Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vintage Vacations...Spirit of Steamboat!

The Spirit of Steamboat
I am a Western Girl...I was born in the West immersed in the stories of cowboys and pioneers.  We tend to travel in western states, seeking out old mining towns and places where hard-bitten folks struggled to carve out a life in a harsh desert environment. As we gaze upon the ruins of their dreams, we can almost hear their voices in the dry winds that drift sand through the streets of their towns, stacking tumbleweeds against rusted barbed-wire fences. 
Yes, there are towering mountains in the West, mountains draped in the green of pine trees and lacy veils of tumbling waterfalls.  Mountain vistas are cooling to the parched eyes of a desert dweller.  My Mormon ancestors looked to the mountains as they crossed through Wyoming on the pioneer trails.  I am grateful to live at the feet of some of the most beautiful mountains in the West...but my heart is drawn to desert places and ghost towns.  
Wyoming Map
With only an hour's notice last Monday, we packed our bags for a quick trip to Gillette, Wyoming.  George's company does industrial painting and of our specialties is water treatment plants.  In order to bid on the one in Gillette, George needed to attend a pre-construction meeting on Tuesday.  Gillette is 9 1/2 hours from Highland, located in the upper right hand corner of the state.
Bucking Horse on Wyoming License Plate
Anyone who travels in the western states knows that there are long empty stretches of highway.  Families may play "License Plate Bingo" on their road trips.  As a child I would watch for the bucking bronco on the Wyoming plates.  Nowadays, we listen to audio books when we makes the time pass a lot quicker.  We love the "Longmire" books written by Craig Johnson.  Walt Longmire, the crusty sheriff of fictional Absaroka County is an intriguing character.  The author weaves a lot of Wyoming history and lore into his tales.  In his short book "Spirit of Steamboat" I finally learned the story of the famous bucking horse...the longest-running license plate motif in the world...Steamboat.

"Steamboat"  A VB-25J
A transport version of the Mitchell B-25 bombers from WWII.
On a stormy Christmas Eve, Longmire and his friend Lucian Connally must find a way to fly a desperately sick child to Denver.  Finding a plane and pilot is proving to be next to impossible, but they finally end up on an old WWII plane called "Steamboat."  During the trip Walt recalls to himself the story of the famous bucking horse.  Known as the "Lord of the Plains" or the "King of the Hurricane Deck," Steamboat was a horse that could not be ridden. 
Steamboat was born in 1894 on the Foss Ranch in Wyoming.  He got his name from the whistling sound he made when he breathed, the result of slamming his head against the ground so hard that he broke the cartilage in his nose.  Solid black, with three white stockings, Steamboat enjoyed the attention he received in parades and Wild West shows.  He was docile when handled, but could not abide a rider.  Steamboat's whistle was the last thing many a cowboy heard just before hitting the ground.
"Old Steamboat"
In the mid 1930s, Secretary of State Lester C. Hunt commissioned  Denver artist Allen True to depict the horse and rider as the design for the 1936 Wyoming license plate.  He was the paid the "princely sum" of  seventy-five dollars.  There is controversy over who the rider is.  Many a Wyoming resident would like to believe it is their own grandpa, but it is widely believed that the rider is a composite of every cowboy who ever rode a bucking bronco.  And maybe...just maybe...the horse isn't even Steamboat.
Steamboat's Biography
Author Candy Moulton says, "...Steamboat is really the symbol of Wyoming in every sense of the spirit..."  Steamboat's story did not have a happy ending.  The legendary horse was injured on a barbed-wire fence during a lightning storm in Salt Lake City.  He fell victim to blood poisoning and had to be put down...some say with Tom Horn's gun.  According to legend, Steamboat was buried in Frontier Park in Cheyenne.  But some old-timers will tell you he was carted off to the city dump where he was destroyed.  I, for one, hope that isn't true.
I-80...the Lincoln Highway
The next time you travel west on the Old Lincoln Highway and see a license plate with the bucking bronco and his rider hanging on for dear life...I hope you will think of Steamboat and tip your (metaphorical) hat to the horse that embodied the Western Spirit.
A few images from Wyoming...enjoy!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sweet Valentines Swap!

