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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Never In A Million Years

Where can sewing take you? 
To places you never dreamed possible. 

A friend of mine found the nutcraker below at Nieman Marcus. She was having lunch in the restaurant after Christmas and saw that all of their holiday merchandise had been discounted...rather dramatically. When she saw the nutcracker, she immediately thought of her friend, the one and only Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and believe it or not...me! Pretty incredible to think that I would be in the same thought stream as Ms. Ginsburg :) 

My friend brought the nutcracker home and then proceeded to give me a call to see if I could possibly turn the male nutcracker into a caricature of Ms. Ginsburg. If not, she would return the piece and call it a day.
                                   

The first thing I needed to do was get rid of the powder style wig, and find a doll wig that would work. I then proceeded to pull off the robe and vest. Once I had him down to the wood, I could then figure out what to do. Originally, the little tie that is below the mouth is what you would pull to open the mouth.


I took a piece of lace and made a tie of sorts. It was glued to the mouth so that it could then be pulled and the mouth would open. It's a little difficult to fit a wooden doll, especially when the arms won't move ;) So, I made a straight panel that was attached under the lace tie for the front of the robe. I then made a rectangle with slits on either side for the arms. It was all lined before being attached to the doll. The robe is fairly full (gathered at the neckline), as there is a lever in the back that moves when the mouth is opened. So there needed to be some volume to the robe in order for the lever to work properly.   


I then added a lace collar. Not exactly what Ms. Ginsburg would wear, but it is a doll. I also noticed that in most of her pictures, Ms. Ginsburg wears dark rimmed glasses. I managed to take the glasses off of the doll and spray paint them black.  


The hair was pulled back into a ponytail. One thing that I noticed from all of Ms. Ginsburg's pictures was that she is always quite tailored in her appearance. So rather than tie a ribbon bow, I wrapped the ponytail with black ribbon and glued the ends down on the underneath side. The final touch, little pearl earrings.


Ms. Ginsburg came to Chicago to present an award in the name of her late husband. I wish I had gotten a better picture of her. She was wearing a pair of beautifully tailored navy blue pants, and a gorgeous jacket trimmed in navy.  


My friend is pictured on the left below. An incredibly gracious and generous woman. She had told me that she wanted me to present the nutcracker to Ms. Ginsburg. Such an honor! 

When the box was opened, Ms. Ginsburg was so happy. She immediately knew that it represented her. She said, "I love it!" And, it was apparent that she really meant what she said. She asked how to make the mouth open, and you see me showing her how to pull on the lace tie. Pictured in back of Ms. Ginsburg is her son. 
    

It was such a magical evening, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Truly and honor.

A few years ago, I looked around my dining room table on Christmas Eve and realized that everyone who was there was because of a sewing related experience. One was a dear friend who came to me as a client to make her wedding gown. Another felt that she would like to learn to sew, and took a tailoring class that I taught. The others were friends that I made through the Haute Couture Club of Chicago. 

I've told this story before, but it was because I made a suit for a nun that I ultimately became the president of the American Opera Society of Chicago. Seems unlikely, but it is true. And, I was the first in the 95 year history of the organization to serve a 6 year term.

Sewing began as a passion instilled in me by my grandmother. It became a necessity when I was a teenager. Had I not sewed, I would have had very little to wear. That teenager who saved her babysitting wages, sold greeting cards door to door, and mowed grass in the summer in order to have enough money to make the clothes that she needed for school would never have been able to imagine that her skills would one day lead to meeting a Supreme Court Justice, and even better, to meet someone as iconic as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My friend gave me a lovely memento to remember the evening,


The necklace was made by Hollie Taylor. Her necklaces feature suffragettes, abolitionists, and trailblazers to educate about the collective power and accomplishments of women. You can find her website HERE, and you can also find her on Instagram HERE.  

Have a wonderful day! Fire up those sewing machines, you never know where they may take you :)
Rhonda 



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28 comments:

  1. Such a heartwarming story, Rhonda, thanks for sharing! :)

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  2. What a delightful story. Your nutcracker looked so like her.

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    1. Me. Ginsburg is so much more attractive 😊

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  3. You've certainly shown how sewing can expand your life. Well done, and thank you for making the tribute to our wonderful Supreme Court justice.

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    1. Thx Carol 😊 It was truly my honor!

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  4. Thank you for this wonderful story. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an American Hero, I am so happy you could make the nutcracker for her. Love your blog.

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  5. Rhonda, you always have interesting stories to tell, but this is just the best! You did a fabulous job on that nutcracker, and I can imagine that Justice Ginsburg was delighted to receive it. And it's clear that you have these lovely experiences because your open heart and generosity invites and inspires others.

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  6. What a great story! What fun for you!

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  7. A.MAZ.ing, Rhonda! Positively adorable how it all turned out... ALL of this delightful experience. Never in a million years, indeed!

    Thank you for sharing this really FUN batch of smiles today!

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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  8. WOW, thank you for sharing this. Have you see the documentary "The Notorious RBG"? Nicely done and can be seen on CNN, or maybe NetFlix

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    1. I have not seen the documentary, but it is on my list for this upcoming weekend!

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  9. This is such an incredible honor and accomplishment. You are just amazing, Rhonda, in the way you turned that nutcracker into this esteemed Supreme Court Justice. There are sewing highlights and there are sewing Nobel Prizes. You just won.

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  10. My goodness, that really is amazing! Thanks for sharing that story with us.
    Hugs, Joy

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  11. That's a great story. You deserve all the good things that happen in your life.

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  12. That is such a wonderful story about two amazing women: You and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. What an incredible honor and experience of a lifetime. I am teary eyed and I wasn't even there! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. It was so surreal, having the opportunity to present the gift, and speak to her. The picture of us all together is one that will be framed! Such an honor 😊

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  13. What an honor to have met RBG and to present her with that fantastic Nutcracker. As a sewer and RBG lover and Nutcracker collector, definitely will be looking into transforming a Barrister into RBG. Now I just have to find a Barrister!

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    1. My friend found this one at Nieman Marcus. It was quite expensive prior to Christmas, but was marked down significantly during their after Christmas sale. If there is a Nieman’s near you, keep an eye out. You just might get lucky. Getting the wig off was a little tricky. And be sure to measure the head before ordering the wig. The head on this doll was much larger than I expected, 9”. If you do find a nutcracker and decide to do a doll, be sure to email if you have any questions.

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  14. This story made my day! I am so happy for you - and I love your new little puppy friend!!!

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    1. Thx Lynne 😊
      There are a few things about Mr. Berkley that would remind you of Little Bit, but he is truly his own dog. Hope you get to meet him at some point!

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