Feedsacks

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One of the programs Mom always wanted to do for the Cuesta Doll & Study Club was on feedsacks, their history and use as fabrics by frugal homemakers of the 1930s and 1940s.  I’m sitting here next to an old cardboard box labeled “Quilt Pieces for January Program”, getting myself ready to present that Feedsack program to both my doll clubs in the next month or so.

For me, part of the charm of feedsacks has long been because my Grandad Buffington (Mom’s step-dad who helped raise her) was a salesman for Capital Feed and Seed in Phoenix, Arizona.  I didn’t know until very recently that after starting out as a salesman, Grandad Buffington ended up buying Capital Feed and Seed outright.  Mom and Aunt Betty have shared stories about picking out their favorite prints and finding enough of the same bag to make dresses from…quite a challenge sometimes!

As well as the box full of quilt pieces and 1930s fabrics (including lots of yo-yos and cardboard piecing templates), I am fortunate to own a number of beautiful quilts made by my precious mother-in-law, Lois Carriker, during the Depression years and given to me before her death.  I also have the baby quilt she made for Grant and the one Mom made for me, each containing feedsack fabrics.

Today is a “hunting and gathering” day for me.  I will be looking through boxes of old family photographs for feedsack clothing (I know there is a lot), as well as heading back to Storage to pull quilts out of my cedar chest.  And if the thought of my cedar chest full of nearly-antique family quilts living in rented storage gives you pause, rest assured that it does me, too, but there is no space for it here.  I’ve tried.

Somewhere between here and Mom and Dad’s is a wonderful book called  Vintage Feed Sacks:  Fabric from the Farm that I hope to re-discover and use.  Just in case I don’t, however, I’ve ordered Feedsack Secrets from Amazon Prime, and it will be here in a couple of days.

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Yo-yos and pieced strips from feedsack fabrics I found in Mom’s box.

Some Fairy Folk

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I’m still in the middle of my bedroom reorganizing, and I opened another box (this one labeled “pictures”) and found another one of Mom’s poems.  This one was written for a Tri-Counties Doll Conference many years ago…there is no date on the page.  Enjoy!

Some Fairy Folk

They take a fairy shower in the early morning dew

And dry upon the sunbeams just the way we’d like to do.

Then they take a bit of rainbow and drape it here and there

For the loveliest fairy gown you’d see ‘most anywhere.

Some dragonflies so green of hue join the fairies two-by-two

As they flit and soar and dip and dive, quite the gayest sight alive.

The lady bugs so polka-dot bright, join in this ethereal flight

While down below the brownies dance with frogs and toads

And just by chance, if you should be so quiet and still

You might see them do the Brownie Quadrille.

As the fairies light softly on the moist green ground

They join the brownies and go dancing ’round.

‘Til finally, midst laughter and jubilation, the time has come

For this celebration of fairy folk to stop while.

But they’ll be back to make us smile

If only in our imagination.

– Hazel Pender

 

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I want my Mother!  I was disasterizing my bedroom closet in an attempt to make my room less jam-packed and more pleasant, and I ran across one of her journals.  She had been given so many beautiful ones, but mostly she wrote on whatever lined paper was handy.  Here is part of her entry from June 29, 1999. It made me cry for missing her so.

My feet are bare and I’m standing in a small patch of soft dirt that feels so warm and good.  I’m watching a “snake” lizard sunning himself on a large piece of firewood, and thinking.

I’m thinking about that little girl I was so long ago with the loose black hair flying in the wind and running barefoot in the hot dirt.

She had a quick laugh and a too loud voice.  But outside in the Summertime running barefoot it seems to me now she felt wild & free & very very happy.

Is she still here someplace deep inside?  Of course she is.  Why would I ever let her go?

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It is NOT Okay

Christina has such a passionate response to the way many of the presidential candidates are acting; being in politics does not give people the right to be inhumane.

r e F o c u s

I’m sure by this point you’ve seen the video. The one of the young African-American woman being removed from a presidential campaign rally in Louisville, being pushed and prodded by numerous campaign supporters while others pummel her with insults or capture the whole incident on their phone. Not one person, not one, steps in and says, “Hey now, this is a human being. Show a little respect for the human race.”  Not one defends. Not one speaks out. Not one.

And I’ve refrained from posting anything about this here because I didn’t want this blog to be political. I’ve kept this place free from politics and campaigns and opinion on government and court decisions and I was determined to do so, until today.

Because today, I realized, THIS IS NOT POLITICAL. 

It’s not about politics. It’s about humanity.

As I watched that girl get pushed and shoved all I could think was…

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So many books, so little time!

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I went a little crazy yesterday at the San Luis Obispo Barnes & Noble bookstore.  I really wasn’t ready to leave the Central Coast and return to Visalia, and I really wanted a bookstore “fix”, so I made a detour.  My intention was to buy a magazine and soak up some atmosphere, but I was captured by my surroundings. Every bookstore has its own personality; the Fresno Barnes & Noble seems cold and a bit pretentious, but SLO’s is as warm and welcome as the town itself.

I found my magazine right away:  the latest issue of Artful Blogging:  Visually Inspiring Online Journals.  If you love blogging, beautiful things, and/or journaling, treat yourself to this quarterly by the good folks at Stampington.  It is pure eye candy!  Then the American Girl Magazine called to me for Lily, and Highlights for Children was right next to it on the shelf for Olivia. (Not only do I feed my own habit, but theirs, too.)

I spent quite a bit of time in the children’s book section, as Lily has been wanting a particular book that the library doesn’t have, but as I couldn’t remember the title I just kept scanning the shelves, hoping it would jump out at me.  No dice.  And I decided against picture books for St. Patrick’s Day…we have bunches already and these weren’t particularly wonderful.

On the way out (right?) I picked up The Aviator’s Wife (about Ann and Charles Lindbergh), How to be a Heroine, or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much, and then Glitter and Glue, a memoir.  They were “Buy 2, Get the 3rd Free”.  It was a moral imperative!

I generally refuse a bag when buying books, but the clerk was fast and the bag was marvelous!  San Luis Obispo County has banned single-use plastic bags; the front of this heavy paper shopping bag has the beginning paragraphs of Tom Sawyer, and on the reverse is Moby Dick.

My wonderful bag of books from Barnes & Noble.

My wonderful bag of books from Barnes & Noble.

When I got home I discovered that Lily’s Scholastic Books order had arrived, and she and I are now the proud owners of four volumes of The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.  I have had volume two for ages, but didn’t want to read it before The Lost Hero.

I think I’ll settle onto the couch with a cup of tea and read for awhile.  Care to join me?

 

Growing a reader

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Ours is a household of readers.  At any given moment chances are very good that at least one of us is either engrossed in a book or is deep into Reddit or Facebook (yes, that counts as reading).  For their bedtime story, Georgia has been reading a beautifully illustrated volume of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the girls several nights a week… unabridged in all its magical wordiness. So it is no surprise that Olivia is the best reader in her Kindergarten class; she is following in Lily’s footsteps by carrying a book with her whenever she leaves the house.

This being Saturday morning, I had the leisure to stay in bed a bit later than usual.  For thirty minutes or so I heard rustlings and creakings coming from the girls’ bedroom, so I knew at least one of them was awake.  When my curiosity got the best of me, I got up and peeked in.  There was Olivia propped up in her bed with The Teeny Weeny Tadpole in her lap, reading to her big sister.  She hesitated over a few words, but figured them out carefully; only once did she stumble…over “course”, as in “of course”.

Olivia represents the “perfect storm” for reading development:  a print-rich environment, family members who value and model reading, a lively curiosity, a wide vocabulary, and the ability to figure out words in context.  Also a Kindergarten teacher who encourages every opportunity for reading and challenges each reader at her own level and a grammy who was once a special education teacher.

Next week they are celebrating Dr. Seuss every day; Olivia has already packed her copy of The Foot Book to read to her classmates.  Life doesn’t get better than this!

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Georgia introducing Olivia to Calvin and Hobbes at The Lunchbox.

 

 

ADOS

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I have admitted more than once to being just a tad ADOS (Attention Deficit — OH, Shiny!).  As a perfect example, I am currently participating in not one, not two, but THREE book clubs, with subjects all over the place.

Our Lenten Book Study is former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’  Being Christian:  Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer.  I won’t be able to attend every session, thanks to a somewhat crazy schedule, but I am already finding it very thought-provoking.

Our Close To My Heart group is reading and discussing Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.  As I shared earlier, I have always found positive affirmations to be a bit contrived and stiff, but I am beginning to see them in a different light thanks to this book.  My biggest problem here is that I have a hard time waiting for everyone else, and want to just keep reading on ahead.  And then I have to go back and re-read the chapters that are our current assignment.

Better Than Before, by Gretchen Ruben, is the selection for our Simple Scrapper book club, and I’m behind in the reading for this one.  (I’ll catch up tonight after work.)

Of course, these aren’t all I have on my plate right now.  I am also enjoying Louisa May Alcott, illuminated by The Message, compiled and introduced by Susan Bailey (the wonderful writer who blogs at Louisa May Alcott is My Passion. And I have just given up on C.J. Box’s Blue Heaven, acknowledging that I really don’t like thrillers/murder mysteries that are too gruesome (and this one is, at least for me).

What are you reading today?

Healthy and Strong

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Yesterday morning I visited my neighbor’s scale for the first time in a couple of months, and was bummed when it seemed to tell me I had gained nearly a pound, even though I felt considerably lighter.  Quickly my inner Pollyanna kicked in, however, and I reassured myself that “I’m gaining muscle with Yoga” and “I’m stronger and healthier than ever”.   My initial disappointment was short-lived.

Last night as I logged in my weight on my Fitbit chart, I realized that, far from gaining a pound, I had lost five since my last weigh-in.  Joy abounding!  I am only three pounds short of my goal (the one I set once I realized walking and working was making me lose weight with very little effort) of being back to my pre-baby-Georgia weight from over 30 years ago!

I cannot describe how good it feels to be comfortable in my body again, happy with who I am, and excited about where I’m going.  Sure, when I look in the mirror there are wrinkles I didn’t have a few years ago, but the stressed look is out of my eyes and I’m standing tall and relaxed.

Some of us in our Close To My Heart group are reading and studying Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.  I have always been a bit leery about the practice of positive affirmations, feeling them to be very forced and stilted. With more study, though, I have begun to realize that they are pretty close to the things I have always said to myself as I chose to look at the world through my rose-colored glasses.  That positive outlook is part of our legacy from Mom and Grammy Buffington, who always chose to see the world as a sunny, friendly place.

May I continue to model that outlook to Lily and Olivia.

 

Blocked

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For weeks now I have been laboring (or not) under an enormous case of writer’s block.  It started with NaNoWriMo back in November, when my version of the Great American Novel started slowly and petered out quickly.  It got worse in January, with only sporadic blog posts.  And while I have missed my nightly visits through Trigger’s Horse, my body and brain seem to come up with any number of reasons why I shouldn’t be writing.

So today I am shifting from “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” mode to “Back in the saddle again” mode.  I refuse to listen to my brain’s cheap excuses any longer, and I am back.  Thank you to those who have looked in vain for my posts; thank you, also, to my friends who have told me they look forward to reading Trigger’s Horse on a regular basis. I have missed all of this.

Have a glorious Monday wherever you are.

Gratitude

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At last night’s Helping One Woman dinner I was pleased to win a lovely Gratitude Journal in one of the opportunity drawings.  It was a particularly relevant gift for me, because the HOW dinners themselves are such a lesson in gratitude each month.  As I have written before, the honoree at each HOW dinner is a woman who has suffered an irreparable loss in the previous 12 months.  And over and over, these amazing women demonstrate courage, faith, and even joy in the midst of overwhelming challenges and sorrows.  And over and over, they remind me of both how incredibly fortunate I am, and how quickly our lives can change.

I look forward to keeping track of the wondrous gifts I am given by life in my new journal, and perhaps sharing some of them here.

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My lovely new “Grace of Gratitude” Journal by Deborah Perdue

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The left-hand page is for journaling, and the right either holds a prompt such as this or an illustration.

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