The First Vegetable of the Season

Our garden is not a very large one, and it probably doesn’t get the attention it needs, but we still plant one every year.  This year, I managed to get a few things planted earlier than usual.  
Late this afternoon, when I was watering, I found this.  It’s a crookneck squash, our first vegetable of the season.

  
I plant squash partially because I like them a lot and partially because they can survive a certain degree of neglect.  If only the groundhogs will leave them alone…..

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Irises on Earth Day

 
This somewhat wind blown iris came from bulbs that have been transplanted twice, and I’ve managed to keep them alive.  The bulbs were originally planted by my dad, years ago.  When my mother to the city where I now live, she dug up the bulbs so they could be planted in my yard.  They survived that first move well.

Six years ago, I moved to my current house.  I dug up the bulbs and replanted them in my new yard.  Now, I like to garden, but I’m no expert, and my plants suffer when I get busy and neglect them.   These past six years have been extraordinarily busy. But, the irises have come back every year.  They are probably my favorite reminder of my dad, who loved  gardening and never neglected any of his plants.

The Seemingly Small Things 

  

This was my mom’s measuring cup, which I’ve had for a while.  I found it yesterday while rearranging some things in my pantry.  This cup, along with a flour sifter (you may have to be a certain age to remember flour sifters) that’s probably long gone, are the things that remind me most of baking from scratch.  

I mostly remember pound cakes, cherry cakes, yellow cakes with chocolate frosting, and many kinds of Christmas cookies.  At the time, I didn’t appreciate the pound cakes, but I love them now.  The cherry cake was made for my dad’s birthday, and it was made with an icing that was heavier than a glaze, but lighter than a typical frosting, The icing also contained bits of cherries. Cherry has never been my favorite flavor, but I’d love to find that recipe.  The yellow cake was a traditional one, and I loved the movie thick frosting.  

Once my mom returned to full time work, when I was in elementary school, she didn’t make as many cakes.  But, every year, until she was in her early seventies and her health began to decline, she made several kinds of cookies at Christmas.  She shared cookies with family and friends, and I do have many of those recipes.

At some point in time, the metal cup disappeared, replaced by a set of plastic ones.  But, it is this up I remember most as a little girl, sitting in the kitchen, attempting to help my mother bake.

Hats!

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember when women wearing hats was de rigueur for many dressy occasions.  When I was a young girl, my mother didn’t think of going to church without wearing a hat, and she owned quite a few.  By the time I was in elementary school, women were not wearing hats so much.  The tradition was beginning to fade.

The last photograph I could find of my mother wearing a hat was taken on Easter Sunday in 1971.  I was in second grade.  Within a couple of years, I’m sure the only ladies I saw in hats at church were a good bit older than my mom.

The exception to that would be in the African America community, where women continue to wear hats to church to this day.  This could be a future blog post topic!  At any rate, I see very few women wearing hats today.

Several weeks ago, I opened my mother’s last remaining hat box to find not one, but two hats.  The fur hat (not sure what kind of fur, or whether or not it’s real) has a tag that matches the box, from Marie Dickert, a milliner in Columbia, SC, that I don’t remember at all.  The peach colored hat contains a tag from Haltiwanger’s, a long gone clothing store, also in Columbia, that I do remember.  

I had fun trying on the hats, then cajoling one of my kiddos into taking some pictures of me wearing them.  Some of those pictures went up on Facebook, and I was truly surprised at some of the feedback I received.  The women of my generation cherish the memories of their mothers’ hats.  I was told repeatedly to hang onto mine, not to give them away.  

This was also an opportunity to explain to my sons about how people from generations past viewed dressing for certain occasions.  This discussion was brought about by a comment from my sometimes snarky eleven-year-old, who spotted the rhinestones on the peach hat and wanted to know if his grandmother thought she was some kind of royalty.  Um, no, son, that’s how people dressed 50+ years ago, and this was not one bit out of place at a church service, or many other formal (for that time) event. 

         

Storing Clothing and Other Items Made From Fabric

I’ve already shared how I’m going about organizing and saving my photos and other paper memorabilia. But, I also have some clothes, blankets, but  and other items made from fabric that I’m saving as well. I needed some storage containers that were meant for storing and protecting such items, so I went online to look around.



There weren’t many things to choose from. I decided to order  two Large Archival Garment Storage Box from The Container Store just to see how they would work.  These boxes are acid and lignin free, and came with tissue paper for wrapping.

What is going in the boxes?  

