Happy Birthday to Teresa!

It’s my mom’s birthday, y’all!

For those of you who may have missed previous posts, my mom is a) awesome, b) a ginger penny pincher (well, more an auburn penny pincher), and c) SUPER crafty (she’s an artist and art educator).  Aside from being a wonderful and nurturing mother, wife, and citizen, she is involved in 4,000 clubs/organizations/foundations all with philanthropic goals.

(Ok, not 4,000, but it sure seems like it.)

Furthermore, when it comes to causes she is passionate about, she is a warrior, especially in regards to the opportunities and education of my brother, Derek, who has autism.

(Who, by the way, was diagnosed with autism in 1979, wayyyy before the government “declared war” on it and it was such a trendy “-ism” to have.  At that time, it was not uncommon to mis-diagnose someone with autism as being schizophrenic or having mental retardation, so my parents had a serious battle ahead of them.)

Yeah, she’s pretty swell (by the way, my dad is amazing too, but his birthday is not until March 26th:) ).

And like I mentioned, she’s CRAZY-crafty. Here is a list of just a few of her skills:

  • painting
  • drawing
  • stained glass
  • ceramics
  • pottery
  • sewing
  • needlepoint
  • embroidery
  • calligraphy
  • print-making
  • quilting
  • knitting
  • thrifting
  • couponing
  • antiquing
  • upholstering
  • and everything crafty in between…
My skill set is abysmally shorter.  My mother attempted to teach me her many skills but I was always too lazy, stubborn, or snippety (or a combination of the three).  Sigh…

Not only is my mother (half) responsible for my existence, she is also responsible for a lot of the fabulous things in my home.  So… today I’m gonna do a little show-and-tell with some things from previous posts (and some new things as well).  Enjoy!

First, we have the Mr. and Mrs. pillows:

Mr. and Mrs. pillows

Mr. and Mrs. pillows

I had the idea after seeing a similar thing at Ballard Backroom when I lived in Atlanta.  (Which, by the way, if you live in the Atlanta area you should totally check out!  They carry items that have been discontinued as well as floor samples for sale.  Amazing.  And guess who first told me about this store?  You got it: Teresa Foster.)

The inspiration looked like this:

I like these, but not so much the burlap thing (ow!) and I definitely didn’t like the price.  Even though Ballard Backroom has some amazing deals, these particular pillows were like $40 each.  And you can hardly get a Mrs. without a Mr., so I passed on these (but not without snapping a sneaky-snake picture on my camera phone).

I’d mentioned to my mom that I wanted to make these, and she immediately began to brainstorm with me on the best (and thriftiest) options.  We used a Joann’s coupon (thanks to my mom) and bought some white duck cloth (super cheap!).  I talked about using stencils, but my other scoffed at such an idea and decided to free hand it herself with some lime green fabric paint.  Employing her fabulous sewing skills, she made the duckcloth into a pillow cover and ta da!

Let’s look at it one more time:

Mr. and Mrs. throw pillows

Mr. and Mrs. throw pillows

And then there’s the Statue of Liberty pillow that was a total surprise (yeah, I cried upon receipt of this gift):

Statue of Liberty throw pillow

Statue of Liberty throw pillow

Using some of the leftover duckcloth, she made another pillow cover and again… free handed the entire picture.  Stencil free is Teresa’s way to be!

Another fun pillow, commissioned by me, has an old timey movie camera on it:

movie camera throw pillow

movie camera throw pillow`

Margeaux is partially obstructing the view, but that’s because she loves her grandma.

My wedding, which is a DIY effort I’m particularly proud of, was made possible largely because of my mother’s help.  She helped me out with MANY (read: most) aspects of it, but my favorite project was the marigold topiaries we collaborated on.

We had the idea for mum topiaries, but we knew this would be suuuper expensive (and then would die as flowers tend to do).  Fake flowers were just as expensive as real ones, so we knew we needed an even cheaper option to achieve the effect.


We wanted these to frame the altar area and be two-tiered, so lots of flowers!  She had the idea for tissue paper flowers, but a slightly different shape.  After buying two foam balls, a wooden dowel,  using a planter that she already owned, and many hours spent making the tissue paper flowers — by the way, I was banished from this project early on because I didn’t “fluff them right” — we ended up with this:


Last Christmas, my mother painted (from a photograph) Preservation Hall, Josh’s and my favorite part of our honeymoon (it’s an amazing jazz club on Bourbon Street).  This is perhaps my favorite thing my mother has ever made me:

Preservation Hall painting

Preservation Hall painting

I wish I had a close-up, because it really is beautiful and the detail is wonderful.  You’ll just have to trust me on this (I cried my face off).

And of course… there’s the Singer sewing machine dining table (oft-mentioned):

Singer sewing machine dining table

Singer sewing machine dining table

The entire construction of the table was a joint Foster-Donahue effort, i.e., my mom, dad, brother, Josh and me, however the original idea was 100% my mom’s (and she owned the original Singer sewing machine, so it’s also a credit to her thrifty/antiquing skills).

So… those are just a few of her creations and inspirations.  Yep, she’s pretty stellar… and can basically do… oh… anything.

And… because I know she actually reads this blog post (or will at some point in the week):

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!!! I love you!

(aww…… :)

Making crazy faces :)