A Tribute to Pixie

Today, December 5th, marks 20 years since my mom, Pixie, was called to her heavenly home. I refer to it as her “heavenday” on my calendar as her birthday is December 15th. She was 49 when she died, 10 days before her 50th birthday. She told my dad that if she made it to 50 to please still put 49 in the obituary (LOL)!

This year, today weighs on me more than it has in recent memory, as she’s now been gone longer than I had her in my life. I was 19 when she lost her courageous battle with colon cancer. So today, in honor of her life well-lived, I thought I’d share a little about my mom and some of her crafty projects with you!


If you’ve visited my About Me page, you may already know that my blog is named after my mom. She was a crafter of many things, but her specialty was fabric-covered boxes, picture frames, and the like. For my freshman year of college, she made me this beautiful (now well-loved) jewelry box:

Check out that amazing bow! I picked out my favorite fabric and she spent countless hours making this for me. Here’s a look at the inside (pardon the hot mess of all my jewelry & trinkets!):

The top level is a removable tray! And of course I had to have a coordinating (well-loved) tissue box!

I had matching curtains too! Oh, how I love these special pieces of mine! They have moved with me everywhere since college and I still admire and use them today. The same can be said for the countless items she made for family and friends – they are all cherished.

A few years after she passed (Christmas of 2002), my grandparents-by-love, Ruthie & Nat, gifted one of my mom’s boxes back to me, with this sweet note included:

“Dear Julie: Instead of money this year, we wanted to share a part of the past. Your mom gave me this book as an appreciation of what I can’t remember. Along with the book, which has a message for us all, she made this box. Your mom said it was the smallest she ever made. The box is filled with the love she gave us and squeezed in is our love.”

Here’s a closeup of the box:

And the inside of the box:

And her hand-stitched detail:

I am still amazed at her work after all these years. I’ve never seen anything like it!

Here’s another one of her creations I’ll share with you. It’s a beautiful, quilted album cover for all of our Christmas pictures over the years:


Her little crafty business was called, “Pixie’s Puffed Stuff”, a name my grandfather (her dad), Poppy, came up with. Her projects were created with fabric, ribbon, quilt-batting, matboard, and good old-fashioned Elmer’s Glue! She even had dies fabricated to cut matboard pieces for her picture frames. I could sit there for hours just watching her and if I close my eyes today, I still can picture her so clearly in her happy place, her craft room.

She was a night owl, like me, and would often be the last person awake working away on her projects – especially during the holidays. I grew up watching her work her crafty magic, but it wasn’t until 8 years ago that I started papercrafting. And every minute I craft I can feel such a connection to her. I know if she were here today, she’d totally be a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator!

Just when I thought I couldn’t love her any more, in 2013 I became a mother for the first time and was overwhelmed with how much more I loved and appreciated her. I hope my children will know Grandma Pixie’s love as much as I do.

TOP – MOM & ME (1978); BOTTOM – LILLIE & ME (2013)

She was incredibly gifted, not only as a crafter, but at opening her heart to everyone she met. She made a lasting impact on so many people’s lives and that has truly been the gift that keeps on giving to me and my family in the years since she’s been gone. We are so grateful!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Hold your loved ones tight this holiday season and shine your light on the world – it will continue to glow long after you’re gone and bring joy to many! I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!


The 2nd and final reservation window (this has changed!) will open today at 2pm MT and will remain open from December 5–30 – yay! Beginning March 19, Stampin’ Up! will ship Stamparatuses in the order the reservations were received (first in, first out). Click the image above to reserve your Stamparatus!

Supplies are limited, so snag your favorites before they’re gone! Click the image above to shop now!



Please apply this month’s host code for all orders under $150. If you place an order of $75 or more (before shipping & taxes), you’ll earn this month’s free gift: Silver 3/8″ Metallic-Edge Ribbon!

  • $75 – $149.99 Order: You must apply the host code to your order to receive this month’s free gift.
  • $150+ Order: Do not apply the host code. You’ll automatically qualify for my free gift this month as well as earn Stampin’ Rewards!

About Julie DiMatteo

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

41 thoughts on “A Tribute to Pixie

  1. Julie, what a loving storie , I understand you miss her.
    It must be painful to miss her, but a joy to have known her.
    A gift for life, that not everybody has. ….
    What a whonderful tribute to your mom.
    I think, she should be very proud of you nowadays.

  2. What a beautiful sharing of your mother’s life and your love for her and the love she shared with all around her. How blessed you were to have her as your mom and she too is blessed to be remembered by such a loving daughter.

  3. Thank you for sharing Julie. I too cherish the beautiful Pixie’s puffed stuff tour Mom created. Love you so much! Sending you hugs!!!!

  4. She touched you with her magic, and it continues to ripple outward through you. Your daddy couldn’t be more proud of you, this morning!

  5. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful mom (inside and out). You have been blessed and that blessing will trickle down to your own family.

    mary anne

  6. This is such a beautiful tribute! Thank you for sharing! I can’t help but think how similar your story is to mine, and it makes me smile thinking that our mothers could very well be chatting with each other at this very moment in their heavenly home. 🙂 God bless you and give you peace and comfort this day!

  7. I love this tribute to my dear friend Pixie. I am so thankful to have known her and to have my daughter Christin be friends with you! Pixie and I were often running to the next school or church event but stopped to chat about our projects! We definitely multitasked! It was not unusual to be at the same craft show or shop and every time we talked we energized each other! She will always be a part of my life and I miss her. I will never forget that we were both in the hospital on the same day for operations; Mark Simone was busy with both of us in the same hospital! She and your father and my husband and I were in a class at the Federated that year and shared many prayers. You are truly her legacy and I know how proud she is of the woman you have become. Sending you warm embraces and loving thoughts today.

  8. Julie, thank you for sharing your Mom with us today. After your description of her sweetness and creativity, I feel confident in saying she definitely lives on through you! All of the words you used to describe her fit you exactly. I know she is so proud of the sweet lady , Mom, and friend you have become. ❤

  9. Julie, such a wonderful post. Love seeing her beautiful creations. She was very talented lady indeed. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of Pixie with us! Xoxo

  10. Oh, Julie, I know that feeling only too well . . . the more than half my life feeling. I talk about my Mom to my two girls all the time. This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom. I am sure she is full of smiles and pride. I adore the “heavenday” and it will surely be a new word in our family. Her boxes were just exquisite and the memories even better. Have a blessed and peaceful day.

  11. What a precious tribute! Tears flowed as I read this touching account of your dear mother. Your love, joy, pride, and pain can’t help resonating in the hearts of all who have both enjoyed having such a wonderful mother and who’ve bid an earthly farewell to her. I love your word “heavenday”. My own dear mother’s heavenday was December 26, 2012. I’m so happy for you to have such special items and that you treasure them as you do. God bless, and Merry Christmas!

  12. What a sweet story you told of your Mother today. I read your words with tears in my eyes as my Mom was a crafter as well. I was inspired by her hobbies throughout my life. My Mom is still here physically but she has been robbed of her memory by a dreadful disease. Thank you for sharing and bringing some sweet memories of my Mom to the forefront of my mind. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  13. Julie, I know how much you miss your mom, but you are certainly as talented as she was. Your work is always amazing and I know your mother smiles down from her heavenly home with each of your creations. My mother was a crafter but now she suffers from Alzheimer’s and is just a shell of her former self. I wish many, many, many times I could ask her a question about how to make something. Our memories are our treasures now. Love your work and love you sharing your talent with us. Hugs from Alabama.

  14. Julie, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I also lost my parents at a very young age. My Dad was 41 and my Mom 53. Even though they haven’t been physically present to see my beautiful family grow I feel like they are with me everyday. Because we have our memories to cherish they live forever in our hearts!!

  15. Such a wonderful tribute to your mother! She seems like a real gem! Thank you for sharing & reminding us all of the importance of family & friends. (By the way, I love your blog & projects!)

