Sunday, March 29, 2015

fashion yikes

Ugly. Hideous. Laughable... and just plain hard to look at!!
My family [minus one brother for some reason and one nephew added in] Easter Sunday 1975.
I mean, come on! Even 1975 must have though this was not a good look.
The polyester, the helmet-head hair styles, the... Oh!, it's just to frightening!
Looks like my Dad was mid-sentence probably saying something like, "Don't record this fashion nightmare because 33 years from now Amy will be Lampooning it on her blog!"
My little nephew is the only one to escape the stigma. Even dressed as 1975 he still comes out being cute!
As I recall, this yellow polyester dress had very scratchy lace at the neckline and cuffs and the LONG zipper up the back must have been sewed in with nasty nylon thread as it irritated my skin.
Real nice.
Of course, my Aunt and Uncle will recognise this background!
1975 had it's good points. Clothing/hairstyle category was not one of my personal favorites.
I came across this photo and tossed it aside and then thought, "Why not post it. We could all use some comic releif. A good, deep, right out loud, belly laugh!!"

my brother

Here I am with my oldest of three brothers.

I have been told I had a so called "spoiled childhood". Could I help it that I was the only girl and the youngest child? I guess if having 3 older brothers meant the luck of not too many hand me downs of clothing (or dolls) and such as a kid, then YES! I was spoiled!! Also the fact that my youngest of three brothers was still older than me by 8 years made me almost like the second wave of family activity!

Since almost 15 years separate me from my oldest brother, that meant he was moved out of the house and married before I started having a whole lot of conscious memories of our family time as siblings under the same roof.


I recently went to a family wedding at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo. Many of my relatives have been married there, all the way back to the 1940's.

It is absolutely breathtaking and each and every time I have been inside it, throughout my life, I am still awe struck. It has so much history and trivia attached to the building- inside and out.
My aunt-in-law was the sacristan there for many years and I always intended to have her give my kids a tour through her eyes and tell all the unknown secrets too. Sadly, she now has Alzheimer's and does not even recognize her 15 kids (yes! I did say 15!!). We waited too long. Do not wait to do things- even simple things- if you know anyone with Alzheimer's!
Everywhere you look inside and out there are wonders to discover!! Imagine all the hours of labor lovingly done by hand. Old buildings are truly the best. New construction is sometimes (in my amateur opinion) done quickly, often devoid of detail and not meant to last.
See the skull up there? I was always told that it was there to keep evil spirits from entering. I do not know if that is true. It could also mean that life is fleeting or it could represent Golgotha- "the place of a skull".

Even if you aren't Catholic this church is a one of those buildings that makes you want to see more and find new details around each corner.

You can take a tour by clicking here and following the directions to see many breathtaking features of the Cathedral.
There is also a blog that shows many, many great photos of the Cathedral. Get yourself something to drink, place it on a coaster next to your key board and settle in for some beauty and history.

This is the beautiful bride and her handsome groom. It was such a memorable day. There were many people attending the celebration.

This wedding cake was HUGE and very unique!! It looked like stacked hat boxes and each layer had live hydrangeas on top of the "boxes".

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Count down to 50

 I am counting down the days till my milestone birthday. I have found the months leading up to this event have brought many deep thoughts on life and what means the most to me. Things I have done and wish yet to accomplish and enjoy. It is the stuff that I thought I would have had opportunity to do thus far and have not had the chance or time that seem to fill my thoughts most of all. I hope I can still do many of those things.

 I find I am a young-thinking person, I am younger in my imagination than the mirror shows me (although, many people swear I don't look my age. I thank them for the compliment... or the good talent of being a great liar!).

I was shopping the other day, with my daughter. I love to have one-on-one time with each of my 3 kids. She reminds me a lot of myself in many circumstances. And I swear it was just only yesterday I was her age at her same school...really!! I was on the hunt for new work shoes for me (boring, ugly ones- darn it!).  In one store we found a great dress for her (I love that she sometimes likes pretty clothes and pretty shoes, to balance out all the fun clothes she loves too!),

We also included a visit into a rather off-beat store that sells everything from pin-back buttons to novelty t-shirts to dresses to funky jewelry. It was at my request, I love almost every item in there and told her if I were 20 years younger I would buy nearly one of everything!!.... and she said "Wow Mom!, I would never guess you like the stuff in this store!" She did not say it in a way that she was shocked, but rather that she was happy I liked it and was wishing I felt I could still wear some of it. Very cool... although, there I go showing my age saying "cool". Geez!

