Thursday, July 30, 2015

George's Sunflowers...Garden DIY!

Sunflowers...My Late Summer Love!

Sunflowers have always symbolized to me the golden days of late summer.  Of all the months of summer I love August the most...especially toward the end of the month as it segues into September.  The days are still hot, but the light is shifting.  Purple Sage plants are busy with bees and Back-to-School banners drape bustling store fronts.  I cannot wait for fall!

Don't you just love the bright faces of sunflowers?  They are all sunny and hopeful like the faces of dogs going on a car ride.  There is no disguising the pure joy.  And I love the way their faces follow the sun as it moves across the sky.  They know where the light comes from.  Maybe we should turn our faces to the skies more often to follow the Light.

George's Rock Garden and Sunflowers...

Deck from Rock Garden
Fire pit is handy for burning a few!

For many years the northwest corner of our backyard sat empty and full of weeds.  We just couldn't figure out what to do with it.  It wasn't until a few years ago after we added a kitchen addition onto the back of the house and built a covered deck that George finally figured out what it needed...a pergola!  It took a couple of years, but once the pergola was finished, he designed a rock garden around it with paving stones, tall grasses and a fire pit for the grandkids.  It's not a huge area, but it is pleasant to sit on the deck and enjoy in the evening.

Rock garden pergola with George's first sunflower in background.
The wagon holds wood for the fire pit.

We've been collecting various rustic odds and ends on our travels in Nevada and Arizona.  George has crafted seating for the fire pit out of old milk cans and tractor seats.  Our favorite antique store in Oatman, Arizona has supplied us with most of our treasures, like rusty wheels and an old water pump.  On one visit George found some old cultivator blades that looked like the sun's rays.  That was all it took.  This would be the summer of the sunflower. He has made three in all.  Now he says he is ready to move on to making a fountain out of his water pump.  This should be interesting...stay tuned.

Sunflower One...
We found an old wrought iron candle stand at Treasure's Antiques.
George thought the curly-cue flourishes suggested leaves.

The jagged top of the candle holder became the center of the flower.
All of his flowers are made to rotate...if they so desire.

Sunflower Two...

Different style of culivator blade.
I found the fancy black piece at George's grandma's old house.
Two-toned petals remind me of those brown sunflowers from the seed packet up at the top of the page.

Side by side.  
The taller is about 6 ft. in height, while the other is about 4 ft. tall.

Sunflower Three...
The ones I love the best...wild sunflowers on the side of the road.

We have always loved the wild sunflowers that grow along the side of the road...mostly country roads.  We used to have more of them nearby, but more and more building and development has caused them to disappear from the neighborhood...along with pheasants and meadowlarks, my favorite song bird.  A couple of weeks ago, on a drive, George mentioned he'd like to make one more sunflower...a wild sunflower with multiple stems and heads.  For the blossoms, he took apart two long-handled cultivators from Home Depot.  We got the leaves from Metal Mart in Lehi.  This was not a junk project.  He had to buy all new materials this time.  But it turned out great!

I feel he really captured the spirit of the wild sunflowers.

Of course they can spin...if they wanted to.

Thanks for letting me share George's artwork with you!
I'm not proud of him at!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Halloweenies...It's Pinterest's Fault!

Calendar...You're Not the Boss of Me!

I have never been a summer person...unless it's Indian Summer.  My soul longs for golden days and cooler nights.  It's not just because I am in the autumn of my life...I've always felt more alive when the calendar page tears off to reveal September.  I want to drive down country roads lined with the sunny faces of wild sunflowers and take trips up the canyon to watch the first trees change color.  Labor Day weekend is usually the kick-off to my fall crafting season, but I seem to feel a sense of urgency autumn can't come quickly enough.  It doesn't help that Pinterest is alive with fantastical ideas right now.  Creativity for me comes when it comes...I can't force it.  

Yesterday, I showed one of my cute neighbors my latest Halloweenies.  She jokingly requested that I wait until at least the first of September to decorate my front porch.  I think I can manage that if I replace the red/white/blue decor with sunflowers and vintage kitchen knick-knacks.  Hmmmm...getting a few "scathingly brilliant" ideas here.  Back to Pinterest!  But first I will share the Halloweenies in question.

Spice Tin Ghoulies and Mr. Cotter!

This is Mr. Cotter.  He's ready for a party.
Paper clay and Styrofoam balls make prim pumpkin heads .

