Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vintage Paintings

While scrounging around in the my basement recently,
I came across a few paintings stacked in a corner
that I had somehow forgotten about over the years.

As I sorted through them,
I found myself smiling at the sweet memories they evoked in my heart.

This painting that was given to me a long time ago by someone who was going to toss it.
I grabbed it and stuffed it in my car.
I loved this tranquil scene with its soft edges and quiet feel.

I temporarily propped it in front of the large mirror on top of the bookcases in my studio
next to the vintage hatbox that my friend, Randi, gave me (top hatbox).
[I wallpapered the hatbox in a pretty blue floral print.]

Another painting that I rescued from the abyss in my basement was one that was created by my great grandmother, Grace Whitman.
It's approximately 60 years old.
(I think she may have had a bit of bohemian hippy in her sweet old soul.)

I always loved Grandma's name.

After some ancestory research many years ago,
it was discovered that I am related to Walt Whitman.
How cool is that?
Maybe that's where my love of writing, photography, and nature is rooted.

Three generations of my father's side of the family dabbled in painting on canvas.
My great-grandmother, Grace,
my grandmother, Lorena,
and my father, Gordon.

My Dad even helped my Mom paint a still-life once.
Dad painted his first and Mom loved it so much,
she wanted to try to make one.

I can vividly remember him sitting by her side at the kitchen table
evening after evening,
guiding her hand and patiently teaching her some basics of oil painting.

Of all the paintings I have, I treasure these two the most.
The one he painted is the smaller one on the right.
Mom's is the larger one on the left.

I feel blessed to own paintings from each of them.

This beautiful rose painting was originally purchased at the big Brimfield Flea Market,
found a temporary home with Stephanie Bradley,
and landed a forever home at Heaven's Walk.

Thank you, my sweet friend!

The blush pink rose painting on the right was purchased for a song at the Allegan Antique Market last summer. I couldn't pass up the soft pastel colors.

It's almost like a garden is blooming on the frantle in my kitchen.
The tangled prairie hearts I made lay scattered like silver petals...

"Little Girl Sitting" was painted by my father over 45 years ago
when he was a rookie student in his first painting class.
It's one of the largest of the paintings he created.
When I was just a child, I remember him saying that it reminded him of me.
It used to hang in the entry foyer of my childhood home.

"Be The Light" was another one of his creations.
I always loved this painting because of the beautiful shades of blues.
It was the main reason why I ended up getting married on the beach in front of a lighthouse in northern Michigan 29 years ago.
I also fell in love with coastal Maine when I attended a friend's wedding out there one summer,
where the Husband and I stayed in a bed & breakfast inn on the coast
and fell asleep each night to the sound of frothy blue waves crashing on the rocky shore.

and evidence of God-given talent
surrounds me in my studio.

It feels like great-Grandma Grace,
Grandma Lorena,
my mom and my dad
are right here with me.

Love poured onto canvas.

I can almost see them all smiling
as I work with my hands.
And  although I never quite captured an interest in painting on canvas,
I pour my own love into creating my dream catchers and rosaries.

"The most wonderful moment of the day is that when creation in its innocence asks permission to "be" once again, 
as it did on the first morning that ever was."
~Thomas Merton, 'A Book of Hours'

~ "Be" the Blessing ~

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

House of Love

I lean over her aging face ~
upside down ~
and kiss her soft cheek.
She is lying diagonally across a hospital bed in her bedroom.
The bucket of water and pitcher sit next to my Dad's bed.
Towels, shampoo and conditioner lay on it.

I dip the pitcher into the warm water and as Dad sit on the bed and tenderly supports her,
the water pours over her head and splashes into the large bin in front of me,
wetting the fine, thin white hair.
Fragrant suds of tea tree oil and peppermint fill the room
She closes her eyes and relaxes.

Massaging the scented suds out and rubbing the lemon-sage conditioner in.
I talk softly of no-nonsense things.
I reminisce of days long ago...
of her washing my long, blond hair in the kitchen sink when I was a little girl.
There was lemon-scented shampoo back then, too. 

I watch Dad gazing at her face as I wrap her head in a towel.
Classical music swirls around the room from the bedside radio.

It's a an hour in my life that I treasure each week.

The hairdryer blows warm air as I create soft waves in her hair with a round brush.
She still has beautifully silky hair,
although it is much thinner now.
Pink scalp showing through the snow white.
Her eyes are closed once again
as she tolerates my fussy brushing,
teasing, and hairspraying.
Tucking her layered strands behind her ears,
she looks like she used to before her dementia diagnosis and stroke...
if only for a moment. 