She bought another dress-- a very unique, and perfect for her, dress... and I bought a dress for myself for a birthday gift (which I wore already last night for dinner out) that is a basic and pretty, age appropriate style for any young-thinking girl. (those kind of dresses are super wonderful). I love empire waist, hemline above the knee-styles, since I am short in stature and short-waisted too. Fashion basics spell they make you seem a tiny bit more in proportion and less chopped in half.

 I ended up finding some (ugly) perfect for work shoes, non-slip bottoms, comfortable to wear 9 hrs-on your feet moving constantly-kind of a deal. My new job of about 6 wks' time has been a learning experience and fun too. I am back to full time work after not having that since last June. What an ordeal that was to live through. Finding you are wa-a-a-y older than your co-workers, and even your bosses too, is a sobering revelation. But, what I have decided is this-- I have much more life experience which can't be well defined on any resume. It just makes you understand what is important and what really isn't, in just about any situation --job or every day life. You can't teach that in a few years of college. That degree comes only with age, and some failure, and learning day by day to be better, and learn from mistakes. Middle age has its advantages. I have discovered many.

My blog used to be a place to sort out my thoughts and review my dreams for days and years ahead. I fell away from, that for a time, many times over the years since my blog started. Maybe this week I will (try to) get back to that, as I do my count down.

I found these ads for products I've used and loved at one time. I am a scent-driven person, and I can recall in my memory, the way these items all smelled. The F. Organics was one of my all-time favorites and I used it on my long blonde hair until the product could no longer be found on store shelves. Wish it could come back like some of the retro soda pop brands that have made their returns for nostalgia. I would love that! I would buy a case, heck...maybe 2 or 3!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

time to pull the batteries

What do you do with your time? Do you fill time with a balance of work and fun, needed activities and wanted activities? Do you live by your watch on your wrist, clock on your phone, clock in the car, or on the kitchen wall? I live by all of these... and the calendar on my phone and the calendar as big as my whole freezer door in the kitchen!!
Sometimes I watch little kids play and think about how time is nowhere on their minds. That is bliss. Why is it that when we are young we can't wait to be grown up? When we are grown up we find we are missing lots of what we left behind .... things we did not realize we had so nice!
I have a list on my refrigerator that reminds me of things I want to do.
One thing is --do watercolors. Painting.
That wish has sat on that list in just alphabet letters for far too long... time to take the batteries out of the clocks and fill the tabletop with paper and paints and water and brushes and pull up a chair!!

What have I done?

  • recycled old book illustrations into craft projects
  • disposed of (donated, gave away to friends) more magazines than I cared to count...only kept a stack of torn out interesting pages equal to about an inch, instead of piles and piles of mags!
  • took down some collectible plates from the front hall, washed up in prep for selling
  •  continue to look around at things in the house with new eyes, deciding what can go
What do I need to do?
  • tackle my closet mess
  • take more deep breaths and loosen my shoulders when I find myself tensing up
  • make more Sunday meals that last as left overs throughout the week
  • take longer walks and be more patient about waiting to ride my bike when the windchill won't freeze off my face
What do I want to do?
  • watercolor
  • purge more from my file cabinets
  • decide on a color for my kitchen cabinets
  • find out that the interview I have coming up is for full time work

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fairy cover

Do you believe in fairies? We have fun at our house pretending they visit under our tall pine trees to play in the sticks, moss, and pine cones. Sometimes we build tiny houses and fences for them to come and visit. It is a challenge to build one that will stand through many seasons of wind, rain, and snow and ice. Especially hard when we only use natural items, no wire or nails, glue, etc. Sure is fun to believe they do pay a visit and are just too shy to make their appearance while we watch.

If you like this beautiful old, well-loved, well-worn book cover you see above, you may find it and check it out.... listed HERE.

Monday, January 7, 2013

on to new partying

The new year is here and the celebrating is done for the holidays... but at our house the partying continues with A.'s birthday. She will be 17. I wish I could have stayed eternally age 17.

I love this image above. It speaks to me somehow. I enjoy vintage images-- and black and white is special in photos like it was in television. I think kids now miss out a lot on using imagination. They don't need to. They don't have time to.

Watch an old movie or TV show on DVD and see how your brain turns the images into color without even trying.... that's why we were so good at using imagination. We also played outside EVERY day-- it was not an event, it was life. Playing outside meant using your imagination. The things we did and played with rarely used batteries, and never used electricity. It was all powered by imagination, an endless power supply!!

