Friday, April 28, 2006

Scrapbooks or Memory Books - Sentimental Reminders


Several years ago I used to receive a monthly crafting magazine that I enjoyed. One month I received a notice that the magazine was going to change to a "paper crafts" only magazine from then on. This was just before the scrapbooking craze exploded. I thought at the time that it was crazy. How could they possibly do a whole magazine just on paper crafts. I wasn't into paper crafts and couldn't imagine what their logic was. Little did I know that "paper crafts" was about to become a multi-million dollar industry. Little did I know that years later if you entered "scrapbooks" into Google you'd get 7,860,000 hits.

When I think about it now I have to laugh. Why? Well, because I'd like to say that even though I had no idea how big scrapbooking would become I was still ahead of my time. At least in the sentimentality department. You see, I've been collecting every piece of paper, every card, every memento, etc. that I've ever received since I was about 5 years old. I have everything chronologically stored in what I call my "memory books." At last count I was on Volume #20 and had accumulated 47 years of mementoes. My "memory books" could be considered a forerunner of today's scrapbooks minus all the elaborate cut-outs, stickers, printed papers, etc.

My 20 volume's of "memory books" would be double or triple that number if I had decided to store all of the greeting cards I've ever received since I was 5 years old there as well. They are just too bulky so they are stored in plastic letter sized containers and are filed by year. At last count I had 4 large containers of cards.

Why do I keep everything? A couple of reasons. First of all, I'm like my Dad. I'm a hoarder. I keep everything. Especially anything that's sentimental. Secondly, I love history. My whole life is chronicled in those "memory books." It's so wonderful to reminisce by starting at book #1 and reading through them. Sometimes I have to scan through them to get the date for the year something may have happened. As you get older sometimes you just can't remember exactly when something happened.

I have the pages from my first diary there, my first movie ticket, my first letter. I can see my own handwriting from when I was a kid. I have pictures that my younger brothers and sister drew me or sent me. I have letters from both my Grandmothers and Aunt, who are no longer with us, stored there. I love to re-read them from time to time and think about what they may have been thinking at the time they wrote them. I have cards and letters from my beautiful step-daughter, who is also no longer with us, that I cherish dearly.

I have letters from my childhood best friend when she went away on vacation. I have my first picture booth strip. My first award. I have every wedding invitation I have ever received. Every thank-you card. Every bridal shower invitation. Every baby shower invitation. I always tried to include some of the pictures that went with the events if I had them at the time.

I have my college acceptance letters, my grades, starting with Grade 1, and all my term papers, reports, and tests from grade school through college. I even have my class "notes." The term papers, reports, and tests are stored in separate "memory books" so they are all together. I like to re-read them and reflect upon what I may have been thinking at the time. Of course, upon reflection I don't always agree with my youthful self. Time and age tend to change your perspective.

Sometimes, I wish I had the time to go backwards and create my "memory books" again with all the wonderful supplies they have available today. The problem would be it would take way too much time and - well, my "memory books" just wouldn't be the same. Would they? You see, not only do my "memory books" represent what I saved but each page is sentimental all unto itself for they were created as I was living them. They represent my creative nature during that period of my life. They represent my thinking on what was important to me then and how I chose to present it. So, to go backwards now would be to have an older woman trying to recreate what a 10 year old might have been thinking at the time. It would never be the same and would never be as sentimental.

So, I cherish the "memory books" that I have. Thank you Dad for this trait. Perhaps going forward I'll have the time to create some "memory books" using the wonderful supplies that they have available today. Perhaps, but that would require a lot of time. Unfortunately, that's not something I have a lot of these days.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Wouldn't Know What To Write In A Blog?


If you are familiar with me and my websites you know that I love blogs and that I have a lot of them. In fact, I've got 7 at Blogger.com, 3 at GoDaddy.com, 1 journal on AOL, 1 My Spaces at MSN, 1 Yahoo 360 page, 1 blog at Bravenet.com, 1 at Tagworld.com, 1 on Return On Affiliate, and 1 at Live Journal.

Why would I have so many blogs. Well, there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I love to experiment. Second, they all have different features. And, third, I was trying to see which one might be the best one to use for my grandson.

I haven't tried MySpace.com, IBlogs.com, SquareSpace.com, Blogster.com, Weblogs.com, Myblogs.com,Blogdrive.com, Shadows.com, or Xanga.com yet. But, I will. I'd like to try Typepad.com but I'm too cheap to pay for it when there are so many great blog websites that are FREE.

