Sewing with Gilda


The last time I used a sewing machine was, I believe, in junior high. It didn’t go well. I did okay with the cinnamon rolls made out of Pilsbury pop and fresh dough, but the sewing portion of Home Ec just wasn’t for me.

That’s going to change. Soon, sewing will be for me — rather, for Annabelle. (And Sophie, if she’s interested.)

The sewing machine arrived last night. I think it would take me forever to clear out a loved one’s things, but I guess it’s been cathartic for my father in law, who brought over several items last night when he came for dinner: a Kokopelli-printed tote bag, a brand-new leather purse and a half-gone container of bath beads (for me); a Minnie Mouse watch (for Sophie); and the following, among other things, for Annabelle: the digital camera he’d just given my mother in law for Christmas (that made Ray really sad); the pearl/crystal crown she wore on her wedding day, covered in Saran Wrap with the bobby pins still attached (that made me really sad); and her sewing machine.

(That scared the shit out of me.)

Thank goodness for Gilda. I often thank goodness for Gilda. Everyone should have a set of self-described former punk rockers as parents at their kids’ school.

The beauty is that Gilda’s girls happen to be the same ages as my girls. I wish I had the time today to describe to you just how cool this family is, but for now I’ll just have to say that Gilda understands the virtues of (among other things) carnival chalk and sequins and, overall, I’ve never seen a better accessorized family, right down to their black standard poodles.

But it’s not about the trappings, really it’s not, though Gilda understands the value of trappings in a very satisfying way. These are just good people.

And so when Gilda heard that Ray’s mom died and asked what they could do, I said, “Come over.”

She did, and she brought the whole family (minus the poodles) and a huge basket of sewing materials.

Gilda sews. She has a sewing machine and she’s not afraid to use it. To me, that’s really something, since I was so scared of my Kitchen Aid mixer I gave it away. (It took up too much counter space, okay?!)

Last week, Annabelle found a project in a craft book. The kind of project I’d have started with her but never completed — not without my mother in law’s help. Luckily Gilda came over, so not only did the project (purses made out of old jeans and pants, super-easy, a great kid craft — well, it was with Gilda’s help!) get completed, it was done with panache.

By the end of Saturday night, each of the four girls had a purse she’d decorated, and Gilda had promised to teach us how to use the sewing machine I didn’t expect would arrive quite so soon.

I’m going to have to shore up my sequin supply.



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2 responses to “Sewing with Gilda

  1. Robert Polk

    Amy: You & Ray’s Daddy & Gilda are extraordinary people. How you are to be within that circle.

  2. What a lovely post, and such a cute purse! I love reading/hearing about how people come to start sewing, the emotions and motivations. What an uplifting post!! Work that machine and do it for your mom-in-law, she will be so happy!

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