Friday, November 28, 2008

Mom's "Good" Dishes

Every Mom has a set right? I am the proud owner of my Mom's old "good" dishes. Dishes that she worked very hard to get so many years ago. Now, every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we use these old "good" dishes at my home. Mom gave them to me when she got new "good" dishes. The kids often ask the question - "where did they come from?" and comment on how pretty they are. I am very proud to tell them that they were painstakingly collected, piece by piece, week after week, at the local grocery till the set was complete - making sure not to miss an item, plates, cups, saucers, dessert plates, platters... you get the idea. These dishes mean a lot to me - they somehow signify the will of a woman who maybe couldn't get a new full "SET" of dishes but could certainly afford a few bucks a week to collect them. But can you imagine the time it took? THAT means something. But, these dishes mostly remind me of family holidays, all of us kids around the table and years later coming back with our own families, gathering around the same table and using the same "good dishes". Now, my kids will remember the story and recall holidays around the table using them and watching out for the plate that has a chip on the bottom, being careful not to use the cup that has the crack and the question that's asked every year... "What happened to the gravy boat?"

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finally - Babe Number 4

I think I lost my muse for doing cards for about a week, but tonight I finally created Butterfly Babe #4. Again, using one of Tabby's fab backgrounds that she so generously donated to my stash (as if I don't have enough :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ahhh space, precious space!

Much like my craft room, this blog was just stressing me out :-) All that clutter squeezed down the middle of the screen - why is that??? I needed more space! why on earth could I not use the two margins? I had no idea of course! But, I knew there had to be something better out there! And there was! A standard blogger layout 'minima stretch' and a pretty background paper from The Cutest Blog on the Block. Whew! If any of you came by during the reconstruction this evening, please pardon me - there was one point that nothing could be read on the blog. What a process it was - and this will have to be it (for a while anyway :-)

What Happened?

Okay, I know you're supposed to back up your template stuff before messing around with it... yes, I forgot and now my blog is just yucky!!! It was seeming a bit cluttered to me and everything around me is cluttered so my blog needed to have a bit more spacious look. So, I'm off to install another template, but I have no idea what I'm doing so go ahead, post your comments about all the mess! I will get it cleaned up!! :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who were they...... really?

Everytime I do a bit of research on the family, I'm compelled to know about what their lives must've been like. What kind of people were they? Was their life difficult? Did they work hard to have very little or were they successful in what they did? These are the bits that are difficult to find out without having the information passed down to you from someone who actually knows. You can't find this info in general records on the family. I posted previously about this family, the Kidwells, who lived in Fairfax County Virginia. Apparently farmers (according to census and land records) but who were they? What kind of people were they? Sadly, I may never know.....

These are the questions you need to ask of the living RIGHT NOW! Time is very short when it comes to your genealogy. Bits of memories and family stories are lost everyday when someone passes away. I may never know what Silas & Bertie Kidwell were like as I didn't ask these questions when I had the opportunity. You see, it's not just about the who and where and when - these are just names, places and dates. All very intersting and helpful to build your family history data, but no where near the full story.

I'm going to start a new series of posts about this family and how I attempted to find out more about them. I still don't feel that I know enough, but a few nuggets of info that I came to know along the way are what I've got to share with my children and their children. In the meantime, you should contact all the eldest members of your family, talk to them about their parents and grandparents, get copies of any documents and photos. Get info from them while you still can and ask more about the people and their lives, homes and jobs, not just the who, where and when.

Have a great day! Cindy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Butterfly Babies

Another in my series of this Butterfly Babe. This time I used one of Tabby's pre-made background papers, added some vellum, a stamp, some text and some torn textured paper and a few embellishments. Thanks Tabby!!!

Quest to know more - Post #3

This is a news clipping from March 11, 1944 from a local paper in Adams MA where my Grandparents lived at the time my Grandfather entered the military. This clipping states that Grandma has received word that Granddad is in England. All of this sort of "news" was published in the local paper.

