As I begin writing for the first issue of my newsletter, I find myself thinking, if Mrs. Schmidt could only see me now! I used to dread writing assignments in school, even copying “Today’s News” in first grade was more than I could stand. For the most part, I was a pretty compliant student, but when I did get a check on my behavior sheet, it was usually during one of these assignments. Writing was a task ill suited to my personality, it required me to sit still, organize my thoughts, and then systematically put them down on paper. I simply had too many other things to do and think about, writing just slowed me down. It is funny how as we grow up, we change so much yet so little. I am still a busy person, always moving from one task to another, my brain moving at a pace impossible for the rest of me to keep up with. Yet, I have learned something. Taking the time to slow down and write out my thoughts and ideas helps to focus and pull them all together into a workable plan, which in turn helps me to accomplish more. Mrs. Schmidt always insisted that one day I would thank her for all her writing assignments.
The idea behind Thimbles and Acorns goes beyond doll clothes. Dolls are so much more than mere playthings. They are small shadows of who we are, who we want to be, and who we want to know. They take the adventures we can’t, wear the clothing we want to, and inspire us to try new things. When I was a little girl, I entered the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder through her “Little House on the Prairie” stories. Oh how I wanted to know Laura and live her life. My Grandma Switzer helped me to make a little doll just like Laura’s Charlotte, and she became my link to Laura’s world. Using small scraps of fabric gleaned from cast off clothing (and perhaps a few items that I found tucked in the back of the closet that I didn’t think anyone would miss), I pieced together a tiny pioneer wardrobe for Charlotte. When I sewed, I felt transported in time, and for brief moments, I was Laura. That experience led me to read about more people from Laura’s time. Before long, I became fast friends with Helen Keller, Clara Barton, and Laura Bridgeman in the guise of dolls dressed in outfits I pieced together from descriptions I read in their books.
My dolls not only allowed me to touch what I read about, but they also gave me wonderful opportunities to connect with my grandparents. My Grandma Switzer loved to sew, and my memories of her piecing quilts and showing me how to work stitches are ones I will cherish forever. Although my Grandpa Switzer sat quietly in the background, I realized that time together meant something to him as well when he presented me with my first set of Little House on the Prairie books. While we sewed, I listened to them tell stories about what it was like when they grew up, as well as funny stories about my parents when they were my age… the ones my parents would never tell me themselves. Through these stories, they opened themselves up in a way that drew me closer to them.
We all have something to share, as Facebook and Pinterest can attest, and that is what I want this newsletter to be about. Two years ago, I came across Etsy while looking for a place to sell my doll clothes. In the process, I discovered a whole new circle of friends… friends with common interests and passions. Some became my mentors, and others I have had the privilege to mentor myself. The encouragement and inspiration I have received from our conversations has helped me to grow as a seamstress and discover talents I never knew I had. My work is a part of me, it fascinates me, and inspires me, as such, my articles will be personal, instructive, creative, and, I hope, encouraging. However, this newsletter isn’t meant to be all about me. You, as my readers and customers, have made Thimbles and Acorns what it is today, and I want to invite you to be a part of this newsletter by sharing your knowledge, experience, and creativity as well. Mrs. Schmidt you were right, I am very grateful for all your writing assignments.