Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Girl of the Limberlost and Gene Stratton-Porter

A Girl of the Limberlost, a book written by Hoosier author Gene Stratton-Porter (born Geneva Grace Stratton, nicknamed at an early age "Little Bird Woman"), turns 100 this year. The cluster of Indiana State Historic Sites encompassing the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Rome City, Indiana, the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, Indiana and the Loblolly Nature Preserve near Bryant, Indiana will all be holding events during the week of April 24 through May 2 - designated "Go Green with Gene Week." According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (http://www.in.gov/dnr/5296.htm), these events include hiking, nature photography, and stories about the life of Stratton-Porter. If anyone is in that area at the time (or really at any time), these venues would be well worth a visit.
For my part, I've decided (of course, in addition to everything else I'm doing right now) to read the book once again. It has always been one of my favorites. Alternating between routing for Elnora and wanting to be her, she was a significant part of my childhood. When I was about 8 or 9, my great-aunt - an avid visitor of the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site herself - purchased several of the author's books for me. From her, I received A Girl of the Limberlost, Freckles, The Keeper of the Bees, The Song of the Cardinal, A Daughter of the Land, and Her Father's Daughter. My grandmother had At the Foot of the Rainbow and Laddie and eventually gave those to me. Beyond those, I've also acquired The Harvester and Michael O'Halloran. But in my heart of hearts, I love A Girl of the Limberlost best!
If anyone is interested either in reading any of these wonderful old books, visiting the sites or supporting the Friends of the Limberlost, please visit one (or all) of these sites: http://www.genestrattonporter.net/ or http://www.genestratton-porter.com/ or http://www.in.gov/ism/StateHistoricSites/GeneStratton-PorterCabin/index.aspx.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flower Loom Crafts While Watching TV!

I just saw the neatest thing over on Craftstylish! For some time now, I've loved the loom flowers of the 1960s and 1970s (see cathy of california here: http://cathyofcalifornia.typepad.com/ for numerous posts on this really cool craft). Today on Craftstylish, there is a post on the many uses of the ubiquitous VHS tape in craft, and one of them (it is actually linked to cathy of california) is to make those flowers! Check it out: http://craftstylish.com/item/43650/crafting-with-vhs-tapes!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cute Little Spring Giveaway on Pixie's Ponderings!

Hope at Pixie's Ponderings has set up a little giveaway for spring (http://pixiesponderings1966.blogspot.com/2009/03/spring-celebration-giveaway.html). All you have to do is make a comment and you're in the drawing! Looks like just the stuff to make spring get here faster! (Of course, here in northeast Ohio, it is a rainy, chilly, typical early spring day). Good luck!

Esme 2006-2009

One week ago today, I arrived home from work to find my sweet cat laying on my bed not moving, not breathing. She was already gone - and she was "just perfect" when I left for work that morning. She arrived at my house in November 2007, just after Halloween, and especially being a black cat, she was probably lucky she survived it. Anyway, one evening, I let my dog out, and she pranced in like she owned the place (little did I know it, but she did!). I put her back outside, telling her she had to go on home. So, she proceeded to sit on the table on the front porch all that evening and into the next day, staring in the window at me.

So, I brought her back in, and even though I tried to find her first owner - after all, she was spayed and looked like she'd been taken care of - I never found one. So she stayed. And my grandchildren helped me name her Esmeralda Moonstone. I shortened it to Esme for every day use.
From what the vet told me at that time, I estimate she was only three years old at the time of her death. The vet did a necropsy, and although she couldn't give me any definitive answer, she did find that Esme had only one rather deformed kidney that probably was not processing things the way it should. So she concluded that Esme probably had high blood pressure and may have had a mini-stroke that killed her instantly.

Heartbroken is only a mere word. I feel so much more than that. I had always thought she came to me just when I needed her, the year after my husband died. But now I wonder if maybe she came because she needed me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Boys Night Over

Last weekend, two of my grandsons spent the night. They are 7 and almost 4 years old. We had a great time. We made a picture frames with foam cutouts - I'll post the photos here as soon as they're downloaded. Then we watched "The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns" with Randy Quaid and Colm Meaney - and a great, quirky performance by Roger Daltrey as a fairy! They loved it. Of course, they've both seen it before and would probably watch it again tomorrow.

Next Friday, I'm doing it all over again with one of my granddaughters. Plans are to teach her how to play Parcheesi (one of my favorite games), to learn to use the sewing machine (I think we're going to make a tote or a purse), to make shrinky dink buttons (http://thehistorykeeper.blogspot.com/2009/03/first-try.html), and another really cool craft from shrink plastic that I saw on Instructables (http://www.instructables.com/id/Disc_Bead_Bracelet_Cheap_Easy_and_recycled_shr/). The bracelets are beautiful and so easy! Who knows if we'll get it all done, but we'll have a barrel of fun!
Here are the frames the boys made:
Jason's frame...

and Ethan's frame.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

First Try

I recently found a tutorial at CraftStylish on Shrink Plastic Buttons, written by Susan Beal (http://www.craftstylish.com/item/42355/how-to-make-your-own-shrink-art-buttons). It seemed so simple, I was intrigued. I used frosted clear shrink plastic sheets, a 1-1/2" round punch, a variety of colored Sharpie markers, and a regular hole punch. Here's how it looked after I colored the rough side of the plastic with the markers.

Then I used the 1-1/2" paper punch to cut out the shapes.

I cut the "thread" holes with a regular hole punch (1/4"). When I punched them out, they all looked lop-sided and uneven, but it didn't seem to matter when the buttons were finished.

I put them in a 325-degree oven and watched them for a couple of minutes (the whole process took about 3 minutes). The instructions that came with my plastic instructed me to place the plastic on a piece of a brown paper grocery bag instead of aluminum foil as in Susan Beal's article, so that's what I did. They curled up a little while in the oven, and although I followed my instructions by pressing on them with a pad of paper for about 15 seconds while they cooled to flatten them, I don't think I really needed to do that. They seemed to flatten well on their own. Here's what they looked like when I first took them from the oven.

And here are a few of my finished buttons (each about 1/2" in diameter). alongside a couple of the unfinished ones. They sure do shrink! I just love my first results. I think this is going to have to be a craft that's a keeper!