As for Mike and me, we are pretty proud she did. (I think Mike might even be more proud than me! He absolutely LOVES and appreciates the time and talent it takes to hand-make anything.) Anyway, I want to share the craziness Mom created.
This first glimpse is one where she focused on my favorite color of all - blue.
This square had my name embroidered on it.
I see a little snippet of the fabric we used to create the cushion for the bay window seat. (You may remember us wrestling that alligator. If not, you can read about it HERE.) Right beside it looks like a scrap from my bridesmaid's dresses long years ago. There is a little dobby print from some curtains or a chair cushion. There are also lots of fancy embroidery stitches connecting everything and embellishing all the pieces. I see some pretty purplish-blue flowers that might be irises and some that might be peonies or roses - pink, my favorite color for flowers.
The next square is made of different shades of one of Mike's favorite colors - greens.
Lots of variety in the stitches on this one.
She has scripted his name across one scrap of fabric. There are all sorts of stitches there and pieces of lace and braid and beads. The textures of fabric range from silks, to satins, to velvets, and maybe even a piece of polished cotton. The range of fabrics and stitches make me think of the different aspects of this man who growls like a grizzly but really is a soft Teddy-bear at heart.
The next square has some blues and leads into purples.
There are more flowers 'growing' on this one!
Here she embroidered Bridgette and Corey's names. The flowers are not just clustered on the centers of the fabric pieces but are also growing along the edges and connecting the different pieces. I wonder if that lavender piece of satin is left from my sister's bride's maid dresses? The orderly designs of the embroidery and the burst of colorful flowers truly represent the strength and personality of those two people!
Earth tones of brown and tan and gold make up the next square.
This back-to-nature color scheme is just right for Mom to embroider Bryan's and Jessica's names onto. The textures of corduroy, a sturdy cotton, and dobby upholstery fabrics play nicely off the lace pieces and decorative braids and embroidered flowers. It reminds me of the turkeys and deer that Bryan so avidly stalks and the sweet, soft-spoken wife with whom he shares his life.
A square with sunshine yellows commemorates my first granddaughter.
A springlike touch!
Just like her platinum blonde hair, this square reminds me of Lillie. There is a sparkly rick-rack like the tinkle of her giggle and an embroidered fan like the fresh breeze she can stir up with her grown-up ideas coming from her snaggle-toothed little pre-school mouth. Glittery beads and blue-blue flowers make me think of the twinkle of her eyes.
Girly-girl shades of pink make up the next square.
Pink like Minnie!
Lydia's name is embroidered on the square crafted of pinks - her favorite color. She grew to love pink because it is Minnie Mouse, her favorite friend's color of choice. Again, there is a range of fabric types - velvet, moire taffeta, silks, cotton prints, and satins. A multitude of styles which are just like the facets of the gem Lydia truly can be. There are tiny little flower buds like her short little legs and shiny fabrics like the glow of her happy little face. There are criss-crossing stitches and beautiful blooms and soft scraps of fabric just like her sweet, gentle, loving little personality.
The next square has mostly blue fabrics but the colors of embroidery truly give it life.
There is a riot of colors here!
Just like Mike's daughter, Laura, and her children, Cassie and Evie, have perked up our lives, this square bursts with colors of pinks, yellows, purples, and golds. The rich braids embellished with beads and embroidery represent how these three girls enrich and embellish our lives with smiles, giggles, hugs, and kisses. They spring into our home and fill it with laughter and activity leaving us with warm memories and remembered smiles.
The final square explodes with color and patterns.
Fun zig-zags and polka dots!
This square is a good representative of Mike's son, Stephen and his wife, Bonnie. There is her favorite color - pink. It has fun polka-dots and zig-zags which represent their range and depth of happy personalities. It is busy and colorful just like their fast-paced lives running a business. Bonnie and Stephen's names are stitched as well as an O for our last name.
I cannot imagine how many hours it took my mother to go this crazy but it is really quite beautiful. I want to protect its beauty and all the work in it. Yet, I also want to have it out where other folks can appreciate it as well. So, I haven't found the perfect spot for it just yet.
The soft sky-blue velvet that connects these squares
reminds me of the soft strength of the woman who crafted it.
I guess I needn't worry about having a mother who has gone crazy. I envision her fingers stitching all the different scrolls, flowers, dots, squiggles, vines, tracks, and names and recall how she could look at a dress or blouse on the rack at a store which was too expensive for our budget when I was growing up and then she would stop off at the fabric store and pick up a yard or two which was similar to that garment and by the end of the week I would have a replica of it - only it would be sturdier made and better fitting. I remember how she stitched together and embellished folks' wedding gowns and formals to help pay for my trips here and there and my college education (and sometimes probably helped to pay the electric bill which kept us warm or cool).
I am honored to have a crazy mother who focuses her energies toward hand-crafting and creating something that will be an heirloom for many generations. I am just grateful that I get to enjoy the fruits of her labors, the warmth of her smile, the sparkle of her emerald eyes, the sheen of her snowy hair, and the sunshine of her laughter. We don't always tell the folks we love how much we do - but my mother - in her crazy ways - certainly does show us that she really loves us and wraps us in her crazy love - literally and figuratively!
(By the way, if you want a closer look at the photos, just click on them and you can see it enlarged a bit.)