Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hilda and Irene

My Grandmother Hilda lived just a few houses down the street from her sister Irene. Two sisters could not be more unalike except when it came to the keeping of their homes. Where Hilda wore sensible shoes and house dresses as she went about her day's work, Irene could be found listening to the radio on her kitchen windowsill, her toe tapping in a stylish pump as she dried the dinner dishes.

The sisters had only the kindest of compliments for each other and their homemaking skills, but this first grandchild knew whose home was truly the best.

My grandmother would say to me as she handed me a cookie from the Dutch Boy on the counter, "Take this plate of cookies to your Aunt Irene and tell her there is not a lighter crumb than in these cookies.  Down the street I would skip to Aunt Irene's kitchen door where she would usher me in, a thickly frosted piece of cake held on a waiting plate. She would say to me as I took my leave, "Take this cake to your grandmother and tell her there is not a moister crumb than in this cake"

In the evening my grandmother would prepare the bathroom for my bath. The heater inside the pink tiled walls would glow a warm orange. Fluffy white towels would be handed to me from a glass fronted cabinet. My grandmother would say, "The next time you are at Aunt Irene's look to see if her bathroom grout is as white as mine."

Back and forth I would go all the days of my visits to see my grandmother. Even as a newlywed I would be sent down the block to Aunt Irene's to make some comparison that would cement just who truly was the best homemaker. With each trip I would be pampered and hugged and kissed and made to feel under any circumstance that I was loved the most.

I just had to add this sweet three color planter to my collection. It reminds me so of my grandmother's and Aunt Irene's white clapboard homes on Colbert Street in New Orleans.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

City Sidewalk Tag Wreath

It is the most beautiful sun shiny day here in the Heart of Ohio. The light through my craft room window is so cheerful. I just have to share with you a most favorite paper project that perhaps you will keep in mind the next time you are at your scrapbook store.

I have used October Afternoon's Holiday Style to make my wreath. (Most paper lines have a tag sheet) One tag sheet, three printed papers, one sticker sheet. A wire form can be found at Michaels or JoAnnes, 12".

Cut apart tags and back them on sturdy white card stock. (I have arranged same widths to make use of paper trimmer). Punch half of tags on right side, half on left side.

Gather together trims for your wreath such as buttons, punched snowflakes, mounted stickers from paper line, and punched tags to fill in spaces.

Designate where the "top" of your wreath will be. Use ribbon to tie card stock backed backed tags in graduating size, beginning with largest, to the wreath form. A dot of hot glue will help keep tags in place.

Tie stickers and print paper tags to any part of the wreath form still seen. Some tags can be added on top of others using Pop Dots.

Hot glue buttons or punched snowflakes to any print paper tags used.

A last step is to add silver glitter or tiny "diamonds" to catch the light.

Oh My Gosh! Tag by tag come together to create such a wonderful holiday keepsake.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shopping at Macy's

Diane's Etsy shop, Saturday Finds, is my go to place for crafts featuring the holiday images I so love from days gone by.

There are so many vintage things I would not know about if it were not for Diane's use of them in creating the most adorable crafts. My Cute as Can Be Mr.Snowman would not be wearing his dapper red ice cream hat

if I had not purchased one of Diane's St. Charles Elf Cups. I absolutely adore him and can't wait to display him again this year.

The Queen of Pink has definitely influenced my color pallet for this year's holiday fare. My vintage inspired snowman wears pink and blue as he stand in line to meet Mr. North Pole.

Oh, now these shoppers are, as Vivian would say, "too stinkin' cute" for words! It looks as though their front doors will be decorated ever so ringingly.

Lest I give you the wrong impression, Diane does dabble in the traditional reds and greens that I so love. I am adding one of these cute kittens to my Must Have List. They are just so mE!

I know I will bore you to tears with with Christmas before the temperatures even drop below 70*, but I just had to share these wonderful characters that are appearing before me in my beloved craft room.

There are so many of you whose style is now reflected in my own art that I hope now speaks as my own. I strive to have a very simple style that reflects my own personality with just a hint of all that sparkles to reflect the women who shine so brightly in my eyes.

Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Distraction Satisfaction

Do you ever go to the scrapbook store with a specific paper mission in mind only to be completely waylaid by just the peek of something out of the corner of your eye?

Just the smallest of glimpses caught my eye in a section I never visit, the baby section. I know that anyone nearby must have heard the rush of breath that escaped my lips upon seeing this print.

I hadn't a plan in mind in at all as I thumbed through Graphic 45's lovely tablet of papers but that I had to make something to share with you here. Just look at the little cu-pees giggling along the border and the sweet faces peeking from the center of the yellow roses. Wonderful!

The sweet babies had me thinking of my own two. Baby birds in their party hats.

