Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jewel toned Vera Scarf

I don't know anything about this Vera scarf, except that I saw it on Etsy, loved it, put it on my wish list...
and was surprised with it for Mother's Day!
I loved the jewel tones of purple and blue against the black black background!  There is a shiny kind of paint to make some of the pieces sparkle.
Just looking at it makes me sigh!  I wonder if I'll ever get over my love of Vera, or of vintage fabric design in general?
There is, sadly, nothing very creative going on in my life these days.  I seem to have lost my muse -- either that, or she is as busy and tired as I am.  Either way -- she's not making an appearance!
I'm hoping to find it again, next month at the beach.  For now, I hope you will forgive me for being the Most Boring Blogger!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday thoughts

I'm still waiting for Spring; even though we've had a couple of nice days, this is what it looked like in my neighborhood on Tuesday night:
It's hail, not snow.  Several inches of it.
 So when I walked into JoAnns Fabrics and Crafts yesterday and saw their beach-y theme, I had to sigh in anticipation of warmer days ahead.
This sign made me really happy.
Dennis and I have a special anniversary coming up: 25 years.
And we've planned a trip to the Caribbean that I'm really looking forward to.
I've never been to that part of the world before!
I'm counting the days until I can put my toes in this sand!
We haven't take a trip like this in a long, long time.
I've been shopping for swim wear and clothing for a tropical climate, and day dreaming about the trip.
I really want to bring along some art to do, since we'll have so much time at leisure.
I was thinking of buying, or creating, a special, beach-themed travel journal (blank) to fill.
(Something like this one that I found on Etsy.)
And also a little sewing kit with some basics and some fabric projects -- maybe even beach-themed ones (but my vintage style.)
Oh, and some good beach reads.  I love literary fiction.  I don't want to read anything sad.
If you have any ideas, send me a link or a pin: IndulgeYourShelf

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

We are being tricked and teased by Mother Nature this "Spring"...once again indicative of this time of the year in the Rocky Mountains.  When I was in California two weeks ago I had a taste of the season: roses in bloom, hydrangea bushes bursting with flowers, and all kinds of color.  I came home to my own tender bulb flowers frozen in the ice and sleet.
Then, on Cinco de Mayo, we had a beautiful weather day -- highs in the 70's and sunshine!  I sat on the lawn chair in the backyard for the first time since last fall and planned dinner out of doors.  By dinner time, though, we were huddled in blankets, trying to brave the chill that had floated in with the clouds!
The same thing happened yesterday: Rebecca and I went to A Paris Street Market for the kick-off to the summer outdoor market season; it was sunny in Falcon and I wore a sundress.  But as we headed North to the market, the sun disappeared and the cold wind picked up; after about an hour of shopping and we had to run away to the car in a downpour!
The only thing I'd had time to buy at the market was this cute little collection of cocktail tags!

As soon as I saw them, I imagined how fun they'd be to use in paper art -- especially with 1950s era ads for liquor!
Today, the sun is out again, but I'm not getting fooled: I'm sure it will be chilly and maybe even rainy, especially since Dennis and Benjamin have planned to cook dinner outdoors for me tonight.
Ben made it home on Friday night, which really makes it feel as though summer is here!  I'm looking forward to having him around all through warm days and nights (I hope!) ahead!
Happy Mother'd Day to all my friends who are mothers; enjoy your day!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yesterday we drove north in the sleet and rain, on icy roads, to help Ben bring some of his stuff home from college.  It wasn't all going to fit into his small car.  He will follow next weekend; we can hardly believe his freshman year is almost over already!  I'm looking forward to having him home for the summer.

On the drive up, we stopped in at an antique market.  I enjoyed myself immensely, while my husband paced around and tried to be patient, and I tried to ignore that he was so I could continue to enjoy myself.  I'm sorry there are no photos to show you, but the market had a "no camera" policy -- which is a shame, because there was so much fun stuff to see there, all beautifully displayed.

I have a real love of antique and vintage sewing notions, and I saw a lot of that at this market.  I especially loved a pincushion I saw: a tiny round pillow with a metal bird on top of it.  The bird opened on top to reveal that it was a thimble holder; there were two pearlized egg-topped pins in the pincushion.  It was enchanting, but at $139, I had to leave it behind!
Instead, I bought this little cube of glass head, steel pins from a different dealer.  It has four sides of pinholes/pins, and I loved the blue label.  I'm adding it to my display of vintage sewing notions.  I noticed that many of the same items in my display were on sale at this market, and I estimated that my own little collection was worth about $600 at those prices!
But, some of the items in my collection are truly priceless, like this little pincushion, above.  Made in Japan, it sat on my father's bureau for my entire life.  Curiously, I don't remember my mother ever using pins to sew anything; I think all of these pins are from corsages and dress shirts!  I brought the pin cushion home after the loss of my mother, and I cherish it.  Today, in fact, I took out all the pins, cleaned it, and re-inserted the pins.
The only other item I bought at the market was this vintage valentine.  I couldn't resist the bird motif, and I hadn't ever seen one like it before.  I sure miss all the treasure hunting and antique shopping I used to do -- but, outdoor market season is coming, so I hope to indulge my passion more this summer!
A few weeks ago, in fact, I went to an estate sale and found a bag of Vera scarves (mistakenly marked "Vera Wang"!)
 The bag contained five Vera scarves in pristine condition; three were Vera Sheers...
and then there was this one, which I'd never seen before:
I think it will be a favorite find; according to this Vera website, it dates back to the 1960s (like me!)
I love the vivid blue/purple/lavender.  I could look at Vera's designs all day, and I'm happy that they are still being sold new -- and excited whenever I find something new!
I'm excited it's May; I hope for a peaceful month of re-grouping, healing, and, hopefully, creativity.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I left my heart...

