This is my first beaded, split ring cross. I did it, and in one day! The pattern is from Georgia Seitz's book "Tatting On The Edge...And Beyond." I had wanted to try it for years, but couldn't get up the nerve. With encouragement and instruction from my on-line tatting friends, I finally figured it out. It's not as neat as Georgia's, but my husband was actually impressed with it. (That doesn't happen often.) I used size 80 tatting cotton with tiny blue glass beads. It measures 3 1/4" top to bottom. I've got to try again. I have the beads in the rings instead of sticking out on the picots. And, I had some trouble in the middle where I was joining the arms together. Anyway, I really love it and I'm going to frame it today! Thank you Georgia for the pattern and the ones who helped me, especially Gina!
This is one of my precious tattycats! Her name is Mao Mao and, as you can see, she is ever so helpful! Mao Mao is the most prissy little thing you have ever seen! If mommy is doing it, it must be what she is supposed to do. I am working on the split ring cross with beads from one of Georgia Seitz's books. (My first time with beads.) That's a bit of edging I gave up on that she has taken possession of. Anything girly that is left out, is fair game. She has a hiding place somewhere that we have yet to find. Jewelry, ribbons, lace - you name it, she will take it. She always brings everything back after about two weeks! Thoughtful of her, huh?
Madonna and Child by Mark Myers copywrite 1999. This was the November project in 1999 and I thoroughly enjoyed working it in 2001! Thanks Tatman! This Celtic Heart is by Birgit Phelps, copywrite 2001. I'm sure I didn't do it justice, but I really loved doing it. Same heart, different color. I worked both of these at the Navarre Beach, Florida Holidome over the Thanksgiving holidays in 2002, (I think.) This pattern if from "Tatting With Friends", edited by Georgia Seitz and on pg. 140. The designer is Dorothy (Dottie) Wolfe in 1997. I worked it in big thread to fit this black, straw purse. It really draws attention!
I got back to my tatting yesterday - finally. I'm making an edging out of "The Tatter's Treasure Chest" by Mary Carolyn Waldrep and it is slow going. I was going to put a picture of my progress in this post, but after looking at the work on the other tatting blogs, I decided not to! Happy Tatting!
The top bookmark is crocheted, but the other three are tatted. The pink and green one is my own design, (you can probably tell!) The dark green one is Celtic and I love it very much. It was fun and I have done a few more in different colors.
I love to crochet, but mostly I tat or knit now due to some arthritis in my fingers. My grandmother started teaching me to crochet when I was 7 years old. I still have my first crochet hook - a "G." This is one of my favorite doilies and I keep it under glass on my dresser. Another doily which is quite large. The pink ring is little flowers and every other one stands up if starched. The middle of this one has a ring that stands up.
Here are some examples of my tatting. I had to learn this on my own, with much weeping, wailing and nashing of teeth! My grandmother had passed on before I developed such an avid interest in this, one of the few things she didn't teach me. I really love it and used to do a lot of tatting. Not so much now, due to my headaches, but I'm trying to pick it up. I would love to find some other tatters in Alabama. This doily is from "The Tatter's Treasure Chest" edited by Mary Carolyn Waldrep. Thanks Mary! I particularly love this doily. It is hard to tell, but it's done in white, green and purple. I love this combination. I used DMC Cebelia 40 and it took a long time! I wish I could take credit for the designs of these pieces, but they all came from books I have purchased. I keep it under glass on top of my wicker dresser. These are some of my tatted Christmas ornaments. The heart at the top right if one of Georgia Seitz's patterns. The little Christmas tree is From "A New Twist On Tatting", by Catherine Austin. Thanks Catherine! This is a little wrist bag that would be perfect for a wedding or prom. It is lined with white net.
This is a picture of me that I was trying to put in my profile. I can't seem to accomplish that, so I guess I will leave it here. This is my press photo for "Senior Living Newspaper" published in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been a contributing writer for several years and have enjoyed it so much. It has been one of my life long dreams to be a published writer and I was so thrilled when my editor offered me a column of my own. I was at work when I got the offer and everyone within two blocks heard me celebrating. The local newspaper and one other publication had blessed me with coverage several times, but nothing formal or continuing. Unfortunately, I am now having severe migraines and had to leave my job. I am also limited in the amount of time I can spend at my home computer as it contributes greatly to my migraines. I have written only one story for the paper in the last year. I am going to try and write a few lines every day and put them together for future stories. The title of my column is "I Remember". I hope those of you who have time to read my thoughts will share some of my memories and enjoy being reminded of "The Good Old Days."
Growing up in my neighborhood was a sometimes confusing and overwhelming process as any number of adults might be telling you what to do and how to do it. All of this depended on where you happened to be at the time. Every adult you knew had the right, no obligation, to discipline and direct you as needed. The person I want to tell you about is Kate Ingram. She and her husband Chester and their two children, Billy and Beverly lived next door to us. Their house was on one side of ours and my maternal grandparents and aunts lived on the other side. Billy was one and a half years older than me and his sister Beverly was two years younger. We spent quite a lot of time together, both as families and as individual friends. For some unknown and unlikely reason, we always called them Kate and Chester rather than Mr. And Mrs. Ingram. Kate had a huge influence on my life and the lives of my two brothers. I don't remember when I was first aware of her presence, as she was just always there.
One of my fondest memories of her was of Kool-Aid in aluminum tumblers in a rainbow of different colors. It would be so hot outside and she would give us the icy beverage in these aluminum glasses that would be sweating they were so cold. This was half of the appeal during the hot summers in Alabama. Kool-Aid was a treat she loved to share with us. It was relatively inexpensive and made us so happy. Nobody we knew had cokes. They were just too expensive. I don't remember her giving us cookies or any other kind of sweets. She tried very hard to teach Billy and Beverly to eat right and stay thin and healthy. Mother thought it was a shame that they didn't get treats, but they were, and still are, thin.
According to my mother's account, one day when I was about two, Billy was sitting in our front porch swing and I got too close. Instead of stopping, he put his feet out and kicked me in the stomach sending me sprawling on the hard tile floor. Mother surprised herself by snatching him up and spanking him before she even thought about what she was doing. Then she started crying, picked him up and took him home to his mother explaining what had happened. She was so worried that Kate would be hurt and mad with her. Of course, she wasn't. She told Mother that was exactly what he needed and what she would have done, and maybe worse, had she been there. I don't remember Kate or Chester spanking me, but I knew they could and would if necessary and that was deterrent enough. However, I didn't behave totally out of fear. I wanted to please my parents and other parental figures. It made me happy to be good.
In 1968 when the freeway moved us out of East Lake, we ended up in Chalkville, my grandparents in Jefferson Hills and the Ingrams in Center Point. We had all been together for so long; you would think it would have taken more than this to separate us. However, since the three of us had no classes together at Banks High School, we drifted apart. Well, at least the children did. Kate never gave up being a part of the family and keeping up with us. She was faithful for 37 years, calling at least once a week to see how everyone was. She never kept Mother on the phone very long. She just wanted to know how we were. She would specifically ask about each of us and about my aunts who lived in Georgia and their families. About once a month she and Chester would drive from Center Point to our house to see us. My mother wasn't a very social person and I'm afraid Kate had to make all of the effort. Mother loved her; she just didn't know how to show her, anymore than she knew how to show us.
The Ingrams were older than my mother and daddy, but in better health and they were always there to see about us. After Mother and Daddy went to the nursing home, I became the contact person. She called Daddy sometimes, but it was hard to catch him at the nursing home since he had dialysis three times a week. She always encouraged me and told me what a super job I was doing taking care of everyone. When my mother died, she was the most supportive person in my court, other than my immediate family. I knew I could call her anytime and tell her anything. No matter how down I was, she would listen and bring me back to where I needed to be.
Last February, Chester was diagnosed with cancer and died very quickly. She was the most stoic person I have ever met. With the help of Beverly and her two boys, she cared for him at home until he was gone. I never saw her shed a tear. She held onto her faith and told everyone who would listen that she knew he was in a better place and that she wouldn't have him back here suffering for anything. She knew she would join him one day.
When my daddy died June 16th, she was there for me. The next week, another East Lake neighborhood mother died. She and Kate were close and I know it hurt her to lose Mrs. LeBlanc. It hurt more, however to watch her suffer. She even understood that it was too soon for me to be able to attend the funeral. On July 3rd, my best friend's mother died. I attended the funeral in Winfield on July 5th, came back to work for a few hours and then came home. When I arrived at home, Beverly was waiting for me. She had lost my phone number and had come to tell me her mother died on July 3rd. They think she just lay down on her bed and went to sleep. Here she was grieving for her mother, but after her mother's fashion, she had come to tell me of her mother's death in person. She was concerned about me. Only three weeks earlier, she had come to bring me food when Daddy died. Here she was back to tell me her mother was gone.
Her mother wasn't gone at all. Not really. Her body had given up and her soul had gone to be with God, but a large part of her spirit indwells her daughter's. Mrs. LeBlanc's daughter is not well. Beverly had forbidden her to come to the funeral. Of course she didn't listen. Kate meant as much to her as she did to me. She was there and we took care of each other. Now Beverly and I will share the responsibility of checking on each other and Teresa. We will be a circle of three.
It really does take a village to raise a child - unless the village has a Kate Ingram. She didn't need any help.
Remember those tiny, little coke bottles they used to have. That was before the plastic one, two or three “liter” bottles. No one will ever convince me sodas didn’t taste better in those little bottles.
One very hot August when I was a pre-teen, one of my dad’s good friends died from cancer. We didn’t know a lot about cancer at that time and I remember my parents not wanting us children to be around him because we might catch it. Part of this fear could have been a result of my having polio at 22 months of age. As well as I remember, Daddy’s friend didn’t last long after his diagnosis. He was probably in his 40’s like my parents and left young children. It was a very sad time. I don’t remember where in the country he was buried, but it was definitely in the country. The church had no air conditioning, nor did we at home, but did supply “funeral home fans.” For those of you who have never heard of those, they are thick paper with advertisements or pictures on them and thin wood handles. I still have a small collection of them. Some of them are quite attractive, but none as attractive as those at this particular funeral. I have no idea what they looked like, just know I was glad they were there. I remember the windows in the church being open but no breeze stirring. All we had was the paper fans and they did little more than move the blistering hot August air around. That was small comfort, but the only comfort to be afforded. Never was there a longer funeral, or so it seemed. The preacher understood his duty to share with us God’s word and urge us to be ready should we be called to an untimely death. The heat in the church was said to be no comparison to a death without Christ. That was something else that stuck with me after the funeral.
We were all dressed up in our Sunday clothes. It didn’t matter that it was so hot. No one went to church or funerals in less than their best. It just wasn’t done. I have a friend who says, “If you don’t get dressed up to go to church or funerals, when do you get dressed up? God deserves our best.” That used to be the standard. So, we were dressed up just like everyone else and that much more miserable. I can remember so vividly the sun shining through the open windows and illuminating the dust filled air. I am reminded of this each time I see dust in sunbeams. We were so itchy in our Sunday clothes sitting on those old, wooden pews worn smooth from years squirming children. The adults must have possessed something special to sit so still and pay attention. They were no doubt as miserable as we children were, but they just fanned on quietly through the whole thing.
After the funeral was over we moved to the grave in the adjoining church cemetery. The only thing hotter than being in the church was standing in the sun in the cemetery. We didn’t complain, of course, as children would today. We knew better. When the ceremonies were complete, Daddy took us across the street to a little roadside store. He bought each of us our own soda in the little bottles. They were in an old, metal cooler filled with ice: never before or since has anything been so cold or tasted so good. Sodas were not something we were privileged to enjoy on a regular basis so they would have been delicious in any case. Being so hot and miserable just made it an over the top experience. Daddy turned his up and emptied it in one breath! We were impressed. It had ice crystals in it and as thirsty and hot as we were, we just couldn’t swallow it all at once. We wanted to make it last as it was such a rare treat.
