May, Mother’s Day and a quilt called Nest

It’s May!

I wanted to post about baskets of flowers, and basket quilts and all things spring. but then I realized Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so turned my head in that direction.  The April showers are still doing their work in the garden so my flower images will need to wait a few days.

Here’s a quick basket parade to tide you over:

butterfly basket flower detail
Yo-yo flowers with hexagons ~detail of Butterfly Basket
butterfly baskets basket detail
basket detail ~ Butterfly Basket






Butterfly Basket

As an artist trying to get my work seen and spread out into the world, I am guilty of utilizing the trends, riding the waves of commercialism and hoping that the contagious sentiments of holidays will lift the sales of my work. I use the tag Mother’s Day in the secret hyper codes and I list my items for sale on Etsy as Mother’s Day items, though they used to be targeted for Valentine’s day, and will be just as suitable for Father’s Day next month.

I am one of the remaining letter writers of the modern world, and do believe that thoughts expressed in one’s own handwriting carry a different weight, but I also know folks appreciate gifts and pre-made cards as well.

NEST nest detail
detail of Nest ~ a small wall quilt

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, and my recent shop debut of a sweet little wall piece called “Nest”, which alludes to the care and protection of our young, something  many mother’s tend to do well when supported and healthy, I thought it appropriate to reflect briefly upon this holiday.

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel- I turned to the internet for prepared reflection. The following excerpt from Wikipedia is missing many citations and clarifications. You can visit that site to learn more as desired. In and of itself,  it is, however, fascinating.


The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Today St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed that they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would have to proclaim also a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday, the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

NEST full
NEST ~ a small wall quilt

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.


NEST flower detail
Detail of flower from Nest ~ a small wall quilt

In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. She specifically noted that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother’s Day.


  1. Vanessa says:

    Audrey, I too am still a hand-written letter writer! And while I am certainly faster in an email, believe the hand-written word still has an important place. It matters to me. I have 2 pen pals (Austria, Australia), and while we do write emails, we have been writing snail mail for decades.

    • Ringmaster says:

      I’m a card sender- lots of postcards, and sometimes an I’m thinking of you card. No pen pals, but my family is spread out- so sometimes it can feel like that- Montana, California, Washington…

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