When Mother moved to Decatur, she decided to find some new hobbies. Oh, she had always enjoyed reading, watching movies and any other form of escape from her dull, dreary life; but this time, she wanted something more. She wanted something that would make people notice her, and the new skill she chose was cake decorating.
Mother found a pan that could simulate the bottom of a beautiful gown. Next, she located some dolls that seemed to fit the dress perfectly. She would bake her wonderful concoctions and then frost them with a special equally delicious frosting. The doll cakes looked like fairy princesses, and my sister and I were ever hopeful that one day one of these delicious-looking creations would be ours.
Each time we came in after one of her marathon baking sessions, Mother would yell:
Don’t touch the cake.
It was always for someone outside of our family circle. Once she created a train cake consisting of three cars for a friend’s child’s birthday.
As with all of her passions, she eventually lost interest and never made another cake in her life. No, she then moved on to candles.
I think she enjoyed making candles because they had a much longer shelf life than the cakes (which let’s face it, needed to be given away immediately). She would whip up a batch of candles using her electric mixer, some empty milk cartons and some long lengths of string. Once she poured the hot wax into the milk carton, she had to let it sit over night.
The next day, she could take her whipped up wax and place it on all sides of the milk carton creation. Then she would add glitter to make the candle sparkle. She gave lots of these candles as gifts and people really liked them.
Amazingly, both the cake decorating and the candle making were well-received by all who came in contact with her. I think now of the money she could have made with either of these enterprises. But, no, she never wanted to make any money since that would have implied that she was independent and able to take care of herself.
She preferred to give away all of her products and not continue with any one product for very long.
After the cakes and candles, she started sewing (a complete disaster) and quilting (an even bigger disaster). She would buy loads of material and then force a sewing teacher or someone at a fabric store to help her finish her projects. She still received accolades; however, she was not able to turn off the quantity when she was actually creating the items.
I will never know why she preferred to use her talents in such short intensive bursts. I will also always wonder why she did not ever think of using her talents to the benefit of her family. choosing instead to favor strangers over her own flesh and blood.