Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Enjoying the Remnants

Yesterday, I had big plans to organize and store my Christmas ephemera. Well, it didn't happen !! I guess the thing I enjoy most about altered art is the fact that you can sit down at a table full of bits and pieces and create a work of art, so instead of organizing, I created !! The background on this ATC is part of the cushion from a box of candy - I distressed the "little bubbles" by dry brushing blue acrylic paint and added a piece of lace, also distressed, over the top of it. I have a plastic bag attached to the side of my craft table where bits and pieces of fabric and ribbon get placed. There was just the right bit of blue ribbon and a small piece of organdy fabric that worked for the "bow". A page I had torn from a mail order magazine had this sweet little picture that worked just right. The snowflake and rhinestone added the finishing touch. Also, working on another winter piece that will take me awhile to finish, so things won't get stored for awhile yet !! I guess if all I had were scissors and glue, I could find things to put together to become something new !!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My "Notorious" China Cabinet

You know this story well, but it is worth retelling !! A consignment furniture store in the strip mall across the street from my complex was a favorite haunt. A few pieces of furniture that some people no longer wanted in their homes came to live in mine !! This is one of them. The first time I saw this cabinet, I could not take my eyes off it. It was exactly what I needed for my collection of family "heirlooms" and "things" I had collected through the years, AND I loved the design. The price was a bit more than I wanted to pay that day. Several visits later, the price had been reduced. It was still a bit more than I wanted to let go of. Then one day, I had been at a casino with a friend playing poker machines. It was a lucky day as I won a really nice jackpot !! On my way home, I stopped at the store I loved to haunt with the intention of spending my windfall -- and spend it, I did ! The nice surprise was that the price had been reduced on the cabinet a bit more ! Another lucky win for the day, plus, if it didn't sell for that lowest price the owners were willing to go, they were going to take it back to their home the following week. This piece of furniture was destined to live in my home from the first day I laid eyes on it !!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ringo was His Name

Ringo graced our lives for 16 years. Your Dad brought him home to us when you were about 5 years old. It was a total surprise for me as well as you, our first family dog -- I don't remember that we even discussed getting a dog ! Your Dad was always full of surprises. Ringo proved to be easy to house break and learned a few tricks. His first Christmas with us, he opened a few of the presents under the tree while we were at work and you were at school. I remember your Dad being a little put out with him the day he brought him home because he got carsick. It was always difficult to get him into the car after that ride to his new home if we wanted or needed to take him somewhere. He was a good companion, friend and watchdog.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Patriotic Dresses

Another example of my Mom's creativity and talents !! This photo of sister Shirley and myself, is dated 1943. I think I remember these dresses because I wore Shirley's hand-me-down when she outgrew it and I had outgrown mine. Mom had seen them in a store window, of course, and made up her own pattern. The fabric was white with red stars and red with white stars. The collars were blue with white stars. Then she made those big red bows, attached to barrettes, for our hair. It was war time and we were very patriotic looking ! For any "dress up" affair, we had "Shirley Temple" curls put into our naturally curly hair. I always loved it when Mom "fixed" my hair. Weren't we just the cutest two little girls ? Even when finances were short, we always had nice clothes because Mom could do anything ! There are a few professional photos of us kids, but, the only one of the five of us together was when Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Thank heavens for Kodak cameras !!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The thought and love given in the creation of these gifts for me warms my heart and soul. You, my dear daughter, had to have inherited your seamstress skills from your grandmother !! The use of her vintage fabric scraps in this beautiful tote bag makes it even more special for me. I can't wait to carry it and get reactions from my friends. They will be so envious !! After I bake the cookies using the mixture in the quart jar, I am going to use the jar to store the mini-ornaments from the little live tree you and Bob sent earlier. And, my sweet little grand-daughter decorated the "cedar chest box". Inside, was the charm bracelet wrapped in Asian motif fabric. The charms feature love, faith and trust on one side and the Asian symbols for the same on the opposite side. The clasp says "Create", so I think I will go do that now. Or, should I bake cookies ?? Thank you, my girls, (and your husbands) for making me feel so special with these lovely gifts !!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Remembrance

