Adding to the Wow! Factor

When I was young I envied my family’s artistic abilities. Both my siblings are artists, and my mother has her own creative abilities. She was especially skilled at sewing and made a number of clothes for us throughout our early school years, as well as curtains and other items for the home. One afternoon she quickly whipped up a homemade Barbie doll dress on the sewing machine, much to the amazement of my friends and myself. It felt good to have a mother who could impress a group of five-year-olds; I was so proud.


My mom’s artistic talents continued each Halloween as she created our costumes on her own. One year she had sewn a drum majorette ensemble for my sister, a pink and white candy-stripe princess gown for me, and a cowboy outfit for my brother. She had an knack for finishing touches, as she brought out her Maybelline eyebrow pencil and drew a curly moustache on my four-year-old brother and darkened his eyebrows. To us kids, he looked quite authentic.
Mom also took special care for her own party costumes – after all, she had to look sassy for the adult parties. She used her old prom dress as the foundation for her Usherette outfit. For her prop she re-purposed a cardboard tray used to hold four six-packs of beer and covered it with foiled wrapping paper and threaded a long velvet ribbon to the sides to hang around her neck. She stocked it with candy cigarettes and chewing gum to offer party-goers. The ensemble was complete when she wore fishnet stockings and heels – what woman wouldn’t be a knockout?

Impressed by her creativity and sewing talent, I begged for her to teach me the same skills. We both gave up as we realized I didn’t have the same flair. I didn’t realize the machine did most of the work, running the stitches while the user simply guides the fabric. Plus if math was involved – such as calculating measurements – my brain automatically tuned out. My expertise stopped at sewing on a missing button – and remains there to this day.

Naturally my mom was called in when it was time for my own daughter’s Halloween costume. One of the first creations was an iridescent green princess skirt and cloak, trimmed in lace. My daughter loved the shimmering gown and wanted to add her own touches. She immediately swapped out the store-bought tiara I purchased and instead created her own crown out of yellow construction paper, with colored-in gemstones. She looked adorable as I realized the creative gene endures in her. I’m trying to keep up; here’s hoping my writing can become my own little forte as I try to uphold the imaginative family traits.

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