Snapdragons

A few people have asked us why we chose snapdragons for our company name instead of something more sewing- or design-related.  As it happens, there’s a story there.

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When I was little, my grandparents had a nice garden.  My grandfather was one of those people who could spit out a watermelon seed and it would grow, so I’m sure they had more than two crops in their garden, but the ones I remember are tomatoes and snapdragons.  I didn’t appreciate the glories of a homegrown tomato at the time (I’ve since come around, don’t worry), but I did totally get the snapdragons.

I usually rode to my grandparents’ house with them after church on Sunday morning.  Grandma would start a roast in the electric skillet in the morning and I remember it being perfect every single time, no matter if church ran late or Grandpa stayed afterward talking to people.  I don’t know how she did it.  Grandma magic, I guess.

When we pulled into their garage, which was at the bottom of their yard, Grandma would hurry up the walk into the house to make sure everything was ready before my parents got there, and, when the weather was nice, Grandpa and I would take our time looking around the yard, finding ways to get dirty in his garage or carport, talking to Mrs. Icobellis, the next-door neighbor, or, most importantly, making the snapdragons that always grew along the kitchen steps snap.

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You knew that, right?  That when you squeeze the bottom of a snapdragon flower it opens and closes its mouth like a dragon?  It’s tremendously satisfying when you’re twenty-nine five years old.

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I don’t know for how many years my grandparents grew snapdragons, or whether they were as special to them as they were to me, but I never see a snapdragon that doesn’t remind me of Sunday afternoons at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

When Kim and I started talking about a name for our pattern company, I knew I wanted it to be something that resonated with the sense of care and craftsmanship that I was aware of even as I was growing up.  I learned to sew from my mom, who learned from her mom.  (Unfortunately, neither of us mastered the perfect-roast-in-an-electric-skillet trick, but you can’t have everything.)  I love to garden, and my very first garden was the one my grandfather left when he passed away in my early twenties while my brother, our cousin and I were renting his house.  My grandparents worked hard not just to provide for their family but to make a happy home, and even now that they have gone on that culture of work and pride and love is still going strong in our family.

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I’m looking forward to passing that tradition down to my kiddos, too.  That’s what snapdragons represent to me.

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