[wink]. The two perfect button holes were my first attempt. Now I was hooked! I could make clothes for me and be just like the other talented women in my family. So I made skirts and skirts and more skirts along with a few blazers, I never did enjoy making pants but tried a few of them as well.
So a few years passed and again my love for sewing was still there but I had not quite found my niche. For graduation from high school my mom bought me my first brand new machine and I said good buy to the one my grandmother had given me. I loved my new machine and continued sewing clothes. My freshmen year in college I took a pattern drafting class and learned how to make more clothes from detailed blazers to jumpsuits and those gaucho pants, yikes. Skirts were always my favorite because I was a girly girl for sure! This all while majoring in computer science and learning how to write programs. You would have thought by now that I should have caught on to where my true talents were, but nope not yet. I enjoyed the computer world and was good at it but it never really moved me. I graduated and decided to go on to another year in college where I would become a photographer. This was my other one true love. I have had a camera in my hand as long as I can remember. So this had to be it, right!
Now lets fast forward to 1988 when my first child was born, a son, Joshua. I picked this name out when I was about 16 and never steered away from it. So Joshua was born and every child needs a quilt, right? That is when the next phase of sewing began. My mother and I would quilt together for hours. We took several of those quilt in a day classes where you left with a quilt front completely done. Oh what fun and gifts for everyone! Now being a house wife and Mom I needed curtains too. So my Mom with her great talents made window treatments for my living and dining room windows. Tab top draperies and rod pocket panels were in every window of my home back then and all beautifully made by my Mom. Did I mention she made my wedding dress and maid of honors dress too. She was one talented lady. Of course when my daughter Kirsten arrived a year later she needed a quilt as well. My Mom made her crib size one but when she graduated to a twin bed at 18 months, not wanting to be out done by her brother who had a big boy bed, I made here a twin quilt too.
A few months later we moved into a new home and of course it needed window treatments, now using new fancy terms too…wink wink (not curtains any more, lol) So together my mom and I dressed the windows in my new home oh so beautifully. I think I changed my curtains every year sometimes, just because I had found a beautiful new fabric that I just had to have. This was when Waverly was all the rage and they happened to have an outlet very close by. So now I had a sofa that was in need of upholstery. My Mom and I decide we could tackle the cushions if the upholsterer could just redo the frame. He was willing to work with us on this so that is just what we did. The cushions came out perfect with the guidance of my talented mom and I am sure the upholsterer didn’t mind not having them to do. A few years later I found an upholstery class but there was no available space at that time, because now I want to try this too. Well unfortunately my Mom wasn’t here to see me reach my dream. In June of 1995 she passed away at the young age of 52. It was not an expected illness but a stroke that took her from me.
Later that same year I did get into the upholstery class and had found my dream craft. I took the class for two years. Al Goss was my instructor and this man new his stuff. I hung on his every word as he would show me the steps I needed to take. He was a great teacher and wouldn’t do the work for me, which is what I really liked. He walked me through the steps and then watched as I did what I had been told. Many of the people in the class were there for a night out away from the kids, but not me, I was there to learn and accomplish a task. My first project was an attached pillow back, UGH, not a great first project but I did it. Next I moved onto a wing back chair that my friend Kris was willing to allow me to do for her. She picked out a purple and white stripe as this was to go in her daughters room. Al looked at me and said “stripes, really?” I just smiled and said “um, yes, is that okay?” not having a clue of course. Well again it turned out great.t Al was very surprised at how quickly I was taking to this new art form and allowed me to do a channel back, which was unheard of in this class for beginners. Again my channel back went very well so on to tufting. “Hold on now” Al said “I will let you do a tufted trunk, but your not ready for a tufted chair yet”. I was of course agreeable. So Al built me a trunk and off I went. The fabric was a floral and I was in awe of this beautiful tufted trunk I had completed.
So its been two years and 4 projects, I must know it all now, right? WRONG. Having this passing thought I decided I didn’t need the class any more and off I went to play with all things upholstered. Of course there was a lot of head scratching and asking, “What would Al do?” but I have learned by doing and still enjoy my love for upholstery. From that day on I started doing projects for friends and then their friends and so on. After a bit I decided to try and make this a full time business and the rest is history. I have to say writing this has made me both smile and cry but I am so glad that I was asked that magical questions “What’s your story”. I challenge each of you reading this to go ahead and ask yourselves the same question and share your story with me and those around you. I had never really thought about why I do this thing that I love so much and was happy to trace it back to my childhood and the love I have for creating beauty and the fact that I now get to pass it on. Teaching what you know and sharing the knowledge with others is so fulfilling. I love seeing the pride of those who have taken my class when the share their project with me.
Never stop learning and always search for that one thing in your life that makes your heart smile!