#AtoZChallenge | Vintage bakelite buckles transformed into framed childhood memories

I had a three inch orange binder that I stored on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. It had a hand written tag on the spine that read “house ideas”. I filled it with magazine pages and articles for home decorating ideas and craft projects. They were all neatly organized with page protectors and divided into sections. I would pull it out and look through it occasionally. 

Eventually Pinterest and digital storage slowly replaced my hard copies and I looked at the book less and less over the years. A few years ago, I finally went all in with digital and went through my binder one last time. I kept a handful of ideas by mostly recycled the pages and put the page protectors into a drawer thinking I may have a use for them again someday.

One idea I had saved from Martha Stewart Living was on reusing vintage Bakelite buckles and turning them into picture frame magnets for your refrigerator. I no longer have the article and it was from so long ago that I can’t find it on the magazine’s digital pages either but I remember it well. It was a fun, inventive and appeared to be an easy craft although it would require the use of power tools.

Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | Decoupaged glass plates to elevate my Grandmother’s recipes

I have a little red notebook filled with recipes that my grandmother saved. I keep it in the kitchen with my other cookbooks. It has great sentimental value as the recipes are in her handwriting but I rarely look at it. It stays mostly tucked away. It was time to change that.

I’ve seen versions of reverse decoupage on glass plates in magazines and craft books. The layering of paper, memorabilia and other embellishments to create a cohesive art display was intriguing. I was nervous going into the project. It is a special skill to create art in reverse but fortunately decoupage is a forgiving craft.

I started by photocopying a couple of the recipes from the book. I picked the first recipe because of it’s simple, descriptive title of “meat”. It just made me smile. It seems to leave so many unanswered questions. It’s so broad and so specific at the same time. I picked the second recipe for whoopie pies since it’s Maine’s official state treat. Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | O is for the Ocean and the pull of a lifetime of memories.

The memories of my life are so in step with the rhythm of the ocean that the thought of living anyplace where I couldn’t get to the coast within an hour or two makes me anxious.

My grandparents lived at the beach. My grandmother especially loved the water. It’s one of the reasons my grandfather choose to build their home next to the ocean. The salt air is good for the soul. Maine waters are chilly even in the warmest of summer days but my grandmother was undeterred and continued to swim in the ocean every summer until her health waned. She was happy at the ocean.

My mother spent her school years “in town” and not at the beach. Her grandmother and aunt lived there during those years. They were still living there when I arrived on the scene. My only memories of my visits to the house during those years were of the disturbingly vivid portrait of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns as blood streamed down his face. It hung prominently in their living room. It made an impression on me.

Eventually my grandparents moved back to their home at the beach.

Continue reading

The joy of spending a summer evening at the drive-in.

Everyone of a certain age has their “bouncing around the back” of a station wagon story. Usually one that entails fake wood siding, and sibling squabbles that rival those of Cain and Abel. I’m sure I have a few myself, but the reality is that my memory just isn’t that good. I keep only about five to ten years back in active usage, another ten are sometimes brought up for the occasional recollection, and the rest are more vague. What I have instead are moments in time, and composites of things that probably happened again and again but have been entwined into one memory.

That’s how it is with the drive-in for me. It was one of our regular family outings when I was young, and the only thing I still associate with station wagons.

Continue reading

#atozchallenge | Q is for Clam Digging for Quahogs

Having recently finished a post on blueberry picking with my grandmother, it got me a bit nostalgic. It brought back memories of another food foraging experience from my youth. My dad’s side of the family spent many summer days along the Maine coast clam digging for quahogs or hen clams.

I was lucky growing up. My mother’s parents lived next to the ocean so I spent my summers at the beach. Their home became a meeting spot for family members some of whom came for sunbathing and for others who came for clam digging.

While I was mainly a spectator, I did try clam digging a little bit as I got older, but I didn’t have the same knack for it as my Grandmother, Dad and Uncle. They were talented and could harvest clams like crazy. I was lucky if I walked away with more than ten. I guess those clam digging genes skip a generation.

Continue reading