January 31, 2013

Vintage Pillowcases and Dollies Make a Cute Blouse

Do you have any vintage pillowcases, and crocheted dollies that you love but don't use to decorate your house?

Here is a creative way to turn them into little girls blouses. These pillowcase blouses were created by Charlene Randell who is owner/seamstress of Chazzie's Cuties, in Ellison Bay, Door County, Wisconsin.

This adorable pillowcase blouse is embellished with
a crocheted doily with rose accents, with vintage
buttons added to complete the blouse.

To make the neckline of the pillowcase blouse pop a
crocheted doily is sewn around the neckline.

An embroidered pillowcase was used to create this pillowcase blouse.
 Lace and ribbons are use to complete the look of this blouse.

Our whole family vacations in Door County, Wisconsin the last week of July, and I like to purchase a few unique items for my granddaughter LuLu Belle that she can wear during that time. I will pair the rose pillowcase blouse with some red capri leggings and a cute pair of sandals. 

What good be better, this brings my love for vintage and sweet LuLu Belle together? Perfect!


January 30, 2013

Thrifty Finds

I have fallen off my thrift shopping diet, and boy it feels good! 

Here are my treasures . . .

This charming baby bird by Dept. 56, from
the Easter collection is dated 1994. 
For 49¢ how could I pass it up.

Followed the sweet bird prints,

and found this cute blue bird.

That decorates this salad plate.

Mama bird feeding her babies,
what's not to like. I liked the
muted color pallet of this tchotchkes.

Until . . .

it slipped out of my hand, and broke.

I will glue the mama bird back, but I don't have any glue.
Hmmm do they sell glue at the thrift store?  
I'm off to check!


January 29, 2013

Inspirational Story ~ Nalis In The Fence

Nails In The Fence

Author Unknown

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His father was concerned for his son’s future and thought about how he could explain to his son why relationships are so important and controlling his temper is a key factor in this.
After a lot of thought, his father gave him a bag full of nails and told him,  “Every time you lose your temper,  hammer a nail into the back of the fence.”  His son did not understand but knew that his father was wise, so he agreed.
On the first day that the boy received his bag of nails, he ended up driving about  37 nails into the fence.  Each day he learned little by little to control his temper.   He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.
He was extremely proud of himself and went to share his good news with his father.  His Father was  proud of him and offered a challenge to his son.  “Why don’t you pull out a nail every day that you are able to hold your temper?”
As there were many nails in the fence, it took the boy sometime to remove the nails from the fence.  But eventually that joyous day arrived.  He was so pleased with himself, and he wanted to share this with his father.
His father was so proud of his son, but he wanted him to understand that holding his temper was more than just being able to add or remove nails from a fence.  He took his son’s hand and showed him all the holes that were left from the nails.  “As you see my son, this fence will never be the same, the fence is scarred with holes from your temper.  Think of these holes as the words you have spoken in anger, the wounds you have left in people’s lives.  Words really are like weapons they leave a wound, that does not heal easily.  Son, your family and friends will  make you smile and encourage you to succeed,  they will lend an ear,  share words of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.  Always remember the fence before you speak words of anger.”

The next time my temper surfaces I will remember this story. I found this short story on the website Inspiration Peak and on Write for God

If I have wounded any soul today
If I have caused ones foot to go astray
If I have walked in my own willful way
Dear Lord, forgive
first stanza from the song If I Have Wounded Any Soul Today

January 28, 2013

Postage Increase

On Sunday, the price of postage stamps increased by one cent. First class stamps now cost 46¢, postcards will need 33¢ worth of stamps, and an international letter will cost $1.10 to send it on its way.

In 1961, actresses Millette Alexander and Louise King, and nightclub entertainer Ted Lewis,
stand outside a giant mailbox stamp selling booth in Times Square, New York City,
while Assistant Postmaster Aquiline F. Weierich dispenses stamps from inside booth.
Circa 1961  Source:Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

January 26, 2013

The Ringing of the Church Bells in My Youth

The Angelus bell rang three times a day in our Polish Catholic neighborhood, six o'clock in the morning, at noon and again at six o'clock in the evening. This was the call to prayer, all Catholics stopped what they were doing and said a prayer.