Another info packed post today on my search for my Grandfather's military service. Last week I promised to talk about military papers - all boring and such if you're not into this kind of thing but what a treasure to find for a genealologist!! However, if you don't look at every detail you could miss something AND all those details can also raise more questions. Of course, I have the subscriptions to the major records available on line at Ancestry and there is such a mass of info there it's sometimes overwhelming. But, nothing can compare to having the actual original documents in your hands. All tattered from time and folded and torn. At any rate, having Granddad's Seperation Report, his enlistment information and even his medal award documents wasn't enough. According to the docs he was discharged for wounds he rec'd on July 29th - a mission he volunteered to take due to a shortage of a gunner in another crew. How was he wounded? Where was he at the time? What plane was he on? All these things I wrote about in my previous posts - But, most importantly - where were these medals he received? No one in the family knew. Grandma couldn't recall what ever happened to them - probably lost in the many moves the family made after the war. Off I went to the 94th Bomb Group website again to see what info was available on medals - turns out I was referred to the National Archives website. To my surprise, the website stated that you could order replacement medals - Huzza!!! So, after many many many forms and paperwork and phone calls and months of waiting ..... they finally told me (in Sept of this year) that he had been out of the service too long - more than 60 years. Somthing they could have told me in the beginning, for I had provided them with his discharge date on the VERY first document completed, way back in February of this year!! This simply was not fair!! I set out to see if I could purchase replicas of the medals for they told me that "the military has more than met it's obligation in issuing replacement medals" this simply did not apply to my family!! It's not my fault that they fail to keep track of this stuff!

I heard along the way that your local state representatives of Congress could help in dealings with the Federal Gov't (after all that is their job) and election time was upon us so I decided to give it a shot - do you know that they responded to me IMMEDIATELY and began to look into the problem. Last week I received a copy of a letter from the National Personnel Records Center (the folks who issue the medals), sent to the Congresswoman's office and would you believe the order for the medals has already been placed? No long paperwork burden, no "form letters" just a nice letter stating that the medals have been ordered and the copy of the form was included. Unbelievable!!!! Today's Nov 19th and I don't have word of their receipt at the Congresswoman's office just yet but needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting word from them every day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Butterfly Babes

I've always wanted to make a "Series" of cards, but never had enough inspiration - making multiples of the same card was about it for me. I wanted to make a set of cards with different backgrounds & embellishments, but the same basic image. My inspiration came in the mail this week - my friend Tabby sent me a bunch of pre-made background ATCs with a trade that we did (she's such a sweetheart!). Turns out that they were just what I needed for some inspiration to make a few cards. Although I didn't use her backgrounds (just yet :) they're all here in front of me, inspiring me to work with Gesso and get some
texture in my cards. So, here's the first two in a series of Butterfly Babes that I'm making. The scan of the second one didn't come out well but it's pink textured background with gold and black stamps and burgundy torn paper came out pretty nice - you're going to have to trust me on this one :-) Not sure where the series will end yet.. stay tuned!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kristen's giving it away!!

While you're hopping around the blogs today, head over the the retro cafe' art gallery and see what Kristen has put up for candy this week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Button Fairy ATC

I played around with some buttons the last couple days and made my first Button Fairy ATC - granted I've never seen one up close and personal, but I think she came out pretty good. It's quite fun to make these so if you've got some buttons stacked around in bins and tins, time to get them out and make some!

You know you want to!!! :-)

Quest to know more - Post #2

This is a photo of my Grandfather (second from left in the back row) and his regular flight crew - what a treasure to have received this from someone who actually flew with him!

As promised - here's more about my search for my Grandfather's military service information, continued from last Wednesday's post.

After reaching out and finding someone who flew with Granddad, and realizing that he wasn't with his regular crew on the day he was wounded I set out to determine just who he was flying with that day. Again, Chris knew much about this and let me know that I needed to find mission reports for the day. This would give us a clue about the damaged aircrafts and any lost during the mission... I must also note that Grandma told me that after he was wounded, Grandad was reported as "Missing In Action" and she receieved a telegram stating so. This was another clue - was it possible that his aircraft had to put down somewhere other than base and the crew originally thought to be missing? There are other documents (which apparently are MIA also) that detail the crew for each aircraft on any given mission, these reports which I believe are called Load Lists or Load Reports have been searched for by many - they're not available.

