For our prompt of “Buttons” today, my mind went back in time to when I was a kid. My mother was quite crafty and I remember her sewing room was always filled with lots of wonderful things. From jars of various buttons to that little tomato pin cushion, I always found it all so fascinating. There were so many bolts of fabrics in various colors and patterns that adorned the shelves along the walls. She could consistently take the most unexpected things and put them together to produce something new and amazing. Though I did attempt sewing and other crafts as a kid, I could never quite produce the wondrous things that she would make. But, it gave me a lifelong love of making things from scratch that I still enjoy today via my little sketchbook. Though I might not be able to sew on a button properly, I can at least sketch them now. And this brought back so many lovely memories of a time that feels both long ago and like it was only yesterday.

As I grew up, my mother and I teamed up on many different projects. I would come up with an idea and she would make it appear. This worked really well while I was doing theatre as she helped create many of my costumes. And, of course, I could become whatever I wanted to be at Halloween as she masterfully transformed me into the latest popular character that caught my fancy that year. I don’t have any of those costumes today, although it would be fun to see them again. Nor do I have the denim shirt that she lovingly added parrots to via beautifully executed hand embroidery. Yeah, I always had a thing for birds. Not that those shirts would fit me now, of course, but I remember them quite vividly. It wasn’t the latest fashion or some label that the other kids were wearing those days. But, here’s something truly special about getting an item made by hand that makes every memory burn a bit brighter.

Now as an adult, I fully credit my mother for the creative journey that I set upon. Though I didn’t make things all of my career, I’ve always had a creative job directing others who make lovely things. I really can’t imagine a life where I wasn’t constantly in the presence of seeing new things appear. It’s why I adore my art journey and love seeing all of the things that our community creates. There are so many beautiful bits of arts and crafts that are created each and every day. It takes me back to when I was a kid. Those days where making something new didn’t seem like some unique moment, it just felt like living a lovely life. Indeed, I think that the act of making something can create a happier life for everyone. No matter what you love to make, just keep right on making it! And, I’m quite happy to have a mother who taught me how to live a creative life as I keep making those crafty memories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Terra Cotta and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink  in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Buttons Jar Tomato Pin Cushion Craft Room Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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31 thoughts on “Crafty Memories

  1. My mother also had the craft room with buttons and bolts and sewing machines. I never cottoned to sewing, though I have always dreamed of creating a book like those old fashion samplers, where miniature versions of dresses and costumes were hand-sewn and attached to book pages, so customers could flip through and see the styles. Wisely, I think, I realized that my expertise and attention-span did not match my desire to create such a book.

  2. Hi Charlie, My mother always sewed and while I did for a couple of years I still have that tomato pin cushion I had to have for Home Economics classes. I have another use for straight pins — two of those together make a smaller hole than a picture hook (without the glass and not heavy). She and her mother crocheted, and she knitted and embroidered as well and spent an inordinate bunch of energy trying to interest me. Not a chance. You have to sit still for that. As if.

  3. Have you ever Doodlewashed a re-creation of the parrot shirt?
    Would love to see that — and likely so would a lot of self-described “ParrotHeads”…

  4. I can’t sew worth a darn, nor could my mother, but my Grandma Mabel was a sewing rock star. For as long as I can remember, grandma made all of my father’s shirts. I wish I had thought to take one after he died because they were unique and totally him. Grandma also sewed for me. She made a bridesmaid’s dress for me once, and other things I can’t even remember. She also crocheted slippers and afghans, and she made quilts. I’m sure she had a button box too. I wish I had that too. Good memories!

  5. Hello Charlie,

    “No matter what you love to make, just keep right on making it!” WOW!!!! That jumped right off the screen. My mom was fabulous at sewing too and when we were kids she made all our dresses. She too had jar of buttons which my sister and I would painstakingly sort into tiny piles of different sizes everytime she opened the jar – only for them all to go right back into the jar together. Thanks so much for bringing back such happy funny memories. The sketch as usual, is magical.


  6. My Mom had a tin of buttons. Some of them were antiques passed down from her mother. I remember her telling me they would cut buttons off worn out clothes to reuse, many were made from ivory and wood. We used to sort them & put them back too. My Mom could sew, but her Mother was the real sewing rock star. I did learn to sew and made my own clothes for many years as well as for my son and many, many gifts. When mu Mom sold her house and her sewing machine, she gave me some of those buttons, which I keep in a divided box, already sorted!

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