Mom mastered pretty much everything
she laid her hands on.
She earned a degree in Home Economics
from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn
where she learned to conjure up fabulous meals
from the simplest ingredients.
Most of what I know
about cooking and baking,
I learned from her.
Mom turned bargain hunting into an art form.
Always see what's on the clearance rack first
and with a little alteration, transform it into something fabulous!
She showed me how to artfully arrange flowers,
make exquisite Easter baskets,
wrap any present beautifully.
She had a lot in common with many women of her time,
but there was one specific thing
she knew how to do better than anyone
I ever knew.
Mom was a designer extraordinaire -
what the fashion world would label a couturier.
Her clothing designs were executed to perfection,
down to the tiniest, most intricate details.
She provided my school wardrobe of jumpers and dresses,
whipped up special outfits for holidays and occasions,
created runway-worthy prom and wedding gowns,
and crafted haute couture mix and match pieces
for my first trip to Paris.
When Mom wasn't designing, altering,
sewing, quilting or embroidering,
she was slip-covering, re-upholstering, knitting or crocheting.
She elevated crafting to another plane
with projects that ran the gamut from quaint to quirky.
Whether it was traditional painting or creating stained glass lamps
or sculpting life-like animals out of bread dough,
Mom's hands were always busy making something.
Although I didn't acquire my mother's knack
for noteworthy needlework or cutting edge crafts,
I do find great joy in the many treasures she created for me
and the multitude of skills she taught me.
But here's what she really taught me.
That life isn't always perfect, but it can be beautiful.
The story begins with once upon a time
and ends with happily ever after...
when made with love
by your own two hands.
In loving memory of my mom, Helen Otremba.
March 10, 1926 - July 16, 2018