• This is My Family. I'm the woman standing next to the bride.
Life after teaching
My name is Gretchen Boettcher and I quit teaching high school 1 year ago and started sewing napkins.
I keep coming back to these 3 Raggedy Anns. I want to make them. I think about the woman who made these. I don't know her, but I feel like we would be friends if we lived close to each other. I like the idea of old and new together. Raggedy Ann has been around forever.
I remember my mom making what seemed like hundreds of Raggedy Anns for a Christmas Bazaar at St. John's Lutheran Church in Sayville, New York. One night I was awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of my mom's sewing machine. I walked into the living room and there were stuffed doll arms, legs and bodies in several states of completion. There was a laundry basket full of stuffed arms, and another basket with legs, and then bodies. Bodies with "I love you" embroidered in little embroidered hearts on the left side of their little raggedy bodies. It made me wonder what Santa's workshop looked like. I wonder if it was anything like our living room. I don't think mom was doing all the work. I believe the Lady's Aide group at church must have consulted Adam Smith's book, "The Wealth of Nations." The part where he writes about division of labor and specialization as the key to a more affluent as well as efficient economy. It was cutting edge stuff in 1776. The ladies probably didn't consult Adam Smith's books, but Adam Smith could have used the construction of Raggedy Ann's as a case study in his theory.
Man, I wish I had pictures of all of that assembly. In a way, just having it in my memories is better. The older I get, the bigger the story can get.
I wonder if my mom was a young in this day and age if she would have made Raggedy Anns with blue, pink, or purple hair. Somehow, I think she would have come up with something even more "cutting edge."
Thinking about Mom
I remember growing up watching my mother sew as I ironed, pinned, and marked fabric for her. I decided to actually start using a sewing machine and sew something myself. I was 26 years old. I made a jumper for my 2 year old daughter. My goal was to follow the instruction slowly and methodically...not rushing at all. I ended up with a sweet little jumper and a love for sewing.
There were many nights I remember hearing the sewing machine going until 1 or 2 in the morning. Mom was never one to sew a little. If I needed a red hooded cape the next day, it wouldn't just be a red hooded cape. The cape would have rickrack on it, it would be lined, and she would have found an unique clasp to close the cape.
Looking back at the sewing my mother did, I realize how much I took it for granted. My costumes were ALWAYS the best! She made it look so easy. I now realize that making all my clothes at the start of the school year was a major feat. Sewing the fabric was the end result of hours of looking at patterns and picking out the perfect fabric.
The last 2 years of her life she helped me with my napkin business. I would sew the napkins together and then bring a huge stack for her to turn and make sure the corners were poked out. She looked forward to the job.
One of the things that mom was scared of was that we would forget about her when she passed away. That thought reminded me Achilles in "The Iliad." One of the things important to Achilles was to be remembered after his death. Actually, that idea seems to run throughout the Greek way of thinking. This makes sense because mom was half Greek, Sophia Katsaloulis Boettcher.
Mom, I just want you to know I have not forgotten you and using your sewing machine everyday keeps the memories alive.
Here are a few outfits, afghans, and toys mom made for us and for herself too.
Happy New Year Everyone! I took a break from sewing for a couple of weeks. This has given me time to think about what I want to start working on this year. I've decided to branch out and start making placemats and table runners. I have a few other ideas percolating in my brain, but right now I want to focus on the best way to make these new additions to my collections. I am starting the placemat line with travel in mind as well as my love of maps. The placemats are still being assembled. Here are the beginnings. Like the napkins, these placemats will be double sided. Tell me what you think about my new endeavor. Do you have any suggestions for the themes of the placemats? I look forward to another year of creating things to make dinner even more entertaining.