Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Farewells

How I hate to say good-bye to Christmas!  I love all the peace and goodwill, presents to wrap, vibrant colors and twinkle lights.
I love waking up early and curling up on the sofa while I listen to Christmas music and watch the lights on the tree.DSCF0381  Our tree is tall and narrow and fits our space perfectly.  Look out the window and you can see our own winter wonderland across the canyon. .. and in our yard as well.
I love each decoration that hangs on the tree all in jewel tones, satins and velvet with sparkling snowflakes scattered everywhere and fairies peeking out from the branches.
Growing up, I loved to decorate the tree.  Mama always used ribbon, not hooks, to tie the Christmas decorations on the tree.  I loved ironing the little ribbons each year so we could hang them up.
Ribbons I use now are much wider and full of sparkles and glittering designs.  My favorite ornaments are shiny with flocked velvety designs.
Did I mention I like sparkle and glitter and all that bling?  I’m still waiting for a chandelier that can be draped all over with jewels and trims.  So I covered the hanging bowl light with a coppery metallic mesh bedecked with glittery jewel centered flowers and leaves.  I LOVE it!
I have a hutch that’s so fun to decorate with the seasons.
During the Christmas holidays I fill it with my favorite gingerbread boy dishes.  Sometimes I use my gold rimmed poinsettia dishes after I’ve had the others in for a while.
Lots of nooks and crannies show off my mom’s handiwork.  After she moved from California she started painting ceramics.
She’s always been so creative, and I cherish everything she’s made for me.
I love this little village with the chapel, sweet Shoppe, toy store and houses.
Most of her work is painted and fired, but one of my favorites is her work with pastel chalk.  She used all my favorite colors (she had a hard time giving Mary pink robes instead of blue, though).
I’m leaving you with this reminder:  the reason for season—                      May you have joy, peace and love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank Heaven for Little Girls and Aprons

Two or three years ago I came into my home after a hard, VERY HARD day of first graders and school politics and  other absurd drama. ( Nothing like this year which is my teacher dream.)  But I walked into not a safe, peaceful haven, but utter chaos of girls, patterns, sewing machines and fabric everywhere.
There is nothing I love much more than a chaos of girls, fabric and sewing machines!  It was 2 or 3 days before Thanksgiving and my girls had turned my home into a sewing factory making aprons to wear on Thanksgiving Day.
I honestly believe that it’s never too late to start a new family tradition, and I come from a family FULL of them!  My most exciting memory of Thanksgiving day was the annual pie stealing at Grandma Pete’s. 
That all started when one of her boys sneaked a pie from outside that was cooling on the window sill.  Going with the flow (which you kind of have to do with 6 sons), she forever after made “stealing pies” for kids and grandkids to sneak off the window sills.  We grabbed our pies and ran like heck to the end of Dinwiddie Street, sat down on the cool grass and pigged out!  I mean literally pigged out…gobbling down that gooey deliciousness without benefit of fork or spoon.  The whole thing!
This new tradition of making aprons wasn’t even my idea.  I was completely taken by surprise!   apron girls   Here is a photo of our aprons from this Thanksgiving.  Of course, not all my daughters are here, but enough to cause a ruckus.   Also here are a couple of daughter-in-laws and one granddaughter.
Some of the girls got really creative and made reversible aprons with one side in Halloween print and the other for Thanksgiving. ..or one side in Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas.  Gotta love ‘em!
Just today I received this cool email from my friend, Serena, all about Grandma’s aprons. 2_2125512879@web36301_mail_mud_yahoo
I have to include these old patterns for aprons that were in her email.  Notice the price….25 cents!  Now I wait and wait until JOANN’S  has a $1.99 sale on McCalls or Simplicity.  And whatever happened to Advance patterns?  I used to love those!


