Sunday, February 24, 2008

Paul's New Mugs

My son, Paul just took some new mugs out of the kiln. He sent me these photos taken with the camera on his cell phone. I might be just a bit prejudiced, but I think his mugs are great. He says that folks tell him they are masculine and I'd agree with that. These mugs hold between 12 and 14 ounces. I love the shapes of the mugs, the way he turns the lip out and the way the handle fits your hand. He's a coffee drinker and takes his mugs seriously.

He told me that he was experimenting with some new glazes when he did these, so each one is a different color.

Not only is he a potter, he also works in lots of other media. He has made all sorts of beautiful things. I'm partial to the Celtic designs he creates on glass.

His largest work so far is a one ton life-sized marble sculpture of a Galapagos land tortoise.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg . . . did I tell you that he's also a wood carver, a musician . . .
a wonderful cook . . . and a handsome devil to boot! I'll share more of his work later.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Do Retired People Do All Day?

Several friends have told me they missed my blogs. I'll try to do better. Retired people do sometimes have little things that keep them busy. One little thing that keeps me busy is my grandbaby. She and I have lots of very important business that must come before anything else. Every day we must READ. She has her favorite books and I have mine. The one book she must read every day is the Baby Einstein book with mirrors on every page. This photo of her with Grandpa reading is several months old. It took a while for her to realize that she was the image in the mirror. Now she likes to give herself sweet, sloppy kisses as we read each page.
Today she hung on to another Baby Einstein book. This one is a photo album I made for her as part of her Valentine. The five pages are made so that you can insert 4x6 photos and there is a wallet-sized space for her picture on the cover. She loves the handle . . . it's a teething ring. (The pages are made in so that a flap holds the picture in and the moisture out.)
As you can see, she and her things have taken over our living room and we wouldn't have it any other way!

I find time to read my favorite books in the afternoons and evenings when Suzi is at home with her parents. This week I'm reading Down Town by Ferrol Sams. I believe I have read every book Ferrol Sams has written. I started with Run With the Horsemen and I'm still reading everything he writes. He is a humorist and a great storyteller. All of his writings are based, sometimes loosely, on places and events that actually occurred. When I read When All the World Was Young, I could picture my father who served in the Medical Corp as one of his WWII characters and my uncle as another. My uncle wrote a letter home that so closely resembled what Ferrol Sams wrote that it made me wonder of they could have been shipped overseas together.

I'm going to read a few more pages before I turn in! I'lll try to do more blogging next week.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Homemade Babyfood

Today I made up several batches of babyfood cubes to add to the collection in the freezer. Very simple to prepare and freeze . . . and makes feeding easier than opening commercially packaged babyfood. With the food cubes Suzi can enjoy variety without dealing with leftovers, and I can be sure there are no additives in her food. I sometimes add just a touch of cinnamon to her apples.

Today I worked with carrots, sweet potatoes and apples. I chose fresh fruit and vegetables, peeled (and cored, if necessary) and steamed until tender.

Fruit and vegetables were pureed to desired texture, adding a little of the water from the pot to get the desired consistency. Then spooned into ice trays and frozen until very solid before transferring cubes into freezer containers. I prefer box-style containers as they stack well in the freezer.

Labeling is a good idea. Pears and apples look much alike, as do carrots and sweet potatoes.
To serve: I place several cubes on a plate and microwave for a few seconds at the time until just the right temperature. Stir and double check temperature before serving.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Josephine . . . Our Treasure from the Past

Making dolls and doll clothes is one of the things I enjoy most. When my daughter was a little girl I loved making clothes for her American Girl dolls. I guess it took me back to my childhood when I had a collection of all sorts of dolls . . .Teri Lee, Tiny Tears, Sissy, Toni (whose hair "grew" when you brushed it) . . . I had no less than 40 in my collection.

I have made and dressed quite a few dolls. Some of them are family keepsakes. This one, Josephine, belonged to my grandfather who was born in 1869. She was made and dressed for him by his grandmother in the early 1870's. He kept her well, leaving her to his family when he passed away in 1946. By the 1930's her clothes had become so ragged that my grandmother redressed her in a dress made from feed sacking. (Josephine in her feed sack dress below.)

When I was a little girl my grandmother allowed me to hold Josephine only when I was sick . . . usually too sick to enjoy holding her. She was one of my grandmother's most prized possessions. In the 1980's my mother inherited Josephine and several years ago, gave her to my daughter as a Christmas gift. By this time her feed sack clothing had deteriorated so much that it was falling apart. It was time for repairs. Since fabric of her vintage was nowhere to be found, my daughter chose light blue batiste (to match the doll's eyes) for her dress and bonnet. I made her bloomers and slip in white batiste trimmed with lace and pintucks. In an effort to preserve Josephine's history, I saved and vacuum packed each article of clothing that was removed. My great-great grandmother had hand-sewn her body from striped ticking and her shoes from green upholstery fabric. I mended her body where the joints were coming loose, marveling that I was actually sewing the same seams by hand that my great-great grandmother had sewn over a century before. Josephine's arms were very tattered. I covered them rather than remove and replace them.

Although she belongs to my daughter, Josephine remains in my home, resting in the hand-built cradle my great-grandfather made for her in the early 1870's. My daughter insists that she will be safer here . . . I believe she knows how special she is to me and doesn't want to take her away from me just yet.