What have I finished?

  • sorted more books(fiction and non-fiction) and magazines to send other places to live
  • moved the TV to a new location within the family room-- it seems to be a hit with everyone
  • reorganizing the pantry, and finding I am shopping even more carefully than ever before
What do I need to do?

  • find the top of my desk, it is suffocating under paperwork
  • freeze the rest of my batch of homemade bean soup-- I never know how to make a small pot of soup
  • make some apple crisp to use up the apples before they go bad
What do I want to do?

  • paint my lamps in my bedroom to be gloss black, the lampshades will be perfect
  • have lunch with a friend I have not seen in 10 years or more, it may be soon if we can mesh schedules
  • hang a big mirror in a spot I have been plotting out

Saturday, December 29, 2012

double exposures

I have a fascination with double exposure photos. 
I have had a curious nature in the area of photography throughout my whole life, probably because my mom was an avid amateur shutterbug. I was her most frequent subject.
I have a lot to learn about cameras, photo-taking, and such. A lot I want to learn, a lot I should learn, a lot I may never learn or master, and a lot I do not care to worry about.
I just love capturing moments in everyday life and I love old photographers who did the same.
But still, I have to say that double exposure photos hold the most interest for me. I can study them for hours and revisit them over and over and still have the same thrill each time.
I need a real life, you say? Probably so.
You can find a double exposure of me in the photos in my right side margin. I am playing the child-sized piano, and it seems, rollerskating at the same time, like a clone. Pretty neat-o, since I often need to clone myself to get enough done or be in 2 places at once, as a mom.

Here is one in my collection. I don't know these people.
You may click on the photos to enlarge them for a better look.
What's fun about this one is that the double exposures are each at different placements- one at vertical or portrait, the other at horizontal or landscape. This makes the images easier to study as they are not doubled on top of one another. It makes it easier to find which arm goes with which person and so on.

So, here we go... a well dressed, pleasant enough family unit, I think you'll agree.
Of note is the  interesting toy boat in the son's hand that I have outlined on the scanner to bring into focus. As some boys did, he is wearing a sailor-type shirt. Imagine his weary mother trying to keep that bright white and crisply ironed !

Flipped the other direction... and now you see a photo which includes additional family members or friends in an area of extensive brick. It begs the question: Is the floor bricked also? Take another look at the first photo and see if the floor in the 2nd photo is an optical illusion in that it is actually the wall in the first photo? What do you think?
Of note: I have outlined on the scanner, the boy in front is holding a string in his hand that is being pulled by something outside the view of this photo; a dog, maybe? Also outlined is the fact that an adult woman is sitting in a rather un-lady-like manner with her knees spread wide, like mother always said not to sit. Maybe they should have considered that Aunt Mable couldn't join in the proposed pose due to her arthritis, huh?

Have you stopped to think that double exposures are a thing of past photographic eras with the digital camera age? I don't think it is a possibility to have this accident of the photographer happen. Then there is the topic of the delete button and how many everyday snapshots are deemed not worthy of being keepers... like those that we treasure from long ago society.

 I have other great antique and retro era double exposure photos I should share later. In the meantime, check out my photo Etsy and also Studio blog, links located in right side margin.

If you care to, there is a great link HERE 
to read about cabinet cards and their era of popularity.
HERE is another story about dating antique photos of many kinds. I found them very exciting.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

our first real snow of the season

How wonderful the world looks around me, in the first snow to stick for this season! 
The trees look like they are carefully frosted. 
The night time is brighter in the white glow.


  • the fireplace heating up the brick kitchen wall
  • watching old vhs movie favorites under a down-filled quilt
  • ham leftovers for lunch and dinner
  • all the lights turned off except the Christmas tree
  • planning for bowling and ice skating with the kids
  • my car which gets me safely around and stops well in the snow
  • a warm bed to curl up in with soft blankets and cozy flowered pillow case
  • a connection to a dear friend at just the right times

  • switch to my new computer desk area set-up
  • continue weeding out Christmas decor
  • sort more magazines that were hand-me-downs
  • hear from a long not seen friend I have reached out to
  • set up some clearance sale item listings in my Etsy shop
  • challenge myself to use more of the food on hand in the newly organized pantry

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas greeting

Merry Happy Christmas
May your new year be filled with 


I have been looking through my old posts about my home and collections.
I think it is a good thing to chronicle the every day things in one's life, it gives perspective.
I have changed.
A lot.
My priorities.
My tastes.
My interests.
My expectations.
Looking at past snapshots of my home tells me a lot more than what is seen in the photos.
It reveals a lot about me... to me!

