Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Peaceful Place

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shabby and Shiny

I polished my upcycled vintage Shabby Chic jewelry box with bees wax. Rubbed it to a soft beautiful patina.  I love the way it looks.
Upcycled Shabby Chic Jewelry Box
Yesterday the vintage jewelry I bid on and won came home to me in the mail... I had so much fun unwrapping all the many pieces and discovering what was really in the box.  The box being as beautiful as much gems inside... Now to learn all about these many designers and collections and get the Etsy ready....then to part with them!
here is a sneak peak or two.
the mother load

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shabby Chic

Trying my hand at creating some shabby chic out of a Goodwill Store jewelry box.
2 coats of white paint
I love all the drawers and the little slots for jewels.
I tried a little sanding on the corners.  It needs to dry another night.   Tomorrow I will do a little more sanding. 
Then to find some bees wax and rub it in for a nice patina.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Baby Boys Do Have Cute Things

Daughter's baby shower was today.  I have been planning and preparing for several weeks. It has been a long time since I have given a party. Especially for this dear daughter.
It was lots of fun. The hardest part was packing the car full of shrimp salad, cupcakes, fondant hydrangea blossoms, ice, drinks, a hot crock pot... and not driving it all into a ditch.  I arrived with everything intact.
The party was held in daughter's new home.  Setting up was lots of fun.
cute little elephants scattered around
The nursery and Mya's rooms are so cute!
Mya's Big Sister Room
Baby gifts are just so much fun!
Proof that baby boy's things are cute too!
Adorable little outfits with Monkeys on them
It was a fun day and in just 4 short weeks the newest member of this growing family will make his appearance...we can't wait!
Anne    May 20 2012

  Jesus Loves the Little Children
Jesus calls the children dear,
“Come to me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.”
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I was bitten by the lace bug today.  I got my usual emails from yarn companys and one of them has the prettiest lace patterns for shawls.  I have NEVER knit a lace shawl and always thought not me.... not going down that tangled lane. HAH! Today I was smitten and I think before the week is out I will be casting on for a shawl.  Now to find yarn, pattern and a quiet spot.  I would love to have help with yarn selection.  Webs is having a big sale and I am going to head over to their web site for some ideas...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Celebrating Mothers

I found this amazing photograph of my Great Grandmother and her sister...
Great grandmother Elizabeth White Harland and Hannah Mary Donkin White
 Look at these sisters gleefully walking arm in arm down the lane in front of the church. The Church of England in the background. Maybe it is St Hilda's the church my father's family attended in Hartlepool, England.  They are grinning so happily.  It must be early spring and I am guessing Easter Sunday as they are both wearing corsages as big as cabbages on their coats.  
We don't dress like this much any more. I mean really dress up.  It is a long list. The silk stockings, heals all polished and shiny, fancy dresses, jewelry, brooches and silk hankies, hats, gloves, purses, and then there is that fox.  Yes my Great Grandmother has a fox draped around her neck.  My Grandmother Arnold her daughter had one too. It fascinated me as a little girl.  Maybe it was this same one. 
It makes me happy looking at this picture that captures these two sisters in a moment of joy and sharing.  This is a celebration of life.  Two sisters caught in a gentle moment between two world wars. 
There is a lot to think about when a picture like this comes into view.
mother's day 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother's Writing Her Story of Motherhood

How Do You Dust A Butterfly:
  by my mother
Barbara Arnold written about 1995

Dusting was not high on my priority list, but it had to be done occasionally.  When I was especially lax my husband would write the date on the slant top  mahogany desk.  Then I would go to work.  The children's rooms were a problem.  There were the unfinished automobile and plane models I wasn't supposed to touch, and piles of oddments I didn't want to touch I might put my hand on an attempt to cure a squirrel skin, or a very old sandwich with furry mold on it.  I was careful about clothing after I pulled three decomposed clams from Ross's blue jeans, the forgotten bait from fishing two weeks past.
I dusted the base boards, window sills, and arranged stuffed animals artistically, as in a home decorating magazine, then tackled the real challenge, the tops of furniture.  Here were the treasures which under no circumtances could be thrown away, not a single rusty nail, box top, marble or unstitched baseball.

The Scouts, bless them, and the schools all encouraged hobbies and edifying collections in shoe boxes, glass jars, mounted on cardboard, taped in scrap books which fell apart, and in heaps.  All attracted dust, especially Chip's car parts.  Have you ever considered dusting the greasy organs of a disembowelled automobile engine?  The trick is to put them in boxes with covers, a bigger box every week as the collection grows.  I must not forget he won a blue ribbon with his dismantled V8 engine, each part carefully identified and connected to a diagram with tape.

Then there were the live things, the fuzzy caterpillar living of course in a shoe box, the bowls of guppies which ate their children, and the baby racoons demanding to be fed every half hour with Anne's doll baby bottle.

