Planning Ahead for Mother’s Day (updated 2017)

Mother's Day

Explaining Photo-to-Artwork – the Unique Gift

I am excited to share info on our Photo-to-Artwork with you.
This is such a creative endeavor, where we  work with each customer to preserve their special memories.

For example: Here we have taken the photographs of five special grand children and put them together in a basket of daisies for one very, special Mom.

What we do is take the customer’s photos on the  phone. They can text or email them to us, very easy. Then we retouch and enhance the pictures.. We add a special texture which makes the picture look like an oil painting.  Then we frame it up exquisitely. It can then hang on the wall or stand on a desk.

We spend a lot of tender loving care on each picture. However, we do not charge for the photo work. Each picture is priced by size to keep it simple.  So if a customer has old or damaged photos in an old shoe box, wants retouching, this can be a good deal for them. Yes we also work with hard copy photographs, some of them really, really old.

What is superior about our photo-to-artwork is the excellent selection of quality frames.

Here are some pages that illustrate what we have been able to do.

     My Granddaughter Sofia when she was Five

At our events we also sell sheets, soft cuddly blankets, and a unique homeopathic pain relieving cream that reduces tension. All our products are unique, truly wonderful comfort products. We are delighted to share them with you.

Finally here are some Stories from Happy Customers.

We look forward to scheduling a fundraising event with you for Mother’s Day or sometime in the near future.

Quote for the Day 

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever . . . 

Photo-to-Artwork

A very personal gift: A Picture Lady Photo-to-Artwork 

 

Create a unique picture for each child or grandchild 

 

 

 

Photo-to-Artwork is the ideal gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day or Christmas.

This is because it is so personal and unique; something really special. If your parents have downsized, you may want to consider a collage where you are able to put many family pictures into one frame. You create this work of art together with Picture Lady and there is no extra charge for making a collage, as there is also no extra charge for photo-restoration. In this collage above there is a special scripture and you can always add this as a family inspiration. One customer wrote a short poem for a new baby and included it in her collage, another wanted to remember her very special Mother’s Day Card and we put this in the center, with family pictures all around. Photo-to-Artwork is about making and keeping good memories and passing them down through the generations.

Prices for a Photo-to-Artwork creation:

  • 8×10″      $55.00
  • 11×14″    $75.00
  • 16×20″    $125.00

    (Because no extra charge for photo-work this is a very good deal)

You can make a collage not only of your children or grandchildren, but also of your pets; they don’t live as long as we and so there is often a loss and a sadness when they go. Here is a tribute to a smart cat who passed. He managed not only his owner but also all the other furry friends in the house. This big cat was unique in that he used his paw to eat. He lifted each morsel from the bowl and only then would he consume. Not a pretty cat, but can’t you just see the intelligence?

.cat collage

Here are some Picture-to-Artwork stories that we think you will enjoy:

“Picture Lady”, said the bride “ when we married we were as poor as church-mice.” She showed me the picture. The were young and quite attractive.

It was not a white wedding, but she was wearing a fine blue dress and while he was not in a tux his suit was dark and also appropriate. Behind them arched an old oak tree. So far, so good. They looked great.  The problem was that right behind the gorgeous couple and the gorgeous tree stood an ugly, beat-up gray-blue truck.  Not good. We changed the background to add more trees and flowers and some blue sky to match the bride’s dress and we gave them perfect wedding photos twenty years after the fact.

Some photographs go on some strange adventures! We were brought a photograph of a family that was taken back and forth in Africa, folded up in the father’s pocket as he fled from land to land to avoid civil strife. His family had been engaged in a project to relocate the family (all five children) to America. Mother came first and began training to be a nurse. This is how we met for we did an art show at her hospital. Each year she brought another child to freedom while the father staid in East Africa with those who had been left behind. Unfortunately after the last child (the eldest) came to America civil strife broke out in North East Africa and the father was forced to flee to save his life grateful that at least his family was now safe. While on the run he would take out a folded picture of his beloved family which he always kept in his pocket. It was this picture that kept his hopes and dreams alive that he would eventually be able to join them.

And he did. This is a story with a happy ending.

His wife brought the scratched picture he had carried so long in his pocket to me (now crusted with sweat and dirt). She asked if it could be recovered. They would have been able to have a new celebration family picture in America but the truth was that no other picture would have as much meaning. Could we fix and restore the picture? Yes indeed we could. But there was still an extra challenge. The picture was torn and the oldest daughter was missing cut in half on the right hand side of the photo.

