(content previously published on old Filigreen blog in 2016)
One beloved and well-used item lost in the tornado was my 33-year-old Kenmore sewing machine. Given to me by my Grandpa Wynn for my 16th birthday, it was my creative partner through four decades of fabulous fashions. I made some emerald green satin pants in 1979, some corduroy baggy jeans in the 80's, sundresses for my first daughter in the 90's, Halloween and Medieval Fair costumes for both children in the 00's, and what seemed like a whole forest of burlap tree costumes for The Wizard of Oz musical in the spring of 2013.
Although my sewing machine did not blow away, it was rained on at our house site for three days after the tornado, and the carrying case had several inches of water in it by the time we were allowed back to the wreckage of our home. I drained the water, set it out to dry in our rental home's garage all the hot summer long, unable to dispose of it as there were so many memories of my hands guiding one vividly remembered fabric or another through the machine. When it was time to move into the new home, I finally put the ruined machine out with the other tornado debris that I had been reluctant to actually throw away. Yes, we had good insurance and I had been reimbursed for the value of a sewing maching, but the thought of a new machine just left me unimpressed, as I had loved my old one so much.
As time passed, I searched for a metal-bodied sewing machine like my old Kenmore, but found only plastic-bodied models. After hemming and hawing, and complaining so much out of proportion to the issue to my patient husband, I went ahead and bought a plastic-bodied Singer. Of course, it sews just fine. And I have started a new parade of fabric swatch memories as I have sewn cream/blue toile curtains for the new house's kitchen bay window, cream lace frilly cowgirl skirts for the flower girls in my nephew's upcoming wedding, and started a quilt for my oldest daughter in red/white/black scrap fabrics.
Red and Black were the school colors of her elementary school, Plaza Towers, that was so horrifically demolished by the tornado. I found a black-and-white gingham fabric shirt at the thrift store, with colorful flowers embroidered all over it, so I have been cutting little squares of the embroidered sections, to put at the intersections of the strips connecting my nine-patch blocks. I also am appliqueing seven little raspberry-red pinwale corduroy hearts randomly on the quilt-top, for the Plaza Towers students whose short lives ended that day in May 2013.
For many years, especially as a young person, I was embarrassed of being so domestic. Cooking, gardening, and sewing are my great passions, and I always felt so dorky when asked what my hobbies were. Sometimes, it seemed as if I were born 100 years too late, but as I have grown older, I truly treasure my knowledge and skills in the humble domestic pursuit of sewing. Knowing how to mend, tailor, innovate, and alter garments, costumes, and home furnishings has given a richness to my life that I wouldn't want to do without. Nowadays, when someone asks what I do for leisure, I am proud to say, "I like to sew."
I am Kelly - a wife, mother, cook, gardener, sewist, and much more. Creativity is the gift that I have been blessed with, and it has been a river of blessings to me. A creative outlet is good for you, body and soul. This blog is about helping you find ways to fit more creativity into your life, to enrich your own life and that of others.