Today is Big A’s Birthday!
It’s always been hard to come up with a present for my mother. I learned early that you don’t buy her things she “needs.” I remember one year when I was pretty young, my Dad took us shopping for her birthday and he bought her luggage. I told him — get her the KitchenAid (which she really wanted, but didn’t really ‘need’ at the time). But he got the luggage, and he got in trouble. Now that she HAS a KitchenAid and every other gadget, book, tool, or supply for baking, cooking, sewing, crafting — it’s impossible to go into Michael’s or the best specialty store in the city and find her something new. But, since I’ve learned I could MAKE her things instead of buying her things, it’s been easier. Mom has always been the one person who is always making things for other people, and rarely does anyone make anything for her. Mostly because her talents are so extraordinary, not many of us can create the caliber of gift she can for us, so it’s kind of a daunting task. This is one of the reasons I started sewing in the first place. For one of her milestone birthdays (not mentioning numbers, Mom…), I decided she deserved her own handmade quilt. Someone had to make her one, and being her only daughter, I figured it was up to me. So I went out and bought fabric and a book and taught myself how to make a quilt. I gave her a beautiful gift that year, but I think it turned out to be a more beautiful gift that she gave me — she ignited these passions and interests in me that we now share, and get to share with you here!
This year, I thought of what she really loves: anything pink, anything that sparkles, and being “Big A”.
Wandering around looking for inspiration to put all those things together, I found pink Keds. I love sneakers, and I’m really happy that Keds are “coming back”. I remember Mom loving little white Keds the last time they were in style, so when I saw these, I knew I was on to something. I also knew I had borrowed Mom’s BeDazzler (excuse me, hers is a “Professional Grade Rhinestone Setter”), and that she would proudly sport a Big A monogram on anything. So, here’s what I made:
I used some plain pink fabric and cut out the “A”, heat-and-bonded it to the shoe, and then used a curved needle to stitch around the outside by hand to re-inforce and make sure it stands up to actual wear and tear (teeny tiny stitches!) Now, Mom IS infamously a “more is more kinda girl” and I know she would have loved it if the whole shoe was bedazzled, but, honestly, the idea of her walking around in fully bedazzled shoes scared me. I try to think in her tastes and not my own, but, being that it’s not so easy to prong set these things on double-layer reinforced canvas or to get that Professional Grade setter into tight spots like near the sole of the shoe, I had to compromise, and luckily I got off the hook. :O) Mom says there are new Hot-Fix Swarovski crystal rhinestones that you use with a Hot-fix setter, and that those would have made this a lot easier. Which, I guess I could put that on the list of things I could buy her for her next birthday, but, if I know her, she’s already ordered them and they’re on the way to her house.
So, Happy Birthday to the one and only Big A — wear these proudly and don’t worry about getting them dirty — they’re meant to be worn and enjoyed!