4.09.2009

It's a Bountiful Basket of Festive Friday Favorites!


Welcome to Small Works' Easter Edition of Friday Favorites!

I've got enough of these for everybody, so hand over your baskets and I'll dump a few in . . . .




Actually, there's been a deplorable lack of festivities around here because of the deplorable lack of children, so it's high time I recognized there's a holiday around the corner.


The first thing I did was pull out a few of my old magazine projects.




Of the zillion or so things I made during those years, the Easter projects were definitely some of my favorites and were the things I most often wished I could keep.




This basket was made with color copies of Aunt Lillie's saved greeting cards (thanks again, Lillie!) which continue to spread cheer and glad greetings everywhere they go.


Napkins, cardboard and tissue paper: This may be my proudest moment for making something out of nothing.


And Easter comes during my favorite season, Spring!






I think it used to be my favorite because I have a Spring birthday, but now that birthdays have lost a little of their luster, I've re-examined my fondness for Spring and believe that it's because of the yard of the house I grew up in.

If you've read many Small Works ramblings, you may know that I grew up in no ordinary house -- in fact, I'm going to have to do a post about it sometime so you can fully appreciate it. But the yard was special as well. There were so many blossoming trees and shrubs (and it was a very big yard to match the very big house!) that I can still remember clearly their colors, locations and smells. The driveway was flanked by an ENORMOUS bank of forsythia, and when those early blooms faded, the GIGANTIC snowball bushes took over. There were also two Japanese cherry trees in the front yard that were heaven on earth. And the lilacs! They were scattered liberally around the perimeter of the yard, and there were white and light lavender and deep purple. My mother used to send us out in to the yard to cut blossoms for the Sunday dinner table and it was a job I didn't mind in the least. There was a weeping cherry that bloomed a pink waterfall taller than the house. It was impossible not to love Spring.

I also loved the outfits. My mother liked dressing us for holidays and I could always look forward to gloves and bonnets and shiny shoes and lacy tights. My mother was not really good at doing kids' hair, but she could put together a swell outfit.


Easter 1970. Yes, I'm painfully aware that my little sister was at a much cuter age than I was when this picture was taken.


Easter 1969. Red patent-leather shoes and gloves?! With matching coats? Too Adorable! And luckily I get to be the little cute one in this picture.

My mom's also done her share of handwork through the years, and has recently returned from decades of crochet to embroidery, although I don't have many things that she did when she was younger. I do, however, have this little embroidered towel.


I sleep on my mother's embroidered pillowcases every night.


I don't know how old she was when she made it, but I was glad to have it after I had moved to a faraway state and was quite lonely for Easter at home.

Vintage household linens are one of my favorite collectibles because they speak so much of the women who took the time -- and obviously needed -- to make them. Their gaiety always seems a little wistful to me. Those women so often balanced their need for beauty and creativity with practicality to justify their artistic pursuits.


We've
Come
A Long
Way,
Baby!













But my favorite Easter thing by far -- and I might as well tell you right now, it's my favorite food of any kind anywhere at any time, and there's a large hole in both my heart and my stomach because I know I will never taste it again -- was my Grandma Myrl's Easter cookies.

Cookies of the Gods!

Seriously. Little bunnies wearing pastel frosting with silver dragees for eyes, and there is no taste like them on the planet. Grandma Myrl died much too young, and I have spent nearly 30 years trying to duplicate those cookies to no avail.

Mine are good, but they're not the same.

It's not as if I didn't watch her make them many times. But the problem with Grandma Myrl was that, more often than not, she didn't use a recipe and if you asked her questions about ingredients or methods, she acted like you were just plain silly.

"Oh, that? Why that's just flour and sugar and a little butter," or whatever might have been included in the culinary bit of magic she was busy with at the moment.

Grandma Myrl really cooked.




She was a farm wife, and luckily all the other farm wives who attended her church cooked as well, leaving behind my favorite cookbook (something I would definitely have to save from a burning house).

It has a funky old formica cover



and is held together with two metal rings -- many of the pages are falling out, but that's okay -- I know just where everything is. And the cookie recipe Grandma Myrl used for her Easter bunnies is filed right in this section:




Grandma did have one trick I know -- always add a little bit of lemon with the vanilla -- it brings out the vanilla flavor.

It's not her recipe originally, so I obviously owe a debt of gratitude to Phyllis Schramm (whoever she may be) as well. I hope she made her grandchildren as happy with those sugar cookies as Grandma Myrl made us.

A big part of the magic was the frosting -- and alas there's no recipe for that. "That's just sugar and shortening and some milk" or something.

Like sorcery.

Well lastly I guess I should show you that my little puppy pal has been thinking of his own favorite things this week:




Almost done -- just need to add the words and then hopefully exercise some wizardry of my own to get my frames built, painted and put together before the ACC Show . . .

NEXT WEEK??!!

Does this mean I'm grounded from egg hunting?

4 comments:

lchedblom said...

easter used to be such a fashion moment! 1969: i had same dorky hairdo as your sis; similar plaid coat but single-breasted, made by mom; coordinating navy linen dress made by me. finishing touch: goofy navy grosgrain hairbow that passed for an easter bonnet & kept the priests happy (back in the day when catholic girls who forgot hats would actually pin kleenex on their heads).

always admired those sweet little handsewn vintage holiday card baskets that were shown in mags, and envied whoever it was that had all those nice vintage cards. so it was you!!!

finally, to your little daydreaming
pup... love him! our dog is a compulsive sniffer and my husband patiently tolerates her frequent stop-and-sniffs as "she's looking at her snapshots". we enjoy speculating what pictures she sees in her doggy brain-- possibilities you've portrayed so beautifully here.

one question, how small is that tennis ball? your stitchwork is so perfect that i suspect i'm not even fully appreciating how tiny all these details are in real life.

have fun framing! luanne

susan m hinckley said...

The tennis ball is a bit smaller than a dime -- say maybe you took 1/16" off a dime all the way around. I'm sure it's hard to judge scale on these pictures. This picture is around 8"x8", including the wide border that I've cropped out of the picture.

My sister will be delighted to know that you shared her hairstyle -- last time I made fun of that picture, she said "but my hair looks exactly like that now!" and I had to explain to her that "NO, IT DOESN'T". Thank goodness.

abi said...

oh how I wish I had that cookbook. Maybe I can get my mom to give it to me, since she probably never uses it. You know, maybe that would be a good "christmas" project- convert all those recipes digitally and make a new one. hmm. I miss that house and the yard. Didn't the new owners cut everything down? Sad. I am going to go eat some mini eggs right now I think since I don't think I have the energy to make sugar cookies.

VO said...

bwahahahaha, the hairdo's, the outfits sent me right to memory lane! Easter was one of the few times during the year that we got completely new outfits.

The puppy pal: Is absolutely my puppy in fiber. Which means, you captured it perfectly.

You mom's embroidered bunny with egg? Reminds me so much of patterns I did as a kid. Buying them at T, G, & Y and spending hours embroidering them on white cotton.

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