Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Garden Idea, Some Visitors-and a New Bag


I love old enamelware.  I find pieces of it all the time at my local Goodwill store, usually costing no more than a dollar or two.   Monday I planted my collection full of herbs and petunias. I love the old fashioned look this adds to the patio.

Years ago, because we missed not being near any significant body of water, we bought the little fountain on clearance.  Turns out, the birds love it too!


grosbeak couple

Every spring, the Evening Grosbeaks migrate through Ellensburg on their way to their summer breeding grounds.  They are quite spectacular to see, and we relish the few weeks these striking, entertaining birds are around.  (But my, they are voracious eaters, and go through a ton of bird seed!)

While I’m not sure the male, who landed beside a newly planted petunia, knew what to make of the flamingo, both he and his mate approved of the fountain.


And lastly, I added another flower to my garden of bags-another market bag.  The purple barkcloth is even more gorgeous in person than it was in  pictures.  I’m happy to have sold four other market bags already.  I feel like I may have found my bag calling-to provide a pretty and practical plastic bag alternative.

Have a great rest of the week, all of you!

Monday, May 28, 2012



In honor of my father. ♥ In memory of my uncle.

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Flash Fiction: In the Rough


Whatever had possessed her?

She pushed aside the plaid cotton curtain that concealed the empty space underneath her kitchen sink.  The light was dim, and the space offered little more than elbow room in which to work. She’d expected that.  But it was filthy too. Since moving in, she had yet to sweep here. Still, judging from the thick layer of powdery dirt, years, possibly decades had passed since the old linoleum had felt the touch of a broom.

She took a careful breath, sized up her task, and picked up her new pipe wrench.  It felt heavy and awkward in her hand.  Balancing a small black flashlight atop a box of saltine crackers, she hunched over to make her five foot nine inch frame as compact as possible, and guided by the narrow beam of light, leaned forward to fit the loosened  jaw of the wrench around the pipe, and gave a tug.

Crumbling, more than yielding, the pipe fell to pieces, disgorging  a  mix of water and sludge down her arm.  And once again, second thoughts made her second guess the wisdom of her decision-taking on this fixer upper of an ancient, ungracefully aging house.

Yes, whatever had possessed her?

She straightened her back, smoothed a stray wisp of hair with her clean hand, and  looked again at the wreckage of pipe and water, dust and sludge.

And then she saw the diamond ring.

This piece was inspired by the Write on Edge prompt to explore a setting in 250 words.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Road Taken

The perfect music…

And the perfect traveling companion…


New in my shop.  The boxy zippered pouch in stunning vintage barkcloth.

Happy travels!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Silver Wings


You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky.

~Amelia Earhart

I might never have known about her if  I hadn’t noticed the small yellowed newspaper clipping inside a display case at the local history museum.  Thankfully, I did.  And that is how I met Mary Webster.

mary webster

What I’ve learned about Mary’s life can be summed up as a collection of facts and dates, yet at the same time I know very little about her.  In the end, though, what she accomplished is what matters.

Mary had a dream-to flyIn the beginning, fate was on her side. Central Washington College of Education (now Central Washington University) announced, in 1940, that it would start offering the Federal Civil Aeronautics Authority’s civilian pilot program. Mary entered the program in May of that same year. (Of the 39 students accepted, FCAA regulations stipulated that only one-tenth could be women. )

Mary earned her pilot’s license, and then, after the start of WWII went on to gain acceptance into the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program in 1942-graduating and earning her silver wings on October 16, 1944. She then joined the ranks of other WASP pilots ferrying planes and flying low-target planes, and helping break in new planes.

I wish I could say that Mary’s story has a happy ending. She worked hard to become a pilot and even harder to win a place as an elite WASP. But fate had other plans. Just 6 weeks after receiving those coveted silver wings, Mary Webster died in a plane crash on December 9, 1944.  Mary would be the last member of the WASP to die in the line of duty.  On December 20, 1944-just 11 days after her death-the WASP was deactivated.

There is so much more to the story of the WASP.  Ground breaking history tainted by gross unfairness, and finally recognition, years later.

But this is about Mary.  A local girl with a big dream.  And while I can’t possibly ever fully appreciate what fulfilling a dream like that entailed for a girl of 20, more than seventy years ago, I can appreciate what she did.  For all of us.

  • The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP ) came into existence on August 15, 1943. It’s purpose was to enlist the services of women pilots to help free male pilots up for combat.
  • Over 25,000 women applied to the WASP program, but only 1,074 actually passed the training and joined.
  • 38 women lost their lives while serving-11 in training accidents, and 27 on active duty.


