Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Inspiration

After reading Ruth Ann Russell's lovely tribute to her mother, I was inspired to write one of my own on this very special day - Mother's Day.  Many great women have inspired me throughout my life, this post however is dedicated to those who inspired me to be the needleworker that I have become.  I pulled some special items from various places in my home to share with you...let me tell you about the items in this photo.

I didn't know my grandmother; she died nearly 10 years before I was born, but I've heard many stories about her over the years.  She was a strong, determined, hard-working woman.  When she was 16 years old she left her family in Austria-Hungary to travel by ship to the United States in search of a better life.  She met my grandfather and they were married and had 10 children (my mother is the youngest.)

I don't think my grandmother had much free time to relax and enjoy needlework - she was always cooking, cleaning, caring for children.  She also worked outside of the home at Schunemann's Bakery in downtown St. Paul and also did laundry and cleaned house for some of the wealthy families that lived on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

My mother has given me the pillow case lace that my grandmother crocheted.  The pillow cases wore out a long time ago, but thankfully my mother saved the lace!

My mother has six sisters, one of them died as an infant.  The oldest sister, Theresa, was like a grandmother to me (she was 23 years older than my mother.)  As a child, I spent a lot of time with my Auntie Theresa.  She took me on trips to their cabin up north (the "Shack") and on fishing trips to Canada.It was a big deal back then to be able to fly on an airplane, and we flew by plane a couple of times to visit her son and his family in Colorado.  The last trip I took with her was to British Columbia, Canada.  My Auntie Theresa was a character, she was always a lot of fun.  She always knew where the bakery was, and we always ordered roast beef sandwiches when we would stop for lunch at a local cafe.  Here she is all dressed up taking my brothers and I out trick or treating on Halloween (it was the only time she ever wore her hair down!)

Auntie Theresa was always crocheting - she crocheted afghans, hats, ponchos, etc.  She was always crocheting "granny squares"!  While I don't have any finished needlework from her, I did inherit her collection of crochet hooks when she died.  These are just a few of them...

Auntie Betty was a special lady too.  As far as needlework goes, she was probably the most talented of them all.  A few months ago I posted photos of her embroidered dishcloths.  Not only did she embroider, but she also did cutwork, she quilted by hand, she could knit, and she crocheted with thread.  Auntie Betty (we always called her "Lizzy") had a wonderful sense of humor.

Whenever someone in the family got married, Auntie Betty always gifted a set of feather pillows at the shower.  Of course, the pillows were covered with pillow cases which she had made herself.  The set I received had crocheted lace edging - can you see the heart design?

I was fortunate to receive many other sets of pillow cases from my Auntie Betty including these cutwork ones, as well as some crocheted doilies.

Auntie Florence was special too...she often took care of me when I was a little girl.  I spent a lot of time with her and Uncle Stan at their lake cabin during summer vacation.  Auntie Florence loved birds and she loved football!

Auntie Florence was an amazing knitter - she knit sweaters, afghans, mittens, and slippers.  I am lucky to have this beautiful afghan from her and still have several pairs of slippers and mittens left!

Of course, the most special lady of all is my mother...I know I am biased, but she is quite an amazing lady.

 Like her mother, she is strong, determined, hard-working, and she has many talents -- she is a musician (plays organ and piano), loves to garden, and enjoys crocheting and tatting.

Most importantly though, she is just my mom...Happy Mother's Day Mom!

 Thanks for taking this little trip down memory lane with me.  Enjoy your day!


Mrs. DillyDally said...

Such a beautiful post...what a loving legacy!

Barb said...

A wonderful tribute to the ladies in your family!!It is not surprising that you have a love of needlework!

Chocolates4Breakfast (Terri Malinovich) said...

What a lovely post, Cathy! It's clear that there is a legacy of wonderful needle workers in your family and you continue that legacy!

marly said...

You've had so many wonderful ladies in your life. Very much enjoyed your post.

Margaret said...

What a wonderful post full of love! And needlework too! Happy Mother's Day!

Averyclaire said...

What a beautiful recollection and thank you for sharing part of your life with all of us. Lovely. Lucky you to have so many beautiful women in your life.!

Chris said...

What a wonderful post! What an amazing family of needlewomen.

Bekca said...

Thank you so much for sharing such an interesting family history. 10 children! My goodness, it was amazing your grandmother found any time at all to create such beautiful items :)
Best wishes.

BrendaS said...

What a wonderful post Cathy!!! Love your stories:))

C Street Samplerworks said...

Cathy, What a beautiful tribute! How lucky you are to have so many remarkable women in your family to inspire you! And they in turn are fortunate that you are so loving and appreciative of their influence on your life.

Peace & Love,

Vonna Pfeiffer said...

I always enjoy your trips down any avenue, but particularly your memory lanes :) a beautiful tribute to a bunch of special ladies!

msmartello said...

Love this post Cathy! You are very lucky to have had such special ladies in your life. Hope you had a Happy Mother's day!