Gifts were exchanged from under this Christmas tree for 13 seasons. I was shopping at our Sears store one day back in the late 60's when their decorations for the holidays had just been put on display. I saw this tree with all of its trimmings and it was love at first sight ! I HAD to have it !! Then I saw the price !! $100 and that was just for the tree !! It was the trimmings that made it so pleasing to my eye and to purchase all of them would be over another $100. I stood and looked and pondered and pondered some more !! I didn't have that much cash that day and couldn't put it on the credit card. Your Dad would not appreciate that !! I decided to put it on lay-a-way. I could get it paid for out of my tip money before Christmas -- Yep, I could do that !! I was so happy the day I was making the last payment and bringing it home. OOPS !! It was a one piece tree - the branches were hinged -- the box would not begin to fit in the car or the trunk of the car. I had to go back home and get Dad's truck. When I finished putting it altogether and your Dad was admiring it, his first question was " How much did that tree cost you ?" Well, I DID tell him how much the "tree" cost !! It was years later when I told him the true story of my favorite Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watching TV

Yesterday, I had the TV tuned to a show featuring animals and my "guest" was enjoying watching !! Jasmine was more fun for me to watch than the show. What a character !! As the animals disappeared off the screen, she would go to the sides and back of the set looking for them ! She will be going home today - like any grandkid, I have spoiled her rotten during her stay with me and her Mommy and Daddy will have to "unspoil" her !!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Handsome Family

There are not many photos of the three of us together and not one formal family portrait !! What could we have been thinking ? In 1962, we certainly weren't thinking about how short life really is, because we had our WHOLE lives ahead of us !! My Mom took this photo out on the east side of their house - it was probably shortly after your Dad was discharged from the Navy when we settled in Iowa for about a year. Your Dad had gotten a job with the natural gas company in Ogden. We were living near both sides of the family for the first time since we married. We had no idea what the rest of our lives was holding in store for us and I don't believe we even thought about it !! Your Dad was just glad to be out of the Navy. This photo is special to me because we three are together in it and because we are wearing matching dresses and shirt. Your Dad loved for me to sew his shirts and when I made this one of peach and white gingham check, I made dresses for you and me of the same fabric. We were all "dressed up" with someplace to go !!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Coats

I wish this photo, dated 1949, was in color -- a perfect example of two sisters showing off their new winter coats in their favorite colors !! Of course, mine was bright red and Shirley's was emerald green, although I believe her most favorite color was probably baby blue. I know we always had warm winter wear, but these two coats are ones I recall, whether it be because of the photo or the circumstances. When fall clothing came into the stores that year, Mom took us shopping for coats. The weather was still warm and back then, there was no air conditioning in the department stores. It was really uncomfortable trying on those winter coats, but, they had to be chosen and "put on lay-a-way" so they could be paid off before winter came. There was no buy now, pay later credit card plan for our family. When Mom picked this red coat off the rack for me to try on, I knew it was "the one". Gee, I hoped it was going to fit ! It was a bit too big, but, lucky me, Mom thought it was fine. It gave me "room to grow". Kids at school dubbed me "Red Coat" that winter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My "Guest"

Jasmine, my Great-Grand-Dog, is staying with me for a few days while her Mommy and Daddy have gone to Arizona. I usually stay with her at her home when needed, but the weather threw us a curve in usual plans. She has acclimated very well and made herself quite "at home". She has taken over my recliner as she can watch out the patio window for other residents in the complex walking their pets, the yard man doing his work, or whatever else might be going on out there in the common area that I call my "big backyard" !! Here, she is just waiting for something to happen out there !

Friday, December 19, 2008


In the early 70's, as a hair stylist and owner of my own salon, I wanted to create a display of vintage beauty related items. This blue depression era powder box and perfume was my first purchase at an antique store in Tulsa towards putting a collection together for that display. The hunt proved to be more difficult than I expected and I never completed my quest. However, over the years since, I have collected a few vintage powder boxes "just because" I love their beauty and the images of "milady's dressing table" that come to mind when I see them !

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow in the Desert !

Living in Las Vegas since August of 1985, this is only the second time I have seen snow in my "backyard" ! Every winter, there is snow on the mountain tops to the north and west, but to be able to go outside the door, touch it, feel it, and make a snowball -- a rare experience here !! Back in Iowa as kids, we loved going out in those deep snows, building forts, having snowball fights, making snow angels, striking trails, and there was some game we played at country school when the snow was fresh fallen, called "Fox and Geese". I suppose kids may still play that game because when I googled it, I found the rules ! Or do they play a computer version ?? Whatever the case may be, I don't miss the Iowa winters these days !!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

When I was taking this photo, I began to wonder "who invented mirrors" ? The strange and trivial things that pop into a person's head sometimes !!! Oh, but, Google knows ~~ What a great age we live in -- just type in a question and up pops the answer ~~ It seems that mirrors of sorts have been in existence since 4000 B.C. AND, I thought this one was ancient !! This ornate beauty appears to have needlepoint flowers under the glass on its backside. The mirror itself, is not in good condition, but for me, that only adds to its charm. This small 8" vanity mirror called to me on one of the antique mall treks we love so much ! It is home on my bedroom dresser along with a few other "favorite things".

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas in Okinawa

1981 and '82 were good years ! We were in Okinawa and you and your family were in Japan. We were able to see a lot of each other and also, got to do some sightseeing and traveling together. Memorable times once I got over the culture shock !! Since it is nearing Christmas time, I thought of this snapshot, probably the only one where all five of us are together in one photo. You came from Iwakuni to spend some holiday time with us in Naha. An 8 mile trip to pick you up at the airport took 45 minutes, nearly as long as the flight itself. This is one of my favorite photos of all time -- I have a copy framed and on my desk -- memories of happy times together !

Special Jewelery Box

This ornate brass and glass, hexagon shape box was amongst the things that once belonged to my G'ma Hanle. My Mom brought it back from Ohio in that truckload of things from Aunt Bertha's, and of course, it was love at first sight for me !! I really didn't think Mom would let me have it, but, she did !! The jewelery that I display in it are vintage pieces I have purchased at the antique mall shopping trips -- pieces that I "just couldn't live without" !! A pair of G'ma Lottie's earrings, a teddy bear pin, and a tiny green glass kitten have found a home in this box, also. It sets on my dresser in my bedroom and when I am dusting and cleaning, I always spend a little extra time on it - just admiring it, because it is beautiful and special, as are the pieces within it !!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Shakers

These colorful salt and pepper shakers, stamped on the bottom "Handmade in Japan", belonged to my Mom and Dad. They sat on Mom's little curio shelves when I was very young and I found them in those beautiful built in cabinets in their formal living room when we were sorting through things after they were gone. In the 30's and 40's, whenever anyone took a trip, souvenirs were always brought back to family members left behind and souvenir shops back then usually had large selections of hand painted items from Japan. None of us kids knew for sure how Mom came about having these, so I think that could be their story. G'ma and G'pa Hanle made many different driving trips and when they would stop at our farm on the way home from their destinations, there was always a souvenir gift given. Neither my sis and brother wanted them, so another family memento has a home in my china cabinet !

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gift for Mom

In the early 50's when my sis and I started exchanging gifts and pooling our money to buy something for our parents, this little salt and pepper shaker set was a gift we purchased for our Mother. One of Mom's friends that we used to exchange those "Sunday dinners" with had the entire set of dishes in this design. Shirley and I thought it was just beautiful and we wanted to get Mom started on a set just like it !! Unfortunately, (or maybe it was fortunate,) this was the only piece ever purchased. Every special dinner, without fail, the shakers were filled with salt and pepper and used as part of the table setting. We knew Mom loved them and the bit of elegance they lent to her table !! Of course, they have a special spot in my china cabinet !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Catch the Crumbs

Another wedding present to my Mom and Dad ! In the "good old days" of always having a nice tablecloth on the kitchen table, rather than taking it off after every meal to shake the crumbs, this little combination was used. Scrape the crumbs into the "catcher", throw them out ! So easy !! I don't remember ever seeing Mom use this -- I just remember it always being on display on a dresser in her bedroom. We did, however, always have a tablecloth on our kitchen table. It would be removed after a meal and taken outdoors to shake any crumbs off... Those tablecloths were usually made from those printed cotton feed sacks that the meal for the chickens came in. The "egg man" not only picked up the fresh eggs laid by our chickens, but, he also delivered feed for them. It was always fun to look at his load of feed in those pretty cotton sacks - Mom would try to get 3 or 4 sacks with the same print so she could make herself or us girls dresses. When she saw one that she loved and there would be only one sack with that particular print, a table cloth or apron would be made. "Feed sack dresses" - Mom would see a dress in a store, then go home and make her own pattern. She would sew our dresses to be more beautiful than any she would have purchased ready made !! AND, at a mere fraction of the cost !!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pot of Beans