in San Francisco.  This time, for real. 
 Margaret's final resting place is lovely, and quite close to my parents.
The priest said all the right things, and I was comforted by his words, and by her family and friends.
 My friend Judy took great care of me.  The night of the funeral, we went to dinner and, at the request of Margaret's ex husband...
set a place for Margaret, with her favorite drink at it.
We toured around SF the next day, quietly remembering times with Margaret.
We also remembered Jane, who was a friend of Margaret, Judy and mine, and who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge when she was 20.
I'm back home now, and had hoped to feel some peace after the funeral, but it's not working out that way.  I should know by now that grief is unpredictable, and takes its own time.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who wrote words of comfort on my last post.
I appreciate all of you.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Childhood's end

A few days ago, I got the terrible news that my oldest, dearest, best friend Margaret had passed away.  It was actually only by chance that I found out: an email I had sent her was returned as undeliverable, so I called her to see why.  Her family was so torn apart and in shock that they hadn't managed to organize themselves to begin to notify people like me.
This is the last photo I have of Margaret; it was taken on her 50th birthday, almost 2 years ago.  I haven't seen her in person since my last trip to California, in 2008.  I wrote about Margaret once, here.
Margaret and I have been friends since we were both 11 years old.  For our whole lives, my nickname for her has been Piglet; I only started calling her by her real name a few years ago -- because, at our age, Piglet had just become too silly and childish.
Even living so far away from each other these last 14 years, we have kept in close touch by phone, email, and visits. I wouldn't dream of going to California and not making Margaret's house my very first stop.
This week, I'll make the trip back to California for her funeral.  It doesn't seem possible.  It can't be real, it is too sad for's the last thing I expected to be doing now.
You see, Margaret's death was as a result of alcoholism. It goes without saying that I have tried everything over the years to help her overcome her addiction.  If you've ever loved an alcoholic, then you also know how complex and difficult it can be. 
I can't imagine what life will be like without Margaret?
I hate it that I will have to find out, now: too soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

If I had a hammer...

If you're my age, or a little older, you probably can't read that line without getting an ear worm; it's the first line of a folk song that was very popular during my childhood.

If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
And I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Last night we went to see Peter and Paul -- but not Mary, as she passed away in 2009 -- the folk singers who made that song so famous back in the day.

It was a treat to go; at work, we are sometimes offered free tickets to local events that take place at venues the hotel is associated with. They are first come/first served when announced via a company-wide email. I normally don't see the emails for these giveaways in time -- but Friday, I did, so Dennis and I found ourselves at the Pikes Peak Center last night for the show!
We had really great seats.  The Pikes Peak Center is a small venue so when you see shows there, they always feel intimate.  I was reminded of how nice it is to live near a little city like Colorado Springs.  We can get to an event like this in about 1/2 an hour from our home, park for free just down the block, and enjoy the show as part of a small audience.  This in comparison to the San Francisco bay area where we used to live, where nothing is close by, parking is difficult and expensive, and you are always fighting a crowd.

I wish I could have gotten some photos of the concert -- but the lighting was poor; here's what they looked like, though, from one of their ads:
Sometimes I joke about what I call "geezer rock" -- older performers, gone gray and off the grid for years, who reunite to tour and play for nostalgic crowds.  This show was certainly like that, but I didn't find it cheesy like I expected to; instead, it made my heart happy to hear these two very old men sing ballads that were so popular when I was a child. The music brought back the late 1960's and early 1970's feeling I'd forgotten.  It awakened memories of a time when I was small -- short and closer to the ground, always looking up at the world,  and always on foot. Days seemed to go on and on and on back then. My clearest memory of that time is of afternoons at my grandmother's house in San Francisco, the summer that all of my uncles were returning home from Vietnam.  They all came back dressed in green uniforms, very thin, and with eyes that were faraway and tired.  There was joy and relief because they came home safe, but also despair that everyone tried to ignore: big, dark clouds that followed so many people around.  And there were new words and phrases to learn, spoken in hushed tones; words like shell shock, POWs, and dope-smoking.  These words were uttered and then floated up and got stuck in the dark clouds.

Through all of that, it was Peter, Paul and Mary's songs providing the background music: Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowin' in the Wind, This Land is Your Land, Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  They were simple songs that everyone learned and sang, together.  We don't do that much anymore, do we?

Well -- we did last night, at the concert.  It was fun.  And thought-provoking.  Among the things Peter and Paul commented on was the ugly way that politicians are speaking to each other these days, and how children are listening to their awful examples.  It made me re-think my disdain for political correctness.  I, who am such a fan of telling it like it is, and truth. It reminded me that there is a wisdom in being gentle -- gentility is something I've lost track of over the last several years, and I'm not sure why; so I'm thinking about that, too.

I think what stuck with me most last night after the concert was the last line of the Hammer Song: I'd sing about the love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.  It reminded me that there was a time when I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of a small television set, and watched a commercial for a soft drink where people stood on a hillside and sang, I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.  It really happened -- I was there, I remember it, and it made me feel safe and happy.  So I wonder now, why don't we talk about each other as our brothers and sisters anymore?  And, what happened to those people who did -- those that wanted to change the world?  Without even knowing it, I realized I am very nostalgic for those days.