[Family Friday] Heirlooms

I’m going to share something with you today that’s special to me – something that people who like to sew will probably like.

It’s one of the few possessions I have that I would consider an heirloom, or…maybe I’d just call it a little treasure. I’ve been thinking about it because Mother’s Day is on Sunday.

My mom handstitched all of our names (I am the youngest of 5), birth dates and the cities where we were born, along with some embellishments, onto this blue chambray fabric which she intended as a quilt border. She never actually attached it to a quilt (she says the quilt she made disappeared and she never knew what happened to it), so the rolled up border sat in her sewing bucket forever. I remember always wanting to unroll it and look at it,  much the same way Elena and Rosa always want to take out their baby books and pore over the pages.

I also remember what a pain in the neck it was to roll it back up (and was reminded again when I took it out for these photos!).

Want to see it? You’re going to learn something about me today that I am pretty sure most of you don’t know. Keep reading:

Christopher Shaw Wheeler, born August 13, 1962 in New York, NY

How hilarious is it that she forgot the “h”? And added it in?

My brother Chris is the oldest.

My brother Landy (Landrum – it’s a family name) is the second oldest:

Landrum (“Landy”) Wheeler – no middle name – born October 21, 1966 in Milwaukee, WI

My sister Gillian (Gilly) is the middle child and oldest girl:

Gillian Graves (“Gilly”) Wheeler, born November 19, 1967 in New Rochelle, NY. Graves is also a family name.

I’m suspicious of the “genius” stitched next to her name. I kinda maybe think Gilly sewed that on there herself.

My sister Liza (formal name “Elise” after my maternal grandmother) is the fourth child:

Elise Scott (“Liza”) Wheeler, born March 1, 1969 in New Rochelle, NY

And now me. Here’s the part you didn’t know:

My real name is Mary (named after my mom). Lawrence was my paternal grandfather, who died about 3 hours before I was born. Everyone has always called me Molly, except the teacher on the first day of school and the cashier at department store who says, “Thank you for shopping here, Mary” as she hands me back my credit card.

I was destined to love rick rack.

Mary Lawrence (“Molly”) Wheeler, born August 9, 1972 in Shelbyville, IN.

I trust you have now noted my birthday on all of your calendars. Also, I think I should have a huge birthday bash this year because my birthday (August 9, 2010)  is 8/9/10. You are all invited.

Here are a few of the decorative touches around the rest of the border and some close-ups:

(the butterfly is not an applique)

Five kids in ten years from New York City to Milwaukee, back to New York, and then to Indiana. Whew!

Today,  by the way, happens to be my mom’s birthday, so happy birthday to her.

And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there – much love to you all.

Mary Lawrence


17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jen said,

    I just love this post—love the embroidery and the story. It’s beautiful!

    One of the most special gifts my mom ever gave us (four kids in our house so just 1 shy of your family) were hand made embroidered pillows with our names on them. It was such a special gift. I wish I still had it.

  2. 2

    gray.com said,

    (Blush) Thanks, Molly — you’re my favorite! (Just kidding, you other guys.)

  3. 3

    Rachel said,

    Oh, I love this! What a treasure! I actually love that it never got attached to a quilt – it’s cool to see it in one long strip like this. Of course, I’m partial to it because of the embroidery, but it’s really just such a special thing. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. 4

    Michelle said,

    Gray.com is (I hope my mom isn’t reading this) the most creative awesome adorable mom in the world. My mom is great, too, but ….seriously….that butterfly alone, ok?? say no more. It made me think of my Grandma who was the most humble crochet artist in the world. Thanks, Molly.

  5. 5

    what a lovely post :o)
    and what a lovely thing you Mum made – sometimes the things that never got finished are more special :o)

  6. 6

    The “H” stitched in so unashamedly is AWESOME!

  7. 7

    Holly said,

    How awesome you still have it! I also have name switcheroo issues since I use my middle name. My Ma made me lovely jumpers out of chambray and embroidered on them – I wish I still had them. Somewhere in there I also had a little backpack with lots of groovy 70’s embroidery like your mom’s above. Ahhhh, memories… Thanks for the share!

  8. 8

    goodtogrow said,

    I thought I was your favorite, Mom. Pout. Just kidding. Great post Molly. I love it!

  9. 9

    Lisa Kennedy said,

    Happy birthday Molly’s mom! Added wishes for a Happy Mother’s Day.
    Your creativity obviously impacted at least one of your children.
    Thanks for sharing her with all of us!

  10. 10

    Molly said,

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments and birthday wishes. Mom is tickled pink!

  11. 11

    lesley said,

    this is so cool! molly, i love that you have these. hope they’ll be passed down again and again 🙂 i have a few special garments that my mom made for me as a babe, ones that i am so glad she kept, and that i will pass down to my daughter for her kids, etc…it’s so special to have these handmade heirlooms!
    happy mothers’ day to you and to your mom! [and yes, august 9, duly noted]

  12. 12

    Ro said,

    I’ve been married to you for 15 years and had never seen this before. Also, didn’t know your middle name was Lawrence. What other secrets are you hiding?

  13. 13

    Karin said,

    I love this! Graycom, you really are such a special lady. I love the different flourishes you put on each one’s name area, I wonder – did you do them one by one as the kids were born or all at once? And does seeing each one evoke a specific memory of that child? You’ve inspired me to find a way to make something special for each of my kids.

  14. 14

    Ah, mum’s do such wonderful things! What a fabulous roll of joy…..and five kids, I’m well impressed!

  15. 15

    ChristopHer said,

    I stitched that ‘H’ in myself in 1977.



  16. 16

    Miss Serendipity said,

    Hello, this is my second visit here and I have to say that I love this idea. I also have 5 children and I have little nicknames for them that would make a lovely additions to their names and birthdates. I love how your mother was able to use different embroidery stitches.

    What a wonderful memory and the little stories you shared with it. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  17. 17

    MJ said,

    OMG Molly what a beautiful treasure!!! It’s such a great idea!!!
    thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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