Christmas Treasures

20131221-102950.jpgChristmas treasures.   We all have them.  You know, you open the box of ornaments, and there’s the one your mother gave you when you were a child.   Here are the ones made for us when the children were in elementary school.  We have quite a few Christmas treasures in our home.  Every year my husband and I laugh our heads off at the ornaments our sons made for us in 3k nursery school.  Glued in the middle of each ornament is a picture of our sons taken by their teacher.   Eric was very serious and stern in his picture, which is very funny because he was such a happy child.   Travis forgot to put on his lips for his picture, so he looks quite silly.  I must say at this point, Travis loves to make faces, even now, when his picture is taken.

I have a box of Christmas pins that I usually remember about a week before Christmas arrives.   In that box, are a few store bought pins, but the pins that I adore and put on the most are the ones my sons made for me.  One year we bought them fimo clay.  Well, they had a ball creating with this not so easy to use clay.  That year, I was gifted with the most beautiful Christmas pins which I still wear to this day.  Some of the clay has chipped off over the years, but I don’t care.  When I think of the excitement they felt when designing their gifts to me, it still fills my heart.  I can even remember receiving them.

Christmas time is a great time to reflect on all of our treasures.  To me the greatest treasures I have are held in my heart for those I love and cherish.  My memories of beautiful Christmases as a child of my parents and as a parent of my children are counted as blessings in my life.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas filled with treasures and love.

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Picture A Girl Of Beauty Rare (I’ll explain later)

Yesterday, I went out to lunch and consignment shopping with three of my oldest and dearest friends.  My fourth friend in this category was busy teaching Yoga.  We have been friends and managed to maintain this friendship for forty-five years.  I think this is pretty impressive.   If you demand to know what this has to do with quilts, I will tell you.  Each block of a quilt can be very different.  Such as, the colors, the shapes, the sizes and yet, once the quilt is assembled it’s quite beautiful.  To me, that’s the way our friendship is.

Michele, Karen and I met on the first day of orientation.  We were all Elementary Education majors.  Now, you have to imagine three very Italian looking girls, (even though I’m not Italian), marching off to the same classes every day.  We did draw a great deal of attention.  We had to take a Music Method class, which included  purchasing and learning how to play ukeleles.  We quickly became nick-named, the “Italian Mafia”  because our ukelele cases looked like machine gun holders.  This incident was only one of many.

Karen and I were kicked out of our Math Method class.  Our professor, Dr. Uncle, was certifiable.  I can tell you, she is probably in some psychiatric hospital with a cup of bingo chips talking to herself, “Put ten chips in the one’s column, then ten chips in the ten’s column, and next put ten chips in the hundred’s column.”  We had done nothing wrong, but we decided we would go to the store and buy some bingo chips, or whatever we had to use for our next class.  As we were leaving, Karen put her car in drive instead of reverse and we got stuck between two bumpers and couldn’t get out.  What else could go wrong?  I am actually hysterical writing this because it was so funny at the time.

Gussie joined our group very soon after we arrived.  She was accepted into the Master’s degree program for special education.  Gussie and I became fast friends.  We were the same size, so I got to wear some of her beautiful clothes.  She had and still does, this delicious southern accent.  Gussie has no idea what an influence she had on my life.  She was a Phi Mu from her previous college so suggested we start a chapter at FAU, which of course we did.  These times were some of my favorite in college.  Belonging to this sorority was a life altering experience for me.  The title of my post happens to come from a Phi Mu song.

Chris and Barbara entered our lives with their vivacious personalities.  They too, were Elementary Ed majors.   Barb lives in North Carolina now, but I know she would be right with us if she still lived in South Florida.  Chris is such an inspiration.  If I could think of one word to describe her, it would be “fun.”  Another word would be “theme parties.”  Actually, that’s two words.   She’s full of fun and joy.

