Stay-at-home mom stitches beauty and meaning into family life

Photo Credit Jodi Bonjour CNA US Catholic News 5 24 11 Jodi and her husband Andy with their four children

Jodi Bonjour doesn’t have much of what most would consider ‘free time.’  But besides caring for her growing, young family, the stay-at-home Catholic mother of four is part of a growing group of moms who are rediscovering the beauty of traditional domestic arts online.

A little more than a year ago, between babies number three and four, Matthias and Gladys, ages 2 years and 2 months, respectively, Bonjour decided to delve into the world of sewing, and she turned to an unusual source for tutelage in this traditional domestic art.

“I can't really talk about learning to sew without talking about the amazing online sewing and crafting community that exists.”

Surprisingly, it would seem that the modern technology of the internet is bringing about a rebirth of some timeless and nearly-forgotten skills.

“Women are rediscovering these traditional domestic arts and they are sharing their knowledge with each other online.”

With her time at a premium, Bonjour has found creative ways to weave together her newfound passion for sewing with her continuous work as a mother.

“Being a SAHM is a unique job in it is a ton of hard work, but there are unusual perks to it. I do have moments when my kids are busy playing together and I can sit down at my sewing machine while keeping an eye on them. Or sometimes they watch me work, or sit on my lap, or try to ‘help.’ They love it and I do too.”

It is her primary role as wife and mother which she credits with her drive to create beauty.

Bonjour explained that her own first year of motherhood was “a really rough time,” crediting the support she received from her local mom’s group with her graceful survival.  Now, she tries to give back to other new moms in the best way she knows how.

“Giving a handmade baby blanket, or nursing cover, or sling, becomes a physical sign or reminder of the support - both to [the new mom] as she uses it, and to me if I get to see her use it.”

“Most motherly acts of service are either invisible or quickly undone,” Bonjour observed.

“When you create something for the home or for your family, whether through sewing, knitting, or even carpentry, it sticks around for a while. That item says ‘You were thought of. You were cared for. You are loved."

Which is why with the birth of her fourth child last month, Gladys, she decided on a handmade baptismal gown as a gift to her newest daughter.

“I wanted to set aside a time in all the busyness of caring for her siblings to prepare my heart for her.”

She remembers praying for her unborn daughter while stitching together the gown.

“ Sometimes, it was just simple prayers like ‘Lead her heart to Yours, Lord,’ and sometimes I prayed the Hail Mary for her … the gown became more of a spiritual gift for my daughter than a physical one, and now it my favorite project that I have ever sewn.”

Bonjour has also been able to share her gift with other women.  She has hosted sewing and crafting nights for mom’s groups in her area, and she offers sewing lessons to daughters of friends. 

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“My favorite part of teaching is seeing (my students) succeed at something they thought they couldn't, and hearing the pride in their voice when they say ‘I made that!’”

There is, however, just one catch. 

Jodi, her husband Andy, and their four young children share a modest 1,000 sq. foot home, bursting at the seams with love, but with precious little room to spare. 

While innovative uses of space and impeccable organization have made their living space both pleasant and functional, the same cannot be said for her ‘sewing room,’ a dark corner of their unfinished basement, tucked between the laundry area and an overflow pantry.

For a mom who ministers to her family and to so many others through her craft, a space to truly call her own would be an incomparable blessing.

Which is why she and her husband jumped at the opportunity to enter a contest whose grand prize seems custom-made for Jodi: a $5,000 ‘makeover’ of the winner’s sewing space, Courtesy of the Home Depot and Bernina USA. 

A prize like that would be an answer to prayer, and the answer could come as early as tomorrow, May 25, when voting for the contestants closes.

(Story continues below)

Voting for contestants is done through the company’s Facebook page, under the "Win a Makeover" link.

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