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gina provenzano, mother's dayDIY Life's resident crafter Gina Provenzano with her DIY inspiration -- her mother, Pat. Photo: Gina Provenzano

Growing up in a family of four sisters, it was difficult for me to have alone time with my mom. I never truly realized how valuable our time together was until I grew up to be a DIYer. My mom is an artist, and crafting was something we did together.

Mom encouraged my creativity, taking me along to her pastel-drawing classes when I was still in grade school. The teacher, Mr. Cardiff, was a gentle old soul with a soft voice and a steady hand. With patience and discipline he instructed and inspired. I learned a lot in his studio watching both he and my mom work together. I would be mesmerized watching them create images with small stubs of colored chalk in their fingers.

When I was in junior high, my mother and I began taking watercolor painting classes together at the school. The environment was different, but the effect was the same. I began to develop my skills practicing and painting at home with my mom.

I loved when a holiday approached and we would plan what type of project we would take on. My mom's crafter side would bloom around the holidays. We'd all gather around the kitchen table every Christmas, and Easter -- and sometimes just for no reason at all -- to make a project together. Just mom and her girls. We always laughed, sometimes cried and often learned something new.

Each one of our holiday projects is still a prized treasure in my mom's eyes. There's one Christmas ornament in particular, which I can remember making so vividly: my clothespin hula girl. Her skirt has seen better luaus, but still she sits among the tree branches each year. Mom makes certain of it.

As I got older, art remained a part of my life, but I chose to pursue an academic degree in business. I think my mom was a little disappointed that I decided against art school. Ironically, here I am today, crafting and creating like I did back then -- and for a living, to boot.

I know I can still ask for my mom's advice when I have a question about the many craft projects I produce for magazines and online publications. And I know I'll get a constructive and honest reply. On the occasion when the tables are turned, I feel a tinge of pride knowing she trusts my opinion enough to ask my advice.

Through the years I've realized that while our techniques and styles were different, we shared some artistic similarities. We both despise making the same thing more than once, for instance. We are both perfectionists. And most of all, we both enjoy sharing our talent with others.

Now, I often craft with my nieces and nephews. I love to see them hone their individual styles with enthusiasm. Crafting for DIY Life, ShelterPop, and other publications is not so much a job as it is a celebration -- kind of like a holiday spent sitting around the kitchen table. I can make a project and share it with the world. I just love that -- as long as I only have to make it once!

So thank you, Mom. It is through your enthusiasm and encouragement that I found my own creative self and style. You have truly inspired me, and instilled in me a passion for creating and sharing that is thoroughly fulfilling.

Happy Mother's Day!

  • Carrie55

    A wonderful article.. our family built our own family album on line and we keep adding memories.. it is a great way to stay connected and also to reminisce. You can see how we did it here: The holiday section is dedicated to my own mom and she even adds to it.

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