We took her from a different photo and put her back into her family picture. Then we also fixed up the cracks and the photo damage. The father gave it to his wife for Mother’s Day. It sits in a place of honor in their living room.

We sometimes forget that not everybody has it as easy as we do in America.

Some of our better results are for precious family members who have passed.  The family needed a good picture of their mother, recently deceased; they wanted it for her celebration of life. The problem was this happy mother had been such a social person there was not a single photo of her alone; there were several children and not one had such a picture! There were many photos but always placing her in the middle of a group.

So we extracted her smiling face from a family photo and erased the busy background.  There she was finally alone in all her glory. I think if she was there at her special memorial event she would have liked that picture.

We have the skill to put your photos together to create a whole new family picture.
It is in the art of putting what is important in one picture together. The family had always remembered Poppa and Nanna with the house where the family met on special occasions. Here they are together with their lovely home.

final house

Our last story is from a customer who was raised by a grandmother and it had been a warm and sustaining relationship. The grandmother lived a long productive life and raised her grandchild with love and affection but she was older and she finally moved on.  Also gone were several of her siblings who had often been around the home while our customer was growing up.  She had many older (somewhat tattered black and white photographs

She chose to do her frames and pictures in sepia which gives that antique look.   It was a good call.

grandma

 

This is what she thought when it was done:

“My family loves the pictures. When you come into my home, the Heritage Wall is like a magnet and everybody goes there to admire it. It brings the family together providing us with a history – a pictorial story of the family including all our loved ones who have passed. You do really excellent work! Thank you so much” Carol B.W. Riverside

 

What do you need to know if you chose to do a Photo-to-Artwork with Picture Lady?

Our frames are exquisite.  We are also able to frame needlepoint. In addition to do Photo-to-Artwork we do custom framing.

frame one

ArTex makes the photo look like an oil painting when it really is not.  You would pay between $500 and $1000 for an oil on canvas even when it is a copy. With our service the cost to you is between $55.00 and $175.00 depending on the size and the frame. Nor do we charge for the photo work. We keep it simple.

 

What a great gift Photo-to-Artwork is for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day and for Christmas!

The ache for home lives in all of us, a place to which we can go and be ourselves. It has to be a safe place into which we can retreat and not be questioned. It should also be a beautiful place, for beauty is uplifting and a pretty and comforting home is where we like to go to get recharged. When we have the people that we care about around us, even if they are not actually physically present but in the form of precious, enhanced photographs, it brings back past joys of sharing and this is what is sustaining.

Quote for the Month

 Now that . . .  my children are grown, I understand how much work and love it takes to keep a family together. The example of my mother’s strength, devotion and patience is now rippling through the generations.

Forest Houtenschil

Yum-Yum Purr

A Christmas Story for you to read to the Grand Kids

 

Yum Yum, the Christmas Monkey

In a far place in the old country is a magical place where loving families can still find enchantment.  The best thing about this unusual turreted motel is the Petting Zoo.

At this time of the year, the month before Christmas, you will find the animals at the bottom of the garden where they huddle together under the faerie lights. And down there snuggled in Kanga’s pouch is an itsy, bitty, little monkey who happens to be the hero of this story.

When Yum Yum’s mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never ever heard of, or even seen again, it was Kanga, the kangaroo who found the shivering little monkey.  Demonstrating the spirit of the season she hugged him and stroked him and caressed him. “Oh my!” she said, “you are so very, very sweet and I think I may have fallen in love!”  Then she stuck the bitsy thing  safely into her pouch, carefully leaving his little head out, so he could breathe.

 

The Christmas Monkey

The Christmas Monkey

That was when a big steel bird flew across the sky creating a cacophony. The little monkey dived deep down under and he was not seen again. But even little monkeys get hungry and after three long days he wiggled up and tentatively ventured his head out again saw Bray and dived down again. This was when Kanga knew she had to do something or she would lose the best Christmas present she had ever been blessed with.

Bray, her donkey friend, had frightened the monkey so she couldn’t go to him. She thought of Elevated the Giraffe  whose vision and loftier perspective she valued but he, too, didn’t seem right.  Then she  thought of Babuum.  Yes she would take the monkey to Babuum. After all Babuum, the singing gorilla, was from the same species, or wasn’t he? It was lucky Babuum was visiting in the zoo while waiting for his concertina to be repaired. Normally he sang and danced at the train station.

