Monday, August 31, 2009

Letting Go of Grief

Nearly twenty years ago and long before I ever knew I was a writer, I thought it would be interesting to take an introductory writing class at our local community college. I had the urge to write, but didn’t have any idea that I was capable of writing a story. However, in the Writing 101 course I signed up for, not only did we tackle writing resumes, research reports, news articles and statistical reporting for office procedures, but we were also given the opportunity to create the written selections of our choice for our final projects.

I instantly knew what I wanted to write. I didn’t know, however, if I could do it justice. It seemed an insurmountable task. But I had a burning desire to capture the spirit of my father—my dad—on paper. He, who had passed away nearly ten years before, was on my mind constantly. It seemed I had to write about him, tell the world what a great guy he’d been in his lifetime…tell them how much I missed him!

But where to start, I wondered. I didn’t think of it as grief at the time, but that’s exactly what I was doing—grieving. Grieving for the times we had spent together in our Upper Peninsula of Michigan home, grieving for the times that would never come again, grieving for my immense and unsettling loss.

But suddenly, I realized I could go back! I could go back and relive one of the most powerful memories I held of our times together. All I had to do was recall the memory in detail and write it down...

Because of my constant pleading, my father decided to take me with him on a deer hunting expedition to the backwoods of the North. Although his decision was met with stony silence from his fellow woodsmen, he plunged ahead determinedly, as he did with all decisions. He was a man among men and his pals acquiesced to his resolve. The hunting trip was a gift from him to me for my sixteenth birthday. I remembered every detail in living color.

How to start writing? I thought about it and asked myself, “What would Dad do?” The answer was simple. He would plunge right in. And that is exactly what I did. I wrote and wrote, and when I thought I was done, I read over what I’d written and added a word here and there, revised a few sentences, checked my punctuation. But in rereading what I’d written, I realized I had captured the essence of the adventure. More importantly I had captured the heart and spirit of my dad.

When I turned in my paper, I hoped my professor would see that this was more than just an assignment, a fictional story. I worried that she would not see how important this was to me, beyond receiving a good grade. But I was not disappointed. When my story was returned to me, the letter A was written carefully on the last page…followed by four brief words. “You touched my soul,” she had written in small letters under the grade.

Her inspirational support spurned me on to write other stories. But that story, entitled “A Killing Age,” was the one that stood alone among all the others—just like Dad. The writing of this adventure was truly a work of grieving though I didn’t realize it at the time. I had accomplished what I had set out to do. I’d secured my father’s memory for all time and had given up the sadness that had surged inside for so long. The poignant and somewhat funny story, filled with both happiness and loss, formed the basis of my first book of memoirs, “The Wishing Years,” published in 1995. Many readers have shared their innermost thoughts, wishes and dreams with me about their own experiences after reading the book. It has been my great pleasure to know I have touched others with my memories.

Now I have a newer book of memoirs in publication, “A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.” Dad is in this book too, along with all my family and friends from the past. He is still as determined as ever in all the stories I recreate of our true times together. I write now with nothing but pure joy. I am no longer grieving; I am celebrating my memories.

If you are living with grief over the loss of a loved one, recall the most cherished memory you shared with that person (or pet). Then write it down. Don’t worry about how it sounds…just write. I let go of grief through memory writing. You can, too!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Please Remember Lynda in your Prayers

Just this morning I learned that my friend Lynda, our book group leader at the library died of cancer this past week. This was stunning news to all of us; we are so very sad. Please remember Lynda and her family in your prayers on this beautiful Sunday.

Lynda loved life and adventure. When we were reading Gifts from the Sea a few years ago, Lynda and her husband traveled to Florida where she went shell seeking and proudly displayed her finds for us during discussion. While we were leaving, she asked if anyone wanted the shells to keep. Yes! And I have them still. A remembrance of good times shared.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Cornucopia of Pink Roses!

