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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Play things for Playing House Letter B

Gathering Play Things while Playing House – continues with the letter “B.”  My favorite letter of the alphabet next to “T.”  LOL…

I remember my first crush on blue and white items.  My grandmother  (Granny) had a Blue Willow tea cup and saucer sitting above her sink in her apartment kitchen.   I have very fond memories of visiting her and arriving to the smell of her “tea cake” cookies baking.  Oh my oh my!  

Blue and white items slowly entered my life.  I never thought of it as a collection, but obviously I am drawn to it.  I’ve had many everyday dish sets over our married life.  I finally received the Blue Willow dishes for everyday use.  Even now, having moved on to Fiestaware’s plain white dishes, I can’t let go of my blue and white set.  In our new home, my collection settled into a cupboard in our guest room. 

Another “B” collection, that “arrived” lately, is my gathering of Bibles, previously owned by other family members.  When downsizing (or sadly emptying) a grandparent or parent's home you run across Bibles from shelves or cupboards.  You’ll set them aside.  What to do with them?  Their end should not be at half-price stores, or donations to agencies, and even to the church.  They belonged to a family member; it’s hard to let go.  That family member carried the Bible, held it in their lap, marked favorite verses, maybe shed a tear on a page.  So, I don’t let go.  I have one belonging to my husband's maternal great-grandmother.  I have those of parents, grandparents, my children, and even those of my youth.  I suppose I am still gathering as my husband gave me a “study Bible” a few years back while I was in the throes of several Bible study classes.  It’s the best one for me now for reference and reading.  

Before, there was the family Bible, bottom one.  It was a wealth of information for the paternal side of the family.

Found this printed ribbon tucked into the great grandmother's Bible.

Looking forward to the Letter C ---


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Play-things for Playing House, Letter A

As you may remember, my sister and I played house outside.  We'd stake out our ground next the the garage under the pecan tree, laying out where the pretend walls would be, where the pretend front door would be, etc.  We'd then start gathering play things to go into the play house.  Fast forward, I'm still gathering, to the amazement of my husband who says this is supposed to be the "down sizing phase" of our lives! 

My sister asked me to do a post about one of my collections, and I've been pondering how to show my collections, furnishings, what-nots, home, etc. via a post.  I do plan to have photos of my rooms under a "Home Tour" page, but that will have to wait until this summer after I semi-retire in early June.  In the meantime, I thought I could do short posts about the "play things" in my for-real house.  In order to have some continuity to this idea, I decided to post alphabetically.  Not sure what I'll have for Q, X, and Z, but maybe an object in my home will pop up.

Let's start with "A" for artwork in the front entry.  The posters are by Donna Howell-Sickles, and were purchased on various trips to Santa Fe.  Ms. Howell-Sickles was a 2007 Inductee into the Hall of Fame at the National Cowgirl Museum of Fort Worth.  When we moved into this home, we had the posters reframed and hung them together in our entry hall.  I still have 2 that are not hung; no wall space.  I love their happy smiles and the colors.  I wanted a guest to see these and feel happiness; very welcoming.  There are other pieces of cowboy artwork throughout the house although we don't consider our home "western" style or "ranch" decor. 

The pillow was a collaboration between a coworker and myself.  I had the t-shirt and idea to convert into a pillow.  She had the know-how to make the pillow with the fringe and buckle (left bottom corner).  I've enjoyed the t-shirt much longer since making it into a pillow.

I look forward to posting about my play things from A to Z.


Thursday, May 8, 2014


Happy Mother’s Day to those who have mothers with whom to celebrate and those who are mothers and grandmothers.   I have to admit that Mother’s Day always causes me to have an achy heart.  I miss my Mother; after 44 years, I miss my Mother.  I am being selfish.  I wished she could have known her children’s spouses, children, and grandchildren.  I wished she could have witnessed the good and the bad in our lives.  I wished she could have witnessed the joys of success in educational achievements.  I wished we could have spoiled her with gifts, affection, and love.  She was gone too soon, and I wish we could have known her more deeply.   Most definitely I wish she knew my sister and I had moved beyond pretending to play house in the backyard with beautiful homes today of our own.  They say, a daughter eventually becomes friends with her mother; I ache for that. 
Me, my Mother, and my sister, about 1950

3 generations - My mother's mother in the background, my Mother with me (L) and my sister (R)

The following is a letter I wrote to family and friends in May 2000.  I submitted it to Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine. It was too short for an essay, but parts of it were published in the ME newsletter.  Sadly, for ME fans, the magazine and newsletter are no longer published.


The color red always reminds me of my Mother.  Mother said your wallet should be red so you could always find it at the bottom of your handbag.  You were sure to get your wish, she said, if you could make a wish before a red bird on the ground took flight. 