Special Delivery...Valentines Swap!
I just love holiday's so much fun to create something special for a new blogging friend.  Let's face it...if I didn't do swaps I would probably flunk out of Holiday Crafting University.  Swaps stimulate our creativity...without them I would be standing around in my craft room with a stupid expression on my face, unable to focus.  I need an assignment...and a deadline!  I joined a Valentine swap hosted by Viv of Viv Out on a Whim.   She matched up swap partners and I was so fortunate to get Cindy of  Prairie's Edge Farm.  She makes the most beautiful Shabby/Elegant things.  The soft colors are like the sweetest of treats...the icing on a wedding cake or a rose patterned plate of petit fours.
I don't think I've ever seen a more beautifully decorated tin.
These are the colors my romantic side craves.

Tiny embellished box was filled with lovely trimmings.

Anyone who knows me, knows I adore small boxes.
A tag this beautiful deserves heirloom status.

A bookmark worthy of resting between the pages of a Jane Austen novel.
A few of the lovely embellishments she included. 
The tin was filled with fun items for crafting.

More vintage Valentines.

Two wonderful cards. 
 I am still learning the art of card making.
1939 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Valentines.
The set of cards I used for my Valentine Party Tin.
I just printed the whole set at once and cut them out.
Enlarge or decrease as needed for your project.
I posted many of things that I sent Cindy a couple of weeks ago.  She received the whole Snow White treatment.  So I will let her post about her package if she so desires.  Thank you so much, Cindy for the beautiful treasures you made for me.  And thank you, Viv, for hosting this fun swap!

Is your Sweetheart a "long little doggy?"
I found a few Doxie Valentines in my file...enjoy!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Big Box in the Basement...Tiny Treasures!

Tiny Treasures...
Most of us have one...a large unmarked cardboard box that moves with us from house to house.  It must contain something of importance or we would never have kept it.  Yet we never seem to get around to opening it to find out what's inside.  It may be stacked in the garage on a high shelf...or buried behind something heavy in a basement closet.  It nags at us, but still there is no feeling of urgency...other more pressing tasks await our attention.
A few of my New Year's goals included organizing the photo albums, updating family histories and dejunking the house.  Usually I have to watch a Hoarders marathon to get motivated, but this time I genuinely want to lighten the burden of "stuff" that has taken over my home.  And I have been itching to go through the contents of that big box in my craft room closet.
I spent a full week on the photo albums...buying new binders and organizing our family life into time periods.  Slowly, but surely, the stacks of random photos found context and a place in the binders.  In a way my life has "flashed before my eyes."  Our children have come and grown and moved away in the space of one week.  It was an exhilarating and nostalgic journey!
What do photo albums have to do with the Big Box in the Basement?  When I finally opened the box I found it was full of baby clothes and small nursery keepsakes.  So that's where I put them!  As I laid out each little item a "photo" would flash into my mind of the child who wore it.  My feeling of excitement grew...I would photograph the little clothes and match them with photos of my little children wearing them!  I would show them what I found in the Big Box in the Basement.  My only regret is that I have no baby clothes photos of our youngest, Greg, to share in this post.
 Amber Lee...
Her newborn dress.
Amber had very few things that were pink when she was little.  Her dad didn't like pink for some reason.

A gift from Grandma Devey
My favorite dress...her cutest outfit.
In 1977 we moved to El Paso, Texas.  It's very hot there in the summer, but Amber was so cute and cool in her little blue outfit that people would stop me in the shops to admire her.  In the photo she is sitting in the sand at White Sands, NM.  She used to cry whenever she saw that photo..."Where's the baby's mama?" she would sob.  "Baby's all alone."
Christmas at Grandma Devey's...just before leaving for Germany

Missy Marie...
Missy...sweet in blue gingham.
Missy and Amber wore red, blue and pinks.

