The Cool Kids

Friday, October 11, 2019

Use Your Words October 2019 : I hate tomatoes.

Hey-O friends!
Today’s post is a writing challenge created by Karen @ Baking in A Tornado 6 participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words for someone else to use in a post. All words must be used at least once. All posts will be different as each writer has received their own original set of words. No blogger knows who received their words or in what direction the writer will take them. Until today.   

My words are from the very sweet Tamara @ Part-Time Working Hockey Mom  Thanks, Tamara! Those were challenging words, but I loved them!

My words: advocate ~ innate ~ fortify ~ entity ~ toys ~ shrieking

Pattern Story #11 I hate tomatoes.

I'm not talking about the tomatoes that fortify your body with lycopene and potassium (although I'm not crazy about those either.) I'm talking about the little cushions one uses in sewing to hold pins. (View A in the pattern photo below.)
Pattern Property of McCall Pattern Company 2016

When I was in sixth grade, our class participated in various skills units, like wood-shop, cooking, and sewing. There probably were others, but the sewing class definitely sticks in my mind, because I was TERRIBLE at it. I'm not kidding. For our first project, we were taught how to make our very own pin cushion in the shape of yes, a tomato. 

The teacher, Mrs. Hill, carefully showed us each step in creating the project, then held up her own blue ribbon-worthy, perfectly round tomato pin cushion. There may have been oohs and ahhs, I can't recall everything. Finally, we were off to make our own. I thought I followed every direction. I cut, stuffed, and wrapped the fabric and string just like the teacher did in her directions. Looking around the class, I saw other students holding up their red entities with pride. Me? I held up a mess of stuffed, stretched fabric and thread cut into too many pieces. I slowly walked up to Mrs. Hill and watched as she put her hands to her cheeks and shook her head in disgust dismay. 

By now, my classmates were finished shrieking in delight at their creations. They had succeeded with their ripe, perfect, probably-soon-to-be-thrown-in-the-trash-after-class projects and were ready to move on. I was cursing my innate inability to reproduce a fabric, sawdust-filled piece of fake fruit from perfectly given directions.  I must admit, my tomato resembled a red egg. Or, as Mrs. Hill put it, my pin cushion looked "like a flat, pet rock". Thanks for that, "Teach."

Mrs. Hill may not have been her correct name, It's been almost 40 years since I sat in that class. But today, I can close my eyes and see her disappointment in that squishy mess. In the days that followed, while the other children were off on their next projects (probably sewing life-like toys or 17th century costumes; I don't know,) Mrs. Hill, whose job was to be an advocate of both home-made goods and children, (thank goodness!) spent a chunk of her time helping me turn my "pet rock" into a somewhat familiar-looking red orb. Where is it now? I have no idea. Funny what you choose to remember. (and forget.)

I'd like to tell you that as a seamstress or as a teacher who gives directions to little ones that I've overcome the disdain I hold for those tomatoes, but I'd be lying. I've never made one since. My pins are kept in bowls where I can easily grab them. The cushions I've accumulated over the years have been tag-a-longs from eBay sewing-kits, antique stores, or Joann's.  The middle one in the photo above belonged to my husband's grandmother. (Okay, I actually love THAT one.)

So you might ask me, "Why/When/How in the world did you even start to sew after such a disastrous experience? You know the kind, Michele. The experiences where you can still remember small details 40 years later? The kind when you recall a particular failure, you feel the shame of it late at night?"

My only answer is that I learned to master it like anything else in my life. 
Out of spite.

My REAL sewing buddy/pet rock, Tom. Tom-ato. Never forget.

Have a "fruitful" weekend friends,

Check out the other cool kids playing "Use Your Words" this month!
       Spatulas on Parade
       On the Border
       Part-Time Working Hockey Mom    


  1. Great use of your words and a very entertaining story. If only Mrs. Hill knew what she started and all the great sewing creations you have produced over the years since. If I had a choice between making a tomato pin cushion and a pet rock, I'd pick the pet rock - a lot less effort although not a lot of utility once completed. Thanks for sharing a wonderful story. Love, M

    1. Always, always pick the pet rock. :) Thanks for always being first to read (after editing, of course) the blog. Thanks also for dealing with the costant whirr of that sewing machine.

  2. Mrs. Hill would be proud of you now. I'm in awe, my first sewing project went something like yours and to this day the only thing I can sew is a button that's fallen off of a shirt. I don't do that well either.

    1. Karen, I'm in awe of your baking and unbelievable organization of all of these group blogs! If it means anything, I also hate to sew buttons on shirts. <3

  3. I am horrible at sewing, but my mom loved it and now my daughter does. I tried once to sew on those strips of material that you tie to your chairs and before I was finished I had like 6 band-aids!(Rena)

    1. Rena, Let's just say that my fingers are well-callloused after all of these years. My grandmas and mother all sewed and I never liked any of it until I had my daughter. We'll see if she has any interest. I might have to wait for my grandchildren to pick it up :)

  4. Great use of your words but it made me sad. My mother is a seamstress and tried to teach me. I never learned. I have tried over the years and once I get the machine set, I'm good but if it ever has to be adjusted. It's a disaster. So I just don't. Bravo to you for sticking ( haha) with it and mastering the art. Love the rock.

    1. Love the pun (haha!). I understand the adjusting machine parts. It is so frustrating. I have many an unfinished project from simply being unable to understand the machinery. Thank heavens for youtube. I can't tell you how much it, and the library have helped. Tom-Ato says, "Hello". <3

  5. Those damn tomatoes!! Now I know why we never ate them at home.😉 I’m so grateful that you pushed through and became the AMAZING seamstress you are today. We could all learn something from you. I love you bunches and as always your blog made my day!♥️

    1. Ha! I'm so sorry I never served fresh tomatoes :( Isn't it weird that I love tomato soup and salsa? I think it might be the seeds, or the nasty gooey stuff inside. Love you so much, A. When do you want to learn to sew? ;)

  6. I love the way that you used the words and I loved the story. I believe I did not do very well either when I took a sewing class in school. But to this today I can't sew.

    1. Oh, Thank you so much, Dawn! I read your blog, you've got me beat if the cooking area! I wish I was better at that. I find myself liking to bake all the things we shouldn't be eating!


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