Friday, June 6, 2014

Paper Dolls & Cotton Castles

Paper dolls of various sizes litter the dining room table. Round, fat tummies, cotton-candy hair, extra big eyes, and cheerful grins.  Trace them, she taught me, trace them to make the clothes. I hold a pencil in one had and a handful of markers in the other. I remember to add tiny rectangular tabs to the shoulders and waists to affix the dresses, top, and pants to the dolls. 

With a little bit of effort, you can make your own fun.
I've never suspected that she's to blame for my clothes fetish, but perhaps she is.

The day-to-day clothes I wore as a teenager certainly didn't inspire my love for clothing. We did our best with six kids and a single income, but that meant we thrifted before thrifting was the thing. She did have a gift for sewing new items out of practically anything.  She fashioned dresses, tops, and skirts and loved doing it. Through high school, all my cute dresses were made by her hands on a treadle-run machine no one else could work. The rhythmic clickety-clack across cream lace, blue and white taffeta, and forest green sheers became the background music of our home life.  

Beauty can be made even if money is scarce.
We were green before green was the thing too. T-shaped posts supported three laundry lines, too many clothespins to count, and clothes and bedding for a family of eight. I remember weaving in and out of the sheets, feeling like a princess in a cotton-walled castle with a blue sky roof. 

There were chats over piles of laundry while we folded. Fold, chat, fold, chat. Momma's little helper. She always said the work went faster when you had someone to talk to, and as usual, she was right.

Work is light when everyone takes a part. 
That's my mom. 

She's a bestower of good advice, a woman the neighbors call angelic, a housekeeper who has always preferred to be hands deep in dirt rather than cleaning indoors, a gifted artist who keeps her talents a secret, a wife who has made it work with her sweetheart for nearly 50 years, a mom who takes twenty minutes to say goodbye because there's always one more thing to say and one more hug and kiss to give. 

She is and always will be my biggest fan.

Thanks, mom! Happy 72 years of being amazing!


  1. What a beautiful post - Your mum sounds fab!

    Gorgeous photo of the two of you (pretty ladies) :o) x

    1. Thanks, Kimmie! She's pretty great. I think we'll keep her. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. How sweet, Sarah. Thanks!! So much fun doing all that stuff. And . . . I still love your paper dolls!

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. She does sound amazing (love the picture of the two of you as well).

    1. Thank you, Diane! She really is quite a nice lady. I think we'll keep her!