Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Make New Friends, But Keep The Old"

Outside of my local market, I saw a very familiar sight for this time of the year.  A group of Girl Scouts peddling their yummy cookies.

                                                                                          Photo taken from Pintrest

My thoughts immediately went to my favorite, Thin Mints, I could taste them, and feel the crunch they make when you bite and chew them, my mouth was watering.  How many boxes, should I buy?  The Grandkids will be coming, I can freeze them, oh, and one box for right now.  Check, check, check, at least three. Sold!

                                                                               Photo From Tumblr  - Vintage Scouts

How happy these little girls were with the sale and all of a sudden I was recalling my days of Brownies and Girl Scouts.  Whether it was thumbing through the manuel and choosing which badge I would work for next, or the fun times I would have at meetings.  We would be learning the Morse Code, and sign language, playing games and singing songs. What a wonderful, wholesome  activity for a child.

As I write this, I think of a song I learned as a Brownie and have sung ever since - "Make New Friends and Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other Gold".  This little song has a special meaning to me because on the first day of 7th grade, I made a new friend,  Linda Carol.  This song, the two of us sang and quoted throughout the umpteen years of being the best of friends.  I can still remember her walking up to me, that morning, with a question.  The answer was no, but the bond of friendship was made.

From sleepovers, (where one night we shared a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints in bed and woke up with melted chocolate covering us and the sheets, having fallen asleep eating them), 

Photo from Tumblr - Pinctaylor
to studies and plays, and movies and music, to sharing clothes and stories and all of our teen's drama. We stuck together.. 

Then it was off to college. 
  Letters we sent and vacations we shared.
Marriages and children, happy times, 

and sometimes, not so happy times, but we have been there for each other.
Still, vacations we share and e-mails we send.

And, now a Blog
wishing my 'Golden' Friend a
Happy Birthday.

                                Linda Carol, you are The Best!
         And don't forget "Make New Friends but Keep the Old!"

                                         Love You,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Little Black Dress

Is it possible to think of the Little Black Dress and not think of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's? She was not only gorgeous but elegant, and, in that dress, regal.

                                                                                         Photo from Pinterest

I had read Savannah College of Art and Design was holding an exhibit created by Andre Leo Talley, an editor of Vogue and a member of the Board of Trustees at the College, titled Little Black Dress. On our trip south, I made this a must see for Jimmy and me.

Mr. Talley was able to borrow these creations from his designer friends and  one, created by Oscar de la Renta in 2012 will be a permanent part of the SCAD Museum.

There were LBDs designed by Givenchy, Valentino, Lanvin, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, DianeVon Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, and Balenciaga, all names I remember my favorite celebrities wearing. Then, designers that we are linked to now such as Stella McCartney (Paul's daughter), Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Carolina Herrara, and the list goes on and on.

I had neglected to mention the one designer, credited with the creation of the LBD, Coco Chanel.  It is so amazing to think that a dress created by her to go from daytime simplicity to nighttime elegance can still be the top creation in Vogue.  And yes, there were two on exhibit. Both designed by Karl Lagerfield for Chanel.

After seeing so many beautiful Little Black Dresses, I thought it would be fun to post pictures of LBDs  I remember.

                                                                                           Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest


Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

I found this quite interesting - Edith Piaf received her nickname, the little black sparrow, because she always wore black.

Photo from Pinterest


 And quoting Wallis Simpson, "When the little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in it's place"

It is so funny to see the picture that I have of me next to my blog.  I am dressed in black,  I guess this could be my LBD.  I rarely wear black.  I remember going to Color Me Beautiful and having the colors that are best for me, chosen.  I was told I was a Spring and black was a no, no.  My Tammy, a fashion connoisseur,
would never hesitate to wear black and I was always telling her to wear the preppy colors I loved.  Well, Tam, you were right! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Books, Books and More Books

When I would go home to Philadelphia, after my mother had died, I would stay with my father.  My friends and family members would often ask me to do things with them.  Daddy would say "if you drop me at the library, you can take my car".  I would do just that and have a great day.  Now, as I think back, what a wonderful place the library was for my father.  It was an escape from the afternoon loneliness of being a widower.  He could read the papers, his favorite poetry books, study history and just be 'not alone'.