Mother decorated with the color red.  The first bathroom in my memory was red, accented with some type of black and white wainscoting.  It was a tough bathroom to withstand the traffic of a family of six.  Perhaps it was red so as to discourage dawdling.  And perhaps, she felt safe painting a small room red whereas a larger room with red paint would be a greater risk.

When I was 7, our family purchased a red 1955 Chevrolet , bought a year after my brother was born and still owned when he was in high school.  I wonder if this red car made her feel young and sporty rather than 42 and a mother of 4?

I’ve never owned a red wallet.  My hand often lingers over a red one, but usually I buy a “safe” color.  I decorate my Christmas tree each year with red birds to represent the good luck they might bring.  I haven’t had a red bathroom or a red car yet.  I do find myself cutting out magazine photos of red bedrooms and red accented living rooms.  I do seem to have a passion for painting my toenails red.  I have red hair, now fading with age to an ordinary brown.  Consequently the word “red” has been on every document that I ever completed to describe me, thanks to a gene pool from my Mother and Father.  Red wallets, red birds, red cars, red rooms - all of these red objects remind me of my mother. 

Beyond her obviously liking the color red and using it, she was an attractive woman with black hair, who loved to dress well.  One of my earliest memories was of her in a red coat.  The sight of a red coat now triggers my thoughts of an early elementary room visit she made—time has erased the reason why.  All I remember was my being so in awe of her beauty as she sat with all the other mothers off to the side in rows in front of our lockers.  She outshone them all as she sat there in her red coat.  How glad I was to look over, when I was supposed to be paying attention, and see her there – for me.

To you - Happy Mother’s Day!  What color reminds you of your Mother?

Happy to add an addendum – I now have a red Sonata; I’ve had multiple red wallets; I have had a red handbag.  I am still trying to beat the red bird off the ground with my wishes.  No red rooms to report!  


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

June Wedding

Don’t you just love the idea of a “June Bride?”  My mother was a June bride; my mother-in-law was a June Bride; and NOW, my son will be a “June Groom.”  Pausing for effect….

Yes, my son is getting married in June.  The marriage has been a long----long----time in coming----12 years this August to be exact.   Several major events happened along the way.  Groom met his fiancé in the fall semester of his freshman year in chemistry class at Texas A & M. 

They both continued their studies at A&M, each achieving a bachelor’s and master’s.  He decided to pursue a doctor’s degree in Forestry staying on at A & M, and she moved to Starkville MS and Mississippi State to pursue her veterinarian degree and has two more years to go.  Aside from their studies, they loved A & M and its traditions and events, traveled, fished, improved the Groom’s home, and handled jobs--he as a data analyst and she as a vet tech.  Life was busy.

 Groom's Master's achieved; Bride's "Coating" ceremony for Vet School

This past fall the Groom’s parents and sister as well as the Bride’s parents, sister, and grandmother were in on a little secret.  There was finally going to be an official engagement.  The ring was purchased, the plan was laid out, secret emails were sent.  Mother Nature was not notified.  

Both sides of the family were to meet on the A & M campus so that the Groom, Bride, and their sisters could have photos taken for “Christmas presents” for their respective parents.  The December day was cold, blustery, rainy and not at all what one wants for walking around the A & M campus – first to the Student Center (closed for holidays), the Academic Building entrance, and f.i.n.a.l.l.y the Century Tree.  The Century Tree is known for being conducive to engagements (another Aggie tradition).  The tree is a very old oak with its limbs gracefully falling toward the ground.  One walks under its branches and finds a concrete bench – also conducive to the bride-to-be sitting. 

The Bride-to-be was not totally aware until we reached the tree that she was about to become "a fiance'".  Her loving patience had finally paid off!  She had been a trooper, walking in heels, without a jacket, shivering.  She had not worn her contacts and therefore once at the tree, did not notice her parents, grandmother, and sister congregated under a far limb.  The Groom quickly had her sit, pulled out the ring and said the usual, “will you marry me?”  It was a v.e.r.y happy moment and yes, it was a long time in coming.  Their parents were in the background so honored to witness the actual engagement.   Lots of photos were taken by the respective sisters, but not obviously for Christmas presents. When we all came out from under the tree, it was still cold, rainy and blustery, but now the atmosphere was charged with anticipation and excitement for the future.   

Here’s a love story whose telling in my post is dedicated the Bride & Groom as well as to Karianne of Thistlewood Farms blog   She loves a good love story.  She also provides project ideas that are doable.  The wreath of silver frames idea was copied from her blog and made by me for the wedding festivities, first for the rehearsal dinner and then the wedding.

For the family and friends who live in Texas, or who will travel to Texas, for a June wedding, pack your favorite fan.  NOOO, not the kind you plug in, the kind you hold!   It’s an outside wedding.   THIS time, Mother Nature has been notified—dial down the temperature a notch or two, no rain, a pleasant summer’s evening.  PLEASE!