Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Handmade Christmas

I've been busy doing crafts for friends and for my etsy shop. These are some silver spoons and games tiles I inked.

They will be put together in various combinations. I love how the colors turn out.

Meanwhile I've been receiving wonderful handmade gifts. A beautiful tag from my friend Janet and try as I might I couldn't get a decent picture so you'll just have to take my word for it. lol
A crocheted and lace ornament from Lee is Australia. Again no photo.

I did get a good photo of this little Alpaca bag from Karen. I'm using it for a wallet. Behind it is a lovely candle from Ellie. Thank You All.
These things have been especially precious as my husband lost his job two weeks ago. We are doing okay and since it is just the two of us we are fine with just a nice dinner. We had already sent off the gifts to kids and grandkids. We have our home, plenty of food and good friends near and far.
Yesterday we had an unexpected visitor. This hawk was in our tree and then down on our back fence. Such wonderful birds.

Here's Maggie our Catahoula with her Christmas bandanna. She has one for every holiday and mood.
Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Imagine That

Imagine my surprise when I picked up the phone this morning and it was my grandson, Brendan, telling me he saw his puppy on the computer. He was so excited. See my last post here.

When my daughter got on the phone and explained what was going on I asked her to write the story up to share:

Hi, Mom. About a month ago, Brendan kept wanting to sleep with me at bedtime. He was very upset when I told him he had to sleep in his bed. When I asked him why he wanted to sleep in my bed so bad he said "because I miss you, Mommy". So, I tried to think of something that I could give him, to sleep with. Then I thought of my "Puppy". When I gave it to him, I told him that this puppy was very special and I loved it very much. I told him that when he sleeps with it at night, and it would be like he is with me. He got a huge smile on his face and went right to sleep. He has slept with it every night since, and also makes sure that he has it at nap time. When I was reading your blog today, I showed Brendan the picture and asked him who was in it. He screamed, "It's my Puppy!!" It makes me feel so good, that a special toy I had growing up, can now bring my son comfort. I keep trying to remember who gave me that puppy, but it really doesn't matter. All that matters, is what it meant to me, and now means to Brendan.

P.S. I still think those ornaments are ugly! :-P"

Imagine That!?!

I don't remember who sent it either. But to have the photo and now have this photo is PRICELESS.

Happy Holiday Memories

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Baby's First Christmas

I was going to try and find another holiday photo from my own childhood but decided this might be better.

Two weeks ago I posted a picture of my first Christmas. This is my daughter's first Christmas. We were at my mother's house and as you can see Mom loved to decorate.
I don't remember what else Jessica got that year or even much of what happened but she did have that stuffed puppy for a long time.

Look closely at the bottom of the tree, right in the middle.. . . see that pink ornament with the gold balls around the outside? I remember when we bought those. It was at Gibson's in Great Bend, Kansas. It's funny that one of the set is on the tree from my 11th Christmas which I posted last week.

Ironically, I picked those ornaments out and Jessica always said they were the ugliest ornaments we had. Ugly or pretty they still have a place in our family history.

Blog Award

My friend Amy over at tbn ranch
always inspires me or gives me a much needed chuckle with her zany outlook on life, animals and getting by.

Amy is a great poet, animal groomer, horse, dony and chicken owner and who knows what else.

Amy has honored me with a This Candle Lighter Award for blogs which bring light to the world, through positive and uplifting writing. Thank you, Amy.

I pondered this over night and have come up with two blogs that I feel especially meet the criteria.

http://www.alittlerain.com/uncategorized/life-after-cancer/ is my friends blog about being diagnosed with cancer and beating it. Now she is moving on in a strong, awe inspiring post-cancer life. Go spend a little time with Elaine and learn what a true fighter is.

Carmen inspires me in a different way. Her posts read like poetry and she is always sharing her wonderful artwork with the world. Drop by and pay her a visit at http://www.couragetocreatewriteandlove.com/

If you receive this award, there’s more good news… there’s no rules! You can pass it along if you like or just let me know you received the message. Congratulations Ladies, thank you Amy and Happy Holidays to One and All.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Little Bit of Joy

The other day a bit of joy arrived in my post office box. I won a lovely vintage style stocking from Lilla Le Vine in Honolulu. You can see it here. While you are there take a look around at her wonderful vintage/Paris inspired projects.
This is it but my photo isn't near as good as hers.

Inside the stocking were some pretty little tags which I am putting to good use.

Every year the Phoenix Writers Club has a book exchange as part of the Christmas party. Everybody is supposed to bring in a slightly used/or new book and tell us about it. Then we draw numbers to see who gets to choose from the always interesting pile of books. Sound nice? Take a book and get a book?

Well, here's the twist. If you have a book you really want somebody who wants that book and has their turn later can take that book (certain restrictions apply.) Then you get to go choose from the book table again. This goes on for quite some time and it is always fascinating to see which books people end of "fighting" over. I remember last year These Is My Words by Nancy Turner was very popular. It happens to be one of my all-time favorite books.

So Lilla's pretty little tags have been stuck to the books I am taking and one punched and hung from the bag with the numbers along with a couple of little bells. They look very nice.

Here's the books from today's exchange. Paris Wife was the most popular this year.

Some of my Inner Critics held court on the back table and one went home as a door prize.

Thank you, Lilla. For the lovely
stocking and just for sending me some "joy."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Art

Every Thursday afternoon my friend, Barbara, and I meet at Barnes & Noble for coffee/tea
and art time. Today we spent about 3.5 hours and I did another owl. When I started working on
him I expected him to become "psychedelic" as the one from a couple of weeks ago but he had a
mind of his own.
Barbara says he needs a name but we didn't come up with one. Any ideas?
The owl was done in my Canson Mix Media: multi-media spiral bound book, 7 x 10 with a .35 Rapidosketch pen and colored pencils.
I haven't decided on a background. Maybe there won't be one. This was very
relaxing and a big surprise to me.

