Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Little Somebody Else

Welcome to the world, Kaylee Rose!

My sixth grandchild - and fourth granddaughter - was born last week to our youngest daughter, Karen, and our wonderful son-in-law, "daddy." Already Kaylee soothes herself at the sound of his voice. Joe is a natural at his new job!

Eventually, we will have lots of sewing and crafting and baking to do together, but for the time being my wish to my new granddaughter is to just enjoy having everyone stop by to see that cute little face while snuggling in the warmth of loving parents. Don't be in any hurry to grow up, little sweetie! We love you just the way you are right now!



Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Stick People

It has been four and a half years and I'm still learning about little boys, studying them as if they were seven-legged, three-headed curiosities beneath a microscope. As one of three sisters who became a mother to three more, my experience in this area has been limited. When mother's friends brought their young sons along on a visit, my sisters and I would line up to simply stare at them. Approaching age ten, the stares turned to giggles. We didn't know how to talk to them, play with them or what to do with them. In a way, I still don't. But I'm getting there!

My present day twin grandsons have taken me by the hand and introduced me to the place where little boys happily dwell. Monsters live there. So do "bad guys." Anything with wheels shouts "vroooom" and crashes into things. Sofas are caves of upended cushions. Elevated hearths are where you stand to cast your line and go "fishing." And sticks? Well, over here, sticks rule! Yard sticks, backyard sticks, regular sticks...any old stick will do. The boys run to grab them, leaving me, once again, speechless and staring. What the heck is it about those darn sticks?

One day last week grandpa moved the yardsticks and panic ensued. Our sticks! Where are they? We need our STICKS! Relief arrived in quickly subbed wrapping paper tubes, and once again there were swords to wield, barricades to erect, laser beams to focus, poles to fish with, and pointers and pokers for every need.

But little boys are okay with plain-brown-wrapper sticks and grandmas are not. So we fixed that.

When my favorite little "stick people" returned this week, their tubes were waiting for them, covered in bright wrapping paper. I offered additional multi-colored scraps for stripes and an abundance of streamers, stickers, and glue. We decorated them in the finest pageantry. And then we had a parade, hoisting high our sticks, roaring and chanting, taking turns in the coveted lead...upstairs, downstairs, inside and out, scattering cats like a shake of confetti in our wake.

After that, this grandma no longer wonders about sticks. I have my own now and am very, very happy to share cushioned caves concealing monsters and mount vroooming trucks in pursuit of bad guys to poke with the pointer I decorated alongside two little boys who fully understand how to be themselves and don't mind inviting grandma along for the ride!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pokin' Along....


What's small, round and cute, fits nicely into the palm of your little hand, is able-to-see-quite-well-thank-you-very-much through a pair of plastic wiggle eyes, lives in a box, swims in a puddle, climbs on the rocks, snaps at a mosquito, snaps at a flea, snaps at a minnow, snaps at me, and goes pokin' along on a string after being made at grandma's house on an afternoon full of sunshine and fun?

Your guess:

Pet turtles for everybody?


Pet turtles for everybody! YES!

2013 version of my original creation
Wish I still had the first one!
I actually remember being a Kindergartner (over half a century ago!) and thinking I was "all that" because I made my own little walnut-half turtle who busily rolled along, powered by a marble hidden beneath his shell. My little guy was one of a very sparse inventory of craft projects we made from things that were free. Welcome to the 50s. Classroom art cupboards held paints and paper. Nothing more.

I also remember stringing together paper caps, ones diligently saved from glass bottles that delivered morning snack milk. Stupid white yarn! It snarled at me and tangled, and in frustration I tossed it beneath my table. The dark shadow that immediately appeared behind me was Sister Conrad. She called me a naughty girl and made me retrieve and complete it. Who in their right mind would ever want to wear the "belt" that bungled mess eventually became? Not me.

And those two projects - the very best and the very worst - are the only ones I remember from my inaugural year as a student.

Unless you live next door to a tree farm with a friendly neighbor, you might have difficulty finding whole shell English walnuts at times during the year other than Christmas. I had some then, but handed them out a few each day to our friendly little backyard squirrel, "Nut Case." Last week I ordered some online. Paid more for shipping than the one pound bag I received. But it was worth it. This grandma was in a turtle-making mood and anxious to see if critters who charmed her past would have the same effect on the grandkiddoes today!

In our family, everything's a cat toy! Bree's pet, Ted, thinks she made this one for him.

Draw a free hand turtle outline a bit larger than the walnut half on card stock and cut it out. Kids can paint the shell and draw features on the body. Cut a hole a bit smaller than a marble in the center of paper turtle. Place marble inside the shell and glue body in place over it. Pull a needle with a long length of heavy thread through the nose and knot to complete.

Yet why settle for one species when you've got the audience to launch full scale Turtle-Mania? We had leftover air dry clay from several successful past projects and decided to see what happens when you connect six ovals in three different sizes. Our little critters looked terrific in their stylin' acrylic colors and there weren't enough buttons on the planet to decorate the shells they call home.

Buttons? Glue? All gone?
And you think I might know where they went?
And the little reptile I described in the first paragraph? Well, he caught the mosquito, he caught the flea, he caught the minnow, but he didn't catch me! *

*Vachel Lindsay wrote The Little Turtle poem for his niece in 1918, well before even I was born! (really!)

Monday, April 1, 2013


Okay, I've tolerated this cheap looking staircase in the entry of my house long enough! Do you think I should have it torn down? What about those tacky lamps? And the ugly carpeting? Oh, and the pots of greenery. What about those? Do you think I should put them out on the curb? Should I ask the servants to help me choose a new paint color too? Do you think that would help make this space a little bit classier? Do you think those tile floors are too shiny? What about that red velvet settee? And the planter that blocks my view of the three story conservatory? Do you think that should go too? Do you think this is really my house? Do you think maybe it's April Fool's Day and everybody else has posted something clever and funny and I'm hurrying too fast and trying too hard to compete even though everybody can see right through me and knows this is the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York and that's me about five years ago thinking I'm so cool acting like the lady of the house and suggesting the place needs a remodeling job?

Is that what everybody thinks? Really?