Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spreading the Love~ Experiences

I have the best neighbor in the world! She has 4 boys! I can't even imagine the energy she would need to have, to do all she does! The other day this amazing woman stopped by my house and asked if my 3 year old could come over for a playdate. . . I have never done a playdate where my kid went to someone else's house to play while I stayed home. . . It was heavenly!

Well I had 2 free hours, so my baby sister and I watched The Notebook while I tatted this beaded heart

(This is the Peacock Heart with beads added to each of the picots. I dropped a couple picots because I thought with the beads it would look too bulky)(I realize there are stains on the heart, note: tatting and tea don't mix. I guess I had to learn the hard way, why Grandma always kept her yarn wrapped in a clean dishtowel while she worked on a project. To keep it clean!)

As we were watching The Notebook I felt it necessary to explain to my sister that when elderly people get dementia, the nurses don't actually keep their family from them. . . And the families DO NOT introduce themselves as other people. (The one problem I have with this movie!)

I think the most tear-jerking part of this movie is when she finally remembers that he is her husband. . . then they have those few minutes together. . . Then she doesn't recognize him and starts screaming for help. It makes me cry every time I see it. This time I couldn't help but think of something that happened just the other day. . .

Right now I work in an Adult Family Home and I care for 4 women who all have dementia. One woman has Alzheimer's, and her care is difficult. Her husband comes to see her often, but has a really hard time seeing what she is going through, and dealing with her inability to remember him and the life they shared.

The other day while he was visiting, he asked her what her name was. She responded with her correct first name and her maiden name. He came to where I was working and told me about this. His eyes were filled with tears as he said "She doesn't remember her married name."

While I care for his wife, she talks to him and about him constantly. Often saying "I love you, Johnnie" So I know she remembers him.

I was tatting this heart while I watched the movie and thought of this. I decided that instead of giving this heart to a stranger I would give this to him. Because I wanted to remind him that even though his wife doesn't remember her name, she does Love him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Beautiful Lily

I went out to throw some hot dogs on the grill for lunch today and found, to my amazement, that my beautiful Lilies are finally in bloom! I just had to share a picture with you.

and now I am off to Joann's. . . they are having a sale on beads and I wanted to try my hand at adding beads to my tatting. There is an awesome tutorial on how to do that on Lady Shuttle Maker's site!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birdie's Lesson Part Two

When I was first married I gave up my job working with kids and moved to the Seattle area, where my husband worked. I decided to go back to school and back to caregiving. I found a job caring for an adorable elderly couple, Elmer and Birdie.

They were the couple that romantics dream of becoming. The couple that poets and songwriters picture for inspiration. The couple that grew old together.

The couple that sat on the front porch on their rocking chairs, sipping lemonade and watching their children and grandchildren running and playing in the yard. They were the couple who lived and loved through hard times and good times. The couple who’s love for one another would go on living longer than they would.

(Birdie loved Hydrangea's! Elmer had given her one when they first moved into their home. She had dried Hydrangea blossoms in every room in her house. Whenever I look at mine, I think of Birdie.)

Elmer and Birdie's story

It was 1939. Birdie and her girlfriends were excited to go out on the town. They got dressed up in their best dancing dresses. Birdie wore a blue dress that showed the soft silhouette of her body beautifully. Her dark hair was short and pinned into soft finger waves. They had gone to a Jazz club in downtown Seattle. Birdie was dancing, and talking with her friends.When Elmer saw her, he couldn't take his eyes off of her.
(at least, this is what he told me)

Shortly after meeting eachother, they married. Birdie got pregnant and Elmer got drafted. When Elmer got home from the war he wasn't the same man that he had been before. He was angry quite often and had a short fuse with the kids. Birdie loved him dearly and wished there were some way that she could make things better. She was so happy to be a wife and a mother.

Elmer started drinking as a way to deal with the bad memories from the war. He would go out every night after work, and wouldn't come home til very late. And when he did get home he was a mean drunk.

This went on for ten years and through all that time Birdie loved and adored her husband. (I know this was true because of the way she looked at him as she told me this about her marriage. It wasn't with resentment but with love and understanding.)

Finally, Elmer sought help and was able to work through his problems and quit drinking. He was again the man that Birdie fell in love with.

