Tag Archives: sewing


Mom's Wild Roses stitchery framed in a 36" hoop (circa 1968)(all photos by Marylin Warner)

Mary Shepherd’s Wild Roses stitchery framed in a 36″ hoop (circa 1968)(all photos by Marylin Warner)

Marylin's 20"x26" framed Mixed Wildflowers, 1973

Marylin’s 20″x26″ framed Mixed Wildflowers, 1973

1988--Mary's granddaughter, Molly, age 10, creates Clay Hand with Weaving.

1988–Mary’s granddaughter, Molly, age 10, created Clay Hand with Weaving

Dear Mom,

I remember when you taught me to thread a needle. It was a big darning needle, which assured my first attempt was successful. By the time I was ten I could thread small-eyed, delicate needles with silk thread and do basic stitches on squares of cotton cloth.

During the spring and summer, we planted bulbs and seeds so our yard—and our vases—would blossom with the beauty of flowers.  During the winter, when you created poetry and wove sentences into stories, you also ‘grew’ flowers with colorful threads that adorned pillow cases and wall hangings.  Because of you, I could use your sewing machine to ‘create’ simple shifts and jumpers by the time I was thirteen, which was about the same time I also began to ‘hunt and peck’ the words of my stories on your typewriter.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, Mom, and I am thankful for oh-so-many, many things. But as the snow falls, the temperature drops and the calendar creeps toward the end of another year, I am especially thankful for my love of sewing, growing and writing. And many other skills, too, but those are another story.


Judy Berman of http://earth-rider.com/, is a writer, teacher and former reporter whose posts I enjoy and respect immensely. Recently she nominated “Things I Want To Tell My Mother” for The WordPress Family Award.  It has been a long time since I’ve accepted awards for my blog, but several writers helped me understand that the Family Award isn’t for me and my writing…it’s for my mother and the stories of her life.  With that in mind, Judy, I gratefully accept your nomination on behalf of  Mary Shepherd.

Many of the blogs I appreciate deserve this award, and several have already received it.  This is my mother’s award, though, and so I happily nominate these three whose posts and comments I have shared with her, and whose talents and messages reflect her own.


Robyn’s photography of flowers and nature is amazing and inspiring, and she includes perfect quotes like this by Robert Mapplethorpe: “When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.”


Darla McDavid writes touching and real stories about her own family; she also writes helpful, specific and supportive posts for writers of all levels. This is a combination of topics near and dear to my mother’s life…and her heart.


Vivian’s blog is a combination of opportunities for writers, ideas for parents, activities and books for children, and recipes for everyone. It’s everything my mother enjoyed before the dementia, and even now she samples Vivian’s delicious recipes.




Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, The WordPress Family Award


Dear Mom,

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do at Christmas was make something special.  One year I folded white paper and carefully cut shapes that were then taped to the windows to look like lacy, happy, irregular snowflakes.  Another year I made “bird seed balls” and hung them with red ribbons from the trees; and a favorite year with teachers and neighbors (or so I thought) was when I washed out jelly jars and filled them with my own concoction of powered milk, cocoa, sugar and marshmallows, and tied the jar lids with gold rickrack.

The year that really taught me about “making things” at Christmas, though, was the year a neighbor tried to break a difficult habit by staying very, very busy.  She spent hours and hours and hours making a sequin/ribbon/mock-pearl and lace Christmas tree skirt.  Every stitch was by hand, painstakingly perfect.  A few days before Christmas, she was down to the finishing touches on the gold satin star–attached with lots of glittery beads–in the center of the the green felt.  She worked on it late into the night, then fell asleep on the floor next to the tree.  She awoke the next morning, shocked to realize she’d attached the star to the green felt with hundreds of beads and sequins, but without realizing it she’d also sewn the  star’s stitches all the way through to the skirt of her nightgown.

She called for help, and you responded.  Very creatively, I realize now:  you helped her cut a star-shape out of the hem of her long nightgown.  Then while she dressed in the bathroom and cried, you carefully trimmed away all the excess nightgown fabric from the underside, smoothed the ornate skirt around the base of the Christmas tree, and arranged the wrapped presents to cover the bumpy places. When you told me in confidence what had happened, I don’t remember you being critical.  The neighbor was doing the best she could to get through a hard time, you said, and she just needed a little help.

Through the years, Mom, you made place mats, table cloths, “O, Come Let Us Adore Him” wall hangings (one is pictured above, with every letter, bead and ribbon sewn by hand), and, later, you made Nativity scenes (a full set for each grandchild).  These things you created with love, in the spirit of Christmas.  But the real message you conveyed during the holidays–and every day–came from the way you always willingly helped others…and believed the best about their efforts.

Thank you for that message, Mom.

Love, Marylin


Filed under "Christmas Memories With Mom", Dementia/Alzheimer's, memories for grandchildren, neighbors