Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Paper Sack Placemats

In two weeks my little chicks will all be back in this nest for a few days. From this photo you'd never guess that one of them smashed a tomato all over the neighbor boy, one lashed her friend to the stop sign out front and left her out there (for just a bit),  and the other one after being lectured (and spanked) for bearing false witness against her sister announced, "I'll never witness again." 
Leaping forsythia! This must be Easter 1957. Coats. Check. Hats and Mary Janes. Check. Purses and gloves. Check. Why do I have my hand on my sister's shoulder? I hope I was being sweet. The Easter Bunny always hid our baskets somewhere in the house. I finally located mine inside the clothes dryer. The gas clothes dryer. With the pilot light on. Thanks, Easter Bunny.
The little boys did lots of yard work in preparation for their cousins' arrival. They dammed up the creek in the back yard so we will have a sufficient water supply for outside fun.
Next they buried the secret treasure...the new box of sidewalk chalk which promptly became an illustration of ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Pop let them cut down a tree using garden trowels.
Pop knows how to keep 'em busy for a while.
We cut large pieces of brown paper from the roll and laid them out on the sidewalk.

Then we took the hose to the paper.
Got it soaking wet and didn't smooth it out too much.
The paper dries on the porch in the sun in a snap.

The artists got to work painting signs of spring.
I think they have the art gene.
We gathered up our paintings and took them to the office supply store to be  laminated.
Which reminds me of a story. I was making a card for my mother and needed a copy of a photo of her. I asked the employee if she could reduce the size of the photo where instead of the size of a tennis ball, my mother's face would be the size of a golf ball.
She frowned and stared and replied, "If I shrink her face, I'll have to shrink the rest of her."
This time the clerk said, "This looks like a brown paper sack."
"It is," I replied.
"I mean like a grocery sack. A paper sack."
"It is," I agreed.
I think he thought I'd lost it.
I didn't come up with this brown paper sack painting myself.
Marc Clauzade creates masterpieces on paper sack.
He's said to be the Degas of our time.
Looks a little more Renoir-ish to me.
You can see his fabulous paintings at the French Art Gallery on Royal Street in New Orleans.
Our paintings will be appearing as place mats on our dinner table over the next several weeks.
You can make these, too, not just with paint, but by cutting out pictures from cards, ads, magazines, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, paper containers...
...anywhere you see a fun, joy-filled sign of Easter and spring.
The whole idea is to spend time with the littles, to talk about Jesus, His life, death and resurrection.
 And the joy of knowing Him as our Savior.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vintage Hankie Jacket

Back in her room in the lower left drawer of her dressing table beneath the stack of her pretty little party clutches rested this box, a Whitman's Sampler vintage tin from 1927. I had the feeling I was about to discover another of Grandmuvver's treasures and I hoped that it wasn't 85 year-old-chocolate covered cherries. 45 perfectly pressed and carefully folded vintage hankies, one on top of the other, just waiting to hop into one of her cute purses and head out to a Delta party.
"A handkerchief is a Kleenex you don't throw away." Quickly! Who said that? Kathleen at the counter of her bookstore in "You've Got Mail." Not many ladies have great appreciation for vintage hankies any more because not many women have great appreciation for steam irons and cans of starch.

In one of those increasingly rarer aha moments, I remembered a picture of a little jacket made from vintage hankies and I knew that's exactly what Baby Gracie needed. She would need something extra special from the Grandmuvver she didn't get to know and love. The dainty little needs to be hand-washed, line-dried, and starched and pressed church jacket would be Gracie's.
Gracie got to meet Grandmuvver just once. Charles Dickens had it right. "It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God love us." It is not a slight thing when those so near to God love us, too. Grandmuvver loved us well.
 With great trepidation I spread the hankies before me, scissors in hand.Making the first cut is always the most difficult and since I never could find the instructions for making the little jacket, I was on my own. First, I drew the pattern pieces for the jacket on batiste, took a deep breath and sliced into the first hankie. Each piece was pinned to the batiste where I could see the pattern lines. The little piece running diagonally down the middle is a scrap of embroidery from the dress that Gracie's cousin wore in Gracie's mama's wedding.
I snipped and pinned, unpinned, and re-pinned until things began to take shape. These are the two sleeves ready to be stitched. A spool of thread, a needle and a long winter evening make for some good  handwork time.
Some lace from Gracie's mama's wedding gown, a snippet from a baptism outfit, a flower from Grandmuvver's sewing box and everything fell into place.
Once all of the piecing had been finished, the sleeves, front and back cut out, batiste lining cut as well...
...the sewing began.
The pattern is Robin's Little Jacket by Children's Corner.
All done. Hand washed, line-dried, steam pressed and spray starched.
Ready for little Gracie.
Grandmuvver loved this little baby.
Now we can wrap her up in her own little piece of
Grandmuvver love.