"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Living with Regrets

For years, I've wanted to visit Dane and Candy during Christmas, so I could experience one of their famous horse-drawn sleigh rides. They always did it up right. Dane outfitted the team with sleigh bells while Candy made sure you were bundled up in warm quilts.  When you returned to their old farmhouse, you were greeted with homemade cookies and hot cocoa.

Now that Dane is gone, so is my dream.  It wasn't just about the horse-drawn sleigh ride, but the whole experience with Dane and Candy. It was about making more memories for our kids so they could look back and say, "Remember the time at Uncle Dane and Aunt Candy's when...."  

Remember, when you look back on your life, it's not the things you did that you most regret, it's the things you didn't do.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our Loss is Heaven's Gain

I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom, for me and you 

And I think to myself
What a wonderful World 

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, dark sacred night 

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces of people going by 

I see friends shaking hands, sayin' "How do you do?" 

They're really sayin', "I love you." 

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow.

They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know

And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world

Yeah, I think to myself,
What a wonderful world

Good-bye Dane.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vintage Game Night

So, in trying to save money in this economy, it dawned on me that the kids were now old enough to learn how to play some vintage games I had stashed away. 

We started out with the game, "Booby Trap."  Do you remember this game?  I had completely forgotten about it until I saw it in a thrift store. 

After a few rounds, we took a break by making some home-made pizza, I had made the dough the night before so it was quick and easy.  Think we went a little heavy on the cheese?

Thanks to my friend Ruth, I learned how to make a chocolate cake from scratch the night before.  Having home-made pizza and cake totally complemented the vintage theme.

Next, it was time to teach the kids "Parchessi".  This was one of my favorites growing up; but, I forgot how to play and needed to reread the directions.  We tweaked the rules a bit so it wouldn't be as long. 

Nic grew bored so it was Mary against Mommy.  I have her blocked here!!  In the long run it didn't matter.  She beat me.  The little shit.

 After a couple hours, Mommy was pooped.  Time for a movie with a big bowl of popcorn.

Three Fridays in a row, we've continued the tradition, changing it up each time.  Last week, we went to a park for 2 hours and came home and played a couple games of Uno.   The week before, Ted had a bonfire going outside.  Simple, fun, and inexpensive.  Necessity is the mother of invention!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Primitive Noah's Ark is Finished!

Just finished her today!   My vision of this ark was primitive, rustic, and time-worn. 

I hammered in some branch pegs and wrapped jute around them to make a fence.  The ladder is just a small branch broken apart and glued together. 

The entire ark is 27" x 8" x 13".   Ted, my hero, drilled the portholes for me.  Four in the front and four in the back. 

The doors actually open. The hinges are made from real leather that I cut off a 1950 rocking chair!

Nic and Mary already broke out their plastic animals before I even finished. 

I figured they'd be happy using their toys, but both said they wanted me to carve them animals for the ark.  How could I say no? 

Mary's also asking me to add wheels.  Good idea.  I'll have to see about that.  In the meantime, I've got lots of four-legged creatures to carve!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1883 Scrapbook Images

Want to see a turn-of-the-century scrapbook?

I visited my 91-year-old friend, Ruthie today.  This was her father's scrapbook, she believes made by his mother, back in the late 1800s.

I asked Ruth if she minded if I took some pictures to share; she didn't mind at all and actually seemed to get a kick out of how much something so simple excited me.

I didn't have a scanner, but the photos came out ok.  You can use them however you wish.

Whoever cut these out had a way with scissors!  We tried to see if they were stickers, but they appeared to be hand-cut.

Ruth had no idea where they would have gotten these pictures.  I figured from catalogs or greeting cards. They had greeting cards back then didn't they?

I don't know why some pictures rotated because they're not like this in my file. Sorry!

As a hunter, my Uncle Dane would probably like this picture!

Listening to Ruth talk about how things used to be made me want to go back in time.  Things were harder in a lot of ways, but much simpler in others. 

Ruth and I worked together at a school, until she decided to retire in her 80s!  She's sharp as a tack and has a quick wit.  Up until her health started failing, you could find her restoring huge pieces of furniture and tarring her own driveway! 
She's just how I want to be when I reach that age.  Shoot, she's just how I'd like to be now!

I got to bring some of her famous home-made chocolate cake home for the kids and Ted.  It's like eating fudge, cake, and brownies in one shot. 

Thanks Ruthie!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Work In Progress

What do you suppose this is going to be?

I'll give you a hint: He brought them two by two.

After thinking about making Noah's Ark for the past nine years, I decided to bite the bullet and jump right in.  And jump right in I did!
There are no plans.  No measuring.  No directions or patterns.  Just tons of inspiration and ideas pouring out of my fat little head.

When it comes to woodcarving, I lean heavily towards the rustic, primitive, folk-art style.  I don't want it to look mass-produced or perfect.  The imperfections are what give it that old-fashioned, hand-crafted feel I adore.

My goal is to make as much of this as possible with materials we already have at home.  It's what the poor and thrifty folk would have done 100 years ago.  So far, all I've spent money on is wood glue (a necessity for this project).   

Maybe that's what draws me to folk-art.  I imagine fathers hand-crafting wooden toys for their children out of spare lumber and mothers making quilts from old clothes.  They used what they had and made do.  

The upper room is a wooden cigar box that I cut doors into.  The top will be able to lift off to store all the animals and people.  It's still a work-in-progress as I try to decide how I want the top to look.  And then of course, are the many many animals to carve.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hand-Made Noah's Ark Pull-Toy

When I first started this blog two years ago, it was supposed to be a place where I showcased my folk art.  Since then, it's taken on a life of its own!   We all eventually return to our roots however, and this Prodigal Daughter is no exception.

 It's amazing how inspiration can hit when you least expect it.  One of my dreams is to make a big ol' Noah's Ark and carve all the animals.  While searching the internet for ideas, I found a vintage Ark pull toy.

It was really cute, but for $89.00, it wasn't meant to be.  Wait a minute.  Hold the boat (no pun intended!)  I'll just make one of my own.

Using my bandsaw, I cut out the shape of the ark and then set out in search of cute animal images.  I was very particular about the kinds of animals I wanted and finally found them in two old Rand McNally Noah's Ark books. Look at the two piggies caught on a log in the water! 

The other side of the ark holds completely different sets of animals, including a whale.  After decoupaging them on, I needed to try and make a roof.

Rummaging through my kids' blocks, I found this piece with three arches.  Although I didn't plan on making another level, I knew it'd go perfect with the boat.  I made the roof from two other pieces of wood, added the wheels and a pull string.  Yes, it moves!

Next, it was distressed by painting Burnt Umber over it and then sanding all the corners.  I'm pretty sure the ark would not have been pristine!

I just finished it this morning and am happy with the results.  My hands are crying out for more folk art.  I may need to carve a Santa next....or maybe a Noah. 

I've been making it a priority to spend time in my art room again.  Too much time away makes me grumpers.