For the family history buffs who are following Amy Johnson Crow’s #52 Ancestors social media post-a-rama, this week’s prompt is “family photo.”
Lucky for me, some of my ancestors in the 1850’s and later, bought into the new-fangled technology of picture taking. It’s apparent that some of them traipsed home from working in the fields to pose for the camera. And what glorious images those old cameras coaxed forth! The beautiful sepias and crisp dark shadows are no match for the wimpy and fading pixels of today.
These two studio photos of my grandma (the littlest poppet in the pictures) and her family, in plain and fancy regalia, were taken in England about 1905, a few years before they emigrated to the U.S.
Father had provided a good living as a carriage builder, but that market was drying up in favor of the new mode of conveyance, the motor car. When they came to the states, he got a job in a grocery store.
After being under the weather for about seven weeks, I finally felt okay enough to resume walking in the mornings before going to the gym. I was surprised that suddenly trees are blooming in the neighborhood! It’s Spring already!
We spent the night at Loew’s Portofino Bay hotel in Orlando, and these are pictures I took on my daily 30-minute walk after sunrise, except for the first one, which was the night before. The lighting is distinctly different! Also, we’ve been having a few days of seriously needed rain.
As we discussed in a prior post, traveling makes you also notice and appreciate more about your own home and surroundings. As I took my 30-minute walk this morning back at home in North Central Florida, I passed by this beautiful etched glass door on a professional office building I walk by every day, but I never really noticed it before!
Last year about this time, I blogged about the local Quilting and Bluegrass Festival, here. This year it was very similar, but more so!
Similarities: the Festival was held on a day when our college town had a football game. The Festival showcases 100+ gorgeous quilted works of art. One of the bands that played last year came back: Patchwork. The vendors and store owners in the center had cool crafty eye candy to ponder and peruse, and the quilts were truly marvelous to behold!
Skip was busy helping out with an Eagle Scout project, which consisted of building some chairs for a community group home (he loves it when the younger generation wants to do woodworking),
so I sashayed up to the local shopping center to see some quilts.
Several of these pics include an information sheet pinned to the quilt, so you can zoom up and see the details, thereby crediting those who produced these amazing articles.
I learned there are several quilt guilds in the area, holding meetings at various times, day or night. So there ought to be one that fits the schedule of just about any quilter or wannabe-quilter in town.
I bought this cute mini-table runner from one of the vendors. It’s a great little project to place on a side table in the house during football season. Speaking of which, gotta go watch the game…
Skip, who is somewhat tone deaf, was trying to tell me about the famous Halloween Song that they always sang when he was a youngster.
“You know, the song “On October 31?” he said.
” No, I’ve never heard of it.” I said.
“You know, this one…” and he started singing it. It went like this.
“Oh, yes, that one. I didn’t know it actually had words.” I said. “It’s from the Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg, right?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
Same famous melody, two totally different contexts!
“Music Time” at Meade Heights Elementary School in Ft. Meade, Maryland in the mid-60’s, was sitting in the same seats in our classroom and listening to LP’s played on a portable record player. There were no visuals. Perhaps, as first or second or third graders, the teacher would have us draw what we felt when we heard the music. But I was never introduced to those lyrics that were well-known to Skip. Wonder if it was a regional thing?
Thinking, on the last day of October, how quickly this month evaporated, and that soon it will be gone altogether.
Other October things:
Lately, October has been the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, and every year we have more friends and relatives to whom we dedicate our service and consideration. Here’s hoping for a cure!
As for crafting, it’s been a few weeks of machine embroidery on dish towels and future table runners. Designs from Embroidery Library.
Kokka is a Japanese fabric company. Every once in a while I’ll go to a sewing expo somewhere and find a vendor who has Kokka fabrics–usually in 1/2-yard packages that cost about as much as a yard of other fabrics, but they are so darn cool!
The red and green dish towels were machine embroidered on packaged sewn dish towels from JoAnn Fabric. They are sturdy cotton with a loop on one corner for hanging. The beige dish towels were also pre-made, but I forgot where they came from. The others were sewn from fabric. The table runner is a Realtree cotton duck cloth fabric remnant from JoAnn’s.
Now it’s almost dark at the beginning of the morning walk. For a few days it was cooler. Now it’s hothouse-hot again, and the humidity is above 90% every morning. Sigh.
Mushrooms are flourishing in our neighborhood.
Almost every yard I pass by has a few.
Ooooh…fungus! Even though I like the kind of mushrooms you can buy in the store, I wouldn’t have a clue about how to forage fungi that you can eat without keeling over, poisoned to death (see Death Cap article–says people who ate it found it to be especially delicious!)
This one looks like some that grew in a ring-shaped formation at my mom’s house. Whenever she saw mushrooms growing in the yard, she would make haste to go kick them down. I didn’t see any fairy rings in the neighborhood as I walked. Apparently only certain varieties grow in the ring formation (see Wikipedia Fairy Ring article.)
One of my memorable scared-half-to-death moments was watching the 1960’s Japanese-dubbed-into-English horror flick “Attack of the Mushroom People.” After a walk in the 97% humidity, scratching No-see-um bites and scuffling through lichen-encrusted twigs that fell onto the lawn, it’s easier to imagine the fate of those poor shipwrecked folks in the movie!