My poor son had the misfortune of his mother being all about Lady Di when he was born. I dressed him in buckle shoes and bow ties. This is why my boy characters always wear bow ties! And you thought they were just for decoration.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Halfway Woods

The Halfway Woods were just across the street from my home. It's leafy canopy seen from my bedroom window endlessly taller than it was in fact due to the steep incline of the earth that marked the half-way point between those of us who lived at the top and those of us who lived at the bottom.

A deep ravine always dark in the coolness of the woods ran just behind the encroaching houses that was our neighborhood. It's banks packed hard from sliding backsides, it's reward a moss bottomed brook that never ran dry. It's far edge reached with the bravery that came from crossing fallen trees one foot in front of the other, the hope to not cross again before the end of the day.

To walk on the many trails that wound their way through the Halfway Woods was to encounter every stage of childhood. From boys on rope swings testing their mettle against each other and girls wanting to prove their equal worth, to teenagers awkwardly come upon, first kisses blushingly hid by turning away.

The Halfway Woods were everything to me. A Maple found with ladder rung branches to climb and a deep V to perch became my place to read for hours and imagine a particular boy one day liking me. I would sometimes glimpse him on the Halfway Path below my tree waiting at the crest for a friend. I prayed my beating heart wouldn't alert him to my presence far above his head.

The Halfway Woods called to me on days I was filled with joy and days I couldn't wait to have end. My special tree was the place that held me when required reading from school said I was no longer a girl. I cried all the tears I could and then rested deeply, a sound below interrupting my resolve.

A familiar sandy head, one long tan arm and one blue jean clad leg swinging carelessly, an open book slowly closed held on a second bent knee. A smile looking up as mine looked down. When I think about the coming of Indian Summer and the beginning of Fall, I think about my days in The Halfway Woods and the sweetness of First Love.

Pattern for personal use only.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Roy Rogers

When my mother became a widow, she no longer cooked meals for herself. She took to spending her afternoons in a favorite chosen booth, window side at Roy Rogers. There she would pass her time reading, doing cross word puzzles, and drawing near to her anyone who liked conversation with their coffee.

My mother soon became a "Regular" along with other Regulars who also had their favorite booths and spent their afternoons window side. The Regulars all knew each other by name, their life's story, and their most pressing ailment of the day.

My mother spent so much time at Roy Rogers, that if I needed to speak to her during the day, I would call the restaurant and ask for her by name.  She was loved by the employees for her willingness to listen to their problems and give advice when needed.

One afternoon she noticed an older gentleman in a windbreaker, a ball cap on his head, tray of food in his hands, looking for a window spot to sit. My mother asked if he would like to join her. Comfortable right away, the gentleman expressed that he was in the area to visit his sister and did she know of anyone who taught art as his sister had expressed an interest in taking lessons. My mother told him she taught a seniors group art lessons and would be happy to include his sister. Information was exchanged, the man was so grateful.

My mother asked if the gentleman would sign her tray liner to give to her grandson Christopher. The man asked, "How did you know it was me?"

My mother replied, "You may look like a truck driver, but they don't usually wear Rolex watches!"

My mother may have been a Regular, but she lived an extraordinary life!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Band Wagon

I believe I am a particularly old-fashioned sort of person because I had a mother who was always on The Band Wagon. It was as though my mother saw her life as a Kaleidoscope always needing to be tilted. There wasn't a day I didn't come home from school that I wouldn't find my mother entranced by the trend of the moment.

There were the days my brother and I would only eat oranges because my mother was on the Cabbage Soup Diet that was to transform her perfectly plump familiarity into a svelte carpooling Mom we wouldn't recognize.

There were weeks I would press my ear to the front door before entering hoping the strains of "What's New Pussy Cat" had already faded away. I couldn't bear to hear another commentary on the number of middle aged women who had swooned themselves to the ground upon hearing this song.

But the worst by far were counting the days until the "Happy Hooker" left our end tables to travel to the next mother on The Band Wagon. Curiosity drew me to it's cover again and again, a Bobwhite Spend the Night left us giggling about the unknown.

Our mother's adventurous personality often spilled over onto my brother and I. We lived in fear of coming home from school to find new "outfits" left on our beds. My poor brother took to hiding alternate clothing in his book bag to change into behind the neighbors hedge. Silky shirts with pointy collars, maroon bell bottoms that hugged the hips. It never occurred to us to rebel as so many of our peers did. We embraced any measure of conformity as a flailing swimmer would a preserver.

At the end of my mother's days on this earth, her spirit was not bound by the constraints of her physical body. She infused in those around her the energy of her will and her curiosity to experience what lay ahead. I know that in Heaven my mother is as she was with us, the breath of possibility when you dare to lead the way.

Please, for personal use only.