Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day: A Project Honoring My Mom

Today is a day set aside to honor our mothers and be honor by our children.  Since becoming a mother, it's been a curious day for me because I have never celebrated a Mother's Day as a mom, while my mom was still living. My mother passed away 17 years ago after a life long battle with heart disease.  I was pregnant with my first born, a child whom she knew his name but never got to meet him. 
My mom, Elaine, back during
the time my dad served
in the Korean War.
Bitter sweet is this day for me.  I will accept a few gifts from my kids and be asked what I want to do for lunch and dinner.  I will do my best to make this day nice in celebration, but the memories of my mother....the mother that was never able to stand by my side and be a part of my children's lives will take front and center stage.  Perhaps, I should have amended this attitude years ago.  After all, she would have wanted me to completely enjoy the day basking in the adulation of my family.  In fact, she would have chastised me for not doing so!  But, I had an amazing mother. (Many of my friends and my siblings friends still talk about her.)  How can I NOT honor her regardless of her passing?

So in her honor, I am re-posting my blog post from last month, Cherished Chest of Drawers Gets a Makeover.  It tells one story of me and my mother that I think captures a moment in time when she was still here.....just being a great mom.  I am re-naming the post, Mom's Cherished Chest of Drawers Gets a Makeover. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.....especially my own.

Mom's Cherished Chest of Drawers Gets a Makeover


This chest of drawers is an Ethan Allen piece that was in the house where I grew up.  It has sentimental value because of my distinct memories.  My mother had it set up near a suspended stairway and displayed a gift that I gave her back in 1973, a "Mother" plate.  I would sit on the stairs memorizing the poem printed on the plate, Only One Mother to Cherish and Love.  Because of that, I still know every word of that poem.  Somehow the message got through to me at an early cherish my mom.  In the end, this plate and the mantra I memorized ended up being a gift for me.  She was taken from me before the birth of my first child 16 years ago.  Even though she is gone, we had the best years.  I enjoyed every moment with her.  Well....maybe not every moment......I was a teenager!

Cat scratches/Candle burn.

So, I have kept this chest for sentimental reasons.  I have long gotten past the dark wood finish and several times had considered selling it.  The "before" image above is kind.  This chest is showing the years, and not in a charming way either.  The top had several scratches left behind by my long lost, beloved Silver Point Siamese cat, Sushi.  There was also a pretty good burn mark in the finish from a jar candle that was left burning too long.  I have been putting table runners over these flaws to hide them.  When we came to the decision to completely change the colors in the master bedroom, I knew this would be the first piece that I tackled.  The color theme for this project is white/off white/beige/neutrals. 

I was super excited to freshen up this chest, and because of the sentimental value was wanting to go the extra mile. I chose to add a muted toned seashell fabric.  The Mother Poem talks about nature and the multitude of miracles in the skies, land and the oceans.  "Thousands and thousands of flowers and trees, Hundreds and hundreds of mountains and seas," says the unknown writer.  I grew up and still live near the ocean, as did my mother.  She would take us to the beach in the early morning hours when we were little kids with sand pales and Styrofoam 'surf boards' that we got from the dime store.  I have wonderful memories of my childhood with my mom.  Getting back into that hot car, after barely dusting the beach sand off my body, and sitting on my damp towel has we drove home....Salt clinging to my skin and tightening it as we drove....... 

I cannot believe that tan. Wow.

Her and I took a 'girls' trip when I was 15 years old to Naples on the west coast of Florida.  I was so excited because, unlike the east coast, the west coast waters were gentle and the sea shells were amazing.  She helped me pick up shells for hours. We floated in the gulf waters and she told me stories of her teenage years.  She helped me spell out my then boyfriend's name in the sand with the collected seashells.  That four days still remains four of the happiest days of my life.  (I can grow a tan like no other as you can see by this photo!)

Well, I am almost finished with the chest.  All it needs is a good poly wipe and wax.  After a heavy sanding, I put two coats of Sherwin Williams All Surface Acrylic Latex Primer.  I then painted the chest with two coats of  Sherwin Williams "Creamy." 

I detailed the edges with a few accents of Americana Deco Art craft paint in Turquoise Blue with Folk Art Metallic Pure Gold layered over the top of the blue. (I used the blue to bring out a little blue detail in the seashell fabric.)  

I then followed up with a wash all over the entire piece with MinWax Dark Walnut. 

I soaked the hardware in vinegar to clean them up a bit. 

I then precision cut the fabric to fit on the sides and drawer fronts of the chest.  I used a thin layer of Mod Podge to adhere the fabric and used a credit card the press and smooth it down, concentrating on making sure the edges are firmly tacked.  I did not cover the fabric with the Mod Podge because it is a heavy, outdoor fabric and I know it will take the wear and tear.  Plus, I like the texture that the raw fabric brings to the piece. 

Hope you like it.  I do.....and I am sure my mom would have thought it was awesome. 

Millions of stars in the heavens above,
Only one mother to cherish and love,
Thousands and thousands of flowers and trees,
Hundreds and hundreds of mountains and seas,
Everything multiplied over and over
Robins and butterflies, bees in the clover.
Many good friends to think the world of,
but only one mother to cherish and love.

-The End-


tofubeast said...

I wish I could have met your mom. She sounded amazing and probably could through one heck of a party! ;) Happy Mommy's Day, Lesley!

Lisa Montsion said...

For mother's day I got my mom a pair of socks.