Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Recipe for Creativity- Memories With My Grandmother and Cable Knit Pillows

From a very young age I've been pegged as being creative. So I've grown up thinking that and just figured I have a talent. I'm always creating something whether it's scrapbooking, sewing, decorating, knitting, drawing, gardening, hot gluing, or even designing ads for my work. 

But I've recently come to realize that all this creativity, I've channeled from my grandmothers and my mom. I grew up watching my mom be creative with her resources. She used to make our costumes.  She crocheted these beautiful bedspreads when we were kids. She even took fashion design courses. My paternal grandmother, from what I understand, was also great at sewing and very talented in making very precise patterns for garments with no formal training. I guess creativity was a part of living back then. My ancestors had to be creative with their limited resources. It's just the way it was.

But some of my greatest memories of creativity are with my maternal grandmother. My Nina Chayo. I used to spend time during the summer with her at her home in Mexico. This place called El Chante, Jalisco. A little ranch we very quickly learned to love when we were kids. Those were days of carefree fun, when we could through caution to the wind. Walk to the local market unsupervised, stay out "late", ride horses, swim in the river, etc. I made great memories with my cousins. To say that we LOVED visiting my grandparents in El Chante, is an understatement.

So back to my memories of creativity. I spent vacations with my grandmother and on many occasions it was just her and I. So after getting up in the morning, helping with chores and running small errands for my grandma, like going to buy freshly made tortillas...yum, oh the memories of the smell in the tortilleria...Ok back to the story....She would tend to her jungle of plants and trees. Out of bordome, I joined her. This is where she would teach me to prune them, and pick the ripe fruit, and eat the fruit right off the tree...forget washing them, just eat them right up. She taught me that plants need love too. Talk to them with kindness and tenderness, like they're your babies. When they're not doing well, provide encouraging words, and compliment them when they're beautiful.

So again....back to the creativity portion of this's so easy for me to get lost in those memories. On our down time, my Nina Chayo taught me to make tortillas, make a pinata with crepe paper and a cantaro, cross stitch, embroider, crochet (although my mom started this lesson back at home in California), and she taught me to improve my knitting. From the age of 10 to 15, my father moved us to Mexico City where my cousin and I took a. knitting class. So on my next trip to El Chante I took my knitting. And guess what, my Nina Chayo knew how to do that too. And so she taught me a couple new stitches and we sat and knitted together. The details of those memories, of actually sitting there and talking for hours on end have faded. But I know we did it. I know that when I felt home sick she comforted me with her hugs, kisses, love and our little creative projects.

So last year when I received my fall Pottery Barn catalog and I oogled over the beautiful chunky cable knit pillow covers that grazed their glossy pages, I decided that since I know how to knit it was impossible for me to justify paying for mass produced knitted pillow covers. So I when out and bought chunky yarn and knitted a pillow. To my surprise, my friends and family loved it. So I made a couple and gave them as Christmas gifts. And when they were well received, it was suggested I sell them, and that's how my Etsy Shop came to be, DeLaCustom Boutique.

As I sit here and knit cable-knit pillow after cable-knit pillow, I can't help but to remember that my Nina Chayo was a huge contributor to my creativity and to my love of crafts and creations. I can't help but to remember the hours we spent together in her ranch home in El Chante, Jalisco. And although Alzheimer's and Dementia have robbed her of those memories, I still hold them very near and dear to my heart, for the both of us.