Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Dear Friends,

This post is dedicated to my good friend, Lynn, for a couple of reasons. First, because when I recently mentioned dressing up as a British schoolboy for Halloween back in 1983 or 1984, she asked to see a photo. Second, because it is her wedding anniversary! And third, because I think Halloween is Lynn's favorite holiday. And so, without further ado, here are some blasts from the past.
P.S. Happy Anniversary to you and Dave!

Halloween, 1977.
Here I am dressed as Scarlett O'Hara at age 13. The occasion was my BFF Ellen's Halloween party. I'm wearing my mom's dress from her college junior prom, ca. 1958. A friend later wore the same dress for Halloween. I think by now it is long gone, though for years it hung in our furnace room storage closet.

It's an interesting experience, wearing a hoop skirt. I really don't know how those Southern belles got around in them. At least I didn't have to wear a corset, chemise and pantalettes underneath. 

Mom and Dad at the prom
Here are my parents, with Mom in The Dress. Don't they make a handsome couple?

And last, but not least...
Halloween 1981
I think I found this dress in my friend Susanne's attic. It was an honest-to-goodness relic from the '60s. Now, some people would say I was not dressed up for Halloween that year, as I was heavily into punk rock anyway. However, I would not have worn a dress to school, most likely.

I wish I still had that handbag! It was faux leopard. Soft and furry!

Lynn, I couldn't find the "British schoolboy costume" photo. It must have gotten lost or tossed at some point. I hope you enjoyed these pics instead.

I wish everyone a Happy (and safe) Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Last of the Monarchs

Dear Friends,

We are finally getting some beautiful autumn weather, and today was one of those spectacular fall days! Not too hot, and not too cold. And no rain! By mid-afternoon, the sun was shining so brightly I needed my sunglasses.

After I left the historical society for the day, I crossed the street to a lovely garden maintained by a certain lady who shall remain unnamed. For many years now, she has cultivated a "publicly private" garden in the center of the city. Located next to a humdrum parking lot, it brings joy to those who visit from March through November.

I have long dreamed of having a garden that begins its cycle with snowdrops and continues until snowfall, but a lack of yard space, time and other factors have prevented me from doing so. But, anytime I want, I can drop by Mrs. X's garden and see what's blooming.

Today, a squirrel chattered at me crossly as I walked down the sidewalk to view the huge dahlias. I tried to capture him on film and had no luck!

Who did I find, however? The last of the monarch butterflies, no doubt, before he heads to Mexico! This fella (or gal) was incredibly busy, as guessed it! A bee!

This bee was one of several buzzing about, including the fat "bumble" variety, my personal favorite!

On to another dahlia...

...and back again...till he rose into the air and disappeared. Heading south, no doubt.

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is. I've never seen it anywhere else. If you know, please leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail, OK?

Could this be the last rose of summer?

And is this the last of the red hot chili peppers?

Such a beautiful day!

I wish you a beautiful day, too!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mad About Hats

Dear Friends,

Do you like hats? Are you one of those people who thinks hats should make a comeback?

I definitely am, and that's why I've been a bit absent these past couple of weeks.

I was thrilled to be asked to be guest curator at the Luzerne County Historical Society, for an exhibit titled, "Mad About Hats." As someone with a lifelong interest in both history and fashion, this exhibit was the perfect blend of my interests!

Hats from the early to late 1800s. Aren't they charming?

With the help of the museum's curator, her assistant and my husband, the exhibit was pulled together in just two weeks, opening on October 7.

Children's hats

"Mad About Hats" is accompanying "The Polish in Luzerne County" exhibit, which focuses on the experiences of Polish immigrants who settled here during the "boom years" of immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Fluffy Edwardian hat

I feel extremely privileged to be able to not only view, but handle these delicate millinery works. Some of them are very tiny--I cannot imagine how small the women who wore them must have been!

Some examples from my favorite era, the1920s, including a girls' basketball uniform beanie

They were made from all sorts of materials--horsehair, velvet, silk, ostrich feathers, felt and fur. The clothing of the past seems so much more glamorous than that of today! Not that I would want to be squeezed into a corset...especially in 90 degree weather...

The fabulous '40s. Check out that evening headdress in front, at left!

There are some adorable crocheted baby caps and bonnets. The handwork on them is unbelievable!

More children's hats. So sweet!

Some samples from the 1950s and '60s

Also included in the exhibit is a case of related ornaments, such as hat pins (which are way longer and more pointy than I had imagined!) and combs.

"Mad About Hats" will run through November 12. If you are in town, please stop by and pass a pleasant hour viewing these vintage beauties!

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thought for Today

Image by Mikeinwayne

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Dear Friends:

I needed this poem today to remind me that it is OK that I am not a superstar, that I am not burning up the world with my brilliance and that it is OK that I just am.

Every day or so, I see the wild geese flying south, honking their mournful honk, and I feel a certain sadness. A friend found me weeping in a flower garden several days ago. She asked what was wrong, and I replied that the flowers were so beautiful, and I was crying because they would be dead soon. 

"But they're here now," she reminded me. 

And now is all we have. I need to remember that when I worry about what my future holds.

I wish you a wonderful now, a wonderful be and a wonderful am

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Goodbye, September

Hello, my friends--

September came to a close yesterday. I can hardly believe it is October, one of my favorite months. October is the month when the geese fly south, the trees put on one last show before their winter sleep and the squirrels run like mad, gathering food for their winter store. October is the time to savor the last warm, sunny days of the year, and to enjoy things like apple cider, apple dumplings and pumpkin seeds.

October also brings me to the end of the ICAD project. I'd still like to continue with a daily art project, but I am not sure what I will do. No matter--I know it is good (maybe essential) for my soul to make some art every day.

Some of my cards from September are private rants that I won't be showing to anyone. I'll probably include them in my stack when I bind it together, though, since rants are part of me. (Perhaps a too regular part of me, but that's another story).

I have truly enjoyed both making the ICADs and sharing them with all of you. And I want to thank every one of you who has made a comment on my cards, either here on my blog or on my flickr account (see my sidebar for a link). I also look forward to sharing my next art adventure with you as well.

Here are some of my cards:
Little Sisters. Materials used: Scrapbooking paper, image from, transparency, die-cut.
Turquoise. Materials used:  Paper Whimsy image, acrylic paint, assorted papers. 

Watercolor. Materials used:  Frisket, Caran d'ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons.
Dragonfly. Materials used: Hand-carved stamps, Chalk Inks, Faber-Castell Big Brush pens, Distress Stain, background papers from 7 Gypsies, Glaze and Gelly Roll pens. 
Masking Tape ICAD. Materials used: Tim Holtz stickers, Paper Whimsy image, die cuts, Glaze Pen, acrylic paints, and background created with masking tape.
Tiny Little Houses. Materials used: Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels. 
It Takes a Village. More tiny little houses, this time done with Bic Mark-It Permanent Markers.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend! And, Happy October 1!

Till next time,