Monday, August 20, 2012


As I mentioned in my last post we celebrated our son's birthday this past Sunday.  We went over to Reston Town Center with them around noon and I took a few photos.  These ones are in black and white by accident.  There is a setting on my pocket camera that occasionally gets switched by mistake, and though it was not intentional I thought they came out very nice.

I am still cleaning up my old craft room and it's almost free and clear.  Gregg has to take apart an old desk that has seen better days, falling apart in places.  We will have to take it to the dump as I don't think anyone would want it as it is.  Great for me over the years and I know I am going to miss it, but now it's time to say farewell.

There is also a long table that I used to lay all my wooden ornaments on and I would paint them conveyor belt style.  I will miss both my desk and the table as I literally spent thousands of hours sitting between the two.   It was my little cottage industry where I would see Brad off to school and spend all day in there, I would attend to his needs when he came home, we'd chat about his day, saw that he did his homework, he'd go off to play with his friends for an hour while I fixed dinner, chat about his day again, he'd go off to bed and then back upstairs I would go and paint right up until midnight and beyond.  A lot of the time Gregg would be away on a business trip as he traveled more back in those days than he does now but it was not like those long deployments of six months, sometimes eight months away, only a week at a time in this new civvie world of ours.

I took this photo at one of the craft shows I attended.  Gregg and Brad would help me set up early in the morning, come over at lunchtime to give me a break and then return when the show had ended.  The lady who is looking at ornaments on the tree stand?  My Dad made that on one of my parents trips when we were living in California.  I still have it in my storage room, something I will never ever get rid of as I remember him with saw, hammer and nails, putting it together in our back garden.  My Dad used to be an excellent carpenter/hobbyist and if you gave him a piece of wood magic would happen. You can see Gregg (with his back to the camera) and Brad sitting behind the table.  

The cover for the table was made by a lady I found out about who was an excellent seamstress.  She usually made curtains for people, which she did for me on a couple of windows.  I got the idea of asking her if she could make me something to dress up my fold-up table.  The cloth came in two pieces and the ruffled skirt was attached to the edge with Velcro, which was cleverly hidden.  She did an excellent job and I was really proud of that table skirt.  It is still "in a box somewhere" and I won't be getting rid of that either.  There are so many things I have that have too much sentimental value for me to part with.  

I will share some of the ornaments I made in another post but here are a few of them.  I started off making military ornaments as you can see, and then evolved into other things.  There's a police bear in this mix, and requests for just about anything and everything appeared later.  

I have always been a night owl and going to bed at three in the morning never bothered me, but my fingers just won't allow picking up a paintbrush anymore.  They finally started cramping up several years ago and it became too painful to paint.  I miss it and I keep my wood and supplies just in case.  They are still lovingly stored in boxes in the basement for when we are in retirement.  I know I will never ever be able to do as much as I did in the old days, but a few here and there, and even another craft show, who knows, and I live in hope.  They were a lot of fun those craft show days.

Gregg is working at home today and needing to take a break he came upstairs. Finding me sitting on the floor he joined me on the other side of the room.  We sat talking to each other with our toes practically touching.  That's how small the room is.

Gregg noticed another old photo of he and his brother when they were nine and twelve, sitting on a sofa with their baseball caps on. What a couple of cute little guys!  On the back of the picture is written July 1959.  "Wilder's Drive-In" is seen across the front of Gregg's baseball shirt, which would have been the sponsor of his baseball team at the time.  I never did get to that drive-in movie Gregg. Another family joke as when I first came to this country I really wanted to go to one but they are far and few between nowadays.

My clean-up project has taken much longer than it should because every time I come across something I haven't seen in a long time, I stop and look them over, especially when I open a box and find a bunch of old photos.  I am organizing them better as I move through them.  We'll be able to find them a lot easier from now on and I intend to scan every last one of them.  As you probably well know it's quite a chore but most definitely a labor of love.

We talked about how we were going to decorate the room as with our house guests arriving in the middle of September, we need a bed in that room.  We decided on a full-sized one as any larger and it would be too big. I told Gregg as long as it covered that big old stain I made back in the day.

In one of my late night/early morning frenzy of a painting sessions, getting ready for a craft show the next day, I had spilled some paint on the carpet and got the bottle of carpet cleaner from the bathroom. Yes I had a plastic cover underneath my desk but it missed that.  I sprayed and sprayed, rubbed and rubbed and I got rid of the paint but I also got rid of a very large patch of color out of the carpet.  When I looked at the bottle I had used X-14, which over here is a very caustic bath-tub cleaner. The bottles were similar.  Oh boy, was I upset, I think I may have cried.  The carpet was pretty new and it was one of those times when I maybe should have been in bed hours ago as I had gone beyond the pail.

