My grandmother loved to create. If I'm being honest, sometimes the things she created weren't terribly beautiful. Sometimes they were downright hideous. For Christmas one year, she gave me her handmade version of a Cabbage Patch doll. I remember distinctly it's unfortunate face -- the stitching of the mouth rising at an angle a bit more drastic than intended. When my dad saw it, he asked, "Why'd you give her a stroke baby?" It's been a running family joke ever since.
But each thing she made for me was a labor of love. It may not have been attractive, but I adored it.
One of my most favorite gifts she made for me was a card table tent (because let's just get it out there -- labor of love or not, that stroke baby was hideous and terrifying). She sewed curtains in the windows. My name was stitched on the front door, closed with velcro. I played for hours on end in that house. It provided a quiet oasis when I needed one most -- a refuge. A place of my own.
So I suppose it comes as no surprise that I love to create things that may be a touch outside the box. I love to see the world through the eyes of a child. As a mother of three sweet boys, there is no shortage of inspiration. When my kids were in their dinosaur stage, I sewed them dinosaur tails. When they needed solace, I made them a tent. When my oldest son was obsessed with octopuses, I set out to make him an octopus. (Do you know how annoying it is to sew and stuff 8 legs?!? It's a damn good thing I love him.)
My friend's son just turned 2. He loves the alphabet. I'm making him a card table tent. It may be silly or strange, but I'm making him an alphabet tree. One panel of the tent is a tree with each letter snapped to it. He can pull them apart as he practices his letters. He can spell his name. Yes, an alphabet tree may be out of the box, but when I'm envisioning the world through a child's eyes, it's just about perfect.