Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Centennial Celebration

I know I've mentioned this over the past year and a half, and it's finally arrived: my son Ben is in Virginia right now, along with about 45,000 other Boy Scouts, at the 100th Anniversary of Scouting Jamboree.

It's something he's worked hard for, from the extra meetings required as a part of a second Troop put together to represent our Pikes Peak Council...

to the extra fund raisers, which included delivering phone books one frigid weekend (which took 3 miserable days!)   That's him in the back of the truck, wearing the red/white/blue jacket.

Along the way, he had to earn a certain rank - First Class - which he did and then surpassed.  He's going to Jamboree as a Star Scout.

We had to get him outfitted with a ton of extra uniforms and gear:

We had to pack it up so it could be trucked separately to VA a few weeks ago.  The worst part for me?  Sewing on all those patches!

Why such a big truck?  Well, about 120 kids from this region are traveling together in 4 Troops, each with several patrols.  Ben knows one other kid from his own home Troop, whose father just happens to be working on the mini-town constructed at Fort AP Hill for the Jamboree -- everything from security to first aid to communications to building an outdoor arena.

It's pretty special for the two of them, as Colorado is also celebrating their own Scouting Anniversary this year.  The other young man, Brandon, was able to achieve Eagle prior to leaving for Jamboree!

Ben's Jamboree Troop did an overnight "shakedown" last month to practice setting up their subcamp, which they had to construct this past Monday upon their 6 am arrival at Fort AP Hill.

That was the weekend it rained, non stop.  Poor kids!  Then, the day finally arrived...this past Saturday...

we all got up at 2 am (I hadn't slept anyway) and drove to the drop-off.

The boys loaded up on a bus and headed for the Denver airport, taking off in two separate flights to Philadelphia.  Ben and his Troop spent Saturday at  Independence Hall and then had a dinner picnic at Valley Forge.  On Sunday, they visited the Philadelphia Visitor Center to see Liberty Bell, Carpenters Hall, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin Memorial, and more.  Then they went to Gettysburg.

I'm sure they were exhausted by the time they arrived and set up camp at Fort AP Hill.  It wasn't until Tuesday morning, though, when I first got a glimpse of him, courtesy of Brandon's dad who is onsite and knew I was hoping to hear/see something:

There he is -- looking tired but intact!  I gasped out loud when I saw the photo -- just so relieved to see him.  This has been harder than I expected it to be -- to have him so far away.

There are so many amazing things going on at Jamboree.  The photo above is from this morning's Arena show...

which featured Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Miss America.  She was quoted as saying, "You are some of the most excellent people the world will ever know."  I agree, Miss A!

I know Ben is having so much fun -- there is so much for him to see and do during the 10 days he'll be on site at the camp.  If you're interested, visit the Jamboree website or Jamboree Today on Facebook.

As you read this, Dennis and I are headed to Virginia ourselves to visit Ben at Jamboree.  I just couldn't bear not to experience it a bit myself!  We will see Ben, then spend the rest of the trip visiting antique stores, battlefields, and all the wonderful DC monuments; plus, a couple of Smithsonians, the Holocaust Museum, and Mt. Vernon.

I also get a chance to reunite with two women I spent a year in Germany with when I was 22.  That will be a blast!  It's been 23 years since I saw them (or DC) together.

I'll have limited Internet access, and if I get a chance I will be uploading photos and updates along the way!

Raspberry Almond Squares

I put my homegrown raspberries to good use yesterday!

Raspberry Almond Squares.  Click here for the recipe, which I found online.  Thank you, Domestic Sensualist!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Linen Love

A few nights ago I received a surprise phone call from beloved Aunt Delores saying she was in town visiting her sister-in-law.  We went to pick her up and take her out to dinner, and passed by a favorite thrift store on the way.  I was happy she wanted to stop in!

