It's My Birthday {Episode 41}! Can I Tell You A Story?

It's my birthday today and I thought I would start a new tradition. I'm going to share a little of my story with you if that's okay. Why? Because it's my birthday and I like stories.

I sewed my first pillow when I was 11. Actually, I sewed two - a pig and a panda. They were projects middle school Home Economics class.  I was only supposed to make one, but my parents had recently gotten divorce and I was worried that if I gave one to my mom and not my dad, my dad would be sad. {Oh, silly child of divorced parents!}.

The site of my junior high school home economics class. {This used to be my mom's high school!}
Both Piggie and Panda came out pretty well for a grade 6 sewist - I put my heart and soul into those softies. Don't believe me? Mr. Pig lived with my mom up until about a year ago (that's 2013). I think 30 years of life for a stuffie is pretty good - don't you?

My second pillow was created when I was 18. I joined a sorority that year. I needed a tribe to call my own at that big college. My sponsor was a wonderful girl named Lisa, my "Big Sister". To thank her for supporting me, I was supposed to make her a pillow. I was a pro with all that Home Ec experience under my belt, right?

Wrong! I was perhaps a little overzealous. I was going to make the Best Pillow Eva! I chose a wide lace trim, sparkly puffy paint, blue plaid fabric for applique letters and a nice stretchy knit fabric for the body of the pillow.  I am groaning now just thinking about it.

With no Home Ec teacher to guide me, I hunkered down in the basement over my mom's sewing machine for hours. My mom peeked in on me every now and then, probably due to the repeated loud crunch of breaking sewing machine needles. Finally she rescued me, "I can't watch you do this anymore Belinda, move over please." And there's the dirty truth, my mom sewed the pillow for me.

I still remember how she pinned the trim to the inside of the pillow.  How the heck was that going to create the big fluffy lace trim I imagined?  I know now the secrets of trim, but at the time it was like voodoo magic when she turned that pillow right side out.  It was soo beautiful! She left me to take care of the puffy paint, plaid fabric and Wonder Under. But that was the biggest, most sparkly Big Sister gift, eva!

I'd like to tell you I've been making pillows ever since but that would be a lie. And this is a story of truth. There was very little sewing after the big pillow. I finished my degree in Environmental Science, worked as a Conservation-Planner for a small town in Massachusetts. Pursued my master's degree in Biology, final finishing it 10 years after I started it. In between, I did desktop support and helped design website for a large financial services firm. I did buy my first sewing machine somewhere in there, but sewing time was scarce.
My first sewing machine. Still in use at my studio!

It wasn't until I bought myself an embroidery machine one Christmas that I really picked sewing back up in full force.

But, that's a story for another birthday!