Saturday, May 10, 2014


I have often spoken of my mother here. There is so much about her that permeates my being. As a young person I had no idea how influential she was in my life, but today memories of her in times gone by sneak into my thoughts on a daily basis.

Although Mom is still with us, so much of what made up who she was is gone now. The hands that braided my hair, that made me custard when I was sad or fresh-squeezed orange juice when I had a cold, that patiently showed me how to sew, that created beautiful treasures with her handwork, that set the table and served the food to all who walked through her door, that held the books to read to her grandchildren - those hands now lay idle in her lap.  Her mind has betrayed her, and no longer brings forth the memories that she longs for. But I carry those memories forward to share anew with her and with my family as best I can.

Mom and I had a good visit yesterday. We talked about family, past and present, and shared a laugh or two. It was timely that the show "Ellen" was on the television, and I commented that it appeared the audience consisted of young women that were expecting a baby. Her response was "I feel sorry for them." So, Happy Mothers Day, Mom! My prayer for her this Mother's Day and every day is that she feels contentment, comfort and peace.

As I've watched my two daughters travel through the seasons of motherhood, I am reminded of how all-consuming it can be when the children are young and dependent, and how difficult it can be to then transition to watching them go it on their own. I'm proud of these two young women and how they have handled their most important role - that of a Mother.

Reflecting on what it means to be a mother, these are the things I know for sure:
  • being a mother is a life-long commitment
  • being a mother brings the most joyous joy and the most painful pain
  • being a mother is doing the best you know to do each day
  • being a mother is feeling you should have done better each night
We all do it differently, and we all do our best to be the person that our children need. So, Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers or have taken on the role of a mother.

Until next time...


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Graduation Letter

We are nearing graduation time, and we have received several invitations to graduation parties. They brought to mind a letter that I had stuck away with old photos and such...

In May of 1937 when my mother graduated from high school she received a letter from her maternal uncle, Amasa (Am' zee) White Webber of Galena, Kansas. I am sharing it because I find his use of language so interesting and unusual - especially in this day, but probably for that time as well. Amasa worked in the office for the railroad, and it is typed on their letterhead.

The letter must have had a lot of meaning to my mother, as she kept it all these years. Because of distance and financial restraints, I would guess that they wouldn't have seen each other but a few times. Communication was dependent upon letters that travelled slowly and perhaps a phone call in an emergency. It is hard to imagine in our day of instant communication with one another. I hope you enjoy reading this letter from long ago.

My dear Katherine:
With the passing of winter months we welcome the birds and flowers and sunshine, and yet, the exultancy of this year's springtime seems but trifling when compared to the thrill that came in receiving the announcement of your graduation, and the very fine photograph that accompanied it.
While passing years have left disintegrating marks all round about us, yet, seemingly, time has only tended to make more beautiful the little curly headed girl of our past remembrance,- whose picture now portrays a young woman of sterling qualities, and who, no doubt, is doubly mindful of the many sacrifices made by faithful parents, in order that she might share in the good things of life.
In return for all of this, we do not believe you will prove a disappointment, neither do we feel you are going to be a failure, since by your earnestness, determination and perseverance you are now enabled to close an epoch in life's career that will open for you the doorway to bigger and better things.
It has been said that "America is on wheels." Folks today are going places, and doing things in a big way, and the ranks of tomorrow will be filled with young men and women who are prepared to meet emergencies.
Our best wishes attend your every effort, and may continued good health, happiness and success, in unstinted measure, be yours to enjoy. No doubt, there will come occasional clouds to mar life's sunshine; perhaps the night at times will show unusually dark; it may require some crushing to bring forth fragrance,- and maybe added fire to brighten the gold already in your life,- yet remember, that "He who is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless at the throne of His Majesty," can also sanctify for you the hard, rough, dark places in such a way that your life will tell forth in multiplied blessings to home and friends and mankind because of such experiences.
We are mailing you today, under separate cover, a little graduation token of love and remembrance, and although words fail us, and we find that even the giving of gifts are inadequate expressions of our innermost feelings, yet in the words of that Worthy of old, our hearty wish for you is that,- "The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace."
Most sincerely yours,
Uncle Amasa and Aunt Lou
Wow! That was a lot of words (and a lot of commas) to say simply "We wish you the very best."