I found some great stuff on our short tramp through the store, but most memorable was this piece that literally took my breath away:

It's about 14"x14" -- cigarette (or cigar) silks stitched onto a piece of cotton fabric.  I think it's about 80 years old.

The silks haven't shattered yet.

The stitching is well done.

The flowers are just beautiful, aren't they?

The most fantastic thing, though, was the price!

I was in heaven, seriously.

Can you take a little more linen love?  Okay: then I want to show you these lovely scarves that I found at an estate sale a while back.  This first one was tattered but had such great design I had to get it anyway:

It's silk; I loved the hand rolled edges, even though they were ripped, and the colors -- especially the purple!

It's one of those souvenir scarves, this one from the late '50's, I think, from Belgium.  The middle shows the typical scenes of interest, but with great little cartoons...

That's me on the back of my boyfriend's motorcycle, motoring about Europe when I was 23... (wink)

But, best of all are the watercolor-like designs along all the edges:

You have the flea market...

Naughty kids...



and wonderful pets!

Another scarf I bought from the same sale, just because I liked the way the edges were silhouetted:

The rose motif is common, but his was unique, I thought, with the feathers.

I just cannot get enough of beautiful linens -- colors -- design -- texture.  I am addicted!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The best of summer

I have the BEST friends, online (you!) and in real life.

When Jenni came to visit over 4th of July, look what she brought me:

It's a Taste of Oklahoma -- different BBQ sauces made there, honey, and two kinds of syrup!  Best of all:

it was all nestled in a basket lined with this amazing little quilt that Jenni made herself!  She is a great seamstress, too.

The other day, another friend, Michelle stopped by and brought...

flowers -- for no reason!  (The best kind, right?)

She also shared with me some of the wacky fun she and her family have been having with a toad who visits them each evening.

She says they make him pose for photos...this one is called "Wrangler Toad."

Michelle says they are surprised when he keeps coming back for more!  I told her he must be a Broadway-show loving toad, or a wanna be runway model, looking for his break.

It makes me laugh so hard!

And I think we're having our best raspberry crop, ever!  They just keep coming!  The birds are getting their fill -- it's like a bird bar out by my bushes -- and there's still more for us!

If you have a favorite raspberry recipe, send it to me, please!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

True Victorian style: black glass buttons

This past Sunday afternoon I went to my local button club meeting -- and it was fun, hands on, and informative.  The topic this month was black glass buttons.

Many of the black glass buttons you see in antique stores were made pre-1918; as a result of Queen Victoria's mourning attire, black was very in vogue.  Although you might hear black glass buttons referred to as "jet", jet is a different kind of coal glass, and is much rarer.  I'm told you can tell the difference between black glass and jet in that jet will float in water.

After we went over the different classifications for black glass through the National Button Society, we had a chance to dig through some little tubs of buttons (called "poke boxes" by buttoners) to see if we could find examples of all the types we'd covered.

Each poke box was full to the brim of just black glass buttons.  We were having a contest -- the one who found the most examples won a button prize.

Here's a bit of what I learned, in case you're interested:

This black button is a swirlback - so named because the metal shank was inserted into the still-hot glass and swirled to set it in.

This button has a four way metal shank -- four holes for attaching to clothing.

This is a fused top button -- a separate piece of glass was fused onto the glass button base.

This style of decoration is called "intaglio."

This is an older example of a faceted button -- cut in geometric shapes; this one also has a gold decorative embellishment.
Two examples of silver luster, in different degrees, on black glass. It's still considered black glass if you can see the black on the back of the button, which you can in all of these examples.

This beautiful button has a silver wash and also gorgeous inlay of another material...

as does this one.

Here's an example of a painted decorative finish; in this case, the button was made to look as if it were wood.  (Why?!)

All of the above beautiful buttons were a gift -- the presenter let us keep any 10 buttons we wanted from the poke boxes.  How generous!

And, here are just a few black buttons from my own collection...

Thank you for indulging my passion for these tiny beauties!