Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cars Land Christmas...for Tammy!

Vintage Christmas...Radiator Springs!
Tammy's Cars Vignette!
The cute decor from Tammy's In Love inspired me to post these pictures.
Cars Land...Disney California Adventure 
Welcome to Radiator Springs....
Frosty the Snowcar...random children...

Garlands of white wall tires and air filters...
Frosty monkey wrenches become snowflakes...

Old tire tree....

One can never have enough orange cones at Christmas...

...or can they?
Our I-15 Core construction project just finished after years of orange cones and delays!
Route 66 tree...

More tires and oil cans...

City Hall had a lovely hub cap tree...
Ginormous wreath on City Hall...

Stanley...the founder...looks so proud of his festive city!
Don't take the decorations down yet, Stanley...we'll be there on January 2!
Happy New Year!!!
Some New Year greetings for you!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Repost...My Christmas Secret!

 My Christmas Secret!

Shhhhh!...When I was growing up. I had a Christmas secret that always made me smile. Not the I-can't-wait grin of anticipation, but the cat-with-whiskers-full-of-cream variety. You see...I believed I had an "in" with the Big Guy Up North...a connection no other child possessed. My very own grandmother was an official North Pole employee with the title "Santa's Helper." Her name was Patta Gray.

Patta and Richard Gray on their 50th Anniversary

Santa's Helper at Work...
She confided this to me when I was very young, and I believed her. Why wouldn't I? Her house was filled with dolls and toys all year long! Not to mention she excelled in making gingerbread cakes and cookies with brown sugar topping. And she was soft and pink and smelled delicious...just like Mrs. Santa Claus must.

Shirley, Mike and little sister Patti on a visit to Grandma Patta's.

Sometimes I got to visit for a few days. Grandma Patta and I spent the time up to our elbows in fabric scraps and patterns. The bodice of grandma's dress was studded with straight pins in lieu of a pincushion, keeping her hands free to cut and stitch the tiny clothes for all of Santa's dolls. With my awkward "help" she made designer outfits for Barbie, chic Chanel-style suits with real mink collars...just like Jackie Kennedy wore. Ruffled dresses for Chatty Cathy were next on the list, adorned with yards and yards of lace trimming. Even G.I. Joe got a new uniform or two! (Grandma hated Joe's big floppy made him hard to dress.)

Chatty Cathy...I didn't like her for some reason...she looked kind of bratty.

In the evenings, Grandpa Rich would get out his tools and work on the Barbie-size furniture he designed. He made four-poster beds and pink vanities with little gold knobs. The closet had sliding doors and rods filled with little pink hangers. With a hammer and wee brass tacks, he patiently upholstered miniature sofas and chairs. I was lucky enough to receive some of his furniture for Christmas one year.

My first Barbie looked like this one.

My first Ken had this fuzzy hair that came off if he got wet.

A Test of Faith...
I felt so special being let in on such an important secret. There were times I was tempted to brag about Grandma's unique job. But the kids I played with were starting to say awful things about Santa...that he didn't exist! Grandma had a saying...something about pearls before swine. Her secret was too precious to waste on non-believers.
As the years went by, it became more difficult to keep the faith. The pressure was on from friends and siblings to admit that Santa Claus was a hoax. But I stubbornly clung to the hope that they were wrong. One Christmas Eve I lined my dolls up on the couch so Santa could see that I took good care of my toys. My brother Mike teased me for being such a baby. "There's no such thing as Santa," he snickered.

Patti Play Pal.
I found out the hard way one Christmas morning that Grandma Zetta's lipstick is forever!
Poor Patti Play Pal!

A few minutes later, Mom came into the room and told us to get ready to go to Grandma's. It was almost time for Santa to come and pick up the doll clothes and take them back to the North Pole. He was a bit behind schedule and the elves needed to get the dolls dressed. I smirked when I saw the startled expression on Mike's face. He'd see!

Still...something deep inside nagged at me all the way to Lehi, where my grandparents lived. "He's not coming," the voice of doubt informed me. "He's not real." I remembered everything my friends had told me. They said it was all a big lie...our parents bought the toys and pretended to be Santa.

Miss Revlon had pierced ears!

Waiting and Waiting...
While the adults visited at Grandma's, I squirmed on the sofa. Anticipation and dread played tag in my stomach and I couldn't eat the cookies grandma had made. When you are a child, minutes seem like hours, and waiting is torture. He's not coming.
As I squeezed my eyes shut and focused all my faith into a wish...I heard the silver tinkle of sleigh bells. I knew that if I opened my eyes, the magic wouldn't work. But the sound of boots on the front porch stamping off the snow seemed real enough. Grandma hurried to the door.

How I remember many years ago.

"Merry Christmas!" a hearty voice boomed. When I opened my eyes, a man in red stood in the doorway shaking snow off his whiskers. I watched in awe as Santa reached into his sack and pulled out a candy cane for each of us. My little sisters danced about with excitement and forgot to say thank you. But I remembered! He winked at me, restoring my faith for another year.

Grandma made doll clothes for many years after that, taking orders from neighbors and friends. Even when I was finally too old to believe in Santa Claus, she still personified the Spirit of Christmas. I wish my own children could have known her.
Cute little brother Tommy and sister Lisa came along some years after this story.
Look at their sweet little faces. I miss these little kids.

"May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your Christmases be white..."

It's Snowing!
Merry White Christmas!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shadow Box Swap Tree!

Whitman Chocolate Box Swap...
I am way overdue posting my thanks for all the lovely shadow boxes that came my way.  I saved a small lighted tree just to showcase this special swap.  The challenge was to take a small Whitman's Sampler box and turn it into a miniature Christmas wonderland.  How fun is that?  Earlier this week my box arrived and I couldn't wait to see what my friends had created.  I planned to show each box, but some of my photos didn't work out, so I will just show a few as they grace my little tree.  Please forgive me for not showing them all...each one was a small work of art that I will treasure. 