This is really giving me the urge to make another apron.  Wonder if I could find any of these oldies but goodies in my mom’s old pattern boxes?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Regency Fashions

Some of you have asked me to post the dresses I made for the JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) Convention last month…sorry for putting if off. DSCF0357
This dress is aqua and green in a non-descript print that looks a bit like a watercolor wash.  Gathers galore… at the neckline, waist and sleeves.  It’s so comfy, though, that I wish I could wear it all day.
Sorry for the lack of regency setting.  I took these photos in our western room.  I just had to remove the arrows  that were hanging displayed on the light fixture.
DSCF0359  This is my “this old thing…?” dress.  Printed deep lavender floral on a lighter lavender background.  I made it for a Jane Austen challenge I took a couple of years ago.  Earlier this year I wore it to host a Jane Austen tea party we had after reading Sense and Sensibility.
I love it because it is so cool and comfortable.  You’ve probably guessed by now that I strictly avoid all the other regency trusses, corsets and folderol.

This is the cut-away dress coat I added for the ball.  I made it out of an old skirt and blouse that had been hanging in my closet ever since my sister talked me into buying it a few years ago.  I remade this purple crushed velvet with small tucks and a thin purple satin ribbon in the back and 3 pewter buttons fastened with self-fabric loops in the front.
I’m still not fond of this coat though.  I nearly went into a swoon after a few sets of English country dancing.  Where is Darcy when you need him?
DSCF0364 This is my favorite (except for my gothic nightgown which is clearly visible in an earlier post as part of a true gothic adventure) dress of all.
It features a small yellow flower in diamond patterns on peach cotton fabric.  The empire waist is accented by yellow grosgrain ribbon and the bodice  is fastened with dainty yellow buttons and peach satin loops.
How I wish I had worn this to the ball!   How I would have enjoyed the lively music and frolicking dance without becoming so overheated!!

Gently Falling Snow

The snow has been drifting softly down all day long, bringing a peaceful, quiet feeling., so I decide to create (finally) my Christmas tag for a little exchange with my creative daughters and daughter-in-law.  
The theme is music, and ever since I found out, the Christmas song “The Snow Lay on the Ground” has been playing itself inside my head.  Lovely, it’s one of my favorites.  Here is a sneak preview even though my tag is not quite finished.  I loved making it and want to share it on this beautiful 001_crop
I started by drawing my gnarled tree on the computer in “paint” and used Edwardian Script for the text.  Then I printed it out on white cardstock because I knew I wanted to use watercolor on it.  Next, I used white , brown and a bit of green crayons for the tree and snow.  Lastly, I painted blue and purple watercolor over the whole tag.  I love where the watercolors puddled and didn’t penetrate the crayons.
I still have embellishments to do, but I’m excited about the treble clef charm I made out of a small bead and a head pin from jewelry findings.treble clef music 001_crop
I’m a bit behind on these.  They should be received by December 1st.  Luckily, I can hand deliver a few, but the rest will not  be mailed until tomorrow night or Tuesday at the latest.
I’m feeling so peaceful and contented, and I hope you are too.  If you’re in on our Christmas tag swap, you have a sneak preview, but shhh…….  don’t tell anyone else. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trauma Today

Today at school, during silent reading, we heard the loudest crashing sound.  The students looked at me and asked, “What was that?”  One of the boys said, “Oh, I just dropped a book.”  Really?
It was only a few minutes before their music class, so I dropped them off, and on the way back to my classroom, I saw that an airplane had just crashed across the street from my school.crash1
Of course, no emergency crews had responded yet.  I watched as they arrived and pulled out the red tarp.  The plane was small—used for flight training.
Here you can see the proximity to the school  The  kindergarten children had left only minutes before—their parents pick them up in the U-shaped driveway.  There were no students on the playground you see as the large grassy area on the right.
More and more emergency personnel respond with sirens blaring.  By now the students know something dramatic has happened, but we quietly and calmly assure them that everyone at school’s OK.crash5
Here they are extracting the bodies of the male pilot and his female trainer.  Both were in their twenties.  By now all access to the street are closed.  Because the children have not been told of the entire tragedy, they are mostly concerned about how to find their parents because the road has been closed.crash2
This is how things look as I leave school.  Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost their loved ones, and we are deeply blessed that no home is destroyed with people inside and that our school and the children are safe.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Having A Ball

