Happy Mothers Day to all the mommas out there! Whether you grew a human inside you, have taken on one that someone else grew or maybe you’re like me, and only have babies of the fur and feather variety, this day’s for you! I know you probably think that your mom is the best but I have to break it you that mine is. Yep. She is. I, like most girls, grew up with a conviction that I would never end up like her. But now as a grown woman I am more than grateful for all the lessons I have learned and continue to learn from her all the time. To this very day she will still get a phone call at eight o’clock at night “mom? I’ve had chicken in the fridge for 7 days. It smells ok. Can I eat it?” And of course whatever she says, yea or nay, is the route taken. No more questions asked. Moms know so much!
I also think, and I’m sure she’d agree, that she gave me the foundation blocks to become my own person. The freedom to explore myself, make some mistakes, dust myself off, and carry on, always knowing that I was loved and supported no matter what bone head thing I may be up to. I am not my mother. But I am a product of her love, nurture and support. I know that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have their moms with them anymore. Or have difficult relationships with them. And it’s that knowledge that makes me appreciate what I have and cherish it.
In our family we have agreed to abandon gift giving. The holidays were starting to feel like a gift card exchange without much thought or effort involved. And being that there are no young children in the family we decided to save our money and just enjoy time together. It is, after all, what’s important. Of course that’s not a mandatory rule and if there should be an item one of us feels compelled to make or purchase for another at any time it is always welcomed. (Random surprise treats are far better then a home depot gift card at Christmas in my opinion!)
So the usual route for me at Mothers Day is to make a batch of chive blossom vinegar (recipe here) and give half to my mom. It’s a very pretty gift to give, with the blossoms still steeping, and it tastes wicked good on salads all summer! But this year has not been very cooperative. With what felt like eternal winter behind us, my chive blossoms are still tight little buds, shooting up above the greenery, not yet ready to be plucked and soaked in vinegar. Now I know my mom does not expect anything and will be happy enough with a visit to say hello but there’s a project I’ve been interested in trying and thought this to be a good opportunity.
A couple years ago I bought a wood burning kit, more with the intention of burning leather then wood, and after a little use I put it away. It pops into my mind now and again and I think “oh yeah! I should try some wood burning!” and then it’s back to whatever is in front of me and the wood burner is forgotten. I can not even tell you how I stumbled upon images of cute wood burned spoons but somehow I did. Since then I’ve found myself googling them from time to time. So here comes Mothers Day and for the woman who has taught me how to successfully wield a wooden spoon I planned to present her with some custom ones of her own.
I got my hands on some very plain wood spoons and started to brain storm what I wanted to burn onto them. I had to keep in mind that being a nube I should keep the art pretty basic. This could, after all, go very wrong. I wanted to keep the theme food related but beautiful at the same time, so I started to search for images of herbs. I also wanted to use images that related to my mothers cooking. Things I knew she used frequently in her kitchen, day to day. I settled on a bundle of cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans and a bunch of bay leaves. If I had to choose a couple things I’d almost always find on the go with my mom, it would have to be cookies and soups. And she’s dynamo at both. It’s always a good visit when she’s over cooked and I get to head back home with a stash of soups for my freezer. Excellent, healthy last minute lunches or dinners. Aren’t moms just the greatest?!
So with the decision made I printed off some images to use as guides. My plan was to use the printed pictures as an outline to trace on the spoons and hand draw the insides. I’ve read tutorials that say using carbon paper is a good way to trace an image onto the spoon. I agree that probably would be a very good way, but I didn’t happen to have any carbon paper, so I was going to have to dig down into my artistic abilities and do my best with a pencil.
Once the images were drawn onto the spoons I got the wood burner turned on. I used the basic pointed tip and rested my hand on a book to make it easier to manage. I recommend starting off very gentle. You can always go back over to make it darker. Try to be smooth and consistent with your pressure. So much easier said then done. But I think all in all my spoons turned out great. They definitely have a homemade quality to them but I’m sure that will make them special to my mom. I’m excited to give this more practice and see if I can improve my skills. I’d also like to take a scrap of wood and try out some more of the burning tips to see what kind of techniques can be used. Oh the possibilities!
If you don’t already own a wood burner they can be picked up at craft stores for a fairly affordable price and, well, it’s not hard to find some plain wooden spoons. You could even do some burning on ones you already have in your kitchen! And you don’t have to stop at spoons either! I’m already thinking about a sign over the chicken coop to give the girls’ palace some style.
I feel confident these spoons will see many a pot and bowl. They will be stirred and scraped and licked. The images will wear off in places and the wood will darken and stain. But it’s things like that that give these tools a sentiment. They become a part of the creation process. The marks and stains tell stories of kitchen adventures. There is a feeling of loss when one breaks. From childhood fears of a sting on the butt, to cleaning the bowl of all available cookie dough, to stirring your first batch of homemade pasta sauce. The timeless wooden spoon is there. But now with a make over!
Happy Mothers Day! x