They had a lot of fun together, traveling, gardening, raising horses, and just spending time with eachother. They were married well over 50 yrs when I met them. Elmer would worry about Birdie constantly and Birdie would worry about Elmer. Elmer had a lot of pain and it hurt him to be touched, Birdie would always want to sit by him and hold his hand. It really saddened her that she couldn't hug him without causing him pain.

At this time in my own marriage I was trying to get used to my husbands snore and break him of the idea that it is the woman's job to cook and clean. I mean, I have to work too, so I think housework should be a shared responsibility.

Watching this couple and hearing about their life got me thinking about my own marriage. Birdie showed me that through love, compassion, and understanding, and a lot of patience, we too could become the couple sitting on our front porch sipping lemonade while our children and grandchildren run and play in our yard.

Perhaps "Happily Ever After" doesn't mean being happy in every moment, but that in time, or overall being happy to be with one another.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Ever After" Birdie's Lesson Part One

Remember the movie “Ever After”? Starring Drew Barrymore as Danielle de Barbarac aka Nicole du Lancre . It is the best Cinderella story ever! When it was in theaters I saw it at least 4 times! Then when it finally came out on VHS I watched it every day for a month or more. I just finished watching it again. . . for the 100,000th time.

I’m not really sure exactly why I love this Cinderella story so much. . . it could be because they made her out to be an intelligent woman who loved to read and speak her mind. It could also be that Cinderella and Prince Charming actually had a relationship with issues, prior to The Masque and it wasn’t just him seeing her there and falling in love with her at first sight.

At the end of the movie they have wed, and are holding each other and talking sweet nothings and he says to her “We, my dear, are supposed to live happily ever after’”.

When I was growing up I would daydream about the man I would marry. He would be tall and handsome. Funny and kind, sweet, romantic, spontaneous, and he would treat me like a princess. We would marry and live happily ever after. . .

Ha ha ha! Life is no Fairy Tale! I mean my husband is tall and handsome, funny, sweet, kind, romantic, and spontaneous, but there is a reason all of the fairy tales end at “happily ever after”. If we knew what would happen after that, most of us girls would not spend any time day dreaming about our “Prince Charming”.

You may be thinking “she seems bitter.”

I am not bitter. . . I love my husband very much. But marriage has not been what I daydreamed it would be. For some reason I thought the first year “The Honeymoon year” was going to be amazing! That it would be nothing but making love and calling each other Honey and Baby and doing everything we could to make the other person happy. . . Then we got married and I moved in with him. There were so many “adjustments” to make. I somehow had to learn how to fall asleep to the sound of a bear growling all night long. He had to learn to put the toilet seat down but leave the lid up. (when I was pregnant, the next year, there was nothing worse than having to bend over to lift the lid before I could sit down to pee!)

We had to get used to each other’s habits and learn what “happily ever after” looked like to each of us. For a while there, I thought his “happily ever after” looked like me making his meals, doing his dishes and his laundry, sorting through the bills and taking care of all the mundane tasks in life. While my “happily ever after” consisted of breakfast in bed every Sunday morning, making love every morning and night, and him making enough money to pay the bills so I wouldn’t have to stress about them.

I think it needless to say that neither one of us got our “happily ever after”.

Next post I will introduce you to Birdie and tell you what I learned from her and hopefully you will be able to see where I am going with this. . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spreadin' the LOVE

Yesterday as comment after comment was posted here on my blog, I thought "I need to respond to all these people" so, I went blog hopping! It was sooo much fun! I just love all the crafty crafts I saw and all the wonderful stories I read. There are some very talented people online!

Tatting Chic has told me what good friends she has made through blogging and I didn't think it was possible until now. I just want to say thank you to everyone for coming to visit my blog and for all your kind comments.

Now for more Love Spreading. . . while blog hopping yesterday I came across this post by Clyde the Mad Tatter. He has a beautiful plaque that says "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ~ Ghandi

I also went to Fox's blog and was amazed to learn that she took up tatting because a complete stranger gave her a tatting shuttle!

This got me thinking. . . a dangerous past time, I know (I have a 3 year old that loves The Lion King) (tee hee) Anyhow this got me thinking about the kind of change I wish to see in the world, and of how I might be able to make a small difference in someone's day. . .

So today I decided that I am going to tat small hearts and carry them with me and each day look for someone who looks like they need a little "pick me up." Then I am going to give them the little heart that I made for them and remind them that they are loved.

Here are two hearts that I made today

This one is called Peacock Heart. I like it a lot, but I thought I would try something a little different. . .

