Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bridal Shower

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.

Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present."

Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.

So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mommy went a' hunting (at the Sal)

We had our Back-to-Homeschool tea last Saturday. It was a fun fellowship time with ladies who are doing this journey with me. We had yummy food, and tablecloths and flowers on the table. I got to take some home:
On the way home, I stopped at the Salvation Army thrift store, "just for a minute." I found these glasses that are just like some we had when I was growing up. They matched dinnerware, and my mom got pieces every week at the grocery, until she had a service for eight:
Very fun, finding something the same as when you were little! Next, I found mugs commemorating the book "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady." It is Edith Holden's Nature Journal. I found that on ebay for 99 cents a couple of years ago. I later got the companion volume, "Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady," but I had to pay $1.50! If you don't know these books, they are her handwritten notes on nature study, complete with pictures, and fun quotes and poems suitable to her entries. I might have picked up all of the mugs they had, but they only had eight of the twelve months, so I got my birthday month:
This is the poem on the back of the mug: (from the book)
"Fairest of months! ripe Summer's Queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear." --R. Combe Miller

Finally, a melmac bowl, sort of ying-yang shaped. My mother's favorite color was turquoise, so we had this color melmac growing up, too, tho' I don't remember this particular bowl. But it is different and cute, isn't it?
Today, since hubby is on vacation, we are going to visit his Dad, who lives "on" Lake M*chigan. He also has a wonderful gazebo behind his home, where I love to read in the early morning and listen to the birds. We will be back Sunday, so I will post again on Monday! (and maybe get something done on one of my many WIP's!)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sundry thoughts

(looks like I saved a partial draft yesterday--the text for this entry is written Wednesday!)

This is a catch-all day. My son Alvin Fernald had the opportunity to attend a major-league baseball game yesterday with a homeschooled friend, so slept overnight there. School will not be regimented today, and it seems my thoughts aren't either.

I made this salad a couple of days ago (tho' I took the photo when it was *fresh*!)
I went to California last summer to visit my auntie before she passed away. Her good friend Cindy made this for us--she said it was a typical California salad--romaine, pears, and pecans. I thought that was really funny--we Midwest people would *always* make this with apples and walnuts, not pears and pecans! But it is very tasty this way. Give it a try if you live east of the Mississippi!

Now to some homegrown treats:

The larger, very ordinary tomatoes are from my garden. My neighbor grew cherry tomatoes, and these "black cherry" tomatoes. They look nice mixed in a salad. Such gorgeous bounty!

Well, I decided to join the "bag lady" phenomenon, and try my hand:
I bought three of the great "mod" Michael miller fabrics from the "Fashionista" line. This one, called Hollywood, I made into a bag for my sister. Here is a peek at the inside:
I will show you the other two fabrics as I make them into purses for Forget-me-not and Lily.

The weather has been so gorgeous here. It just "feels" like fall. And the sunshine--the path it follows in the sky from sunrise to sunset is shorter--more to the south (I think, I am directionally challenged!), which makes the sunlight/sky a different color. *Now* I understand that chart we all learned in school about the placement of the sun in the different seasons!

One of the best, best things about homeschooling is how I understand now, so many of the facts I learned. I was a science girl and loved learning about how the world works; now I see the hand of God all over everything. I love how I can see a bigger picture of history, one I could never understand as a child. Experience gives clarity. Literature, even children's literature (the best stuff--I'm trying to read through the Newbery winners I missed as a child), speaks to our souls. Maybe tomorrow I will print a description of "literature" that my daughter Violet wrote for a Master's class--it was so good I kept it.

Of course, I could mention art and music, too--so many things go into our education. We all want to be "lifelong" learners, but homeschooling has given me opportunities that I maybe would not have taken time for, had I not been on the journey with my children.

There you have it: a completely random set of thoughts. Waxing philosophical toward the end, but I have this warm fuzzy feeling that I'm ready for my day, now. Except that we are OUT of milk, half-and-half (Violet, my love, *you* understand!), toothpaste, and paper napkins. Maybe Today will be the day I pull out those cloth ones sitting in a drawer, and begin to use them! Or, maybe I'll just get some at Wal-mart, since I have to get half-and-half anyway...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Rocky and Forget-me-not


Blogger is acting up...errrgh. It is telling me that it is uploading my photos to my post. Do you see any pictures? I didn't think so.

TODAY is my daughter Forget-me-not's and her husband Rocky Balboa's second wedding anniversary. I was going to show you three pictures of this fabulous event, and, though not to be mentioned next to the fairy-tale bride and groom, the mother-of-the-bride looked Pretty Darn Good, an event that happens...seldom?

They have done pretty well for themselves so far. As two people with Extremely Strong Personalities, they are learning the fine art of living with each other with understanding. They have bought a house, and fixed up a great deal of it. They have produced a fabulous Blueberry (see post below, where the picture DID work). Life is well with the Balboa fam.

We are blessed that they live only five or so minutes from our home. Forget-me-not comes over with the 'berry for coffee four or five times a week. This is a big blessing for Mama.

I pray for God's richest blessings on you two, as you continue to grow in love and understanding of each other. As the Lord fashions you into the man and woman of *His* dreams, conforming you to the image of His Son.

(I will fer sure post pictures later, if Blogger lets me.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blueberry Love

This is my grandbaby Blueberry, shortly after he was born, six weeks early:
Here he is today, on his one-half birthday:
Slightly larger than he was six months ago, going from 5 lbs. 11 oz. to going-on twenty pounds. (at five months he was 17.11...) Naturally, he is smarter than the average bear.

To celebrate his one-half birthday, he decided to learn how to roll over from his belly to his back. He came to see his Mom-mom, and gave her lots of smiles. I just love it when *I* get the presents!!! Everyday is a special day with Blueberry in it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

WIP--Princess Quilts

I am making pink-and-green Princess quilts for my granddaughters Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea. Lily, my dear d-i-l, is going to do the "girl's room" in this theme. Wal-mart had this great princess fabric, in *just* the right colors!
I am going to use a center panel of the main fabric, so the princesses will be "dancing." Around the center panel will be two rows all around of 5-inch squares. I cut half of the squares "plain":
The other half of them, I made into hourglass blocks:
On the plain yellow squares (total of 10 in each quilt), I am making yo-yo flowers, with green rick-rack as stems. I only have five yo-yos yet to do!
Ya' know, I so-so loved the pink and green thing when I started it, and now it's so...Pink and Green!! Yellow is the accent color, and maybe I don't have enough of that. Maybe I should make some of the hourglass blocks using yellows. I only have half of those made, so far.

On the knitting front, I am doing some Christmas presents. The problem is that I really push my children into reading my blogs, so I can't really talk about them!

Well, my son Alvin Fernald is off for a weekend campout. Daughter Blackeyed Susan and I will do some work today, then I am going to figure out some kind of Fun Girl Thing to do!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tag! I'm it!

I've been tagged by Mrs. Linebarger! (see sidebar for link)
This is a fun one:

1. Five Things in the Freezer: Right now I'm just working with the above-the-frig one, and I just cleaned that, so this will be boring:
--about six ziplocs with cooked pumpkin from last year
--three bags of frozen (duh!) broccoli
--five ice cube trays, three of which are cracked (just replace them, already!)
--two pounds of hamburger
--10 tins of cheap biscuits to make doughnuts with another family when the weather turns cooler

2. Five Things in the Closet: We have this tiny closet by our stairs:
--golf bag with clubs
--vacuum cleaner bags and extra belts
--old 35mm film projector--we still have some films we need to put on dvd
--couple of window blinds, new in box
--our fabulous queen-size Aero bed--I'm no longer captive to a bad sofa bed at friends' when we spend the weekend!

3. Five Things in the Car:
--extra ATM deposit envelopes (sometimes the atm is empty, then I have to drive to another one, tired of doing THAT)
--extra napkins and straws for fast food--really bugs me when they forget and then *I* forget to check the bag
--several bottled waters
--my ice scraper (even in summer the signs say Watch for Ice on Bridge!! tee hee)
--four camp chairs

4. Five Things in my Purse:
--pens--either "none" or eight, never one or two
--at least three lipsticks
--small scissors for coupons or whatever
--JoAnn's and Hancock ads, sometimes Michael's, too
--5 dice and rules for a dice game--I'm never without something to do w/ the kids if the car breaks down (can you tell this has happened?)

5. Five Things in my Wallet:
--ONE photo--none of my own children, only one grandchild (I have 4); I am so bad.
--two Kinko's cards, with .02 and .11 on them
--punch cards from umpteen coffee places
--proof of car insurance--I'm ready when they ask
--library card--in use at least twice a week

I'm just "tagging" anybody who'd like to do this, since I've been seeing it everywhere for days now...

Happy Birthday, Violet!

I have been trying for a half-hour to post a picture of my first-born. Oh, well, problems with Blogger come with the territory, don't they?

So, you don't get a photo. But my darling Violet is celebrating her 31st birthday today. That sounds so weird, like *I* should be 31 instead. But the phenomenon of Time Marching On is a well-known one, so I'll deal with it.

Violet was a Diva back when the word still referred to an opera singer. At four, many people referred to her as Shirley Temple. Precocious and cute. She decided she wanted to be an actress.

I received two calls one day about Violet. The "new" Anne of Green Gables movie had come out on PBS. I hadn't even seen it yet. One of the calls was from my mother-in-law: "I just saw Violet on tv." Went on to tell me about this character Anne-with-an-E. Cool, I'll have to watch it, I said. Later that day, my sister called from Arizona: "I just saw Violet on tv." How funny, I thought, that two people used exactly the same words about Violet. So when it came on again, we were sure to watch. This began a life-long passion for Everything Anne in my daughter. She devoured the books. I made her an Anne outfit that she wore umpteen times, including to my parents' 50th anniversary party. She read LMM's journals. She even did her Master's thesis on Anne. She's been to the Island twice, and it is always on her current To-Do list. She's the Kindred Spirits' kindred spirit.

She loved Big Band music. She went through an extensive Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables stage. She is the most widely-read and eclectic (is that the same thing?) reader I have ever met. One day, as a teenager, she came home from the library. Among her twenty or so books: Biography of Maggie Thatcher. Teen romance from the '50's. History of Indonesia. (she just thought it looked interesting. My question: why were you standing near the stacks in that part of the library? Do you just spin 'round three times and point, like Pin the Tail on the Donkey?) Teach yourself Serbo-Croatian (with tapes). A large mystery fiction by her then-current favorite author. Book on Japanese film.

She still does that. You can see her opinings on books she has read in her blog, Fine Distraction (see my sidebar). But be prepared: a whole lot of what she says is Over My Head.

She did major in theater in college. Graduated magna cum laude with minors in French, history, and English. Got her master's in English Creative Writing. Has thought about a Ph.D. in history.

God didn't follow my plan and send a husband early in her life. But I guess He knows what He is doing. Right now, she is a dorm Rector for a women's dorm at a prestigious university. (if I tell you that the lyrics to the Fight Song include the words, "wake up the echoes, cheering her name," you may recognize it.) Dear Charming and I met there as students.

She is fun, witty, a wonderful daughter, granddaughter, and sister, and loves the Lord. I am very proud of her accomplishments, but also just as proud of her as a person of character. And ultimately proud to be her Mommy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Good Times

I have this little baby from my childhood. (I just noticed how you can see my wicker, curling off the leg of my rocker--tee hee) It is called a SKOTCH Cooler. Many's the family picnics it came on. Mommy would load up all the necessities, and we'd be off to the park. Or, it would come to the family reunions, twice a year. (both sides of the fam, you know.)

We have one of the newer kinds of coolers. Actually, we have two. Lightweight, they are. Wheels and handles to make the transporting easier. Can stand a two-liter or gallon of milk upright. "room for 24 cans of pop." Holds 20 or 64 gallons or something.

Not so the SKOTCH cooler. I looked inside the lid. "4 gallons." FOUR????

We only use this when Charming and I go away for the weekend. It holds ice and 12 cans of pop. (a weekend away is worthless if I don't have my Dr. Pepper.) But this was our family's only cooler while I was growing up. I got to thinking, how did we ever get by with this?

Then I remembered the stacking Thing. I think everytime we went on a picnic, Mother would comment on How much she loved her stacking thing. She got it at the [trading] stamp store. It looked like about six large round cake pans stacked on top of each other. A wire handle wrapped around all the pieces, to hold them together for carrying.

In the bottom pan, she put ice. Above that was potato salad. Above that was silverware. Then baked beans (hot). Then paper plates and napkins. Maybe that took two pans. But on top were the Cupcakes. For drinks, she had this 5-gallon tupperware thing, with a plastic handle, that she put two gallons of lemonade in. I'm afraid I don't remember where she put the cups. Or the tablecloth. Or the "wet washrags" for cleanup. (there *was* a world that didn't know baby wipes.) The SKOTCH cooler had ice and the chicken in it.

Mother was So Excited to give me the stacky thing, when her children were grown, and my family was growing. I kept it for about fifteen years, and never, ever used it, so I gave it to the Goodwill.

After all, I have a 45,000 gallon cooler. I'm afraid I don't need a stacky thing. But I do love the SKOTCH cooler, even tho' I can only use it when Charming and I are alone.

Hey, that doesn't sound like such a bad deal!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cast of Thousands (or Sixteen)

Well, I think it is about time to let you know about the Players in this little Drama. Or, to put it in a plebeian sort of way, to Make Up Fake Names For Everybody.

I have them listed on the sidebar, so that when I refer to them henceforth, you can keep up. It is your "program," if you will.

First of all is my dear husband Charming. Did you ever see the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella (1964)? It starred Leslie Ann Warren and Stuart Damon (who went on to fame as Dr. Alan Quartermain on General Hospital). There is a scene at the ball when Everything Stops because Cinderella is entering the room. Prince Charming looks up, and...the look on his face--mmm, mmm, when I was nine years old, baby, that is how I wanted my Prince to look at me. When I got one.

I had been married for 15 years or so when the video version came out. I hadn't seen the movie for at least 20 years. When that scene came up, my heart stopped. I realized that my dream had come true--I had my Prince Charming.

All my daughters, and my dear daughter-in-law, are named for flowers. My eldest picked Violet. I chose Forget-me-not for dd#2--she is my only blue-eyed daughter, and her name means Princess. She took this seriously from her birth, and Forget-me-not kinda sums up her personality. Ddil chose Lily--she carried them at her wedding. I chose Black-eyed Susan for my youngest daughter, because her eyes are the same color as her grandmother, who had the same nickname.

My dear sons and son-in-law have character names, either from books or tv or movies. My oldest ds is Don Quixote, which describes him perfectly. He Dreams the Impossible Dream daily. Ds#2 is Joe Hardy, a character he played in his childhood with his cousin, who was Frank Hardy. Ds#3 is Johnny Tremain, a book that he somehow missed in his childhood, but fell in love with in college while studying Children's Lit for El. Ed. majors. I have bought him three or four copies at book sales--enough, already, ma.

Dear Son-in-law is Rocky Balboa. He is a "Rocky" fanatic, and frankly, couldn't think of a book character he liked better. Ds#4 is MacGuyver--he is a Renaissance kind of guy, who fixes things with rubber bands and paper clips. Ds#5 is Alvin Fernald (Alvin's Secret Code, Alvin's Swap Shop, The Many Inventions of Alvin Fernald)--he likes the series :)

Finally, the grandbabies: Johnny and Lily have three--the first two are Veggie fans, so they are Junior Asparagus and Laura Carrot. The baby, 2 months old, is named Sweet Pea. Rocky and Forget-me-not's son will be Blueberry--the name he carried through her pregnancy. He is almost 6 months old.

So, there you have it. I thought it was bad, choosing names for all my offspring. One at a time. This sixteen-at-once has tuckered me out.

Laura Carrot's got a new bag

This is my granddaughter, Laura Carrot, at Christmas. Yes, I realize that it is now August, and she was only 14 months old then, now 21 months. That's a third of her life ago. And that means that she is considerably more sophisticated now. She probably would no longer be so selfish as to steal the bottle from her Raggedy Andy's mouth.
Being a real swingin' gal now, she is really into makeup. As in, Grandma's. The minute she comes in the door, she makes a beeline for my makeup bag, and gets out the powder to "get pretty." However, being almost-two means that she leaves little canals in the powder where she has dug her fingernails in (she uses the powder-puff "dry" as well). And her cute little fingerprints on the mirror make me look like I'm in a fun house.
I got this cute fat quarter recently, and decided to make her her own bag:

Here is how it turned out:
And then, at the dollar store, I got this cute brush and mirror:
My dd13, Blackeyed Susan, has some extra "clean" powder puffs left over from Nutcracker last year, so I will stick one of those in, and Laura's Makeup Bag will be complete.

Now maybe she'll leave mine alone. Though I have been in the parenting biz long enough to know that having your own bag is no guarantee, for a two-year old. Sometimes, the Real Deal is the only deal.

We'll see.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kindred loveys

Wow! How cool--April 1930's mentioned me on her blog today! She's one of my kindred spirits, and I enjoy visiting her blog almost every day.
The very, very cool thing about blogging is the friends you make, that you can meet in no other way. Little Jenny Wren is from Australia, and Mrs. Plain and Simple is from the UK. I am from Indiana, U.S.A., so now Miss April will have to tell us what part of the country she is from!
There is no other way that people from such diverse locations could possibly meet. But how fun, fun, fun is it to meet other "kindreds." I have been buzzing around Blogland, finding new crafty people. I just love seeing other people being creative--it sparks my own juices. I'm afraid, tho', that I have the problem of never getting to the end of my ideas! Oh, well, no "dry spells" for me, at least for awhile~
For a real treat, check out some of the great people on my sidebar!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fourteen Finished!

I got really excited a couple of weeks ago, reading about people making a goal of Finishing What You Have. I couldn't believe it when I found FOURTEEN pieces of flannel I had picked up here and there, to use for receiving blankets. I love these handmade blankets. I make them forty inches square, and they are really nice for nursing mommies. They are considerably larger than the blankets at the store, so as the baby gets older, the "snatch away" factor is minimized!
Two of these, with a ribbon around them, are my standard baby gift. Several of my friends have asked me to make them for them, too. Thus the buildup of extra fabric.
So I gathered the pieces up from hither and yon, and spent an evening cutting them to size. I hemmed them over the next two nights, and Voila! that's all it took to Finish What I Had. (well, one project out of many.....)
By the way, you'll only see thirteen blankies in the picture. My daughter-in-law already snatched one, and my daughter has staked a claim on two more. Now that I've finished them, we can call them Disappearing Blankets!