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An Unexpected Gift • by Sheryl Putnam

Sheryl PutnamMy husband and I left our home we loved outside of Nashville, TN to move to my hometown in MS to help take care of my mom who had been in a terrible automobile accident. I knew it was the right thing to do, but cried when the moving van pulled up to unload our furniture. Of course, my parents were thrilled. My mom improved some but after being there for two years , we found out my dad who was the picture of health had lung cancer. Thus began the two year journey of weekly chemo and radiation treatments with him.

These days together were the most painful, and the most wonderful. They were also some of my most cherished memories of all time. Some days I thought my heart would break into. My mom was still in terrible pain from the accident and not able to care for herself. When my dad died, all the bottled up emotions, and sadness I held inside came rushing out uncontrollably. I took three months to grieve and then had to turn my attention to my grieving mother who had lost her husband of 54 years. In working through the grief, the idea came to mind that my mom and I could do a project together that would allow us the opportunity of giving something back to others, something that would honor my Dad and help to heal the loss of our Dad/husband. She agreed and we began making lavender filled pillows.

Almost as fast as we made them, people started asking if they could buy to give as gifts. But during that process of touching the fabric, smelling the lavender, finishing them with antique buttons, and flowers ... it started releasing a flow of creativity that was inside all these years. Keep in mind, I did not know how to sew, or knit, or crochet ... but the love of the idea was all that was needed. After six months of pillow making, I hired a seamstress , and at the age of 49 started my business. I designed and finished the handmade women’s clothing & accessories. I then hired knitters to do my hand knit wraps. When that presented problems, I learned how to knit. The night before my class, I was SO excited, knowing that I was learning something that would change my life. Being able to work those needles and create something was so exciting to me I could hardly sleep. I took my one hour lesson and started practicing. Every day the creative juices flowed and the sadness was replaced with an excitement I had never known. It became a world I could go into and really didn’t want to leave.

I worked daily in my sewing room on new ideas. At the age of 49 I started my business of designing and finishing women’s fine clothing and accessories. and this year will be my 9th year. One thing I find really interesting. This all began and grew in a small town with no distractions. No mall, flea market, or fabric store. So I basically worked with what I had or could find. I believe that was part of the plan and had I lived in a fabulous city with all the resources, I might have been so distracted by the hunt that I would not have been so productive ... just a thought.

I look back and am so thankful ... that through heartache and tears, the road led to a bright new place. One that I can go to anytime and create something new. The greatest gift I have received
has been new friends. These women who come through the door as customers, leave as friends and many as sisters.There are so many times I feel my dad’s presence and know that he is proud of the journey.

I am a perfect example .... that Art Saves.

Learn more about Sheryl's beautiful art by visiting Shryl Putnam Designs at


Oh what a fabulous, heartwarming, inspiring story.
This should inspire all of us to pursue the art within us to share with others or make a difference in someone's life. should all check out
- she has the most incredibly beautiful things I've ever seen.


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