Saturday, January 31, 2009

Iowa Hearts

I received a surprise birthday package in the mail yesterday. I was completely caught off guard. It was from my cousin Amy and my Aunt Sue. With some help from my Mom and my Aunt Hess - They put together a wonderful birthday surprise for me. Even when I saw the return address - I did not even think that it was something for my birthday - I just wondered what it could be. These wonderful women that have had such an influence on my life - truly touched my heart - as they always do. I doesn't matter if I am with them - or two thousand miles away - they are always a part of me. After ripping off the outside packaging - this was on the outside of the box. This is a picture that we took last summer when I was in Iowa. We had made bracelets out of pop tops and all had them on this day that we went shopping and stopped at a coffee shop in Mason City - where we took this picture. What was taken as just a quick snapshot of our bracelets - has turned out to be one of my favorite pictures.
Taking the lid off the box - I found these. This has to be my favorite thing in the package. These will not be put away. I will find a place where I can see them every day. Simple candy boxes with the candy removed and their photos placed inside. They make me smile and cry at the same time.
Each little present was individually wrapped and numbered. I guess maybe I should have waited to open them I still have a few days until I am officially 50 - but once I got started, it was just too much fun to wait. Wizard of Oz . . . Halloween . . . Burt's Bees (I love Burt's Bee stuff) . . .buttons and wands. All the things that I like.
This mushroom is to remind me of my dad. He used to hunt morel mushrooms. (Do you actually hunt a mushroom? - anyway, he used to be quite good at finding them in the woods.) I can't say I ever tasted one myself - although I remember him bringing quite a few home. This one was hand carved by a friend of my cousins.
Amy does know me and what I like - so there was PINK stuff. Pink ornaments . . . pink ribbon . . . a pink and green lint roller!! - how cute is that! The large heart is made out of felt squares - way cute! There is a hankie sort of blending in with everything that belonged to my Grandma - she always used cloth hankies. I used to iron them for her when I was little. I was just talking to my friend Gwen about this last week. She and my mom would sprinkle their clothes with water (using a pop bottle with a metal sprinkler stuck in top) - then roll them up and put them in the drawer of the refrigerator before they ironed them. I know I am sort of going off in my memories here - but that is why when I opened up the hankie I got tears in my eyes - memories of my Grandma.
I believe I have some fabric that would make up into a cute bag - that this button would look great on.


There is a bag of candy in this picture from my Aunt Hess. When I was little and I would go stay with her, we would go to this little general store in Mitchell, Iowa and I would get to pick out penny candy. It seems like I used to pick out 10 pieces. Just 10 cents . . . but the memories again are priceless. I think I used to like the little brown paper bag back then - just as much as the candy.
Kubicek is my maiden name. (My dad cut these out.)
From Kubicek - to Smith. I haven't been asked how to spell my name too often the last 27 years - compared to the first 23. (I guess that would make me 50!)
And there is more . . . because 50 is not really what you would call a small number. (I am not letting that bother me though - I swear.) Although it is sort of a milestone birthday - and it has been on my mind probably more than any other birthday.
I am loving this magnet. How cute is he! I will think of Amy and her lattes every time I see it.
I know this post is sort of long. But if you can see the little hanger on the top of this photo - I guess I can justify rambling on about my fun package. It reads - "it's all about me!" - Something Amy and I always laugh about. Actually I am just really feeling sentimental. The small doily was made by my Grandma and the hand buttons (she used to collect hands) - were sewn on one of her jackets. The carved heart box contains a paper heart that reads - "Hugs from Aunt Hess" and under that are tiny slips of paper with the word "hugs" on each one. All these simple little things are so special.
I realized that one of the gifts is not in these picures. My Aunt Sue made the cutest buttons flowers - and I had stuck them in a vase before getting out my camera. I will post a picture of them tomorrow.
I have lived away from Iowa and my family longer than I lived there with them - but my heart will always be there - with these wonderful ladies.
"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~Desmond Tutu

What's in a Name?

I have been told by some much younger friends of mine that I should come up with a different name for my blog. I had originally titled it "Twisted Sister" - something my brothers called me - then decided just to put my name on the thing when that didn't really seem to fit. So do I dare change the title again? - of course - it is my blog and I can do whatever I want - right?
When I first met my husband - he and his friends started calling me Planet - after a song by the B52's - "Planet Claire". It stuck and I have been called Planet ever since then. My favorite is "Aunt Planet" - and someday hopefully I will be "Grandma Planet" - So Planet Clare seemed like the obvious choice - but that never really seemed like what I wanted either. I finally came up with "Life on this Planet." Let me try that out for awhile and see if I like it.
This is very typical of me to jump into something - then mess around with it and make changes until it is exactly the way I want.

"Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive." ~Thomas C. Haliburton

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Pickles" Again ~

I don't know if I like that Richard and I relate to this comic strip so often these days - I can't say I feel like we are a little old couple quite yet - Wait . . . maybe we are and I am simply in denial.
Anyway - we both got a laugh out of this one - since it is the way things would go with us.

"It is so comic to hear oneself called old, even at ninety I suppose!" ~ Alice James

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Day with Lily

My bad mood didn't last. I did put up a few things for Valentine's day - and started sewing some hearts. Nothing too exciting - but I could feel the bad mood slipping away.
I ended up going over to see Jennifer and Lily. It turned out to be a fun Lily-filled day. I thought I would try once again to get a picture of her in this hat. I had to take about 12 just to get one that wasn't blurring - do babies really wiggle this much all the time? She doesn't look too excited about the hat does she?
Then I got in on some fun - Bath Time . . .
. . . well, maybe not so fun.
This just made me laugh. She really did not seem to mind - although from the looks of her face here - she truly believes her mother is way out of line.
So we made it up to her by making her this to wear.
Lily's photo shoot.

She was a little more cooperative than when I tried to get pictures of her in the hat. I guess it is all about having your picture taken in a purple tutu.
We are going to have to make these in every color and we want to make headbands to match. I am also thinking some wings. This little girl thing is way fun.
One final picture to share - Lily and Uncle Jake

Cheer Up!

For some reason I seem to be in sort of a sullen mood this morning - and I hate that. Maybe because our five days of sunshine were interrupted by some rain - but I love rainy days so that can't be it. Maybe because I played too much yesterday and the laundry and dirty dishes are reminding me today that they still need to be done and that tomorrow morning is Monday morning - and back to work. But I don't think that is it either. Who knows - but I have to get myself out of this mood - I don't want to waste a day feeling like this.
Richard is glued to the TV watching the Australian Open - so unless I don a cute tennis outfit, grab a racquet, and jump around the living room - I am on my own. (Although that just may be the answer.) I could clean like a mad woman - I always feel better when the house is in order - but I am leaning toward "no" on that idea. I could get out all of my favorite movies or curl up with a book and make today a "do nothing" day - but that doesn't sound right either. Besides the book I am reading is so serious - I don't think it would help at all with cheering me up.
I am thinking Valentine decorations - what could be happier than pink and red hearts and cupids shooting arrow fill with happiness. I have also been wanting to sew up some stuffed hearts - so I am hoping that and a second cup of coffee will do the trick.
If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Monday, January 19, 2009

Custard Cups

I had great plans to really turn my house upside down and clean this weekend. That plan went by the wayside. Instead I have been reading, crocheting, and yesterday I went downtown to some antique stores. I found these little custard cups which I thought were too cute to pass up. But then I have a thing for small custard cups.
We can't seem to get a decent picture of Lily with this hat on - she is fussy and moving all over the place every time we try it on her. So this would be much cuter on her little head - but I wanted to post a pic of it just the same - proof that I am making something since I went back to work.
I put a little wool heart on the front for Valentine's day. I will keep trying to get her to model it for me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Enjoy today!

Is it just me or does January seem to be flying by? I have always been a little guilty of wishing my time away - wishing it were the Friday . . . wishing Summer would hurry up and get here . . . Years ago, my mom told me to be careful about wishing my time away just because I was looking forward to something in the future. When I think about it, she was probably close to the same age that I am now. (I really did listen back then - but now that I am older I really understand how important that advice was.) So as the rest of this month seems to fly by - I will make the most of each and every day. I will look for something good in every day (Although I still may cuss about the cold weather.)
And how time does fly . . .
I love these pictures. (I almost referred to them as "old pictures" - oops!) I believe I was about 3 years old when this picture was taken - and I am thinking Richard was probably around 9 or 10. Whenever I look at these pictures - it makes me stop and think that we never really know what our future holds. We grew up 2000 miles away from each other - (myself in Iowa - Richard in California.) When these pictures were taken - who could have even guessed that we would someday meet, get married, raise a family, and spend a lifetime together. Make the most of each and every day!

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back." ~ Harvey MacKay

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lily "Bug"

Lily "Bug" - showing me how her toy elephant matches her outfit. I cannot believe how much she has changed in just two months. She is cooing and laughing - and what beautiful smiles. This one little person sure has had quite an impact on everyone who loves her.
These are not very good pictures of my vanity - but I like how it turned out. I have the netting pulled back with some clothes pins at the moment - but I may "cute" that up a little - maybe with some flowers and ribbons, or possibly some beads. But then I also like the simplicity of the clothes pins alone.
The lights are great. If I had just used a regular string of lights - it would have been much brighter and I don't think it would look as pretty - but these give off such a soft pretty light. I love it!
I am, looking forward to tomorrow being Friday and the upcoming three day weekend. THREE DAY WEEKEND!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

February Angel

I bought a string of pink heart lights today -with the intention of putting them in the netting over my vanity. Which led to cleaning off the vanity - pulling out some furniture to move some lights, sorting through some stuff. It turned out cute - I will take some pictures tomorrow. This little February Angel sits on my vanity and has been smiling at me for as long as I can remember. She must have been a birthday or Valentine's present from my mom when I was little. She is a quiet reminder that I was once a little girl.

