May 15, 2010

Letter to Etha ("MamaMama")

I have just started working again on the refashioned top this morning (the one from Mark’s dress shirt), and I wanted to stop and write a thank you note to Mark’s grandmother. 

Mark’s grandmother (Etha a.k.a. “MamaMama”) was an avid seamstress.  She passed into Spirit about two years ago.  Although I never met her in the flesh, she did communicate with me several months ago.  I was sitting with Mark and she came through for him.  First, I smelled buttery bread.  Then, I saw her pulling a pan of rolls out of the oven.  I told Mark, and he said she was known for her buttery dinner rolls that she would make all the time.  I told Mark what she was wearing, what the kitchen looked like, and then she led me on a tour of the house she and her husband (MamaPapa) used to live in.  I told Mark everything I was seeing in this house I’d never been to or seen photos of, and he confirmed everything.  I felt so much love and sense of welcome from her.  I told Mark I felt like she was the kind of person who would make someone feel instantly comfortable, welcome, and at home.  My family is British, so I related it to just meeting someone and immediately inviting them for tea.  Mark said she was known for starting conversations with complete strangers, learning all about their lives, and swapping stories.

When I decided to start sewing a few months ago, Mark and I bought a sewing machine.  I didn’t have any other supplies and wondered how I could build a collection of all the tools and notions I would need without spending a lot of money.  Then, Mark suggested we look in the family storage unit for MamaMama’s sewing supplies.  The other family members agreed that I could use what I found, and I found a treasure!  First, I had been wanting a variety of fabric napkins and dish towels for the kitchen so we could stop using paper towels (because it’s more eco-friendly to use cloth).  I found a bounty of both in the storage, all with beautiful patterned fabric.  Mark and I had also wanted fabric to make cloth produce bags out of so we didn’t have to use the plastic bags at the grocery store.  There were so many linen dish towels in storage that we were able to use some of them to make beautiful bags.  We get complimented every time we use them! You can learn how we made ours here and find other patterns for making your own here.

In other boxes I found thread, fabric, scissors, interfacing, stacks of old (and super cool) sewing instruction books, needles, elastic, ribbons, bias tape…a true sewing abundance.  Boxes and boxes of exactly what I needed.  I cried because I was so happy and thankful, and I know she led me right to her stash.

A few weeks later, I started thinking about machine oil to take care of our sewing machine, which I hadn’t seen in the stash from storage.  Mark and I had already begun our No New Plastic campaign, and all the new machine oil is packaged in plastic, so I had no idea how I was going to get some.  That dilemma was on my mind for several weeks.  Then, Mark suggested that there may be sewing supplies at the apartment where his grandfather (MamaPapa) lives.  The next time we went over there, I asked MamaPapa about that possibility, and he led me to some more goodies.  At the time, I had also been questioning how I would buy thread that’s not wrapped in plastic.  The first box we opened contained fifty spools of thread.  Some old, some more recently purchased, in a rainbow of colors.  At this point, I just said a silent thank you to MamaMama in my head, because I knew she’d answered my thoughts yet again.  Guess what was in the next box?  Right on top, a brand new tube of machine lubricant, still in the package.  Thank you, thank you, thank you MamaMama!!!

This morning is yet another example.  I’m making the top from Mark’s dress shirt, and I need to find a way to take fabric from the back while still being able to pull it over my head (because I didn’t put in a zipper and sewed up the button area.  I thought about possibly using elastic somehow and maybe shirring it, which I’ve only recently read about.  I decided I would read again online how to do it.  First, I wondered if somewhere in MamaMama’s stash she had some elastic thread.  I opened the box with other elastics in it, and there it was!  A big roll of elastic thread.  Then I thought, “This is awesome, but how do I use it?”  Then I noticed corner of paper sticking out from the center of the tube of thread.  I pulled on it and realized it was a carefully folded page of instructions on how to use elastic thread.  I just had to stop again and say thank you. 

Etha, I thank you so much for all the help you’ve given me and continue to give me.  I hope you continue to make your presence known to me and the rest of the family. 



1 comment:

  1. How lovely! Great to use old things but not so much old thread... it falls apart. So, reuse the wooden spools but skip the thread.