  16. What a lovely tribute, Julie! Although I never met her, I know what an important place in your heart you hold for her. Your crafting talents don’t fall very far from the tree, and I know she’d be so happy to see how much you enjoy what you do and be amazed with how you can share so much with so many. Sending you all of my love today, my dear friend. <3

  17. Oh, Julie, this tribute to your mom could have been written by me. My mom, too, was a crafter using her sewing and crocheting skills. I have many of her beautiful creations. She entered her heavenly home on New Year’s Eve back in 1960 and had struggled with color cancer for 3 years. I had been married to my husband, Jim, for only 8 months. I was 22 years old. She never got to see our two beautiful children who both had the brown eyes she so loved. Thankfully she passed on to me her love of crafting. I miss her as much, if not more, than I did the day she passed away at the age of 61 years 354 days. Her favorite saying was, “Use your talents to do whatever you can for others because if you don’t, God will take them away, as you don’t need them.” Time does heal your heart but never completely. She, too, was a beautiful and loving person. The best we can do is to pass our mom’s love and kindness on to our children and be the best friend to all who we know. Keep her memory alive and share your memories of her. It helps. God love you and your family.

  18. Your story emphasizes the bond, the love that should be between daughter and mother. I too was blessed with a mom that I loved and admired with all my heart. There has not been one day that I haven’t thought of her and missed her in the years since she was called home and I regret that most of my children never got a chance to know her or have forgotten that they once knew of her love. I am 82 so I am in the eternal rotation and I only hope my children remember me with as much love as I remember my mom.

  19. What a beautiful tribute!!! As I was readig about all the beautiful things she made, I’m sure I heard her say (as all moms would), “Awww, it was nothing!!” Precious treasures to hang on to then pass to the next generaton. So cool!!! Prayers and hugs for you today. Thank you for sharing from your heart. It touched mine.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story in such a beautiful way. I have several items that my mom crafted, and I treasure them. She’s in heaven, too. I’m praying that God gives you a little extra love today.

  21. Here I am crying at work as I read this beautiful tribute to your mom. Thanks for sharing her creations and the tribute to Pixie.

  22. Julie, Pixie was a gift to anyone fortunate enough to have met her. Her special love has marked our family, and we are grateful.

  23. Thank you for sharing such a precious story. I can feel your pain as I lost my Mom in 1972 and I still miss her so much. Your Mom surely had great talent to have made such neat boxes! I see where you get your talent! So glad they are priceless to you and bring you such wonderful memories. Keep them close to your heart.

  24. I’m not crying! You’re crying! Oh, my friend. Having lost a parent far too young, I know how it is to try and infuse them into everything you do. I also know how it is to try and raise your children to grow up knowing and loving them even though they never really met them. My kids talk about their grandpa like they knew him, but they are really just repeating stories they’ve heard so many times from those of us who love and miss him so much. Keep doing you and you are doing her proud. <3

  25. Julie, what a beautiful post about your very special Mom. Hang on to all the precious memories. I’m sure she is smiling down on you and so proud of you. Sending you a big hug.

  26. Thank you for sharing your memories and mementos from your beautiful and talented mom. You’re just like her! Makes my heart happy you have handmade, amazing projects to make memories even sweeter.

  27. Julie, what a beautiful heartfelt tribute to your Mom! I know she smiling right now. Her light continues to shine through you and we get to learn and enjoy that same light from what you share through video tutorials and blog posts. What better way to honor her life.

  28. I’m glad I had a paper towel in my hand before reading your blog post, because I’m balling my eyes out. It was so beautifully written, Julie, and I understand your feeling, your connection with your mom. We are among the fortunate ones. Thank you for sharing.

  29. Julie, you had a wonderful mom! I love seeing her in her craft room so happy. Thank you for sharing about her. I lost my mom 10 years ago and find I’m actually thinking more about her lately. Blessings to you and your family.

  30. Julie, what a beautiful and loving tribute to your mom. She has gifted you with her talent and love. You honor her ever day with the way you share your talent so willingly with so many. Sorry for your loss.

  31. Julie, I’m still tearing. You memories and way of sharing them is a beautiful thing. No doubt your mom’s gift of love is still resonating and returning to all those she’d touched with it. What a lovely thing to share! Thank you and may she continue to bless and enrich your life and all those who she’d touched and loved (and those of your children, etc.)! (I’m especially sorry that you’d lost her at such a young age, both!) Thank you for sharing! I know she is smiling down to see your joy and success as “a person!” God bless!

  32. Thank you for sharing this story of love. Moms are very special, and I can tell from your story you are also one of the best!

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