The Whitman Tree...
The tree sits on a table just inside the entrance to my "looky-no-touchy" room.
That was the name our kids gave the!

It sure is a "Wonderful Life!"

Little Red is a removeable brooch!

A lovely frosty scene.

Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Sweet deer in a lovely landscape.

My theme was "Department Store Christmas."
Bigby's has everything you need!

"Buddy the Bigby's Elf."
Elizabeth of Creative Breathing hosted this wonderful swap...
And sent Buddy to guard my tree!
Thank you so much!
Random Acts of Crafting and Decorating...
This has been a "Pinteresting" week for crafting...
Dollar store wineglasses made the perfect domes for little landscapes.
Visit this post from Musings From Kim K to see Kim's cute creations.

Polkadot boxes and sugar coated deer...

...and a wee mushroom.

It's looking like a Kim K Christmas around my kitchen.
Click the link for Kim's darling vignette.
I hope she knows how much I love her decorating!

My vintage Christmas porcelains...
I just can't say no to little choir boys and orphaned salt shakers.
I realize this has been a rather long and picture heavy posting.  I felt I needed to combine a couple of posts so that I could leave Tuesday free of posting.  It's been a sad and rather solemn weekend.  I haven't had much to say or comments to leave.  I just haven't the words to express the sorrow we all feel.  Maybe even this post is out of place at this time.  I don't know.  What I do know, is how grateful I am for each and every one of you.  Bless you all.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Repost...Memories of Mary Pulley's Hill!

Mary Pulley's Hill...

American Fork circa 50's-60's...
This story is for all the children who grew up in and around American Fork, Utah during the Mary Pulley years. I have many happy Christmas memories, but there is one I share with thousands of others. This was long before modern drive-by light displays, electronically controlled spectaculars with lights flashing to the rhythm of "Party Rock." or something by Mannheim Steamroller. This light display was something to behold in our low-tech lives. Trees bedecked with countless strands of colored lights surrounded a peaceful nativity scene, carefully painted wooden backdrops large enough in scale to be seen from the street.

Mary Pulley...
Before I continue I want to say a few words about the woman behind the display. Mary Pulley was one of those wonderful women every town should be blessed with. Her long life was filled with service to the community beginning in 1929 when she represented American Fork as our first "Poultry Day" Queen. She presided over the picnic, parade, ball game, races, carnival, program and dance...a very full day indeed. She kept her poise even when a young server at the banquet spilled hot cocoa on her white satin gown. She simply blotted it up and went on with the festivities. Her later photos show a woman of graceful stature and serene demeanor.

A Beloved Tradition Begins...
Miss Pulley began her traditional Christmas display in 1942 as a gift to the children and it continued until her death. Her home was situated at the bottom of a hill on several acres of graceful lawns planted with large trees...the perfect site for a large display. People could easily drive by to see the lights. She brought in Santa Claus to stand at the gate at the end of her driveway and hand out candy-canes and oranges to carloads of children. This gift was considered extraordinarily generous...because this was during that period of war rationing. In the picture above, a local family and Santa are standing next to the sleigh from the Santa can see how large the scale needed to be. I wish there were more pictures. I would love to have one of the display to show you. All I have is my memory...and we know those are unreliable! If anyone wants to share their memories in the comments...I would love that!

A more modern Santa.
A few years ago, some well-meaning folks tried to revive the tradition.
Some things you can't bring back.

A Memory Movie...
I know it's not possible that there was snow every year...but in my memories our car moves slowly in the endless line of vehicles waiting to pass by the display. I can hear the crunch of tires on packed snow...that is...I could if my little brothers and sisters would just settle down for a bit. They bounce about in the old station wagon like balls in a pinball game...getting on Dad's last nerve.

Finally, just as Dad has bluffed for the last time about getting out of line and going home...we pass the last house and trees that conceal the magic. There's plenty of the slow admire the manger scene. To "ooh and ahh" over the lights and enjoy the tinny blast of "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" coming through the speakers nailed to trees and power poles. When the vignette of Santa's Sleigh moves into view we grow more and more excited. Santa is there! He's waiting at the end of the drive with treats for each of us. I'm hoping for a candy cane or maybe a small Hershey Bar.

Dad tells us to open our windows. We do so and the frigid air pours into the car. Santa is stamping his frozen feet and steam from his breath "encircles his head like a wreath." We yell out our Christmas wishes like one chaotic fast-food order and receive our long-awaited treat of chocolate marshmallow Santas. I hate marshmallow Santas, but I would never be ungracious to the Big Guy. With a "Merry Christmas" he waved us on.

Update...New Pictures!
Santa's Sleigh

The Nativity
Photos taken in 1958
Shared by Don Hansen

I still have dreams of the downtown stores and businesses of my childhood. My favorites memories of Christmas include the decorations that hung across Main Street.

The Christmas Train!!!

Santa's Sleigh and Tiny Reindeer!
I so wish I could see them again...hometown mainstreets were magical in those days. Still...after a fun family drive to see the lights...we all wanted to end up here...

The Hi-Spot Drive Inn!
When little brother Tommy learned to read...Hi-Spot was his first word! We were so proud! This was not our only family favorite, but I love this picture.

A Cozy Winter Scene...
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas in American Fork this year!

What are your hometown Christmas memories?

 Post Script...2014

Mary Pulley's Home 2014
 Are Santa's Reindeer waiting patiently for Mary to return?
Photo by Randy Blackburn.