We have lived with that stain for a lot of years, always hidden by old boxes but never quite forgotten.  Of course we had a good laugh while sitting on the floor and I reminded him how it happened.  Gregg said it looked like the State of Michigan, funny man!  We will be getting a new carpet some time as it too has seen better days.  I'll have to say goodbye to the old stain, but I don't think I will miss it, okay maybe a little.

Yesterday I got together with the girls.  Instead of going off to Panera Bread like we usually do we went over to Hazel's house.

This time to make it easy on our hostess we made it a potluck.  We are all apparently cooking healthy and two of us made salads and there was ham and pineapple for the main course.

Anne made a delicious dessert, a cheesecake filling surrounded by those lady fingers, all with low-fat ingredients and topped with the sweetest strawberries, it was so good.

It was a small group this time as one friend is still in Scotland and another has moved.  She has gone further south to be near her family and a sweet little granddaughter born a month ago.  We miss her but we're already planning a visit when she is settled, it's only a couple of hours away.

Small world story with a quick trip back to the craft room.  I am always amazed at what I find.  One item I pulled out of a box was a list of names and addresses of people from a British group I joined, along with three other English girls I had met, in 1992.  One of them may have been a member of the group which got together once a  month.  We only attended  three or four times.  These three people I met originally and who moved on long ago, told me that they weren't having any fun and didn't want to go anymore, so I stopped going too.

Back to the present day, when I came across this list and started slowly making my way down the names, I just about dropped off my seat because I found the name of one of my good friends now.  I took it along yesterday and one of our other friends who also had been a member of this group, her name was on there too but she had since married and I didn't recognize her old name.  None of us remember each other from the meetings at that old group and I said to them how strange it is that we met all these years later and are as good friends as we are now.  The connection started all those years ago and we didn't even know it.  It was fun for them to go down the list because it brought back a lot of old memories of various people they used to know and still do.  I've made copies for them which they are going to pass on to those who still belong to the group.  Such a small world.

My laptop has been behaving after having that one major hiccup where it quit working completely.  I'm not quite sure what happened but after Gregg looked at it, this after I had tried to restart it many times and all I could get was the blank screen, it began to work again. What is that and how flipping frustrating?  Maybe it just needed a good long nap.  I can relate. I was not looking forward to getting it replaced as it's pretty old for a computer and has been plodding along for a while now.  We still may have to in the not too distant future.  However, she and me are usually well in tune with each other and I don't want to part with her for a while.  I'm not one who jumps into change too quickly.

That's about it for this week's ramble.  Have a great week everyone.


  1. Friends are just the most precious jewels in our lives. You are really a wonderfully creative and artistic craftsman, Denise. I'm really impressed! I have a stain in the carpet like that back in Illinois.

  2. It's always nice to get together with friends on a regular basis. I belong to
    some women's groups and look forward to meeting up again after the Summer break and the grandchildren have gone back to school etc. and less family gatherings Usually I meet one friend at a time during this season, which is also lovely.
    Have a good week!

  3. Sorting out is a nostalgic job, I can understand you wanting to open each box and spend time over the contents. As always I loved reading your ramble. Incidentally my dad was a super carpenter... mom and I would always wonder what would greet us when we came home: fancy carved door handles, a new thing for me, a desk, or a new chair. When I married he made me a stand for the television, shaped and carved just like their birdbath. Wonderful times. Thank you for making me remember.

  4. I didn't know you were into crafts. Those military ornaments are so good. Sitting on the floor reminiscing together sounds so nice. You will love the room when it is a guest room but where will you store all your crafts? Sad to hear that it is not easy for you to paint anymore.

  5. You've certainly been busy. I love your black and white photos.

  6. Pot luck lunches with friends are always good fun, sharing both food and friendship can not be bettered. I enjoyed you ramblings about this and that. Your first b and w photo is my favourite. Thank you.

  7. Bonjour dear Denise,
    wow busy girl, lots of things going on, you are very talented.
    I love your pictures, the first one b&w is wonderful!Hmm that cheesecake looks delicious!

  8. I am dreadful at sorting, like you I find a letter and read it,remember,call him the letter...Chris gets another from the box etc etc etc...and no clearing up gets done at all!
    Jane x

  9. It was indeed a small world to see the names of your friends on that list. I think it is wonderful that you still get together, though you weren't aware of each other back then. How weird is that? Lol.

    Terrible what happened to your new carpet. I would have been very upset if I had done something like that!

    Love your photos, Denise. Even the black and white ones.

  10. Denise, it was interesting learning son,any "new" things about your life, then and now, in this post. We also did craft shows for several years, so I well know about how hard it is to clear out all the items used. I did photography and Grenville did wood turnings (still does a bit). It's always nice to get together and catch up with friends too and that cheesecake did look wonderful. And, yes the accidental b&w photos were a nice change.