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Mothers and Daughters at Home: 35 Projects to Make Together

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Busy as we are, mothers understand that childhood is a precious moment with limited opportunities to spend heartfelt time with our children. For generations, mothers have created their own family memories -- and keepsakes -- by sitting down with their daughters and making beautiful things for the home. Constructing a dollhouse, stitching a family quilt, painting a kitchen chair, baking sweet rolls, sewing the eyes on a nubby brown teddy bear -- at the end of the day, the hours spent together making these things ...
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Overview

Busy as we are, mothers understand that childhood is a precious moment with limited opportunities to spend heartfelt time with our children. For generations, mothers have created their own family memories -- and keepsakes -- by sitting down with their daughters and making beautiful things for the home. Constructing a dollhouse, stitching a family quilt, painting a kitchen chair, baking sweet rolls, sewing the eyes on a nubby brown teddy bear -- at the end of the day, the hours spent together making these things are the ones we will best remember.

In Mothers and Daughters at Home, the talented writer and designer Charlotte Lyons examines and embraces the intimate personal style a mother shares with her daughter. Featuring 35 wonderful and easy-to-do projects -- from doll making, quilting, decoupage, and embroidery to papier-mâché, jewelry making, and cooking -- this inspiring volume introduces mothers and daughters to the delights of shared creative endeavor. The projects are fun and simple, and produce excellent results. But the most valuable element is the shared experience of making something together.

Inspired mothers and daughters will be delighted with their efforts as well as the moments they spend at work with each other. Organized according to the length of time each project requires -- from an hour to a weekend, or longer -- this lushly illustrated book shows us that anyone can make beautiful and exciting accessories for the home with the simple guidance and inspiration Lyons so wonderfully provides.

Profiles of mothers and daughters show us how deep the family bond can become when creative effort strengthens the mother-daughter relationship. Even the mistakes become cherished souvenirs of personal artistry and remembrance -- made together as dearest friends, mothers and daughters

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
The bond between mothers and daughters is never stronger than when they are creating beautiful things for the home: stitching, painting, cooking. This inspiring collection of thirty-five wonderful domestic crafts will encourage mothers and daughters to share creative work such as doll making, quilting, embroidery, or cooking. Her skill and imagination are widely known from her work as contributing editor for Mary Engelbreith's Home Companion magazine. She has organized the treasures according to length of time for completion—from an hour to a full weekend. Simple guidance and full-color photographs help even beginners to successfully complete the projects. The bonus accessories to this volume are profile stories from actual mothers and daughters, so readers can be on a first-name basis with others who ventured into the home arts. Tucked in the corners are famous quotations that flavor the pages with sweetness. From cover to cover, see what you can pass on to your own daughter. 2000, Simon & Schuster, $24.00. Ages Adult. Reviewer: C. Leonard-Schmidling SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684862736
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.88 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlotte Lyons's career as a writer, editor, designer, and photo stylist began when she left teaching to raise her three daughters. In an effort to stay creatively connected and to find activities that would be fun for her and her children, she immersed herself in the home arts -- and discovered her true vocation. Her skills and imagination with domestic crafts -- and her firsthand understanding of how creative activities can form a wonderful family bond -- have informed her professional work with magazines and books. Lyons is now a contributing editor at Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine, and her work as a designer and writer has been featured in Country Living magazine and in a number of books with Mary Engelbreit.

Although Lyons was born and educated in St. Louis, she lived most of her adult life in a bright-pink house in Oak Park, Illinois, near Chicago. She, her husband, and their three daughters recently moved to Irvington, New York

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: In an Hour
Chapter 2: Half a Day
Chapter 3: All Day
Chapter 4: Over the Weekend
Chapter 5: As Long as it Takes
Sources
Glossary
Patterns
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First Chapter

From Chapter One All that business about those things that we learned in kindergarten serving us throughout our lives should really go a bit farther back to preschool. Preschool crafts lessons, that is. The projects my children did in preschool have kept us busy and happy for years and promise to do so well into the future. This easy project is based on the popular preschool technique of picking through the trash, rescuing some overlooked resource, and giving it a new look with paste and paper. These decoupaged bottles and jars would be sweet place cards for a party. Decoupage a bottle for each guest with a photo of the guest or just a special name tag. Or fill the bottle with a lovely sprig of greenery or a flower stem and set it on the table as a bud vase. Your guest can take it home; we also learned in preschool that there are few things as essential and gratifying as a party favor.

you will need

TO MAKE A DECOUPAGED BOTTLE:

