Friday, February 27, 2009

Salt Cellar

I didn't know this was a salt cellar until I saw one just like it in Eddie Ross' Etsy store. Of course, the one he has pictured doesn't have any chips !! The only thing I ever saw Mom use this for was as an ashtray when a smoker happened to be visiting in our home. It is actually in pretty good condition for the life it led !! It originally had little "feet" and a couple of those have broken off. It has been around as long as I can remember. This 2"x 2 1/2" piece has found a home in my china cabinet because it brings memories of my South Dakota uncles and their visits to our house when I was a kid.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pressed Glass Pitcher

I picked this beauty up at an antique mall a few years back. If I remember right, I paid $18 for it, thinking that it was a fairly good buy. When I set the pitcher from the auction next to it on top of the refrigerator, you can certainly tell the difference in cut versus pressed glass !! When I was growing up and all those big meals were being served to farmers, relatives, or friends, a pitcher full of lemonade, iced tea or coffee, or water with ice, was always set on the table along with all the bowls and platters full of wonderful food. I think maybe I used to set a pitcher of iced tea on the table at meal time. Your Dad always loved his iced tea in the summer time !! Strange, how little things like that are something a person forgets about or doesn't think about. Then, some memory button is pushed and it seems almost as plain as if it happened yesterday !!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ATC Storage

Why did I have just a lid to a box ?? Who knows why we keep particular things and not others ? I went through the box of scrap papers and covered the box lid, inside and out. It was the perfect size for storing the ATC's that I have created while following the techniques in Bernie Berlin's book, "Artist Trading Card Workshop". Some of my cards, I really love -- some, I am not so proud of, but, they are all good to refer back to when I need some inspiration.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hoover Dam Tour

I have visitors in town from Iowa. They have a "time share" so have a really nice place to stay for the week. Wayne and Dawn have never been to Las Vegas, so first-timers must always make a trip to see Hoover Dam which is about 35 miles south of the city. I hadn't been there in many years, so it was time for me to see it again, too. A new road and bridge is in the process of being built, where eventually, driving across the top of the dam will be limited. The white "bathtub ring" on the mountain side in the background is a sign of how low the water level of Lake Mead has dropped. A new visitor center has been built since I was last there and the tour prices have increased. All in all, it was a good day -- look at the beautiful blue of the sky !!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Auction Buy

Did I say I found my Saturday pastime ? This past Saturday, I again went to the auction house for their weekly sale. This time, my friend, Sharon went with me and she is "hooked", too. Next week, our mutual friend, Lana, wants to go along. There are still a few pieces left from Willa's estate that have yet to be auctioned and a couple of those pieces, I would like to have. This week, I purchased this 9" tall, cut glass pitcher - I believe it is probably Waterford crystal, although I am no expert in that field. It is certainly a beauty and I could not believe my bid of $7.50 was the winning bid. Hopefully, next week, no one will want that vase that I have my eye on !!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Birthday Gifts

Today is my birthday and as usually happens, I get to have more than one party. Between family and friends, celebrations happen all week long. Special thanks to my creative girls, you, Tamera, (and Bob) for this LOVELY quilted heart (and the punch and stamps), and, Hilery, (and Adem) my dear grand-daughter, for the altered mini-jar with "fun money" inside. I have art hanging in my computer cubicle, so the heart will find a home there. My friend, Sharon and I, attended the auction yesterday. On my way home, I stopped to play my favorite poker machine with my "fun money" and luck was with me a little bit !! The $20 is now $200, so now, I have even more fun money !!! Thursday evening, the family treated me to dinner at Memphis Barbecue -- tonight, my girlfriends are treating me to Italian fare at a restaurant that overlooks the city. I will see if I can figure out something more to do in the next few days to continue my celebration. Please, just no one remind me of how old I am !!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lottie's China

