Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet 16

Today is September 20th, 2011.   It is also sweet because after a 3 month hiatus of my blog, I felt that today would be just the inspiration to write a blog post, finally… Winking smile I have  projects and pictures that are awaiting modeling on my blog….
September 16th has a lot of significance for me, especially.  It is my late grandmother’s birthday.  Mom, as we all called her. Mom was the grandmother we all want to have and want to be in the future.  I was very fortunate to have her in my life.  Not to sound like such a cliché, but she left a deep stamp on me. 
I adore this picture of my Grandmother and Grandfather.  Mom has the most beautiful, warm smile.
Mom Raimondi
I spent LOTS of time with my grandmother.  Mom is the reason I LOVE to cook and bake.  Mom was always making something and most of the time, from scratch.  I can envision her in my mind in her simplistic kitchen cooking fantastic creations.  Her homemade pizza was amazing.  Italian cookies around the holidays, cakes, and pasta sauce simmering on the stove, are but just a few of her wonderful recipes.
This is Mom and I posing for her birthday with a cake I baked her!  Isn’t the writing just awful…But Mom-style, she loved it!
Mom Raimondi (3)
I remember when I was about 12 years old I had a cream puff over a friend’s house at a birthday party.  I asked Mom if we could make them.  She looked at me so lovingly and said she needed a recipe and didn’t have one.  She promised she would obtain one.  In those days, we did not have the internet to search for a recipe.  A couple of weeks later she told me to come by.  Mom had a recipe for cream puffs and all the ingredients so we could bake them!!  We did bake them and they were delicious.  We baked often, but this was extra-special because it was a dessert I wanted to bake.  Mom always did special things to make me happy.  I always knew that when I was with her there would be lots of hugs and laughs.  And there was….

Mom Raimondi (2)
Mom worked in the Garment District in New York City, sewing, in the 1930’s. She talked about her sewing.   Mom had a beautiful Singer sewing machine at her house that I watched her repair clothing.  It was shiny and black and encased in a fancy piece of furniture.   I asked her a couple of times if I could try sewing but the typical, protective, Italian grandmother she was mentioned she was too afraid my fingers would go through the needle and hurt me!  Therefore, she never taught me to sew…Crying face
When Mom passed away in 1992 and my family were going through her things, her sewing machine sat there collecting dust.   My mother mentioned donating her sewing machine and I just could not let that happen.  I had the sewing machine and a few supplies sent UPS to my home in Arizona.  I opened up the box it came in not knowing even how to thread a sewing machine.  Really.  
This is Mom’s sewing machine that she loved so much.  It is in excellent working condition and nothing goes through layers of fabric like this machine!  The reason I sew today.
A neighbor showed me how to thread this sewing machine and told me I could hem pants, make curtains, and such just by measuring and a straight-stitch on the sewing machine.  Hmmmm, really……  I did just that and each little project I just challenged myself.  One day I got real brave and wanted to make myself a skirt.  I found a pattern that had 2 pieces and a elastic waist.  I can do that…… I just kept trying and reading those directions for the pattern over and over…  I can do this! 
Joann’s opened up nearby my home and I took a sewing class to make an apron!  Wow!  Everyone I knew received an apron… This was all just the beginning of how I kept challenging myself.  If I can make an apron, I can make……
I then thought I would like a serger so my projects would look more professional!  I bought myself a Brother Serger and came home, opened the box and literally cried, thinking how naïve I was.  I cannot work a serger! You see, I am a Type A personality needing instant perfection.   I placed it back in the box so I could return it.  Something told me to just keep trying it.  I did…. and the serger worked great.  I was in LOVE! 
I then saw a Brother 4x4 embroidery machine and thought, WOW, just think of all the wonderful things I could customize!  Embroidery machine here I come.  At that point, my husband built me a sewing area in my laundry room.  Upper cabinets and a countertop to place all my machines on.  Lots of room for storing fabrics and notions.  Now I could just sit down and start sewing and not having to set up machines and such..
I amazed myself as well as my family with all the things I could sew.  How could I sew with such tenacity and skill not ever touching a sewing machine?  Humbly, I say, with very little instruction have I reached the point to where I am now..(I still have lots of things I want to learn how to do)
I honestly feel Mom is with me watching over me in so many ways, including sewing.  Mom sits on my shoulder and guides me and my sewing machines and honestly, without many mistakes… Mom’s sewing machine is like my magic hat!
I always knew that my grandmother was special.  She has given me SO much in my life and still is.  There is no doubt that one day she will be the first person I see, guiding me once again, hugging me and saying “Joanne” in that Italian accent she has.
If only I could I would make her a special dinner tonight.  Chicken Francese and pasta with homemade sauce.  Italian bread, Amaretto,(she loved) taralli, and gembelli(italian cookies)
As you can see, today is sweet and bittersweet at the same time!  I feel I have been so blessed.  I miss her SO much.
Happy Birthday Mom! 

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