This pretty little pink fairy-angel is bringing you a cornucopia of pink roses for your Saturday pleasure. Enjoy your day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bleeding Hearts: A Chapter from "The Wishing Years"

Following The Great Depression, when the Oliver Mining Company sold the Dober Mining Location houses, Mom and Dad bought ours, House #13, for $450.

My cousin Joanne lived just three doors down the block and even though she was a grown up seven and I was only four, we were the best of friends.

When she went off to school in the fall of 1943, I thought I’d die without her. I gave up trying to count the long hours of each weekday, convinced that the weekend would never arrive. But some­how the days ticked slowly away until we could once again be together, make up for lost time, and play our favorite games in my back yard.

But then something terrible happened.

We’d been warned not to play piggyback. Caught in the act, we’d been told it was too dangerous. But the older kids in the neighborhood all did it. As soon as our parents were out of sight, Joanne would boost me up on her shoulders and away we’d go, wobbling, pitching, and stumbling until we’d tumble to the ground, giggling so hard we could barely pick our­selves up again.

One Saturday afternoon, as Joanne strutted about the yard with me on her back, our laughter sent us sailing with such speed around the front of the house that we nearly fell headlong into Mom’s Snowball bushes. Joanne tried to stop the fall by taking a quick step backward, but her feet got tan­gled and she ran straight into the sharp corner of our front porch, jabbing her side and hurling us into a sorry heap.

I thought, at first, she was still laughing but, when I tried to roll her over, I could see she wasn’t. She was crying. I begged her not to go home, but she didn’t seem to hear me. I watched her limp along down the block, holding her side and sobbing.

I hoped she would come back after supper. I waited and waited, but she didn’t come.

I waited for her the next day, again, but she still didn’t come.

At our house, a strange thing was going on. Mom and Dad seemed to have a secret. They would often whisper to each other, then stop when I came into the room.

Finally on Monday evening, Mom told me Joanne was sick. She had a ruptured appendix. Auntie Sep had been told by their doctor that there was a new drug called penicillin that might cure her, but it was not yet available in our small town. Auntie Sep was beside herself with frustration and fear.

“Is Joanne better yet?” I kept asking my mother on Tuesday, but each time the answer was no.

On Tuesday night, I heard the phone ring, then Mom’s voice sounding sad.

When she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, “Coralie, come into the living room. Let’s sit down. I want to talk to you.”

She took my hand and led me to the sofa in the living room.

“That was Auntie Sep on the phone,” Mom continued, looking at me in an odd way.

“Is Joanne better?” I asked.

“Coralie,” she hesitated, “Joanne isn’t going to get bet­ter.” She put her arm around me as we sat of the sofa. “She’s gone to heaven. She’s one of God’s special little angels now...She was very sick, you know, and now she won’t be in pain anymore.”

“She’s going to be an angel? Then I won’t see her any­more?” I tried hard to imagine what that meant.

In my restless dreams that night, I could see Joanne’s face. Her short, soft curls spilled out from underneath the brim of her favorite hand-knit Scandinavian cap, forming a soft golden halo around her sky-blue eyes. But when I reached out and tried to touch her, I couldn’t, because she was an angel, floating in heaven with all God’s other special an­gels. Her face was happy, but I woke up crying and sad. I would never see my friend again.

“Can I go to the funeral?” I asked Mom.

“No, dear, you are too little. Only the grown-ups will be there,” Mom answered, her eyes red-rimmed.

Standing in our back yard on the day of Joanne’s fu­neral, I could see the mourners in black walk slowly in the cold drizzling rain from their cars to Auntie Sep’s back door, then disappear inside. I stood silently watching until there were no more people, only empty cars. I felt small, chilled, and terribly alone.

I would never see Joanne again. I didn’t have anyone to play with. Even when Mom read me my bedtime stories, I felt sad and lonely. All winter long, I thought about her, dreamed about her, and sometimes even pretended that she was with me, just invisible.

There were hushed conversations I sometimes over­heard during those winter months. “I don’t know how she’s ever gonna’ get through it,” Dad told Mom, referring to his sister, Auntie Sep. “She hardly eats enough to keep a bird alive and she cries all the time.”