“We have to do something,” said Kanga. “This little monkey will die if he stays here at the bottom of my pouch. I am not even sure that he can breathe.”

“I think this calls for a special meeting” said Babuum in a ponderous voice.

“Oh braai!!” echoed Bray, the donkey in dismay.

Babuum asked “Singing Wind” to summon the animals. It was a good choice for the bird did loops in an out of the Christmas decorations, and popped a light here and there, and in this way was able to gain the attention of the animals. When they all looked up in wonder charmed by the colored lights reflecting in his dark feathers the bird sat on a branch and explained why Babuum wanted their help. They all began slowly making their way to the clearing at the bottom of the garden.

Even the domestic animals from the big house came on down.  Mackie, the mongrel who was often found fluttering around the legs of Elevated whom he loved to tease, left the big house and bounced on down. Bella, the sleek and sensuous Siamese cat came mincing down the path, followed by her three little pom, pom kittens.

The two magical elves “Hit” and “Miss” were there. They were the most insouciant, and the most mischievous of all the faerie folk, never evil but definitely naughty. They were able to do powerful magic, but their magic lasted only while they were being good. One misstep, one bad deed and the magic would dissipate like smoke from a genie’s lamp.

“Hit” and “Miss” were hanging out in the trees amidst the fairy lights, keeping tabs so they could report back to the faerie kingdom.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, all were there. The three sheep were going bla, bla bla. Only Billy the Goat was missing, He had staid up at the top of the garden scrounging up whatever food he could, glad not to be held accountable.

Sneak the snake had slithered on down, not that you would know. Like the mischievous elves he was there and then not there.

Babuum was wearing his top hat to give a greater importance to this meeting. He began the meeting with an off key version of an old fashioned  Christmas carol.

“Christmas is a coming, the egg is in the nog.
Please give a friendly donkey, a friendly little dog.
We don’t have a reindeer so a monkey will have to do,
We all come down to the bottom to help a saintly kangaroo.”

He took off his top hat and bowed first to Kanga and then to his congregation.

“Listen up!” he said solemnly.  “We have a new animal joining us at the petting zoo. And that is always good!  But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, Kanga has been looking after him.”  For just a brief moment, Yum Yum’s tiny little face peeked out again from her pouch and then dived again down under, “and there he is.”

“I saw him!” said a duck.

“We have to decide what we are going to do,” said Babuum simply.

Bray proposed that Kanga should continue to care for the monkey.  He said it was a good thing she had done. She loved him. You could see it in her eyes.

“I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the little monkey but I do not agree that she should keep him,” said Elevated slowly.

Babuum said, “You surprise me Elevated; you are good friends with the kangaroo. You must know she is the kindest animal in the zoo?”

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “but I have one thing to ask you, to ask you all , how is she going to feed an itsy, tiny little bit of a monkey?”

There were long faces all around.  The hens clucked and the sheep bleated.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Babuum, echoed by Kanga,

That was when a surprising thing happened. Bella the Siamese cat glided forward into the clearing.

“Meow, excuse me” she said hesitantly.  While to all the other animals she had always seemed haughty, the truth was this elegant cat was actually shy. She was also kind. “I will take him to the beeeg house and raise him with my keeettens,” she said.

“But he is safe and happy with the kangaroo”

“Kanga can come often. The minkey can come to the garden in the day. At the beeg house the dear little thing will get the meellk.”

“We are going to need some human help if he is to survive.” agreed  Babuum slowly.

“Comment? What you all theeenk?”

“I love him already and will be sorry to see him go,” said Kanga but I know  he will not survive without your help. Thank you Bella, he is very, very little.”
So it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum survived happily with two families, one at the big house and one down in the garden with the animals who had found and helped him.

It was also where he got his name, spoiled rotten where all the visiting children fought to feed him and had called him “Yum Yum.”

It was where he would cuddle quietly at night with the kittens and in the day he would ride around happily with Kanga.

Sadly it is also where he got his big obsession. More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO which had swallowed up his mother, more than the big steel birds that fly across the sky and frighten him, more than the whole big wide world where Babuum had gone away again to perform, there was one thing he wanted more than anything.

He wanted to be able to purr.

Yum Yum wanted to purr.

Babuum returned to the petting zoo the day before Christmas and called another meeting where the little monkey who had now stolen every heart, was introduced to the magical elves “Hit and Miss”

“Will you grant him a Christmas wish?”  asked Babuum

“Grant him a Christmas wish,” chanted the animals.
After trying to wriggle out of the situation, finally the elves agreed. They really had no choice for Babuum had threatened to call out the Faerie Queen.

Christmas morning arrived crisp and clear, a light chill in the air but no wind, and no snow. It was the perfect day for Bella and her kittens to snuggle up on the comforter in the family room near the fireplace.  They were all so happy they were purring away.

Yes, and with them snuggled up, was Yum Yum and he too was purring loudly. He was purring the loudest of all.

Then “Hit” tied Snakes head to his tail and “Miss” strung the circular snake up in the middle of the Christmas lights and they laughed and laughed and laughed.

The animals nearly had a feast of sizzling snake for their Christmas dinner. When Yum Yum woke up he had stopped purring.

Yet he never forgot the absolute joy of that magical Christmas morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandparent’s Day

About Grandparents

Grandparents grew up in an easier age, when America was prosperous, and some were able to accumulate assets. If they managed their mortgage and investments wisely they are now able to be there for their children and grandchildren, providing needed help in these hard times. In that earlier, caring age giving help was fashionable.

We are forced nowadays to turn to our parents, or grandparents more often than we would like for some very needed financial help.

Giving them a photo-to-artwork is a delightful way to even the score and to say thank you.

collage

Some interesting senior citizen facts and statistics
  • Glamorous Grandparents: Today’s grandparents are not the sweet old bumblers we read about in Agatha Christie novels. The majority are working-age Boomers between the ages of 45 and 65 and they are a growing demographic: In 2010, there were an estimated 65 million grandmothers and grandfathers; by 2020, they predict this number will have grown to 80 million.
  • Affluent Grandparents: It is estimated that working grandparents command 46% of all household incomes. If you add in the grandparents who are no longer working, the share of the nation’s income rises to 60%. Where are they getting their money? Some have inherited from their parents and some still get generous pensions from the good old days when corporations treated workers as family.
  • Grandparents in the Downturn: They have been hit by the recession, especially if they did not invest wisely or give a priority to paying down their mortgage in the good times. Bad economic conditions are harder when you are old. But compare their rising share of the national income to the recorded income of their children’s generation which has declined from 43% to 36%.
  • Helping Grandparents: Households with ages 55 or older spent 7.6 billion on infant foods, child equipment, toys, games & tricycles, a 71% increase since 1999. It is not unusual for grandparents to invite a laid off son or daughter into the home with their children. Grandparents still belong to a generation where it was all about sharing and caring.
  • Achieving Grandparents: In March 2009 a 100 year old Canadian swimmer set a new world record in back-stroke. He was able to swim 100 meters in just 3 minutes and 52 seconds. In August in Huntsville a 91 year old grandmother and her granddaughter in the family canoe, won first place in the Fox Lake Regatta.

Often children visit the grandparents during the summer months.  This gives parents time together and time for work, or time for special work projects. A Photo-to-Artwork gift is a great way to say thank you.  If it is ordered early you will have it well in time for Grandparent’s Day on 7th September

kid collage

When a grandparent passes often it is good to create a portrait to keep them in living memory in the family. This keeps the heritage alive.

When you come into my home, the Heritage Wall is like a magnet and everybody goes there to admire it. It brings the family together, providing us with our history – a pictorial story of the family including all our loved ones that have passed.

“The family loves Photo-to-Artwork. Really excellent work! Thank you.” – Carol B. W.

(Pictures for a collage can be e-mailed straight from the phone)

Quote for the Week:

Grandparents bestow upon their grandchildren The strength and wisdom that time And experience has given them.

Grandchildren bless their Grandparents With a youthful vitality and innocence That help them stay young at heart forever.

Together they create a chain of love Linking the past with the future The chain may lengthen, but it will never part …

~Author Unknown~

Single Dads

Single Dads

supermanThe saddest thing I have ever been asked to do on a Photo-to-Artwork was to take the Mother out of a Picture. Children survive best with both a Mother and a Father but it doesn’t always work out that way. Mom had been in the background of a beautiful Father, Mother/Son picture, but had gone effect of substance abuse and she had run off.  Dad was responsible and although it was hard he chose to be both Mother and Father to his little girl.