A size 3T Masters shirt, worn by my boys



One of my baby dresses



A stuffed Peter Rabbit, which was a baby gift



A Cub Scout neckerchief, along with some pins



A outfit my mother bought for my younger son when he was born (maybe we need to work on getting the spit up stains out)



We’ll start with these things.  I’lll more items as I find them.

Winter Blahs and a Burning of Columbia App

The past couple of weeks at my house have been interesting, to say the least. One child had flu (he’s fine now), the other is having a skin reaction to something, we just can’t figure out what. And then there was the weather- 50 mile per hour winds followed by ice followed by more wind and single digit temps. I live in South Carolina, for goodness sake! The ice was pretty and brought no destruction or power outages to my house, so I am grateful.

The pictures below are scenes from my house. Remember, I am not a fabulous photographer, but I’m pleased with the way these turned aout

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Now, on to another subject. As I’ve previously posted, my hometown of Columbia, SC is observing the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia, which occurred during the final weeks of the Civil War. I’ve not been able to travel to Columbia to attend any of the commemorative events, and I’m kind of sad about that, but I’ve discovered what looks to be a really fun teaching tool about the burning. A new, interactive app will soon be available for purchase, and I plan to buy it. I’m cheap and I like free apps, but I’m happy to buy this one as I am very interested in the subject matter and 100% of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia.

For more information, check out http://www.burningofcolumbiaapp.com.

The Burning of Columbia

This week is the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia, South Carolina, my hometown. Not long ago, I ran across the special commemorative section that both daily Columbia newspapers published 50 years ago at the time of the 100th anniversary. My mother saved special sections of newspapers like this, and I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming weeks.

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The winter storm that was predicted earlier seems to have bypassed the Columbia area, which is a good thing for any events that may be held this week in observation of the burning.

I wish I could say the same thing about the Upstate, where I now live. The picture below is my deck. Sleet has been falling here off and on for the last two or so hours, and I’m sure things will get interesting when it gets dark and the temperature drops just a bit. Even though we’ve had little in the way of winter weather this year (aside from some cold temps), I’m over it. Bring on spring!

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Since Monday night activities have been cancelled for my family, that gives me extra time to work on my scrapbooks.

Stocking Up

Last week, I went to the craft store, as I was running out of, well, everything and it was time to restock. This time, instead of rushing through, I took my time and looked closely at various options. I also spent more money than I’d intended, but what I bought should last for a while. At least I’d like to think that.

I bought my usual refill pages, sleeves, and glue dots. None of my scrapbooking pens work well anymore, so I replaced them. After listening to some recommendations from friends, I also bought some new things that I think will help the process go much faster. If you are an avid scrapbooker, and you keep up with the latest and greatest in supplies, none of what I’m writing about is new to you. But I had gotten waaaay behind, and have barely kept up with the scrapbooking world, at least in the last few years, so it’s all new to me.

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These are pocket pages or sleeves. Pictures and journaling cards (where you write down info. about the pictures) are simply inserted in the pockets. These will be great for the typical 4″ by 6″ photos, or photos that can be cropped. I have a lot of older pictures that are various sizes, and they’ll be placed on traditional pages. The photo shown above is a pack of various sized pocket pages, made by Becky Higgins Project Life, a brand mentioned to me by a couple of friends. While Project Life seems to have a major presence with this type of product, there are other brands out there. So far, I’m not partial to any.

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This is a pack of journaling cards, produced by Me & My Big Ideas. There are lots of themes and colors to choose from when looking for cards. The designs do tend to be trendy, which may not be such a great thing. In five or so years, chevrons and other current designs will be a thing of the past, a least until they come back in again. In the future, I’ll look for more classic or less trendy designs. This may not be a negative for everyone. Another negative with the cards- what I found in the store tends to be girly, or at least little-kiddish. I am the only female in my house, not counting two cats. Girly and little-kiddish (at least in more recent years) aren’t big themes around here.

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I bought a package of these pockets, which may be used for holding programs from school plays, band concerts, award ceremonies, bulletins from special church programs, etc. These will go right into a scrapbook, as they are 12 by 12, and will fit right in to a book.

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Here is yet another set of photo pockets. This set is produced by We R Memory Keepers. Remember, I’m not partial to any brand at this time. I’m certainly not promoting anyone, and I’m definitely not being compensated by any company to promote their product. This is still very much an experiment to me.

As I previously mentioned, I spent more money than I’d intended. This is easy to do in a craft store (at least for me). The Project Life products were pricier than some of the others, but I decided to give them a try based upon recommendations. I’m also trying to use products that will hold up well over time, which may mean I spend more. Before I go shopping again, I’ll be checking for coupons or sales at the craft stores. I’ll also see if ordering from an online source is less expensive (so far I’m finding that not to be the case).