"If you seek an angel with an open heart... You shall always find one." ~ Anonymous
I may have finally settled on a background. I can't seem to find something I like well enough to keep for very long. Let's see if this one lasts more than a couple of days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shabby - but Sweet

I have had some more of these little shabby dolls cut out ever since I made a few for Halloween. There is something about them that I just like - and I have been wanting to finish them. So here is my shabby little Valentine doll - maybe a little tattered, sad and broken hearted, but she has her heart. I have another one to dress and put the hair on and a couple more to stuff. I also want to try some different bodies and hair - I know they are little weird dolls - but they are meant to be happy little dolls.
"A final comfort that is small, but not cold: The heart is the only broken instrument that works." ~T.E. Kalem

Saturday, January 10, 2009

You want to go where?

Richard called me at work yesterday laughing about this comic strip - he cut it out and stuck it on the fridge this morning. He actually is so good about going shopping with me - not matter what I am shopping for. He always finds something to look at while I take my time and wander and he is usually the one when we are out of town that looks for shops that I would like. He has been married to me for 27 years of fabric stores, yarn and bead shops, antique stores ... so he can relate to this.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pink Snowlady in January

My pink snowlady is not quite ready to be packed away - so she has settled herself under my new pink tree waiting for me to gather some cute valentine ornaments for February.
Even though all of the other holiday decorations are put away - she is not lonely - she has the company of a Neil Diamond bear - souvenir that my friend Michelle bought me at the New Year's Eve Concert.
I have a bunch of beanies that I made awhile back - ones that never were scooped up by the boys and their friends, or that I just stuck away because I didn't really like how they turned out. I thought they would look better with a little something added - and since I love hearts and buttons . . .
It was back to work today. I so enjoy the fact that working at a school gives me holidays off. Sometimes it is hard to go back after two relaxing weeks - especially getting up at 5:00 after staying up late and sleeping in most of Winter Break. Once I was up and at work though - it was OK to be back at it and it was busy and as hectic as usual - like we were never gone. The day flew by! Tomorrow morning will arrive much sooner that I would like - so time for some sleep - even though I would rather stay up late, watch a movie and crochet.
"Not the buttons! Not my gumdrop buttons!" ~ The Gingerbread Man - Shrek

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In Memory

It was two years ago today that our Grandma passed away. I miss her always - Amy does too. I am thankful that we had her for as many years as we did and for a lifetime of memories with her. She was a wonderful Grandmother!
These pictures were taken about 15 years ago.
These last two pictures were taken the last time I saw Grandma - October 2006. I will always be glad that I went to visit this time. I usually visit Iowa in the summer because I am off work - but decided sort of last minute that I needed to go home in October. I am also glad that we took these pictures that day.
So many things remind me of my grandmother - crochet hooks, doilies, crossword puzzles, the smell of toast, geraniums, rosaries, roasting marshmallows, old sheet music, Campbell soup, Whitman's candy, embroidery floss, yarn, granny squares, old christmas ornaments, quilts, milk glass, dandelions . . .
The first day I was home this particular October - I went to the nursing home to see her. Since she was in a new facility, I did not know what room she was in. I stopped at the front desk to ask for her room number and the lady pointed at Grandma sitting not too far away. When I turned around and she noticed me - she simply said, "Oh, Clare", smiled, and held out her hand. I can still hear her voice that day. I have this picture on my desk at work and every day I am reminded of how much I loved her. And even though I miss her terribly - I believe she is with me every time I pick up a hook to crochet, say a rosary, or see a red geranium.
A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend. ~Author Unknown

Friday, January 2, 2009

"Being weird is not so strange." ~ Loesje

Unfortunately I caught a cold or the flu - some bug that is making me feel terrible. I am tired of laying around - although, I do like this kleenex box. I am weird when it comes to buying tissue - I think most of the boxes are so ugly and I have a hard time finding tissue boxes that I like. Ugly tissue boxes are a pet peeve of mine - (I know it is weird - just one of my many quirks I guess. But be honest - we all have them.) Whenever Richard is going to the store and tissue is on the list - I even remind him to get a box that he thinks I will like and not to get something ugly. (Even more weird - is that he knows this - and tries to do just that. But then we have been married for 27 years and he does know me pretty well when it comes to things like that.) Richard actually bought this one - the other one he brought home was ugly though. I know - IT IS JUST KLEENEX! - I can see your face and hear you laughing dear cousin :-)
Hopefully I will be feeling better soon - and no one else around here will get sick.
“I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.” ~ Paul McCartney