Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Kiss

My third year of marriage found me once again in my Hometown, where streets and houses and yards and trees were all familiar to me. It was the place of my childhood adventures, and adolescent growing pains, and the place where courtship promised everlasting True Love. The winter months found me teaching skating at the very ice rink I had met my husband.

I was completely caught off guard my first day of work to be called to by a voice from the past. Hank was the boy of all my school girl dreams. Rakishly handsome with auburn hair and ruddy complexion, Hank was the student with ease of manner in everything he did. He had grown much taller and much broader than our childhood days. It seemed Hank also worked at the rink during his winter break from college. I couldn't believe he knew my name.

Day after day working together, I found myself the center of Hank's flirtatious attention. The school girl in me blushed with each brief encounter, my heart beat racing just a little faster.

When my last student had left the ice, I would find Hank suddenly by my side a grin from ear to ear, "Come on let's skate!" He would grab my hand and pull me across the ice, our blades and laughter the only sound in the cold winter's air. I would enter the warming room to find my husband suiting up to play hockey, Hank his fellow teammate.

An invitation by Hank to my husband and me found us entering a party of my peers. The lighting dim, the music loud, Hank surrounded by his many admirers. I stayed shyly by my husband's side as the evening drew close to the New Year. Someone distracted my husband at the stroke of midnight. Hank's voice drifted to me from across the room.

"Part the way, guys! I've been waiting for this moment all winter long." Hank locked eyes with mine, stilling the molecules of air that were between us. He made his way to me and grasped me firmly by the shoulders and bent close to my ear.

"How did I miss seeing you all those years. Pat is one lucky guy."  I felt my husband's arm slip around my side and turn me towards him for a New Year's Kiss. The words just whispered in my ear spoken again by my One True Love, "I'm one lucky guy!"

Snowman and New Year's Clock use same pattern. Cut second face circle for clock, cut into center with pinking scissors close to outside edge. Tacky Glue in place.

Please do not Pin Pattern to Pinterest.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Only a Paper Moon

I love the month of February as I consider it a Side-by-Side holiday to New Year's Day and Christmas. It's not at all necessary to put away your wintery favorites to make room for pink hearts and paper wreaths. So get out your vintage Valentines, and craft until your Heart is Content!

When I craft with Valentines, I look for ones that belong together. The clues are subtle; but they are there, and so much fun to find. Notice the odd way the images on the left are cut. They are a matching set! The little girl on the right has a number at the bottom. I have lots that match her. 

HEARTS: Cut 5 ExL, 3 L, 10 Med, and 10 Sm Hearts (not pictured) from printed paper. Adhere all but Small Hearts to White Card Stock with Glue Stick. Scallop white edge with Decorative Scissors. Punch holes in each heart alternating, Left, Right, and Middle. DECORATE:  5 ExL, 3L, and 2 Sm Hearts with images cut from Valentines.

TAG SHEET: Cut 10 tags. Back with white card stock. Punch alternating holes in each tag. (Note Small Heart Tags are not punched). Tags can also cut into circles or ovals (Note LOVE letters on tags).

ASSEMBLY: 14" Wire Wreath Frame, Matching ribbons in varying widths, White Sheer ribbon, Hot Glue Gun, Pop Dots (optional).

ARRANGE: decorated hearts around wreath. NOTE:  2 Sm. Lamp Hearts act like one ExL Heart. "February Heart" is clustered together with matching themed hearts. Tie Decorated Hearts with Sheer White Ribbon. Apply dot of Hot Glue to frame where heart touches.

REPEAT WITH PATIENCE: Truly this is a project where you must add one element at a time holding the wreath away from you to see if placement appeals to you. NOTE: Sm. Hearts are used as fillers to hide any spots where frame is showing.

By recreating Valentines on cut out hearts, the wreath has a co-cohesive feel to it that just placing uncut images would not provide.

Folded Valentines often have go-together images such as these adorable lamps. LOVE THEM!

OMGosh! This is such a fun and easy project to make, and I hope you will!

Please do not Pin pattern on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Budget

I love that my life is as predictable as the coming of the morning sun. Expected patterns of daily life give me such a feeling of well being. My husband calling to me to bring him the Christmas List, the first step in a well known dance.

"Now we're on a budget this year, you know." begins my husband."You can't get everything these kids want on this list. One item PER child and spouse, and THAT'S IT!" And off to the store we go....

May I tell you that I have not once, not ever never, done the Christmas shopping for our family. I am the designated cart pusher for the man who buys everything on the list and then some. "Oh, lets get gift cards for the neighbor children to go with the gifts I have already bought them." "The Shop Vac? Well, I noticed Joe doesn't have one. How about those comforter sets for each of the girls?"

