Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pilgrims and Pioneers...My Family History at Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in old Alpine, Utah...
Autumn brings with it the desire to put away food, fuel, warm clothing and bedding, along with feed for livestock against the harshness of winter.

The days shorten and feelings of urgency grow stronger.  There are no longer enough hours of daylight to get everything done.  Many hands make for lighter work.  If everyone in the village helps out, there will be plenty for all.  When the work is done, there will be time for fun and celebrations.  A time of Thanksgiving.

The hardy settlers of Alpine and Highland, Utah found ways to mix work and fun during harvest time.  When the fruit trees in Alpine started to produce, those with orchards shared with others.  The ladies came with paring knives and pans and worked for hours preparing fruit to be dried.  It would be placed on clean cloths upon the roofs, slabs on sawhorses, or whatever else was handy.

The men brought their husking pegs and shucked corn while the ladies did fruit.  The children enjoyed these occasions and anxiously waited for the piles of corn shucks to increase, as they had several games they liked to play among them: hide-and-seek, run-my-sheepie-run, and tag.  At the end of the day, a delicious dinner would be served under the apple trees on tables made of boards laid on sawhorses.

Note: Turkeys in Alpine were raised by the Watkins family.  Hertha, left, is admiring that year's fine flock.

Other autumn activities which combined work and recreation were quilting bees and "rug-rag bees."  No materials were wasted.  If the cloth wasn't too worn it was patched into quilt tops.  What wasn't good enough for quilts was torn into rug-rags and the remaining scraps were clipped into small pieces to stuff bed ticks, pillows or cushions.

I remember some old quilts Grandma Zetta had from the time when her family raised fruit in Fort Canyon.  In those days whenever a quilt began to wear out, she simply recovered it in another layer of fabric.  Women like my grandmother definitely followed Brigham Young's counsel to "make it do, or do without."  They were born recyclers!  Those quilts were extremely heavy, though, as well as damp and musty.

When Thanksgiving Day came in Alpine, it was generally celebrated rather quietly.  People spent the day at home with their families.  Later they added an afternoon dance for the children.  An adult dance and ball game was held in the evening.

The Pilgrim...
Going back even further in time, I learned the First Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was a traditional English harvest festival to which the colonists invited Massasoit who was the most important sachem (leader) among the Wamapanoag Indians.

The festival was celebrated in response to "God's favorable Providence" in times of plentiful game and bountiful harvest...with no little thanks to the Indians, who had introduced the settlers to native food plants and animals, and deserve much of the credit for keeping the Pilgrims from starving.

Among those gathered at the feast in 1621 was a man named Francis Cooke and his 14-year-old son John.  Francis' wife, Hester, was still in England.  She would follow in 1623 on the Anne with her three other children, Jacob, Jane, and Hester.

There isn't anything particularly remarkable about this family.  If Francis and John had not sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, no one would have remembered them at all, except maybe their descendents.  But this is where it gets interesting.

The Pioneer...
One of Cooke's direct descendents was a Mormon pioneer named John Joshua Tanner who came to Utah in 1851 and settled in South Cottonwood in the Salt Lake Valley.  The family of John Joshua Tanner now numbers in the thousands...hundreds of which live here in northern Utah County.  He is my ancestor as well.

Both men...Tanner and Cooke...were men of conscience and conviction, a remarkable family pattern to hold up over such a long stretch of time.  The Pilgrims were refugees from religious persecution in England, just as the Mormon pioneers traveled west to practice their faith in peace more than two centuries later.

I became a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 2003.  Since then I have learned many things about my pioneer ancestors.  Because of what I have learned, Thanksgiving has a special meaning for me.  Family history is kind of like an archealogical dig.  Among the dirt and stones a single golden nugget of information could be hiding.  Discovering my  family genealogy is a blessing for which I am eternally grateful. 

At the top of my list of things for which I am grateful this season, I am placing the names of Francis Cooke and John Joshua Tanner...the Pilgrim and the Pioneer.

Blessings to you and your families this Thanksgiving.

Note:  This is a repost from November 2011.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Crafts...Vintage Tins!

This cute card says it all...
I "borrowed" these ideas...lol!

Pinterest Inspired Christmas Tin Arrangements

Repurposed cannisters from Kaytee Jane's House
The moment I saw these candle arrangments on Pinterest I knew I would have to make something similar.  Of course, when I want to use vintage tins and cannisters...they are either impossible to find or too expensive outside of yardsale season.  Kaytee Jane also used the vintage candle lights for hers...mine were from Walmart.  I just love her cute blog...I just became a follower.  I think you will love it too.  When I get done posting, I am going to go back and look at more of her fun projects.

Cute Little Elf in a Flour Sifter.
The first one I made.
The candle was a battery powered one.
They were white...so I painted them all cream.

Larger Bucket/Tins...Hobby Lobby 2012 Clearance.
Larger plug-in lights.
I found that the small wreaths in Hobby Lobby's miniatures section were just right to use for these arrangements.  I wish I had bought more. George drilled me a few holes around the top edge so that I could wire the wreaths to the buckets  Vintage Elf and Deer...mix of new and vintage doodads.

Deer Arrangement for My Front Hall.
I decoupaged the tin years ago...I'm glad I kept it.

A little winter scene in a nicely rusty coffee can.

Cute Vintage Kitchen Tin...red and green graphics.
This is for daughter Missy.
Elf, Cookie Cutter, Cupcake and a Vintage Rudolph (not seen)

Darling Tins from Michaels.
Used some old Victorian Santas to match.
For my DILs

Cool Muffin Tin From "A Vintage Chic!"

I first saw this on Pinterest...tho' I am a Faithful Follower!
This wonderful muffin tin is from Julie Campbell of A Vintage Chic.
Julie has instructions on how she made it.  She also has a cool Halloween version here: halloween Tin

My Muffin Tin...
It took me almost a year to find the perfect grungy muffin tin.
I like the 8 muffin configuration with the hole at the top/bottom.
For this I used images with a more "antique" feel for my Cozy Country Cabin Christmas theme... alliteration is fun!!
Another smaller vintage Santa head and a few rosettes from Christmas sheet music.

Back to the Workshop!

A Few Cute Cards I've Found Recently...Enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Christmas Porch 2013...a Little Bit Country!

Cozy Country Cabin Christmas!
My most enduring Christmas fantasy is the Country Cabin Christmas...a crackling fire, flickering candlelight and sleigh bells in the snow.  In my fantasy I am sitting in a cozy chair by the window, drinking hot cocoa and watching lazy snowflakes twirl in a Christmas ballet.  Have you noticed that Christmas must be experienced with all the senses?  I need only add the scent of fresh pine for my fantasy to be complete.  I may never get my country cabin...we own a lot in the mountains above Mount Pleasant, Utah...but it seems that life keeps getting in the way.  So I have to make my home as cozy and welcoming as possible.

My Home...Christmas Porch 2013
I was playing with Fotoflexer to get the antique look for the picture...it seems cozier somehow...at least a bit more interesting.  Last year I decided to look for sale items and thrift store finds that I could use to change my theme from Candy Land to Country Cabin.  It's still a work in progress, but I will keep on the lookout for more fun things for the porch.  I would like to find some old skis and ice skates some day.

Front Door...
Pic doesn't show my favorite blow mold Santa head to the left of the door.

Darling Burlap Owl Wreath...
Walmart last Christmas...they have some really cute ones.
The "paper chains" are metal...I've had them for years.

I want to find some skis to hang where the sign is now.

Burlap Porch Pillows...
I printed postcard images on printable fabric.
The pillows have ties to secure them to the bench in case of blizzards.

Tomato Cage Tree...
Wrapped with lights, burlap, garland and ribbon.

Noel Wreaths...
Redesigned my old candy wreaths for my four front porch windows.
The large letters were chipboard from Michaels bargain bins.

First Crafts of Christmas...
Santa's (messy) Workshop...
I made some ornaments after the wreaths were done.

Little House Shadow Box...
The little house was from Michaels.
A box lid left over from another project.

Tiny Owl in a Christmas Cone.
Hobby Lobby had a package of three small glitter owls.

Another Box Lid Scene...only 3"sq.
Cozy Country Cabin Collection...lol!

Small Rosette with Christmas Card Image...

Rusty Rustic Santa...
Had some rusty wide mouth lids and a bunch of 
made-in-Japan Santa heads.
Another for the CCC tree in the hall.

This little fella was a Pinterest Pin...
Lowes has 69 cent yardsticks.
Scrabble tile letters...Target Snowman (last year)

That's it for now...
More to come!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tea Sets and Violets...Memories of Mother

Memories of Mother
"Sweet Violets
Sweeter than the Roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with Sweet Violets"

I cannot hear this song, or smell the sweet scent of violets without thinking of my mother.  Violets were her special symbol, chosen when she was a young girl.  They were her Young Women's flower and painted on delicate china cups and saucers stored lovingly in her cedar chest with her wedding gown and treasures.

She was like a violet herself then, small and delicate with the dark eyes of a fawn.  I can see in my mind the sepia photograph of her as a lovely young girl of 12, gazing serenely into the camera's lens.

She was a pretty child and the darling of her family; the lone girl in a pack of boisterous brothers who alternately spoiled her or teased her mercilessly.  And boy could they tease!

When I was very small, Mother gave into my care the remaining plates of a green Depression Glass tea set.  This tea set had been her most cherished possession when she was pre-school age.  One day, as she carefully carried her little dishes into the living room, one of her brothers sneaked up behind her and yelled in her ear.  With an earsplitting crash, the little tea set was dashed to the floor.  Tearfully, she gathered up the plates that remained unbroken.  Somehow through the years, those plates survived.  How they survived my childhood is another miracle.

I was about five years old when she gave them to me and told me how special they were to her.  I am still amazed that she trusted me to care for them.  True to my stewardship, I kept the little plates carefully wrapped in newspaper and stored in a small box.  It was such a treat to occasionally unwrapped those treasures and imagine playing "tea party" with the pretty little girl from the Depression.

When Mother was a girl, Grandma and Grandpa made for her a wooden treasure box covered in pretty wallpaper that matched her bedroom.  As the oldest granddaughter, I inherited that box.  Inside were special dolls and toys that I kept at Grandma Patta's, safe from my boisterous brothers and sisters. Only I could play with the things in that box. 

When I visited my grandparents I spent many sunny hours playing under a tree in the backyard, or on the upstairs landing on rainy days. My favorite game at the time was to imagine that my mother was still a little girl, just my age, and that we were friends.  We played for hours, her in an old-fashioned dress from the 30's and me in shorts and a tee-shirt, reading old issues of Children's Friend and designing our dream houses with pictures cut from Better Homes and Gardens. Sometimes she watched me make Barbie clothes from the bag of sewing scraps that Grandma saved for me.  She only watched...because Mom could not sew worth a lick!

My grown-up mom was not on friendly terms with her old sewing machine.  Any sewing project made her so stressed-out that we kids used to hide whenever she put in a zipper!  It's kind of funny, because her mother made beautiful gowns for antique porcelain dolls and I've made quilts most of my life.  I guess some things skip a generation.

But she loved collecting dolls almost as much as Grandma Patta did.  And the countless gifts of dolls from her children and grandchildren gave her a lot of pleasure.  Especially during those last years...that endless stretch of time when she couldn't go out, but could only sit in her doll room surrounded by memories.

I have many warm memories of my mother, but I always like to think of her as the small girl whose unsteady little legs carried her and her tea set into Grandma's living room.  And that memory is always accompanied by the scent of violets.

In Memory of Rhea Lee Gray Devey
April 7, 1935-November 6, 2006

I wish to acknowledge my sister Lisa, who designed the little memory pages.  She made each of the sisters a beautiful miniature scrapbook.  So much love and effort was put into them.  I will always treasure mine.

I am grateful today for the love of my Father in Heaven.
"I am a child of God
And he has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear..."

Note:  This is a repost from November 6, 2011...the fifth anniversary.