I hear Dad in the bathroom rinsing out the tubs and hanging up towels
as I set a small square bucket on her lap.
Soapy water sloshes back and forth and I ask her to put her hands in it.
She opens her eyes and looks blankly at me,
but her hands attempt to move into the warm water.

I wash her hands and scrub her nails,
encouraging her to play in the water a bit.
Her pale fingers move back and forth as she holds my face steadily in her gaze.
"Does that feel nice, Mom?", I ask.
Her head nods ever so slightly.
I dry those aged hands.
Hands that have held me,
touched my face in love,
and waved goodbye to me.
Hands that I've seen clutched tightly in pain
time and time again.
And then opened in relief.

I pick up the nail file to file her nails short.
But so soft to the touch.
Toenails are next and more difficult.
Her toes are curled under and crooked.

I tuck her into bed for an afternoon nap.
She's exhausted.
She looks beautiful to me laying there on the blue sheets.

Piano music floats softly from the room next door.
Dad is playing his cherished piano now.


I smile.
A self-taught pianist.
A handwritten list of hymns propped up before him on a pad of lined paper.
He doesn't know how to read music.
He plays from memory.
Trial and error.
His wish is to someday sit at the big organ in his church
and attempt to play something.....anything.
Fear and uncertainty hold him back.
But a maestro when caring for his beloved wife.

I stand in the hallway between the two rooms.
Mom sleeping peacefully in one.
Dad praising God in the other.

Love has filled the house.
It is palpable.

I embrace it
tuck it into my heart.

~ Blessings  ~

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Threads

Time flies.
Days pass.
Hours slide by beneath an azure sky.
Summer shines in her fragrant beauty.

Peonies to cut and arrange
as their sweetness fills the air.

Blush pink roses wait for me on the workbench in my studio.

Sweet scented stock pose gracefully on the mantel.

Treasures discovered while antiquing at a new shoppe in a nearby village.

I pour my soul into new dream catchers.

Pink & aqua

"Lavender fields"

Another day kisses farewell
as the sun begins to set once again.

Content with accomplishments this summer week.

Dreams of what tomorrow will bring...

God has woven each one of us 
into a quilt of the world. 
Each thread a uniform part, 
and yet, also a unique individual. 
Alone, we lack structure, 
but together beauty is created. 
By the way He connects us, 
our lives are determined. 
He is our compass needle 
and we, His threads of life. 
~ by Hidden Poet

~  Sweet Summer Blessings  ~

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Little Pink Table

I have a "thing" for pink.
I also have a "thing" for pink and chippy.
Put them together 
and pink...heaven.

So, when I wandered by this adorable vintage table at the antique market last month,
I stopped mid-stride.
(If you've ever shopped with me, you know that I do that quite often.)

Causing people behind me ram into each other like dominoes because of my sudden stops
is a very normal occurrence in my life ~ 
especially when treasure hunting.
(Unless, of course, I'm diving headfirst toward something, and that's whole 'nother story.)

As I deliriously walked around and around this little, pink chippy sweetness, 
she was singing my name ~ loud and clear.
She needed me and I needed her.
We were meant to be together.
I needed to see that perfect chippiness in Heaven's Walk.

So, while the throng of scattered people behind me picked themselves up off the ground...

(Hmmm...I can see this as a great diversion tactic in the future....)

I decided that I just had to take her home with me
(despite the fact of some unsuccessful bartering.)

She was covered haphazardly in original chipped, distressed layers of a delicious pale pink and creamy white
over a layer of vintage green.
She had knots, cracks, worn corners, and splits.
Perfect imperfection in my world.

Upon my arrival at home, and after giving her a good scrubbing,
I lugged the round, grey wicker table...
(see her there in the corner?)

out to a new home on the front porch.

and introduced Little Prairie Pink Table to her new one.

She looked like she had always belonged there.


When I placed the vintage rose pitcher on her 
(that also found a new home with me),
and filled it with stock in the most beautiful pale lavender color ~

a soft, quiet vignette bloomed in front of me.

Silver hearts: RASCC

Vintage lilac millinery crown: Rachel Pallas

Can you spell  L.O.V.E....?

I love you,
sweet little chippy pink table.

~  Chippy, Pink Blessings  ~

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