This is what the bell tower looked like when I was a teenager.

This is what the bell tower looks like in 2013.

On Sunday mornings, the peal of the bells announced that mass would be starting in five minutes. No one wanted to be late for Sunday mass because the older Polish ladies would give you the stink eye if you walked in late. Even though, I lived just around the corner from the church, I was the recipient of the stink eye more than once. 

The sound of the Wedding Bells ringing would have all of the neighborhood children running to the church to see what the bride and bridesmaids looked like as they exited the church. That was such a happy sound.

Everyone seemed to become quiet when the first bong of the Death Knell sounded. The bell was rung slowly, bong, pause, bong, pause. We would count as the bell tolled, nine rings for the death of a man, six rings for a woman and three rings for a child. A short pause and every ring after that announced the age of the deceased. Many times the children were sent to the church to wait for the bell ringer to ask who died.

A half block east of the church was the funeral parlor, and out of necessity a custom was established to get the casket to the church. You see it was unrealistic for the casket to be placed in the hearse and driven a half block to the church. So on the day of the burial everyone parked by the church including the hearse and walked to the funeral parlor. 

To get the casket to the church, a procession from the funeral parlor to the church took place by walking down the middle of the street while the bell ringer tolled the Funeral Bell until the procession entered the church.  I disliked this procession, out of respect people who were not attending the funeral would stand on the sidewalk and watch as the procession made its way toward the church. I always felt like I was in a parade. The funeral home is no longer in business, thank goodness that custom is finished.

Sometime in the late 1960's the bell ringer passed away, and with it went the old traditions, an automated system to ring the bell was installed. My cousin has told me that now the only time the bell rings is to announce mass will start in five minutes and the Funeral Bell still tolls while the casket enters and exits the church.

“For bells are the voice of the church; They have tones that touch and search The hearts of young and old.” 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Quotes

January 25, 2013

It's True You Can Never Go Home ~ Things Change

As I drove down the streets of my childhood, I was astounded at all of the changes that have occurred, and not changes in a good way. The area has become blighted, it is filled with urban decay.

 In my mind, this small Polish suburb of Chicago is still my youthful cocoon, my safe place. Where everyone knew whom my parents were, and would greet me by my name.  Or on several rare occasions yelled for me to stop whatever naughty deed I was doing, and announced that they were calling my mother as soon as that got inside.

As I approached the corner of 14th Street and Lincoln I was anticipating seeing the Polish Catholic church that my grandfather helped established, Holy Rosary. Six years ago I attended my Aunt's funeral and was shocked to learn that the church of my youth had a new corner stone announcing its name Queen of Peace.

My childhood church, Holy Rosary,
renamed in the 1990's, Queen of Peace.
Today I was disappointed at the disrepair of this beautiful church that was established by Polish immigrants in 1904.

Saddened by all of the urban decay that I was surrounded by, I decided that I would not let these new memories effect me in a negative way, and quickly changed my thinking. I will keep my positive childhood memories tucked close to my heart and look at this neighborhood through the eyes of my youth.

This blog post has taken me on a different path than I had intended. My intent was to tell you about the bell ringer and bell tower of this church, but this post is long enough so I will save it for tomorrow.


January 24, 2013

Music Thanatology

I drove to the hospital to support my childhood friend of forty eight years, and to say goodbye to her husband and my friend of thirty eight years. Hospice suggested that all family and friends should come to say their last goodbyes.

While I was sitting with the family during this most trying time, a nurse informed us that the music thanatologist would be arriving soon. Heads nodded and thanks was given to the nurse. 

I thought that a CD player was going to be brought in, and some classical music would be played. I had no idea what I was about to experience.

A soft spoken young man with long hair entered the room and introduced himself to all of us. He asked if he could explain what was going to take place.

This is the music thanatologist in the
hospital hallway preparing for the session
He explained he would be playing a small harp and that the music would be improvised and modified to the immediate needs of the patient. He sat next to the bed and observed the breaths being taken in and out, and slowly he reached into his pocket without making a sound and remove a pocket watch and timed the breaths.