Missy wearing Amber's overalls.  Kitty Luna photo bomb.
When Amber was born we had so little money that many of her baby clothes were hand-me-downs from her cousin, Christopher.  I embellished the little boy overalls with some iron-ons that came in a box of cereal.
Geoffrey Georg...
Geoff in his little German Sweater.
Purchased in a Flohmarkt (flea market) in Bremen.
Sascha Anna...
I never doubted that Sascha would be a girl.
Had fun making girly dresses for the first time.

Vintage Thrift Store Dress.
Her baby colors were "Sascha Green" and "Sascha Pink."
I made this baby version of a "Gunne Sax" dress.
Loved the ruffled bloomers.
Baby Sascha loved Care Bears and the Snuggle bear on TV.

Jumper crocheted by our Swedish neighbor, Kristina.

Kristina also made this cute little vest.
So, this was what I found in the Big Box in the Basement.  There were many other items...but no others with matching photos.  I hope my children will enjoy this story...and their children as well.  It's amazing these little clothes survived all these years...a couple of these dresses are almost 40 years old.  Sorry, were way too hard on your clothes!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I "Heart" Snow White...Valentines Crafting!

I "Heart" Snow White!

When blogging pal, Tammy, found this Snow White magazine cover for me on Pinterest I knew at that moment what my theme for Valentines crafting would be.  The first thing I did was print a larger version of this darling graphic on printable fabric and applique it to a white tee-shirt shirt to wear on my Valentines trip to Disneyland.  I will wear it with a red sweater or hoodie and everyone will stop me to ask which shop I found it in.  Lol...I just love messing with other Disney tourists.  If I am feeling especially obnoxious whimsical I will tell them I got it in a little shop in Fantasyland.

Snow White's Valentine Party...

Garden Party in a Chocolate Tin...

It took some searching on Pinterest, but I was able to find Snow White and all seven of the the Dwarves Valentines from 1938.  I just love the soft colors and Snow White's sweet expression. The tin was an oval about 10 inches long.  The cottage backdrop was from a Snow White playset I bought at Disneyland last fall.  I will be using the playset figures in another project.

The Dwarves are so cute and quirky!

Snow White's bluebird sings on top of the flag pole.

Tiny Tea Cup Ornaments....

Tiny Tin Tea Cups Fairy Garden Ornaments.

I have been wanting to make some of these tin cup ornaments since I saw them on Pinterest.  They are inspired by "Dime Store Chic."  I was unable to find any of the cute little tin cups until a few weeks ago when one of my favorite bloggers, Meri of ImagiMeri's offered some for sale on Facebook.  I hope she likes what I did with them.  So far I have only made these two, but my daughter Sascha...who loves Alice in Wonderland...thought they would be cute using Alice figures for cake toppers.  I'm hoping there will be an Alice-themed wedding in the next couple of years.

The wee cups are only 2" across.
I want to attach them to ornament clips when I find some.

Snow White cake topper came with seven gnome-like dwarves.
The dwarves have little tools and wheel barrows.

More Snow White-Inspired Goodies...

Pocket-sized Notebooks.

Snow White Valentines Tags.
Made with heavy canvas-covered banners from Michaels.

Coffee Filter Wreath.
Repurposing an old Easter wreath...simply clip on cut-outs with small clothespins.

Snow White Valentine Shadow Box.

Tiny Disney-esque Porcelain Bunny

Back of Shadow Box...Another Sweet Valentine.

A Fun Christmas Surprise!

Water Tower in Stanley's Oasis...Cars Land!

I just love Cars Land in Disney California Adventure.  They built the whole town of Radiator Springs...which amazes me.  You could spend a week there and never see all the detail built into that attraction.  The line for Radiator Springs Racers takes you into Stanley's Oasis which has a Route 66 vibe with its old garages and a building made out of vintage oil bottles.  Entering the Oasis, you pass by the cutest old water tank...the 8 and 3/4s Wonder of the World.  I just love everything about it.   This Christmas, my DIY DIL, Lori, surprised me with my very own Stanley's Oasis water tank.  I can't believe she made this for me!

Isn't it the cutest thing ever?

Have Fun Valentines Crafting and...
Whistle While You Work!

Three Sweet Snow White Valentines Just For You...