Great G'ma Lottie told that this wonderful stoneware bean pot had been in her family for 150 years when it was given to G'ma Ruth and G'pa Paul in 1967. They passed it on down to your Dad on his birthday in 1980. For once in my life, I wrote the information down and stored it inside the pot. Wish I had done the same with a few other things - certainly can't depend on my memory for specifics !! I found similar pots when researching, but, nothing exactly the same. Inside the pot, I have stored a few old paper mementos from family dealings--a hog feed contract dated 1950 and receipt that it was paid in full, two savings account booklets from the 40's that belonged to my Mom and Dad, three receipts for sugar purchases in 1942 when sugar was rationed during WWII, and a WWII stamp album that was your Dad's. These could be filled with 10 cent "war stamps" purchased at school or post office, then exchanged for a $25 savings bond. It has $1.40 worth of stamps in it --I'm sure it would be worth way more than that to a collector. The pot was difficult to photograph with the shiny surface wanting to reflect everything around it. It is deep brown, almost black, in color, measures about 7 1/2" tall, and is home in my china cabinet. There is still room inside for more mementos !!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Dance

When Willa was unable to shop for gifts last Christmas, she had me wrap and mail some of her precious belongings to a few different relatives. A figurine to one niece, a necklace to another, and two of her beautiful LLadro's to two of her great-nephews. These were some of her very favorite relatives and she wanted them to have something that was special to her, hoping that it would be the same for them. She knew that I loved her LLadro's also, and asked me to pick one and wrap it as my Christmas gift from her. This little ballerina that stands about 10" tall on her mahogany pedestal, is the one I chose because I had just the right spot in my china cabinet for her. Willa, my dear neighbor, was always so very generous to me throughout our 20+ years of friendship. I miss her and all of her beautiful holiday decorations this season. She loved this time of year more than anyone I have ever known.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Four "B's"

I like to call my fetishes "the 4 B's" -- bears, boxes, butterflies, and books, the books being altered ones, of course ! Before I retired, it was the "3 B's" !! I began collecting and creating those altered and handmade books in 2005. Of course, anyone who enters my home instantly knows that I love bears. The butterflies appear here and there throughout my house and I love using them in my creations. The boxes - another story !! They must be decorative in some way or contain music and not be too large. It is also fun to find something inside them. I especially like the few vintage powder boxes I have collected over a number of years and this is one of them. The box is amber colored glass with a celluloid lid and it came with the matching manicure tools and button hook -- a set picked up on one of our antique mall excursions about 5 years ago. We do have fun just perusing all the booths at those malls, don't we ? Now and then, there is something I "just can't live without" !!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Past

When we were young children, gifts did not appear under the Christmas tree until Santa made his visit, be it for Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Boxes that came in the mail from grandparents were also delivered by Santa ! We never had a clue ! We also "knew" that Mom and Dad "had to pay" Santa for toys or what ever we asked for and there was always a limit. Even after we were aware that Santa was a myth, gifts were not under the tree until he "made his visit". This tradition was held even after we were grown and gone from home. As my sister and I approached our teen years, we began to exchange Christmas gifts with each other and would pool our money for a gift for our Mom and Dad. The glass "powder box" with the dog on the lid was a gift from my sis sometime in the early 50's. It still has the original Gardenia body powder box inside. We were shopping together when we saw these two powder boxes and chose to buy them for each other. I always loved the one I gave to my sister with the little reindeer on the lid, too. I pointed it out to you on an antique mall excursion a few years ago, and that following Christmas, it appeared under my tree ! They both love their home on the counter in my downstairs bathroom.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Two days ago, UPS rang my doorbell and here was a surprise from you and my only Bob - a mini live Christmas tree ! A string of lights and a few ornaments came along with it for decorating. It needed just a few more things to fill in some empty spaces. A shopping trip to Micheal's was called for ! Oh, how I hate it when that happens ! Yesterday was my day to have breakfast with Hilery and Adem, so Hilery was with me to help pick the extras. It will sit on the pass-through to be enjoyed for the season. Thank you for helping me get into the spirit !

"THE" Tool Chest

Your Dad loved things from "days gone by" as much or more than I do. A fellow aircraft mechanic kept his tools in this vintage oak chest. Your Dad, having coveted this chest, had offered to buy it many times. A day came around in the early 80's when the fellow was in need of some cash and your Dad, once again offered to buy the chest. At last, it was for sale !! He needed $50 and was willing to sell it to Dad for that amount. Our garage was broken into in '97 - a Craftsman chest filled with tools along with a few other things, was stolen. Fortunately, the burglar didn't appreciate antiques !! This chest now sits in my bedroom and stores my costume jewelery collection in its many felt lined drawers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Bear

This cute little couple were a Christmas gift to me from your Dad. They sit together on the old school chair in my bedroom and they have a teddy bear crib quilt to lean against and be "comfie". Did I say I like teddy bears ? The Christmas of '96, nothing was appearing under the tree with my name on it. When I came home from work on Christmas Eve, a beautifully wrapped, large box had appeared. Your Dad could still surprise me after all these years !! When I opened the package on Christmas morning, he related the story of seeing this couple two months earlier at a little gift shop in a strip mall down the street. He didn't know where he would be able to hide them and keep them from me, so he took them to Willa, our friend across the street. He asked her if she would wrap and keep them until the day. Those two conspired more than once through the years to surprise me !

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Country School

This little oak bentwood student chair came from a rural country school in the area where I grew up. As 80 and 160 acre farms were bought up to become larger farms to fewer owners, the country schools located in every four square mile area, were closed and children were bused to "town school", as we called it.. Auctions were held to sell the fixtures and books, then the buildings were dismantled and there would be another acre to farm. Once upon a time, there would usually be four farmsteads on each square mile section -- 160 acre farms. A very few "rich" farmers would own half a section -- 320 acres. A few squares would include farms of only 80 acres. These were the days that a family could survive financially with these few acres, by growing crops and raising a few pigs, cows, and chickens. Each of those farmsteads had families with at least one child. Most had 3 or more children. There were 18 to 24 kids every year at Union #10, my one room country school --kids from "primary" to 8th grade. Dad brought this chair home from an auction and eventually bought two more, so each one of his kids could have one -- a piece to remind us each of childhood, happy and simpler times, when cares blew away with the wind !

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It was 1957

You will find this "wedge wood" blue formal prom gown in my closet. I wish I could say the same for the shoes - those are the ones you loved to play in when you were a little girl -- the ones with the clear plastic, flower etched high heels !! Why was I in my prom gown at what appears to be Christmas time ?? Every year in December, a Christmas Formal Dance was planned and held at Ogden High. I had already worn this to the Junior-Senior prom that spring and would wear it again in the spring of '58. Before the prom in 1957, Mom had taken me to Fort Dodge to shop for this and I fell in love with it on the hangar - I just hoped it would fit ! Oh, but the price - oh, my - $35 - that was a LOT of money !! Mom will never go for this !! It would be more economical to buy the fabric and make a dress. But, a deal was made !! I could have it if I didn't ask for another new and different one for the formal dances I would be attending in my senior year of high school. It was never hard for me to say yes to a deal with Mom when I really, REALLY loved or wanted something ! And, it was never difficult to stick to the deals. Also, we kids always knew "a deal was a deal" and there was never any backing out of one !! Your word and Mom and Dad's, were as good as a written contract. There would not be any whining about it later. I only wish I would have had more occasions to wear this dress. It was always "just right" each time I did wear it !!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bells are Ringing

I love this brass Korean Temple Bell. It is about 12" tall at the dragon's head. It was a "parting" gift from one of your Dad's fellow workers when we left Okinawa in 1982. It is at home in an arrangement atop my china cabinet. Sometime in the early 90's, we were awakened in the middle of the night to the ringing of this bell. The vertical blinds started swaying and clicking and the bed began shaking. We both sat straight up and looked at each other with slightly scared and surprised looks on our faces. Earthquake !! In Nevada ?? We had not felt tremors here before !! The experience lasted only a few moments. We found out in the morning that the epicenter was across the border in California. That was the one and only time this bell rang of its own accord. A perfect emergency alert system !!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mom's "Wild Roses" for me !

This beautiful crewel embroidery art hangs in my guest bedroom. This room also serves as my office and "art studio" and is most usually found in disarray ! Fortunately, I can close the door on it ! We all know of Mom's beautiful needlework - every stitch was perfection and the backs and insides of her creations were as neat as the front and outside ! She spent countless hours embroidering beautiful pillow tops when her arthritis pain would not let her do much else. Her "bent" fingers were still able to handle needles and threads and allow her to create these gorgeous pieces of art. One summer, about 15 years ago on one of my visits to Iowa and "home", she was showing me all of the pieces she had finished. I saw these three pieces with the roses and told her that I thought they should be framed and hung, not made into pillows. Of course, she knew what I was thinking -- Could my Mom ever say "No" to me ?? I spend many of my retirement hours in this room these days, dabbling in my paper arts. When I let my eyes rest on these "wild roses", peaceful memories of Mom and "home" are brought to me.