This is a dinner plate from the set of china we inherited from your Great G'ma Lottie. The pattern is called Harvest Gold and is by Sango of Japan. I could not find any history on this company, but, found many of their items for sale. From what I recall, this set of dishes was purchased a few pieces at a time as a grocery store premium. I haven't seen this kind of offer in a number of years, but, grocers used to offer dinnerware, pots and pans, and other kitchen items at premium prices when you shopped with them. This is a lovely set that she used every day. It was used at the first meal I ever had in her home before I became part of the family in 1958, so it is well over 50 years old. There are more than 12 pieces of each dinnerware piece, plus several different serving pieces and accessories. I used the dinnerware for special occasions only, for many years, but, now have it in the kitchen cabinets for everyday use. A fairly simple design, but, elegant and always a reminder of golden times !!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Emil and Emma

Here is one more old family wedding portrait - your paternal great grandparents, Emma Moege and Emil Schultz, on August 7, 1911. The vintage wedding gowns and veils are just absolutely gorgeous and unique. It was my understanding that the Moege family were quite "well-to-do" and gave this couple their farm and home as a wedding present. I like to look at the facial expressions and imagine what the couple might have been thinking at the time the photo was taken. G'pa looks somewhat scared and G'ma looks like she has everything "in her control". According to my Dad, she did "rule the roost". They raised a family of seven sons and one daughter on that farm in South Dakota. Four of the boys remained bachelors and helped on the family farm until they were in their late 30's. I'm sure G'ma and G'pa had their hands full with all those children !!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Elton and Esther

On October 2, 1933, my Mom and Dad kind of eloped. It was the time of the great depression, Dad was "riding the rails" back and forth from South Dakota to Iowa to work for a farmer. It was harvest time and days were filled with picking corn. In those days, corn was picked by hand and the more bushels you could pick, the more money you made. Dad made a fast trip home one week end -- he and Mom had conspired to get married. Neither of their parents approved of the other, so being they were in love with each other, they made their own plans. It was fast and quick and Dad was on his way back to Iowa. It was three weeks before they saw each other again. Dad went back for Mom, they took off for Iowa together and their life as a married couple began. Dad told me this story at their 60th anniversary dinner. All the years while growing up, I knew their parents were against the marriage and sometimes made life difficult for them, but, they survived. Love conquers all !!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paul and Ruth

August 18, 1934, your paternal grandparents wedding day !! Before they knew it, they were celebrating their 50th anniversary. We were in New Hampshire that year with your Dad's job. For their gift from their 3 children, airline tickets were purchased for them to come visit us. They waited until October for the fall foliage season to make the trip. We had a wonderful time driving around through the country side and into Vermont and Maine during their stay. Autumn in the northeast area of the U.S.A. is definitely a sight to behold !! A sight-seeing day trip to Boston was also on the agenda, plus, of course, a Maine lobster cook out !! It was the best of times !!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Estate Auction Rooster

I think I have found my new Saturday pastime !! I have attended farm estate auctions in Iowa and South Dakota with my parents and brother, but, yesterday was my first time to go to an auction here in Las Vegas. This auction house is not too far from home and they have a sale every Saturday with a variety of new and old items every week. I stayed through the entire day watching what other people were bidding on and occasionally making a bid myself. This week end, Willa's belongings were included in the sale. It has been almost a year since she died and it was sad for me to see her lovely furniture and collections being sold for a fraction of what they were worth. Hopefully, the new owners will love and enjoy their purchases and let the collectibles become family heirlooms. I walked away with this one purchase - it is not antique, but a lovely piece, regardless. Willa's kitchen decor was blue and white and this 16" rooster sat on top of her refrigerator along with a few other blue and white pieces of porcelain. I remember when she mail ordered this guy and at auction, I paid way less than a quarter of what she paid for it originally. Had I not purchased one thing, the day was full of new experiences and interesting people -- a day well spent !!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I created this Valentine for my good friend, Sharon. She loves it when I give her something I have made. It was simply done by just adding a pink heart shaped doily and premade organdy and tiny pearl trim to the front of a card, then writing my sentiment for her inside. Happy Valentine's Day !!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Burt and Lottie

Burt Johnson, your paternal great grandfather, married Lottie McCullom on August 21, 1912. Look at Burt's hair and eyes -- is that not your Dad ?? Especially the hair !! According to your Dad, G'pa Burt's hair was totally gray by the time he was 30 years of age. I never had the privilege of meeting him as he died before I knew your Dad. Burt and Lottie moved off the farm and into a house in town after their only son, your G'pa Paul, married. As a young boy and teenager, your Dad loved to spend the weekends in town at his G'ma and G'pa's house. And, it was always a place to go after school when there was an evening activity to attend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

