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As Much as a Part of our Lives as Milk & Bread • by Dede Warren

I’ve always been creative, and my earliest memories of art and crafting are of salvaging scraps of fabric from my mother’s sewing projects, and using them to create my own things.

As a young mother myself when my resources were limited, I never considered that I couldn’t continue creating. In fact it was where I spent any extra money, in creating our first home and sharing art with my own children. Whether sewing curtains, painting a wall mural in my daughter’s room, building a teepee for my son as seen in a magazine, or sending him to art classes instead of going myself, art was our constant companion. In fact when my daughter couldn’t find a prom dress she wanted, we bought a vintage Vogue pattern and I made one we both loved! Art and creativity was as much a part of our lives as milk and bread.

It Isn’t About Being Selfish
It makes me feel for young mothers now, given with the recent economy and how many families struggle with daily responsibilities. I want to share with those women that their art isn’t about having what they want or being selfish. All those times I went to the art supply store with $20 in my pocket, or was able to go to a fabric store and buy a few special pieces of fabric for a quilt … those times saved me. I filled a part of me that nothing else could have. Life has its ups and downs for sure — my husband is self-employed, so there were times when money wasn’t an issue, and there were times when we had to watch every penny. But having art and my creativity, and being able to make something with my hands, saved me in a million little ways through it all. My life was richer because of my art, and what I could make. My children’s lives were fuller, and my husband had a happier wife because of my art.

A Million Little Ways
Now that my children are grown, and it’s just my husband and me, I’m able to take the classes I once only dreamed of. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel with friends to take wonderful vacations and art classes, and I’ve been able to bring artists in to teach classes as well.

All things come full circle. But through it all, art is as much a part of me and having brown eyes and hair. By being creative, my art saved me in a million little ways.

To learn more about Dede Warren, view her blog at


dear dede,
your story has moved me to tears this morning because i am one of those mommies with 2 little ones and we are more than struggling here...and you are right...even now if i put a smidgen aside from grocery money even and allow myself to buy a tiny bit of artsy goodness it saves me too. this daring act somehow keeps hope afloat, i think. thank you so much for sharing your story and offering words of hope and encouragement. i am sopping it up today. ;0 jan

Thank you so much for your kind words Jan. I think no matter where any of us are today, things have been better and things have been worse. Through it all, life goes on. It's true that many women feel selfish taking time, money, and energy away from our families. But it's also true that if we don't take care of ourselves, we aren't well equipped to take care of others.

Wishing you many creative days,

Hi Dede...enjoyed your inspiring words & so true how we can survive with so little but it gives us so much. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Thanks to you & your work shop I had attended a while back...I have connected with some amazing women whose friendship is worth Gold! God Bless you always. xoxo Laura

Dear Dede,
Your story reminded me of being the child of such a mother and father. My mom taught sewing classes in our garage so she would have money to buy fabric to make us clothes. She taught me how to sew too. My dad brought loads of free paper home from work so I could draw and paint. My dad taught us how to make sculptures with snow. I could go on and on. Now that I'm an adult and my way of life is to be creative, I thank my parents for not letting money be an issue sparking my future muse.

Thank you for reminding me how rich I really am! And you are a beautiful artist. I've been to your home and your creative talents lace your entire place in such beauty. You inspire me!

xo joanna


I'm so glad to have meet you when you came out to California for our workshop. You are a gem, and it's no wonder you were able to form lasting friendships with some of the others ladies who were with us! Thank you for your kind word here, it means so much to me.



What a wonderful gift your parents gave you in making art accessible to you, and nurturing your creativity. They gave you a gift in that years ago, and the effect of that goes on today in the art you create and share with the world.

Thank you for your kind words,

Dede, I really enjoyed your post. I hear so many young mothers say, too, that they can't create anymore because they have young children but, as you said, art makes all of your lives fuller. And there is so much you can do creatively with little money.

Amen Liz-Anna, I couldn't agree more! It's nice to have the money to get the great art supplies we love, but even when money is tight there is so much we can do with what we have!


Your art has always inspired me; I am happy you found a way to feed your soul! (you mentioned milk n' bread) I am happy your made time to develop your creative gene and share your
art with others! Thank you~

Dede, what a lovely story! Having two small children, I completely relate to what you've shared here. I attended Artful Journey in February and I have to admit I really struggled with going because I felt that not only was it 5 days away from my family, it was a very expensive, very self-indulgent five days away from my family. But I realized once I got out there how needed it was, and how my girls need to see that Mama needs to feed her soul as well. I now love that one of the questions I hear most from my girls is, "Mama, can we make art today?" :-)

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