  • Monday, May 21, 2012

    The Edge of Summer


    Amy photographed this lily yesterday.  We were out in the garden taking pictures.  With Memorial day, and the start of the summer season just one week away, the garden has been busy getting ready.

    The tallest dandelion we’d ever seen-measuring about a foot and a half high from the ground up to the puff ball top.  Impressive!  It was trying hard to hide among the branches of the hibiscus so that I wouldn't yank it up.  I left it alone…for now.


    The “coins” are forming on the money plant.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick enough in the fall to pay for another trip to Hawaii.


    Purple columbine, by Amy.


    Pink thrift, by me.


    The sling chair that once belonged to my Great Aunt Olga.  I’m guessing she acquired it in the 30’s or 40’s.  If I remember correctly, my Uncle John found it in someone’s trash heap.  I’m proud to see where my scavenger gene came from.

    The gorgeous vintage fabric pillow was made by my friend  Meg.  Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the sewing.



    Olga.  I’ve heard that my great aunt hated her smile.  She always tried to hide her face when picture taking moments came around.


    Kona isn’t too fond of picture taking moments either.  Enough already, she was thinking,  it’s time for a game of soccer.

    light of the eclipse

    Unfortunately, the eclipse wasn’t visible in our sky-too many clouds.  But the light was perfect, so I took more garden pictures.  Poor Kona.

    I found inspiration in the sewing room this weekend too.  I had these two darling pairs of vintage shoelaces, just begging to be used.

    drawstring pouches

    And so I made these drawstring bags, using the shoelaces, and vintage barkcloth and feed sacking.

    laces back

    The back of the shoelace package.   I wonder if the offer is still good…

    Happy Monday, dear readers.  I hope you had a great weekend, and that you will have a wonderful week, too!

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Wouldn’t it be Nice

    This morning, as I was reading through the updates of my face book friends, I was proud to see that one of them posted about standing up for a store clerk who was being verbally abused by a rude customer.  When my friend was told by the rude customer that it was none of his business, he replied that she’d made it his business when she started her verbal assault in front of him and everyone else waiting in line.
    Once upon a time, I was a store clerk  in a small fabric store.  While the majority of customers I waited on were polite and courteous, sadly, the ones I remember were the rude ones.  Like the customer who got tired of waiting in line and threw their money on the counter and left with their “purchases”  or the one who got angry when I said I couldn't  make change for a hundred dollar bill on the purchase of a spool of thread.
    Years ago, I was at a second hand store waiting to buy a vintage sewing box.  The line was long, but the clerk could not help but greet each customer warmly and chat during the check out process.  Tired of the delay that the clerk’s small talk created,  people got mad.  Some complained loudly and expressed that the clerk should “speed things up” and others left before it was their turn to pay.  I continued to wait patiently, and when it was my turn to be helped, I was nice.  I chatted with the clerk, and told him I thought he was doing a wonderful job in spite of the insults hurled at him.   He thanked me in return and said he just didn’t understand why some people were so impatient and got so angry.
    A week or so later, the store burned to the ground and the clerk, who I  learned later was also the owner, died in the fire.  I was heartbroken.  I could still picture his face.   But I was also so very thankful for the way I had treated him.
    The world would be such a wonderful place if we could all just be kind to one another.  I know.   It’s  probably an oversimplification.
    But my vintage sewing box says otherwise.

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Purple at the Golden Hour

    I photographed these flowers from my garden yesterday, during the last few moments of sunlight. 

    Amy gave me this lilac bush five Mother’s Days ago.  It was smaller then, and so was she.  Now, my lilac is almost taller than I am.  I love lilacs.  They make me sneeze, but I don’t mind.  The color and fragrance they provide is worth it.

    The original seeds for my  money plant came from a dear friend in Virginia years ago.  She has since passed away, but I think of her every time I gaze at these beautiful blossoms.  Money plant is lovely in the garden because the flowers last for a long time, and  I love the parchment colored papery “coins” that form in the fall.

    This sweet Johnny Jump Up appeared on its own.  One of the best things about gardening are the surprises like this.  The longer I garden, the more I am content with the plants that thrive in the particular climate of my back yard.  Daisies, hollyhocks, salvia and columbine are just a few of the plants that seem well suited to my garden, and do well.  I’m accepting the fact that I can’t grow everything I might like to grow, and learning to cherish what does well in my small piece of Eden.


