Posts Tagged ‘grandmother’

Goodbye Butterflies!

January 12, 2014

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My grandmother gave me this butterfly quilt years and years ago…. probably 25 or 26 years past.  It was filled with that old fashioned batting that made the blanket hug you and keep you warmer than the average quilt.  At one time the colors were vibrant and cheery, the sweet soft pinks, turquoises and lavenders of the 40s.  The pea-green backing was less than my favorite color, but hey, it was on the back.  This quilt was well loved! Several times over the years, before it was completely shredded, I thought of re-doing the blanket stitch around each butterfly…. but that task never made it high enough on my daily to-do lists. So the butterflies slowly flew away as did the days of the quilt’s life.

chickens quilt 006

It became my son’s favorite blanket that he used on his bed for years.  It was under a presentable comforter so I didn’t care how ratty it looked.  Then he went on a church camping trip and took it as his only blanket…. making us look worse than homeless people.  I tried to simply talk him down from using it, but NO!  This was the coziest quilt in the galaxy.  I waited to confiscate it until the dark of the night when it had fallen off his bed and he was snoring.  Hidden under my bed is where it remained for several years because I was not sure if I could throw away the quilt my grandmother handmade and gave to me.

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Yesterday I was obviously low on nostalgic sensibilities.  The quilt came out from under our bed and I seriously took in each butterfly, analyzing if they were still redeemable.  Some had no wings.  At all.  The ones that did have wings also had holes that could not be repaired.  Rolling up the shabby blanket as I headed for the garbage can I realized that if I didn’t take a picture the memory of the butterfly quilt would fade.  Hence, the photo and the story written for posterity, so my grandchildren will know the tale of the pea-green, vintage quilt that they never got the pleasure to wrap up in.

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Goodbye butterflies!  You served us well!

P.S. O.K., after writing this, I went and got it out of the garbage and cut out and saved a few of the butterflies.  I figure I could frame them for the laundry room or for my future sewing room.  I guess I have a bit more nostalgia today than yesterday.  Thankfully it wasn’t garbage pick-up day!

Here we are …

April 9, 2012

Here we are on Easter Sunday … three generations of shining faces.  That’s my mom and my two daughters with me, in case you are new to MSJ.  We are an international crew.  Grandma and Larisa born in Canada. I was born in the USA and Nora in Colombia.  And we’re okay with all that.  Free trade and all that. “All that” really does include a lot of passports/fees/paperwork/fingerprinting…. and it’s all good.

Family dinners are a joy to behold.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of thankful hearts.  Not only for the resurrection of our Lord, but for the family with whom He has surrounded us. 

Favorite quotes from this year’s Easter dinner:

Seven-year-old nephew, when asked what he wanted to drink, “I’ll have rootbeer.  But if there’s no root, I’ll just take the beer.” (We are not a drinking family, so it was quite amusing!)

Eight-year-old daughter, after her father said, “There are E G G S around the R O O M.  We will H U N T after C H U R C H.”  “Hey, I think you guys spelling so I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

My pound-dropping husband, “This is the leanest and greenest Easter dinner I’ve ever eaten!”

He is risen indeed!

I’m the one on the OUTSIDE???

July 11, 2011

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was a fortunate kid who had both sets of grandparents until my teens.  Most of our family vacations (in the station wagon with the 8-track tape of the singing Statesmen) were spent driving to and from one of my grandparents’ homes.  My maternal grandparents lived in White Rock, B.C. a block from the beach and they had a trampoline in the back yard and wild blackberry vines that grew down the hill from their home.  All of those were important items on my list as a kid.  They lived in a four-story yellow house that stood out like Big Bird when we were on the beach looking toward land.  The reason they lived in a four-story, gargantuan home was because my Grandmother took care of 10 women who had special needs, all who lived in the top floors of the canary-colored house. Grandma and Grandpa lived in the lower floor in two cramped bedrooms, a kitchen and livingroom.  I can’t remember where we slept when we stayed there, but I have fond memories of that house.

The Ladies ate at a large diningroom table in a window-laden room facing the ocean on the second floor.  It was a ways from the kitchen, where my grandmother cooked for all 17 of us inhabitants.  We ate at a squishy kitchen table that was at the back of the house in a nook with windows across the far wall.  Our view was the driveway and the neighbor’s fence. The table was formica with a gray and white pattern of triangles, and there were secured benches all the way around the table.  No chairs.  There was no room for chairs.  I felt like a sardine lined up with my siblings and sometimes my cousins. And I loved it.