C.J. and Minnie

C. J. Rose married Minnie Trealor, your maternal great grandmother, on March 22, 1905. I don't have a lot of information about the Rose side of the family. I believe one of your second cousins, Steve Rose, has been doing some genealogy search, though. They were a handsome couple in this photo. Your G'ma Ruth was only 4 months old when the marriage broke apart and never knew her father until she was in her 50's. Her oldest brother, Paul, had kept in touch with his father all of his life. He finally talked your G'ma into going to meet him. Clarence, or CJ, as everyone knew him, had left and settled in New Orleans with a new wife. Your Dad wanted to meet CJ, too, plus, we had never been to New Orleans. Sometime in the early 60's, ( faded memories as to exactly when ), we made the trip and found CJ and Edith to be living in and managing apartments in a beautiful rehabbed Southern Mansion. They were a most congenial couple, showing us around to some of the highlights of the city. As I search memories, I know now, why your G'ma Ruth thought I should be keeping a journal. I could look back and have more exact details and dates -- but, then, would it really matter that much ?? Just remembering that we actually did the things we did is enough for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sister, Sister

I love this snapshot of my sis, Shirley and me, in our matching dresses and hair bows. It is dated 1943 - I think we had the "original" mini-skirts !! I do remember that our hemlines were usually just barely below our panties ! When Mom would stand us on a chair to mark the hems for finishing was always exciting because I knew I was going to have a new dress to wear within the next couple of days. Our cotton dresses were always starched and ironed to be crisp and sharp looking. I didn't like the feel of them when first donned. Maybe that is why we both look so grumpy in this photo !!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Coffee Time

This was one of your Dad's favorite cups to use for his morning coffee. There was a set of eight, four were broken through the years, leaving four which I have setting in the china cabinet. We purchased these when we were in Okinawa and used them every day they weren't packed and in route to a new assignment. Your Dad liked the Asian design and because he could get his fingers through the oversize handle. They also held a bit more coffee than our china cups. If they all happened to have been used and not washed yet, he would clean one up before he would use any other mug available. Two of the mugs have "Imari Porcelain" stamped on the bottom, two are blank. I'm not sure why that is -- it may be that they were originally sets of four. Maybe a cup of coffee would jog the memory !!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Johnson Homestead

I had not seen this photo of the old house on the Johnson Century Farm until you sent it to me and asked what and where it was taken. I immediately recognized the house to be the one that your Dad grew up in, although, by the time I became part of the family, it had been "remodeled" !! Porches were enclosed and siding had been installed. The vintage beauty had been lost. When I questioned your Aunt Joan about the house, she thought it had already been built when the farm was purchased in 1893. The photo from the letter on 10/21/o8 pictures a piece of one of the porch posts from this house, repurposed into a decorative flower stand. Whatever inspired your Great-G'ma Lottie to keep the posts when the remodeling was done is a mystery. I do know that she was a creative and talented woman, always looking to do something new and unusual. She and my Mom became great friends with their gardening and sewing being a common ground.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Century Farm

This framed certificate hangs in a collage of items on a wall in my entry hall. The farm your Dad grew up on had been owned by the Johnson family for a full century in the year 1993. Aunt Joan, his sister, still lives on the homestead and a portion of that farm land was part of our inheritance. The house and a few other buildings have been replaced through the years, but, the big old barn remains the same. So many of the small farms throughout the country have sold out to large farm corporations, so it is unique to find land still owned and operated by 3rd and 4th generations of a family. The farm land lays next to a major highway and around that year, the state wanted to take a large part of the land for an interchange and widening. Joan and Verne fought the state, tooth and nail, and won their case. Consequently, the Century Farm is intact.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Minnie Rose' Home