I am dedicating this post to all Dads, but especially to Single Dads because I have come to admire these courageous and very special people, who stick around and raise their kids alone.

It is not easy to keep up with all the Mom chores; fix the food, do the cleaning and all those wife things that do not come naturally to a man. A cleaning/cooking lady should not be considered an extravagance, even in these hard times.

The main thing that goes wrong in Single-Dad homes is that the Father hat gets sacrificed. Being a Dad is all about those fun things, the romp on the beach, the pony rides, and the Memorial Day Barbecue. It is about laughing together.

A Single-Dad-Family often succeeds or fails, not so much by what Dad does, but by the degree of support he gets from his extended family and the other groups to which he and his little family belong. Long ago when his family first fell apart, it was that sense of belonging that went away. If the community (maybe a Church group) rallied around him and continued to include the family in group activities, Single Dad and his kids have a chance to come through. A great deal of goodness comes from recognizing, acknowledging and admiring the Single-Dad, which is something we can all remember to do. Making their good life possible can depend on people like you and I who are outside the inner family. The time single dads most need our help is after the children are grown and he has done his job.

A Church, an extended family a Social group can always rally round and help him create a new life.

Never, ever see the Single Dad as the victim because the Mother walked out. He, also, could have run and that he stuck with the family makes him truly special.

Thank you all you Single Dads for what you do.

Quote for the Month

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced you are unemployed.

Author Unknown

A Story to Read to Your Grand Children . . .

The first episode of Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum is popular in the petting zoo where all the animals stay together and support each other as one big happy family.

When his mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never seen again it was Kanga the kangaroo who found the abandoned itsy bitty thing and put the shivering little monkey into her pouch to keep him safe and warm.

xx

Kanga would normally have gone to Hehaw, her donkey friend, to ask him what to do, or to Elevated, the giraffe, who held a loftier viewpoint. Instead she went to consult with Babuum. Babuum is a performing baboon. Mostly he is gone from the petting zoo, with his concertina and barrel organ. This was one time, one time luckily, when he was back at the petting zoo. Although a tiny monkey with white tufts of fur on his face and a bright blue butt was a far cry from the big and ponderous baboon, Kanga felt they were sort of, kind of from the same species. So she went to Babuum for help.

Babuum, although not a lion nor an elephant had respect and clout in the petting zoo. He asked Domino the squaw to summon all the animals into the clearing at the bottom of the garden. The two elves Hit and Miss came also, but they were not invited. They and Koala clung to the branches of the old oak tree, the elves keeping tabs on the proceedings so they could report back to the fairy kingdom.

It was gratifying that even the domestic animals from the big house came down. Mackie, the mongrel was best friends with Elevated. He was often found fluttering around Elevated’s long legs. So his presence was not surprising.

That the pedigreed Maman, the Siamese cat and her litter of three kittens were in attendance was indeed surprising. They werre rarely seen at the bottom of the garden.

Billy the goat was missing, He was taking advantage of their absence to eat their food. Petunia the pony was being groomed, fancy ribbons put in her hair for the next weekend’s visiting kids. Sneak the snake was there, not that you would know. He made sure he was not seen.

All the other animals were present at the meeting.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, and the ducks had all waddled on down. The three sheep were there. They liked Babuum and cheered everything he said.

Hehaw was there, Kanga was there and Elevated, the Giraffe was there on lookout. Yum Yum (although he had not yet been named) was still in Kanga’s pouch.

Babuum started the meeting with a drumroll. He didn’t have the barrel organ to crank, but he did have his concertina. He was wearing his top hat to give importance to the meeting.

“The good news is we have a new animal who joined us at the petting zoo. That is good. That is always good! But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, taken far, far too soon and there he is, Kanga has been looking after him.” Yum yum’s tiny face peeked out from the pouch and then dived down under.again.

“We have to decide what we are going to do,” Babuum said simply..

Each of the animals had something to say. Many lamented the loss of the mother and deplored life in THE BIG ZOO where freedom was restricted and animals put away in a cage. They had heard about such things although it was far removed from their little life, where for the most part they were free to roam around the garden. They were only herded up to the paddock when special tours of children came to the hotel above.

Kanga piped up to say that the little monkey had stopped shivering. Everybody cheered. The sheep cheered. The rooster crowed and the chickens clucked.

