Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some Of My Friends Are For The Birds!

(note: you will really want to click on most of these pictures!)

I got an email from Peggy,my high school/college friend, in Windsor, Massachusetts on Thursday. An avid Bird Watcher, she was going to be spending the week in her big backyard doing an official bird count. Sounds like fun. I can't think of anything that sounds nicer to do; lay around in a lounge chair with a glass of ice tea, a pair of binoculars, a note book, and an official reason to avoid housework for a week.
Whoa! I know there's a lot more to it and Peggy would never avoid housework that way (she's more creative!).
Meanwhile, back here in Kanab, my friend Chris has been going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to the Hummingbirds that frequent our Eclectic Desert Garden, here at the campground.

As some of you know, we've been carving a little garden out of hardscrabble and dust since we arrived in April. Since we knew we were not going to get too much to grow, we've had fun collecting odd decorative bits to cover the fence and our rustic wind break constructed of dead branches and bits of reclaimed wood. We've got Goddesses, Angels, Santas, Fairies, Wizards and all sorts of critters including dragons out there.

One thing we didn't find at a yard sale or thrift sop was an old fashioned livery boy holding a lantern but, as of this morning, we do have the next best thing.

We've got Chris.

We both have feeders that normally hang from this tree but today she was the first to refill hers.

But those little suckers simply couldn't wait for the table to be set.

Don't make me come down and separate you!

So what if it's not red? It's good for you. Try It-you'll like it!

That's right, use your company manners. There are people watching.

There you are Sparkle, better late than never.

Yep! Auntie Christie won't let you down. She'll even stand in the rain to make sure you get fed and get Auntie Marcie to stand in it too taking your pictures!

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

RE: Stuff

The Geezerguy thinks I'm nuts. I just cut up a Kleenex box into neat strips and panels to add to my stash of patterned light cardboard. It will now wait in a big manila envelope with pieces of other tissue boxes, inserts from photo folders at work, cereal boxes and assorted other stiff card stock too pretty to toss.

A couple of weeks ago I borrowed a die cutter from Jen, my boss at
Frontier Movie Town , (a business where every conceivable bit of excess packing material and non-renewable material is recycled) and made about 2 hundred 2 inch circles from some of it. Eventually, they will become the backing for fabric brooches or some other craft item I'm taking to a fair. The strips will back up my crocheted book markers.

I have always enjoyed creating pretty things from throw away material. I once bought a big box of assorted jars at an auction in Tacoma for $3.00. Scrabblebuff laughed when she saw it was mostly dirty Ponds cold cream and very old Vick's Vapor Rub jars. She stopped laughing a couple of weeks later when we unpacked dainty little dried flower arrangements onto our table at the Gig Harbor Craft Fair.

I had used flowers I dried myself along with bits of lace and ribbons to fill the real vintage Art Deco milk glass and cobalt blue containers and they were snatched up so fast we both wished I'd bought more. And I only charged $10.00 each!


When I lived in a stix and brix house I tried very hard to contain my craft materials to a small area with not much success. The day Skooba moved from California to Washington I waved goodbye to him from the driveway at about 3 PM and by 9 PM his bedroom had been transformed into my craft room. It overflowed with found objects, beads, ribbons, and other scavenged materials for making doll house collectibles. My yarn, of course, was in the living room since that is a constant thing; an extension of my fingers-not a craft material. Now, living in a motor home full time, I don't have as much room for stockpiling. (The Geez has no room-if there's space, it's mine). But I still do what I can to eliminate some of the stuff that often goes to waste.

The funny thing is, I've been doing this all my life. Mom used to cut up cereal boxes for me to paste pictures, cut from the Sears catalog, on to make paper dolls. I made countless Betsy McCall dolls that way too. She taught our Girl Scout troop how to decorate old fashioned soda cans with the funnel tops into laundry sprinklers for Mother's Day gifts.

Nana, showed me how to make Victorian button strings.

Granddad taught me how to make a whizzer from a big coat button and a bit of string from the kitchen string ball. (remember your grandmother's string ball hidden behind a plaster flower or Mammy head?)

And how I wish I still had one of the puzzles he made for me after I chose a picture from a Saturday Evening Post magazine
. He'd take me down into his workshop in the cellar and sit me on a high ladder-back chair in the middle of the room so I could see him work but not be able to reach any tools and then he'd make the puzzle. He glued my picture to a piece of wood, coated it with varnish and then, the next day, he cut it with his jigsaw. I don't remember the pictures but I've saved that precious memory for more than 50 years.

My friend Chris is finding lovely vintage pillow slips at thrift stores and turning them into practical, pretty, and one- of- a- kind market bags. She's not only helping to eliminate plastic bags but she's creating a fashion statement that's also a responsibility statement. A plus is that she's also adding an appealing touch to a mundane activity and letting young people enjoy an old world design element.

The Politically Correct, Environmentally Aware, Green Movement is not something new. When I was a Girl Scout we called it Scrap Crafting. We even earned a badge for being thrifty. It wasn't anything new then either. Our thrifty mothers, grannies, and generations before had always made good use of whatever materials were at hand to create something new. WWII had taught an entire generation to make do, make over, or do without. Women and some men simply updated things their grandparents had been doing when they came to America. Things that simply were "what you do".

Look at the beautiful vintage quilts in museums. The "Artists" (they called themselves wives and mothers at the time), saved the least little bit of cloth that wasn't torn or stained from Hannah's outgrown frock or Jeremiah's torn shirt and cut it into squares. If little Jerry was extra hard on clothes or Hannah got caught in a bramble bush shredding her dress the little bits were still saved and turned into crazy quilts made up of hundreds of odd bits of cloth. A hole in the material? Embroider a spray of posies over it to hide the mend. There were no handy quilt shops across town to buy fat quarters then. Even threads used to tie the quilts were often gleaned from old fabrics. I read that one of the reasons quilts were knotted was because of the uneven lengths of salvaged pieces of thread.

A favorite shawl was unraveled by pioneer Moms to make warm wool scarves for her hard working husband and sons when they had to do chores in the little barns on the prairie. Often knitted at night while the family slept, they were Christmas gifts remade year after year and perhaps seeing their final incarnation as a pair of socks.

We have more types of materials filling our landfills now but I think that millions of people like Mom, Nana and Granddad, Chris and Jen, and even me will continue to find new ways to reuse, upcycle, repurpose, remake, upscale, redo, re-create, recycle and reinvent them and make an impact on our lives and the lives of our grandchildren..

It's called Re-sponsibility .

See ya down the road,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Have You Been Saved?

"A message to all members of NaBloPoMo

...The theme for July is SAVED. This month we want you to tell us about the things you've kept, rescued, or otherwise prevented from being lost forever."

I enjoy the idea of NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month as it's known to the non-texting segments of our society. The idea is that you sign up with the group and commit to posting a blog everyday for a month. It's a wonderful tool that many writers-not just bloggers-use to get their creative juices flowing. Some participants are able to produce wonderful prose everyday for a month, others just put whatever comes to mind down in order to earn a virtual badge to say they did it. More power to them.

I successfully; earned three badges. I've participated a few other times and simply couldn't do it. Life got in the way or I just plain ran out of steam. Twice I managed 28 blogs but something precluded getting to the finish line. I wish I could commit to the program but, like my diets, I just procrastinate too much. When I get the notice on the 1st of each month and see what the theme is, however, I'm always tempted to give it another shot. But I have no plan to write a blog everyday on demand anymore. The theme is now a prompt only for me. I'm not a graceful looser, why set myself up to fail?

So when I read the opening statement above I had to laugh. My entire blog for the past 3+ years has been on that theme. Through my Ramblings, I have SAVED:

1, People and places that maybe only I remember -that way

2, Songs no one has thought of in decades,

3, Events,important or poignant at the time,

4, Silly stories with no reason to relate except they were silly,

5, Poems-always written by someone else,

6, Dreams- I've always believed they could come true.

7, Opinions - ask my my sons and DILS -I DO have opinions.

8, Pictures- sometimes shaky and not enough of them,

9, Accomplishments ; Lone Duck, Commodore Salazar, Sage Words, Skooba

10, Best Friend- Geezerguy

11,Bragging sessions- Fair Warning~ my eldest is 41;youngest 32 with two in the middle so there will be more bragging -- but just wait until October!!!!!

12, Jokes,

13, Inspirational essays -I try to encourage when I can,

14, Recipes,

15, Memes - okay maybe I could have skipped those.

16, Adventures - lots,

17, Misadventures-- lots more!

18, Fantasies,

19, Our dog Clancy -actually she saved or rescued us.

20, Books - I read constantly but only recommend the best ones.

21, Excuses - I will probably have more.

22, Fears - I try to keep them private but once in awhile...

23, Hopes- Hope is another word for Tomorrow.

24 , Observations- wonder if anyone agrees with them?,

25, Craft ideas

26, Other writers' blogs- sometimes they just say it better.

27, Goals- without goals why bother with Tomorrow?,

28, Friends - I saved 4 friends from 50 years ago in my heart- suddenly we are all chatting on Facebook -amazing!

29, Tips- okay so those came in forwards-but I saved them!

30, My past - Some of my memories may have been colored by time but so what ?

So there! That's 30 saves I've succeeded! Where's my badge?

I've been asked occasionally by well meaning people, "Have you been saved?" Personally, I guess that's up to God to decide. Until then, I'll keep Rambling on when the spirit moves me. Who knows, someday I may need to re-read these blogs so I'll know - I've been saved.

See ya down the road,