I worried about her. I missed Joanne, but I missed my favorite aunt, too.

It was a long winter.

When spring came, I stood at our northerly dining room window, looking off across the street to the field where topsy-turvy patches of burnt brown Indian tobacco, wild wheat, and weeping white milkweed waved invitingly in the sun. I wished Joanne were there so we could go exploring for buttercups, birds, and berries.

“I think the strawberries are ripe,” Mom said brightly, interrupting my daydreams. “How would you like to go and see?”

“By myself?” I’d never been across the street alone be­fore.

Mom hesitated, then went to the kitchen sink, rinsed out her little tin measuring cup, dried it on a blue and white striped kitchen towel and handed it to me. “By yourself. It’s time you learned to cross alone. I’ll walk you to the edge of the street, but when you come back, remember to look both ways for cars, just like we’ve talked about.” She pressed the tin cup into my hand, smiled, and walked me to the street.

Excited about my adventure, I looked back only once to see if Mom was still watching me, but she’d gone back inside. So, I made my way through the waist-high waving grass, stooping now and again to press grass and leaves aside to look for berries.

Suddenly, I came upon a huge boulder hidden in the grass. Bigger than me and polished by years of sun, snow, and rain, it had a smell all its own, like the shoreline of a lake. I ran my hands over the pocked surface, found a notch halfway up just big enough for the toe of my white sandal and scrambled up.

Stretching out on its cool surface like a tricky toad, I moved not at all, blending into my surroundings so convinc­ingly that the orange and black Monarch butterflies fluttering by could not tell me from the rock. The breath of their wings tickled my knees as they landed, then took off again.

To the musical trill of a meadowlark nesting nearby, I gazed up toward the serene sapphire sky, letting my thoughts float along with the puffy white clouds overhead as they scud­ded slowly along, taking the shapes of dancing dogs, circus elephants, and...angels, like Joanne.

Spring came and went. Then, one day in early summer, the phone rang.

“Coralie, that was Auntie Sep. She wants you to come for a visit. How would you like that?” Mom asked, obviously pleased.

“You mean I can go alone?” I’d been across the street, but never on a visit by myself.

“Yes, I think you’re big enough now,” Mom said in her sun-shiny way.

I was thrilled. Not only was I going on a visit by my­self, but I would finally get to see Auntie Sep again, too.

Mom slipped my white embroidered pinafore over my head, then hooked each of my long curls around her forefin­ger and brushed it into a perfect bobbing spiral. She polished my white sandals, gave me a pair of white anklets to pull on and, finally, gave my face a few swipes with a warm wet washcloth that smelled sweetly of Fels Naphtha.

Heady with happiness, I hopped along down the side­walk to Auntie Sep’s house, counting the sections of cement and carefully skipping over each crack.

I slowed when I reached the pruned entrance to the yard and walked like a lady to the back door. There, behind the screen door, stood Auntie Sep waiting, but she had a strange lookon her face. Was something wrong? I didn’t know what to do. We just stood there looking at each other for what seemed like a long time, until I began to wonder if I should go back home.

But then she opened the door, stepped out, and looked off over my head.

“The wrens have come back,” she said wistfully, point­ing to the tiny birdhouse hung in the maple tree just outside her kitchen window. “They are such hard workers. Never stop from dawn ‘til dusk.” Her thoughts seemed far away as she watched the little brown birds flitting back and forth from her garden to their house.

“They’re so tiny!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, they are, tiny but hearty,” she answered, turning and walking toward her back yard garden.

“Look at all those sad little faces,” she said more to herself than to me as we examined clusters of bright lavender, purple, and yellow pansies peering up at us.

I followed her from flower to flower enjoying the col­ors of her garden. Grouped in perfect little patches were pink carnations, white Shasta daisies, and blue bachelor buttons, bordered by orange nasturtiums, yellow four-o’clocks, and red moss roses. At each new plant, she stopped and pulled away dead leaves and stems.