This picture would have been taken sometime after graduation. I have not included Mom's graduation picture as she disliked it so much. Isn't she pretty?
Till next time...

Friday, April 18, 2014

In Your Easter Bonnet

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.
(Lyrics by Irving Berlin)

Easter Sunday... I'm guessing these two pictures were taken in about 1950 and 1956. I think I probably always had a new outfit for Easter. We didn't have as many clothes as the kids of today, and so this would have been the one dressy outfit for the season.
Easter was always the gateway to Spring and Summer as far as fashion went. It was now permissible to wear white shoes and gloves!
I hope my brother doesn't mind showing up on my blog! And what on earth is a rotogravure? I had to Google it as even I'm not that old! It was an etching or engraving - perhaps part of the photo developing process.
Till next time...
Blessings on this Blessed Easter Weekend,

Monday, April 7, 2014

Springy Vignette

The corner of our dining table typically has a seasonal vignette - a gathering of items that reflect whatever season we are in or holiday we are celebrating. The last few weeks it has been rather barren as I wasn't sure what season we were in. I didn't want to acknowledge Winter any longer, but I couldn't fool myself into thinking Spring was coming anytime soon.

But Sunday we had both sunshine and warmer temps, so I gathered a few items to put together - some old, some new. I would have liked to put this grouping in a shallow basket, but didn't have one that worked, so I just used a printed napkin to anchor it.
This bunny is ready to celebrate the warmer days right along with me!

You've seen this little grouping before - when I talked about using books in different ways throughout your home. These are two of my favorite teacups. Notice the pretty flowers on the inside of the top cup - love it! The plate is a serving piece, probably a cake plate, of vintage Haviland china. I have other pieces of this beautiful white china hanging in an arrangement on my wall.
This is one of my purchases this year. I'm calling it a topiary even though I know topiaries usually have a tall stem.
I found both the topiary and the little pedestal piece at The Vintage Market in Beresford this week. I'm loving the tiny saucer on a candlestick, but as I look at the picture I'm thinking it needs something more added - maybe some colored glass around the votive cup or some raffia tied in a bow around the candlestick. I'm sure I'll be adding a touch of something!
The saucer could hold any number of things. I chose to use a votive cup that I decorated with a bit of washi tape (decorative paper tape), but it would look darling with a small figurine or vase with flowers. I did also purchase a second one that I am using on my vanity to hold rings, etc.

Well, that's what's happening in my little corner of the world today!
Till next time...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lent of My Childhood

The church my family attended when I was a child observed the season of Lent with Wednesday evening services. In our community there were two Lutheran churches, and although each belonged to a different synod, we alternated back and forth for the mid-week service.

Strangely enough when I think back to that time what I remember most clearly is sitting in that unfamiliar little church beside my mother singing the somber hymns associated with Lent. I can visualize the beautiful white altar and communion rail at the front, and the unique fiberboard on the walls that wrapped around us. It was cozy and comforting to that little girl sitting beside her mother.

And then following "The Old Rugged Cross"...

Comes the trumpet fanfare and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today!"

So many times in life are like Lent/Easter. There is the waiting, wanting, wishing, hoping... and finally the fulfillment - even sweeter because of the preparation.
Till next time...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dutch Treat

These Delft dishes, made in Holland, are just passing through our hands briefly. So, while they were in my home I wanted to make beautiful pictures with them. Enjoy...
At times we just need to look around to find beauty in our everyday lives and often it is fleeting.  Whether it is an uplifting experience, a lovely flower or an inspiring person, grab hold and
make a beautiful picture to tuck away in your memory!
Till next time...
Blessings & Beauty,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Show 'n Tell

My friend, Linda, and I attend a monthly Girl's Night at a quilt shop in Dell Rapids, and the main feature is a show 'n tell time. There are some amazing quilters that attend, and I really enjoy being inspired by the beautiful items they bring. Last evening I brought a quilt that I made fifteen years ago.

