Month: November 2019

On the Hunt for Vintage Ornaments

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I love vintage ornaments. They have so many stories to tell! Recently I went with my mom and sister to Sweet Salvage in Phoenix and found so many lovely treasures! As usual, it’s hard to narrow my finds down to the best for me right now, but I had a specific goal in mind this year: I wanted to find a few vintage Christmas ornaments and a small silver tray to set on our TV console for the season.

When we temporarily moved from a large ranch-style home to a small condo earlier this year, in spite of our best intentions, all our holiday decorations ended up in the far back corner of the storage unit. Ain’t no one got time (or energy) to dig those out!

A Little Bit of Christmas Cheer

I figured a couple of little Christmas ornaments with lots of sparkle and charm, it could soften the blow of not having a Christmas tree. Or lights strung up. Or my Christmas village set out. Maybe that’s a stretch, really, but I have been determined to make the best of this challenging situation.

I ended up finding a handful of vintage Christmas ornaments and I love them! They make me so happy in all their sparkly, well-loved goodness. Some are truly vintage, some are replicas. But they go together well in the sweet little silver tray I found to group them in. It turned out to be a good plan with great results.

A Little Something Just for Me

I also found this sweet little mug. I make up a batch of Cinnamon Pie Crust Cookies to have with my hot cocoa and peppermint tea and it feels pretty festive. That tiny little ornament and simple typewriter font “joy”! I mean, in the end, buying the mug was just obvious, right? I leave it out on my kitchen counter near the sink and it adds a bit more of a holiday touch.

I’ll take what I can get.

Ema’s Crocheted Blanket

My Grandma Eddie made all her grandkids crocheted blankets. I remember vividly the one she made when I was old enough to ask for specifics: It was white with lavender flowers and green leaves in granny squares.

She taught me the basics when I was a teenager, but I didn’t do much with it until I hit my mid-thirties. About that time I realized she was getting a bit frail and it dawned on me – Grandma Eddie may not always be with us. And what will the next generation do without crocheted blankets?

Getting Serious About Crochet

This is when I got serious and asked her to show me more. She taught me several basic stitches and how to weave in ends and such. I started practicing by making a great big green and oatmeal-colored blanket that would fit my queen-sized bed. Unfortunately, I was still a beginner and the edges of that blanket are as crooked as a mountain road! But Grandma told me it was wonderful and that I should be proud. Grandma Eddie was like that.

Time to Step Up

A few years later, one month after my first grandchild was born, Grandma Eddie passed away. I cannot adequately express the hole that has left. Grandma was tiny and kind and made every one of her kids and grandkids feel like they were the best thing ever. And she adored the babies. The last photo we have of Grandma is her holding my grandson, Gideon (who’s now 13), and she has the sweetest smile on her face.

But she had not been able to make him a blanket. So I took on my new duty as “Maker of the Afghan Blankets”. At first, they were very simple and single-colored. Over time, I’ve added more complexity and braved new patterns. This particular blanket is a fun pattern by the ladies at Daisy Farm Crafts and was made for my granddaughter, Ema, at the time of her baptism a couple of weeks ago. I like to think Grandma is smiling down, pleased that I’ve carried on this art of crochet.

From Grandma’s hands, to my hands, to Ema’s. Grandmas are such a treasure.

Finding My Artistic Voice

I had the incredible opportunity recently to use my artistic voice by creating a large-scale chalk art piece for the grand opening of our town’s new cemetery, Gilbert Memorial Park. I had not created a piece quite so large before and had a heckuva time “scaling it up” in my head. Even though my friend gave me the dimensions of 4′ x 6′, I somehow pictured a chalkboard about the size of my largest one at home – 2′ x 3′. Half the size. Half.

Panic Sets In

It wasn’t until later when my husband gently took me by the shoulders and said, “Babe, do you realize just how big that is?? That’s a full sheet of plywood,” that I let it fully sink in. But I’m happy to say that I didn’t panic or have an anxiety attack or go into a Baskin Robbins ice cream coma.

Until the next day.

Thinking It Through

After Garret talked me down from the precipice I realized… it’s just bigger. I’ve done all of this before. I’ve recreated logos. I’ve created pieces onsite. I know what tools I need. I know the process.

It’s just bigger.

I got this.

And I just methodically went through the process one piece at a time.

My Heartistic Life

Somewhere about the fifth hour of this six-hour project, Garret had gone to get us some lunch and the cemetery had quieted down from a morning flurry of visitors and inspections. I sat quietly, alone, working on the leaves of the beautiful tree artwork they use for their logo, and my heart went still and my head stopped swirling. I stopped, looked across the green lawn and listened to the nearby water feature trickling quietly.

And my heart knew.

I was exactly where I was supposed to be doing exactly what I was meant to do. This was my artistic voice. I was completely at peace. I felt confident and grateful and humble and emotional. I stopped and took a quick selfie of myself at peace. That’s the feeling I want to remember next time someone asks, “Do you do artwork?”