“Your flowers are so pretty. I love the colors,” I said, hoping to cheer her up, hoping she would look at me. She didn’t seem to remember I was there.

“Yes, the garden is comforting,” she replied. Her voice was somber, her thoughts far away, her eyes clouded over. She seemed lost from me.

But after several seconds, she finally spoke again. “Come,” she said looking off across the garden, “I have something to show you.”

I followed her to the far corner of the garden. “These are new this year,” she said pointing to a clump of pink and white flowers.

I walked over to get a closer look. Here grew the most amazing flowering plant I had ever seen, abundant green branches weighted down with small pink heart-shaped flow­ers, each split down the middle by a white pendulum.

“They’re called Bleeding Hearts,” Auntie Sep said, studying the flowers.

“They look like broken hearts,” I said. Just like mine, I thought.

She didn’t respond at once. I began to wonder if she’d ever look at me.

“Yes, dear.” I heard grief in her voice. “They are one of God’s little miracles. He knows when our hearts are sad and has given us a symbol of His understanding to remind us that He understands our pain.”

“Can we pick them?” I thought how pretty they’d look in a vase.

She fell silent...thinking. I looked up at her and tried to see her eyes but they were still turned from me. However, she seemed to be making an important decision. I wondered what it was.

“I have a better idea,” she finally answered. “We’ll let them be for now. Then we can come back each day and see how they’ve grown.”

With this, she summoned up her courage and turned to look me squarely in the eyes. She forced herself to smile through her tears. “Would you like to come and visit me again,” she asked, “tomorrow?”

“And we can walk in the garden again?” I asked.

“We certainly can, Coralie. We can walk in the gar­den...together,” Auntie Sep answered.

Then, as she reached out taking my tiny hand in hers, I felt the wonderful warmth of her touch ease the pain of my broken heart, I knew everything was going to be all right. I had thought Joanne was lost forever, but there in the garden I felt her presence, her memory blessed by the Bleeding Hearts.

Our visits to the garden became the most important events in our lives during the summer of 1944. As hand in hand we shared the beauty, peace, and joy of God’s wonders, we also held Joanne silently within our grieving hearts. And through this gentle companionship of love and hope and grace our hearts, at last, began to heal.

Click HERE to go to my book blog to find ordering information for The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ladies' Club Luncheon!

In our Upper Peninsula home, in the 50’s, mashed potatoes, meat and gravy was the normal daily fare. Our meals were designed around Dad’s desire for hot, hearty food and revolved around his weekly rotating underground shift work in the Hiawatha Mine.

Mom, a confident cook, turned out roaster, after roaster, of mouthwatering pork, beef and chicken, homemade bread and vegetables a la made-from-scratch, buttered cream sauce—without blinking an eye. Planning, preparing and presenting a full-course dinner seven days a week for a family of eight, was a piece of cake.

However, when every few months it was Mom’s turn to serve up something for her Ladies’ Club luncheon, the seasoned kitchen veteran went into spasms of concern.

“I’ve got to think of something special,” Mom stewed. “Last time we were at Cele’s house, she served the most beautiful green molded gelatin salad you’ve ever seen.”

“Moldy salad? Green?” It didn’t sound like anything I wanted to eat. “What did she put in it?”

“Raisins, grated carrots and celery mixed with cottage cheese, pineapple and walnuts,” Mom answered.

“You couldn’t pay me to eat that.” I gagged for effect. At fourteen, I often wondered how Mom and her friends managed to spoon down some of the stuff of which their more unusual surprises were created. Leftovers from the Ladies' Club luncheon did not strike longing in my heart.

“Oh it was just delicious!” Mom exclaimed.

“It sounds as bad as that Walrus salad you served last time. You know, the one with chopped apples drenched in mayo. At least if you’d pared the peels off the apples before serving, it wouldn’t have been so bad,” I teased.

