Monday, April 23, 2012

The perfect gift

Growing up was an adventure. Mom was a single parent raising two daughters on a modest income so we learned to not just improvise but create what we didn't have. Being a school teacher, mom made sure we were never short of crayons, and paper and pens. Having the initial desire to go into commercial art we were never short of art and craft supplies as well. 

My sister and I were constantly "making things." Doll houses out of boxes, paintings, finger weaving, I even recreated "Charlotte's Web" in my bedroom-granted it was connected to the dresser, and the bedpost, and the table, and the desk. My goal was to be able to crawl across it to get to things in my room. (It didn't work.) Mom helped us with school projects and making costumes and doll clothes. 

Mom also filled the house with music. Having played the viola through college, mom loved classical music and wanting to rekindle that flame took the instrument up again when I was young.  For my sister and I this led to music lessons of our own. Piano, flute, and bells for me. Oboe, Bassoon, and Cello for my sister, plus both of us were in choir and enjoyed singing. 

Our faith was also a big part of our lives. Mom was active in our church serving as Sunday School director, a member of the alter guild and vestry. Because of mom's involvement, my sister and I were acolytes, worked in the nursery. I even led the Jr. High youth group when I was older. But my mom's faith was more than just being active in church. My mom believed that what she did with her talent was a gift back to the Lord. She one time shared with me that even her music was her prayer.

So much of whom I am is because of my mom naturally the news we received in November was earth shattering; the cancer had returned, in her spine. They gave her 4-6 months without treatment 6-8 with.  I walked around in a daze, I think we all did, just letting the news sink in. I know none of us are guaranteed our tomorrows but to be told someone you love is even closer to death is devastating. 

After I came to terms with that news, another realization hit me…this might be mom's last Christmas with us! What do you get a person that means the world to you when this might be the last present you ever give them?!?

So I started really thinking about who my mom is, what she has taught me, and what she means to me. I knew I had to make her something (she loves handmade gifts) I also knew I wanted it to revolve around her music and maybe her faith as well. 

I rejected one idea after another and then I found "IT" not just any it, but the most gorgeous violin paper. I was at a craft warehouse sale and found two sheets of Autumn Leaves paper from 2000. (11 year old paper in the paper world is probably itself considered vintage.) 
I knew this was to be the foundation of my mom's Christmas present. Looking around the sale I found some 12" x 12" tiles and I knew a decorative tile was in the making.

I wanted the emphasis to be on the violin and the quote I chose so I kept decorations down to a minimum; antiquing the edges of the paper with ink then adding a touch of gold here and there. Using Mod Podge I adhered the paper to the tile and then added the quote I cut out with my die cutting machine. Another layer of Mod Podge to seal everything in finished off the piece. 
To display the tile I found a gold book easel that coordinated with the gold accenting the violin. I loved the way it turned out. The project itself was simple to do but the results were very elegant. The end result was a gift for my mom that was totally "ME." Something handmade from the heart (which she loves) and something that celebrates not only her music but her faith.

Needless to say she loved her gift. She even cleared off a spot on the piano to display it. It has even become the focal point when she teaches viola. While trying to get her students to add more emotion to their music she says, "read that," (pointing to the tile,) "now pray with your music."  So the decorative tile I created for her even helps her to pass on her musical legacy as well.

Supplies used: Supplies used: 12 x 12 tile, Patterned paper Autumn Leaves, Ink, Ranger-Vintage Photo, Stampabilities-Gold, Cricut Cartridges- Jubilee, Plantain Schoolbook, Lyrical Letters, Base Camp, and Alphalicious. Mod Podge

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