This is a photo of the old house where my stairwell light fixture originally hung. I don't know if the house was built for G'ma Mom or purchased from another owner. Most of these style homes were built in the early 1900's. By the time I became part of the family, it had been updated with a pale yellow aluminum siding and the upstairs had been converted into an apartment to rent for a little extra income. Minnie was an only child who started out her married life on a farm owned by her parents. Fifteen years and four children later, her husband left her. The story was always somewhat hush-hush, so one can only surmise the circumstances that led to the split. Your Dad and I spent our first weeks of married life at G'ma Mom's home while she spent time visiting and staying with her two sons and their families.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Vintage Light

The vintage light fixture that hangs in my stairwell once gave light over the dining room table in the home of your Great G'ma Rose. When G'ma Mom, as she was called by the family, moved to an assisted care living facility, her home was sold. Your G'pa Paul took this fixture, rewired it and hung it over the bar in their basement family room. When G'ma Ruth moved to the Eastern Star home, your Dad brought the fixture to our home. I had always wanted something different and special in the stairwell and now I had it. I love the family heirlooms because they cause me to recall memories of the person they belonged to when I look at them. The memory is always what makes the piece really special for me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Excalibur

Hilery had a collection of cigar boxes on a shelf in her "studio" to use in creating cigar box purses. I was looking at them one day and exclaimed over this one that once held Excalibur Royal Sterling cigars !! Since I had been a dealer at the Excalibur Hotel/Casino from 1990 until I retired in 2005, it really caught my eye. The following Christmas, it was part of my gift from her and Adem. It is a perfect home for my employment memorabilia such as service pins, playing cards, and the little aprons we had to wear.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Asian Silk Embroidery

I purchased these gorgeous silk embroidered pieces and had them framed while we were in Okinawa in the early '80's. The stores there were calling them "kimono sleeves" -- I never asked why. The two pieces on either side are vintage pieces with certificates of authenticity. I suppose that would make them more collectible or worth more if one were trying to sell them. Who knows ? I love them where they are in this arrangement on a wall in my bedroom.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snuff Jars

These two old stoneware snuff jars came from your Great-G'ma Lottie. I don't know what their history is as far as who used them or how long they have been in the Johnson collection of treasures. Snuff jars were used for storing chewing tobacco. When I googled 'snuff jar history', there were some interesting stories about women in the Civil War days and their "chewing" habits. I don't know that anyone in my family ever chewed tobacco on a regular basis. Mom once told the story of my brother, at about three years of age, tattling to her about Dad. Dad and Donny had been outdoors with some of the neighboring farmers. When they came into the house, Donny told Mom that Dad had been "eating that dirty stuff, again". I think "chewing" was probably a social thing for Dad, as was having a cigar when he had a "night out with the boys".

Monday, February 2, 2009

Vintage Valentines

I have been in a real slump lately when it comes to creating any art of any kind. Sometimes, just going to the table and reorganizing sparks an idea or two (sometimes, NOT !!). Yesterday, the exercise worked, somewhat. Here was this tissue covering from a box of chocolates given to me at Christmas by a friend, which became background paper on two ATC's. Searched my stack of vintage reprints and these two caught my eye. I now have a couple of Valentines to share with friends. Sealing with gel medium gave the papers a wrinkled, aged look. The little heart locket opens to view tiny pictures of "Mom and Dad" and the purple satin "roses" add a 3-D look to the second one. They were fun to put together and put me in the mood to start a paper bag book with a garden theme. I love putting those together --- the gardens in a book do not require a "green thumb" !!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Homemade Sauerkraut

The sun is shining through the security bars on the patio window for an interesting composition, this morning. This is your G'ma Schultz's "sauerkraut crock". Every season, in my Mom's garden, was a row of cabbage. I don't remember ever having coleslaw -- BUT, I do remember the smell of cabbage fermenting and becoming sauerkraut !! She would have this crock and a larger one, filled to the brim with shredded cabbage and brine. This was topped with an upside down china plate and a brick, then sat in the basement, curing and waiting to be sealed into pint and quart jars. There has never been any better sauerkraut than Mom's homemade !! Your Dad cut a plexiglas piece to fit the top of this crock, so it makes a nice spot for a basket of ivy. Inside the crock now ?? A collection of matchbooks, most of which are from Las Vegas casinos and hotels. There are a few from other places around the world.