“Waldorf salad,” Mom corrected. “And there was a little mayonnaise in it, but it wasn’t drenched.”

“Why don’t you make something that tastes good? Like chicken salad?” I asked, thinking how tasty it would be to have leftover treats to munch on.

“Too common,” Mom said. “I’ve got to come up with something special.” Mom picked up the current issue of Woman’s Day Magazine and started leafing through.

“It’s common because it tastes good—”

“Oh, look at this!” She cut me off. “I think I may have found just the thing.” She flashed the magazine at me, pointing to a colored picture of a plateful of pretty petite white sandwiches that had been formed—somehow—into jellyroll slices. They actually looked tasty.

“Minced ham,” Mom began reading, “with chopped green olives and crushed pecans. Mix in a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Serve with fresh cottage cheese and green grapes. I think a touch of paprika would be nice, too, to add some color.”

“Not on the grapes, I hope.” We both laughed. “They do look pretty and tasty, but how in the world do you get them to look like jelly roll slices?” I was baffled.

“It’ll take a little work,” Mom said.

The day before the luncheon, my sister Connie and I were recruited to help clean the house. Cleaning for the family and cleaning for the Ladies’ Club were two entirely different things. Where we would have leisurely dusted the furniture, swept the floor and done the dishes, we, instead, attacked the floors, walls and counters with gritty cleanser, water and elbow grease.

“When can we quit?” Connie and I grumbled.

“When you can eat off the floor,” Mom replied. It was her standard reply and I found it difficult not to envision the ladies from her club eating their lunch off of our kitchen floor.

Mom monitored every corner and, if a speck of anything had been left behind, we were called to repeat the process. When, at last, we finished several hours later, the rooms had been polished, primped and practically sterilized enough to pass inspection in a hospital.

Only then was it time to prepare the mystery sandwiches. I figured that Houdini, himself, was probably the only one who could figure out how they went together. But I was wrong. Mom, armed with her Woman’s Day issue at hand, had already unraveled the puzzle.

When Mom came home from Roberg’s bakery the day before with three unsliced loaves of bread, I thought she was getting a little carried away. Surely there would be more sandwiches than even eight eager ladies could eat, but I think now Mom may have had a premonition that she should prepare for the worst.

And the worst was about to happen. Mom grabbed the first loaf of bread and, with her trusty serrated knife, trimmed away the crusts on all six sides.

“These have got to be paper-thin,” she said more to herself than to us. She laid the loaf on its side and began to cut it into lengthwise layers, but the knife kept slipping through to the surface of the counter, making the bread tear before she could cut a complete layer. The entire loaf ended up in shreds, not slices.

“I’ll have to make these layers thicker,” Mom mumbled, cutting away the crusts and making deep cuts into the second lengthwise loaf. But it was soon obvious that she had overcompensated. The layers were far to thick to roll into petite rounds.

Mom was sweating bullets by this time. The clock was winding down, the luncheon ladies would soon descend upon her domicile and it looked like the food would not be fit to serve. This called for nothing short of a miracle. My sister and I held our breath. What was she going to do?

With the cold calculating eye of an eagle, the sure swift hand of a surgeon and the sheer determination of a woman bent on success, Mom grasped her knife and slowly, but surely, sliced the final loaf into perfectly measured layers.

With a last anxious look at the clock, she grabbed the meat mixture, spread it evenly over each layer and wound each into a roll. Taking a deep breath, she sliced each roll cross-wise into tiny round sandwiches that looked just like the Woman’s Day photo.

“Spread eight plates with lettuce leaves,” she ordered. “Use the ice cream scoop and put a ball of cottage cheese on the lettuce. Place two sandwiches on each plate and put some of those fresh green grapes alongside.” She was breathing hard.

“What about the paprika?” Connie asked.

“Right! Sprinkle a little paprika on each of the cottage cheese balls! I’ve got to hurry,” she called from the dining room already on her way to the bedroom to change.

“I think we’re out of paprika!” I called. “I can’t find it anywhere!”