When I enter a library, I feel as if I want to stay, whether it is the books for companions or just the feeling that time is standing still.  Whatever it is, it is special.

A new bookstore just opened in my town and that library feeling is what I felt as I entered.  There were leather chairs on oriental carpets in cozy reading areas, 

books stacked on antique dining tables, 

and books stacked so high in bookcases that library ladders were necessary. 

I needed to explore each section and I wanted to curl up and read.  

In this day of Kindles, iPads and i-readers, and bookstore closings, it is wonderful to see one open that can trigger memories. My Dad would love it.  I am sure it will be a success!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Spoon Full of Sugar..

The Patriots are playing Houston.  And my family is all gathered at Amanda's for a Pat's Party.  Big Jimmy and I were heading over to join them, when my better judgement got the best of me.  Why was I going?  Did I want to chance giving all of those little children the cold that I have?
I could put on the face mask that was in the car, and, I have been doctoring myself, but...
we could turn around and I wouldn't need to worry.
That's what we did.  Big J, with his cold almost gone, dropped me at home promising to bring me party food.

Meanwhile, a bowl of Grandma's penicillin, a cure for the common cold, chicken soup was what I wanted...

 Followed by a cup of tea with honey and lemon.  Just what the doctor ordered.  Now, for a Patriot's win and another episode of
Downton Abbey!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Night To Remember

I was so excited to think that a new season of Downton Abbey had begun.  My husband, Big Jimmy, was never interested in watching. As the show was beginning and he was leaving the room,  I asked him if he would put on PBS.  The rest is history...  Within seconds, I was totally wrapped in the story and couldn't wait for each line to be said, I was captivated!  Meanwhile, Big J came back and started reading the newspaper.  Before long, he was wondering about where in England the village was, and what was happening in the story.  I could say very little because I didn't want to miss a word of the episode.

After it was over, I tried to give him a synopsis.  Beginning with the first episode, and learning that someone in the family had been coming to America on the Titanic to look for a wealthy bride.  As I told him this, I thought of Slim Paley's blog and her interest in the story of the Titanic and thought, my, that is me!  I have been so fascinated with the story my whole life and now to tell you why.

Where I grew up, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, there was a 450 acre farm, we called it the Widener Estate it is now known as Erdenheim Farm.  It was the most beautiful piece of land you could imagine with rolling hills, orchards, and streams. There were cattle and sheep grazing,  and horses, stables, outdoor and indoor areas for horse shows and training, plus kennels for the beagle dogs used in hunts.  I can remember going there on my first bus ride with my kindergarten class to see the sheep being sheered.  And, my brother lived across the street from where the kennels were.  My nieces, my best friend, Linda and I would play in the kennels and pretend that we were the owners.  What fun...  Well, Mr. George D. Widener, his wife Eleanor and their son, Harry Elkins Widener, the real owners, were aboard the Titanic. 

    As I grew older, I remember stories that the Widner's were holding a dinner party in honor of the Captain on the night that the ship crashed into the iceberg. And as Mrs. Widener was getting into the lifeboat, Mr. Widener took off his signet ring, and put it on her finger and that their grandson, Fitz Eugene Dixon, whom my father knew, wore it everyday. These memories were buried in my mind.

Then, when I  was in college and spending the weekend at my roommate, Maura's. The movie, 'A Night To Remember' was playing.  I immediately was reliving all of the stories that I had heard growing up and felt as if I knew the Widener's personally.  

When I went on a tour of Harvard, I saw the Widener library and heard that it was donated by Mrs. Widener in memory of her son who collected rare books and had graduated from Harvard.  She made certain stipulations in her will. One being that the building structure could never be altered.  Others were that fresh flowers be always present by her son's portrait, ice cream be served at every meal and that every Harvard student must know how to swim.

