Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A silk purse from a sow's ear: how to make bad times better

I know the saying is actually "You CAN'T make a silk purse out of a sow's ear," but the following is a story of triumph, victory, destitution, and a pair of curtains....  This is how a silk purse (figuratively) DID come from a pig's ear.

Basically, we had no money.  The Hippie wanted something special for her birthday, and after watching those Barbie movies that used to be all the rage several years ago, she had her heart set on a masquerade dress.

I can sew with the best of them--even had my own business--but the problem remained that if you don't have the fabric, you can't make the dress.  I could've bawled then because it was almost my baby's birthday and I wanted to give her something amazing.  She's such a sweet kid, always helping out and working to make things easier on everyone else.

"Calm down," my best friend said.  "What you need is a day to yourself.  Just stop stressing about everything.  First you're terrified because your washer broke, then you were upset because the hot water in your shower stopped working and then your kitchen faucet started having issues. Now you're worried about your kid's birthday."

"Well, yeah!  That's a bit to worry about.  Wouldn't you think?!"

"Get her a coloring book from the dollar store.  It'll be okay."

"Ummm no."

"Fine, then just take some time for yourself, Elisa.  I'll hang out with the kids.  Read a book or something and I'm sure ideas will come to you about how to fix all of this stuff and still make your little girl's birthday amazing."

So, she took the kids out for a little while and I read some of "Gone With the Wind."  It's my favorite book, really. I've read parts of it so many times, just wanting to relive the magic: like when Scarlett realizes that true friendship can be so powerful...when Melanie is dying.  Or how Rhett makes love to Scarlett after a huge about one heck of a scene for that time period!  Anyway, I opened the pages to when Scarlett was destitute, but needed something nice to wear to coherence someone to help her.  That's when she spied the curtains.

I closed the book....

When genius strikes, it's a strange sort of sensation, like mixing coffee and ice cream together for the first time and realizing it's a frappe that's 10% the cost compared to a coffee shop!  Anyway, I looked at my basement curtains with a sort of primal hunger that would scare most.  And while my kids still visited with my friend, I tore down the curtains and made the most glorious kids' dress I could think of!

I know this might sound silly, but before my daughter's birthday, I gave her the dress so she could wear it on her big day and "wow" all of her friends.  When she saw the thing AND a mask--that I had made with random items I found around the house--she lit with so much joy.

"Mama!"  She nearly cried.  "I don't know how you did it, but I love it so much.  It's exactly what I wanted."

My friend, who came to witness the event, leaned closer.  "Isn't that fabric familiar?"

"What?" I mouthed in slow motion.  "Don't...say.... A. Word!"

The Hippie continued gushing about the dress and after a minute, ran upstairs to change.

"You've been reading 'Gone With the Wind,' again.  Haven't you?" my friend asked while the Hippie changed.  "The curtains are missing in your basement. Aren't they?"

"The basement needed some more sun anyway!"

She burst out laughing.  "Elisa. You're ridiculous."

After a minute, the Hippie came back downstairs.  Every bit of worry and time spent making the dress was worth it. My heart warmed as she hugged me and said that I was "the best mother in the world."

I'm still not sure why, but I cried as she hugged me, her smile so big and her movements so quick as she spun around the room.

It's truly amazing how hard times can be, but the simplest ideas can make things better.  Who knew that an old pair of curtains, a plate, glitter and feathers (for the mask) could bring so much joy.

I'm grateful for a friend who gave me time to think and for Margaret Mitchell, who wrote a book that always seems to pull me through the hard times.

Here's the dress that I made for the Hippie all those years ago.  You can see the curtain fringe on the bottom.  I decided to leave it that way, just so I'd remember that even the most beautiful items can come from something that just needs a little love.

If we're resourceful, even the hardest times can turn into the best memories. 

I have started a Facebook page where I'm featuring a new set each day.
If you're interested in seeing those, please visit that site here: EC Boutique

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