The day we arrived, Grandma gave each of us a see-through pill bottle with a white snap-on lid with our name written on it in a rainbow-shaped curve. It was for vacation allowance.  Each and every day she handed out a quarter to me and my brother and sister.  The coins fit perfectly in the little bottles. I have always relished things that fit perfectly.  True to form, my brother would save his coins all week so on the last day he could carefully purchase a yo-yo, or a rubber coin purse that squeezed open or a candy bar.  I lavishly spent my quarter every day.  On junk candy.  And I was okay with that. Because the next morning, for at least 20 minutes, there would be another shiny quarter that would fit perfectly into the bottom of my pill bottle that said L-I-N-D-A in the rainbow-shaped curve.

There were “other” cousins that also came to Grandma’s yellow beach house on Buena Vista Drive.  Three girls, close to the same ages as us, but we weren’t “real” cousins.  We spent a Christmas or two together when we were very young, eating at Grandma’s, but we never swapped gifts.  I never gave it much thought but somehow felt sorry for them because they weren’t Grandma’s “real” grandchildren.  I considered them on the outside.

In my 16th year of life, I came to the realization that the Grandmother that I loved, was married to my Grandfather…. after my maternal Grandmother passed away years previously.  She was my STEP-Grandmother.  But how could that be?  She was not like Cinderella’s Step-anything!  She loved us and fed us and gave us vacation allowance.  THEN I realized that I was not a “real” grandchild…. I was on the outside!  The three girls were on the INSIDE! That shocked me for days.  It was my first real-life experience knowing unconditional non-blood related love.  We were family and that was all that mattered. And I loved it.

More tomorrow, on my beloved Grandmother.

Zaza’s Dolly

May 29, 2010

I finally finished sewing Zaza’s dolly two days ago.  I plan to let Zaza name her, but if she asks for suggestions, I might say Amelia or Eliana or Christina.  I already used the iron-on face included in the pattern, and besides, it had blue eyes.  So I found an embroidered pattern on-line.  That took one whole day.  They even embroidered the pink cheeks, but I didn’t think that would look too good. I used real make-up.

The body is made from vintage muslin that was in the quilting scraps from my grandmother.  I tea-dyed it so as not to have pasty-white skin, like mine.  I think Grandma would be happy that I made Zaza’s dolly from her stash.  For the hair, I didn’t want to use regular twisted yarn because it can unravel and become a mess.  So I searched and searched and found this beautiful black non-twisted yarn made of bamboo.  Yes, it surprised me too.  It is super soft and combs out perfectly. 

I picked up the four purples on a sale day, so the entire outfit including bloomers was $5.  Yes, $5.  You don’t need much fabric for an 18″ doll.  I didn’t follow the pattern for the apron because I wanted the fabric on the bodice to show.  So I made up an apron, complete with a pocket for her tissue… or little treasure.  I’m starting outfit #2 now out of teeny red and blue floral fabric and I plan to make it short-sleeved (for summer) with the white eyelet pinafore following the pattern.  I’ll show you later.

Yes, she needs shoes.  There is no pattern for shoes…. except for slippers to match her jammies.  That won’t do for her Sunday dress.  I had a handmade doll when I was young and she had black felt shoes with a strap and a tiny white button.  I’m going to make those…. pray for me… I’m going off 35-year-old memories!

One in Every Generation

May 27, 2009

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There has to be at least one genealogy-happy person in each generation to keep the family heritage alive and growing.  I am it for my generation of Nikander children.  I have a brother, a sister and two guy cousins….NONE of which is even slightly interested in old fuzzy photos, dusty family Bibles or traipsing through cemeteries to take pictures of headstones.  I am it. (Stop rolling your eyes, Christy.)

Somewhere in my journeys I saw a beautiful photo display wall of all the the female ancestors of some such person, whom I forget the identity of at present.  It inspired me.  About eight years back I painstakingly copied all the old family photos that I could get my grubby little hands on and started a heritage scrapbook album.  But still in the back of my mind, I could see the wall of women… women who carried on family names and traditions.   Fast forward to about two years back when I found a darling oval frame with a mat that could hold seven pictures.  I envisioned my female ancestors looking out from those holes.  I brought it home, painted over the glittery silver finish with a flat off-white and hung the frame on the wall….. waiting for the photos.

The photos that I gathered were ALL the wrong size.  So the empty frame hung on my wall for years.  (yes, I know, embarrassing.)  Then I read a story from the book Welcome to the Funny Farm about a blank frame on that author’s wall… and I got things in motion once again.  On Memorial Day, this past Monday, my dear father scanned, re-sized, touched up and got my seven matronly photos to fit my framed mat.  Thanks, Dad.  In honor of dear old dad, I decided to put my Paternal Female Ancestors in the frame, being that I happened to have seven pictures.

So, yesterday I had out-patient surgery to remove some fatty lipomas from my neck, that were obviously lost and never found my backside.  So today, I finally printed the names and dates of the dear ladies and finished the eight year project. Ta Da!  I love it.  I realize what a treasure it is to have Great Great Great Grandmother pictures…. and I’m hoping and praying that someday I can give this to the solitary person in the next generation who will love and appreciate it too.  I’m thinking it might be my niece, Katelyn.  Since she was two she was fascinated with who was whose sister, mother, daughter.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  She called me once to ask what percentage of nationalities she was.  See!  I’m the only one with the valuable, treasured information for the next generation.

The Chips are Down, but the Bags are UP!

October 14, 2008

www.BagsForZaza.blogspot.com has some real beauties up this week, if I do say so myself.  In fact, I just did.  There is something for every gal on your Christmas list, young and old.  For those new to MSJ, this is an adoption fundraiser to bring our daughter home from Colombia.  It started as a family project and has blossomed as we found more people to call family. :o)

The bags and/or purses go up for auction on Tuesday and the highest bidder on Saturday night at 9:00 pm has a little bit more of their Christmas shopping completed.  Purses are the rage, in case you haven’t been out of the house lately.  Big bags, handy bags, cutesy bags and just plain versatile bags are IN.

BFZ has also become an addiction for many, but especially my mother.  I truly don’t know what she used to do all day long before she was designing award-winning bags… and checking the comments for every single bag dozens of times each day.  She took a sewing break last week, which we have all done in turn, but she had a difficult time knowing that she wouldn’t have as many comments to read.  Dad even put a computer in her sewing room, right next to the Singer, for easy access while stitching and ripping out and stitching the beautiful bags.  Such dedication

Seriously, how easy are we making your Christmas shopping for you?  It couldn’t get any easier.  You don’t even have to stay up on the auctions, if you choose not to.  Just pick out a dazzling Bag for Zaza for that special someone on your list, bid $175, and you will read your name up in lights on Saturday night.  It’s that easy.  (The bidding starts at $25….. shhhhhh!)

Thanks to all those who have donated fabric, trim and buttons.  Thanks to all who have bid and bid and bid, and STILL don’t have a bag.  Thanks to all of our models across North America for showcasing BFZ when you wear your bag.  Thanks to those special women who are spending their not-so-free-time sewing for Zaza.  Blessings upon you ALL!    (Only 72 shopping days until Christmas!  Don’t get caught in the MALL on the 24th!)

Happy SEVENTIETH Birthday, Mom!

September 10, 2008

Can I just say, I’m hoping and praying that I look this good when I turn 70!  My mother is beautiful inside and out.  She does not look 70!  At all!  She’s even got her bling-on-denim going on here:  (She was 69 1/3 years old in this photo, just for the record.)

You know how your parents are your parents and you don’t think they should really be anything different than they are?  (Was that confusing?)  It’s like growing up in your family, no matter the financial circumstances you think it’s the same for everyone else.  Anyway, I have watched my parents gracefully age, but I did not fully understand how young they look until Rick and I were on a cruise a few years back.  They had a nearly-wed game and called three couples to the front to participate:  The newest married, 25 years married and 50 years married.  I was thinking in my head that the 50 year couple was only two years ahead of my parents, but I was spellbound when I witnessed this little, hunched-over, grey haired couple shuffle to the front of the ship.  They looked 20 years older than my folks.  Rick’s mouth was hanging open as he also witnessed the shuffle.  Without taking his eyes off the elderly couple he proclaimed, “Your parents look GREAT!” 

So upon this glorious day celebrating my mother’s 70th Birthday, I thought a photo essay of 70th Birthday pictures was entirely appropriate.  (I love Google images.)  First up we have Eleanor Roosevelt in all of her glory cutting her cake.  Sorry mom, that your cake was not quite this elaborate.  We did the best we could under the current Weight Watcher’s point system.  Not only do these two fine ladies share a name, but I think Eleanor kind of looks like my mom’s mother a little bit.  There is a resemblance.

Next on the block is an unknown 70 year old celebrating like the best of ’em.  Look at her fingering… you can tell she is used to holding a six string.  (I never thought of getting blow-up musical instruments for your party, Mom….. sorry again.)

 

And here’s a real beauty, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who turned 70 earlier this year.  She is grace and dignity, just like my mom.

Is anyone else sensing the difference between the ladies in the last three photos and the one of my mom???  Or is it just me?  Am I biased?  Is it these rose colored glasses I have on????  Am I the only one who thinks my mom is prettier than your mom??? (oooooh, Mom told me never to say that.)

Happy 70th Birthday, Mom.  You are the best mom in the world.  You’re fun and fun-loving, and fun to tease, and fun to be with.  F-U-N!  (And I’m really your favorite, aren’t I?)

Headz up for Bags for Zaza TONIGHT!

June 17, 2008

Hover at your screen this evening with mouse in hand if you hope to own a Bag for Zaza.  My sister-in-law Jennie is putting up some more bags tonight to help bring Zaza home.  They rock!  Well, and I made some of them… so I’m biased.  (Down with homemade bias tape!)  www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com.

Today was officially my first day with NUTHIN to do.  So we went to Goodwill… OK, I know that freaks out a few of my family members, but I hit pay dirt, baby.  It was $1 for pink tags.  I was looking for great fabric to sew bags for Zaza with, and let me just say, I’ll be stitching for a while.  I can’t spill all the beans, but I got a 3/4 length brown cashmere coat… for ONE DOLLAR.  Even the lining is gorgeous.  I came straight home and cut the left arm off.  It’s now the bottom of the bag pictured. 

And can I just send a thank you to heaven to my grandmother, her mother and my great-great aunties who stitched up a boatload of delicate linens…. for me to chop up and use on these bags.  Most of what I’m using was unfinished, and believe you me, I don’t have time to cut the additional 137  2″ hexagons to complete Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  They are going for a great cause.  Please, no emails about me mutilating family heirlooms.  Honestly, I’m the only one who cares about vintage family treasures AT ALL. (Can I hear an AMEN, Christy?)

?#4 from My Sister’s Jar – Dear Grandma

February 6, 2008

Leroy and Eddie NikanderGus and Mary Nikander, Heppner, Oregon Leroy and Eddie (my dad) Nikander c.  1942?  and (my grandparents) Rev. Gus and Mary Nikander  c. 1927?

Write a letter to someone in your past.  Thank them or relive a favorite memory you have of him or her.

Dear Grandma Nikander,

You have been with Jesus now for 14 years – I know because you passed away right after I gave birth to Larisa.

I have many childhood memories of carefree visits to your home in Heppner, Ore.  Your Swedish pancakes were my favorite breakfast that you fixed.  You’ll be pleased to know that Auntie Margaret included the recipe in her church’s cookbook – and gave me one.  So I make them weekly for my kids, who love them as much as I did.  They asked for them this morning.

We ended up having so much in common but I didn’t really discover it until years after you died.  I love family history and would love the opportunity to ask you questions about your grandparents.  I have the family Bible they bought in Oregon City.  It is a treasure to me.  And I’m so thankful that you wrote the names and dates on the backs of all the old family photographs.  (Rob and Christy don’t care about them AT ALL, but I do.)

Three weeks ago Mom had a luncheon for her friends and she used the hand-painted set of china dishes that you made.  That was one long project, to be sure.  It is beautiful.  I used to relish browsing through your shelves of ware and picking out a piece of china to paint at your side.  It made me feel so grown-up to sign my wobbly name on each pathetically painted masterpiece.

I have taken my family to Heppner to see your home and Grandpa’s church.  We went through the museum and read your name on so many items that you donated.  Generous.  I found it comical that the two weirdest items in the whole museum were from our ancestors.  Hmmmmm.  Who in the world used the Ultra-Violet Ray Machine?  And what for?  The other priceless contraption was the multiple-octopus-looking hair curling device that had more wiry black arms than Medusa had snakes. I bet that made your mama look purty.

I think I’m the only grand-kid who cares about the history of the family ~ see, you would have liked me.  It is through your ancestors that blood lineage was traced back to a patriot of the American Revolution and I have become a member of the Daughters. The only other DAR hopeful is my niece, Katelyn.  We’ll see.  There only seems to be one person from each generation interested in family genealogy fluff. 

Last Fall your boys turned 70 and 75.  You would be proud of their dedication to their families and to the Lord.  They have not departed from your training in the way.  The Lord was faithful to his promise. Your five grand-kids have had 13 great grand-kids.  When we adopt our girl from Colombia, you will have 14.  There is not one, sadly, that inherited your dark, curly hair.  Grandpa’s Finish blood ran strong with mostly blondes.

I look forward to seeing you in heaven.

Love, Linda Ann  “The Other One”