Motherhood is Piecing Together The Past With The Future

Editors note: Instead of doing typical interviews or features for our monthly theme I invited makers to share how motherhood/mothering has influenced their work. Allisa Jacobs wrote this moving post about piecing together what we want to take from our childhood memories with what we want for our children’s future. Thank you for sharing your story with us Allisa, I can definitely relate! Sometimes the difficult parts of our childhood or relationships with parents lead us exactly where we need to be. They are pieces of who we are, what matters is what we create with them & Allisa is creating something beautiful. ~J

guest post by Allisa Jacobs of & Quiltish

allisa jacobs, handmade stories, handmade memories, Etsy handmade culture

As a former teacher and now a mother to a three year-old with a baby on the way, I spend a lot of time thinking about what lessons mothers pass on to their children. I find it fascinating how all the little things from mom come together to make us whole.

For me, the topic of what we’ve learned from our parents was always a hard one to answer. It was easy to focus on all the difficulties and shortfalls in our family.  Perhaps someday I’ll write an autobiography with all the juicy bits, but until then, I’ll just say that for me, childhood was rough.

However, becoming a mother prompted a whole lot of reflecting and searching for just what exactly I inherited.  What I discovered has actually been quite comforting.  Identifying bits of my spirit that surely came from my mother allows me, as an adult, to reclaim a little bit of sunshine from my childhood.  I have no doubt that life with my mom, though wild as a tumbleweed, instilled in me a sense of tenacity, hope, and resourcefulness.

allisa jacobs, handmade stories, handmade memories, Etsy handmade culture

In fact, my mother had a way of “making do” that I believe has encouraged my creative journey.  On the practical side, I think our family motto must’ve been “make it work.”  We took the simple approach: wood chopping, clothes hanging from a line, dinner from five ingredients, and quick fixes around the house.  All of this prepared me for the bigger world – the confidence of feeling like I can make it anywhere.

allisa jacobs, handmade stories, handmade memories, Etsy handmade culture

And then, there are the amazing memories with my mom of us just creating – making something with our hands.  She taught me to make a doll house and furniture from popsicle sticks.  Homemade chocolate covered cherries. An entire rag doll just from yarn. A corner of the garden for my own strawberry patch. An embroidered pillow case for my bed.  The art of making is a thread that keeps our family connected; my brother builds, I sew, my step-father farms, and my mother still tends to her fantastic garden.  It all somehow smooths out the heartache from the past and I can appreciate my mother for the road she traveled.

allisa jacobs, handmade stories, handmade memories, Etsy handmade culture

So it is in those memories, where we created something together, when I feel the deepest love for my mother. And I treasure them for what they really are: a mother passing on the very best she has to her children.

Allisa makes lovingly handcrafted purses, clutches, cosmetic bags and accessories. Be sure to visit her sweet shop and her blog Quiltish where she shares her adventures in handmade, small business tips and some fabulous tutorials like the bottom row of pictures above (left to right: frilly flower tutorial, personalized draw string bag tutorial, & fabric notecards tutorial). You can also find Allisa on Twitter & Facebook.


  1. Stephnie Douglas says:

    Allisa – I think it’s so very true that motherhood is piecing the past with the future. I know that I did that in my own life to try and create something better for my daughter and now I see my daughter doing the same thing for my grandchildren so that their life is even better. Lovely post, thank you.

  2. Rachel Howe says:

    I love the notion that discovering the positive “inheritances” from our parents can heal past hurts and disappointments.
    I had never thought much about the similarities between mothering and art making, but this piece really connected those dots for me–both come from the heart.

  3. Jennifer Morris says:

    Love the part about “make it work”. It teaches kids (and adults) to think outside the box, try something new and believe it into action. Those are powerful life lessons and can obviously inspire amazing work. Thank you for sharing. Your creations are gorgeous!

  4. Kristi says:

    I love the popsicle sticks and rag doll creations- it’s the classics that kids remember, the TIME spent together. With sooo much going on each day we over schedule our lives, it’s a nice reminder as to what kids will remember, and what is important. Thanks for the reminder!

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