“What?” Mom rushed back into the kitchen.

“No paprika!” Connie confirmed.

“Oh no, I don’t have time for this!” Mom groaned. “Look in the cabinet again!”

“No, there’s none there!” I was getting as worked up as Mom.

“All that work and the plates just won’t look pretty and tasty without a touch of color. Red! We need something red!” Mom said, pushing us aside so she could look in the cabinets herself.

“I don’t think we have anything red!” Connie said.

“Here! I forgot all about these! Maraschino cherries!” She held up the jar. “Unopened!”

“Left from Christmas!” I exclaimed. The miracle worker had done it again!

“Stick one of these cherries in each of the cottage cheese balls…I’ve got to get dressed!” she called out as she escaped the kitchen.

Connie and I slung cottage cheese, cherries, and sandwiches on lettuce, put some grapes on the side and placed the plates on the card tables in the dining room. Then we cleared all the evidence of the earlier errors from the kitchen counters.

When, a few minutes later, the white-gloved group arrived, I was certain they’d head right to the corners of our house to check for dust, but they didn’t. They were too busy oohing and aahing over the picture perfect luncheon Mom had created.

Mom, looking cool as a cucumber, entered smiling. Connie and I were smiling, too. We were thinking of all those shredded slices of bread, the leftover ham spread and cottage cheese—and the Christmas cherries—we’d be picnicking on for the next several days. Ladies’ Club leftovers had never been like this before.

(A chapter from A Tree Grows in Trout Creek)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Import-Export Feature Does Work!

As you may have read in an earlier post, I was unable to use the import/export feature on blogger when I first attempted to merge the blogs. Well, that all changed late yesterday. When I only had twenty posts left to move, I decided to try it again and, sure enough, it cycled through without a hitch.

The only reason I can think of for the earlier problems is that I may have had a few photos that were not in jpg form and that was why blogger was rejecting my import. Thank you all for your patience!

Stuffed Tomatoes & Chicken Salad Recipe!

This sounds good to me, especially at this time of year when garden tomatoes are in their prime! Delicious! Simple! No fuss! Nutritious! And it makes a great meal for a plain or fancy feast with friends! Try it today! You'll love it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Old-Fashioned Girl and Her Dog!

This little lady looks like she could have been a neighbor to the girls in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women! Here she is with her parasol and pretty new shoes out on a summer's day teaching her little dog to sit and speak. Adorable!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Precious Pink Profusion!

Precious Pink Profusion, a Saturday wonder from Instant Memories Children.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Starring Lion Soap!

I wonder if some out-of-work actor took a part-time job as a graphic designer for the Lion Soap company. I mean, is this dramatic, or what? Shakespeare's dream come true!

"Out, out damp spot! Wherefore art thou, Lion Soap?"

But, don't get me wrong, I love it. Don't you?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alcott's Little Women & Little Men!

Louisa May Alcott would have loved this backyard book reading. This is a 1960's picture of my sister Connie reading her favorite book, Little Women, to our little brother Jimmy. You can see they are both quite enchanted with the stories! (Note the placement of the lawn chairs built by our father...looks like a great way to stretch out in the summer sun, doesn't it?)

Louisa May Alcott (Nov 29, 1831-Mar 6, 1888) wrote her books during the American civil war. She was an abolitionist and a feminist who spoke her mind at every turn of the day! She went to work early in life due to the family's poor financial situation, spending time as a teacher, a seamstress, and a governess.

In 1860, she began writing for the Atlantic Monthly and then spent a short time in a civil war hospital, Union Hospital in Georgetown, D.C. helping as a nurse. Her letters home from this period were later published in the Commonwealth. Her many books are probably familiar to all of us who grew up with her stories of Little Women.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fabulous Feedsack Runner With 25" Squares!


Feedsack Tablerunner

Pam Snow of Treasures-n-Textures who was the recent winner of my Etsy Shop Giveaway for a 25 piece package of 25" feedsack squares just posted this fantastic project made from the squares. Isn't it lovely!