Hehaw proposed that Kanga continue to care for him. He said it was a good thing Kanga had done. The little monkey liked her and felt safe with her. She should keep him.

Babuum went round again letting each animal have his say. All said good things about Kanga. Most welcomed the new little monkey and while they said he couldn’t yet understand them, they loved him and accepted him in the petting zoo..

“I welcome the new little monkey,” Domino said, “We need to give him a name.”

“That can come later,” said Babuum.

“I am not so sure,” said Elevated slowly, I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the monkey, but I do not think Kanga should keep him.”

In great surprise all the animals reacted. The hens clucked the ducks quacked, and Dobbin neighed.

Babuum said, “You surprise me Elevated. You are good friends with Kanga and you must know she is the kindest animal in the zoo.”

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “I have one thing to ask you Babuum. How is Kanga going to feed this little monkey?”

“Heeouw,”  said Heehaw. “None of us thought of that!”

There were long faces all around and nobody said anything for quite awhile.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Mackie

“Meow, excuse me,” said Maman the Siamese cat hesitantly. While to all the other animals she had always seemed haughty, the truth was this elegant, French cat was actually shy. She was also kind. “I will take him to the big house and raise him with my kittens,” she said.

“But he is safe and happy with Kanga.”

“Kanga can visit with us. She can visit often. At the house the dear little thing will get milk. We will need some human help if he is to survive.”

“That does seem to be necessary,” said Babuum slowly.

“I am sure there will be help from the humans and the children,”  continued Maman, Comment? What is it you all theenk?”

“You are very kind,” said Kanga. “I do not think he will survive without your help. He is very little.”

“Mais oui!” said Maman.

“Merci Beaucoup, Maman,” said Babuum inclining his head so the top hat nearly fell off.

In this way it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum got his name, spoiled rotten at the big house where all the visiting children fought to feed him.

It was how he was also happy. He had two families, where he would cuddle with Maman and kittens during the night and in the day he could visit with Kanga.

It was also where he got his one obsession.

More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO, more than the whole big wide world, there was one thing Yum Yum wanted and didn’t have.

What Yum Yum wanted more than anything was the ability to purr. He wanted to be able to purr just like his itty-bitty kitten sisters.

But that is the subject of the January story.

Stay tuned…

 

Should one Give Thanks during Hard Times.

Thanksgiving Day is when we get together to share and to give and to remember. 

Indian on boardIn times of prosperity giving thanks comes naturally, or does it?  I can recall many a Thanksgiving Day when what we did mostly was eat far, far too much.

Nowadays we tend to look back to times when our house was worth more, our savings had not been leeched out of the stock market, our children could still afford to pay their student loans, and all adult family members had a job and were working. Is it any wonder that we ask if there is anything for which we should give thanks?

Should one give thanks During Hard Times?   You bet! There are still things over which we do have control; our bodies, our minds, and our home and our family.

Traditionally we share our Gratitude Lists at Thanksgiving. What are you grateful for? Here is my list:

  1. I am grateful for the clean public bathrooms in America (been reading a book about dirty China)
  2. I am grateful for the incredible job Kern County does with its roads.  On a scale of 1-10 it is a 12. Los Angeles County with far more in taxes is only a 3.
  3. I am grateful for the amazing weather we enjoy. It seems global warming works in our favor. Our weather is mild and gentle even as winter approaches. Some people lose and some people gain with climate change and the answer may well be time for those on the East Coast in harms way to re-locate to PMC. 
  4. I am grateful for my new neighbors. They have seven children, all home schooled and such clean fun.
  5. I am grateful for our new store at the Flying J Plaza on the I-5 mid-way between Los Angeles and the Bay area. (great half-way stop) It is working out far better than we ever anticipated.
  6. I am grateful for my health and for my hair which at age seventy  is still its natural color.
  7. I am grateful for Trader Joe.  Even in the hard times to go there is a joyous experience
  8. Most of all though I am grateful for that feeling of goodwill after a joyous Thanksgiving feast.

Bliss!

cat passed out

Faith & Gratitude

The grateful mind is focused on the positive so it attracts good things.to it.

  • You can concentrate on the bad like hurricanes, and the homeless, or you can be grateful for your family, your work, your creative home making  and the good weather in California.
  • You can gripe about the dysfunctional political system or you can be glad that all those horrible attack ads have gone away and that we have another four long years to learn to work together to solve our problems. This is a wonderful country for which I for one am  truly grateful.

