Why I Do What I Do

    If you have a few minutes to spare and want to understand why I do what I do, please read on.  Otherwise, save yourself a few minutes and get back to the catalog.
    Most of the people who know me well would say that I am a workaholic and a perfectionist.  I inherited these traits from my Mother and that's a good thing.  More about Mother later. I have always enjoyed an occasional arts or crafts project, but when you work full time outside the home you seldom have as much time as you would like to invest in 'play time'. That's what I always called my past attempts at creativity. Play time. To understand why I am so driven to design and create, you have to understand my beginning.
     My parents were very poor sharecroppers who traveled from farm to farm wherever there was work and provided a house to live in. They worked very hard physically for very little money with which to raise their five children. We didn't have much, but we always had family. A big family, and an even bigger extended family. How big you ask? Forty two first cousins. That's big. The farms we lived on were located in the deep south during very turbulent times in our country's history. I could tell you stories about segregation and the first little black child who tearfully entered our elementary school as all the students were allowed to watch, MLK's assassination that happened seventy five miles from our home, chopping and picking cotton, of caring for farm animals and milking cows, of no indoor plumbing and a well for drinking water that froze in the winter, of having no Christmas because there was no money for frivolous things, and of great sadness when children are lost to circumstance. But, I could also tell you sweeter stories about laughter and love and the redeeming qualities possessed by a strong family with a resilient Mother that knew how to survive almost anything you could imagine.
     When I was an adolescent, we lived in several different tenant houses that my mother always managed to decorate and turn into a warm comfortable happy home after she stuffed newspaper in the cracks in the walls and shoved rags under the doors to keep out the draft.  She cooked the most amazing meals on a two burner wood stove using only what she grew in her garden and the animals they raised on the farm. She made clothes from other clothes such as skirts for me from dresses of hers - the original hand-me-downs. Her personal sacrifices, her resilience, fortitude and ability to make something good from very little and to be satisfied with the result inspires me still. We learn by example and my 88 year old mother's example is the reason I am a creative resilient person.  
     When I was about seven years old, the pastor from a local church visited our home and invited our family to attend their church, but my parents replied that they had nothing nice enough to wear having only stained and tattered work clothes that they felt were not fit to be seen in church. A few days later,  the pastor returned with several bags of clothing including dresses for my mother, sister and me, pants and shirts for my father and brothers and shoes for all of us. I'd never seen my parents smile bigger than they did that day. You see, until that day, they had never known firsthand that those who were more fortunate also possessed the ability to be compassionate. They had grown accustomed to the sideways glance by passersby as they turned up their noses at our worn shoes and clothing in the grocery and hardware stores which were the only places we ever went outside of our home. We sat proudly in church the next Sunday and for every Sunday after that. This charitable donation of clothing would not be the last time the church provided for our family and each time, they did so with humble hearts and a giving nature. This childhood made me who I am and I am eternally grateful for the hardships we endured and for the kindness shown to us by complete strangers who became our closest and dearest friends.
     My family and our church provided the foundation for my life. The cross is a very prominent symbol for the church and for me of the presence of the church in my upbringing and the great sacrifices made for those you love. I believe that if we don't understand the meaning of personal sacrifice, we can not fully comprehend how to love another person completely. This is the reason for my Creative Cross collection.
     Back to the reason why I do what I do. When the company I worked for closed down, my husband and I made the choice for me to take some time off. While he had spent twenty years serving in the military, I had spent the same twenty years working any administrative job I could find at the bases where we were stationed. The plan was for him to continue making a living and for me to make the living worthwhile. What this meant was that I would devote my time taking care of us and also, finally have the time to explore my creative side. That was over ten years ago and I am happy to say I am still exploring. What I found is that I've become quite good at this creative thing. Really quite good.
     My name is Linda.  I am a self-taught artist and crafter who loves to create.  Whether it's painting, collaging, decoupaging, scrap booking, sewing, cooking, tiling, creating mosaics or gardening, I am happiest when I'm making something from nothing, in a way, just like my Mother. I have been dabbling in art for more than twenty five years and actively educating myself in every facet of arts and crafts for the last fifteen years. During my 33 years of marriage, I've hosted hundreds of parties with every theme you could imagine for groups as small as four up to more than a hundred. Parties take lots of planning, hard work and dedication, but I've loved every minute of it.  I decided it's time to combine the two. What could be better than to have a party and craft something at the same time?  Doesn't that sound like fun?
      I believe each and every one of us has a creative side that reveals itself when we try. That's all. Just try. You might be pleasantly surprised. There's nothing stopping you. Do something fun for yourself and invite a few friends along for the ride. I love what I do and I hope that shines through in all of my handcrafted pieces and craft parties. I look forward to inspiring you to try your hand at exploring your creative side.