In fact, getting back to our get together.   Chris is having a luau party for her granddaughter’s birthday this weekend.  While at one of the consignment shops, which was called “Vintage Fantasy” and should have been called “Hoarder’s Nightmare,”  she found a little pink flamingo dressed in a hula skirt, shelled bikini top, and lei.  It was a bargain and the perfect touch to her party, but unfortunately one wing was broken.  That didn’t stop Chris from buying it, then later sending me a picture of the broken wing covered with a little towel monogrammed with the letter “F” for “Flo the Flamingo.”

Voila!

It's an older picture, but the only one I could find with all of us in it.

It’s an older picture, but the only one I could find with all of us in it.

Friendship is a beautiful gift, and I have been gifted with my wonderful friends for all of these years, through good, bad and beautiful.

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My Mother

Hi. I haven’t been posting for quite a while. Mostly because Word Press causes me great frustration when trying to post my pictures. Since Mother’s Day is approaching I thought I’d add a post about the beautiful soul who was my mom. As I think back on our time together, she was pretty awesome. She took care of her four children and husband, cooking three meals a day, washing clothes, ironing, cleaning the house, and tending to our needs on a daily basis. I can count on one hand the times our family went out to dinner, other than our long drive to Pennsylvania to visit our family. Even then, my parents would stop at a grocery store, buy food, and we would have a picnic on the side of the road. In those days, picnic tables were placed as rest stops in many places.

When I was in first grade, I had to go to a private school, Palm Manor, here in Hollywood. At that time, our neighborhood school was being built, and the public school I would have to attend was not suitable for a “nice little girl” like me. At the end of the year, Palm Manor would have a large event at the Hollywood Beach Hotel. All the students would attend along with their parents. We were all suited up with “dates” that the teacher hand picked. It was a formal event. My mother had to make my dress. You can see the time and effort she lovingly put into her one and only creation for me. I can still remember feeling like a princess.

Now on to my date. His name is Reed Miller. Yes, folks, I can still remember his name. I think the teacher must have had a real sick sense of humor, because if you look at both of our ears you’ll see why. I often think, “Did Reed ever grow into his ears?” I definitely did not and had them fixed about thirty years ago. Even though, I think we were a dashing couple. By the way, all the first graders had to learn the Mexican Hat Dance and perform at the event. You can only imagine. The parents must have been laughing their heads off.

I have an eternal amount of appreciation for my mother. She was always there for me throughout her life. You may think I’m crazy, but I still can feel her with me every day. Now that’s love.

 

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My Guilty Pleasure

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Many of us have guilty pleasures.   For some, it’s the chocolate they hide way in the back of the cabinet.  For others, it’s dancing around the house when no one is at home.  My guilty pleasure is watching British period pieces.   For example, I’ve probably watched “Pride and Prejudice,”  “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Emma” so many times, I’m embarrassed to say.  Last year I discovered “Downton Abbey” which takes place at the turn of the twentieth century.   I really love it.  Sometimes my husband will come home from work and catch me, yet again, watching one of my period pieces.   He says he thinks I lived during that time in another life.

A common thread in these films is the handwork that the women do.  For example, whatever they’re up to, if a caller comes they all sit down and pull out their embroidery hoops.  As if that’s all they did all day long.  For them, embroidery was a beautiful art, that when finished, decorated their homes.   How lovely, and I love to embroider.

In one of my previous posts, I showed you a crazy quilt block I was working on.   I have finished my four blocks and decided to make them into a pillow.  I think the outcome is very nice, and I am actually considering I might enter it into the quilt show coming up in March.   I’ll let you know if I do.  Who knows, maybe I’ll win a prize.

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I Have Resolutions

As every year turns over a new leaf, it somehow brings to mind all of the changes we need to make in our lives. Resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, learn a new language fill heads. I haven’t made a resolution in years. I tend to be a slacker when it comes to making changes in my life. This year, however, I did make a few resolutions. I decided I need to get out there and pound the pavement. I am one of those women who hate to do anything alone, but I must get out there and walk. So, yesterday I started my walking regimen. I really didn’t mind being alone. It actually allowed me to listen to the sounds of my neighborhood. Lovely!

I have also decided to look for a volunteer project. Most of my adult life I have volunteered. When my children were in school, I volunteered in their classes. Being a former teacher was a bonus for their teachers. I volunteered to chaperone on field trips, volunteered to work in the school library, and I volunteered in the cafeteria. When they went away to college, I became a student mentor for the Broward County school system. I haven’t volunteered for several years, but now I would like to get back into helping my community.

I’ve decided to take a short break from quilting. I think everyone should take a “vacation” from something they love doing, otherwise it becomes a drudge. I am, however, working on the crazy quilt blocks I made. I love the embroidery and embellishments. It allows me to be creative, and I can’t help but think about the women of the Victorian era who designed these magnificent works of art. Maybe I was one in another life.

Whatever your resolutions are, I wish you the best of luck in achieving them. Happy New Year.

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Gifts From The Heart

My family has a way of finding the best Christmas presents from the heart.   This year was no exception.  My husband shopped for presents for me and surprised me with some beautiful tops.  Many husbands don’t even try to go into the women’s department of a store to search for clothing for their wives.  I’m proud of my husband for braving the mass of clothing in our Macys.

My sons and daughter-in-law are always thinking of the special gifts for us.   This year was one of the best.  Eric and Travis went to Micanopy, where “Doc Hollywood” was filmed.  The town is very old and quaint and has a slew of antique stores to peruse.  They found a beautiful cameo for me, knowing I love them.  The owner of the shop actually kissed it goodbye and said, “You’ll have a good home.”  Eric took the time to think of songs which brought back memories of each of us.  Mine were the songs I sang to his brother and him when they were little.  He wrote a lovely list of these songs and explained their meaning, then he made a CD of the songs for me to listen to.  Mine were songs like “Me And My Shadow,”  “Down By The Old Mill Stream,” and “Mares Eat Oats . . .”

Travis found a beautiful music box.  The company allowed the purchaser to record whatever music they wanted the box to play.   The song Travis chose for mine is one of my most favorite songs.  It’s actually a song he wrote for one of their albums, entitled “Learning By Musical Montage.”  The song has the same title.  Tears, tears and more tears came to my eyes as I received each of these beautiful gifts.

My lovely daughter-in-law, Stacie, wrote me a touching note for my birthday, which is the day after Christmas and gave me a book a friend of hers wrote.  She has a copy too.   We’ll both read the book and discuss what it meant to us.

Of all the gifts we receive for Christmas, the ones that mean the most are gifts from the heart.   I hope you received a few of those too and had a very Merry Christmas.

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Christmas Memories

This past Wednesday, I went out to lunch with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Gussie is one of those people who is truly interested in other people’s lives. She always asks me about my children, my husband and my siblings. People don’t do that too much these days. Anyway, she asked about the Christmas traditions I had when I was a child. I remembered how exciting Christmas time was at our home. Like many families, we decorated the house, the tree, shopped for gifts, and had a beautiful Christmas dinner. These memories are precious to me.

I also have many poignant memories. You know the kind. They’re way down inside. A smell, a song, a sound can bring them back as if you were still in that moment. On Christmas eve, my parents would sit at our dining room table making delectable desserts. Ones we had only once a year, at Christmas. I remember the smells of rose water, ground walnuts, and sugar, plenty of sugar; enough to make one comatose. I remember how they used to talk and talk. Their voices were muffled as I lay in my bed listening, but I felt in their tone the love they had for each other and for us. I feel that same love for my own family when I make their favorite cookies and foods.

A more current memory for me was the wonderful gift I received from my children last year; my iPad. My birthday is the day after Christmas and for my gift, they created my quilting blog, title and all. I have really enjoyed writing my posts. They have been a wonderful creative outlet for me. Even though I don’t have a great readership, mostly due to my inability to tag, I am very thankful to those of you who do read my posts and share your comments. It’s a blessing to me.

Have a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

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