In the Gettin’ It Pegged Yahoo Group, we’ve been chatting about old timey comfort crafts, particularly bed dolls and blanket dolls. A gal had asked if anyone could remember these items, and suggested that she might be thinking too far back for anyone to remember these types of things (bed dolls in particular) in the groups now-a-days.
From the moment I read her message, memories came flooding into my mind… memories of a very special grandmother who has been gone for six years now. This lady was an awesome crafter! She could see anything in the store and come home and recreate it all herself…even clothes that she liked the looks of! She was always late for our Christmas Eve gatherings, too, because she would still be putting the last touches of glue, yarn or stitches on all her creations to be gifted to her grandchildren and great-grandkids.
I remember one year, she was late again, as usual. For us kids, the excitement was palpable…“What was Grandma bringing this time?” She finally made it, and had to have help carrying all her gifts into the house. I can still remember the eyeball popping feeling that came over me as I looked at what was placed in front of me…a doll house! She had made it entirely herself, completely covered in fabric, rug pieces, paper… everything to make it a lovely one story home. We had to be careful while examining our homes, as the glue was still wet in places, lol. One side of the roof lifted up and you could see inside…where her other gifts were placed, including the traditional pair or two of new socks, lol. 🙂
My grandma made me one of those sweet little bed dolls for one of my early birthdays. She curled and styled the pink Victorian hair into ringlets by hand with lots of hair spray, and fashioned the doll over a re-purposed bleach bottle, which had sand or something similar inside for a little stability. I still remember holding the bottle handle, which was secretly reached through a slit in the back of her dress, to lift the doll high so that her generous skirts would float up and twirl around her, and the sound the sand made shaking inside the bottle. The doll would then be gracefully lowered onto the bed, so that her skirts would circle her lovely self. 🙂 I loved that doll! I think it might still be hanging out in my parent’s storage closet…I guess I’ll have to go digging…
This grandmother of mine has helped to pass on the legacy of crafting. She, of course, has given all her knowledge to her own children and all of them are very talented crafters. 🙂 They in turn have passed the skills to their own children…which is where I come in, lol. There simply was nothing that she couldn’t do when it came to making something…she loved knitting, crocheting, doll making, sewing, cake decorating, baking, etc. The love for all things handmade has been passed along in our genes as well as by her guidance and example.
When I was in high school, she wanted to gift me with something special. She knew that I had to wear a formal white blouse during all my orchestra concerts, and so she offered to take me to the fabric store so that I could pick out fabric and a pattern to make my own special blouse. I chose an off white silk fabric and a pattern with a pleated front. I loved the blouse I made from this! I was always so proud to wear it during my concerts. 🙂 I think I still have the pattern tucked away amongst my sewing stuff too. Even though I sewed the blouse myself, I always felt like it was my Grandma who gifted it to me.
Sadly, at the time, I didn’t always appreciate her the way I do now. She could get grumpy occasionally, which is understandable, because I know we could get rowdy and she had to work a lot, most of it during the night shift. I can understand this looking back now, though at the time it was just Grandma being grumpy.
But, I knew even in her grumpy state, if I went to visit her in her room (she lived with us for a time) she would always be happy to pull down from her shelf a very special item. It was a greenish colored glass candy dish in the shape of a hen. When you carefully lifted the top, inside you would find those old fashioned assorted flavored hard candies. She always let us pick one or two of our favorites. 🙂
Another time, she was going through her stored objects and pulled out a lovely crocheted shawl. Both my mom and my grandma were trying to get me to take this item, because “it was just so lovely and wouldn’t I like to wear it?” All I could think of at the time was that if I was caught wearing that thing, I would be laughed out of 10th grade! Now I look back and feel sad that I didn’t appreciate that item for what it was…something my grandma had created stitch by stitch with her own hands and that if I couldn’t wear it at the time, I could definitely love it for who made it. I’m afraid I hurt her feelings…as I’m sure mine would be now, if someone scorned something I had made by hand in so flippant a manner as I did then. Oh, the things you learn to appreciate through hind sight.
Now that she’s gone, and I’m all grown up with a family of my own, I know how valuable her time with us was. I try to honor the heritage she gave to us all by passing along the love of crafting to my own daughters. When she was in her rest home care, during her last months here, my daughters and I made a blanket for her with our own six hands. I felt a bit like we were putting all the love and thanks we felt into that blanket that was meant to cover her and provide comfort. I think that if my grandma were here now, she would be proud of how we’re all turning out. 🙂
In closing, I guess I’d just like to remind you all to remember to hug those that love and care for you and cherish those moments that time tends to whisk by so fast…