Wednesday, February 9, 2011

52 Letters in 52 Weeks - Letter #5

I had to explain to my 78 year old mother why she was receiving a letter from me, since she lives 6 minutes away by car.  As part of Katy Wolk-Stanley's 52 Letters in 52 Weeks Project, I'm dropping lines to everyone I can think of and while there's probably no "news" my mother hasn't already heard from me via e-mail, telephone, or in person, she seemed an obvious choice for my fountain pen.

I often tell my son he is "pure awesomeness."  If he gets that quality from anyone, it's from his grandmother.  My mom is an award-winning cook (ribbons, baking contests, recipe contests), an award-winning quilter, a blogger, and an all around cool person.  Lately her blog, Lillian's Cupboard, has been featuring Civil War quilt blocks she's making from Barbara Brackman's patterns.  She's seen a big increase in traffic to her own blog because the instructions given for the Civil War blocks are sometimes confusing, especially to novices, so my mother has taken it upon herself to give step by step directions on how she did each block, complete with pictures.  Based on the comments she's received, many a new quilter is considering her a godsend.

Every Sunday the kids and I go to her house for lunch, which ensures I get at least one decent home cooked meal a week complete with dessert.  (My own culinary skills and interest are both mediocre and my kids refuse to try anything more exotic than a piece of grilled steak.)  My mother often posts the recipes for these meals, complete with pictures, on her blog.  If you ever need a meal idea, her blog is the place to go.

Joan Fontaine - 1939

Her sewing skills have also been put to good use over the years.  She's made everything from clothes for my children to quilts for Project Linus to cat motif tote bags for the League for Animal Welfare's Christmas party craft sale.  In 1995, as I was planning my wedding, I saw a black and white photo of Joan Fontaine from her 1939 wedding and I wanted that wedding dress. 

My mother and father - 1952
I had also been inspired by my mother's own dress from her 1952 wedding, which was borrowed from her future sister-in-law.  It was much too heavy for her May wedding and too big, but she looked stunning.  I wanted a dress like my mother's and Ms. Fontaine's -- simple cut with a 40s/50s feel, shimmering white satin, and no embellishments.  At the time every dress I looked at was dripping with sequins and beads and pearls.  The solution?  My mother to the rescue.  For a fraction of the cost of a purchased dress my mother sewed a beautiful white satin dress with a full skirt, puffed sleeves, and faux pearl buttons up the back.  I wore a strand of pearls and pearl earrings my then-fiance purchased for me, along with a veil of handmade lace my sister made.  It was exactly the look I was going for.

My husband and me - 1995
My son commented the other day, after seeing a paw print patterned blanket and pillowcase my mother whipped up at my daughter's request, "Is there anything Grandma can't do?"  Outside of riding a bicycle and playing guitar, I don't think there is.

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