We were looking ahead and planning for my mom's 80th birthday later that year, and I wanted to do something with a quilt. After much thought and searching for ideas, I decided to do a crazy quilt design and include pictures. This is how it turned out, and it has been hanging on Mom's wall ever since.
There are twelve blocks and each one has a theme: Parents, Siblings, Young Woman, Marriage, Children, Grandchildren, Great-Grandchildren, Career, Hostess, Sewing/Needlework, Reading/Puzzles and the Birthday block.
I had the pictures printed on a special paper and the image could then be ironed onto a plain piece of fabric. Once that was done, those pieces were just included with other fabric in a crazy quilt design.
As each block was sewn together, I passed them off to my mother, who did all the hand stitching. She did a stitch along each connecting seam and then embellished as she saw fit - using lots of flowers. I treasure each of those stitches and the love that she put into this project.

We then chose other items to add to the finished quilt - buttons, bits of lace and ribbon, her 20 year pin from her job, and a treasured locket.
Because of the pictures, we were unable to quilt it in a traditional way, but there is stitching around each block to hold it secure.
And since it is not the type of quilt that will be used or washed, that works just fine.
Are you inspired to try a similar project to honor the life of someone special to you? It doesn't need to be expressed in the same way with needle and thread, but I want to assure you that you will be glad you made the effort.
Time passes, and what was possible fifteen years ago would not be possible today.
Till next time...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Books, They Aren't Just For Reading...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that I love to read. But there is more to it than that... I love books! There are a couple of reasons why I most often read on my iPad these days, but that doesn't mean I can't be surrounded by books. To me a grouping of books is beautiful, and I find a room without books to be... well, rather boring.

You probably recognize my favorite stack of vintage children's books wrapped up with a bit of twine. Here they are giving a bit of height to a treasured figurine.

And again, a couple of books help to vary the height to a grouping of objects, but I was going for a softer look so they are draped with a pretty doily.
This time I've used a basket to gather several books along with an ironstone pitcher filled with greenery and a lovely piece of needlework. For this arrangement the colors and sizes of the books used became important.
This antique painted box holds books that have family connections. It may move around the house, but the contents tend to stay the same... they all seem to belong together.
One of my ironstone pitchers is much more interesting perched atop a few books.
What creative ways have you used books in your home? I'd love to hear from you!
Till next time...

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Little Extra Effort...

It really just takes a few extra minutes to set a pretty table...

And it's a simple way to make a Valentine dinner special.
I think a T-bone steak and baked sweet potato along with a green salad will look pretty good on those plates. And I'm planning on topping it off with a strawberry rhubarb trifle.

Yum! The only thing better would be if somebody else was cooking... maybe tomorrow evening!
Until next time...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Valentine Sweet...

Wouldn't it be great to sit down and have a cup of coffee and a cookie together?
Since that probably isn't going to happen today, I'll do the next best thing and share a cookie recipe with you.

This is an old fashioned oatmeal cookie with Craisins. The original recipe calls for raisins, but since we aren't big fans, I have done a substitution. Besides, the little red dots are perfect for Valentines Day. You can get 36 cookies if you make them a bit smaller than I did (and don't sample any of the dough).

Old Fashioned Oatmeal & Craisin Cookies
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
2 cup oats
3/4 cup Craisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat first 5 ingredients until well mixed
Whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon & oats.
Add to sugar mixture in three additions scraping the bowl between.
Fold in Craisins.
Drop onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 minutes.

Enjoy! Happy Valentines Day!

Till next time...