Oh how I desperately love this husband of mine who has given me the family of my pillow dreams so long ago. He wants nothing for himself but the love of his family and smiles aplenty on Christmas morning, budget busters, every one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers on a Pink Saturday

I loved everything about Fifth Grade at Tayac Elementary School. I loved the row of windows trimmed in forest green that looked out upon the playground. I loved the flecked linoleum floor that was always shiniest on Monday mornings. I loved the big round clock above the classroom's chalkboard, and I loved my teacher, Mrs.Williams.

Mrs.Williams hair was slightly pink, and I loved this about her. She wore glasses that hung from a gold chain around her neck that were slipped on her nose when she wanted the class to come to attention. Mrs. Williams demanded excellence in her class, and we took this very seriously. We wanted to be the best class she had ever taught.

The first order of business each morning was the collection of our dimes for the Red Cross. Our dimes handed one by one to Mrs. Williams, an entry into our little log books, 10 cents paid on this day. When our books were filled, a little tin button to wear with pride.

Reading and writing, long division and fractions, history and science, we worked hard at them all. "This year will set the tone for all your school years to come." stated Mrs. Williams. "Do well here, and you will do well always."

The hours and days and months spent in Mrs. Williams classroom belonged to us alone. We were apart from our parents and strove to stand on our own. Everything seemed possible, and everything was because we were Fifth Graders at Tayac Elementary School.

School Valentines are my most favorite thing in the world. Scrawled signatures from classmates forever remembered in the heart for having shared such precious days together.

With each Valentine that I held in my hand while making these sweet ornaments, I said a prayer for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School knowing that their day began with love for their school and their teacher and their classmates; and I said a prayer that all children should be safe in their schools.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bun Heads

Each morning as I made my way to the bus stop at the top of my hilly neighborhood, I could hear the familiar sounds of car doors closing further up Larkwood Drive.

I would anticipate and be ready to catch sight of Sarah through the passenger window as she was always in the process of putting on her coat or wrapping her scarf around her neck. She would disappear in this blur of movement, the image of her hair in a neat bun staying with me as I walked.

Sarah never rode the bus in the mornings and she seldom did in the afternoons, but on occasion I would spot her bun making it's way towards home, always separate from the throng of bus riding students. I would hurry my steps to watch more closely this mysterious girl. (Thank you Leslie, Craftyless)

Everything about Sarah spoke of gracefulness. She seemed to glide more than walk on a frame so slight I didn't know how it could support her. Her shoulders were impossibly squared, and her bun rested at the base of her neck that couldn't be hidden by her layers of scarf. I knew in my heart she must be a very special girl, and I wanted to be like her without evening knowing her.

As spring came and soon the end of school for her always, I summoned the courage as I left blacktop for the cement of my driveway to call out to her, "Bye, Sarah!" She paused in her progress, her bun slowly turning, "Bye, Elizabeth, have a nice summer!" I would never see her again.

My mother would tell me that Sarah was a member of the prestigious Washington Ballet Company. Her dedication to the discipline of dance kept her from the day to day activities of our peers. My years of watching Sarah's bun glide in and out of my small world had such an impact on the type of person I wanted to be. To this day I try always to be graceful and dedicated to do my best at anything I attempt.

And I know because of Sarah, my own daughter is this way as well. My own beautiful Bun Head will go with her father to watch the Nutcracker this evening. Her last test taken at school, the Dean's List again. Graceful in movement, shoulders squared, a swan like countenance I love to observe.

Original fabric pattern found here

My Coco Rose Pincushion Challenge happily adds a Valentine Hedgehog!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The World of Henry Orient

Each of the apartments in our building on Embassy Row were time capsules for the lives their inhabitants had left behind in the places they called Home. Without access to anything of the moment, the event of a newcomer was a glimpse into the future. My family was the Camelot edition of the 1963 Holiday Season.

My parents were young and stylish with important people to meet and places to go. A babysitter for the evening was found in Ground Floor, Apartment 1A; an English War Bride having lived in our building since the Atomic Age with her GI husband and teenaged son.

Dr. Denton footsteps outside their apartment door, sing song greetings from the most astonishing looking woman I had ever seen. Hair in pink curlers, eyes framed in black, pink chiffon swirling with every step she took. A cigarette in one hand that never seemed to reach her lips, a tiny white poodle tucked under her arm. "Won't you come in and have a look at the tree!"

I will never forget the evening my brother and I spent side by side entranced by the sight of a silver Christmas tree that whirred as it turned from pink to blue to green.Time had stood still in a most delightful way in Apartment 1A.

A trip to the Antique Mall found a few Atomic Age items coming home with me. The Napco Christmas girl is a planter standing about seven inches tall. It is marked with the year I was born, 1958. What a lucky find!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whitman Ornaments in the Mail!

What fun this swap has been to host. I have enjoyed peeking through the cellophane at the cutest Christmas ornaments ever and have wondered at the ones wrapped so that I can't see. So do please visit each blog and enjoy for yourself the art of all these talented ladies.

You will be so excited to unveil your ornament from Chris as each one is vintage sweetness that personifies this most special time of the year. Do you see the little Christmas Seal? I told you so..... VS!!

OMGosh, I nearly cried to unwrap Jenny's ornament of a very favorite holiday movie. Just imagine the time it took to recreate this magical movie in her shadowbox. Just look at the tiny little money! I love this ornament!

What a special treat to have Beth share one of her magical creations with us. Are you smiling at the S&H Savings Stamps?

Did you know you can also spell Sandy, CUTE? Every one of her ornaments is as sweet as this little red gingham church. Wait until you see the clever way she has created the way to hang her ornaments, too cute for words!

How fun are Shirley's, Bigby's Department Store ornaments! Window shopping never looked so fun. I can't wait for you to see the presentation Shirley has in store for you. You will feel as though you have been shopping yourself at Bigby's.

From My House to Your House, I thank you for joining me in this ornament swap; and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Elizabeth

Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry & Bright Garland Tutorial


The grey days of a Midwestern winter are here, but inside my craft room, things are Merry and Bright. Long awaited arrival of October Afternoon fulfills my wish to make a most wonderful countdown garland to share with you! Every saved scrap of greeting card and items sent in the mail are perfect for this project. A how to for you!

STEP ONE - GATHER on your craft desk everything you like! Letters that don't have go-afters, odd buttons, favorite scraps saved from greeting cards, embellishments that hadn't the right Place to Be, anything at all that pleases your eye.

STEP TWO - ORGANIZE BY COLOR all of the items you have gathered. By doing this the color scheme of your garland will emerge. Anything that did not fit into one of these piles, I did not use. Sandy, 521 Lake Street, sent me the wonderful vintage wooden Christmas ornaments which will remind me of her each time I look at my garland.

STEP THREE - GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES Craft tip - Do you have a spool of wire and needle nose wire cutters? I don't think a crafting day goes by that I don't use these. I will make little loops to hang each tag from my garland.

STEP FOUR - CLEAR YOUR WORK SPACE   I have gathered all of the items I will use in my garland and placed them on a small table to my side. I have put away everything that I will not be using. This helps bring out my creativity.

STEP FIVE - DIVIDE AND CONQUER! A garland no matter the length can easily be managed by repeating a pattern within uniform lengths of space. My garland is six-feet long; so I will have six areas that will repeat the same pattern. MAIN FOCAL POINT - One LARGE tag made for each divided space. CRAFT TIP - Because my garland hangs in a window, I have sandwiched cardboard between front and back printed papers.

MEDIUM AND SMALL tags are created enough for each divided length of space.

VARY YOUR SHAPES - Because most of my tags are square or rectangle, I have made small silvery "coins" to give the garland sparkle. CRAFT TIP - Create one large and small sized cardboard circle for each divided length of garland. Place cardboard behind image and hold up to the light to center. Glue stick in place and THEN trim. Repeat with back image.

STEP SIX - TIME FOR FUN! Oh my gosh! I can't express enough how much fun it is to use all of the Inside Images of vintage greeting cards I have saved from all of my paper projects. They are my very favorite. I was so excited that this delicate card border found the perfect Place to Be. Beautiful!

Little ornament stickers left over from my Mitten Garland fit right in with my color scheme. Left over flowers, jingle bells, and Greetings are used in such a happy way.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  A most favorite story ever shared, here ,is represented with this tag. CRAFT TIP - Vary the types of numbers used in your Countdown Garland. Coming across unexpected numbers in unexpected places will draw the viewer in for a closer look.

SEE THE PATTERN? Focal Point, medium and small tags, something rectangle, something round large and small, wooden ornament, and countdown number "8".

GARLANDS - I have purchased my vintage plastic garland several times now on Etsy or Ebay at a very minimal price. I have also used Ric Rac for this type of garland on several occasions. Use What's on Hand!

I'm giggling that this may very well be my lengthiest post ever as my garland is so very long! SIGH! Another inside scene used on the "4" tag.

I'm often asked how I can possibly cut into my beautiful vintage greeting cards rather than use copies. Do what feels right for you. For me, I am creating art by using the originals in a way not intended but none the less in a way to still enjoy the beautiful workmanship.

I hope these many examples of my own garland will perhaps inspire you to create one of your own. Making each tag special will result in something to enjoy year after year.

And please if you should create a Merry & Bright Garland, I do hope you will share it with me!