The James Cameron movie opened, of course I rushed to see it. 

But the best was, a traveling exhibit of artifacts that had been salvaged from the Titanic.  The exhibit came to Boston, and so did my Linda.  As we examined each find and read the passenger histories, we felt saddened but personally connected to this piece of history as if it had been our relatives.

Within the opening minutes of the first episode of Downton Abbey, I learned of the Titanic disaster and thought of the Wideners and that period of history which I had read and heard so much about and wanted to relive that time again.

Photos from Pintrest

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When Did It Begin?

Room Beginnings...  I'm trying to remember where and when my love for decorating began. Was it as a preschooler,  turning areas of my family sun porch into cozy little spaces for my baby dolls? Or, as a little girl in love with decorating a doll house, how about moving dining room chairs around then covering them with blankets to make a little home for myself?  I was always creating special spaces for
myself and my dolls.  Coloring pictures to be  hung on walls or moving pillows and lamps.  I loved to do it.  I was continually imagining a new look.

Even though she didn't know she was teaching me, I was following in my Mother's creative footsteps.  She was a floral designer and had an amazing eye for color and a love of design.  Between her, her best friend, who was an interior designer, and my older sisters, I learned.

At the age of eleven, I was given an Amish quilt sewn by a family friend.  The main color was red.  I was taken to a furniture showroom and there, made my first design decisions. I chose a 'big' canopy bed, a beautiful white dust ruffle, canopy and bedspread all with red trim and small hearts embroidered on the edges.  It was very Pennsylvania Dutch and a perfect accompaniment  for my new quilt.  The room was a preteen's dream.

                                                                       art created on iPad 
As I am writing this, I am thinking of my Granddaughter, Brooke, also eleven.  When I asked what she would like from me for Christmas, I was told that she would like to redecorate her bedroom.  We will soon begin looking through pictures, paint charts, fabrics and carpet samples.  When she was younger, everything revolved around the color purple. I wonder what she will like now and whether she is following in her Nanny's footsteps..

"It Takes a Heap of Living"

I can remember being in Philadelphia with all of my children and staying with my parents for a holiday.  The living room was torn apart in a way that only kids can do. I commented to my father how it was such a mess.  My father with his love of poetry, looked at me and said "Sweetie, remember  'It takes a heap o' livin to make a house into a home'.  I have thought of his words so many times through my life, mainly when I am franticly picking up and trying to make perfect.  But when I think of where I live, I think 'home'.

As I was leaving my house, I noticed a car driving by very slowly .  The car turned around, and, stopped across the street.  A lady popped out and politely asked me if I lived there (pointing to my house).  When I answered yes, she told me that her Grandparents had lived there and had been given, as a wedding gift, the money to build it.

She was in Boston for the weekend and was reliving her childhood memories with her husband.  Of course, I turned off my car and invited them in for a tour.  She was just delighted and kept repeating what wonderful memories she had of being there and what a happy home it had been.  She could not wait to see "the pine room" as she called my family room.   

When she saw it, she went over to the mantle and touching it, reminisced about hanging her Christmas stocking there.

In the living room, she looked up the stairs and said she had the lantern that had hung there, hanging in her own home.   

Our memories and realities can play games with us, and it did with her, she remembered the sun room as being much larger.

She loved seeing the bedroom where her mother had slept.  Mine, which had been her grandparents, then her uncle's rooms.  She did not remember the kitchen because she never needed to go into it because her grandparents had three live in housekeepers and was served her meals in the dining room.  When I heard this, all I could think of was that I am doing the work of three!  My, times have changed...

She said her grandparents lived in my home from their wedding day until their dying day and wanted to be no where else.  Having just looked up the poem that my father was quoting, I feel that it speaks about this home and the granddaughter's story.

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.