Another treat that was always better in little bottles was grape juice. When we were really sick, and Mother could always tell, she would go to the store and buy grape juice in little bottles. Oh, how wonderful it was, especially if you had a fever. Just the sight of the bottles made us start feeling better. I remember waiting for them to get cold and then listening for the bottle opener to pop the top off. She always let us drink from the bottle and the cold felt so good in our feverish little hands. The only other time we had grape juice was when she could afford to buy a bigger bottle. It just wasn’t the same.
I will always contend that little bottles make things taste better. Coca Cola, grape juice, Dr. Pepper, and orange juice for example. My husband tells me there is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. I don’t know the name of it as he has a hard time just getting me to listen. I don’t want my memories explained scientifically. However, I guess I should mention his idea as I’m sure he is right as usual. The first few bites or swallows of any food or drink always taste better than subsequent samplings. Once our taste buds have gotten used to any substance, they don’t react in the same way. We really should stop consumption as soon as that first thrill is gone. That is why wealthy people and royalty across the ages had kitchens away from the main house. They didn’t want the smell of the food cooking to spoil their initial pleasure of tasting. It is also why gourmet meals are usually served in minute quantity with several courses. I’ve always said that those small portions are only big enough to make me mad.
Intellectually, I’m sure my husband is right. The quality of the product is the same in big bottles as in the little ones. The taste buds just don’t have time to get used to it. The child in me still prefers to remember little bottles containing big treats.
I've never done anything the easy way. If 99 out of 100 procedures are successful I will be the 100th one who fails. I couldn't have my tonsils out when I was a small child like most people do: I waited until I was 16. I had my share of sore throats, but my tonsils were never bad when I was little.
I can remember being so afraid, even if I was 16. In fact, being 16 may have made it worse. I hadn’t been in the hospital before and wasn’t sure what to expect, even though I had been with family members in the hospital many times. Mother promised me the nurses would give me ice cream after the surgery and that helped smooth things out. There was one more thing that encouraged me to make this trip to the hospital. I had a terrible crush on a boy at church. Of course, being the wall flower, it was a completely one sided infatuation. He was my “buddy” and dated one of my girl friends. It would hurt so badly when he asked me questions about her. I always wondered why he couldn’t see that I was the one who was best for him. It was obvious to me of course. In my 16 year old mind I just knew he would come visit me in the hospital and maybe recognize me as his one true love if we were away from everyone else. I was very careful to pack my best gowns so I would look pretty. I especially remember this because when the doctor came in to examine me he teased that patients always wore gowns in the hospital to make it difficult for the doctor. He didn’t know why they didn’t wear pajamas like they did at home. The idea that this boy would one day love me seems foolish now, but then it was a wonderful, hopeful vision. Naturally, he didn’t come see me and we never had a date.
This was way back when they put you in the hospital the night before surgery to get you ready. It was scary being there alone. I had been so protected and sheltered that I wasn’t nearly as mature and confident as some 16 year olds. I can remember Mother being with me before surgery. I’m sure Daddy and my grandparents were there too, but Mother is the one who made an impression on me. She actually kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me. This may seem a small gesture that many of you experienced on a daily basis, but my mother wasn’t that way. She always told me she wasn’t shown affection as a child and didn’t know how to be affectionate with us. I knew she loved me, she just wasn’t demonstrative. She showed us her love when she cooked, washed, doctored, cleaned, taught, etc. This simple kiss was the first one I remember receiving from her. She told me later that she kissed me when I was a baby and I just don’t remember. Later in her life, especially after the grandchildren were born, she learned to give and receive affection and I am so thankful for that. We all would have missed so much: she more than anyone. When I woke up from the tonsillectomy, she was there and had bought me the most beautiful flower I had ever seen. It was a pink Cyclamen and I will never forget the beauty of the flower and the love it represented. I know I cried then and I usually cry every time I see one. They have come to represent love and the warmth of a mother’s touch. You know, I never did get any ice cream from those nurses, but Mother corrected that when she got me home. I got all the ice cream I wanted and was put to bed on the couch so I could watch television. She covered me with the “sick blanket” and took care of me for a whole week.
I miss my mother, that old couch and the sick blanket, amongst other things. Most of all, I would give anything to feel her lips brush my cheek with a kiss – just one more time.
