Every now and then a blog post is extra special. This is one of them. Oliver Rabbit and I had a busy summer full of craft fairs, custom orders and pattern development. Halfway through the heat of it all, I received an email from one of my readers. It wasn't an ordinary email; it was Karen's story about learning to sew:
Hi Annette...just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much I am enjoying your website.
I am 66 years old and have always regretted not learning how to sew. I am pretty crafty, but always feel attracted to items that are sewn and handmade. So, I decided that I wanted to start making felt pins and magnets, etc. The only thing I have ever sewn is replacing a button. Well, the first thing I tried was a watermelon felt magnet. It looked like a two year old did it, but my sweet daughter said she would proudly put it on her refrigerator.
Then I started practicing stitching a little and got better. So now I have made watermelons, red/white blue star pins and magnets, a ladybug, and woah, now I am really branching out and having fun.
I live in Libertyville, IL (north suburb of Chicago). Maine is right at the top of my bucket list as I know it is quite beautiful. Plus I love lobster...
My best friend lives in Vegas and she used to laugh at my sewing box which consisted of white thread, black thread and a few needles...haha! Meanwhile, she has the latest computerized sewing machines and a giant room full of all her machines and material samples, etc. etc. etc!!! BUT, as you mentioned in your blog, there is nothing like receiving a handmade gift. My friend could buy anything, she is pretty wealthy. But I sent her a watermelon pin and a 4th of July inspired pin for her birthday and she was blown away that I would start sewing at my ripe old age. She just loved that I had made them.
I still work so it is kind of tough trying to learn how to sew and doing everything else...but I'll find the time.
I signed up for your newsletter. Thanks for your generosity in sharing your knowledge. I printed off a lot of your tutorials and they should help me with my sewing.
Have a wonderful summer in Maine.
When I wrote back to Karen, I aimed to express how meaningful her email was to me and how I believed her story would resonate with others. I asked permission to share it on my blog as well as in an upcoming newsletter. I also asked Karen to send me some photos of the things she made:
Karen's story inspires me in ways I would not have imagined; it truly hits home.
I, too, am in my sixties, have a part-time "day job" and fantasize often about when I will find time to paint or play with clay or learn to make a block print. Her words remind me how much I love to sew and how wonderful it is that I am able to engage with this art form nearly every day. Her determination strengthens my desire to learn and share so others can enjoy the magic of making something.
But most of all, Karen's email taught me that the beginning of something is often the most beautiful.