Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Memories of Childhood

Aren't there just certain things that are "stand-out" memories from childhood? They are just so sweet that you long to experience them again, even if it's just for a little while. Some people remember a doll, some - a vacation, others - a visit to Grammie's, some fondly remember playing with a childhood friend or playing a certain game.

I have a couple memories that seem to torment me because they are elusive, I can't quite grasp them again. One is a doll. I'll tell you about that another time. So far, it does not have a happy ending. The other is a book. This one is well within my reach. I can almost taste it.

When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher, Sister Raphaella, read us a chapter a day from a story book. I loved that story so much, I would race back to her classroom for the story reading time. My little girlfriends and I would rhapsodize about it on our long walk home from school. It seemed so romantic - the stuff dreams are made of.

Several years ago I began, in earnest to search for this book. I knew the title but not the author. Because I'm such an estate sale and flea market junkie, I thought for sure I would run across it. I would see a wall of old books, not in any particular order (like at the library). The wall became daunting after a few minutes of reading dusty old titles, my neck bent over sideways to see the book spines. I'd give up after five or ten minutes.

I even tried, unsuccessfully, to contact the headquarters of this particular order of nuns that Sister Raphaella was a member of, thinking, perhaps they might have a copy of the book in their libraries.

So every time I go to an estate sale where there's books, I search. When I go to flea markets, same. Antique Malls, the same. Just recently on a "girlz day out" my friend and I went to a Christmas Bazaar, then to lunch and capped off a wonderful day at an Antique Mall. I began to search again. I told my friend the story. She also searched. Then she said to me........."have you checked Amazon?" I had not. It never occurred to me to try to find an old book on Amazon.

Of course, as soon as I got home I checked Amazon......................THEY HAD IT !!!!!!!! (sorry SueR-I hope it's not too early for those !!!!!)

Have a look.....

There's a glitch. There's 4 copies and the price starts at over $300.00 !!!!!!!

Here comes the happy ending.............I googled "borrow Uncle Frank's Mary" and several libraries appeared on my screen which owned a copy of the book. One of them was the Library of Congress. I emailed them. I was told they do not lend to ordinary citizens but only to other libraries.

I went to my local library, submitted a requisition, which will first go to the main library here and they will requisition it from whichever library has it available, starting with the closest (Library of Congress).

My librarian said I will have it in my hand within 3 weeks. I am so excited. I get to be 9 years old again ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recycled Christmas Cards

There are so many uses for those wonderful Christmas greetings you receive each year. It would be a good habit to just get a BIG box and save them because you never know what kind of an idea you'll imagine in the future.

In the past I have made gift tags with them and the best book marks ever. But yesterday, while doing my work-out walk in the mall, I passed by a furniture store window and something I saw in the window of a furniture store sparked this idea.

I am an inveterate estate saler and I buy things that tickle my fancy. I've had this ancient rusty old iron receipt piercer forever and never really thought of any good use for it. But now it is the base and tree trunk of a little Christmas Card tree.

I sat at my kitchen table with my stash of Christmas Cards from years past and cut out six pointed Stars of David. Then I jabbed them onto the receipt holder, curling the points a bit with the scissors, piling them up, making smaller and smaller stars.....until.............voila!!! a little Christmas Tree made from stars cut from old Christmas cards.

It needed a star on top. I rummaged through my jewels and found the perfect rhinestone star earring.

Here's a close up shot of some of the card stars.

At the moment I am thinking of some ways you could adapt this idea to fit the type of reusable goodies you have around the house. How about using a tiny clay pot for the base, sliding a knitting needle in the hole in the bottom. Then stacking your Christmas Card stars on the needle to fashion your very own tree. How about drilling a hole in an old children's alphabet block, perhaps glueing a pencil into hole and building your tree on that base? Let your imagination soar..............

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning to Knit and Crochet

This Fall I led a 6 week workshop at my church on learning to knit and crochet. There were a small number of "students" so there was lots of individual attention. The new knitters actually made a garment! That was quite an accomplishment. In one of the photos, you'll see a "hot off the press" pair of fingerless gloves crocheted and modeled by one of our "students". Another "student", learning to knit is knitting fingerless gloves. Another made a warm scarflette for her beloved pooch to keep him warm on his winter walks.

On our final class night, we each made a stitch counter. A stitch counter is a handy little gadget. This one can be attached right onto your knitting bag so you'll always know where it is.

For all you knitters out there who use post-it notes to keep track of which row you're on or how many stitches you've done - or worse yet - some of you mess up your beautiful pattern books with lots of tiny scribbles to track stitches and/or rows. This little stitch counter will solve all those messy situations.

The items you'll need on hand to create the stitch counter are:
1 - a 1" loose leaf binder ring
2 - 20 pony beads (I like to use 10 of one color and 10 of a complimenting color.
3 - 2 30" lengths of thin ribbon (thin enough to pass through the beads)
4 - optional - a charm or button to cover the knot on the end.

Method: Double each piece of ribbon and attach each one to the 1" ring with a hitch knot. You will then have 4 15" tails of ribbon hanging from the ring. Two from each piece of ribbon. Thread one color of beads to one of your sets of tails and thread the other color to the other 2 tails.

Thread each bead with a square knot (lay the bead down on the table with the opening on the sides - separate the 2 tails of one of your lengths of ribbon - put the tail on the right through the right side of the bead opening - put the left tail through the left side of the bead hole - pull tails all the way through. One bead is attached. Do the same with each bead of one color til all 10 are threaded down the length of ribbon. Always putting the ribbon length that is on the right, into the right side bead opening and the ribbon on the left into the left bead opening.

When all 10 beads are attached, do the other color the same way. When all 20 beads are strung onto the 2 lengths of doubled ribbon, leave a couple inches for slack so you can move the beads up and down the ribbon for counting purposes. You will tie a an overhand knot here but first thread on your charm or button if you're using one, then knot the 4 ends together under the charm. I leave a little of the tails, like a tassel. Cut off any excess. (see sample in the picture above)

And, voila !!! a handy little stitch counter. Happy knitting.

Our knitting class proved to be a lovely time getting to know each other and learning a new skill too.