I've nominated my friend Lisa for Sew News magazine's "Sewing Idol" contest. Unfortunately, I lacked a basic understanding of how the contest worked, and it turns out this is the last week to vote. I need your help!
Lisa made a huge difference to me during a very difficult time in my life; in a very real way she saved me. My nomination essay is below and I think you'll see why I want her to be recognized. Lisa is one of the most generous people I know, a true unsung hero.
To vote, go to this link: Lisa's nomination
You'll need to register to vote, so click on the grey "registration" tab. After they send you a confirmation email, you can return to the page and vote. Click on the "vote" tab and then search for "Lisa Chan". Click in the radio button below my essay and then press the big "save vote" button. You can vote every day until the contest ends, which is either Thursday or Friday at midnight (the rules are unclear on this and I've sent an email asking for clarification... so check back and vote every day!).
The leading entry right now has over 40,000 votes; the second and third place have 9,000 and 2,500. I know I've got a late start, but with your help I'd like to see Lisa at least in the top three. Please share this with everyone you can! Thank you!!NOMINATION FOR LISA CHAN, SEW NEWS "SEWING IDOL" CONTEST
Lisa Chan isn’t just my sewing idol. She’s my hero.
I’ve always admired the way Lisa integrates sewing into her everyday life. Sewing permeates everything from her kids’ school activities to her own volunteer and charity work. Lisa is one of the most generous people I know. But two years ago she rescued me in a way that elevated her from someone I admire to my sewing hero.
Three months after the birth of my son I struggled in the grip of post-partum depression. The excitement and anticipation of waiting for my miracle baby at the age of 37 had disintegrated into a debilitating nightmare of endless need. My will to survive suffered dangerously and sewing fell by the wayside as I struggled with even the most basic tasks of caring for myself, let alone my new baby. Despite this, I forged doggedly ahead with plans for his baptism service.
When I was four months pregnant I had fallen in love with a christening ensemble at the Sewing Expo and purchased the patterns and embroidery designs on the spot. Now eight months later and only ten days before the service, I expressed regret to Lisa at never having sewn it and despair that I never would. This, Lisa decided, would simply not do! She would help me make my sewing dream come true. How, I asked? With only ten days to go and me in no condition to work, I felt completely hopeless. “I’ll help you,” she said simply. For the next few minutes on the phone she had me delving into my stash, inventorying materials and figuring out what she could contribute from hers to save me the stress of a shopping trip. Talking about sewing, my mind was focused and clear. I began to feel something I hadn’t felt in over three months: I felt like myself.
For the next ten days Lisa delivered on her promise. She came over every day after dropping her daughters off at school, in the evenings after their activities, and on the weekend, too. When I lacked energy, she motivated me by painting beautiful word pictures of our project and helping me get to the next step. She worked while I nursed the baby, and when I absolutely couldn’t put him down, she cut, assembled and pressed pieces that I could straight-seam with the baby wrapped securely against my chest in a sling. When she wasn’t sewing she was bringing me dinner or taking care of my baby so I could grab a shower.
Through Lisa’s persistent and gentle encouragement, I made an amazing discovery. Sewing was a powerful antidepressant! Busy with the act of creation, I began to feel alive, energized and purposeful. This would continue over the next few months as Lisa visited often to sew with me. During that first year she also traveled on a day-trip to the Sewing Expo with me—my first day away from my son since his birth—and then to a four-day hands-on Cynthia Guffey workshop, a dream vacation I had hoped to take for years.
During those whirlwind days, Lisa also helped me make another inspiring discovery. Deep in depression, I had assumed my baby was an unresponsive bundle of need incapable of loving me. Through little games and simple interactions, Lisa showed me that he was in fact alert, responsive, intelligent and very attached to me! This was quite a contradiction and a major boost in my recovery.
After we finished the linen-and-organza baby bubble with delicate windowpane embroidery, we added a tiny pair of matching ribbon-laced shoes. With three days to go, Lisa declared we had time to create the reproduction antique christening wrap I had been drooling over for almost a year. She had both of our embroidery machines rattling industriously on the dining room table, turning out yards of gilt-edged ruffles for the wrap. We even embroidered it with my son’s name, the date and his godparents’ names for posterity, something that would not have occurred to me had Lisa not suggested it (Lisa has a passion for heirloom sewing and recently fulfilled a long-time desire to create an intricate christening gown, which she then donated to a local church for use by families who cannot afford to buy one). Not only did we finish the entire dream ensemble, but I had the time and energy to go out the day before the service and purchase a new outfit for myself!
Lisa couldn’t attend the service, but she was with me in every fiber, stitch, ruffle and tie of the outfit that made that day beautiful. My son’s godparents had already been named, but Lisa became and still is his “Fairy Godmother”!
It would take me another fifteen months to completely walk out of post-partum depression, but Lisa’s friendship and selfless generosity gave me the first happy reminders of my old self, and hope in a glimmer of who I could become. She has been a steadfast friend, a sounding board for more than my latest crazy sewing ideas, and an encouragement to challenge myself to new levels. For these reasons and more I believe she deserves the title of Sew News magazine's “Sewing Idol”… and the titles of “Hero” and “Fairy Godmother” as well!
Unfortunately my Mac died so I don't have the photo of Lisa and Thaniel in his outfit, but here's a couple of the baptism ensemble and its creation: