25 April 2008
While I drink my morning tea, I watch the morning light creep over the hill and light up the spring grass and set the daffodils and redbud glowing with light. The song of the robin fills the air. The red fox that lives nearby is out making his or her early morning rounds and the squirrels at the birdfeeders quickly move to higher territory. I love this time of day when the world is waking as the blanket of night is drawn away.
This is a bitter-sweet day. I'll be seeing all my kids for the first time in almost a year and a half, but it will be at a funeral for my ex-father in law who passed away after a long illness earlier this week. So my joy at seeing them will be tempered by sadness.
My joy is also tempered by knowing that my middle son, the Marine, will soon be shipping off to Iraq. My mother's heart is anxious for him, but in my spritual heart, I know that God holds him in the palm of his hand. Whether in life or in death, I know that God will care for him even more than I and that should sadness come my way, he will give me what strength I need to bear it. So daily, I lift my son to God in prayer and let my worries subside. God is my strength and my shield. In him will I trust.
19 April 2008
Scrapbooking is something I've enjoyed off and on for a long time. One of my favorite Friday evening activities is attending Midnight Madness scrapbooking at our local scrapbooking store with my sister. I was first inspired by my first college roommate, Nancy who did fabulous ones decades before it was the "in" thing to do. Mine fell far short of her artistic efforts, but I plugged away at it. I did my fair share of doing things like gluing baby cards in baby books and kept a box of memorabilia that was intended for putting in a scrapbook someday, but I never achieved the heights that Nancy did. Now, I mostly play with it. I make cards and journal pages, but I don't really make scrapbooks of family photos. Maybe it is because I can't keep these old lovely scrapbooks out of my mind!
After our house fire, when I was perusing antique shops for things for our new home, I found these two lovely scrap albums in different shops and had to bring them home. Both are filled with calling cards and bits of ephemera. The brown one is artistically done, with pages laid out with coordinating scraps and pictures. The Green one has mostly calling cards just glued in to fill each page and a few pages with a mix of pictures. Every now and then I take them out to browse through them. What a fun glimpse of history they are! Both of them contain ephemera with dates of 1879 in them.
Today, many people would tear these apart and use the scraps in today's scrapbooking type crafts. I find I can't bear to dissemble them as I really love the glimpse into the past they offer.
Allow me to share a few of my favorite pages out of them with you!
The penmanship in this is so beautiful and the sentiment written here is one we need to hear today. I wonder who wrote this? Did a child ask her mother to write if for her or did the creator of the album write it? Or was it something someone wrote after feeling badly about how they treated the album's owner?
--Too Late --
If I had known in the morning
How wearily all the day
The words unkind would trouble my mind,
I said when you went away,
I had been more careful, darling,
Nor given you needless pain;
But we vex "our own"
With look and tone.
We might never take back again.
--- ** ---
We have careful thought for the stranger,
And smiles for the sometime guest,
But for "our own"
The bitter tone
Though we love our own the best.
Ah! lips with the curve impatient'
Ah! brow with the look of scorn;
'Twere a cruel fate
Were the night too late
To undo the work of morn.
-- ** --
Wm Nelson, May 1879
Do you remember reading about name cards in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, "Little Town On the Prairie"?
"In the newspaper office Mr Hopp in his ink-spotted apron spread the sample
cards on the counter for them to see. Each card was more beautiful than the
last. [ ] They were every pale, lovely color, some even had gilt edges. There was
choice of six different bouquets, and one had a bird's nest nestled among the
flowers, two birds on its rim, and above them the word Love.
"That's a young man's card." Mr Hopp told them. "Only a young fellow's brash enough to hand out a card with 'Love' on it."
Times have changed haven't they? I can't imagine one of my boys handing out a name card with the word 'Love' on it much less thinking it showed how brash they were!
Don't you just love the postcard with the girls in uniform on it?! I wonder, are they students in school uniform, nurses in training or even maids or novice nuns?
What a lovely trio of ladies on this page! Such innocence and purity in the one on the left. And look at that glorious head of hair on the bottom one. What an extravagance of lace and ruffles on the one on the right!
I think this one, framed in silver Dresden, embossed paper and velvet ribbon, looks like something that many of our modern day crafters would create! What a lovely blessing to leave you with as well!
May your progress in life's busy road,
Bring blessings in daily increase,
At its close, may Happiness in fullness abound,
With Harmony, Gladness and Peace.
17 April 2008
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come.
-- Song of Solomon 2:11,12
Around town, the flowering trees are bursting into bloom. What a joy to see them! I don't remember them from last year, but then again, last year was one of the driest on record for northern Arizona. All the snow this winter has had a lovely effect and the result is gorgeous! The blossoms lift my heart with joy!
The above painting is one I did of a scene I came across in Iowa when exploring the back roads. Spring in Iowa has to be one of the most glorious sights in the world with the woods full of wild redbud and magnolia and the lush green grass underfoot, soft misty blue skies and a haze of bright green in the treetops. It was the spirng of my dreams. The very earth seemed to break forth with joy and singing!
We Thank Thee
For flowers that bloom about our feet,
For tender grass, so fresh and sweet,
For song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see, --
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee!
For blue of stream and blue of sky,
For pleasant shade of branches high,
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees, --
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee!
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
12 April 2008
The snow has finally melted here, though it does linger on the north side of some buildings. The hillside above my apartment has a hint of green and around town the forsythia are in bloom. Mornings are still quite chilly and well below the freezing mark, but a pot of hardy pansies on the patio is growing and blooming. Inside, the Easter decorations have been put away and the decor has been edited to a light springy mix of things. The flower garland I made before Valentine's continues to play a lovely role over the old mirror. A pair of brass candlesticks with lovely patina and a pair of sweet Bunnies decorate the top of the china cabinet.
I've been clearing various surfaces around the apartment of the bits of clutter that seem to accumulate with time. In doing so, I realized that there are various corners of my apartment that give me joy and so I thought I'd share a few of them with you.
In the bedroom, the decor is serene and simple. I like matching some of the decor here to the 1870's bedroom set. On the wash stand is a lovely and simple white ironstone wash basin and pitcher. On the dresser, an old glass oil lamp, turned ever so slightly lavender by the sun over the years.
In the bathroom, every thing is cream except for the old aqua glass bottles and hand towels. There is something about cream and aqua together that I just love. Such a clean looking, friendly and peaceful combination.
In the living room, I have two of these white berried wreaths. I love the slightest tint of green on them. So simple. I keep them up all year round.
In the winter and spring, I crave sunlight and often sit here in this chair with this lovely silk ribbon embroidered cushion to soak up the late afternoon rays.
I've been participating in an art journaling group. One of our recent exercises was to journal about "the little things in life that make life worth living." You know the kind of things ~ the little ones that we pay so little attention to, but if we didn't have them, we'd really miss them. Here are a few of the treasures of my life.
* A good mug of tea with skim milk and sugar (Scottish Breakfast is my favorite!)
* Kitties purring in my lap.
* Curling up with a good book (my 'somewhat' guilty pleasure is reading Scottish historical romances!)
* Creating things, whether by painting, sketching, cutting, pasting, sewing, spinning, knitting, etc.
* Day dreaming! I tend to daydream with a pencil in hand so I can sketch ideas, makes lists of things, or simply jot down ideas or words that inspire me.
10 April 2008
A week ago, I had the opportunity to go painting with some friends at Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff. Down in the canyon, spring is weeks ahead of where it is in Flagstaff.
We enjoyed the red rocks, the rushing water that slips down mossy green channels, the morning light as it accented the landscape. I attempted to paint the light and shadows on the rock wall, but my efforts fell far short of my usual standards. Walking back to our cars, I spied a hedge of blossom and left the others to go on their way.
As I neared the blossoming hedge, the sweet scent of apple blossom drifted over me. The humming chorus of bees with heavy golden breeches of pollen sang to me. Behind the petticoated trees, red rocks soared in splendor,. But to me the treasure was each perfect starry bloom and the sheer profusion of them.
My heart has craved the spring, yearned for it. And though the grasses are parched silver brown here, these blossoms sing to me of hope, of rebirth, of things made new. To find such pristine and delicate beauty in a landscape that more often speaks of harshness and struggle was such a gift. An hour in their presence has nourished me through a long and difficult week at work.
02 April 2008
Yesterday, I made a trip to Phoenix with my sister. She had meetings most of the day, but I got to go shopping! I had three goals for the day. To go antiquing, shop for tea at AJ's Fine Foods and going to the stamping store, Creative Quest. We accomplished all three and I even managed to fit in a visit to Hobby Lobby and Borders.
I went antiquing with a planned search for white ironstone (next to impossible to find in Arizona), buttons, vintage milinary flowers (on hats or not) and old linen. The only ironstone I found was more modern than I like and there wasn't much. The only buttons I saw were brown and not so pretty ~ I was thinking more in the line of mother of pearl, which I didn't find. The milinary flowers I found were on hats that were WAY out of my price range and not in colors I was really fond of. But in the linen department, I scored! I found this gorgeous creamy 100% Irish Linen table cloth and napkins with the original lable still on! The only hitch is that they still need hemmed! Not a problem! Don't you just love this ornate lable?
I also found this sweet rose covered cachepot. Missing a lid, I think it will be perfect for holding pencils and colored markers on my worktable!
The colors of this old embroidery floss just sang to me. I'm envisioning bouquets of french knot flowers on a garden themed crazy quilt square! Not shown, I also found a lovely stash of silk ribbon for embroidery in colors I didn't have!
A huge bag of ribbon roses and white pearls was mine for a song! I see flower bedecked dotee dolls in my future!
Tea shopping wasn't quite as successful as hoped. I really wanted to stock up on Scottish Breakfast Tea as I'm nearly out. Sadly, they were out of it, but I did manage to find some Rose Petal tea (my 2nd favorite) and some Assam Breakfast tea. I love these hearty strong teas! Skim milk and sugar in mine please!
At Creative Quest, I picked up some Twinkling H2O's that I've been wanting to try. What a splurge! Little bitty containers for lots of money! Can't wait to take them for a spin!
My sister signed us up for a 10,000 steps program. Today is the first day I've worn the pedometer. I'm just going to see what my average steps are on a day I'm not working and focusing more on crafting. I'm afraid I'm going to fall far short of 10,000 steps! Rather fun to see how many steps the ordinary tasks take though. So far, fixing my tea is only 20 steps. Cleaning the cat box is 200. Crafting ~ well, it hasn't clicked since I've been sitting here! So far it appears that it's the unpleasant chores that require the most movement and the things I find enjoyable don't take many! No wonder I have such a hard time getting enough exercise to lose weight!