Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Post About My Mom, Sort Of

My mom is a quilter. She sews lots of different things, but I would say quilting is her passion. Our house growing up was decorated with quilts on the walls and draping the furniture. Throughout our high school years you could almost always find a teenager asleep underneath a homemade quilt somewhere in the house.

I don't decorate the walls with quilts in my house, but we have lots of things my mom has made for us: our personalized Christmas stockings (size XXL, thanks mom!), an adorable Halloween wall quilt with little stuffed witch legs hanging off of it, aprons for Brighton and I and, recently popular, two gorgeous dress-up capes that she made for Pacey.

Pacey, modeling one of his capes
She made me a quilt for high school graduation and another for college graduation. They both sit waiting in my linen closet for this winter, when you need something to curl up with even though the house is warm. She made Pacey a quilt, this amazing colorful quilt that he sleeps under in his race car bed. When she asked what I wanted for a theme I was really unsure - his personality hadn't developed enough to say what he especially liked and so I think I gave her the very helpful directive of "uh, stuff...colorful stuff?" And she came up with the perfect design - lots of different fabrics with designs of, well, stuff! Bubbles and animals and different foods and stars and clouds and dots. He received it at a time when he was just starting to understand the labeling of objects and we spent lots and lots of time pointing at the various patterns and naming things.

She's working on Brighton's quilt now and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Beyond the fact that she has given us lots of fun and useful handmade gifts, I love that there are little reminders of my mom and the kids' Nana throughout the house. I think it's safe to say she'd love nothing more than to live next door to each of her grandkids, but since she can't she provides these little pieces of her presence.

Pacey figured that if he was going to sleep under the dogs'
blanket, he better cover Simon up with the Halloween quilt

I'm not a quilter. My mom showed us all how to use the sewing machine, and did special little projects with each of us as kids. I am really happy that she did that, even though it didn't turn out to be my passion. I think about it though - how can I be "present" even when I'm not?

I love taking pictures. I'm absolutely not a photographer, but Chris gave me a nice camera for Christmas year before last and I think it allows me to capture things adequately. I definitely take about 90% more photos than I end up keeping, which is about the extent of "editing" I do. Sure, I use the red-eye tool and will sometimes make a picture black-and-white if I think it lends itself to that look. Beyond that, though, I don't do much fiddling. I keep looking at photoshop and considering buying it, but the truth is that I'm not really after technically perfect photographs. I don't really want special effects, or to create images that aren't real; I just want to take really great photos of people and moments I care about.

Ok, in the interest of full disclosure: I have been known to use the re-touching tool for those times when you have two choices as a mom - either wipe your kid's nose raw or accept that they will have a snotty face but you WON'T be wiping it raw. Thank goodness for option #3 - erase the snot :)

Anyway, because I love taking photos so much I've started making a point of giving them to people. Purposefully taking photos of my friends' kids and printing them out, making photo books of special events or visits, or sending updated framed photos to family that live far away. I've never met anyone who doesn't appreciate a nice photo, especially of their own kids. So I'm making it a point to try to continue growing in my ability as an amateur photographer. Again, not so much in learning how to use tools to edit my photos, but in learning to take better photos in the first place. Making myself bring the camera along, even when it's cumbersome and kind of embarrassing and taking a million photos in hopes of capturing even just a few really great moments. Like my mom and her quilts, I hope it will be a way I can give material gifts that also have a little of me in them.

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