From the time I was little girl, I remember gathering around the kitchen table watching my Mom and Grandma work diligently throughout the week on art projects for the upcoming craft shows they had a booth at. It seemed like every Saturday we would drive to North Topeka to spend hours in a small store that carried clay greenware (clay objects that are typically shaped but have not yet been bisque fired) and Mom would let my sister and I pick out a few small pieces for ourselves. We were lucky enough that we possessed a kiln at home, so painting ceramics became second nature to Nikki and I growing up. I’d like to think I was probably better at perfecting the ‘dry brush technique’ than I was at using color pencils by the age of 7. While I never made use of that skill other than receiving more Grand Champion and purple ribbons at the county fair for my ceramic pieces than I knew what to do with (
not-so- humble brag) – spending hours on end with my Mom at the kitchen table is only a small aspect of the kind of household we grew up in.
I’m fairly certain I spent more time in Hobby Lobby than almost any other place during my childhood. I’m probably exaggerating a bit, but Saturday mornings were never complete without taking a short (
painstakingly long) trip over to Hobby Lobby on Wanamaker Rd. to pick out anything from paint, to fabric, to cross stitch patterns, to ribbon for Mom’s next project. In reality, Hobby Lobby was as good as any candy store, Magic Forest, or Chuck-E-Cheese in my opinion. Those trips were always methodically planned out too – one week we would buy as much fabric as possible because it was on sale and one week might be dedicated to buying the paint and paint brushes. I think the Sunday Topeka Capital Journal was really only good for the Hobby Lobby ad in our household. Everyone who has ever had a knack for crafting knows how expensive it all adds up, so if there is another skill I can thank my Mom for – it was learning how to be a bargain hunter.
I always loved when summer turned into fall, because I knew that meant it was craft show season and that our house would be full of the incredible pieces my Mom and Grandma had created. I also knew with crafting, it meant my Mom would light a cinnamon or apple cider scented candle and there would probably be homemade bread rolls, Snickerdoodles, or gooey cinnamon rolls in the oven – because obviously you can’t craft without snacking on something to get you through all that meticulous work. And while I’m almost certain, she spent every waking hour leading up to Buttons & Bows (a giant craft show in Manhattan, KS), she never failed to show her little girls the delicate process that went into each project. I also knew – come Christmas time – that whatever they didn’t sell would mean that our entire house turned into a Christmas Wonderland. To this day – my sister and I still fight over who get’s ‘custody’ over our favorite ceramic Santa. (I know – aren’t we cool?)
Quite honestly, without my Mom’s insistence on showing us how to sew, use a glue gun, or make a perfect flower arrangement from the wild flowers we would pick on our walks down Loire Creed Rd, I don’t think I would quite ‘get’ this whole adulting thing. My fondest memories of my childhood always revert back to me wearing my Dad’s yellow Highland Community College football t-shirt and curling up to my Mom, working on a cross stitch pattern or working to create some sort of design using Perler Beads. And while I know these little art projects here and there seem so simple, it was the basis for skills I never knew I would need as an adult. Whether its using an X-Acto knife, or sewing buttons onto a shirt, or knowing how to put wallpaper up (or take it down), or making fresh pasta with my great grandmothers pasta maker – I feel like I am better prepared because of the skills I possess from the years of watching my Mom hard at work. She truly knew how to make a house into a home. She’s basically like the ‘original Joanna Gaines’ if you will.
So why am I even talking about this? For years, my Mom, Nikki, and I have talked about the possibilities of using our crafting abilities to create our own store. And while, we are still trying to decide the best way to make this a successful venture, my sister has in the meantime created her own line of wall weavings, a piece of wall decor that truly adds to any room. For now – the weavings can be found on her Etsy store – https://www.etsy.com/shop/MellowTreeDesigns. All weavings can be customized to look great in your own house. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in a customized weaving and be sure to check out her Etsy shop this weekend for special Black Friday sales!