Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jewelry Made from Silver Plated Flatware

In his retirement years, my dad made hundreds of jewelry items from plated flatware.  Not only jewelry, but also napkin rings, key chains and belts were some accessories he fashioned from old spoons and fork handles.  He sold these pieces at craft shows, always regaling the customers with stories of how the flatware came into being. 

In 1993, a Dallas newspaper wrote a story about dad's silver pieces and his crafting business.
Dad wrote several volumes of his memories, and one of my favorite stories was about Orange Blossom flatware and how it came to be collected. The gist of the story was that oranges in California were prolific, and these "delicacies" over a hundred years ago made their way from the west coast to the east coast by way of railroad.

Wm. Rogers Company cashed in on the deal of the popular oranges being shipped all over the country, and began plating flatware with orange blossoms on the handles of tableware.  In 1910, Orange Blossom was one of its most popular flatware patterns.

From Charles McCarroll's memoirs:
The railroads had refrigerator cars manufactured to carry ice in order to keep the fruit fresh. Huge ice plants were built in stations across the country. The railcars were moved slowly so that the blocks of ice could be dumped from overhead into the refrigerator cars. The citrus fruits were picked from the trees, wrapped in tissue paper and packed in layers into the special wooden boxes in order to extend the freshness of the fruit. The California citrus growers found that Wm Rogers & Sons were plating silver. They made a deal for them to plate a unique pattern of dinnerware called Orange Blossom with silver.
Our families had numerous pieces of Orange Blossom and did use them. The spoons and tines of the forks were well worn but the handles can be used for key rings

This is a photo of some of Dad's jewelry he made and sold for over twenty years.  These are just the pieces he gave me, among many others.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Traveling Woman Shawl

On several knitting podcasts and on Ravelry, the "Traveling Woman" shawl had been discussed so much that I felt like I needed to get one finished to see what the ruckus was about.

A free download of this pattern designed by Liz Abinante is available through Ravelry. Abinante says it generally finishes to the size of a 48" wingspan by 17" depth.

Here is the finished Traveling Woman in Ella Rae Lace Merino wool:

A close-up of the lace weight fiber:

After blocking, the Traveling Woman actually looks better than the picture shows.  It is lightweight and a year-round accessory.  The first blog post about this project can be accessed here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Magazine: "One Amazing Thing" Story Contest

For "women of style and substance", More Magazine is
the leading voice of today’s sophisticated, affluent and accomplished woman, who is enjoying the richest years of her life, sharing news and advice on beauty, fashion, health, career, travel, money and relationships from her distinct perspective.
It is a health and beauty periodical geared toward women over 40 and has been a Christmas gift for several years from my friend Kathy.  I enjoy leafing through each monthly publication as soon as it hits the mailbox.

More Magazine is having a "One Amazing Thing" story contest open to everyone with a story to tell. Here is what More Magazine says about their contest:
We all have a story.  One of my favorite stories is about the birth and subsequent decisions her father and I made about her health care in the first hours of her life.

My partial submission to the "One Amazing Thing Story Contest" (screen shot only) is this: 

 That picture on the left is of my first born (of whom I write) and me, the 20 yr. old college sophomore who was unexpectedly faced with a critical decision concerning the medical fate of this child.

This is not the entire story.  And there is yet more to write almost forty years later, but that is for another place and time.

If you would like to submit an amazing story of your own, or read and vote for others' submissions, here is the link: READ and VOTE here.

 Who knows, maybe we will get a meet-up at Barnes & Noble's  in the future.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost and Listening to Scripture in Other Languages

Today is Pentecost.

What is Pentecost? An answer from StPaulKingsville ...
Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day of Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29). The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).
SIL Jack in South Carolina is proficient in speaking Spanish.  He will be reciting the verse John 3:16 (KJV) for his congregation today at Epiphany Lutheran in Spanish:
Juan 3 (Nueva Versión Internacional)16 »Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo *unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.17 Dios no envió a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, sino para salvarlo por medio de él.
He says that other speakers will read the same scripture in languages of English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Latin, Greek and possibly Japanese. Jack say it will  "give the effect of the people hearing the Apostles each in their own language which would be unknown to those who don't speak that language".

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pictures from the Past

This week, collecting old family photos from the garage and various closets, I came up with eleven storage boxes of pictures and frames.  That is just too many if you don't have a library and/or you are not an historian.  It was time to pare down.

Beginning the process, with two sacks of miscellaneous black garbage sacks already filled with photo clutter and ready to be taken for disposal, here is the start of the editing:
Some of the photos I unearthed were sweet, evoking sentimental emotions, such as this studio shot taken in about 1935 of my mother, her mother and her sister( left to right).

The back of this photograph is in my brother's handwriting and says "Lela Hugeley Motley, married to Thomas Jefferson Motley, May 30, 1883" (my great grandmother from the paternal side of the family).  This was likely Lela's Motley's wedding portrait (born Novermber 23, 1859, Died July 22, 1921).

And, of course, there were pictures of home life and my kids at various stages of their childhood. I won't bother to show scans of some of those photos.