I wanted to go to a gazetteer online and possibly identify these varieties, but after looking, I found so many! Even some of the more seasoned researchers put disclaimers on their sites, because they might misidentify some varieties. So I won’t even attempt to post the correct names of these guys here. I never realized there are hundreds of types of mushrooms. They are beautiful, but also a little creepy, too. Maybe in the future we’ll discover amazing medicinal properties in some of these little gems.
Didn’t want to let a hurricane keep me from my morning walk, did I?
Yesterday morning as I walked in the neighborhood (Central Florida) it was sort of misty and drizzling–“mizzling” as they call it.
We did all the usual hurricane preparedness things: (1) stocking up at the grocery store (other shoppers were buying gallon plastic jugs of water and batteries, my cart was full of BOGO Klondike bars… #thugmormon) (2) making sure we had plenty of pop-top cans of Fancy Feast, the cats’ preferred food, and Super Clump litter, (3) located the car cell phone charger…
Usually it’s a false alarm in our area, as we are sufficiently inland. But the power went off at two-something AM, and it’s still off at almost noon Friday. Rain bands are still swirling across the state. Right now it’s sunny; two minutes ago rain was pelting our roof like a barrage of bullets.
We drove around town charging our cell phones and checking to see which McDonalds’ were open, and saw lots of tree fallout and a fallen tree blocking a side road.
The mirror and glass shelving were supposed to be delivered today to finish the display cabinet, so we don’t know if the glass company will chance it.
Hoping everyone is safe and weathering the storm as it makes its way north and east.
The Family Beach Weekend of 2016 has come and gone; the flurry of activity in planning, purchasing, and preparing has now evaporated into the vivid orange, pink and purple Gulf of Mexico sunsets…but we have great memories of our creative pursuits.
Photography: it’s not hard to get a beautiful shot in this place! Everything is incredibly photogenic.
Sewing/quilting/knitting: We always try to scout out creative hubs when we travel around, and we happened upon a great little shop on Sanibel Island called Three Crafty Ladies. This unassuming little storefront opened into a treasure trove of art yarns (at very affordable prices!), a wide selection of fabric and notions, specialty patterns, artisan beads and jewelry-making supplies, paints, charcoal, pastels, brushes, lots of art supplies, shells, and all arranged in a very organized and gorgeous display. I picked some things for future projects.
This little kit is a cute reminder of sea turtle nesting at the beaches this time of year. A Row by Row Experience is something like a Shop Hop, where you can visit quilting shops in a circuit and get each shop’s kit, then assemble all of the kits into a quilt made up of each row. Or you can just make a wall hanging or table-top quilt from the single kit.
Three Crafty Ladies has many cute little designer kits, featuring beach and Florida wildlife motifs, all fabulous!
This little cotton sateen fabric plate, also from Row by Row Experience, can be incorporated into a quilting project or sewn onto the back of it.
Art: Creativity abounds in these beach towns (Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers). Everywhere we looked, we saw paintings, sculptures, all sorts of arts and crafts. The ceiling fan paddles were painted with tropical fish, and murals and wall art decorated the whole interior at Rosies’ Cafe. Every restroom had a whimsical seaside theme. Displays of shells and wildlife showed up in lobbies and hallways.
Creative Cuisine: Even the humblest of eating places had great, creative food selections!
We had our family dinner at the Doc Ford’s in Sanibel. Both had gourmet offerings, and the one at Captiva even had a book signing event going on, with the prolific author (and restaurant owner) who created the character Doc Ford, Randy Wayne White.
Improv: was a surprising highlight of the weekend — surprising because they pulled together a show on the last night without any planning prior to the trip! All the kids and grown-ups enjoyed this fun and hilarious stand-up show with plenty of audience input.
Family members who came from far and wide have gone back to their homes. Some are already starting the fall school semester or will start next week, while others have the whole month of August left of summer. We had a great, creative family beach weekend!
Just a little quickie post to recognize some Christmas gifts that were given to us, that were crafty and/or homemade.
We don’t want to seem unappreciative of the not-homemade gifts that were given to us, but we are especially excited that some of our family members made things to give us, or gave us things that were crafts made by someone. Crafting is rather a new thing for us. We’ve always liked crafting in our spare time, but now we have more spare time. We can try to do crafts we never had time to do before.
This candy cane ornament was a hand-made gift from our granddaughter. It looks like plaster of Paris (?) or a ceramic or clay shape, painted, with a hole drilled in the top and a silver ribbon added for hanging from the tree. Lovely handiwork!
I was blown away that grandson “C” chose this crafty watch for Me! at his school’s Christmas craft fair. It’s got a red (his favorite color) leather band with beads and a burnished metal butterfly charm that matches the watch, with a snap closure. Love it!
Kids and grandkids played cornhole at our family Christmas party, using the set we made in a previous blog post:
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We were in awe at the crochet skills that went into this gift from our daughter-in-law! The intricate, perfect, and beautiful stitches make this an heirloom piece. I’ve always been fascinated by the serene symmetry of vintage crocheted doilies. The intense blue color of this one (in real life, it looks a lot more blue than in this pic) makes it modern as well as classic.
Here we are “creating” with one of our Christmas food gifts, apple cinnamon pancake mix. This couple sent us a breakfast food package and a treat basket from the oldest Candy Shoppe in America, Ye Olde Pepper Company.
Other crafty gifts we’ve gotten include artful photos, homemade sugared pecans, musical recordings, and gift cards at creative venues. It certainly is gratifying to see our posterity using their talents to create beautiful and useful things. And with this latest gift, we are reminded that…
Using current technology to create 19th Century crafts