My mother’s pincushion

My mother has unwillingly had to let go of her lifelong passion for needlework.

Because of health challenges, she is not able to handle independent living anymore. Reluctantly, she has moved out of her condo and into a different living situation where she gets the support and assistance that she now needs.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Most of her possessions are now being lovingly shared out among her kids and grandkids and nieces and other kith and kin.

There were a couple of things that I really really wanted to have…..

She was a spectacularly gifted embroiderer, and so I really wanted to have some of her threads.

The other thing that I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelly wanted was a pincushion doll that I had given her when I was a child.

When I was a little girl, I saw the most beautiful thing I could have ever imagined…. it was a pincushion of an Elizabethan Lady….

I would go into the shop, and visit the Lady, and stroke the velvet skirt, and be filled with longing.

I decided that I HAD to buy it for my mother to show her how much I loved her.

So, I asked the lady in the store if I could pay for the Lady in stages, and she agreed to that. I don’t know if she had ever had a child make such a request, but she was so kind about it!

Every week, for weeks, and weeks, I would take my allowance in, and give it to the shopkeeper. She would then bring ‘The Lady’ out, and I would cradle her in my hands… and then sigh, and hand her back….

Eventually… the little bits of allowance added up and up, and – ‘The Lady’ was mine!!!

She was swathed in tissue, and placed carefully in a box, and I secreted her away until Mother’s Day.

I don’t know if my mother knew how much effort went into buying her ‘The Lady’, but I think she felt the love and excitement that I had in presenting her with my treasure.

And now, ‘The Lady’ has come home to me…. and some day, she will be gifted to my daughter…. with love…. always with love….



Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents

20 responses to “My mother’s pincushion

  1. Wendy

    Such a sweet story, Noreen.


  2. Thank you so much, Wendy…. it has actually really thrown me for a loop to come to terms with my mother’s declining health… hard stuff to deal with! But, having ‘The Lady’ here by my computer brings back joy and love, and that’s what endures!


  3. Elizabeth

    Having been there myself I understand how you feel.
    How wonderful to have The Lady by your computer to see everyday.


  4. How wonderful! You are certainly a special daughter. I can only imagine how hard it is for your Mother to give up a passion. My heart goes out to her and you!


  5. Aleksa

    What a beautiful and moving story. If your mother doesn’t know now what a gift of love “The Lady” was, she will someday…


  6. Thank you so much, Charlotte…. yes, it is really hard on Mom to let go of these things that she loved and loves so much…. life can be extraordinarily cruel at times. So, it’s essential to come back to the joy and the happiness at the center….
    thanks again…


  7. Hi Elizabeth
    Sending you hugs for the ‘having been there….’ and for future joys!


  8. Tammy

    Oh my! What a lovely story. Being a renaissance Faire geek, I would love to own a doll as beautiful as the Lady. My Renn friends who are sewists and fiber artists would love her too.


  9. Alice

    OHHHH!!!! what a lovely story.


  10. Oh Noreen,
    That is so beautiful. I too am going through the same process. The passing on of lovely items from my parents’ household to whoever in the next generation, and the one(s) after that, will appreciate.



  11. Ohmygosh, you’ve made me cry! I can’t wait to see my Mom this coming week. I only see her a couple times a year ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. What a beautiful story, Noreen … and a beautiful unique pincushion. You always had a eye for beauty, didn’t you?

    It is so fitting that it has come back to you.

    I know how difficult and bittersweet these transitions are. We went through it with my mom (actually my m-i-l) 7 years ago. She’s been my mom for over 40 years now, so I tend to forget the “in-law” part. lol.


  13. Noreen,

    I love this story! First of all, I am a true “Tudor nut” so that pincushion is to die for! I seriously wonder if there is another one like it? It’s so unique.

    Also, what an unbelievably sweet story about you paying for it in stages. I love that most of all. How determined you were to get your mom something that she could use with her embroidery work. Wonderful.


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  16. I hope that you had a lovely visit together, Cyndi! ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Hi Eileen
    Thank you so much! I am sorry about your M-I-L going through a similar transition…. Like you, I had a very close and loving relationship with my beloved mother in law and it was very hard when she passed away. Christiane Northrup says we all need at least 3 or 4 mothers, so we are blessed indeed when our husband’s mother becomes one of our ‘treasures’!


  18. Hi Cherie
    Thank you!
    I bet that you could find another version of ‘the Elizabethan Lady’ pincushion on ebay or some place like that. Mine is certainly old now LOL! as I bought it for my mom when I was a little girl…. but I can’t imagine that it was one of a kind…. she has to have sisters!
    I’ll watch for one…. although , I have to admit that I haven’t seen another. I just looked closely to see if there was a maker’s mark or country of origin on her, but nope…. nothing that I can see….
    I will keep my eyes open for another… we love going to garage sales and thrift shops….


  19. Hi Noreen!
    Just loved this story. It is a beautiful pincushion in its own right, but having such a wonderful provenance makes it so much more precious!
    To be able to have it beside your computer and every time you see it will bring treasured memories of your mother. I too, went through the same circumstances five years ago.
    I have one of these pincushions in my sewing collection but it is the later version with the “foam core” cushion/skirt (ebay purchase and there have been others so it shouldn’t be too hard to find another).


  20. Hi Marian
    How neat that you were able to find one of these pincushions for your collection! I looked on ebay to see what kinds of pincushions they had, and was amazed at all the wonderfulness there…. wow….


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