So, I thought since I was trying so many different types of blogs that I should write about them in a series. That way if you're looking to start a blog you'd know which features I liked the best on the ones that I'd tested so far. Of course, it's all just my opinion of the things that I like. You might not agree or you might be looking for something else. Whatever.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with a blogs there has been a blog explosion or blog phenomenon on the internet during the last few years. Blogs started out as journals for writing down ones thoughts and opinions and have mushroomed into full blown websites used both personally and commercially. Just about everyone and anyone has a blog. In fact, if you type "blogs" into Goggle you will come up with 1,230,000,000 entries. That's a lot of entries for something that virtually didn't exist over a decade ago. Unbelievable.

If you're in business you have a blog. If you're a political commentator you have a blog. If you want to share your thoughts, photo's, adventures, etc. you have a blog. If you have a hobby you love and want to share with others who love that hobby as well you have a blog. If you're a celebrity you have a blog. If you just want to keep track of what's going on in your life and share it with your family you have a blog. If you're a grandparent and want to tell family stories and share pictures you have a blog. If you want to share your opinion of how the country is being run and politics you have a blog.

If you just want to share recipes with your friends you have a blog. If you want to show off your latest creations you have a blog. If you're a commentator you have a blog. If you're a teenager and you want to share your day, your gripes, your pictures, etc. with your friends you have a blog. If you just like to listen to yourself speak you have a blog. If you're in a long distance relationship you have a blog. If you're a global family you have a blog. If you just want to feel like you're part of the internet world you have a blog.

Blogs have become the way to communicate your thoughts, your ideals, your opinions, your hopes, your desires, in effect, your life. They have replaced the lovely tradition of handwritten letters. While I love and cherish the tradition of handwritten letters blogs are a much better way to communicate to a lot of people in a fast paced society. If your blog is made public then they open the world up to everyone else. How wonderful is that? People on one side of the globe can read about the lives of people on the other side of the globe. Amazing. Simply amazing and astonishing.

When I tell people how wonderful blogs are they always comment, "I'm not a writer. I wouldn't know what to write about. I'm not an expert on anything." Well, the GOOD NEWS is you DON'T HAVE TO BE! You don't have to be a writer. You don't have to be an expert on anything. Your blog can be about anything you want it to be. There are no blog rules. There are no blog police. Your blog is just that. It's your blog. It can be whatever you want it to be. There are no right ways and wrong ways in the blogging community.

Come on. It's time you joined the blogging community.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

WE LOOK GOOD!

At first the soft rustling sound started slowly as Baptist and Jael sat there grinning from ear to ear. Then it grew louder and louder. Pretty soon Baptist and Jael couldn't even hear each other. Even that didn't stop them from beaming from ear to ear!

"What do you think they're whispering about?" Jael asked her older brother. Baptist responded, "I don't really care, Jael. Did you see our picture in the Spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings? I LOOKED GOOD! Didn't I?"

"Well, Baptist, I'd have to say we both LOOKED GOOD!" Jael said trying not to smile any more than she already was. "Annie at Folkart Square did a really good job with the Folkart Square Ad and their Pattern-Central picture. Don't you think, Baptist?" responded Jael.

"Yep! She did at that!" Baptist responded. "I LOOK REALLY GOOD!" Baptist said once again beaming from ear to ear." Just as he did that the whispers got louder and louder in Linda's dollie storage room.

"Oh, Baptist! I think the other dollies are talking about us" said Jael. "I don't like that. Not one bit!"

"Who cares, Jael!" Baptist responded. "I LOOKED GOOD! " And, once again, his famous grin could be seen from ear to ear. "I sure am one HANDSOME PRIMITIVE" he stated. "Why, yes, yes I am."

Jael knew there was no talking to her older brother, Baptist. He was just too darn pleased with himself and his picture. But, Jael was concerned. She was a little on the shy side and really didn't like the other dollies talking about her. It was hard enough trying to co-exist with hundreds of other dollies in Linda's dollie storage room. This really didn't help she thought. Even though Annie really did do a wonderful job on the ad. Jael decided that was the last ad she was going to be in. Little did she know what Annie and Linda had in store for her.

So, she sighed and took one last look at her picture before she started to put the magazine away. "Oh, my!" she had to admit. "I DO LOOK GOOD!" With that, Jael started grinning from ear to ear. And then the whispering began again...Psssst... Pssst....