    And speaking of purple, I don’t often see purple barkcloth.  I’m considering purchasing some of this colorful fabric to make some of my market totes.  I usually work with vintage fabric, but for my market totes I use new fabric that can stand up to the rigors of heavy use and repeated washings. 

    What is blooming in your garden, or neighborhood now?

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    The Clothesline

    No matter where we’ve lived, I’ve always had a clothesline, because I love hanging laundry outside.  Not so much because it’s the  “green” thing to do.  It is, and I love that it is, but because the scent of clothes and linens dried in the sun and fresh air is just another wonderful benefit of warmer weather.

    cracked clothesline

    This is my clothesline.  A retractable model that I can uncoil about 20 feet and attach to a hook on the front yard fence.  It doesn’t hold a whole lot, but in the summer, when the weather is hot, I can  hang consecutive loads and not use my dryer at all. 

    Can you see how it looks a little burned on one side, and cracked on the other?

    Once upon a time, my clothesline was attached to this tree…


    We were living in western New York, in the small town of Alfred.  One clear and sunny summer afternoon, Stuart was just about to take Amy-who was two at the time-out to her swing in the back yard.  I don’t remember what delayed them for several minutes, but whatever it was was, thank goodness, because a bolt of lightening came down out of the blue and shattered the tree that had both Amy’s swing and my clothesline attached to it.  To this day I remember how deafeningly loud the boom was when the tree was struck.

    Even now, I don’t like to think about what the outcome might have been if Amy had been in her swing.   I’m just thankful all three of us were inside the house.

    clothesline and swing

    There’s Amy’s swing-and my clothesline, still on the trunk to the left of it.

    split tree 

    When the lightening hit the tree, the tree exploded, and shards of wood flew so far and wide that some went up and over the house and landed in the front yard, while other shards impaled the surrounding lawn.

    peeled bark

    The  lightening  peeled the bark down to the ground on one side of the trunk-

    tree roots

    and exited out through the tree’s roots.

    After that, I was surprised that my clothesline was intact and functioning.  Fourteen years, and hundreds of loads of laundry later I’m still using it, too.  I hope I don’t ever need to replace it.  A clothesline this reliable is hard to find!

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    The Romantic

    Amy and I were sitting outside yesterday afternoon and happened to see this little sparrow working so hard to attract a mate.  He would sit atop the bird house, which was made to accommodate the smaller nuthatch, and sing his heart out. Then he’d enter the birdhouse, only to have, a few seconds later, one heck of a time wriggling back out.

    By late afternoon he’d given up and disappeared.  Probably discouraged-and exhausted too, I’d imagine.

    I hope he’ll be luckier in love today.

    Happy Monday!  And don’t work too hard.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Pining for Pine Cones

    As much as I love palm trees, pineapples and all other things Hawaiian, there is another side to me-one that loves the forest and anything that recalls a 1950’s camping trip.  Vintage picnic baskets and old thermos jugs, cozy plaid Pendleton shirts, rustic wood furniture, and anything with a pine cone motif.  Over the past decade, I’ve collected a few pine cone treasures, like the art pottery, and clothespin bag above.

    Recently, I struck gold with this wonderful barkcloth.  It has a striking pine cone design and the most beautiful color combination of greens and brown. Additionally, it’s also the first pine cone barkcloth I’ve ever seen.

    The piece I found was a long, but narrow remnant-about 5 feet in length by 10.5” wide,  so I knew I’d have to make a small bag.

     pine cone bag B

    To compliment the barkcloth, I looked through my stash of supplies and found the perfect vintage plaid button and geometric print lining fabric.  I’m really happy with this little bag!

    And as it turns out, the tropical side of myself and the woodsy side of myself can live in harmony, because pineapples and pine cones have something in common. 

    Around 1220, an Italian mathematician named Leonardo of Pisa, or Fibonacci, as we all more commonly know him as, discovered a series of numbers that describe the spiral growth pattern of pine cones, pineapples, many flowers, sea shells and a host of other things too.  I’d heard of  Fibonacci and his number sequence before, but yesterday I did a bit of research into just how it applies to the pine cone.


    A Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers beginning with 1,  in which each number is the sum of the two previous numbers:

    1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.

    Drawn out on out on graph paper, and starting with 1 and counting up, the spiral starts to take shape…


    For a more in-depth explanation, here is a great website-

    It’s an extremely fascinating subject-for both sides of me!


    Images sourced from the web.