I have covered this topic once before but feel the need to touch on the subject once more. My mama.
Over the past year or so, my mom has become a self-taught Master of Cake (and Cookie) Decorating. It started when she offered to make “a special dessert” for a co-worker's baby shower. A few YouTube instructional videos later, plus a slew of birthdays, christenings, and bridal and wedding showers, she has produced some of the most AMAZING cakes I have ever seen (or eaten).
She literally has boundless talent and she makes these cakes in her “free time” (we don't know where she finds this in her full-time job as a school nurse) and almost all of these cakes have been done out of the goodness of her heart. When I told my Aunt Susie (my mom's sister) that I wanted to nominate my mom for a Michaels Search for The Most Creative Mom earlier this year, Susie shared some really amazing stories about my mom. It seems that creativity is just a part of her and always has been, and it goes way beyond cakes. Here is what my Aunt Susie wrote:
Jeanette's first bursts of creativity manifested themselves early on in sewing projects. When we were in HS, there simply weren't the fashion and textile choices that are offered today. In fact, there were basically two clothing collections in stores: winter and summer. Choices were limited and, only if you shopped extremely hihg end stores, pretty unoriginal. To satisfy her creative urge, your mother learned to sew from remnants sold on tables at a seedy place called Patterson Silks. (I was always afraid we'd get mugged when we went there) While everyone else was wearing madras wrapskirts, your mother, who always had a flair for design, was sewing retro 40's style wool knit jumpsuits. One in particular was a chocolate brown doubleknit, composed of 48 pattern pieces, but your mother managed to sew it in a day, and it was gorgeous in a very Betty Grable sort of way. On another occasion, your mother had a formal affair to attend. She didn't like anyything in the stores, so she bought a few yards of drapey white fabric. Without a pattern, fitting it on herself, she fashioned a halter-style, old Hollywood-Marilyn Monroe type gown. She looked like Ava Gardner in "One touch of Venus" when she emerged to model it for us. But her sewing wasn't only about her own "couture" look. Costume parties were just starting to become regular events; your mother never liked the plastic stiff costumes they sold. Rented costumes were very limited (more for theatre), so your mother always made her own. One that will ever stand out in my mind is her bumble bee costume. Out of bands of yellow and brown furry fabric remnants which she stitched into stripes, she made herself a very authentic, plumped-up, vaguely comical bee. Another year, she fashioned a roller derby queen costume out of found objects. It was so authentic that she was stopped by a policeman when she was running down our front stairs! Later on, when Joesph and Nicole were born, she made to order (and at that time only the very rich and famous had them) custom quilts, bumper covers, and skirts for their cradles and bassinettes. They were all embellished with her own appliques and embroidery. They were the envy of all the new mothers in my apartment complex. Meanwhile back at Casa Gilhooly, Jeanette's handiwork was commented on by all who lived in her garden apartment complex. When the denim craze first began, she made lightweight denim with red trim cafe curtains for her kitchen. Since she had a ground floor apartment, the whole neighborhood saw and admired them. As I recall, neighbors even rang her bell to comment on those curtains because they were so cutting edge and original. First of all, she didn't use the prevailing kitchen colors, fabrics or style. Once again, your mom was a decade before her time in taste; she always was able to fashion her creations out of scraps, making her projects highly cost-effective as well as original. You have been witness to her later creativity, especially in baking. However, I thought you might like to hear about "the early days."
I love you Mom!
Here are some of the highlights of her creations from the past year:
Bridal Shower / Engagement Party / Rehearsal Dinner Cakes
Retirement / Milestone / Fundraiser Cakes