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Some Easter Bunny Jokes For You!

Everyone loves cute jokes. Here's a few Easter bunny jokes for the kids:

How can you tell which rabbits are the oldest in a group?
Just look for the gray hares!
How are rabbits like calculators?
They both multiply real fast!

Why can't a rabbit's nose be twelve inches long?
Because it would then be a foot!

What do you get when you cross a rabbit with a spider?
A hare net!

Why did the bunny bang his head on the piano?
He was playing by ear!

Why did the man wear a rabbit as a hat?
He didn't want to harm a hare on his head!


What are four hundred rabbits hopping backwards?
A receding hare line!

What did the rabbit say to the carrot?
It's been nice gnawing you!

And, my personal favorite:

What kind of jewelry do rabbits wear?
14 carrot gold!

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter

Easter - the end of the winter and the beginning of spring. What a wonderful time of the year. When I think of Easter I think of Easter outfits, Easter baskets, church services, and Easter lilies.

My favorite, of course, is Victorian Easter dresses. Second to that is the Easter lily. I can remember coming home each Easter from church with an Easter Lily. I loved them then and I love them now. In fact, I have a garden filled with them along with tiger lilies, daffodils, tulips and day lilies.

The reason my garden is filled with them is because each Easter my Mother brings one to me . After the blooms are gone I plant it in my garden. That way, every year I get to marvel at the sheer beauty and delicacy of its blooms. They are magnificent.

The lily is a symbol of purity because of its whiteness and very delicate form. It symbolizes innocence. It's called the Easter lily because the flowers bloom in early Spring, around Easter. The white lily, or Bermuda trumpet, was brought to the United States from Bermuda in 1880 by Mrs. Thomas P. Sargent of Philadelphia, Pa. It has become the mainstay of Easter floral arrangements and church decorations.

If you have an Easter lily or have been given one make sure that you plant it in your garden. That way you'll see it bloom time and time again. So, each year you can't help but marvel at its magnificence.

We hope everyone has a very Happy Easter.


Graphics - Courtesy of Becky at www.primsandstems.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"In Your Easter Bonnet, With All The Frills Upon It....."


If you are a baby boomer, like I am, then you probably have many fond memories associated with dressing up in your finest attire (hopefully, new clothes) for Easter Day. I know that I do.

On of my favorite Easter Day pictures is the one to the left. The picture is of my mother, father, older brother, younger sister and younger brother just before going to church on Easter Day. I was taking the picture.

You might be wondering why it's one of my favorites. Well, just look at my older brother's smile - or grimace might be a better description.

And, then, of course there's my mother's hat. It was this big, white, floral, lace, ribbon concoction. Oh, sorry, mom. I meant hat. It was lovely... WINK! WINK!

Every time I look at this picture and my mother's hat I can't help but think about the words from Irving Berlin's 1948 song "Easter Parade."

"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it
You'll be the grandest gal in the Easter parade.
I'll be all in glover, and when they look us over
We'll be the proudest couple in the Easter parade."

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I just love historical traditions. So, of course this got me to thinking about the tradition of Easter clothes and the Easter parade. Where and when did this all begin? Where did the wearing of new clothes come from?

Early Christians believed the week before Easter was a good time to be baptized and called it "White Week." They dressed in new white robes, which they wore during the entire Easter week to symbolize their rebirth and new life. People who had been baptized previously wore new clothes on Easter to symbolize they shared in this rebirth and new life.

Subsequently, Europeans came to believe that a new piece of clothing on Easter Sunday would bring good luck. Old or used garments would bring a year of misfortune. So new clothes became a symbol of Easter. It's unbelievable how many traditions we still have based upon superstition.

It wasn't until the Middle Ages that people in their new clothes began to take walks after their Easter service. This eventually evolved into the tradition of Easter Parades, of which New York's 5th Avenue is probably the most famous.

After the Civil War Easter was known as the "Sunday of Joy." Women and girls who had worn dark colors of mourning during the war decided to start wearing the bright and wonderful colors of spring. Their hats were decorated with fresh flowers. If the fresh flowers weren't available then they would make flowers out of paper, fabric, ribbons, feathers, hairs, etc.

The Easter Parade in New York began in 1860 - the Victorian Era, of course. The elite of society would attend Easter Service at one of the churches along 5th Avenue and then parade down 5th Avenue afterwards to give every one a chance to view their new Easter hats and dresses. I would have loved to have seen that. Some of the dresses had to be absolutely gorgeous. And, of course, there were the hats.

The hats were elaborate and kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger with each passing year. Flowers, lace, bird's nests (that's something I definitely want in my hat), ribbons, etc. were all used to decorate the hats. The more elaborately decorated the hat, the better.

Of course, the first Easter bonnets were worn way before Easter was even celebrated. They weren't even bonnets at all. They were circles of wreaths of leaves and flowers and were worn atop the head to celebrate Spring. The round shape symbolized the sun and the life cycle.

In essence the Easter Parade along 5th Avenue was the forerunner of what is known today as a "fashion show." Many seamstresses would bring their sketch pads with them to the Easter Parade so that they could go back and create knockoff's for their less wealthy clients.

Even as a child I loved Easter. Why? For me it had to do with my fascination for beautiful dresses. My mother would buy me the most beautiful little girl's dress for Easter. I'd have my hat or bonnet (of course), my black patent leather shoes, white lace socks (the tops had to be lace, of course), my white gloves (oh, yes I wore gloves), and my little purse. I don't remember what I carried in that purse. What possible needs did a little girl have. Maybe I kept my candy in there. In any event, as you can imagine I loved it.

The picture to the right is of my older brother and I on Easter Sunday. Just look at my dress. I actually remember that dress. The front bodice had the most beautiful smocking and there were several layers of tulle underneath to keep the skirt puffed out. If you've never worn a dress with tulle you can't imagine how itchy it was. If you look closely my hat was a headband adorned with flowers and I think I was carrying a lollipop. Maybe that's what I kept in my purse. My brother, of course, was all decked out in his finest too. We probably walked around our house for our Easter Parade.

Another fond memory I have of Easter attire is the first year I wore high heels. What a disaster that was. I never got the hand of it and still don't know how women wear them. I kept falling off the side of the high heels. For me, given that I'm a tall women, that was comical to say the least. So flats or shoes with wide heels became my shoes of choice.

As with many wonderful traditions, new Easter outfits are a thing of the past. Some people do buy new clothes and some places have Easter parades as a lark. For me, I will always have the fond memories of my beautiful Easter dresses, and then there's my mothers hat. That hat! She could have had an eagles nest in it. Just kidding, Mom. It was lovely... WINK! WINK!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Who Doesn't Love Paper Dollies?


Image Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ballerina and Bloomer Girls (Prima Donna) Paper Dolls
Publisher:Littauer and Boysen
Purveyor:Dennison Manufacturing Co. (New York, NY)
Date:1890–1905
Medium:Lithographs
Dimensions:each: 14 3/8 × 6 1/8 in. (36.5 × 15.5 cm)
Classification:Prints
Credit Line:Gift of D. Lorraine Yerkes, 1959
Accession Number:59.616.403a-g

I don't know if you're like me or not, but I like to reminisce about my childhood and the dolls, toys, or items that I loved to play with. In doing so I always say to myself, "Why didn't I save them?" I wish I had saved all of them. Some of them would be worth a fortune today.

Unfortunately, we moved a few times and old toys were discarded. Plus, what child thinks about saving something so they can have it 50 years down the road? None, that I know of and certainly not me. So, all my old toys, "Barbie" dolls, other dolls, and "paper dolls" were thrown away.

Today, with the advent of computerized doll makers and graphics "paper dolls" are making a comeback. You can create your own doll online or in your own graphics program and then print it out on your color printer on cardboard stock. Then just cut it out just like you did as a child. You're all set to play. How great is that?

In the paper, scrapbooking, stamping, and mixed media area there are so many gorgeous paper dolls being created and supplies generated to help you with that. In the mixed media and scrapbooking arena paper dolls are becoming an art form. Some of the creations are just astonishing. If you'd like to see some beautiful paper art dolls my" Paper Art Doll  Creations" Pinterest board is here.

Plus, with the advent of the computers, paper dolls went virtual.  You can create your own avatar dolls and virtual doll worlds. Over the years I've created a few avatars of my own, like my YoVille Linda shown below:

 

The Linda avatar on the left is the original YoVille (now known as YoWorld) avatar I created back in 2006.  The Linda on the right is the "Punk" version.  DollZ, which is what digital dolls are now known as, are extremely popular with numerous websites devoted to them.  You can create the dolls, create their clothing, their homes, their worlds, their friends, etc.  It's mindboggling.