Thursday, March 29, 2012

Treasures from Grandmama

"A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood."
--Charlotte Davis Kasl 

Last week, I talked about going through Grandmama's things and I showed you the candlestick holders that belonged to her mother.

As promised, here are some of the other items I picked up from Grandmama's house.

1. Pictures. Grandmama loved to keep pictures close. Of course, there were plenty of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But I picked up these two and know how she must have cherished them.

Grandmama's husband. My dear grandfather.

Most of Grandmama's siblings. G'Ma's on the far right. After she turned 100, she joked that she bet her brothers and sisters thought she "didn't make it up there."

2. Pretties. Grandmama wasn't a fancy woman, but she enjoyed having pretty things. Among the ones I love . . .
A crystal bowl. I'm sure this will hold plenty of Hershey's kisses before I'm done with it.
Grandmama loved a tablecloth and centerpiece, so I immediately put this pink one on my kitchen table for Easter. I think she would approve.
Here's another tablecloth. It's square, and I don't have a square table, but I'm thinking of cutting a section and framing it to put in the kitchen or serving area.
Pillowcases. These looked to be hand done, but I don't know for sure that Grandmama did them. Regardless, they are lovely.
3. Jewelry. Grandmama had a blue jewelry box that she kept in a dresser drawer. It locked . . . with a key. It mesmerized me as a child, and I remember spending countless hours looking through her jewelry, as did the other two girl cousins. When it came time to  divide up her jewelry, no one got the jewelry box. It's better that way. Some things are untouchable.
A pretty little dish with some of G'Ma's jewels. I remember her wearing the two pins often. And the earrings -- or earbobs, as she called them -- were always my favorite. See a closeup of them below.
Her "earbobs." So special to me!

A pin deferred to me because it reminded them all of my cat. Funny. I don't see the resemblance. Do you?
Since I grew up to be a proofreader, this pin was kind of special. G'Ma was awarded this for going a whole year without missing a spelling word. Can you make out the year? 1921.

4. Her Handiwork. Grandmama's hands were always moving. And while her vision was good, she crocheted lots of things to give as gifts.
Hand towels were one of her specialties. I'll never see one that I don't think of her. I especially treasure the one with the blue top. Its button was sewn on with green thread that doesn't match, a sign that her vision was slipping when she made this one . . . but she still made it.
Among her other goodies were dish cloths (on the right) and tissue box covers (on the left).
For the record, the tissue box cover also makes a pretty nifty winter hat.

5. Clothes. As it turns out, Grandmama had some serious style. Her closet was packed with beautiful clothes, a lot that she never even took the tags off of.
Gloves, gloves and more gloves. The red ones are lined, brand-new and perfect for cold weather. The white ones are dainty and ladylike, and the black ones won't fit my fat fingers in a million years, but I'm holding on to them anyway because they would make the perfect finishing touch to my alter ego's costume.

This was one fairly interesting. It looks like a cute cosmetics bag . . .
But open it up, and inside are disturbingly flat shoe covers for rainy days. These also go in the box for my superhero moments.
Grandmama wore this dress to my wedding and my cousin's wedding. Instead of fighting over  which of us should get it, I'm going to have it repurposed into throw pillows or something. Any suggestions?
This is the one thing that did me in. It's her housecoat. I remember her wearing this when I would spend the night with her as a little girl. After her bath, she would put this on, and I would curl up next to her on the couch, and she smelled like Caress soap. The pink kind. The pocket always held a starlight mint and a Kleenex. God, I miss her.

6. Miscellaneous Items That Probably Don't Mean Anything to Anyone But Me. 
Her prescription bifocal sunglasses (rock on, G'Ma!) and her hairbrush.

I gave her this tin of my special pecans this past Christmas. She loved to snack, and this tin was cleaned out when we retrieved it after she died. Yay! I love when I gave her something she liked.

7. Gifts She Never Used.
A pearl necklace and earrings I gave her. Nope. Never wore 'em. And that's why you always give gifts you'd like to have yourself. You may get them back some day. Just kidding. (Kind of.)
We are a blanket-loving family. And this one will keep my feet toasty warm.
A veritable Bath and Body Works of scented lotions, candles and other toiletries she never got to use. Keep in mind that this is my share. We divided her stash up 5 ways. Girlfriend had a ton of good-smelling stuff.

It's funny to look at this stuff collected together. Combined, they may be worth $15, but to me, these items are priceless. Just like Grandmama!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Motivation Monday: Truth in Parenting

“People talk about "dysfunctional" families; I've never seen any other kind”

--Sue Grafton


Source: Uploaded by user via Lacey on Pinterest

We make mistakes, we adjust to make up for them, and we pass the weirdness on to our kids.

Relax. They'll be okay.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Really? And an Apology!

"Actually, I think the average voice is like 70 percent tone and 30 percent noise. My voice is 95 percent noise."
--Harvey Fierstein

I accompanied Jack to the YMCA regional swim meet this weekend. There were 730 swimmers on the pool deck and 4 bazillion spectators in the bleachers. Signs posted clearly stated that the fire marshal will get really mad if there were more than 437 spectators in the bleachers. Therefore, we were packed in the stands, sweating in the 80-degree, humid air. I was sweated on, coughed on, elbowed in the ribs and kicked in the rear more times than I care to count. When Jack finished his last event on Sunday, I ventured down to the pool deck to help him pack up so we could get out of there quickly. 

Upon entering the pool deck, a nice gentleman in a safety-orange vest asked what I needed. I told him I just wanted to help a 10-year-old get his stuff out, thinking the gentleman would be grateful to have someone -- anyone -- leave the building. It was then that he informed me that he would have to escort me to Jack. When I asked him why, he let me know that it was a health regulation. 


The fire marshal would have a coronary if he saw even the parking lot; the building could break the record for world's largest petri dish; and I saw people drop food on the cement floor, pick it up and eat it just to avoid going to the garbage can out of fear they would lose their seat. 

But I am a health violation?!

That's fine. But next time, I'm waiting until I get to the exit, and then I'm yelling "FIRE!" Good luck!


Secondly, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to the bearded gentleman in the passenger seat of a white work truck on Highway 378. He was stopped at a light with his window down. I was also stopped at the light with my window down. Unfortunately, I forgot my window was down and was singing along with Pandora at the top of my lungs. I can't remember the song, but I think it had vulgar language.

To you, sir, my deepest apologies.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Motivation Monday: Antique Candlestick Holders

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations.”

--George Bernard Shaw

We went through some of Grandmama's stuff last night. It was difficult, but we had a wonderful time remembering.

I'll highlight some of the things I brought home another time, but for today's Motivation Monday, I just had to share these candlestick holders that I got from Grandmama.

Aside from the sweet, Springtime colors, I love that Grandmama got them from her mother. Anything that passes from generation to generation is a treasure. And while I have no idea where I will put them in my house (they could go most anywhere), you can be sure I will enjoy the heck out of them before handing them off to one of my children or grandchildren.

Do you have a special treasure that was passed down to you? Or one that you plan to pass down to your grandchildren?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Motivation Monday: Chalkboard Placemats

"Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again."
--Sarah Ban Breathnach

It was a tough weekend for me. I missed Grandmama something crazy. I guess it was because we were actually in town with no swim meet to attend, so I had more time to focus on how much I miss her calling me "precious" and fiddling with my fingers as I held her hands and updated her on Stephen's job and the kids' schoolwork. It probably didn't help that the signs of Spring are everywhere, and I can't see a blooming flower or butterfly without thinking of her (she loved them so!)

So, to address the loss I was feeling, I headed to the cemetery to make sure the flowers on her and Granddaddy's grave still looked nice. I was caught off guard to see that she had made her mark there already.

The picture does not do it justice. The scene was breathtaking!

Grandmama, I love what you've done with the place!


On to Motivation Monday! I made a set of 10 chalkboard placemats (because that's how many people the dining room table will hold).

I got 14-by-11" pieces of foam board -- the kind that is like a really thick piece of poster board. Then I just covered them in two coats of some leftover chalkboard paint I had from when I worked on Christmas gifts. If I were being frugal, I would have sprayed them with a coat of black primer and then just used one coat of chalkboard paint, but I've chalkboarded everything in this house that would hold still, so I finished up the pint with this project.

The edges curled up a bit when the paint dried, but it was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a couple of nights under my old yearbooks (Go Bearcats!!). I'm fairly happy with the results. They will debut at a cousin dinner tomorrow night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Item #10 Revisited

"My mom always said that there would be haters. Not everyone can love ya."
--Joel Madden

I've been at this parenting thing for more than 10 years now, my kids aren't in trouble at school or with the law. I'm far from the perfect mother, but so far--knock on wood--I'm doing a fairly adequate job of raising the little people (along with my partner-in-crime, of course).

I was going over my bucket list to see what I could tackle next and stopped short when I reached item #10: "Be the cool mom without letting my kids run wild." I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking when I wrote this on the bucket list. Or when I thought I might finish this completely enough to check it off the list. (I was so young and naive . . . back in September.) When do I stop being the parent? When they graduate? From high school? No. College? No. When they get married? No. Have children of their own? No.

From where I stand, a parent never stops being a parent.

I couldn't find an appropriate picture for this post, so please enjoy this photo of my mother-in-law's goat.
His name is Ricky.

Now to the "cool" part. What the heck does that even mean?! Cool to whom? My kids? Other kids? Other moms? I'm sure I'll go through periods of coolness and periods of significantly less than coolness.

Am I okay with being considered "not cool" by my 6-year-old because I dance while I'm cooking? You betcha! Do I care if my 10-year-old son's friends think I'm mean because I don't let him do something that other parents let their kids do? Not in the least.

As long as I can make up for those moments by jumping on the bed at a hotel with them, or seeing if I can pour YooHoo into their mouths while they lie on the ground and I stand over them  (of course, I had to mop afterward), or surprising them by taking them to a movie on a day off of school, I am pretty satisfied with my role.

I'm a strict mom. Does that mean my children never screw up? Absolutely not. Do they sometimes make terrible decisions because they have weighed the consequences and deliberately decided to do something that breaks my heart? Sadly, yes. But that's their prerogative, I guess. As parents, Stephen and I follow through on the determined discipline, and we all move on. And there are times that I have screwed up. I either let them do something I realized later I shouldn't have, or I said they couldn't do something just because it was easier to say no.

Both of my kids hugged me in front of their classmates when I visited the school today. And for today, that's good enough.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Motivation Monday

 "I never found a sound as sweet
As the tippity tippity tap of happy feet."
--Dean Martin, "Happy Feet"

I'm excited to introduce a new segment on A Drop in the Bucket. Every Monday, I will be posting some random photo or project to keep me (and hopefully you) motivated. Expect lots of items from Pinterest, because, let's face it, Pinterest is the home of all things inspirational and motivational. Follow my boards. I'll follow you back, and we'll have big fun!

Today's motivation, however, is my own. Even though today is cold and windy, we've had several days here in SC recently that have been warm and sandal-worthy. So, to motivate myself to prepare for all things summer in the South, I am preparing batches of my world-famous (okay, family-famous) foot scrub.

Seriously, this stuff is amazing! And it's so cheap and easy to make that it almost isn't even fair to those expensive spa treatments.
The makings of a fabulous foot scrub.
All you need is sea salt, mineral oil and whatever scent you like. Lemon is my favorite, so I'll use a lemon essential oil and then add a little bit of lemon zest just to make it legit.

You can also see in the photo the little containers I use. I tend to change up my scents, so I use tiny containers that don't last all summer so I can make another batch with another fragrance.

Fill your container 3/4 full of sea salt. Add mineral oil in small amounts until it seeps through the salt, reaches the bottom of the container and is level with the amount of sea salt.. Add about 6-8 drops of your fragrance oil. (The kids love coming up with different scent combinations.) If you want lemon zest, grate a little of that in. Gently stir it all together, and viola!! You've got a fabulous foot scrub to get your feet flip-flop ready.

Don't tell anybody, but I also use it on my hands, my elbows, and my knees. Love it.

Massage a small amount into your skin, rinse with warm water and pat dry with a cloth. Fabulous!!

Just be careful if you use it in the shower. It will cause a serious slipping hazard if you don't clean up all that oil afterward.