Tonight’s entry is courtesy of my lovely daughter. We are having a blast!
We have many great pictures from the Jane Austen Ball last night. I also took some videos of her dancing which she will post when she gets back home, so stay tuned for that.
Today, before our selected breakout sessions, we heard from Juliet McMaster, who along with her many other accomplishments, is the founder of Juvenalia press, publishing many of Jane Austen’s minor works along side her own illustrations.
IMG_3070We also slipped away for a trip (pilgrimage) to Powell's book store. With floor after floor of new and used books, it was hard not to spend the whole day there. This picture is deceptive. It is one corner of a store that includes several stories (pardon our pun) and a whole city block--the largest bookstore in all of North America! I found lots of books to support my addiction!IMG_3069 A shelf of Austen and Austen related books-IMG_3068 And another,
IMG_3067 And another.
IMG_3077After two more talks it was time to get ready for the ball.
Before the BallLynnae fells the overall effect was more ‘Lydia’ than ‘Elizabeth Bennett’, but that was OK because the look was darling, the curls bouncing, and the compliments flying.
I wish I could share all our pictures, but here is a sampling. Remember that in addition to the Jane Austen theme, this was also a Ball Masque, so many participants are in costume.
IMG_3092 IMG_3096IMG_3109
Yes!! That IS Henry the VIII and I got to dance in a quadrille with him...what fun.
Below is Syrie James the author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte--which my book club plans to read soon. Just wait till they see my autographed copy. There'll be some book envy then, I'll bet.
IMG_3120IMG_3121IMG_3122IMG_3123 IMG_3104 IMG_3130IMG_3097 IMG_3128 Even the purse table looked very elegant.
We had a great time and I am especially glad my daughter and I could share this trip together. I Love you Sweetie!

Gothic Mystery of the Hilton Abbey Tower…or, Day Two of Jane Austen Society in Portland.

Listen dear bloggers and and you shall hear
Of a gothic tale so dark and drear….
Just as Catherine Morland suspected a woman to be languishing trapped in a tower of Northanger Abbey in Jane Austen’s book by the same name, we had a little suspicion about the mysterious 23rd floor of the Hilton……But more on that later………..
Today’s busy schedule included great lectures and a midnight adventure.
IMG_3006 And if that’s not romantic enough, a lively morning with Mr. Tilney and his staunch Team Tilney defenders.
Meeting Julienne Gehrer, the maker of the Pride And Prejudice game that I'd like to get--my daughter assures me one does not have to be an Austen expert to play...or even win!
IMG_3009 Viewing first editions of Jane Austen novels and also novels, conduct books, and satirical cartoons by her contemporaries. I was excited to see first editions also of Anne Radcliff''s Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, both books and author I've read about in so many historical novels.
Not far from the library, we made a stop at Button and Ribbon Emporium.IMG_3017 Just look at these cards of exquisite beaded lace!
IMG_3020 And of course, plenty of buttons.
IMG_3033 We went to to the Portland Art Museum to see the Rose Garland Dancers.
I took this on the walk back to the Hilton.
IMG_3047 Laurie Viera Rigler signed my ’Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict’ and ‘Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict’ books.
And there were costumes!
Kelly Kirchner from the Jasna Portland Region.
IMG_3032 Janet
It seemed a very normal first half of the Jane Austen Society gathering………..But things were about to change!
It started when we entered a crowded elevator and pushed the button for the 22nd floor. Another hotel patron exclaimed that he had not thought those upper floors existed, and had not seen them in use.
We assured him we WERE on the 22nd floor, and departed to our room, but soon began to wonder about the mysterious 23rd floor.
Could this be the source of the strange noises at night, and the ghostly figure near the elevator?IMG_3061

Jasna invstigete Late at night my daughter and I decided to go investigate!
The thick stone walls of the tower led us up a narrow passageway, the end of which was blocked by an old iron gate.IMG_3054 Terrified we silently made our way up the passage.
Was that a noise?IMG_3053 I fainted………..
........ and my daughter ran mad.
Until we decided the safest course of action was to return to our room and resume novel reading.