Love letter to Sandra

Sandra taught me to see the potential for beauty all around and to not let an opportunity pass to make something extraordinary.

The newlywed, Sandra McVay Lynch.

The newlywed, Sandra McVay Lynch.

My creative family provides constant inspiration. My sister, a graphic designer, is married to a photographer /filmmaker. A cousin is also a filmmaker and another cousin creates Mexican-made fashion. Two aunts are the most-stylish, creative people anywhere period. The original source of creative inspiration, however, came from my mother Sandra. Her vocation was school teacher and antiques dealer, but really she was, and is, an artist.

My magical childhood made me feel like a princess.

My mother, sister and I in our 1970's decorated dining room which I thought to be quite chic at the time.

My mother, sister and I in our 1970’s decorated dining room which I thought to be quite chic at the time.

Sandra added a large dose of fantasy to our life. Our kitchen walls were wallpapered in yellow and white trellis while the ceiling bloomed with pink and red roses. Her beautiful olive-skinned hands made dreams come to life. Like an elf, my mother frequently stayed up into the wee hours of the night completing a project. My sister and I would go to sleep and in the morning awake to find an amazing costume hanging on the bedroom door.  To wear to my uncle’s wedding, she made herself a silk gown with a jewel-encrusted neckline and matching silk stole. When I was quite young, a local newspaper pictured her alongside her fall festival tablescape of squirrels fashioned from acorns.

Often rebellious, Sandra preferred to be unique.

My mother was one of the few moms that worked. She valued her independence and wanted her own money to do with as she wished. As a teenager I wished that my mom would volunteer in the school cafeteria like my friends’ mothers who were all perfectly attired with well-coiffed hair and dewy makeup. It was Texas, after all, where impeccable grooming was, and still is, the preferred look.

My mother and I in our eighties' best. She fared better than I with my unfortunate hairstyle although we might call it even were she wearing her 70's holdover two-toned sunglasses (in her hand).

My mother and I in our eighties’ best. She fared better than I with my unfortunate hairstyle although we might call it even were she wearing her 70’s holdover two-toned sunglasses (in her hand).

Later I came to appreciate my mother’s more natural look. The dark-haired beauty did not require much makeup. She was often compared to Elizabeth Taylor, although I found her more beautiful than the movie star. Sandra encouraged us to be different, particularly during our teenage years when conformity ruled. Now I appreciate that my mom chose to dress differently. She preferred a Chinese embroidered coat to ballgowns and a spiky Mexican silver choker to gold beads.

Sandra’s passion is finding and creating beauty.

Sandra loves beauty and surrounds herself with it. She collects everything that catches her eye, from Mexican folk art to pressed glass to Delft. She cannot visit the local nursery without taking home yet another beautiful blooming rose. Miraculously, she finds an open spot in her very full garden. Her garden reveals her eternal optimism. Despite living in the desert, she grows iris, tulips, daffodils, and green grass. No native cactus for her. Neighbors regularly stop to admire her blooming flowers. It is her gift to the neighborhood.

Sandra is very happy that both her daughters pledged her sorority even if at a different university.

She wanted four children but was happily blessed with two.

At 78, Sandra is still a bundle of energy. She has traveled extensively but still desires to see more. Australia tops her wish list, and she has every intention of getting there. Currently, she spends her time needlepointing, gardening, making jewelry, sending care packages to her grandchildren, giving gifts (all creatively wrapped of course), and decorating for every holiday.

Casa V will bring lessons learned from Sandra to your home to make it unique, beautiful, and maybe even a bit magical.