Hello Friends! I'm still here. Just quietly lurking in the blog shadows these days. All is well in our wooded wonderland. I've been waiting out winter with lots of little crafty projects that have kept me occupied through most of it. One such project (in particular) has consumed my time more than the others. And there's a backstory:
Last year I made a mad dash down to California to pick up my Mom's Hope Chest, that had been locked away in her house for the past 15 years. I was relieved to finally be able to bring it home and to retrieve the contents; mainly our precious family photographs.
Back in 2001, due to ill health and sensing her days were numbered, my Mom packed her old cedar chest (a 1950's wedding gift), with family mementos and photo albums. For her this was a bittersweet time of memories and letting go. The plan was for me to take possession of the chest and its contents to be preserved for the family after she had passed away.
But due to unforeseen circumstances it didn't happen the way we planned. The Widower Spouse became reclusive, barred the door and refused entry to anyone, stubbornly guarding her things. We gave him space and time and waited patiently. I thought eventually his grief would subside and he would come around, but he did not budge from this mindset.
All these years later, with his health in decline, he fell out of bed and banged his head hard enough to knock some sense into it, and finally relented and accepted help. My brother and his wife (who live in a nearby town) took him in, as he has no other family. They decided to rent the house to compensate for his medical expenses and care. Necessitating my "mad dash" down there last year to retrieve the chest.
Opening it was like entering a time capsule. It consisted mostly of things like old baby booties & bonnets, plaster-cast handprints from nursery school, and other little odds and ends that only a mother could love. It was touching and sweet, and brought back so many memories. My Mother never owned any valuables, but what she had, she cherished and shared. It meant the world to me.
I immediately delved into the long-lost photo albums. There were dozens of them, all shapes, types and sizes; my grandmother's among them. A hodgepodge to say the least! But I knew that going in. Most were in poor shape, dusty and disintegrating due to time. Mom's organizational skills, when it came to photo albums at least, didn't improve the situation either.
A typical page looked like this:
She loved scotch-tape and never used it sparingly. A bit of a nightmare to deconstruct. My lofty goal was to preserve the photos in the same way that I preserve our vintage patterns. With technology!
Before long my desk looked like this:
And this wasn't even the half of it. It was really a huge undertaking, I found out. One I've been working on, with tiny breaks for holidays and short trips up until the present time. Just plodding away and making progress a little at a time; in between running the PatternBee hobby biz, and working on my doll collection (that I still haven't shown you!), but at least now you know what's been holding up that show and tell.
I'm using the My Memories digital scrapbook software to bring all of this nostalgia and history happily together. The first album spans 1900-1980; about 150 pages and is almost ready for the printer. Time to finish this up.
Because spring has arrived at long last. And is waiting just outside my door. Promising new beginnings.
And speaking of that, my Bonus pattern for April has a sweet Spring theme. I have a fondness for cross-stitch chicks. It's the very first piece of needlework my Mom gave me to embroider when I was about five years old. I still remember how much I loved stitching those x's and how the thread kept getting all tangled up. Don't forget to check out the new additions. I'm especially loving Mod Mouse at the moment. She makes me happy for some silly reason. Daily Devotions, Cross-Stitch Pup, and Sunbonnet Sally were all shared by our stitching friend Bernice up in North Dakota. The winters are very long up there, and stitching keeps her busy.
I hope you all find wonderful things to fill your days too!