But I have to include this bizarre photograph of the tombstone for my great grandfather's FOOT from 100 years ago.

Now why in the world would one have a memorial to a part of one's body that was amputated?  Curious, but the proof is in the photo.  You wonder what the story was behind that foot...

The good thing is that several days later, I'm down to five boxes of pictures, and ready to further prune, scan and discard even more of these photos.  Thank g-d for digital cameras and scanners.

Monday, May 17, 2010

English Gardens and The Traveling Woman Shawl

Spring brings to mind, among other thoughts, the connotation of gardens.  My British friend talks about the English garden, and it took me on a search for what exists in an "English garden".

From this site:
As castles gave way to fortified manor houses in the later medieval period, the garden became a simple green space surrounded by hedges or fences. Games such as bowls or tennis took place on the lawn.

The next stage of the English garden came after the Reformation. Many landowners enclosed common land to create parks for keeping deer or cattle. This 'natural' landscape gave way to formal gardens near the house, still sheltered from the outside world by hedges or walls.
So that helped narrow down some information.  Then a search for images of English gardens brought up pictures of flowers, shrubs, small hedges, water gardens and small ponds including foliage, and a general sense of beauty and well being.  There are formal gardens, with areas cordoned off for specific plant placement, and informal gardens that include a more free-form type of planting.

In October, 2010, fifty or so travelers will visit some English gardens in London, Bath, and Wales.  I am excited to be part of this group.

We travelers will visit not only gardens, but also fiber shops and woolen mills.  Our host and podcaster Heather Ordover of Craftlit, the podcast for people who are too busy to hold a book, along with tour guide DianneRJ from Ravelry will be taking a group of crafters who love books, to London, Bath and Wales to see the sites.  Information about the fiber tour can be found here through Holiday Vacations.  I'll be on that bus, likely with knitting needles and fiber in hand, while we visit local yarn shops, museums, and castle gardens. (It is all about crafting, reading/listening to classic books, and Jane Austen, you know.)

Since it will be cool weather in England and Wales, of course we TRAVELING WOMEN will need various warm outer clothing and knitted accessories to help ward off the mist.

So which of my shawls will go along with me?  Perhaps the "Traveling Woman Shawl". Description of the shawl from designer Liz Abinante says:
Being an indecisive individual, this shawl is named after two things. First, the song “Travelling Woman” by Bat for Lashes (she’s British, hence the extra “l”). “Travelling Woman” is a song about a brilliant woman with a promising future, who loses it all because she fell in love with a man who had too much potential, and not enough substance. The edge of the shawl represents the dangerous web of love, as well as its highs and lows. Along the bind off edge, the shawl can be blocked to subtle points, or straight.
Second, the character Angela Montenegro on Bones. If you’re familiar with Angela’s character, I think the song selection makes sense: she’s artistic, a believer in love, and just the type who might get in a little too deep before she can find her way out (she did get married in Fiji to a complete stranger, after all). This is the second in a series of patterns based on the characters from the Bones television show.
The Traveling Woman Shawl is a free download found here on Ravelry.  I am about half-way through it, using Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn.  And definitely my Clapotis Shawl will go along, too.  Can't wait!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Liquin - A Good Thing

This is a product anyone who paints with oils will like:
Liquin, a...
reliable favorite (formerly known simply as "Liquin") is a general-purpose low gloss medium that improves flow and transparency. It mixes easily with the brush or knife, smoothes brushwork, and is also suitable for textured oil techniques. Liquin Original approximately halves the drying time of oil colors, resulting in a drying time of anywhere from one to five days, depending on climate, colors used, and film weight. It is not recommended as a varnish or final coat.
Applying Liquin is the final step used on the Day Lily, started in July, 2009 and what I'm considering now "almost finished".  The Liquin finish keeps dust off the picture, and lends a warmer glow to the oil colors.  This picture was taken prior to using Liquin since pictures on my camera tend to create a "shine" on the picture after Liquin is applied.

Orange Day Lily, 2010, NMcCarroll
30" x 40", oil on wrapped canvas
Prior progress on the painting of this canvas can be viewed at Floral Art, Etc.  (The original photo of the day lily from our garden will also be shown on that blog posting.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Google Analytics

Thanks to the DH, some great information has been coming my way regarding traffic on this blog.  Google Analytics is a program that gives LOTS of statistics on who is reading the blog, from what country they are finding this blog, what the hot topics people are looking for, and other trivia which (more than likely) interests only the writer of the blog.

For instance, in the last year, looking at stats for this blog, here is a summary from Google Analytics regarding visits:

The chart above shows that over the last year, more NEW site visits originated from Canada (92%) than from the United States (79%).

And the pie chart shown above indicated that search enginges gave me 65% of referrals from key words listed in the post titles.

Lastly, to further belabor the point, one graph (above) showed that "Making Fabric Roses" was the leader in Google searches by topic, with "Sewing Prayer Shawls" coming in second.

However, the most page views came from "Making Neck Pillows", with the prayer shawl coming in second for most page views. 