When hearts are drawn on paper I like hearts drawn like the one on the right. . .

So I turned two of the chains on this heart and took out some picots to see if I could get it to look like the drawing.

Here they are side by side with a quarter.

I think I like the original Peacock Heart best.

So what do you think? . . . Anyone want to join me in my quest to spread the love?

P.S. Do you know of other free tatted heart patterns, that are quick and easy to make? I can do simple tatting only with possibly a split ring in there since I visited Jon's Thread Escapades today and learned how to do split rings.

These are my 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th split rings. . . Not too bad eh? (if I can say so, myself)

Please Keep Coming to Visit and Please Keep Commenting. I love it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

TATTING The Lace of Angels

The first talent I want to blog about, and probably the one I will blog most about is Tatting.

My Grandma (my step-grandma, who came into my life when I was 14) had these beautiful doilies all over her house. There were blue ones in her living room. . . on the arms of her sofa, loveseat, and chairs, and big ones that went over the backs. There were matching ones on the end tables under the lamps and another on the the organ. She had beautiful pink doilies in her china closet under her fine china and crystal glasses. Peach doilies on her bedroom vanity. Which was one of those "waterfall" vanities. I thought the doilies were amazing!

I had seen tatting before, I have an aunt on another side of my family who tatted snowflakes and Christmas tree ornaments for my mom. They hung on our tree every year. I hadn't realized anything other than Christmas tree ornaments could be made by tatting.

Grandma could do anything, she was always crocheting, sewing, quilting or cooking. I asked Grandma if she would show me how to tat. I wanted to make a bunch of doilies for my trousseau. She told me that it was my Great Aunt Ted who made the doilies and that I would have to ask her if she would teach me.

Below is a picture of Aunt Ted surrounded by the lace of the pink doily she made.

Aunt Ted lived a little over an hour away and I never had a way of going to see her, but when I was 17 Aunt Ted had to move into a nursing home that was near Grandma's house. Grandma would go get Aunt Ted once a week and bring her to her house to have lunch and visit. One of these visits I told her how much I loved the doilies she made and asked her if she would teach me how to tat. Her face lit up!

Before her next visit I had to get a tatting shuttle and some thread. I found a little red plastic shuttle at one of the craft stores Grandma shopped at and borrowed some crochet thread from Grandma.

Aunt Ted and I sat down on the sofa and she showed me the double stitch. Very clearly explaining how the loop has to flip from the core thread to the working thread. She explained it so well, that I was able to close my first ring, and as I recall, every ring from then on.

As I said earlier, Aunt Ted was a resident at a nursing home, she was in her nineties and had dementia.

So, she had taught me the double stitch and how to make picots, then told me to practice and practice. I sat there on the couch next to her making ring after ring. She watched very intently then asked "What are you doing?"

I gave her a confused look, thinking I was doing something wrong, and replied "I'm tatting?"

She looked at me very pleased and said "Well, where did you learn to do that?" LOL

Here is a picture of one of the pink doilies and one of Grandma's crystal glasses. Aunt Ted passed away shortly after teaching me. Then Grandma passed on New Years Day 2000. Grandma had many grandkids, so I feel very blessed that I inherited this doily and Grandma's crystal glasses.

A couple years after Aunt Ted taught me to make rings and picots, I had gone to visit my aunt from my dad's side. She lived on the east coast and I had never been east of the Rocky Mountains. She taught me how to do chains. She even took me to buy tatting books. I loved putting it all together to actually make something out of the knots! I loved making edgings and made hankie after hankie for the ladies that I cared for.

At some point I put my shuttle down and didn't tat again for 10 years or so. . . TattingChic is another aunt of mine who tats. She was a closet tatter for many years so I had know idea that she also tatted. She loves tatting so much! She has inspired me to pick up my shuttle again. So a few days ago I did. . . and yesterday I finished my first project in years.

I know, I know. . . it is a snowflake, but I figured since it is the 4th of July, and it is a star shaped snowflake, that I would showcase it in Red White and Blue. I guess I should site where I found this pattern at, I googled free tatting patterns, snowflakes, it took me to Bella Online where I found this pattern designed by Eileen Stafford.

For those of you who want to critique my tatting, feel free. Like I said I haven't tatted in years and I only know how to do rings and chains. Looking at Aunt TattingChic's blog has opened my eyes to the many possibilities of tatting and I am so excited to keep learning it!