She writes,"Recently I was the winner of a pack of vintage floursack pieces. Today I made a tablerunner from the pieces. I'm really pleased with the runner. Doesn't it look great on my table with the vintage pitcher of flowers. Thanks to Vintage Cottage Home for the great floursack pack...There were 25 pieces in the pack and the pattern I designed uses 24 of them. I decided to use fleece and sew right sides together and turn to right side. I didn't have to finish the edges. I quilted by stitching in the ditch."

Pam, thanks so much for sharing this project with everyone! It's really fun to see what can be done with only one package of feedsack squares!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vintage Bluebird...Or Is This A Swallow?

A quick update on "the move": I'm still in the process of moving The Charms of Ordinary Days posts to this blog. The blogger merge program did not work for me (and believe me I tried it many times) so I am moving one post at a time. It's going well, just a bit slower than I'd like. But I'm getting there! Thank you all for your patience!

Don't you love this vintage postcard? But is it really a bluebird? Or is it a swallow?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Collecting Vintage Greeting Cards!

Here's a lovely vintage cottage home so sweetly displayed on this vintage greeting card. I just love all the vintage illustrations and graphics from the last century. Can't get enough of them as you can tell from my posts. I find that vintage greeting cards are a source of continuing pleasure. Just looking at them, marveling at the colors of long ago, is enough to make a spirit soar.

Too, they work well for altered art, scrapbooking, and other artful crafting projects. I usually scan and print to make a copy rather use the original in my projects. This works best for me. Have you used vintage greeting cards in your arts and crafts projects? I'd love to know if you've found interesting ways to use them!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Adventuring Across the Pond!

Journeying across the ocean to another continent! What an adventure this must have been for this woman as she prepared to leave native soil and sail away. Perhaps she was traveling with her husband who took the picture? Or was she a teacher leaving on a summer cruise with a teacher friend. Were they off to visit the places of their dreams or to a family homestead left behind long ago by relatives. One wonders!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sudsy-Wudsy Comes Home!

Of all the childhood toys I remember, my favorite is still my little bear named (by me) Sudsy-Wudsy! He was my constant companion when I was a little girl. He went everywhere with me and played just as hard as I did. But somewhere over the years, he went away...where, I do not know.

However, one day, two years ago, he showed up at a huge antique market near our home. I could not believe my eyes but there he was...and at a not so thrifty price, I might add.

"Look Jim," I whispered, "there's my bear I told you about! That bear right there is Sudsy-Wudsy!"

"How much?" Jim got right down to business. When I told him, the price, he stopped still and looked at me.

"It's too much, I know, but—"

"You need this bear, don't you?" Jim was already walking toward the booth. "I'll see what I can do." guessed it! When he came back he was carrying a small bear in a bag. My Sudsy-Wudsy had come home!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Became Of This Charming Young Lady?

This charming young girl had just received her diploma. What was her destiny? Did you become a school teacher as many young women did in her day? Or perhaps she married and had several children. Or did she become a missionary? A medical doctor? Or? Wouldn't you just love to know?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Girlfriends Forever!

Girlfriends forever! Out at the Olde Mill Restaurant where even the employees could enjoy a quick break and, of course, a Coca-Cola! The good old days!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Rowing As Fast As I Can!

I think most of you know I'm in the process of merging my two blogs. But, just in case you hadn't heard, that is what I'm up to. If I haven't been over to see you in a while, it's just that I've been "backstage" working on the move and hope to be done soon! You will see from my banner that A VINTAGE COTTAGE HOME now also features my other blog THE CHARMS OF ORDINARY DAYS. Thanks for visiting me today...I love hearing from you and I'll be over to see you soon!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Love Is Hugging A Warm Furry Puppy!

Love is happily hugging a warm furry puppy on a mellow Monday morning! Have a happy day, my friends!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Colors of Ordinary Days!

