Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Olden Days in Iowa

The weekend was spent in a town in Iowa where our families had long roots. This wedding photo is Mr. Wonderful's Grandmother. She was born on a farm and had a simple life; she remembered every family in the community and surrounding towns. When I dated my Beloved I met his Grandma and told her my Great Grandfather had lived in the next town, 10 miles from the farm where she grew up and still lived. Asking for details, I told her my Great Grandfather had been the town butcher and SHE TOLD ME his name! She also knew that I was related by marriage to the family!
Grandma lived on the farm with her husband and had two sons who went to the one room schoolhouse. She had been a teacher at one time in a one room school but gave up her job in favor of motherhood.
Can you imagine the goodies we would find if we looked through the houses where these sweet little people lived? Cast iron toy cars, wooden carved toys, old story books and other things those of us who flea market fall in love with.
They lived, and died on the farm. Grandma was 107, she cooked with a microwave in the same kitchen where her mother had pumped water in the sink. I just love these old photographs of simpler times and simpler lives. I often wonder if the reason she could remember every family and details of all the history is that her head wasn't full of all the passwords, technology and trivia that slows us down when we try to recall what happened two weeks ago.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Way Below Zero

It's brrr-low zero in the Upper Midwest with very cold wind chills. The low on Monday is forecast for -15 degrees.  We have attached garages, park in ramps connected by skyway to our office buildings and some people actually like it!  Ice fishers, snow mobilers all play outside, not me, I hibernate and wait for spring in my craft room.

Yesterday there were snow flurries, pretty to look at  dancing around out the window.  January for me is snowman season.  I dug through the my vintage Christmas cards to find some snow.  An easy paper craft using the lid of a box and a sheet of scrapbook paper on the inside.  I wrapped the rest of the lid in vintage Christmas paper for the sides and back.  Garnish with buttons and rick rack and pieces you keep saving 'for something'.
If the weather would warm up we could get snow.  For now, the ski hill is making their own version and the skiers are flying down the slopes.  I just turned on an audio book and listened while my glue stick and I happily became partners. 

Working full time it's harder to get to the crafts.  For all who prayed for me to find something during lay-off and then 'something else' when I only got a part time job, VICTORY!  My job is a one mile commute with great people and lots of challenges to keep me thinking!

Here's a link to the coolest place I have ever called work:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mixin' it Up

Taking down the Christmas decorations has always been a sad event in my book.  I just hate the lack of color.  After seeing the tree, twinkling lights, beautiful vignettes of colorful treasures for six weeks, now it's gone and empty looking.  Some people I know can hardly wait to de-clutter.  I'm trying  to 're-clutter" with some of the goodies that have been tucked away.  The Pyrex Friendship Cinderella bowls made an appearance in the kitchen again.

Nothing beats an apron hung over the pantry door to revive a happy memory.  My Mom only wore dresses on Sunday for church.  The rest of the week she worked in the beauty shop doing shampoo and sets.  We'd get home after services and her apron went on and the roast would come out of the oven and be served with mashed potatoes and gravy and dinner rolls and  some kind of Jello salad.  EVERY SUNDAY...
Our meals always ended with dessert; amazing treats like Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Bread Pudding, Apple Pie and Angel Food cake were regulars in Mom's repertoire.  My children will have no such memories; cookies were always on hand but the fancy high calorie desserts, not very often.

There are still Gingerbread Boys left from all the baking during December,  and some Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies.  Working full time may ensure that such baked goodies won't be found too often.  Great news for my waist line, as I have confessed before, I have NO will power.  Baking or crafting time?  I choose low calorie crafts!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Story of "Little Grama"

Grama's Gay Fad Cookie Jar
I was blessed to be the 'FIRST' grandchild to my paternal grandparents.  My grandmother was raised by German immigrant parents on a farm in southern Minnesota.  She loved to tell stories and my favorite was the one about how her parents had met.  Her mother Henrietta was 16 years old and walked past a farmer out in the fields working.  Henry said to the young girl, " You're too old to go to school.  You should be keeping house for somebody"  To that, Henrietta replied, "You ask me and I'll come and keep house for you."  Well you know what happened.  Henry and Henrietta married and had a herd of kids:  Ora, Ida, Cora, Clara and Anna were the girls names.  Otto, Henry, known as Hank, and Arnie were the boys.
At Grama's house we played simple games that she had learned as a child; 'Hide the Thimble", checkers and card games were on the agenda.  Sorting her button tin however was always great fun.  Grandkids were also given pans of water and large paint brushes to 'paint' the cement floor in the basement.  Grama took grandkids to the park by the river where my favorite thing to do was feeding the ducks.  Grama had a source of constant entertainment:  she worked in the bakery and old bread meant free fun for grandchildren.
After her day at work which started at 6:00 a.m. at Sterling Pastries, Grama would come and pick me up from the babysitter.  Off we went to her house where another ritual from childhood rests fondly in my memories.  She would "sprinkle" the clothes with an old 7Up bottle filled with water.  Clothes were rolled and put in a bag for ironing later.
Grama took me to the bakery where she was the cake decorator.  Standing beside the huge stainless steel table, I was perched on a box next to her watching flowers emerge from decorating tubes filled with white, pink and pastel green frostings.  Grama could rotate the lazy Susan half a turn, add six flowers in a minute and finish the entire cake in ten minutes.  To this day I can't walk past a bakery without breathing in that aroma of flour, sugar and deep fryers without remembering the visits to Grama's bakery.
After work there was another tradition while visiting Little Grama's house, we drank  our coffee.  I was four years old, my cup which undoubtedly was 90% milk made me feel so grown up.  Grama drank her coffee black and watched General Hospital.  I didn't actually drink coffee again until I was 35 years old.  In 2012 Little Grama would have been 100 years old; she 'wore out' at 95.  She always said, "I'd rather wear out than rust out."  She got her wish.
 It wasn't until I became a grandma that I realized how lucky I was to have been her first grandchild.  There is something magic about the first one.