Nina: Well, now that I’m here . . . .
I guess I should introduce myself a little bit. As this is a community of creative moms, perhaps my creative work is an important part of who I am in relationship to you all. And how in the world do any of us manage to juggle all of our responsibilities as moms with our internal, soul-longing to create? Since I’ve had so many years of practice at this, and made so many mistakes along the way, perhaps my experience can offer some encouragement to younger moms. Because I know that those of us who have this creative drive, will not be denied . . . . we might find ourselves weary and exhausted, creating in the wee hours of the morning (if we are morning girls!) or in the dark hours of midnight (if we are night owls) – but somehow we will find a way to create. And if you are at all like me, you probably even create in your sleep! Do you wake up with a gazillion ideas screaming through your brain, demanding you to pay attention to them, get up and write them down or sketch them out? Are we a creative sisterhood, or what?
I have always known that this would be part of my life. As a very young girl, living in a little cottage by a lake in mid-Michigan, I would write tiny books and illustrate them. I made paper dolls from notebook paper, cardboard, and crayons by the hour. I dressed them in all of the incredible outfits that I knew I would never have for myself. Have you ever read the book, “The Hundred Dresses”? It is a story about a little immigrant girl who wears the same dress to school every day, and when the other girls make fun of her, she tells them that at home she has “a hundred dresses.” Right! Of course, they don’t believe her. Eventually, after many weeks and months of this humiliation, the family finally decides to move away. And when the girls who were so unkind to her discover that she has gone, they walk up to “Polish Town” to try to find her . . . . but she is no where to be found. The door to the house is unlocked, and as they enter the shabby little house and walk into her bedroom, they discover, in fact, “one hundred” drawings of beautiful dresses, taped to the walls of her bedroom. Sorry to spoil the ending for you, but that has always felt like my story.
As a pre-teen I taught myself to sew. That was back in the “olden days” as my kids call it, when I could buy a pattern for 50 cents, and enough fabric to make a new dress for $2.00 – $3.00. And that’s just about what I could make in a night of babysitting! So, actually I taught myself to sew in self-defense ;o) since that was about the only time I ever got a new outfit. Over the years, I continued to sew and I learned so much from my mistakes. By the time I got married and had my babies (back in the days when we were all either Earth Mothers or Bra-Burning Feminists!) I decided that my direction in life would be to stay home with my children, even though it meant that we wouldn’t have all of the material possessions that families would have with two incomes. And one way that I made those few dollars stretch, was to sew for myself and my children. And that was the beginning of my real love affair with textile design, fabric art, quilting, and any other kind of fabric creations that I could dream up.
So, here I am many years later, continuing to design and create beautiful children’s clothing, tote bags, and other accessories . . . . and along the way, I returned to college where I earned three college degrees, and discovered that I also love to write! I have recently combined these gifts and experience, and now I have been blessed with the opportunity to write eBook patterns for a variety of my designs so that I can now encourage and guide young moms who want to learn to sew for themselves and their children. I love helping other moms! That is my passion now, to use my creativity at this stage of my life to bring the joy of the artistic life to others who need a little help along the way. I’ve also played a bit with altered art and mixed media collage work, and one of my pieces will be included in an upcoming book, “Life is a Verb.” This is a book by Patti Digh, and it is a collection of essays on the topic of “37 Days” . . . . if you knew you had just 37 days to live, what would you do with your life? Well . . . . as you can see, I DO like to write! And, although my creative work is perhaps a bit different from the writers here in this group, I truly want to encourage every woman, mother, sister, girlfriend . . . . . to create! Express yourself in the areas where you are gifted, and together we can create a community where we can support each other. Now that I’m here, just wanted to introduce myself!
Here are a few fun things I’ve been working on recently . . . . .