Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunflower Seeds, Lambs and Attics

One of my sweetest childhood memories is visiting my grandparents in South Dakota. My father's parents lived in town and my mother's parents lived on a sheep farm about 4 miles out. They were all wheat growers.

 I loved visiting both sets of grandparents, my  grandpa Gus and grandma Sophie lived just off main street and I loved walking up town to the grocery store to buy a bag of sunflower seeds (evidently I couldn't get them at home). 

Our family with grandpa in front of his house, grandma died when I was 5 years old. I am the oldest.

Grandpa would take me to the tavern uptown for an ice cream cone where all the locals would be sitting around a potbelly stove playing cards and talking about the weather. He would love to take me around and show me off as it were.

Grandpa Gus and I

My grandma and grandpa West, (I don't know why I didn't call them grandma Esther and grandpa Steve, now that I think of it...) anyway, lived on the farm and I loved, loved loved the sheep. My grandpa would put us (my cousins and I) on the back of a young Buck in a stall and watch him buck. I remember just holding on to that wool as tight as I could. And grandpa would laugh along with my uncles. I didn't know there was a name for it until a few years ago, 
Mutton Bust'in.

My grandparents sheep
I used to love to climb over the fence into this pasture and see if there was a Buck in the herd. He didn't run, and he would come charging for you... I stayed close enough to the fence to make it a game.

A picture of the old barn before they burned it to the ground.

My cousins and I... at the farm.
I am the one who's mother didn't care about matching clothes. 
We spent every Christmas in South Dakota, between the two grandparents. They changed every year between hosting Christmas eve (when we opened gifts) and Christmas day dinner. 
One Christmas I will never forget my farm grandparents had just bought about 50 ewes and apparently some of them were pregnant without my grandfathers knowledge. 
I do not know the incidentals, I was maybe 6 at the time but I do remember my grandpa being very upset which was rare. There was quite a stir around the farm as I sat and wondered what everyone was in a fury about.
I didn't have to wonder long, all of a sudden my grandmother came through the kitchen door with a lamb in her arms. It looked dead. She brought it into the living room by the oil burning stove wrapped in a towel and told me to start rubbing the lamb as hard as I could. 
I remember it was covered in what I thought was frozen gelatin and as I rubbed the lifeless little lamb began to move and then it gave out a loud blat...  I almost started crying. 
Soon came another and another all in the same state. 
My grandmother gave me a orange crush bottle with a large black nipple on the end filled with warm milk.
 I remember holding on to it with all my might as the lamb took it and kept butting it.
 I have been in love with lambs ever since then.

But my most absolute favorite thing for me to do was play in the attic. 
The farm had a summer kitchen and from there was a door that led up a spiral staircase to the most enchanting place.
 It was full of magic and wonder. 
I loved the smell of the old wood floor and the trunks full of clothing from the turn of the century to the 20s and 30s. 
My grandmothers white button up shoes, that she was married in, a chiffon ruffled dress from the 20s, that had the most beautiful soft lavender flora print, beautiful cotton lace umbrellas and velvet capes. 
The second floor of the old farmhouse had 4 bedrooms that reminded me of an old hotel.  
My sister, 2 cousins and I played dress up and each took a hotel room, just like in the cowboy shows. 
We would dress up and then all come out of our hotel room and strut around the barnyard like great dames of the manor.
 I can still hear my mother and grandmother laughing.

I would love my grand daughters to have memories like that. 
They do play in my attic but there is no beautiful turn of the century clothing trunk up there.
 However there is a box full of Barbies and some old teddy bears...

Sophie and Savannah... cousins but more like sisters.

Some old dolls 


And a place to read them

They seem to find their own fun...

I will be having company this week, one of the girls will be here.

Can't wait to see you Savannah, the teddy's are waiting for you!

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vintage Living at Horton's French Market

I just got back from Indiana again, visiting a day with Donna for a wedding shower. 
She is in full wedding mode now as two of her children are getting married in the next few months. 
Her son Tommy and Amanda in October and her daughter April and Russell in January. 
April gave Amanda a shower this past weekend in the little cottage in Donna's beautiful back yard. 

And of course Donna's decorating was over the top...

April and Amanda

We have had a full week as Donna and April were here in Chicago this past week looking for wedding dresses for April.
 It was a fun time but after a full week of setting up for 
the French Market and then shopping and then the shower, we are all due for some down time,
especially Donna who produced the whole event.

Isn't she adorable!

She did not say "Yes" to any of these dresses. 
However she did find one!

But, before all this we had the Horton's French Market
(my last post) 
and I did promise pictures of my daughters space and mine. 

Jody's space was next to mine in the pergola area, I had the small greenhouse. It was hot, but very fun!

I give you Le Faded Fleur 

My beautiful daughter Jody...

Through the door from Jody's space into mine
Vintage Living

The theme was the heart of Provence which made me think of
 French linens and lavender. My color  palette was gray and dusty  lavenders. I painted the 4 x 6' panels to represent lace and lavender.

I hung clothes line from pulleys across the room and hung my hand dyed clothing. 
I also hung prayer flags across the front of the space to define it

My theme was Paris atelier meets Provence

Hand dyed ribbons

This is getting long again... I might not post often but when I do you 
you get your money's worth!

We also did "Make and Takes". A short tutorial and fun craft project to make on the spot. Since my theme was clothes line we made decorated clothes pins with a magnet attached to put on the fridge or metal bulletin board.

One of the mime's modeling my aprons.