Fun stuff if you like statistics, and worth checking out if you are curious about your blog traffic.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Therapy Dogs

Let's talk about Therapy Dogs International.

When friends and family ask about therapy dog and owner responsibilites and what we do, the same questions are often asked.  Here is a rundown of typical questions and answers:

Q: What are the requirements to have a dog certified as a therapy dog?
A:  The dog (and owner) must pass eleven requirements in order to be certified as a "therapy dog".

Q: So what are the steps?
A: see photo below (click on highlighted area to enlarge)

Q: Can all dogs qualify for training?
A: No.  The dog must allow petting and be unafraid of strangers, loud noises, and differing situations.  One of our dogs was not a good candidate for TDI training, and one pup was willing to be trained.

Q: How do I get started in the process of training my dog?
A: Any obedience training program is the first step in teaching your dog to comply with the requirements.

Q:  I have a yappy dog; can she be trained to work for her kibble?
A: Yes, we have a b*tch of a dog when she is at home, loves to bark and jump, etc. (sorry to have to admit this)...but on the job, she is a behaver.

Q:  How much time does this take?
A: As much time as you are willling to give.  Practically any nursing facility, hospital, hospice, school (Wagging Tails is a separate program tutoring kids in reading), special care housing, assisted living, hospital or medical clinic is willing to entertain the idea of therapy dogs.

Q: What are my responsibilites in visiting with my dog?
A: Be open to the person you are visiting.  Remember that the visit is not about your and your dog, it is to meet the needs of the person whom you are visiting.  The person you are helping generally does not want to hear about your stories or life history.   The dog facilitates conversation and contact with the client, and helps to engage the client with distraction and productive time.

If you have any questions about how you might volunteer with your animal fur friends, feel free to contact Therapy Dogs International via email or call them at (973) 252-9800.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Meadow Flowers Shawl

Ta da! Finished, blocked, and worn, here is the Meadow Flowers Shawl :

Knitter's Stash is the source of the pattern.  The book was published in 2001 by Interweave Press, and is a jewel.

Ravelry friends, all the specs can be found here.

There are a few mistakes in knitting, but they will "never be seen on a galloping horse", as my grandmother used to say.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Howling at the Moon

Ya know when you get to know somebody pretty well?  And sometimes you quit listening to EXACTLY what they are saying because you have heard it before?

My husband, author of livingthegrandlife, a (mostly) anti-politcal blog....rants.  He told me yesterday, after I kinda tuned him out during our third cup of morning coffee... "nevermind, I was just howling at the moon."

I got a kick out of that thought/statement.  How much do we all just "howl at the moon", and who really listens?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finches and Hummingbirds

Finches feasting from a dirty well used sock (picture taken yesterday).

This is a nest from last year when  bird eggs were laid (sometime in July 2009):

We have some hummingbirds, too, but my photography is not swell, so this YouTube video shows them in bunches!  David Attenborough (BBC) shows this video:

Enjoy the spring!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chain Stitch Scarf using Bamboo Yarn

Bernat offers a free on-line scarf knitting pattern accessed here when you sign up for their newsletter.  It is called the "Chain Stitch Scarf".  I followed the basic instructions, alternating yellow and green Bernat bamboo yarns.

Embellishments to the original pattern included a decorative picot stitch in the center of the middle stripe, and an I-cord was knitted around the perimeter in another color of green. The attached I-cord (instructions here) gives it a more finished look.

Visual instructions along with verbage regarding the picot stitch can be found many place on YouTube.  This is the link I used for the decorative picot stitch in the middle of this scarf, using a cotton sheen yarn by Berroco.

Ravelry buddies, here is the finished scarf (dimensions 52" x 7"):

This is the 2 inch lapel pin, highlighted by cobalt blue, accessorizing the scarf:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Iris in Western Colorado

Iris are in bloom!  Here are some pictures from our back yard:

Raindrops resulted in white spots on the photo of the yellow iris.

THIS SITE gives detailed instructions on dividing iris, and replanting in a sunny spot. That information was helpful in planting the rhizomes brought back from South Carolina yesterday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

South Carolina

Yesterday, I was in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Here is a recorded happening there, according to The Charlotte Observer:
ROCK HILL House painter Jerry Gibson armed himself with an electric drop cord Tuesday morning and took off running after the giant bird that ran 5 feet from his disbelieving eyes.

Gibson joined a fray of dozens Tuesday as word spread about an ostrich - an emu really, but a big bird is a big bird - strolling down Chestnut Street and elsewhere in the East Town neighborhood just east of downtown.

Now that had to be quite a scene, although I was in York, SC with daughter Julie and SIL Jack and FIL John.

Julie has been on home IV therapy for seven weeks. She is scheduled for another surgery May 7, 2010. Your prayers for her well being are again appreciated.

Julie and Jack

Above is a picture of SIL Jack's father, John Heniford, Sr. (92 yr.)  Those are his roses and iris from his yard.  Until this spring, he has been solely responsible for the upkeep of both his and Jack and Julie's lawns and gardens.