Yesterday I received a call from a childhood friend. We went all the way through school together, from 1st grade through 12th. We have one of those relationships that endure the years no matter how long it is between conversations. Each time we speak I’m transported back in time to East Lake. Her grandmother lived in the next block to ours. Her mother was one of the few of our generation who worked outside the home so Barbara came to her grandmother’s house after school. We walked home together and played at one house or the other. Usually her grandmother’s as there were no little brothers there to interfere.
Barbara had a female dachshund named Sausage. Sounds better than wienie. She was transported for babysitting just like Barbara was. Grandmother Tucker took care of everyone. We all loved that dog so much. She met us at the door and played right along with us. Until… one day she was under the living room sofa. Well, part of her was under the sofa. You know how animals are – if their head is hidden, they are hidden. She had her tail sticking out and I backed up and stepped on it. For some reason, she reacted differently to me after that. She would meet Barbara at the front screen, sitting up on her haunches so she could see out. When she saw me, she turned around and made sure her whole body was under the sofa.
Grandmother Tucker’s house was a treasure trove. There weren’t a lot of toys. We didn’t need them. Under the same living room sofa was a box of little, glass bottles and some other trinkets that escape my memory. For some reason, I remember the little brown glass bottles well. We never seemed to tire of playing with these things and others that I’ve forgotten. The house was full of antique furniture. There was a big, oak dining room table and a little table in the kitchen. The back bedroom belonged to a boarder. She was an older lady who gave piano lessons. I think she had been a teacher. She was a little bit crippled and walked with a cane. I remember her always being well dressed, usually in a dark color.
The whole house was sort of dark and cool. There were, and still are, a lot of trees in the yard which gave great shade. They also made those little seed pods we called helicopters. We gathered them up and threw them as high as possible so we could watch them whirl their way back down. It was so much easier to entertain children back then.
We sometimes went outside in the back yard. There was a garage full of old stuff, but we weren’t allowed in there. I think her grandmother was afraid we would get hurt. In the yard, there was a circle of bushes we could climb inside of to play. It was like having a dollhouse. If we tired of this, we went in the front yard to play hop scotch on the sidewalk or sit in the porch swing.
We had another best friend who lived two blocks in the other direction from the school. Sometimes she would walk home with us. One day all three of us were in the porch swing. Big mistake as I had put on a “little weight.” You guessed it, just as we really got the swing going, my end fell. It’s funny now, but it wasn’t then. Of course, when my end fell, they fell on top of me. How embarrassing. To make it worse, they thought it was hilarious when they got over being scared. It was giggle city until Grandmother made it outside.
One of my fondest memories of Mrs. Tucker’s home was snack time. She would open a can of date bread, slice it and spread cream cheese between two pieces. It was so good. I had never had this before, and not too many times since.
When we were older, Barbara and her mom and dad moved to Roebuck Gardens and she didn’t walk home with me anymore. I got to visit there too and we had good times, but never the same as the old days at her grandmother’s. We would sit up all night talking, giggling and eating sauerkraut from the can. I know, it sounds terrible, but we loved it. We wrote stories about the Beatles and decided that Paul was our favorite.
Sausage was still around and still avoided my feet. Barbara’s dad taught him not to come into the kitchen. We could sit there and eat and he would sit back in the den and watch. As we became adults, went separate ways and married, our activities changed but we still got together. I was always very close to her mother. She was a good friend and could listen to my problems objectively and give good advice. When I was selling colored glassware via home parties, Barbara and Mrs. Tucker had lots of parties for me. Their houses were full of this glass. I guess Barbara’s still is. Her dad is still living in the same house, but she lost her mother several years ago. It had been a long time since I’d seen her, but just knowing she was there gave me comfort. I really miss her.
Barbara and her husband James Marbut are soon expecting their first grandchild. It seems just yesterday that I was crocheting baby things for their children. Sausage has been gone a long time. The last “picture Christmas card” I received from them, they had a big, auburn colored dog named “Aubie.” (Guess where they all went to college.)
Oh, how time flies. No matter what we have shared, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her is our childhood in East Lake. Grandmother’s house, the box of trinkets and the date bread with cream cheese. I’ve tried to block out the porch swing.