  • AN EMPTY GLASS JAR OR DRINK BOTTLE
  • TISSUE PAPER
  • DECORATIVE CUTOUTS FROM CATALOGS OR MAGAZINES
  • RAFFIA TRIM

TOOLS:

  • DECOUPAGE MEDIUM, A FOAM BRUSH, AND SCISSORS


BEGAN BY WASHING the bottles and jars and removing the labels or metal caps. We used a spaghetti sauce jar as well as juice and coffee drink bottles. Dry upside down on a rack to be sure the inside is dry, too. Choose the tissue paper you wish to cover it with -- I use gold paper because it looks more sophisticated, but another color or pattern would be fine. Tear the tissue paper into small panels roughly the size of the bottle. Usethe foam brush to paint the backs of the tissue shapes with decoupage medium. Put the pieces of tissue paper on the bottle and smooth them with the palm of your hand. The tissue papers go on very easily and conform to the glass shape nicely with a fair amount of smushing. Your preschooler will be very good at this part. Don't worry about the wrinkles; they're part of the look. If the edges aren't secure, slip some more glue beneath the paper and press again. Overlap as you like and cover the whole bottle in this way

WHEN DRY (after ten minutes or so), paste the backs of the decorative cutouts and add as you would a sticker, being careful to press the edges down. If you have trouble getting stiff paper cutouts to conform to the rounded bottle shape, clip vents around the edges so that they flatten and smooth out more readily Then paint the entire bottle with decoupage medium and allow to dry. Tie a raffia bow around the top and consider adding beads, acorns, or a tag to the raffia trim.

WE MADE THE NAME TAGS on the computer, although hand lettering would be fine. Trim the tag to size and finish off with an extra cutout decoration. In one case, the name tag became the bottle decoration itself. If cutouts are too much work to gather, consider using store-bought stickers. The fun is still there, and the project will go much faster.

sally and rachel Rachel inherited her mother's talent for art and then some. Through the years, Sally witnessed the willful momentum of her daughter's developing skill. She was delighted to see Rachel major in art in college and then receive her master's degree as well. Although Rachel lived away from home, they kept in touch by mailing little watercolor paintings back and forth to each other. These were small and simple pieces, sometimes meant for bookmarks or just something to tack onto the studio wall.

"My studio was Rachel's idea," Sally explains. "She understood my dream to devote more time to painting, so she told me to claim a spot in the house, get a comfy chair, and set up my easel. It was like we switched places. She even helped me pick out art books and things to fill the space for inspiration. Somehow art activities have been a common thread steadily weaving our lives together."

Like many mothers and daughters, though, there were times when personal issues created difficulties in communicating. Rachel, as a young woman, chose not to follow her mother's master plan. "She needed to be master of her own ship, and I still wanted to steer, which made it hard to be together. Then we arranged to meet on Saturday mornings for paint-at-my-house sessions that took the stress out of talking. It's easier to say things from behind an easel than from across the kitchen table. Art is such an equalizer, a very comforting way to be together. I am so grateful that we have that shared interest."

However, even in art they do not share a common style. Rachel had her own way of expressing herself from the start. "Rachel is very zany and experimental. I'm much more traditional. Sometimes we'll paint from the same still life and you'd never know we were looking at the same things."

Once Sally decided she would like to have a painted floor in their cottage dining room. She and Rachel decided a garden theme would look best, so Sally planned a grid of squares with diminutive perennial flower stems painted in each. One evening Sally returned home to find the floor half painted with voluminous blooms everywhere. Brush in hand, Rachel invited her mother to climb into the painted garden and get to work, too.

She did, of course, and many years later, Sally still enjoys her morning coffee in that room, where she can admire each power flower Rachel splashed onto the floor beside her own tidy sprigs, a warm memory and reminder of the creative dialogue between mother and daughter. "I'll have to keep this house forever, I guess," Sally says. "That floor is the most remarkable inspiration of all."

Copyright © 2000 by Charlotte Lyons

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Introduction

She came into the kitchen with an enormous bunch of zinnias wrapped in newspaper, the magenta, crimson, and yellow blooms trailing out the top, water dripping from the stems in the coils of a pink rubber band. My mother grandly plunked them into a galvanized garden bucket on the counter and stood back to take in the startling mix of color and texture. "Aren't they gorgeous!" she exclaimed. "Look. I mean, really gorgeous?" she insisted. eee I was only ten and already an advanced student in style. Her style. eee It wasn't just the flowers and how pretty they looked on a hot summer day It was the way she handled them, the choice she made to keep them in contrast to the newspaper, softly gray and smudged in the galvanized bucket, roughly battered.