He reentered the room quietly with his harp, and the music vigil began with soft cords filling the room. The two adult children and I were sitting on chairs while my friend sat on the bed holding her husbands hand.

The thanatologist watched the breathing of M all the time he was playing, adjusting the pitch and the sound level many, many times. 

My friend whispered to her husband during the music vigil, tears fell freely from all of us. Body language changed during the music vigil, the children got up from the chairs and stood around the bed caressing their fathers arm and hand. My friend laid down next to her husband and caressed his face and continued to whisper in his ear. 

The room was filled with peace and love for her husband, their father and my friend. I felt guilty for imposing on this family unit while this beautiful music was being played for the their dying husband and father, but also I felt privileged that the family ask me to stay for this music vigil.

The music vigil lasted a little longer than thirty minutes, and as quietly as he entered the room he exited the same way.

I left the room at the same time giving the family some privacy and spoke with the thanatologist.

I asked him to explain his work to me.

A music vigil can take place at any time during hospice care but is particularly beneficial during critical times such as days immediately prior to death. The purpose of a music vigil to to provide comfort and support both to the person who is dying and to the loved ones.

Creating a supportive musical field can be helpful to ease anxiety and make it easier for the patient to find peace.

This was a beautiful experience as I watched my friend lying in the bed I said prayers, remembered all the good times we shared together, and said my good bye. 

Some of you might think that this post is not appropriate, and you would be exactly correct; however, my friend knows that I  blog and asked me to write down my experience during this event so that she could read this and remember this beautiful event. 

In the hush of the early morning M quietly went to his heavenly home. Rest in Peace 

January 23, 2013

Let's Look Inside a 1935 Grocery Store

A friend let me sift through a box of her vintage photos sent to her by a relative in California, and I was fascinated with these grocery store shots.

What I wouldn't give to have some of these items, the beautifully illustrated signs, the display tables and showcases. *sigh* Such vintage loveliness. See anything you would like to have?

January 22, 2013

Fun Family Game ~ Fibber

Last evening my oldest daughter and her family came over for supper, and while the chocolate chip cookies baked in the oven we played a game that my grandson received for Christmas called Fibber by the Spin Master Company.
I started laughing and having fun the moment the lid was removed from the box. Inside the box are four pairs of the silliest glasses, cards, noses, and a game board. This is a fun and easy bluffing game that even my five year old granddaughter can play.

Manufacture description on how the game is played.

In Fibber, it’s not what you play; it’s what you say. Simply play cards in order and say what you’re playing. If you don’t have the next card, fib – but don’t get caught, or you’ll earn a nosepiece and your nose will “grow.” When there are no more noses left, the player with the shortest nose wins.

Stretch the Truth and Your Nose May Grow!
It’s imaginative play that makes Fibber so fun! Kids love to catch other players when they play the wrong card and have to put on a nosepiece. As their nose gets longer, the laughter gets louder! Kids have fun as they say and play their character cards. Parents can expect to hear things like “I saw a Witch!” “I saw two Dragons!” “ I saw three Ghosts!” as kids engage in this hilarious bluffing game.

How to Play
Fibber is all about what you say and not what you play! Play cards in their order and say what you're playing. Don't have the right card? Time to put on your best poker face and try to fool everyone by playing a different card. But watch out! If you don't get away with it, you’ll have to place a nosepiece on your glasses that will continue to grow each time you’re caught! If wrongfully accused, the player who said you were fibbing has to put on a nosepiece of his or her own. It’s fun for the whole table as you watch your noses grow! Person with the SHORTEST nose wins!

Hilarious Eyeglasses
Fibber comes with 4 oversized eyeglasses for each player to wear! As the nosepieces are added to the glasses, kids have a hard time keeping a straight face. Fibber brings silliness to a whole new level as the noses continue to grow!

I was not victorious in the two games that we played, but I enjoyed playing the game with my grandchildren. 

In December of 2011, I wrote about the game Spot It, also manufactured by Spin Master. You can read that blog post by clicking here.

Looking for a Valentine gift? Perhaps your children or grandchildren would enjoy one of these games made by the Spin Master Company.