I found the little 2.5 inch black and orange cotter pin box at 
Trackside Mall in Idaho Falls.

Just like Cinderella...Mr. Cotter's party ends at Midnight.

The Watkins Brothers...
Nut and Meg Watkins.
Their hats are small gelatin molds.

Tiny silver sugar spoons became quirky arms for these shelf-sitters.
The spoons are also from Trackside Mall.
Metal measuring spoons would have been my first choice.

And Finally...

Trick or Treat Containers.
Spray painted veggie cans with candy labels on two.

New Halloween Photo Backdrop.

I couldn't find my Halloween or Christmas backdrops.  I usually make them from those science project easels from the school supply department.  I went to Walmart to purchase one and found they now come in four or more sizes.  I was cutting down the huge 36" by 48" to make 2 or 3 backdrops.  The one I used was about 22" wide by 14" tall and folds to a compact 11".  Just decorate them with seasonal scrapbook paper and you're set.

Don't you just love this tin?
Oh, the ghoulies these would make!

For some reason, antique dealers seem to think that old spice tins are made of solid gold and price them accordingly.  I could see if they were unique like the tin above.  But tins of fairly recent vintage are sometimes marked $7 to $14 or more.  I tend to find better prices at local vintage flea markets like Fleaology  held several times a year at my friend Paula's home in Payson.  Even then, the selection varies.  If I want a certain color combination, I might not be able to find it.  I found a lot of great spice tins pics on Pinterest.  Maybe I could modge podge the labels I want on some of the cans I have.  It's something to think about.  

Be it Summer or Fall...Get Your Crafting On!

Falloween Spice Tins...Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Vintage Summer...Lagoon and the Beach Boys!

"There's a park near the city, yeah, all the kids dig the Lagoon now
It's full of all kinds of girls and rides and we'll be flyin' there soon now
And girl for girl, they've got the cutest in the western states, yeah
They got the sun in the summer and winter time the skiing is great, yeah
Salt Lake City, we'll be coming soon!"   
--The Beach Boys

Lagoon and the Beach summer would be complete without them.

Lagoon amusement park is located in Farmington, Utah, about 50 miles north of where I live.  I never got a chance to go to Disneyland when I was young, but Lagoon was an acceptable substitute and I loved it!  We went every summer.  My dad worked for the Utah Department of Corrections, and they had an annual Lagoon outing every year.  I counted down the days and dreamed of it at night.

In my memories, Lagoon, summer, and the Beach Boys go together like hot dogs with mustard and pickle relish...they cannot be separated.  There are several songs from my youth that have always symbolized summer..."Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful, "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry, and "Salt Lake City" by the Beach Boys.  Later on, after I was married, the summer song would be "Good Vibrations," also by the Beach Boys.  Every life story has a soundtrack.

"Salt Lake City"
50th Anniversary...July 5, 1965
From the album "Summer Days and Summer Nights."

Between 1963 and 1970, the Beach Boys performed at least a dozen times at Lagoon. I never got a chance to see them in concert there, but I remember the advertising posters outside Patio Garden. I wished I was older, so I could get dressed up like the teenage girl across the street and go on a date to see the Beach Boys at Lagoon.  I sat on my front step watching her get into her boyfriend's car...looking as blonde and cool as a fashion layout from Seventeen.  Sharon was as kind as she was beautiful, so I was happy for her.  I never had an older sister to look up she was a role model to me at the time.

Other lyrics of the song mention the "number one radio station" making the town really swing.  Until today, I always thought they were singing about 1320 KCPX, which was my favorite station all through my teenage years.  Come to find out, it was KNAK all along!  The Beach Boys were so popular in Salt Lake City, that they were given the keys to the city in 1965.  After a performance on September 7, 1963, Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote the song, "Fun, Fun, Fun" in their hotel room. Fun, fun, fun Beach Boys trivia.

Lagoon hosted many of my Herman's Hermits!!

Lagoon...50's, 60's and 70's
Entering the Parking heart always beat faster.

The old white wooden roller coaster.
Every ticket I could beg, borrow or steal went to ride this.

The Midway in the 1970's

I was in the American Fork High School Marching band in the early 70's.  We marched in every local town's summer parade.  The big parade of the year was the Day's of '47 Parade on July 24th in Salt Lake City.  After the parade we got to go to Lagoon and march through the park before being set loose to go on the rides.  I wasn't too thrilled about wearing our hot, heavy band uniforms at the wasn't exactly cool.  But we made the most of was free! (for the most part)

Kiddie Rides and Mother Goose Land

Ding Dong Bell!