Though later stripped of the newspaper wrap, the zinnias stayed in the bucket on the counter for several days, the focus of small vignettes she built around them. A crystal candlestick and a blue-and-white porcelain platter pushed into place beside the bucket demanded that even I give it a glance as I ran past to dart outside. The next day a row of red tomatoes dotted the sill behind the bucket, crisply graphic trim interrupted by a small pottery bird that had been in the living room the day before. Like flash cards, these small still-life arrangements were my early lessons about scale, composition, and balance.

I did pay attention, it seems, because today my house looks very much like my mothers. There is a similarity of style, an imprint that is an inevitable result of my inspired admiration. The comfort upon which I thrived in her home is naturally what I aim to duplicate in my own. I am drawn to the same color of wood in a chest of drawers or the same patterns in a tapestry. I collect things like small pottery birds and invariably fall for old farmy buckets. When I bring them into my home, I know just where to put them for the right effect. The look that is hers is now mine, too. And, like my mother, I love to make things for my home.

There were other lessons as well. My mother taught me how to sew, crochet, paint flea market furniture, decoupage, needlepoint, and whatever else she could think to do with her only daughter. These lessons were given in the spirit of fun and sharing. Some things we learned together, and some I taught her. Mostly, she emphasized the importance of home -- the place itself mattered because we lived in it and we could make it our own with small gestures or grand plans.

This same experience has taken place in countless homes for generations. It is the centerpiece of the home I share with my husband and three daughters now.

Mothers and Daughters at Home examines and embraces the intimate personal style a mother shares with a daughter. The projects are not only fun and easy to do but produce excellent results that rival those found in shops or expensive boutiques. The most valuable element, however, is the shared experience of making something together. Inspired mothers and daughters will be delighted with their efforts as well as with the time spent at work with each other.

Busy as we are, we parents understand that childhood is a precious time with limited opportunities to really be with our children. So many things get in the way of spending time together in a meaningful way. We know that if we turn off the TV, computer, and headphones, we have to come up with something pretty wonderful to keep their attention. Paintbrush, scissors, or needle in hand, I've never been turned down by any of my three daughters. At any age. Erin, my oldest, is twenty-one and still loves to take on a flea market transformation or a papier-mâché construction as long as it's going to her college apartment. My eighteen-year-old, Maggie, makes clever, original gifts for all members of the family and her lucky friends. Maury, who is twelve, comes up with wonderful project ideas and how-to techniques. Their efforts have blossomed in the appreciative environment of our home. They know that I love what they create and that they inspire my own creative life. I believe anyone can make beautiful and exciting accessories for the home with simple guidance and inspiration.

The projects we have made together in this collection include many popular home crafts such as quilting, decoupage, embroidery, papier-mâché, jewelry making, flea market transformations, doll making, and kitchen crafts. Several projects were inspired by the shared experiences of other mothers and daughters who have also discovered the instant and lasting rewards of working together, Profiles of these pairs underscore the emotional connection between working together and bonding mother to daughter, showing us how to create a delightful experience with a loved one and wind up with a tangible family heirloom proudly displayed front and center, too.

You will find that many simple crafts can be adapted to use as mother-daughter projects. Choosing from chapters organized according to length of time and commitment, select from those projects best suited to your daughter's age, interest, and skill. Perhaps you have only an hour to spend with your daughter. There are several choices you can make that will fit the amount of time available and the range of your interests. The projects can be used as exact guides or as jumping-off points for different artistic adaptations. For instance, a young daughter might want to decorate a frame with glued-on rocks; an older daughter might prefer to use broken tiles or dishes. You may choose to cover yet another with silk flowers, or to make another version of your daughter's choice, Perhaps you will pursue a chance to craft a project with your own mother, who, like mine, still thinks it's fun to try something new When we work together, the pleasure of that in itself makes the finished piece a kind of "party favor." Even the mistakes become cherished souvenirs of personal artistry and remembrance -- made together as dearest friends, mothers and daughters...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2000

    Excellent read if you enjoy homearts

    I really enjoyed reading this book. There was more than just craft ideas. I especially enjoyed the pages with stories about other mother and daughter experiences. I wanted to read it all over again when I finished. It has inspired me to be more patient with my daughter (and son)as she learns to craft. I now realize how very important it is to pass these skills on with love.

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