Stones and leaves. Shells from the sea. What could be more beautiful? More peaceful or harmonious? The charms of ordinary days are many & multi-layered. Vast and varied shades of gold greet us at dawn while rose-hued skies bid us goodnight at evening time. From morning sun to midnight moons, we are blessed with the splendor, drama and stories of color. Like radiant jewels these ordinary charms grace each day to light and brighten our way, inspire our creative spirits, and teach us to cherish the beauty of our earth.

Friday, August 7, 2009

In the Pink!

Just want to say, THANK  YOU to all my dear following friends who come to visit and generously share their thoughts, reflections, and kind wishes! I love you all and want you to know how much I appreciate you! 

We are all different, yet we are one! It's an awesome time to gather and greet each other; learn more about each others' worlds; and know we are never alone. 

Wishing you all a blessed weekend! Enjoy! Have fun! Live, learn, love!

This Week Has Been Quite Puzzling!

Be careful what you buy at your weekend garage sales. You may get "hooked"! Have a fun weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Field of Adventures!

That's me in front of my growing up home located in the isolated Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My mother always took photos of me between these two trees. I have a "two trees" picture for almost every year of growing up! In the background, across the street there is a field where I loved to go adventuring. I even wrote a poem about it a few years ago. It goes like this:

The Field

Adventuring, I cross the street to where my field awaits,
trimmed in yellow buttercups—no locks, no doors, no gates.
I make my way among brown nests, pink thistle, and grey rocks,
white-petaled dancing daisies, rust Indian tobacco stalks.

My hidden rock I hunt and find, familiarly fingering traces
of glacial pox and smooth cool stone, my haven, blessed of places.
Up scramble I upon this throne, look my vast country over,
survey the turf o'er which I reign, lands rich in purple clover.

Observe the Monarch butterflies, as, fluttering, they pass by,
sailing o'er my shimmering sea of wild wheat, quack, and rye.
Then, settling back, I dream of things like ice cream, pop, and stories
from books I'll read when I return from this grand world of glories.

White billowy clouds breeze overhead, scud 'cross the sapphire sky
my golden hours in the sun pass all to quickly by.
A meadow lark is nesting near—its sudden trilling song
reminds me I am trespassing and have been all along.

I know it's nearly time to leave, but I've saved the best for last—
the joy of rediscovering my precious berry patch.
Strawberries, tiny treasures. Rich and ripe and red.
My tin cup runneth over from the field with flowers wed.

(This post came from an idea received from my dear friend Doreen. Choose the fourth picture in the fourth folder where pictures are saved, post it, and tell a bit about it. What fun! Try it! You'll like it!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Butterflies Are Free!

From the Memories of a Lifetime series, this lovely vintage card is an excellent example of the beautiful artwork created in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Wonderful!

Silent Film Star Florence La Badie

This beautiful vintage postcard came to me via a group of wonderful old photos found at a Flea Market a while ago. I didn't know who Florence La Badie was until I found quite a bit of information online.

Florence M.L. La Badie (April 27, 1888 – October 13, 1917) was an American actress in the early days of Hollywood, during the silent film era. Though little known today, she was a major star between 1911 and 1917, her career was at its height and climbing when she died unexpectedly due to injuries sustained during an automobile accident.

For more about Florence, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sheep Counting Sheep!

Vintage Rose-covered Box!

Added this beautiful rose-covered box to my vintage box collection recently! They just keep on getting prettier and prettier! 

Monday, August 3, 2009

Artist's Vintage Smock Pattern!

Maternity and/or artist's smock, either way this is a darling pattern from the 1950's and 1960's! I remember getting a package in the mail from my mother and was surprised and thrilled when I opened it to find she had made for me two of these smocks, both in blue—one medium blue plaid and the other a soft pastel.

As I awaited the birth of my first child, I felt like a princess in my pretty new smocks. My mom was such a sweetheart! She cherished every single day for what it was and took every opportunity to celebrate her children and show her love for us. Even with six children, she found time to create wonderful memories for each of us and often for others as well. Miss you, Mom.