I was thinking about what I should blog about today and decided to do a kind of historical piece about my Grandmother. I am named after her and have always been fascinated by her life. She was born in 1930 and spent her childhood living on a farm in Mississippi during the great depression. She had 9 brothers and sisters and was the oldest girl. They didn't have any toys when she was a child and I remember her showing me how to make corn dolls when I was little and telling me those were the only toys they had when she was young. They also used to take berries and smear them on their lips and cheeks pretending it was makeup. The clothes the children wore were made of flour sacks.
When my grandmother was 15 years old she married a farm hand her father had hired who was living in the house. The marriage was not looked upon with favor by her family and so the two of them moved out on their own and became share croppers in the Mississippi Delta. This was a hard life and I remember her telling me how they lived in a small house with kerosine lamps and a wood stove. After several years my grandmother gave birth to my uncle who she would have to leave alone most of the day in a playpen while both of my grandparents worked in the fields picking cotton. My grandmother hated leaving him this way so they moved uptown to Shelby MS and my grandfather got a job at a service station and my grandmother worked at a 10 cent store.
They lived in Shelby for 2 years and my grandmother got pregnant with my mother. When my mother was only a few months old they moved to Chicago for a better life. Grandfather had a very difficult childhood being one of 13 children, and had been rendered blind in one eye as a child while building a fence on his families farm when he was very young. This made it difficult for him to do many jobs but he had always dreamed of owning a grocery store. They worked at several jobs over many years until they were able to open one. They had the store for about 3 years when my grandfather got sick and they were forced to sell the store.
At that time my grandmother looked for work in a factory. I remember her telling me that she went for a job interview and the only position they had available was very physically intensive. You had to kick a machine when it came to the end of it's cycle to make the parts fall down. The people who were hiring didn't think she was fit for the job but she insisted since she was desperate to find work. They gave her a shot and she kicked and kicked that machine. The people supervising her were so impressed with her determination that they offered her a job doing quality control work. This company was called Cinch Manufacturing which became TRW and made parts for aerospace engineering. Over time she moved up in the company and by the time a contract came around to make parts for the first mission to the moon, my grandmother had moved up to being a supervisor. The space race was on and she worked long hours inspecting parts to beat the Russians. Some of the parts that were used to make the Apollo went through her hands. She worked at TRW for 28 years before retiring. There was a huge banquet that was held in her honor.
When I was 14 years old we moved back to Mississippi so my grandmother could spend time with her aging parents, and also so that us children could get to know them better. My parents bought some land and my grandparents bought the lot right next to them. I spent my high school years going between the two houses and drinking coffee with my grandmother in the day and eating late night bowls of ice cream with her. When I was in high school I left home and was having difficulty making it to my classes. My grandmother came up to the school and begged me to graduate. She had never had the opportunity to graduate high school and it was very important to her. She offered to have me come and live with her and I did. I'm so glad I got to spend the time I did with her before leaving Mississippi altogether the day after I graduated high school.
Since then I have moved clear across the country and live in Oregon. I have had to go many years without being able to see her but we talk often on the phone. Last summer she flew out for the first time with my brother and his family and we got to spend some real quality time. She is now in her 80's but still gets around fairly well. We took her to the Oregon coast and Multnomah falls. She was astounded by the beauty of our state. I hope that she lives comfortably for many years to come and that she is able to return to Oregon again some day.
I've always liked to reuse and repurpose things which is now fashionably called upcycling. I enjoy making Holiday ornaments. There are many great things about them. They are fun to do with kids and they can be a work in progress over a period of time. They can help hold a memory of a certain time or they can make a great gift. I made some that reflect my daughters interests over the past few years. Whenever she gets a gift she really likes I take a look at the box and see if there is anything that I can use from it. I cut it out and depending on the sturdiness of the card board I may use a different piece of decorative cardboard from say, a tissue box for the back side as seen here:
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I then glue the pieces together, put something heavy on top and let it dry. You might want to put a piece of wax paper on both sides to keep it from sticking. Then the next step is reinforcing it and decorating it. I use clear crafting glue and acrylic paints along with beads or any other small object you want to add on.
Sometimes the two pieces don't stick together perfect because the cardboard warps when it gets wet by the glue. I fill these places in with more crafting glue. I don't worry about making it totally flush though because it gives the ornament a nice thick border which we can paint to look like snow around the edges.
Finished ornament with snow border. I used a strait pin between the two layers and yarn for a string on this one.
Once that dries you can paint the back with a layer or two of shimmery acrylic. After that has dried it's on to the front again. You cover the entire front in a layer of clear glue for a glossy look. You can apply glitter after that if your making Christmas decorations anything shimmery and shiny will reflect more light. After that you can set beads down in the glue if you want the look of the one pictured above. After that it's just a waiting game. Let it completely dry flat and it's ready to go!
These can be made for boys are girls. Here is one that I'm only about halfway done with. It glued nice and flat on the recycled tissue box I used. I made holes with a needle early on here and fed embroidery floss through. I think I just need a little shimmery paint to make this one work. Maybe I won't need to use as much glue for this one!
New year new blog. I've been online for a long time and yet somehow, putting together a blog has eluded me. Now for the first time I'm going full tilt to the wind and attempting to put my varied thoughts from around the web here. I plan on having all kinds of content, though currently I'm not sure what type of organizational format can contain such a varied sampling of the randomness that is me. Join me in the journey of figuring out just exactly what I'm doing, and by all means make suggestions.