I was wishing for spring as I drove home from work this afternoon. The sun was so pretty and I could almost visualize little crocus and hyacinths working their way up from fall and winter’s debris to show off their soft hues of new life. It made me think of buttercups. Not daffodils or jonquils, buttercups - those soft, paper thin pink flowers that grow wild, often beside our southern highways. I’m sure you remember them even if you haven’t seen any lately. When we were kids they grew in abundance at the back of my grandmother’s yard. We all knew what would happen if we stuck our noses in them, but we did it anyway. What good is it to have buttercups if you have no “butter” on your nose? They were so full of yellow pollen that if looked like you had been in a food fight supplied by a butter churn. It was even more fun to fool unsuspecting cousins visiting from Georgia. Georgia must not have buttercups. It always worked on them, at least once.
We always had great fun outside, which was fortunate since we spent so much time out of the house, partly to be out of our parents’ way and partly because there was no air conditioning. Mother and my grandmother both had the greenest thumbs. We lived next door to each other and it was like one great big botanical garden. They managed to have color in the yard all year, whether flowers, vegetables, bushes with berries or varying shades of evergreens. There were always places to hide in the garden if you were playing hide-n-seek or just waiting to jump out on an unsuspecting passerby. There were lots of big bushes and tall plants. There was also a trellis at the side of my grandparents’ house that had pink roses growing all over it. You had to pass under it to get from the backyard to the front. We had a tree in one corner that had seed pods that looked like green beans. We would “pick” these beans and pretend to cook them in old pots no longer used in the kitchen. We didn’t dare pick the real vegetables. Unlike today’s children, we knew the consequences of unacceptable behavior.
My grandmother always let me have my own tomato plant. We grew the biggest, juiciest tomatoes you ever tasted. They just don’t make them like that anymore. I liked to pull the small ones and eat them right there in the yard. We also had zucchini squash that would get big enough to use for baseball bats if you didn’t pick them often. She had beautiful roses, especially the yellow ones. My baby brother had a particular favorite. Mother called it summer poinsettia. I need to find out the proper name for them. As he was growing up the plants would often be taller than he was. We have pictures of him standing under them grinning from ear to ear. Grandmother always grew strawberries for this brother. They were his and no one else was allowed to pick them. He would run out everyday to see if any were ready. It was a good thing my other brother and I were a nine and six years older than Kevin and could enjoy him instead of being jealous.
I have to tell you a funny thing that happened to him one fall. He may not appreciate my telling it, but you will. Grandmother had let him help her plant pumpkin seeds in a raised flower bed on the side of the yard. He watched the vines grow and squealed with delight as the vines blossomed and then pumpkins began to form. One of them started to get a little size to it, but the vines weren’t doing very well that year. In order to keep the magic going for Kevin, my oldest aunt, who still lived at home, decided to start buying pumpkins at the store that were a little bigger each week and she would replace the one growing there so that he thought his pumpkin was growing bigger and bigger. He could hardly contain himself. It finally got big enough to use for a Jack-O-Lantern. It was all we could do not to laugh and give away the secret. As a matter of fact, we hid the secret very well. About ten years ago, we were talking about this and Kevin said, “What are you talking about?” He had no idea what our aunt had done. We couldn’t believe the secret had been kept for over 25 years. There have been very few times in his life that I have seen him more upset and disappointed. He was mad, not just at my aunt, but at all of us. We had tricked him and destroyed one of his happiest memories by telling him. I hope he has sufficiently recovered to laugh with us when he reads this in the paper. If not, I hope he will forgive me.
It is by no accident that we find garden settings for so many ceremonies, celebrations, religious retreats, etc. I am often drawn to our Birmingham Botanical Gardens, as I am no longer able to grow plants and flowers of my own. My husband and I took a stroll there this last Sunday. It brought back many lovely memories of trips there with my grandmother and the rest of the family. It also gave me ideas I would like to implement at home. Mostly, it gave me a sense of peace and contentment being surrounded by one aspect of God’s gifts to us all. It’s amazing that it takes a huge enterprise such as the Botanical Gardens to come remotely close to the garden of my childhood.