreated my home in a cross-stitch pattern of her own design. All without a computer. What an amazing talent.

So when my husband came into our marriage, he brought me a HUGE pair of shoes to fill. Not on purpose — it was just the life he was used to. Need a porch extended? Mom can do that (and I did). Need costumes for Halloween? Mom can do that (did that, too). I don’t think anyone else has influenced the course of my life as much as she has — all without saying a word. She was Terry’s example of what a mother can do. And because of his expectations, it is the mother I have become. Not to say we are entirely alike, because we aren’t. But the older I get, the more I see our similarities and the more I understand the influence she has had on me.

I am telling all of this because I want to share Terry’s story of his mom. He just came back from a visit with her in Florida, where she lives in the memory ward at a senior citizen home. I’m re-blogging the story to honor her, and him

Secret Blog #2

I am faced with a particularly difficult Christmas gift decision this year.

This person lost her mother while still a child. Her mother was adventurous to the point of fearlessness (something this Marine appreciates) and died while engaged in an impromptu cliff ascent. Shortly after the funeral she was shipped to convent schools “back East” by her distant but class-conscious father.

She scraped out her mothering style from the good nuns she knew, but thankfully didn’t pick up on their institutional cooking methods. “It all goes to the same place anyway” was one of the sister’s common refrain. She cooked foods that ran counter to the 70s fondue revolution. She wouldn’t think twice about making Pollo en Pane; a whole chicken baked inside a giant loaf of French bread, and didn’t need recipes for most of her baking endeavors (an exact science, is baking).

She graduated with honors, then got…

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I have always loved the process of transforming pieces of fabric into quilts. For years I collected scraps, just to be sure I'd have the right piece for the project at hand. Eventually, as my skills progressed, my hobby grew into art. I moved from simple quits, to 'landscape quilting' and then eventually onto portrait work. I am new to the art field and am self-taught, learning from my mistakes as well as from my successes. I create my images using only fabric and thread. I remain true to this limitation for two reasons; first, I love the challenge of finding new ways to depict ever more challenging subjects. Second, fabric work remains my true love. I enjoy the hunt for fabrics; where other artists might blend oil paints, I love finding that perfect shade or pattern for a specific need. I refer to my style as "gestalt impressionism" for one needs to take a step back from my pieces to get the whole picture. My view point changes by what is influencing me at the time. Recently I've begun to focus on the journey of the individual. I enjoy working on portraits of people whom I feel have lead interesting lives.

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4 comments on “What do I get her for Christmas?
  1. Terry says:

    Thanks so much, babe.

  2. Karen says:

    I love how you described Anne’s influence on you… very powerful! I knew she was influential to you, but love hearing it from yours and Terry’s perspectives. xoxoxo

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