Are you pulling your hair out, wondering what you could possibly get your mother-in-law for her birthday? Just ask Cheryl Prater, daughter-in-law extraordinaire. If you haven’t seen the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors yet, Cheryl’s shares directions for her humorous mixed-media board game “Sixtyopoly,” a gift for her mother-in-law, Carol, celebrating her life so far.
Q: How did the idea for “Sixtyopoly” come about?
A: Well, I was under the gun because my mother-in-law had asked me to put together a memory shadow box as a gift to her brother, Tony. She’d bought me the box and gave me all these wonderful items that belonged to her dad who died a couple of years ago. The box really turned out great and I know she almost hated to give it to Tony. Her sixtieth birthday was looming shortly thereafter, and I knew I had to create something really special for her to follow that. I racked my brain for about three weeks, and after playing with a couple of items and making a couple of false starts until I made put that pouting Carol on the checkerboard. The game idea flourished and it kind of took on a life of it’s own from there.
Q: You must have a great relationship with your mother-in-law!
A: Yes, isn’t that crazy? (Laughing) I met my husband when I was 17, and met her shortly thereafter. Obviously seeing that she’s a 60-year-old mom now you can see how young she was when she had my husband, Mark. She said the nicest thing to Mark when she met me. She told him, “When I met Cheryl, this was the first of your girlfriends who is a real grown-up person.” She’s truly a strong person and has had an amazing life. I love her!
Q: How long did it take you to make “Sixtyopoly?”
A: Off and on about two months. It was hard because Carol and I talk everyday like I talk with my own mom. She’d ask me what I was working on in my studio, and I’d have to fib. It was so hard to keep a secret from her—I even tell her when I’m fighting with Mark. (She takes my side, of course!)
Q: When/how did you give it to her?
A: Well, she decided to throw herself a surprise 60th birthday party! It was really an excuse to have a reunion as her parents are both gone now. She has a sister and three brothers all throughout the country and wanted them to get together.
I unveiled it at the party; she was so blown away and so overcome that she started bawling. She had to go into the house and wash her face, and she came back outside still crying so she went back into the house again. The second time she came out, we had put on the aprons I had also made, and she cried some more. I didn’t know that she’d get that emotional about it, but we’ve been through so much together.
Q: Where is “Sixtyopoly” displayed?
A: In her home in a place of honor. She did read all the cards at the party but doesn’t play with it. People just wanted to look at it.
Q: So I take it you love mixed media and altered arts. What artists do you admire?
A: Claudine Hellmuth, Beryl Taylor, Debbi Crane, Lesley Riley, Michael DeMeng, Jane Powell at Random Arts, Teesha Moore, Lori Mika to name a few.
Q: Any skill you’re champing at the bit to learn?
A: Patience! The most dreaded words in any art workshop are “let dry.” I am the most impatient person!
Q: What was it like getting notified that you were cover?
A: Kinda’ like the day I had the ultrasound and found out I was having twins. And waiting for this issue to come out was like waiting the 13 days I was in labor. And it was more painful waiting for the magazine!
Well, with two twin boys and by being a cover girl, it sounds like all good things in Cheryl's life were worth the wait.
If you’d like to connect with Cheryl check out her blog. Our January/February issue is now available on newsstands.