Should one give thanks During Hard Times?  Yes indeed.  Making gratitude an art and a skill and  something to teach your children will come back to you as a benefit.  We can even remember to be grateful when bad things go away and yes, they always do.

Quote for the Month 

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. 

William Arthur Ward.

 

The Election

Excerpt from “Politics IOU” 

Rith got most of her brilliant ideas in the early hours of the morning when she was lying in bed and this bright idea was her best in this election! As soon as it was light she called Ginger who was already up (just as she had expected).  After she had explained the idea, Ginger began laughing, in fact she laughed long and hard. Rith liked Ginger’s laugh.  It was so whole hearted.

abstract representation of the connectedness of volunteers

Volunteers Together 

Rith called Pearl and Jay at the Senior center. Listening to Rith explain the project,Pearl began jumping up and down in excitement. She asked Rith to hold on while she talked with Jay and Marjorie. Yes of course they would do it, they were all gung-ho, boy were they gung-ho!

The following day when Spider and Jamboree came down the mountain they quickly realized that something strange was afoot, for there was a big bus parked across the entrance. There was a hustle and a bustle and an excited babble as the volunteers scurried back and forth. A loading crew was lifting suitcases and hats and canes, senior scooters and electric wheel chairs into the bus.

“Do they think they are going somewhere?” asked Jamboree.

“Don’t worry, sweet Jamboree, Rith is paying,” sang out Pearl, seeing Spider’s face.. She was coming around the corner with a little dog under each arm. “Here you take them, “she said thrusting the dogs at Jamboree “They like you.”

“I can’t take them,” wailed Jamboree.

“You have to – I can’t take them where I am going?”

“And just where is that?” asked Spider.

“We are going to the Colony!”

Once she had got the volunteers in the big seventeen, bed-roomed campaign center, Rith talked Spider into coming out to lead the hospital volunteers. Before he came they were having the time of their lives but not all that effective. It was Spider who turned them into a hot-shot team.

He quickly discovered that the voters in the swing states had been bombarded with election messages and that most were blocking their calls.  This changed somewhat when the word began to get around that some cute little seniors were calling out.

If a volunteer failed to reach a voter this was the message Spider would have them leave: “Blessed are the children, for they shall inherit the national debt! Now how do you, you personally, Mrs. Pennicker, feel about your grandchildren?  You can’t do anything about it? Of course you can. You can call our friendly Senior Volunteers!” A number would be left for the Volunteer Call Center. Voters were charmed by the novel message and the phone began to ring.

Volunteer Calling

As always Spider was into creating games:

  • If a senior could stay on the phone talking an half an hour, he would reward the volunteer with a chocolate ice cream cone!
  • The volunteer who had reached the most people at the end of the day would be rewarded with a special volunteer pin.
  • The volunteer with the most pledges in the day would get to choose from a selection of kiddy-gifts on a table, and have Annalin (who was helping) send it out to a grandchild.

Jay just loved chocolate ice cream and he was their best “stay on the line” caller.

“Why am I calling you? “he would say, “I am calling because I have five grandchildren and they mean a lot to me. Do you have grand-kids? Seven, now ain’t that something?” He would then share family anecdotes and precious kid moments. He was so interested that he bonded with the voter. His four hairs would flop into his face as he warmed to his subject and as he moved into the home stretch he would ask, “Now Mrs. Bumble what do you think is the worse thing, I mean the very worst thing that we are leaving our grand-kids?” The voter would answer up.  “That’s right, that’s right, you are quite right, it is the national debt!”

The voter would lament on the bad, bad politics, and say that nothing could be done about it.

“Did you know that there is one candidate can fix the  and he also has the skill and knowledge to effectively reduce it?” Jay would ask. He would conclude by asking, “Can I have your pledge for Norman McCarthy?”

Another volunteer success!

Occasionally Pearl would beat him with the number of pledges, but not often.  On the other hand she would always win the prize for reaching the most people in a day. She was tireless, coming in early and leaving late. Most of teh other volunteers worked short shifts.

“I have called you three times, sweet Maryanne and you have not returned my call. I am really, really worried about your grandkids!”

“Thank you for calling back, Maryanne.”

“How old am I?  Oh I forget, I am not trying to be funny. Does this happen to you sometimes? The answer is in here somewhere, I just have to find it.”

