Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cure for the "January Thaw"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy warm weather and rainy days... in their proper season.

Being a winter baby, born in February, I love snow! Seeing bare brown ground outside my window the past several days has made me feel blue. But just a little while ago, I was looking through old family photos and came across something that turned my frown upside down.

Isn't this just the cutest winter time photo?

This is my Grandma Jane and my mom, probably early in 1945. I believe my grandfather was still in Germany at that point. He was a Staff Sergeant in the army during WWII. This photo was likely one that she sent to him while he was away... a memento of home and a reminder of who was waiting for him there.

Grandma Jane and Mom look as if they had fun that day on the sled in the snow on my great-grandfather's farm...

C'mon now, admit it - you smiled too, didn't you ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You're the next contestant...

Oh my stars! I've been tagged by MaryDeluxe at Welcome to Deluxeville! I guess the general idea is to post a pic that is representative of one's real self. There may be something better among my photos, but I think this one pretty much covers it...

In the kitchen, with a dry gin martini in one hand, vintage cookbook in the other, bandanna on my head, my favorite pooch nearby, and my dearest taking photos when I'm not paying attention. Yeah, that covers it ;)

Okay then....

You're the next contestant:

Kim at The Girl Can't Help It
Emily at Livin' Vintage
Lisa at Our Vintage Life
Marie at LemondropVintage
Kristen at This Homemade Life

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sophisticated Cats...

I've had this nifty set of three kitty cat plaques for 10 years:

They were my Grandma Elverna's, and I'm thrilled that they made their way to my wall. My Grandma Elverna and Grandpa Bud built their house in the mid-1950s, in a brand new housing development near a small city. They furnished their house with "blonde" Heywood Wakefield. They liked modern things...

A couple months ago, I bought several vintage catalogs from an antique shop not far from my home. Mostly Sears Roebuck, but one was a Montgomery Ward catalog from 1963. Imagine my surprise when my dearest, while perusing our latest acquisitions, came across this:

There on page 1112 of the Fall/Winter 1963 Montgomery Ward catalog were my Grandma Elverna's kitty cats!

According to the description, these are "Sophisticated Cats" (obviously!) which will "enhance the modern decor
" (but, of course). Well now, I'm sure you can see why my grandmother wanted them.

Occasionally, I come across one of my own vintage dresses in old catalogs, but, somehow, this discovery meant a lot more to me. I can just imagine my Grandma Elverna browsing through the Montgomery Ward catalog, delightedly coming across the cats, and deciding that they were worth the $8.99 price tag. She would have filled out and mailed the order form in the back of the an envelope... with a stamp... and, most likely, actual cash enclosed. Things have changed, haven't they?

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Getting Sentimental...

Well, the decorations are (mostly) packed away, the cookies are eaten (or, rather, the leftovers are in the freezer), and the colorful lights have stopped blinking (we turned off the outdoor timer), but I just wanted to share a few of the gifts I received from my parents for Christmas in 2009.

As a child, I always helped my mother make the holiday cookies. My usual job was to decorate the cut-out cookies with colored sugar. And those tiny silver balls that had real silver in them and weren't supposed to be eaten. Do you remember nearly breaking teeth eating them anyway? I most certainly do, although thankfully I never sustained any dental damage. Getting back to the topic at hand... My mother has a quite a collection of cookie cutters in a giant popcorn tin, and from this vast collection, she picked out the older ones, wrapped them up, and gave them to me for Christmas. There are a Santa, reindeer, star, and angel in red plastic, and a metal heart and hatchet, both with red wooden handles. Now, I can't wait for a good reason to bake more cookies!

I also received two boxes of vintage Shiny Brite ornaments that have been around longer than me - and I've been around for quite a long time. How well I remember placing these ornaments just so on the fresh-cut Christmas tree. We always got a blue spruce. My favorite ornaments were two that had reflectors and one with a hand painted pinecone on it. Oh, and the hand painted snowman ornament was a favorite too. The fragrance of the tree, Christmas music on the record player, the sparkle of tinsel.... just to see these boxes of ornaments brings it all back to me most vividly.

The most sentimental gift for me, though, was the baby quilt that my mother and grandmother made back in 1965. My grandmother did the quilting and my mother embroidered the little pink bunnies and yellow duckies. Before giving the quilt to me for Christmas, my mom gave it a gentle cleaning and added a label with my name, hers and my grandmother's names as the makers, and the year they made it. This quilt is something I will treasure always.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for all the wonderful holidays we've shared!

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder