Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Good times with grandchildren’ Category

Down Under NZ

Last week Joe and I hosted a birthday celebration for our grandson, Tyler, who is turning 20 next month.  We preempted the date because Tyler was back in Wisconsin from his South Carolina University, on Spring break.

In 2011-2012 Tyler spent a school year Down Under, at Capernwray Bible School in New Zealand.  He is a lover of wilderness—mountains, oceans, and wild forests.  New Zealand will forever be one of his most beloved places on earth!  Tyler came home last June with a treasure trove of photos which he shared with me, and for his birthday I decided to attempt a rendering inspired by his photos.

The above painting is a composite of several of the photos.  I went for the essence—the feeling of remoteness and isolation which all of Tyler’s pictures express.  Many of the photos are kind of grey-ish blue—but being “Me”, I always have to add color. 

Along with the New Zealand painting, I produced another for him to choose from:  a bleak scene evocative of Northern Wisconsin, Alaska, or Canada—places Tyler also loves to spend time.  Here is my “Boreal Twilight”:

Boreal Twilight

Along with the above two paintings, created especially for this young man who is ever dear to our hearts, I included several that I’ve done in the recent past—of wild landscapes, birch trees, mountains, rivers, rocks, etc.  All were archivally mounted, matted, and protected in a see-through envelope.  I presented the entire stack to Tyler, with instructions to select 2 paintings for his birthday gift.

Tyler studied them carefully, and finally picked the above 2 watercolor paintings—the very ones which I’d just made, with him in mind.  What is more, Tyler identified the paintings as “New Zealand” and “Up North”.  He even said of the “Down Under” painting, “You did this from my photos!” 

I was tremendously touched, and also amazed.  How encouraging is that!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Our daughter, Laura, made this whiligig at a workshop near her home in Washington State.  The beauty is a composite of treasures culled from rummage and estate sales in her area.

——————————————————————————–

Those of us who enjoy junking are NEVER BORED—and we’ll probably never be tempted to go off the deep end financially with our passion for collecting, because the stuff we prefer doesn’t normally cost that much. 

The items we love best are those which many folks disregard, discard, and even look down their noses at.  These people don’t get it.  They’re missing a huge chunk of abundant living to be found in foraging garage sales, scrap yards, and curbsides!

Now that rummage season is in full swing, our joy cups run over on a regular basis.  We come home from a morning of foraging renewed, refreshed, and super charged with creative ideas as to where we will place, or how we will use, our newly acquired treasure.  One thing is certain:  where junkers are concerned, there are no two homes alike.  Our decor is highly individual.  It can be simulated, but never cloned!

In celebration of junk, junk, wonderful junk, here are some outdoor shots of our comfy little condo where Joe and I live contentedly with loads of junk:

↑  The small blue granite pitcher peeking out of the Hosta is mounted on an upside down lamp base from one of those derelict “Made in China” lamps which, after 2 years of use, tend to become electrically unsafe.  The base (hidden in the photo) was too pretty to discard, so I cut off its cord and glued my vintage blue pitcher on its bottom.  Behind the pitcher is a broken, circa 1930 plate.  I never discard broken china or pottery, as it can always find a pleasant home among my garden or house plants.

And observe the old watering can, complete with its “rose” on the spout.  These are pricey now, as most everyone wants an old watering can.  Fortunately, I found mine years ago.  🙂

 ↑   A saxophone playing frog leans against the bird feeder, with our mutant Bleeding Heart providing a background.  Froggie was actually a new purchase, a gift from our daughter Laura. 

Note the Virginia Creeper creeping up the trellis—one of my all time favorite vines, also called Woodbine or Englemann Ivy.  It’s indestructable in our northern climate.  More damaged pottery rests on a handmade-by-Joe bench on the right as you view the photo.

↑  A closer look reveals the frog’s companions:  a bunny and a skull from the Southwest, reminiscent of artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

↑  The hangy thingy next to the hummer feeder was assembled by a local artist who has a business called FUNKY FINDS.

You can see the tops of a couple of old screens.  Screens and shutters with chipped, peeling paint are always welcome—indoors or out.  One can never get enough of those!

↑  Here is our patio, right off the living room so that we savor a year ’round indoor/outdoor atmosphere.  The patio is the setting for many lazy spring, summer, and autumn days spent sipping iced tea, reading, snoozing, and cloud gazing.  The patio faces east, so that we can sun bathe in the morning and rest in the afternoon shade. 

This picture was taken in a downpour.  The card table gets covered with a lovely vintage cloth on sunny days.  It also serves as a place for my art equipment and afternoons of sketching and painting.

The smashing antique croquet set was a rummage sale treasure which cost $5.00.  It has all its mallets, balls, and arches—with an old rag tied to each arch.  We can take the croquet set up the berm to the park, just a few yards away, for killer games.

————————————————————————–

In closing, here is one of my most precious photos of our grandsons, Nathaniel and Joelly, with their creation from their finds from a junk yard near our up north home.  Nathaniel is the driver of this unique vehicle.  I’m not sure what Joelly is doing with the stick—I think it’s a car window cleaner.  ↓

Upon all the evidence, I rest my case!  Junk is wonderful! 

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

Read Full Post »

I love to show off my beautiful homemade complexion soap.  The soap is everywhere, in antique bowls, on platters, and stacked on shelves throughout our home.

Our daughter Laura, daughter-in-law Cheri, and I are producing heart soaps for Cheri and Eric’s daughter Nicole’s August 7th wedding.  The soaps will be wrapped in pretty net bags, and placed at each plate for the reception which is to be held at Whitnall Park Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee.

Homemade!  There is nothing better!  We live in an age of communication via words–and quite frankly sometimes I’ve had words up to my eyeballs!  Literary words, as in classic poetry and novels, YES!  I can’t get enough of those words.  But today’s words–text messaged, emailed, and even blogged like my words–get old fast.  How refreshing to be still and make things with one’s hands.  I believe I could survive without talking (although some might doubt that!) but I know I’d go bonkers if I couldn’t make things with my hands.

At a ladies’ luncheon party this week, we talked about how–when we were brides back in the 1950s–we embroidered our kitchen towels.  These bits of memory make my heart sing. 

Now despite all that is wrong with our culture, the magazine racks tell me something is right!  There’s a plethora of periodicals available on the subjects of knitting, crocheting, scrap-booking, quilting, beading, cooking, gardening, home decorating, etc.  I am not the only one on this planet who derives sustenance and life energy from making things.

The desire to create with our hands is part of our birthright, for we are made in the image of a creative God.  Whereas He created Heaven and earth out of nothing, we make things out of materials already made.  Yet the desire to create is evidence of God’s imprint on our lives.

Pictured below is our grandson Joelly, who cannot “play it straight” for a photo shoot.  (I love his silly faces!)  🙂  Joelly is wearing a scarf and hat ensemble which I made him for Christmas a few years back.

Hands that knit, and weave, and spin, and make soap (and many other venerable home products) are happy hands! 

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

One of the many joys of a long and bountiful life is our treasure trove of memories–ever present to bring smiles.  The above scene depicts a day in 2005, at Madeline Island on Lake Superior.  We shared this day with our grandsons, Joel (standing on the rock) and Nathaniel (on the driftwood).

Nathaniel is now 13 years old, and Joel is 10.  The boys live in Colorado, and they are accustomed to high mountains.  But the many waters of Wisconsin are a novelty for them when they visit us each summer.

When Nathaniel and Joel visited in 2005, I asked Nathaniel if there was anything special he would like to do on his vacation.  His eyes got dreamy as he said:  “I’d like to see Lake Superior.  I read about it.  It’s the largest fresh water lake in the world.”

My heart did a “whoopee” over Nathaniel’s wish.  We lived less than 2 hours from Lake Superior, and it is one of my most beloved places on earth.*  So we packed a picnic lunch and our dogs, and off we went for a day on Madeline Island–accessible by car ferry from Bayfield, Wisconsin.  That day–and others on Lake Superior with children and grandchildren–are etched so deeply into my soul that I sometimes go to sleep dreaming of clean sand, cool winds, birches and pine trees, and big water. 

How I pray that our grandsons will remember the day on Madeline Island forever!  But I believe that our rich experiences imprint us all our lives–even if we don’t actually recall the details.  Here is where photography does a great service.  With photos, memories are preserved.

When I gaze at the photos taken that day, I tend to believe the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.**

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

*Of all the Great Lakes, Superior holds the most fascination for me as it is a gateway to unspoiled wilderness.  We stand in awe of unconquered places, and Superior–the lake which “never gives up its dead” is one of America’s last outposts remotely resembling a frontier, although it is not really that due to the area’s history of extensive mining and shipping.  Yet we remember the EDMUND FITZGERALD.  There is a mystique about Lake Superior.

**Who first said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”?  Searching for an answer to this question can be a bit hilarious.  The assumptions range from an ancient Chinese proverb, to Napoleon Bonaparte, to a Japanese philosopher–among others. 

Having consumed a lot of French way back when, I especially love “Bonie’s” version:  “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours.”  🙂

Read Full Post »