Yes, I'm a Writer

During the Writers Inspiration Group first six years we have had many memorable moments. Sometimes something a person writes, or says, or a kindness one does or a new member with something to say.

One of my favorite memories is when Arzani showed up for the first time after being invited by another member. Arzani introduced herself and said, "I'm not a writer, I just wanted to see what you were all about."

Arzani fit right in and kept coming saying she felt so at home with the group. 
She proved quickly to all of us that YES! she was a writer.
A couple of months later National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) started and Arzani
 jumped on the bandwagon to write a book of 50,000 in 30 days.

The Legacy of Violetta Rose was born and before we knew it Arzani had published her book on CreateSpace and was doing book signings. You can find more about her and the book here.

After 20 years in Arizona she and her husband decided it was time to move on and experience a new place. The day after Thanksgiving they left for Oregon. She sent this photo this week:
They are experiencing a lot besides a new location. (We don't get much snow here in Phoenix.)

As her departure date neared we started thinking of something special to do for her. Cindi wrote a poem and we had everybody sign it. Then I turned it in to a mixed-media piece of art.
I love doing these types of collages. Lots of paint, gesso, stamps, ephemera,
fibers and charms. Arzani was delighted.

So here's to Arzani and her new life.
We miss you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Anniversary and Goals

Two years ago this month I wrote my first blog post. You can see it here. The one and only comment I received was by my friend Lisa who said I would soon be addicted. She was right!

Oddly it seems that December is my month to accomplish things. I think that is partly because I stay home more to avoid the crowds and traffic.

This fall my goal was to get a new Web site up for my genealogical and historical research business. It went up this week and you can visit it here. I still have some tweeking and more stuff to add but there it is and I'm feeling happy about that.

I also added some Inner Critics, a wall hanging and some ROD style journals to my Etsy shop.

Another postcard from my grandfather's collection. This one is dated Jan. 22, 1910 and is from his sister Ruth Covey.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Christmas Milestones

 Our family didn't take many pictures on an average day but holidays, visiting family and moves seemed to always bring out the camera. Milestones, graduations and birthdays, usually start the shutter bugs. Funny I don't have a single picture from a birthday and I don't remember any birthday parties.

 There are still milestones . . . like the year I got my first record player.
Christmas 1965 I was falling in love with the Beatles (can you see the album already tucked proudly on the stand?) and others.

I was 12 and heading in that in-between time when I still wanted my Barbies but wanted to be "grown-up" too. Times sure were different then. I think girls go through that at 5 now. But no matter. I played lots and lots of music on that record player and although it is long gone I still have most of my record album collection (and something to play it on.)

By the way, I still have some of those ornaments, too.

What milestones in your life coincided with holidays?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Owls Have It

My friend, Barbara, and I have started meeting at Barnes & Noble every Thursday to share coffee/tea, companionship and creativity.

Last week I started on this owl from a magazine ad.

I then gave the torn out page to Barbara to do with as she pleased. Imagine
my surprise when I went through my blog roll this morning and found this.

You can read more about this fun owl at her blog and also see another way she challenged herself.

What fun it is to share something we both enjoy. I've been trying so many new things since I met Barbara and really appreciate her friendship and creativity.

The owl was done in a Canson Mix Media 7x10 art pad with a Rapidosketch .50 pen. I'm trying to decide if I want to add some color. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Letter To Santa

I've often written about my writing group: The Writers Inspiration Group. We get together every Tuesday and somebody gives out prompts and we write for about ten minutes and then read whatever we came up with; if we want. No editing, no critiquing.

What is so amazing is how we often write the same things, or a prompt hits one (or more) of us in the gut. That happened today as Susanne gave us holiday stationery and told us to write a letter to Santa. We could choose a piece of paper with a person on it as the writer (I pulled out "a doctor") or as ourselves or whomever.

The doctor prompt didn't do anything for me but I kept thinking about that two-month-old me I wrote about this morning. So I wrote the letter from "me." It was a very strange feeling to think about what I might have wished for.

Here's my letter:

Then I got home and a friend had left a comment on this morning's post about whether I was talking about the "tear" in the photo or "tears" of the child. It was funny because when I wrote that as "tear" I wasn't sure I was spelling it right because eye tears came to mind. Does that make any sense? lol

This may all seem a bit nonsensical but I wanted to share how writing a simple blog post has touched me during the day and I'm sure will continue to touch me as I think about my family. I don't mean to be sad or anything about this, it's just the way it is and was. It makes me who I am and sometimes coincidences happen to make us appreciate our lives.

Tuesdays With Rita: First Christmas

I was thinking about Christmas Past and realized I don't have
many pictures or memories of Christmas as a child.
Sorting pictures back through time I found these two of me and my first Christmas.
My parents and ten-year-old sister were living in a tiny trailer on the main street
of Montezuma, Kansas. Next door was the cafe they owned.
I was born in this trailer in the middle of October. The trailer
was so small my sister had to sleep on the couch.

I can almost feel my Mother's love while studying this picture. I wonder what she was thinking.
I'm intrigued by those costumed dolls on the shelf. They must have been my sister's collection.
They must have been lost in the many moves my family went through
as I don't remember them being around.

Excuse the tearing on this photo. It must have been stuck to another one but it is one
of the few I have of my Father holding me. See my little eye peeking out through the tears?
Even though things didn't work out and I don't have any memories of my dad I can
feel how much he loved me too.
My sister never liked having her picture taken. I can picture Mom and Dad trading of the old box Kodak to get pictures of each of them with their new baby.

Do you have pictures of your first Christmas? Have you been told stories about it?