Knowing that I must have the mission reports for the day he was wounded, I went to the National Archives( website and placed an order for them. I must say this was the easiest transaction I've had with those folks - much more on that later. At any rate, after a couple months the 36+ pages of information came to me in the mail. This stuff is not light reading by any means and if you're not up on your military terms of the time its very easy to get lost in all the jargon. At this time, I am in the process of making copies of some of the pages to send to Chris. He will research further and see if we can determine what plane he was on.

Next week I'll tell you about the military paperwork that I found in Grandma's papers, what it contained and all the questions that it brought about.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm hooked!!!

These book thongs are really fun to make! I think I've got a new found love in creating these things! Here's a few that I made over the weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Button Fairies, Book Thongs & Dotees?

My mind has been inundated this week with images of some quirky little crafts that I think I would like to give a try. One of them came up in a discussion in my Yahoo ATC group and that's the Button Fairy - what on earth? These are fairies whose bodies are made of buttons.. do a google search and you're bound to find some.

Next was book thongs.. creative name huh? I had never seen these before and I finally sat down this evening, took apart a bracelet that was in the pile of jewelry from the flea market last weekend (post of November 1st) and made a book thong. After struggling to get ribbon through the tiny beads (how on earth do people do that?) I tried some linen cord. It ties off nicely, the beads go on easily and I like the look and feel of it. So, here 'tis, my first creation in book thongs. I never have been into beading or jewelry making but really enjoyed making this and think there will be many more (as long as I can keep finding the jewelry at the flea market!)

Dotee dolls? Never heard of them! I haven't done much research on these dolls, but do know that they were started by a woman named Dot, who I might add makes beautiful stuff - you should check out her blog in my list. I've not really ventured into the world of sewing, other than the quilting that I attempted to take up a few years ago. While I love this art, I typically can't find the time to sit and do it. However Dotee dolls are small and the real work is in the embellishing so I might try this sometime this winter and see what I can come up with. Dotees are traded, much like ATCs and the Yahoo group that I belong to is planning to do some swaps of these in the future. I hear that there are often swaps on swapbot of Dotees.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My quest to know more... Post #1

I've been researching my family for years and only during the last 10 months or so have I ventured into the Military history. My Grandfather, William Bellew, was in the Army Airforce during WWII and was injured (lost his left eye) during a mission on July 29 1944. Already having his military documents in hand, I set out to find out what else there was to know - the rest of the story if you will. I came across a message board for his bomb group that put me in touch with a now dear friend in England, Chris, who lives near the base where Granddad was stationed. He is very knowledgeable in this area and, unbelievably, he managed to track down a living member of my Grandfather's regular crew! I was amazed and very nervous to call and speak to this man on the phone. He and his wife are just wonderful people and they were very glad to hear from me. He told me that Grandad volunteered to go up with another crew who was short a gunner on that day that he was wounded, and he was never seen again by his regular crew - they were never even told what became of him. He was glad to know that Granddad lived, returned home, had more children and lots of grandchildren.

Connections come in strange ways sometimes. It certainly pays to venture into other areas of the internet, such as message boards, rather than sticking to the records sites. You never know, a post might put you in touch with someone who actually knew your relative and you might make some really great friendships along the way! I called this post #1 because there's much more of this story to share... next week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Flea Market Saturday! Two weeks in a row!

I hit the flea market again this weekend. The weather here was in the 70s so we just had to take the opportunity to go again. The flea market only runs on weekends till the end of November, then starts again in March. Now's the time to get the deals! Today we were in search of "old junk jewelry". I told the girls - if you see a glass case, keep walking... if it's just piled in a box or boxes, stop and look. We had a great time collecting odd bits of jewelry to use on a new craft that we wanted to try. Rather than buying only new beads, we wanted to try to get an older look to the beads - what better than old junk costume jewelry? Our plan is to use some of them for book thongs, some for mixed media art and some to alter some boxes. I just love the beads on the two choker style neclaces - they're not straight but we'll find a good use for them because they're so beautiful!

We also found this beautiful angel pin for great-grandma - the bead in the center prevented a very clear scan but the details can be see in the bottom of the body - just beautiful - she's gonna love it!! We also found a new teapot for her collection, since the last two I bought I couldn't hold till her birthday and ended up giving them to her as "Happy Day" gifts - a much loved tradition in our family. Grandma will be 91 this month!