Sunday, August 30, 2009

My mother's daughter

When I was little, my mother owned a little business at home. It was called Soft Expressions. All I remember of it were the blue business cards with baby's breadth on it, my mother always taking orders to do flowers and Christmas being a busy time for her where she and her sister would be making ornaments and little arrangements where there were two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree. I remember the house smelling wonderful and there were always people over to help with the sewing. I'm guessing it was their version of a cottage industry.

Needless to say, every bone in my mother's body is a creative one. My brothers and I are not like her. Well, I think we each got a little bone of it from her but we don't have oodles of it the way she does. She was livid when I failed my art exams in school and said I was an embarrassment.

In the recent years however, I've come to realise that I appreciate craft and the beauty in things because of her influences. I am thankful she didn't try and bang it over my head because more likely than not, I would not have learned then. I constantly amaze myself when I find myself dipping my fingers into things that I used to just ask Mom whether she could do for me.

Example 1.

A cousin I am very close to just had a baby. Her family, unlike mine are all creative and have a penchant for all things pretty. Because of that, I thought she and her mother (my mother's sister than I mentioned above) would get a very big kick out of receiving a diapercake rather than packets of chicken and fish essence and mee swa which was what I got a lot of.

To be honest, I did ask my mother for help. But rather than leave her to do it, I tried to build it with her around. It turned out to be a lot of fun and my mother admitted somewhat admiringly that it was something she'd never thought about and was impressed that I had and known how to imagine it. To hear that from her was a great compliment.
Anyway, we have a picture of a half finished product here. Half finished because I wanted to buy fabric to cover the rest of the diapercake up but Mom decided that buying baby blankets to cover it up would be a more useful idea and had sent me out to buy some. I can't wait to see the end product but I was quite proud of what it looked like, half built.

Example 2.

We recently got our house blessed. And I got myself in a frenzy about making it presentable. Packrat could not understand what all the fuss was about. After all, we have had friends over before. My retort was that we never had 'adults' here before. Our families in full strength plus a church leader and his wife. One of the things I got myself into a tizzy over was to buy flowers. Again, Packrat was like "since when do we have flowers in the house?". My response "I am my mother's daughter and the house MUST have flowers!" At that point, he must have wondered when it was that the aliens had abducted his regularly practical and nonchalant about all things pretty wife and replaced her with a Martha Stewart in the making wife.

The nursery near us that sold fresh flowers had a cold room problem and thus no fresh flowers in stock. The supermarket flowers were unexpensive and not very fresh. But not having a choice, I settled for what was the best.

This was the eventual outcome. All I could do in 10 minutes before the guest arrived and without a flower sponge and all the other paraphenalia that my mother has around the house for emergencies like that.

It isn't much. But for someone who has nary an artistic bone in her body, finding these little creative sparks are quite a big thrill to me and makes me proud that at least a miniscule bit of my mother's legacy will be left behind in me.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:46

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