Her given name is Rachel Rose, but we call her Rae, or Rae Babe, or whatever we need to in order to stop her from running into the street. She is only 3, but "little" is probably not going to apply to her for very much longer, as she is enormous on the spirit, voice and activity scale. Rachel was an easy pick for me - my grandmother was Rachel. She lived with us when I was growing up and she rocked. She could do anything....cook the best fried chicken from scratch, grow a viable garden, sew, pull out tree stumps with her bare hands. (No really - she marched into the backyard and tugged for awhile and yanked the whole thing up. She was 65 when she did it.) Grandma Rachel taught my mother everything about sewing and crafting, and I learned from both of them. I have fond memories of snow days spent crocheting squares to connect for a family quilt. I remember trips to the fabric store to help my mother select fabric and notions for her latest creations. I was always so excited to open the pattern packet and cut out the pieces and help her pin them down. I remember feeling so responsible when Mom let me stitch small pieces with her sewing machine. I remember bragging to friends about my handmade Halloween costume or Homecoming dress, one-of-a-kind, compliments of my amazingly talented mother or grandmother. And I thought being able to sew was such a fabulous activity. It wasn't just a hobby in our house. My mother sewed to save money and give us things that maybe we would not have been able to afford.
I don't know why I didn't start sewing more as a teen - I'm sure I was just too aloof to realize that sewing would outlast any boyfriend du jour. Maybe because I didn't need to sew to have what I wanted. I actually didn't acquire my current machine until after I was married and my in-laws gifted one to me as a Christmas gift. And then I started sewing again. I knew about patterns and fabric, but I just needed the practice. I tried patterns and worked on simple projects. Once my oldest child was born, I started sewing for him and then stumbled into helping out backstage with a community theater production and the sewing bug bit me once again. And then I found out I was having a baby girl! WELL! I wanted nothing more than to be able to sew for my daughter like my mother sewed for me. I started making clothing and curtains for others, throw pillows, baby blankets, book covers, shopping bags, pajamas. You name it, I have probably made it. My Grandmother Rachel and my own Little Rae represent my love for sewing. I launched an Etsy shop in their name (Little Rae's Design). I'll discuss more about my shop launch and my latest projects with the next post but for now at least the meaning of my blog name is more clear. And if you are wondering why sewing and sanity (or lack therof) go hand in hand, take a gander at the crazy little people in my life and you'll wonder no more.