No, our house would not have made the pages of  " House Beautiful".  Interesting, yes, but odd.  What decorator would put piles of rocks on the bureau, and cigar boxes of possible fools's gold and "could be" arrowheads teetering  on the bookcase:  Why were the books in tall stacks on the floor?  They were pressing leaves and wild flowers for, you guessed it, a nature collection.

Anne's room was usually booby-trapped with open paint boxes on the floor, jars of mixed and murky paint water, and damp paintings where I needed to step.  "Ginny dolls" and their accouterments occupied the level spaces, all of them, except where the stuffed animals and our live cat Cleopatra lounged.

I dediced to go with the flow on one occasion and posed the dolls interestingly
standing on their heads, peeking out of drawers, sitting precariously on the toilet, peering in the mirror, and so on.  That was fun but I had to stop to fix supper, and the dusting didn't get done.

Lullabelle, the Big Doll, seated in Anne's little rocker, presided sweetly over the chaos.  I had to be careful of her.  She was the Best Doll, so loved her arms and legs were prone to fall off.  She once had to go to the doll hospital and came home intact but with a new wig which took a long time to become accustomed to.  Today she sits on the sofa in Anne's living room, a presence in an antique dress.

My heart skipped a beat once at the sight of a fragile bird nest on Ross's desk, and one day, a butterfly.  After a few weeks I could blow the dust off the nest without disturbing its delicate construction, but how does one dust a butterfly?  It wasn't impaled on a pin, or part of a collection, just there as one would place a treasured bibelot, a wonder to be cherished.  It stopped me.  I was suddenly so glad I had a son who kept a butterfly on his desk.  In the high school, this oldest son Was on the wrestling team, but I had seen this butterfly!  At last the wings fell off, it disappeared, and I would look at the space where it had been.

Ross is gone from us now, but not before the special dust on a butterfly's wings touched us all forever.

Anne, the little mama of Lullabelle, the "Ginny"  dolls, and Cleopatra's descendents which cat-wise threatened to populate the earth, grew up to mother two adopted children along with her home made son,  sheltered a succession of black Labradors, and presently owns a mutt named " Otis Campbell", and a small dog creature that well looks to me, well, like a "dust kitty".  Her water colors now decorate her walls, crisp fragile renditions of fruits and flowers which I who was an art teacher wound not dare attempt.

Anne and her husband once provided dinner, bed, bath, and breakfast to a remarkable man passing through town on foot.  He was carrying a huge wooden cross, like Jesus.  It had a little wheel at the foot so he could drag it along the highway.  More recently she was a nurse and bus-mother to twenty teen-agers on a church mission to Mexico to build a house for a grateful little family in a barrio.  Twice lately when I have gone to visit her in another state there was a family or person in need housed in the guest room.  That is what she is like.

Younger son Chip, now middle aged, shares a house with me.. He has long since graduated from car parts, though that knowledge has been invaluable to us all these years.  He distinguished himself early by becoming the youngest graduate of Saab school and parts manager in the country.  He likes to hike in the woods and this spring brought home a beautiful perfect skin of a five foot long black snake, freshly discarded.  He draped it across the chest of drawers in his room, among the pictures and mementos of his children.    I found it a problem on cleaning day, so coiled it in a shallow box and stretched Saran over the top for viewing.  It is very handsome.  We can see how the emerging retile carefully peeled it off around the eyes and mouth, revealing an elegant new suit, never tearing even to the tip of the tail!  I feel good when I look at it.  I am old now and know I am in good hands.

I learned I didn't need to be so tidy, just wait a while and the hoards would be assigned to oblivion by their owners.  New sets of wonders would appear, and they really were wonders, the stuff and dreams of my children.  Dance programs, a victory sign cut from leather, another of metal welded in the school shop, posters, ballet slippers, a tiara, hockey pucks and the derby Ross wore exuberantly for sprin skiing, awards, diplomas follwed, and then they were gone, so soon it seemed that after all the dust had settled.

by Barbara C. Arnold

I miss you mom and I always will.  I think of  " how to dust a butterfly" often.  I remember the brother who first collected it every day.  I wonder at how my mother managed this balance in her life... this will to continue to search for beauty and the courage to cherish life and children with such passion even as they are taken from us and the dust settles.  Mothering is like taking off your clothes and walking naked when your tired and your feet hurt and your heart hurts you would take this walk for your child you would carry your child.  This is how God shows us to love one another.  Having faith to loose all you hold so dear and taking the walk carefully and with amazement past the butterfly, past the mementos and ahead into the every lasting love of God. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:

Happy Mother's day to the mothers I know, and the birth mother's I haven't met but who have taken that naked walk and intrusted their most precious gift with me.
Happy Mother's Day to my daughter's Amy and Biz and my dearest friends and my Sister's in law Gail and Debbie.  Bless you all.

Mom and Ross
Mom and Chip

Biz and Leo

Me, Mya, Amy

Mom and I her 90th birthday

Me and Lullabelle

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sweet Stuff

I can not wait to plop these into mounds of icing on cupcakes for my daughter's baby shower.
gum paste hydrangea flowers
 you can purchase them here: