Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Mystery of the Nauvoo Angel!

The Nauvoo Angel
Hello!  Sorry I haven't posted for a bit...I had a good excuse though! This past weekend I was able to take a quick trip to Old Nauvoo.  Nauvoo, Illinois is one of my Church's most important historical sites. George and I were on a "road trip" to pick up an expensive and unwieldy piece of painting equipment in Davenport, Iowa.  I looked up Davenport on the map and found it was located on the Mississippi River and only about 100 miles from Nauvoo, Illinois.  I was so excited!  Nauvoo had always been on my "bucket list" of places I wanted to see in my lifetime.  Funny about was raining buckets on Saturday, my only chance to go!  When life hands you make the best of it!

Beautiful Temple in the Rain.
The current Nauvoo LDS Temple was rebuilt in 2002 on the site of the ruined temple built by Joseph Smith and his followers back in 1846, just before the Mormon Exodus to Salt Lake City.  I love the history of our Church and my pioneer ancestors.  Being able to visit Nauvoo helps to give me more perspective...and understanding of the hardships the people endured.  Every year 1000s of our young people go on "Trek" at Martin's Cove in Wyoming.  They spend a week pulling handcarts and attempting to walk in the shoes of those pioneers.  They learn to appreciate the sacrifices of the early Mormon pioneers.  What really made me think was the fact that it took me only two days to travel the distance they struggled months to cover.
Historic Nauvoo Temple
I have long been fascinated by the history of the original Nauvoo Temple.  I always loved pictures of the temple so graceful on its hillside overlooking the Mississippi River.  I often marveled that the Saints were able to leave this lovely temple behind just as soon as it was completed.  A 1992 article written by Don F. Colvin in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism tells us...
"As most of the Saints left Nauvoo under threat of mob violence in early February 1846, a special crew stayed behind and completed the temple. Three months later the building was considered complete and was publicly dedicated on May 1, 1846. Dedication services were repeated over a three-day period and witnessed by thousands. Visitors paid a one-dollar admission fee, and the funds were used to help workmen move their families and join the main body of the Church on the plains to the west.

Tintype photo of completed temple.
"When most of the remaining Church members were driven from the city in September of 1846, the temple was temporarily abandoned. Mob forces desecrated and defiled the sacred structure. Some physical damage, though not extensive, was sustained. Attempts were later made to sell the temple, but these proved unsuccessful. The building was consumed by fire in October 1848, by the deliberate act of arson. Only the bare walls were left standing. A French Icarian community purchased the site and was preparing to reclaim the structure when it was struck by a tornado, which knocked down some of the walls and damaged others so severely that they had to be razed. Much of the structural stone was later reused in other Nauvoo buildings."

Damaged and Desecrated.
Doesn't this old photograph break your heart?  I know mine aches to think of it.  I picture one of my pioneer ancestors looking back across the wide expanse of the Mississippi for one last glance at the temple on the hill...perhaps catching the glint of sunlight on the gold leaf of the angel weather vane. Did she wipe away a tear as she turned away?   How I wish I had been there to see it in its glory!  So much had been suffered and sacrificed for that sacred building.  But thankfully, many Saints were able to receive the blessings of the temple before leaving...they would need that strength for the journey.
The First Angel...and a Mystery.
Old Print with Angel
The angel atop the old Nauvoo temple fascinates me.  I have always enjoyed the primitive folk-art of the 1800's...especially the figures carved as weather vanes.  The Nauvoo angel was part weather vane and lightning rod.  The Perrigrine Sessions Journal described it as a "representation of an angel in his priestly robes with a book of Mormon in one hand and trumpet in the other which [was] over laid with gold."  The angel, flying in a horizontal position, represented the "angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel." (D&C 133:36, Rev. 14:6)  If you want to know more about the symbolism of the weather vane, there are many interesting sites online.
Angel Moroni on the Salt Lake Temple.
George and I were married there almost 38 years ago.
Those familiar with our Church know that a gold angel is placed atop each of our temples.  He is Moroni from the Book of Mormon.  Each statue is a little bit different...but in each he is blowing a trumpet like Gabriel.  It is said that each Angel Moroni faces the east...all except the Nauvoo Moroni.  He faces the if remembering the westward migration of the people who once made Nauvoo a prosperous and beautiful city. 

30" Nauvoo Angel
I bought this at Zion's Mercantile in Nauvoo.
The Mystery at last!
What happened to the angel figure which once crowned the old Nauvoo Temple?  Many people assume that the statue was destroyed in either the fire or windstorm that brought the temple to ruin.  But is it possible that the original Angel Moroni from Nauvoo flew over the city of Cincinnati atop another church for 100 years?  Some people say "Yes!"  The story is from a Nov. 25, 1999 article on the KSL News Website.
In the late 1960's an LDS Stake President, John Taylor, who worked for Proctor and Gamble, would look out his window and see a "beautiful figure, shining in the sun, because it was covered with gold leaf."  A genealogist in the area told him that she had seen in the records of the Salem Evangelical Church that a delegation had gone from Cincinnati to Nauvoo.  They bought the figure from the destroyed temple, called it "Gabriel" and put it on their steeple.
One day a windstorm toppled the angel from it's steeple.  The Cincinnati church commissioned another one and gave the damaged one to John Taylor.  He called a man from Nauvoo to come in his pickup truck and carry the angel back to Nauvoo.  Before it left, President Taylor took pictures of the angel.
Unfortunately...a prominent Church historian looked at the pictures and told Taylor that although it was definitely folk art of the mid 1800s...he doubts that it was the angel on the Nauvoo Temple. He gives some of his reasons in the article.  But in the meantime...where is the angel that left for Nauvoo?  No one knows.  It may have been destroyed or is in someone's barn somewhere.  Many people to this day still believe that "Gabriel" is Moroni and that someday he (the angel figure) will  be returned to the Church.  I sure hope so!  Until that day, I will enjoy my small copy hanging in my living room. 
Temple view from across the Mississippi.
The picture I would have taken if weren't raining cats and dogs!
Of course it wouldn't be autumn...sigh!
Hope you enjoyed this journey...
I hope to return some (sunny) day!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vintage Vacation...Grand Canyon!

Isn't Life Grand?
One of the best things we ever did was buy a condo in the Las Vegas area...actually it's in Henderson at the foot of Black Mountain...a rocky desert peak big horn sheep.  We do know that some of our neighbors are rattlesnakes and not just the ones who use our parking space when we're not there.  Having a base in Vegas means that we are in day-trip distance of many interesting southwestern Death Valley and especially the Grand Canyon.  Also, it's nice to have a warmer place for a retreat when our mountain winters get too frosty.
A few weeks ago we were able to take my sister and her husband to the Grand Canyon...her first trip there in almost 50 years.

1910 Postcard View.

 Patti's hubby is afraid of heights, which made it difficult for him to get photos with sweeping views...although he bought his camera especially for this trip.  Patti is still a bit skittish about the overlooks.  When we were children we followed the Bright Angel trail to the overlook...pretty steep dropoffs in places.  Our Dad...still suffering from adolescence in his late 20's...thought it would be hilarious to pretend to throw us off.  He did this often...Yellowstone Hot Pots, Goosenecks of the San Juan...any place dangerous enough to give us nightmares.  Don't get me wrong...we were pretty happy most of the time.  Remember "fun" is buried somewhere in the word "Dysfunctional!"

El Tovar Hotel...
Rim Trail with El Tovar in the Background

We enjoy parking in the main lot at the Visitor's Center and following the 2.5 mile trail along the rim.  It was a lovely and sunny, with hardly any wind.  We took our time...stopping along the way to take photos of the breathtaking views and of the many "nearly tame" elk napping under the trees.  Finally...coming around a curve we saw the stately El Tovar Hotel in the dignified in her old age as a dowager empress.  I love the old national park the El Tovar and the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone.  The feeling is  rustic "Craftsman" one of my favorite decorating styles with handcrafted wooden furniture and Navajo rugs hanging on the walls. 

El Tovar in a 1910 postcard.
I found these cards at Treasures Antiques last week.

The El Tovar Hotel, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was opened in 1905.  Up until this time, vistors had to "rough it" in tents and primitive cabins, traveling to the canyon on bumpy dirt roads.  El Tovar is a "Fred Harvey" of only a few still operating.  One hotel is the La Posada in Winslow Arizona on the old Route 66.  El Tovar got its name from Don Pedro Tovar, a Spanish conquistador who probably never even got as far north as the Grand Canyon.  It was popular to give southwestern hotels romantic spanish names...I know they appeal to me! 

The hotel looks like a rustic hunting lodge with a European influence...wonderful!  The Grand California Hotel at Disneyland reminds me of these old lodges.  We had lunch in the main dining room which has tables with spectacular views of the canyon.  The food was really good...Continenal and Southwestern...and not as expensive as we expected.  After lunch it was easy to just hop on a shuttle bus and head back to the Visitor Center parking more hiking for us!

We had a great time...a nice bonding experience. 

Our Grand Canyon Honeymoon...
Our Beetle...nicknamed "Wolfgang"

George and I were married in November of 1975.  Being poor BYU students...which is a cliche around her...we didn't have a lot of money for a honeymoon, so we decided to spend it at the Grand Canyon.  We traveled down historic old Highway 89 in our red and black VW Beetle.  89 is not quite as romantic in legend as Route 66...but we had a great time!  There is so much to see along that highway! We traveled through Kanab...once known as Little Hollywood.  Many famous westerns were filmed there...more than 100...and the TV show Gunsmoke.  Hotel signs bragged "John Wayne slept here!"  I hope to write more on Kanab and Old Highway 89 in the future...more Vintage Vacations!  The road led us to Page, Arizona and Lake Powell, then down through the Navajo Reservation to Flagstaff.  After such a lovely sunny drive, we were surprised to find snow in Flagstaff!   Then we turned west for Williams and the Grand Canyon turn-off...and warmer weather.

Blurry pic...but was happy to find it!
I'm wearing my favorite Turtlebax jeans and one of my comfy flannel shirts.
The weather was and sunny.

George was always "Joe Cool" back his cowboy hat!
On the way home we stopped at Bryce Canyon...for a quick Clark Griswald looky look.
We had to hurry...we had wedding gifts at home waiting for us to unwrap.

 Hope you enjoyed this Vintage Vacation!

Wish you were here....


Friday, May 10, 2013

American Summer Circus!

Cirq du Summer!
May is moving faster than a bottle-rocket flies!  I can't believe it's almost Memorial Day.  I decorate for summer just after Mother's Day.  I believe an American Summer should be Red, White, and my decor will be patriotic until August.  I've been playing around with the idea of a summer circus theme, but wanted to keep it on the patriotic side.  So I added some flags...some stars and stripes...and with the help of some items from a few of my favorite bloggers, I think it may be coming together.  To get in the crafing mood, I've been listening to an audiobook recommended by Tammy from Tammy's in Love called, "The Circus Fire."  Lol!  If that doesn't get you in a tragic mood...I don't know what will.  I should have saved it for my Halloween "Night Circus."

The circus will be performing daily in my office this summer!
The backdrop was made from a "science project" display folder.
I can get three backdrops from one 36" by 48" folder.
They come in easy 12" increments so that full sheets of
scrapbook paper will fit nicely.
I make them for different holidays as photo backgrounds.

Tammy's clown has new balloons!
Elizabeth's majorettes will lead the parade.

Carousel Circus Box.
Cupcake Clowns aren't scary...or are they?

Smaller box becomes a pedestal for Elizabeth's "Barker Boy."

I was so excited to find an elephant planter at the thrift store Wednesday.
She's become a patriotic pin cushion.

Circus shadow box is Meri of Imagimeri's creation.
Popcorn "ticket booth." 

After the big show Elizabeth's "Big Bang Theory" will conduct
the fireworks display.
The Summer Circus is still a work in progress that will probably be added to in other areas of the house.  I'm working on a circus theme for the front door with patriotic accents.  Yesterday I was hit with a brainstorm of hurricane head is still spinning.  I only hope I can sort the brilliant ideas from the!

Have a perfectly lovely day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Sweet Nest Swap!

For Love of Nests...
Before the leaves unfurled on their branches, one could count the nests left empty when summer called it a day.  I never realized just how many little birds had made their homes in my yard.  There is something so hopeful about a beginnings and promises in little speckled eggs.  Easter came and went too quickly this spring...almost before we could count our colored eggs...leaving April out of the festivities.  Easter should always be in my humble opinion.  There is more blue in an April sky...more hope for flowering things. 

So April became a month of nests.  We fuss about like mother birds...fluffling, arranging, and organizing our nests.  And we place nests in cozy corners....filled with eggs...or baby dolls...or fairies.  Then we exchange nests with others!  Vivian of viv out on a whim organized a large number of women suffering from Spring Fever...and we had it bad...into partners for a Nest Swap.  Each would make her partner the most "stinkin' cute" nest and send it winging on its way...but only when it was "too cute to give away."  That was the rule.  I am learning to make two of everything because I have a hard time parting with some of my creations.  I am sure I'm not the only one.  I have seen some beautiful examples of "thinking outside the box."  This community not only sparks sets it ablaze.  Isn't it wonderful!

My Nest from Holly...
The Garland says "Happy" which is how this darling nest makes me feel!
The tiny pennants are only 1/2 inch in size.
Little Figaro patiently waits for the eggs to!
Cute Holly from Damita's Pretty Wrap was my partner in this sweet swap.

Peat Pot sweetly wrapped in burlap.
And she had another surprise in store for me...

 Beautiful silver nest with pearl eggs.
I have seen these on Pinterest and wished for one.
Holly made it herself...I could hardly believe it!
Thank you, Holly.  I love it so much!

My Supply Swap Pillow...

I told you I would be making something from this vintage card.
Dorothy of HensRule was my partner...who simply spoiled me.

Postcard printed on fabric.
Sewn to white burlap...I left the polkadot fabric's edges raw.
Colors are brighter than the picture shows.
Jo-Ann has some fabric that is supposed to take the ink better,
but I am pleased with how it turned out.
And I like how it looks on my comfy office chair.
Thanks, Dorothy!
Have a lovely evening!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coulrophobia...fear of Clowns!

Warning...this post may contain clowns!
When I was a child I was terrified of clowns.  That's really not much of a news flash...many children suffer from "coulrophobia" or fear of clowns.  It's a relatively new term..."coulro" is from the greek meaning "stilt walker" I guess there are some clowns on stilts...but none in MY nightmares.  I don't think that adults get the concept...children HATE clowns!  A few studies have shown that children do not want to see murals of clowns in hospitals, day care centers and doctors offices...yet adults keep putting them there!  And they invite them to birthday parties!  I know...right?  I am trying to think of a time when I might have enjoyed the comic antics of our red-nosed, painted-faced friends...nope!  Can't think of one.
When it began...
Pop goes the Weasel...
Baby's First Nightmare!
They seem so tame and innocent...those evil Jack-in-the-Boxes!  Baby turns the little handle...the music box plays a cheerful tune.  Turn, turn, turn....then BOOM!  Up pops a sinister little clown.  Mom laughs.  Dad laughs.  Baby needs a new diaper.  Big Shirley still can't bear the suspense of the pop-up clown!  I also have a heart attack when balloons pop and the Pillsbury biscuit package explodes!  Thanks Mattel!

My Childhood Clowns...
Bozo the Clown
This was one of the least-frightening!

Clarabelle the Clown
Early children's TV programming seemed to be filled with hideous and terrifying clowns.  They clomped around on their ginorous feet, making horrible noises with their red bulbous noses.  And what big hideous grins they grinned.  Actually...the two scariest grins on TV weren't clowns per se...but Liberace and Jimmy the Mouseketeer used to give me nightmares!  Too many teeth! Way too many teeth! 
The Dee Burger Clown
My parents loved the 5 hamburgers for a buck!
My first really frightening experience with clowns took place one Halloween night after the school carnival.  We were all high on sugar and exhausted from trick or treat.  Four of us shared a room back then and someone had been jumping on the bed and pulled the curtain off the window again.  After being threatened with the loss of our candy...what was left of it...we finally settled down.  Just then my little sister let out a blood-curdling shriek.  A clown was scratching at the window!  Now I don't know if this was a sugar-induced hallucination...but I believed her!  Hello, Coulrophobia!
My parents thought my fear of clowns was hilarious.  One parade day in American Fork, I was keeping a close watch for unicycles and go-carts...popular clown vehicles.  I spotted one about a block down the street...which gave me plenty of time to hide in the car before he got to where we were sitting.  I crouched on the floor of the front seat...waiting for the clown demon to pass by.  At a knock on the window I looked up...and there he was grinning down at me...the most hideous face since Liberace!!  Thanks Mom and Dad for telling him where to find me...that explains the bed-wetting incidents.

 Flower Power...
It was the Age of Aquarius and I gradually outgrew my aversion to clowns.  I am pretty sure I was over it...except for one very strange incident which took place when I was about 15.  It was spring and the lilacs outside my bedroom window were in bloom.  I have always loved the scent of lilacs.  There was a bit of a breeze, so I thought I would open the window to let the "romantic fragrance waft gently through the billowing curtains."  The window was stuck...I pushed and pushed until...CRACK!...the glass gave way and sliced the palm of my right hand.  I must have been a bit shocky as my mother drove me to the doctor for stitches.   For I saw as clear as day...on every corner of Main Street...a clown holding a single flower.  Not more than one clown...the same clown!  Yikes! that I am grown, they don't bother me so much.  I enjoy the idea of circuses and making circus-themed crafts...working on my Summer Circus decor right now.  I can almost say that I was over my fear of clowns for good...until HE came to town!
"They all float down here..."  Pennywise from "It."
That's it...I'm done!
Can't Sleep...Clowns will eat me!"  Bart Simpson