But on the surface, and as far as what is in the photos, this is what I find--
I have eliminated lots of things in my life mostly by choice, but a tiny few by other circumstances.
For example:
1. Two ugly blue plaid love seats (always hated those), gone. Same for ugly red and blue plaid couch from other room, gone. Both were inherited and they provided a place to sit and no more than that as an attribute.
2. Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and paraphernalia, also gone for the most part and what is left (about 5%) of it, packed away.

3. Dishes, dishes, and more dishes... all inherited and some dragged in the house by other means. Now given away, or donated to charity. Out of my life.

4. Teddy Bears and dolls, but SO much more to get rid of by any means. Always hated the inherited Teddy Bears. Sorry. The dolls, well, way too many. and besides, the girls don't want all those when they are out on their own anyway. Both Teddies and dolls have a lot of emotional guilt attached to them as far as feeling obligated to retain. No more. The guilt curse must be broken. Saying is way more easy than doing. So much guilt of the money that was spent (not by me) on such a non-useful item.

5. Why is it that people ( some direct person in my family tree) felt that spending money on certain things was to be considered an investment for when the stuff came to be mine? I say it was foolish wasteful use of funds. There, I said it. The economy may have been different once upon a time, but I have 2 sayings to conclude this point.
First-- What things are supposedly worth and what people are willing to pay for them are two VERY different points of reality.
Secondly-- Having a lot of useless "valuable" things means you just have to leave more behind when you are homeless.
Don't get me wrong, I am not planning on being homeless. Just sayin'. Think about it, and I think you will agree. In the height of the foreclosure era do you ever drive through an unfamiliar neighborhood and see empty houses and lots of stuff out at the curb? Did they choose to move out of a rental situation and simply did not want all that to follow them to their new destination? Or was it that a well settled family (who went through unforeseen unfortunate times)  had to leave stuff they had (like the 4 kids' favorite games and trophies or family heirlooms from 4 generations ago) because they had just so long to pack what they could fit into their cousins' basement who was kindly enough to take in the family under their crowded roof until something better comes along? I think of this stuff. A lot of my kids' friends have faced this. It's sad.

6. In general, as I look at the past photos of my home, I see that I have lightened the load of thinking that everything that comes into my life, by means other than my choice, does NOT have to stay in my life...or home. I have begun to look at purchasing ANYTHING with a different mindset. I continue to struggle with lightening the load even more. Time is the main factor in this. Sorting is the process. Things need different categories, you know the drill... sell, donate, give away, keep. Sometimes I think it is easier to just bring in a dumpster like the ones they use when you get a new roof and grab a snow shovel and open a window, start scooping and chuck it all out. YES I AM EXAGGERATING... yet, you get my point.

7. There are many more specifics regarding changes about which items have been used, displayed, or stored within my environment, but the conclusion is... at this stage of my life, less is more. I am utterly and completely comfortable in other people's homes that have lots of furniture and knick-knacks (chatchkies), or paper build up (I will never be free from that myself!), or an untidy cluttered (yet clean) atmosphere. I am absolutely and completely 100% comfortable with that at other people's homes....just not mine...because to me it represents my own expectations with myself and what I want to accomplish for my life. My family and friends all live somewhere in the middle between an episode of hoarders vs. a sterile surfaced, temperature controlled, air filtered bubble. I don't know anyone personally at either extreme end of that scale.  I understand that I could never be comfortable anywhere that is an ultra minimalist-type home, be it my own home or someone else's. I could never live that way nor could I feel comfortable and cozy to sit for 5 minutes at a home that does live that way. You know the kind... 1)where there are no pictures anywhere, 2)no mail or bills sitting about needing attention, 3)no kid art gracing, maybe, the front of the refrigerator or displayed proudly somewhere prominently, 4) blanket tossed over the end of the couch, 5) a dish or two waiting to be washed or popped into the dishwasher after Sunday brunch (but if they sit one minute too long I go crazy), 6) laundry waiting to be done, or 7)at least a trace of dust (temporarily!!)somewhere near the wood burning fireplace to write your name in along side a smiley face, or..... you get the idea, right?

Holiday Cheer

What Have I Been Up To?