My scrapbooks will be hodgepodges of traditional pages and the newer pocket pages. I can’t give up traditional completely because of those old photos I mentioned earlier. Having combinations of book styles would drive some people crazy, but those pocket pages are just too convenient. They also make things much easier for me, as I’m very page-design challenged, and I don’t have to work so much at making the page pretty- that’s already been done for me. Like most people, I have a limited amount of time to spend on hobbies or projects like this, and I want to use it wisely.

I’d love to hear more feedback from seasoned scrapbookers. And, I’ll do another post on how this is all working out for me soon.

The Shoe Box

I cannot recall a time when this shoe box wasn’t in the top drawer of my mother’s dresser. The box stayed in the drawer, even as my mother downsized several times over the years, and it was used for keeping various small items together, usually Christmas themed jewelry. It went into a different dresser when Mom went to skilled care and she could no longer keep large pieces of her own furniture, and it continued to hold Christmas jewelry.

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I know the box held a pair of my shoes, and judging by the size, it was probably one of my first pairs. I have no idea what happened to the shoes. People have asked if those shoes were bronzed, a something commonly done with a baby’s first pair of shoes back in the day, but they weren’t.

Someone asked me if my mom kept the box for sentimental reasons, but I don’t think so either. I think Mom would have told me if she had. The reason for keeping the box was probably that it was the right size to hold certain trinkets that were not highly valuable.

My parents came of age during The Great Depression. My father was old enough to remember the huge stock market crash and have a basic (very basic as he was not yet a teenager) understanding of the implications early on. Both parents were careful with money, my mother especially, so she was not the type to splurge on little containers to hold her stuff- especially stuff that was kept in a drawer. One thing I’ve observed about my parents and many other people of their generation is that they kept their things for years (and took care of them), without doing major purges. Yet, very few of these people, at least the ones I knew, could be considered pack rats or hoarders.

I can’t say I completely inherited those habits. I’m fairly careful with money- that will be evident in my next post about the scrapbooks. When I was a child, my parents often referred to me as a pack rat, as I kept things and wasn’t good about keeping them organized. I still have and keep too much stuff, though not nearly enough to be the subject of one of those reality shows that deals with hoarding (although I have a son who may potentially be a great candidate). Periodically, we do major purges around here, and they are painful, but necessary.

I emptied the shoe box, thinking it was time for it to go. After all, I do hang onto too many things. But, after taking pictures and writing this post, I don’t think I’m quite ready yet.

An Update on the Scrapbook Project

This blog was created in part to document my progress as I organize family memorabilia- lots and lots of family memorabilia. But, I’ve deviated just a bit from that as I’ve found all kinds of other fun stuff to share, like earrings that were in style 30 years ago, and a shoe box from 50 or so years ago (post on this coming soon). The scrapbooking project is still very much in progress and will be for some months to come.

Right now, I am working with photographs and other items dating from the time of the births of my children (the older one is 15, the younger is 11) up until now. I am working with a traditional format, nothing digital yet, as I have many photographs already printed and purchased, as well as things like old birthday party invitations, school play and band concert programs, and certificates that the kids want to save, but not necessarily to frame.

As I go along, I am taking photos of photos and other items, and those are being stored digitally. Taking pictures of pictures seems to work better for me than scanning, and the quality of cellphone cameras has increased dramatically. Having said that, there are probably a few things that will look better if they are scanned. I plan to experiment with digital scrapbooking as we (my husband, kids, and I) have many taken many recent pictures with our phones, iPods, and iPads that haven’t yet been made into photographs. Advice from experienced digital scrapbookers is most welcome.

I keep things very uniform, and this makes things much easier for me. All my albums are 12″ by 12″, and they are postbound albums.  Ring binder albums seem to be the big sellers now, and I see more of them than postbound albums as I peruse the craft stores, but the album pages I buy will work for either type

My children’s baby book albums are strap hinge albums, which were the big sellers back in the day.  I found the straps difficult to work with and are just as glad they have fallen out of favor.  In recent weeks, I have found filler pages for strap hinge albums as there are several pages I’d like to add to each of the baby books.

Glue dots are my favorite form of adhesive.  I’ve tried different methods through the years and the glue dots are the easiest, at least for me.  If I decide to move pictures around once they’ve been placed on a page, the dots are definitely more forgiving.

Sometime in the next few days, I’ll be making a visit to the craft store for more supplies.  I’m rapidly running out of filler pages and need a some other supplies as well.  I also want to check out some newer (at least to me) scrapbooking systems that may make my work less time consuming.  I’ll let you know what I find.