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.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Snippets, blizzards, and a snow bunny

Here's the snippet roll I made for the Oh, So Pretty, Oh So Vintage swap:
Rolled and tied
The top, with its wire embellishment that looks pretty and also serves as a hanger for the snippet roll.
 My partner wanted soft colors
 Vintage velvet and silk flowers
 An initial "C" in French laundry tape
The you see the tiny, mother-of-pearl butterfly button?
She liked it because, she said, it matched the colors of her craft room.
I'm excited to receive mine from Cathee!
Did you hear about our blizzard on Wednesday?
It was 65 degrees in my town the day before, and that evening we had a severe weather warning, and then the next morning we had crazy wind, blowing snow, and white-out conditions.
I stayed home from work.  It was a very unpopular move (my boss gave me a hard time), but it ended up being the right one.  At my age, I never doubt my intuition about these things!
The photo above is from a local news station, and was taken along my alternate route to work -- the highway I use was already closed -- and of course this road was eventually closed down as well.
My co-workers who live out my way never made it home from work that day!
Meanwhile, I was glad to be safe and cozy at home, and I had a chance to sew this new ottoman cover.  I made it to match the pillows on our new sofa.
We got even more snow last night.
Look who I found next to my penguin in my front flower bed this morning!
I wish it was sunny and warm; alas, I have chores to do at home, inside, today, so it's probably just as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

First weekend of Spring?

Spring blew in on an icy gust this weekend in Colorado Springs.  The sun is out this morning, but yesterday it was grey and frosty.
It was a good day to stay home and do some cooking.  There's a dinner I love to make that reminds me of my time in Germany, and that was on the menu last night.
Ben's heading back to the University tomorrow, so it was a send off dinner as well.  In the photo above, my apron is in German, a novelty print with the title, Cooking with Alcohol.  In keeping with the theme, I'm holding a Hof Brau Haus Hefeweizen beer.
For the meal, I got out my collection of glass steins from breweries I'd visited in Germany; that was fun!
I made red cabbage and schnitzel with a sour cream dill sauce.  Those aren't sausages on the right -- they are fingerling potatoes; on the left, a pretzel roll.  Our friends came over and we had a nice, relaxing, delicious meal that included coconut cream cake.  It was not a night for dieting!
After Ben drives off this afternoon, I plan to go to the pool to swim laps, and then spend some time working on snippet roll swap that is due in a few days.  I've already collected a lot of fabrics and trinkets to choose from to create with -- now, I just need to decide and start sewing!  I may make two while I'm at it.  What are you working on this weekend?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Pocket Letter

Terri and I are exchanging pocket letters, and the other day one she made for me for St. Patrick's Day arrived!  I was SO excited, and you will see why:
This is the front!  That green bow on the side is madeof vintage, supple velvet ribbon.
 Flowery bird and a vintage flower!
 Such a wonderful selection of green buttons for crafting!

 The second row, with lots of sparkle!
And the third row:
I love the vintage buds -- and the lace, beads and bling!
Then, she also decorated the back:

 She even managed to find an Irish stamp, along with other green ones. 

 I can't tell you how much I love this playing card with the flamingo...
and the little pop of pink in this flower next to it!
Now, hold on to your leprechaun hat, because Terri included some more gifts, too!
 I L*O*V*E this ribbon doll tag she made...
 when I unwrapped it, I couldn't stop running my fingers through the silky ribbons and lace hanging from it!
 And THEN there was all this -- just look at that green tatting!  And that velvet roll is the softest I have ever, ever felt.  I plan to wear the flower and ribbon (with a button!) pin on my lapel on St. Patrick's Day.
It all came together with a sweet, cheerful, sparkly flower card.
I know, I am so spoiled.
I wish you a wonderful, creative St. Patrick's Day filled with lots of vintage, green goodness!