  • Trying to secure a job that fits. (failing miserably)
  • Trying to clean and decorate the house. (failing miserably)
  • Trying to maintain a smile so everyone can see the me they want to see. (failing?)
  • Trying to put myself first on the list for a change. (or anywhere on the list, number 1,001 would be even acceptable)
What Do I Need To Do?

  • Prepare, serve and hostess a dinner for family and friends.
  • Be a wonderful wife, mother, and all the rest.
  • Make it through another holiday season.
What do I Want To Do?

  • Bask in the joy of observing anyone other than me clean a toilet (or anything else) around here.
  • Disappear for 24 hrs and see if anyone notices.
  • Relax for any amount of time, do nothing for more than 30 seconds, not look at a calendar for a day, have no appointments for 24 hours...... in other words, BE SELFISH.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Random, Unnecessary, Facts about me

1. both my girls have bigger feet than I

2. I like to slice a banana in my Rice Krispies cereal

3. the movie Uncle Buck with John Candy always makes me laugh, no matter how many times I watch it

4. I am only cold when it is lower than 20 degrees outside- I often don't wear a coat until then

5. I love playing Chinese checkers, but I dislike playing regular checkers

6. my Mom couldn't swim, my guy can't swim, I was on the swim team and earned a varsity letter in school

7. I once wrote reports on President Lincoln and President Polk. The teacher made me do Polk

8. I love casseroles and the way they are usually lots of weird things thrown together

9. nightmares fill my sleep every night--been that way as long as I can remember

10. climbing into a blanket fort under a table is just as fun for me as an adult as when I was a kid

11. Late night trips to the grocery store are the best ever, a different world

12. While I listen to someone talk to me I always focus on just 
one of their eyes

Thursday, December 6, 2012

another day in a string of bliss

What have I been up to?

  • having to accept that some things just happen as they will, no matter how much planning you do in life (a tough realization sometimes, for me that is!)
  • adjusting lifestyle to 1 paycheck after finally being pretty gosh darn comfy with 2 ( I am worth so much more, but have to be humble in securing that a paycheck is again at least steadily received)
  • enjoying little moments with family and friends ( not saying I have oodles and oodles of friends more than you, but why is there never enough time for all the fun that beckons to be had with those you treasure?)
What have I completed?

  • painted a thrifted desk that has been patiently awaiting my attention for FAR too long. It is now semi-gloss black with sleek silver metal drawer pulls and a decoupaged top featuring gobs of clock face images sealed off with plenty of clear coat (to protect precious "time")
  • taking the 1st big step to changing a kitchen that has been asking for a make-over for nearly 58 yrs (will be a slow process... due to second point above)
  • sorting through and eliminating scads of magazines (did you know that if you only save the pages you really are interested in, you can make the compressed foundation of your house rise a few inches?)
What do I need to do?
  • clean my closet (what the heck is in the back anyway?)
  • dig out the favorite Christmas decor and chuck the rest to the goodwill (the kids probably don't want that stuff one thinks they do when they move out some day. Someday seems a  l o n  g way off !)
  • write some Thank You notes ( to show I have some upbringing, after-all)
What do I want to do?
  • disassemble the dog pen before the snow flies so I can see more of the pines coated in frosty white sparkles (or at least stop looking at the eyesore as it is now)
  • tackle the file cabinet so my new year will start fresh (Geez, I hate ugly paperwork build-up)
  • put more photos in black frames, new and vintage (writing on the backs would be a bonus too)

season of vintage fun

I'll say it again.... The colors of these old images get me every time. Soft, yet vivid. I am a girl who notices the little things, how 'bout you? The crisp red and white (my two favorites together no matter what they grace), the sharp green around his shoulder, the yellow of his pants cuff, the subtle pink of the bricks. *sigh*

Have fun with Mr. Jolly if you print him.
Here are some suggestions:

1. gift tag by just sticking some tape on it, or better yet, punch a hole and add some recycled twine

2. twin images glued back to back with a special ribbon scrap loop sandwiched between the glued pieces and dangled from a special spot to make you smile when you see his smile

3. have an old piece of styrofoam hanging around somewhere?.... put it in the bottom of any deep bowl, vase, or whatever strikes your fancy, add some pine sprigs or holly (or both!) to stand upright... add to that an old tarnished fork (or new one), standing upright as well, and use the tines to hold the image.... place your creation on a mantle, entrance table, or as a dinner centerpiece