The Fun House!
My favorite hang-out!
Once my coaster tickets run out...I spent most of my time here.

Giant Slide
Burlap bags did not prevent friction!

Two activities not for those prone to motion sickness!

A Few Vintage Ride Pics...

My last visit to Lagoon before my wedding.
I was engaged a few weeks before this was taken.

Lagoon has changed a lot over the years.  These old pictures are how I remember it from my youth.  I found many of them online...some are from the Salt Lake Tribune.  Many of the rides are too terrifying now for me to ride.  The new coaster...the Cannibal...don't even go there!   I will never get anywhere near that one!  I do enjoy going with my grandchildren...they make everything fun again.

It's What Fun Is!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When I Was Your Age...I Was on the Newspaper Staff!

Shirley Devey Girl Reporter!
I wish I was as glamorous as the girl reporter in the picture...Rosalind Russell in "His Girl Friday."

This is your reporter, Shirley Devey Hatfield coming to you from the news desk of C.A.V.E. Radio, American Fork, Utah.  It's been 42 years since I prowled the hallowed halls of AF High School looking for material for my column "Shirley's World."  I grew up reading humorous writers like Erma Bombeck.  So I wanted to be a humor columnist for a major newspaper when I grew up...or else a Broadway actress or playwright.  I was on the junior high newspaper staff and also on the yearbook it was logical to sign up for the high school paper as well.  Madison, my 17 year old grand daughter, is on the yearbook staff of her high school. Journalism obviously runs in the family.  So, Madison, here is another chapter in the saga called "When I Was Your Age."

My fellow newspaper staffers.
I am the one on the left standing wearing a dark coat and my trademark round glasses.

Once they let me be on the newspaper staff, I lost interest in actual news reporting.  I had dreams of writing my own trademark column with my own byline.  I don't know I how convinced Mrs. Gordon to let me have my own humor column...she must have seen my lackluster interview of the girls' P.E. teacher.  I'm one of those people who is often terribly shy, but who covers up feelings of low self-confidence with humor.  To be sent to interview a cranky teacher was to me a bit like being sent to my execution or finding myself at school in my underwear.  I hovered outside the P.E. teacher's office for a half hour before she came out and demanded who I was and what I wanted. Good times.

I enjoyed writing my column...although sometimes I would use it to tease someone like my younger brother, sophomores, or the boys who sat on the floor in the hall and called me "Betty Lu" when I walked by.  I once called them the  "Jocks, with heads full of rocks, who sit in the hall, wearing shoes but no socks."  Lack of socks was some kind of senior boy fashion statement.  Looking back on some of my columns I can see that today my humor might be considered "politically incorrect" or insensitive.  I've learned over the years that humor can be hurtful at times.  No one likes to be the butt of one's jokes.  So I am still learning.

My First Forkaster Column
I later chose the name "Shirley's World" after a Shirley MacLaine TV show.

The world of technology was in  a whole different place, when I was in school.  We used adding machines and slide rules in our classes.  The Forkaster was typed on a typewriter and printed by mimeograph.  Mistakes on the master meant that a page would have to be typed again.  My typing skills were so poor, I was not allowed any where near a typewriter...unlike Rosalind Russell in "My Girl Friday." And I have no idea how they put photos into the pages.  I drew a lot of silly little cartoons to illustrate some of the articles and even designed a couple of ads for local businesses

Right here, right now, I am creating a blog post.  We can sit down at our computers and be publishers and reporters with the push (or click) of a button.  We don't have to work for a news organization to be reporters these days...we can be bloggers.  My "bucket list" included working for a real newspaper...preferably my hometown paper, The American Fork Citizen.  By the time I actually worked there, the paper had a Highland edition.  I tried being a reporter and covering school activities and city council meetings...but it wasn't long before shyness got the better of me and I was again lobbying for my own column.  I was able to do both...reporting and the column...for a couple of years until it was time to do something else on the list.  I can't say that being a blogger was on my "bucket list," but if I knew then what I know sure would be.  I'll end this post with one of my favorite columns.  By this time I was also using my writing to tease George...I called him!

Valentines Day Column...
George loved my articles...he got a kick out of being "Waldo."

That's the way it was when I was your age!