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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 . . . . .



4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nina, you are really talented with a needle! I had the same fantasies as you growing up, but instead of making clothes for myself (or others), I started making doll clothes and eventually branched out to making cloth dolls as well. I haven’t actually made a doll in a number of years because there are only so many hours in a day and writing takes precedence for me. But I find sewing a nice counterbalance to my writing… the act of writing makes my fingers get twitchy and sewing works out the kinks for me. But it has to be hand sewing. I can’t stand to use a sewing machine! I was an exchange student in Hungary in-’95-’96 and learned how to do traditional embroidery while I was there. I pull out a table cloth now and then and work on it whenever I need a sewing fix.

    So anyway, welcome!

    April 5, 2008
  2. Juliet Bell #

    It was wonderful to read your entry this morning, partly because we are in the same generation, and because you made me laugh when you talked of waking with creative ideas, jotting them down before they go the way of most dreams. Just this very morning I awoke from a ramble through Oprah’s patio (of all places), where she was searching for a lost hat. I suggested I make one for her (I like to sew, but this is not where I put most of my creative energy); the style was a bit like a chef’s hat. I lept out of bed and sketched out the design. Many of my ideas do come from dreams. I made colorful walking sticks with a passion one summer all from a vivid dream I’d had. I am always so grateful for my sleeping ideas.

    Your sewing creations are really wonderful – so pretty!

    I’m a painter and wooden jigsaw puzzle maker (stained one-of a kind creations). I’ll try to insert a photo or two if I can figure out how. (Well – I gues I don’t know how.)

    In any case, will look forward to your blogs.

    April 7, 2008
  3. Nina, those are beautiful creations.

    Coincidentally, I woke up this morning and grabbed my bedside “dream journal” to jot down another story idea inspired by one of my dreams.

    Welcome to the Creative Construction community!

    April 9, 2008
  4. caseycairo #

    Wow, what a great post! Welcome to this blog, and I really can’t wait to hear what you have to say next. You really are an inspiration with all of your energy and zest for life.

    I wanted also to comment on your statement that your work probably doesn’t overlap much with others on this blog. I think that’s what makes it such an interesting place to be, electronically speaking. I am writing something that bears little resemblance to what everyone else is writing/doing, and at first I thought I’d be an oddball here, but I’ve since come to realize the process of writing is what matters here, and the content is a far distant second.

    Your story of the “Hundred Dresses” was interesting!

    April 9, 2008

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