Spider would crack up. He knew his sweet mother-in-law knew her exact age to the minute, but she had obviously reached a dodderer and had wanted to bond.”

“Why do I do this calling out? “

Comment from the voter.

“Yes it is very important to me, very important. I don’t like the state of the world.”

Long comment from the voter.

Sorry to interrupt you, “I have it now; yes I have remembered. Yeah,  I am all of 76 years old.”

Admiration from the voter.

“ Aren’t you also worried about your grand-kids?”

Answer from the voter.

“You are quite right, it’s out of control. You think nothing can be done about the national debt? Now there you are wrong.”  Plug for Norman McCarthy (following Spider’s script) and another voter was taking the pledge.

It was Rith’s biggest and most brilliant marketing move.

Quote for the Day

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation – Lois Wyse 

Halloween

Is it Fabulous Fun or a Frightening Fad?

As the year rolls round and we slide into winter, even with a time change designed to keep our kids out of darkness, creative homemakers view the last day of October, October 31st, with some misgiving. Is this American tradition, which is now firmly embedded in our culture, sick or sensational; good or evil?

Cat in front of lantern

The Origins of Halloween

Historians are not quite sure how this holiday entered into the eerie fabric of our culture. The most popular interpretation is that long, long before the birth of Christ, in the Celtic world of Ireland, England, and parts of France, the end of summer harvest was celebrated, with the New Year beginning shortly after. It was said that on the last night of the year the curtain between alive and dead was at its thinnest, and the ghosts of the dead came out to roam the countryside. The frightened people lit bonfires to keep away the evil spirits and if they walked abroad, they would light their way with a candle in a hollowed out turnip which they had carved with an ugly face. Halloween survived in the Catholic Celtic world, and it even survived the Protestant Reformation with its rejection of all things Catholic, false or symbolic. Halloween, as it exists in America today, was brought here in the mid 1800s, when more than a million Irish immigrants made their way to America, following the disastrous Potato Famine. Once here, they discovered that pumpkins were far easier to carve with funny faces, than turnips.

Bats for halloween

These Irish immigrants, rather than dressing as Saints in a Church parade, asking for soul cakes in return for prayer, got creative with spectacular costumes and went from house to house begging for handouts – and they found it was a lot fun! This was when, in good Irish, elfish mischief, the tricks entered in. Most were centered around the outhouse, and Halloween tricks tamed down when good plumbing became the order of the day. It was in the 1920s that children began to dress up and go from door to door. The idea was to get to know the neighbors, and to foster community spirit. Various bad incidents put a damper on the celebration in the 1970s, but by the year 2000 it was estimated that 92 percent of all American kids went Trick or Treating.

You as a Creative Home Maker

Would you want to deny these beautiful children below the glorious fun of Halloween? All are loved to the degree their parents or grandparents asked us to do a family portrait to keep them alive in the treasure of their family memories. In the innocent world of my new granddaughter, Sofia, I observe that there has been a shift from ghouls and brimstone and lightning, and the fires of hell, to creating an opportunity for the kids to explore new realities. last year Sofia was Rapunzel and this year she will be Cinderella wearing her costume first at the end of September (her birthday) to Disneyland. So in 2012 with parent’s policing the excessive sugar and shepherding their children around from house to house, the kids are having a grand ol’ time for Halloween!

From the Comfort Zone

Bring us your photographs and we will help you preserve your treasured memories. (We’d love to see a photograph of your child in a Halloween costume!)  We would surely post it on this blog and on our website.

Quote for the Week

Eat, drink and be scary.  ~Author Unknown

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A grandmother got together some known proverbs to quizz her three precious grandchildren.  Here are some of the precious answers that she got.

Strike while the bug is close!

It is always darkest before daylight savings!

No news is impossible!

An idle mind is the way to relax!

A penny saved is not very much!

Where there is smoke there is pollution!

You get out of something what you see pictured on the box.

When the blind lead the blind, get out of the way.

Love all but trust only me!

photo to artwork

A Precious Gift

A comment from The Picture Lady: We see Children are an essential part of the Creative Homemaking lifestyle. Being a good mother is the true test of a woman. We watch the children coming through at our store in the Travel Plaza at the Flying J and there is energy and love and goodwill in the American children. It gives us hope for the future.

Quote for the Week

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher