Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can you lend me a...wing?

When Hubby said he needed help putting the siding on the shed, I am not sure this is what he had in mind...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Old Homeplace

When I was a child I always looked forward to visiting my grandparents at the homeplace.  The homeplace was a once, working farm in Nash County, where my dad and his siblings spent their childhood. 

When I was young, my grandparents no longer worked the land, but the farm still produced crops mostly maintained by other family members.   The homeplace was littered with memories of a working farm, buildings and barns and old farm equipment, but the barns no longer echoed the sounds of livestock. 

I have vivid memories of playing in hay lofts and exploring the many corners of the delapitated buildings.  My imagination would take me back to a time when those old barns were filled with animals of the cute and cuddly kind.  As a young girl who's image of a perfect world involved horses of every breed, I especially enjoyed stories of my dad's good old black stallion, Black Beauty. 

I would listen in awe as my dad told me how this horse was just like the one in the book, wild and crazy and all his.  I remember wishing I had my own Black Beauty.  Alas, I was left to my imagination, standing in the old barn, peering into the stall once housing a magnificant animal.  Running my fingers over the wood and dreaming of what it was like to brush the long mane of an animal I only knew from my father's stories.

The barn held memories that were not my own but those of generations of farmers.  As a young girl I dreamed of furry animals and fresh hay, horses and cute little pigs.  How different would I imagine that barn now?

Although I no longer think much about horses, I do imagine a barn filled with animals.  Working animals.  Mooing, oinking food.  Animals who serve the same purpose as those who lived in that barn long ago.  No longer does my imagination take me to the barn of my childhood, it takes me to the place I want to build my life and provide for my family.  A place of hard work and satisfaction. 

Imagining myself standing now in my grandparent's old barn, the scene is quite different than what I dreamed of long ago.  An old and crumbling barn, years of dust settled into the cracks, still breathing with the wind.  Memories of hard work and sweat are etched into the wood. 

The stall, once holding that magnificent horse would still be there, but would no longer remind me of the horse I always wanted.  It would be a reminder of a time when farming was a necessity and hard work was commonplace. 

A time when sustainability was a way of life.  A place where rewards were in the form of satisfaction in a hard day's work.  Where the simple joys in life where all that mattered.  A place where after a long day's work, a young image of my father would trod into the barn and jump on the back of his wild and crazy horse and take off down the long dirt road.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and all that jazz...

Hey Folks!  Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope your day is filled with lots of love!  Hubby and I keep Valentines Day pretty low key around here.  All we expect from each other is a nice quiet evening at home to hang out and enjoy a home cooked meal.  I am baking a Chocolate Stout Cake (yumm!).  For the remainder of the day I plan on sitting on the back porch, finishing some cross-stitch and reading a book.  The weather is beautiful and I want to soak it in!  Not to mention spending time with the other loves of my life! 

Hope you have a beautiful day filled with hugs and kisses...even if they are of the slobbery, furry kind!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Surrounded by memories and sewing machines

I have to admit that lately I have been a little obsessed with sewing machines.  Many years ago my Grandma Edith gave my mother her Kenmore 158.1913 sewing machine.  Or maybe the machine was given to me, I don't really recall.  Regardless, the machine is now mine and has a permanent place in my craft room and in my heart.  I would sooner chop off a limb than part with that machine.

Now mind you, I do not sew clothing or much of anything really, but I enjoy learning new things and learning about this machine has been lots of fun.  I retrieved it from my parent's house last year when I decided to make some curtains for my kitchen.  When I was hand-making gifts this Christmas, that was the first time in a while this Kenmore had graced the dining room table.  Actually this machine is even what fueled the process of getting a proper craft room.  This machine has managed to grab ahold of my heart and refused to let go.

I love this machine for more reasons than one.  But first, I have found from further research into the world of vintage Kenmore sewing machines, that I am quite lucky to have it in my possession.  New sewing machines aren't made with the same quality that Kenmore used when making this machine.  It's sturdy and strong and runs like a champ, even 35 years later.  Learning more and more about this machine everyday, I find myself purusing craigslist and ebay looking for parts and attachments and even machines of the same series.  Even last week I picked up my mom's old Kenmore 158.1345, a younger machine but just as awesome.

Awesomeness aside, let me tell you why I like my grandmother's old Kenmore more than anything.  My Grandma Edith was one of the most amazing women I have ever known.  She was strong and independent, kind, funny, and wise.  She was everything I wanted to be in a person and she had more love to share than anyone I have ever known.  When she passed away years ago, it was the first of the biggest heartache our family would endure, the second being the loss of my grandfather, her husband.

I have many memories of Grandma Edith and a few small mementos of our times together.  I don't usually hold a lot of attachment to physical things that belonged to my beloved family members, but this sewing machine, this is different.  When I pull out this machine I touch the same knobs and work the same needles as Grandma once worked.  I even have a box of her old threads and when I pick up that thread, I feel her.  I feel her love and her memory.

When I work with this machine, I imagine her sitting in front of it, stitching a blouse or hemming a skirt.  I see her embroidering gifts and mending holes.  I can imagine her in more vivid detail than I ever have.  Her memory is alive in this machine.  I have come to realize, my Kenmore is more than a sewing machine, it's a living breathing memory of an amazing woman and that is priceless.  Do you have something that brings back memories of someone you loved?