Need a good giggle? Put on the Fibber glasses and have some fun!
I had so much fun playing this game with the grandchildren!

I have not been compensated by the makers of this game, the opinions are my own.

January 21, 2013

Stamps Have Pretty Pictures

Rectangles and squares of colors floated in our bathroom sink while a pair of tweezers placed on the sink waited for the glue to be released from the torn corner of the envelopes so that the stamp could be removed.

I would stand by the sink watching all the muted colors and images swirl around and around as my hand gently moved the water back and forth, thinking the motion made the glue dissolve faster.

As the glue dissolved I would take the tweezers and cautiously grab the corner of the stamp pulling the stamp off of the envelope corner, and placing the stamp face down on the edge of our porcelain sink to dry.

Perhaps this started my love of ephemera. I recently found two small stamp books that my father gave me when I was young to store my stamps inside.

I believe I was around seven years old when my father
gave me these two  booklets to store my stamps in.

Each of these stamps helped carry a message to someone, a bill, an announcement, a friendly letter, or perhaps unfortunate news. No matter what was inside the envelope, because of these beautiful stamps the letter arrived.

This phase of stamp collecting didn't last long in my young life, but I am so grateful that my father gave me the opportunity to try.

Finding these two stamp booklets brought back sweet memories, and has given me the idea to introduce  stamp collecting to my grandchildren.

What were some of the things you collected as a child that you still have today, I'd love to hear about your collections.

January 18, 2013

Today ...

Heavy is my heart today, this evening I will attend a memorial service for my oldest daughters childhood friend, she was thirty eight years old.

Her family lived four houses down from us, the sidewalk was well traveled by both my daughter and her friend from the day we moved in until my daughter went off to college.  When my daughter was married her friend was by her side as a bridesmaid. 

Memories are a gift, they have the ability to help us grow to bond us together and to encourage us in difficult times.  

During this difficult time, I am so grateful that my heart is filled with beautiful memories of this sweet girl. 

My love, friendship, and prayers, go out to her family. RIP Lori Ann.

January 16, 2013

Vintage Traveling Pony Photographs

A large box of photos was sent to my friend from a family member, thinking perhaps she would become the keeper of the families years of pictures.  They were wrong, she removed several photos  and will send the box of photos on to the next relative.  

Knowing how much I enjoy vintage photos she allowed me to sift through the box of photos before it was sent on.  

My mother told me stories about  traveling photographers who led a pony or a donkey through the streets seeking mothers who wanted their child's picture taken for a small fee. The photographer would provide cowboy paraphernalia for the photo. A very patient pony stood still while the photographer hoisted the child onto the saddle of the pony. The photos would be deliver after a few days.

Is this adult lady sitting on a donkey?
This pretty pony hasa very pretty bridle.
This is one fancy pony.

What would happen if a traveling photographer followed by a pony showed up in neighborhoods in this day and age?  

I was born in the 1950's, and the pony photographer didn't come around anymore, I think I feel cheated!


January 15, 2013

A wonderful line from The Andy Griffith Show.
As Opie is leaving for school, Andy reminds him to . . .
If I was a DIY person, I would make this into 
a sign and hang it in my hallway.

January 14, 2013

I Bought This Because . . .

There is nothing like a notice from the city about sump pump inspections to get people motivated to clean up their basements, and that includes me.

On Sunday, I ventured down into my basement to assess the situation. I need to organize, sort, and reevaluate my philosophy on thrift shopping.

I am a lover of vintage items and seem to gravitate towards unwanted, unloved items, many of which I purchase, and the item finds a home in my basement.

Case in point these three items, I am still scratching my head over these items.

A mans beaver hat, a French magazine, and a book written in Japanese.

When I saw the square white box in the basement I remembered buying the hat. My husband has been gone for fourteen years, and my son certainly would not wear this hat, why did I buy it?

Was I enamoured with the feathers tucked inside the braid around the hat?
Or perhaps this pin that adorned the hat.
I do remember that the hat was half price at a Sunday estate sale, cost for this hat $2.50. 
Usefulness zero!

My love for ephemera is evident in my house, from children's books to vintage paper goods. I usually use the vintage paper goods, I enjoy writing in a vintage notebook on vintage paper, I read the books and enjoy the vintage illustration in the children's books. However, I am scratching my head over these two books/magazines.

I have no idea what kind of book this is.
Nor do I know how to read Japanese. 
Perhaps I was fascinated by the graphics, the
only thing I could understand inside this book!

This magazine I could come up with a reasonable explanation for its purchase.

A magazine written in French, I haven't a
clue how to read or speak French.
I must have liked the photos inside the magazine.
This isn't my decorating style.
Very pretty dinning area, but where is this place.

As I go about straightening up the basement I'm sure I will find more treasures that I have purchased, but this process has gotten me thinking about my thrift shopping purchases and how I will shop going forward. 


January 13, 2013

I Looked for the Silver Lining~Found Family & Friends

The nasty influenza has run its course and I am on the road to becoming healthy.  Thank you for your get well wishes and your blog friendships.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

I can't remember when the last time I was ill for over seven days, perhaps when I was a child, but this is the first time as an adult. Between sleeping, coughing, taking medicine, and moaning, I tried to read a book. 

I had heard about this book from Susan a fellow Wisconsin blogger, she writes the fabulous blog Upscale Downhome and also has a facebook page. Her blog is filled with delightful decorating ideas. 
"I believe in creating a home with upscale style on a downhome budget."

I am reading, 
Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by Maureen Stanton, 
published June 9, 2011.

While I still haven't finished reading the book, what I have read has opened my eyes to new terminology, other publication, and general knowledge about items I knew nothing about. 

This book is not a guide but a look into a mans life that loves antiques and tries to make a living to support  his family by selling his antiques at different venues such as Brimfields. 

The song, Look for the Silver Lining, 
popped into my head while I was ill.

Look for the silver lining
When e'er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember somewhere the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you.
A heart full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife.
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life.

I was touch by my lovely children, they took the time out of their busy lives to make sure I was doing okay and running around doing my errands for me, friends who popped over with comfort food, delicious chicken soup, and cheesy rice with broccoli, and phone calls, from so many people to see if I needed anything. I am blessed.


January 7, 2013

Life Happens, but I'm Still Cheerful

Dear Sweet Blog Friends,

Please forgive my lack of blog post these past few weeks, while you all are very important to me and I miss you all dearly, there has been some unexpected events that have occurred and health issues.

This little fellow was diagnosed with influenza, and after a day of babysitting I found out that he likes to share.

So this is now my new best friend...

This question keeps swirling in my mind... why didn't you get a flu shot?  As soon as this nasty bug has run its course I will be back.

Thanks to all my blog friends who have emailed me to see where I was, and a big welcome to my new followers.


January 1, 2013

Would You Do A Polar Bear Plunge?

This morning just over one hundred brave people started their new year off by jumping into Lake Michigan, known to us in Kenosha as the Polar Bears Plunge.

Every year on January 2nd I see the photos and read the article about the people who participate in this event, but this year I decided to take a drive down to the lake and witness this event for myself.

I was astonished at the number of people down by the lake, not just participants but spectators. 

The water was 34 degrees, outside temperature was around 14 degrees with a wind chill factor of zero, burr.

Whatever the reasons for jumping into the icy water they all seemed to enjoy the plunge. 

I was surprised to see so many participants
and spectators as I approached the lake front.
Everyone who was going to participate in the plunge stood
in a roped off area waiting for the signal to enter the water.
Local divers entered the water to first to provide assistance if needed.
And they're off.
This photo was taken by:BY SEAN KRAJACIC 
From start to finish the plunge lasted less than 45 seconds.
In ...
and out.
Here is the age old question?
What's under the kilt?
Family and friends rush forward to congratulate
their loved ones with towels and blankets. 
The party atmosphere was fun, but short lived.
It was cold out there!
This activity was fun to watch however I don't believe I will participate. Would you?

Szczesliwego Nowego Roku

(sh-tsh-"en"-shly-veh-go noh-veh-goh Roh-koo)

Polish for 
Happy New Year