The heart
most what
it has
loved best.


Thank you
for helping me
bring the girls
a memory of
their Mom
they can
literally hold
close to
their heart!

~ Kathy Brooks

Kanzashi Stories

I created this memorial kanzashi from a beautiful silk fabric from Thailand that my friend Joanne brought to me. Her cousin, who worked for Delta Airlines and got to travel a lot, brought it to her when she was 12 years old, knowing that Joanne liked to sew.  Joanne wrote to me, “Unfortunately she is no longer with us. She was always like a big sister to me, so it will be wonderful to remember her as I wear your piece of art!”

This kanzashi was created from the pretty yellow prom dress my mother made for me when I was a senior in high school … back in 1969! I had kept the dress for all these years, remembering the nights when she sewed and stitched to create a dress I’d be proud to wear. It was hard to “let go” of the dress but now I have a pretty keepsake from it to wear and to bring back memories of the love that went into the creation of that dress!
David’s mother loved her denim shirt. She also liked silver and black jewelry and so I chose silver and black buttons to complement the memorial kanzashi I made for him.
Diane’s daughter Andi also loved denim. I created a number of kanzashi from Andi’s favorite denim jacket. Since blue was Andi’s favorite color, I placed the kanzashi in a light blue box with darker blue shredding material.

Nancy sent me a beautiful blue dress that had belonged to her mother, and had me create pendants, some with neck wires and some with satin cords. Here is what Nancy told me about her mother: My mom, Elsie, died in 2000 at 88 years. She was a sweet lady of German heritage, was a good cook, and cared deeply for her family. I think her favorite color was blue.
My college friend Gayle lost her friend Arlene. Gayle sent me this fun fabric from a dress that Arlene had made. I created memorial kanzashi for Gayle and for Arlene’s closest friends.
This kanzashi was created from a favorite shirt of a loved one, sent to me long-distance from a woman in Alabama. The green and pink stripes in the shirt created a nice “springtime” pin.
Jennifer sent me a favorite shirt that belonged to our mutual friend Carol and I created kanzashi for Jennifer and for several more of Carol’s friends. Carol was instrumental in the formation of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. and so this turquoise fabric with silver button seemed like an especially nice way to remember and honor her. One of Carol’s final wishes was to visit this museum before she died. She and her friends, the “Wild Women” of Luray, Virginia, took this day trip into D.C. and fulfilled this wish for Carol.

Mary brought me two very special items that had belonged to her daughter JoAnn. The eggshell fabric was from a christening cap and the teal fabric was from a tutu that JoAnn wore in her ballet class. I alternated these fabrics to create this dual-fabric kanzashi, using a button that Mary provided. Mary wears this kanzashi to remember JoAnn, who died unexpectedly as a young adult.

When JoAnn was in school, she wore a sweet tartan tam. I used the fabric from the tam to create this kanzashi, again using a special button that Mary provided.

Ronnie brought me a beautiful scarf that her mother loved to wear and I created this lighter-than-air kanzashi from it. The transparent crystal center seems to add to the illusion of lightness and brightness, a quality of the kanzashi and also a personal quality that Ronnie, who is a special “light” to all who know her, inherited from her mom!

Remembering Elsie Grace

My friend Sherri brought me ten of her Grandmother Elsie’s old handkerchiefs. She wanted to have memorial kanzashi created from them for Christmas gifts for her mother, her daughter, her granddaughter, and a number of aunts.

The beautiful handkerchiefs were almost too beautiful to cut into, but the finished kanzashi were gorgeous.
Sherri gave these precious memorial gifts to her family on Christmas Day 2010, along with a photo of Elsie as a young girl.
They had a “Kanzashi Tea Party”, with family members choosing the flower that they found most special.