My Hat’s Off To You

My Hat’s Off To You
Images in this post are real-life survivors.
Thank you to the ladies who modeled for me  –
You are incredible!

As most of you know I am a vintage junkie…and I have a thing for old patches. One of the first things I began making, along with my jewelry, and graphic tees, was vintage shirts. I used old hankies, doilies and vintage patches I added to my grandpa’s old pearl snaps or my husbands’s old button downs.  I still remember sitting in my Grandpa Jack’s lap, after he had been out working on a neighbors car, and loving the smell of gasoline coming off his polyester light blue coveralls with his name patch there in big blue letters.  I lost my grandpa when I was 12 years old to cancer. He was here and then gone. But the memories of a strong, happy, loving, giving man who ruled my world remain. He was a fireman, a mechanic an avid golfer and an amazing friend to those who knew him.

For a long time now I have wanted to make positive patches. Ones that reflected the women (and men) in life who are inspirations. We all have a story. Some of u,  our story is great. It won’t bring anyone to tears and to me that is inspiring! I say HALLELUJAH! PRIASE HIS NAME for that! But some of us have been to the brink of hell, looked the devil in square in the face, and danced our way back. Maybe you are still fighting your way back. Again I say THANK YOU LORD FOR THE FIGHT IN THEM!!!

I have two Aunts who have survived breast cancer on each side of my family. My paternal grandmother survived breast cancer. My mother is a survivor as well. By the time she was 18 she had been through more than most will go through, mentally and physically, in a lifetime. I have many friends who have gone through cancer hell and beat it and live to tell about it. I have one friend who beat it once and it has come back like a vengeance. She inspires me daily with what she pushes herself to do and feel.

So many stories…friends who lost their mothers at early ages, raised by amazing dads. A Runner who lost a limb at the Boston bombing and CAME BACK TWICE, last year crossing the finish line in a wheelchair and this year on a prosthetic!! Parents who have lost children too early and never believed they could breathe another breath without them. Women who struggle with infertility or the silent agony of losing the life they are carrying inside them. Women who suffer in silence from mental and physical abuse. Babies and Children who live their lives fighting battles they should not have to face.  Daughters who care for their sickly Mothers, mothers who were once vibrant and full of life – daily caring for them as a nurse, an account, an assistant and then going home to run their own life and family. Men and woman who serve in the Armed and Civil Servants who protect us so we can live in the Land of Free and the Home of the Brave.

YOU are the reason I wanted to make these patches. You have GRIT! You are SURVIVORS. I do not know every story, but I know that every story is important. You are important. You inspire, you motivate, and you influence us to LIVE to the fullest, to LAUGH in the face of adversity, and LOVE like there is no tomorrow. I made these hats as a celebration of the stories – both the ones we know and the ones we don’t.

My Grandpa Jack, was the kind of man I try to raise my boys to be like. Most people didn’t know but he was always paying it forward. At his funeral I noticed a man I had seen on and off most of my life when I would go visit my grandparents, but never really knew. This man was doubled over and crying uncontrollably. I asked my mom who the man was and why he was so upset about my Grandpa Jack. She said, “He is grandpa’s friend. He loved your grandpa very much. He was very poor and had nothing. Grandpa gave him a job, money and always treated him as an equal when no one else did. Grandpa has taken care of him all my life. That man has lost a brother.” At twelve years old I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life. Grandpa Jack didn’t do it for the praise or recognition. He just did it because it was right. I love you Grandpa Jack, you had GRIT, a gentle GRIT, and with your actions you taught me what that meant.

I hope you will enjoy these new hats and the story behind them. Wear them for your story or in honor of someone you love. Wear them for the stories you know, and tell, and and for those you don’t. You are an inspiration to me, and your story is important. Until next time; EMBRACE YOUR STORY.