Monday, March 15, 2010

Three Cheers for the Irish!

Plus - the Ides of March and thoughts of - Hawaii ?

It's that time of year for me to honor my Irish ancestors - the Flanagans on my maternal grandmother's side – as well as my English/Irish ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side, who lived in Ireland.

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, my Irish aunts, uncles and cousins all lived in New England - 600 miles away - so I missed out on 'family' St. Patrick’s celebrations. They LOVED to sing all the Irish songs! Although my mother missed living near her family, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a large Irish population and it has one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades, so she felt ‘at home’ here also! My husband and I were in the parade a couple of times back in the '80s in our GTO convertible.

Hearts to Shamrocks - Motif #15 (Second Round)

It was fun to learn in elementary school art class that three green heart shapes can form a shamrock!

Here is a representation of a shamrock, which I recently made using three heart motifs (by Monica Hahn) and a ‘stem’ which I added.

These tatted hearts have almost a Celtic look to them!

In the future I'd like to join the hearts and stem at the appropriate places to make a one-piece motif.

The 'heart' pattern is actually a section of a 'Grapevine' edging from page 31 of Monica Hahn's popular book , "Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns."

In looking over this book again, I was amazed how many items I've made from it.

Below is how I’m showcasing the Shamrock – in a ceramic Celtic frame, which matches my newly purchased Irish cup and saucer!

The motifs are lightly attached
(with glue stick) to velvet

(Glue-stick adhesive can easily be washed out of the tatting.)

I’ve added gold stickers in the corners for an extra effect

Although I'm not a big tea drinker, I'll have some green tea on Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day!

The popular "Shamrock" plant (called oxalis regnelli) in the background (difficult to see here), with the straight-sided leaves and sweet white flowers , is actually not native to Ireland at all, but to South America!

I'm not known for my 'green thumb', so I'm pleased that this plant has survived for the last three years. I bring it inside during the winter months, and it continues to bloom. It always folds up its leaves overnight!

The 'real' Irish shamrock plant is actually similar to the clover that grows in our yards here in America. I spent many hours of my youth hunting for the elusive 'four-leaf clover' - the symbol of good luck!

March 15 - Ides of March (meaning middle of the month)

Speaking of luck, today happens to be the “Ides of March”, which wasn’t a lucky day for Julius Ceasar in 44 B.C., but WAS a lucky day for me in 1971 A.D. I was 27 years old, and after being in the work force since 1962, it was my first day on my new exciting job at a major corporation, where I was hired as a private secretary to a patent attorney, who happened to be - Irish! He was a great boss with a wonderful sense of humor, and I felt lucky indeed to work for him for the next 14 years.

To celebrate my 10th anniversary at the company in 1981, my boss and his lovely wife took my husband and me to dinner, which was so nice of them!

Then as icing on the cake, DH and I boarded a plane the next day for our first trip to – Hawaii (!) where to my surprise and great delight on the 17th, we were amazed to see a rather large St. Patrick’s Day parade! There we were, under palm trees and in the vicinity of fabulous Diamond Head volcano, hearing - Irish music!

Our luck continued the next year, as we had the opportunity to return to Hawaii on a charter flight, at a very nice price!
Wonderful memories of those two trips!
We've been to Oahu and Maui.

As a reminder of those lovely Hawiian trips, I have an hibiscus plant, which keeps my shamrock plant company in the dining room during the winter months!

It rewards me with beautiful red blooms, which seem to pop out unexpectedly! This photo was taken between one of those goofy snowstorms in February this year!

One little side note:

On our return to work from that first Hawaiian trip in 1981, I was greeted with the news that the company was going to make a major investment in some 'new equipment', which turned out to be monitors (called CRTs), keyboards, and ink-jet printers the size of washing machines)!

I was among the first secretaries in Pittsburgh to use this ‘futuristic’ Word Processing equipment! Little did I realize that it would lead to the end of the secretarial profession as I knew it (which at that time included lots of shorthand and typing).

Of course, it did lead to the internet and something called ‘blogging’, which I never could have imagined back then!

Wishing you a 'little bit o' luck' and an enjoyable St. Patrick's Day 2010 !

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Victorian Lady's Slipper - Pattern in the works

I have a Computer question (below) about the Antique Pattern Library.
Also: Upcoming Maple Festival

Victorian Lady's Slipper - and Parasol

Recently I received some requests for the pattern for the Lady's Slipper shown at the top of my blog, and I'm certainly flattered by the interest! I've also had inquiries about the parasol shown with my handkerchief doll last May.

(Motifs #13 and #14 – Second Round)

The slipper and parasol make a nice 'set' hanging on my Victorian tree

These are both now at least 17 years old!

The slipper was the last of the 3-D items I created between 1991 and 1993. I also made 3-D bells, an egg, a ball ornament, birdcage, and heart.

I’ve always wanted to publish the slipper pattern, but every time I got out the draft notes and drawings I made back in 1993, I promptly put them back because I didn't have the patience to re-do them.

And, until I started my blog, I had no reason to re-draw the pattern. However, it is now time to get the pattern into readable form so I can finally share it.

I’d be delighted to know that it is being tatted and enjoyed by others out there in Tatland!

The 3-D aspect involves different views, and I also have to re-interpret my 'side' notes. Of course, I’ll also tat a new model.

The slipper isn't difficult to tat - it's a matter of paying attention to the joins, although it gets a little tricky under the arch and heel. It measures 3-1/2 inches long, 2-1/2” high. and 1-1/4” wide.

I don't want to set a deadline, but I'm hoping I can accomplish this by April or May. And because I know I will be putting in some time on it, I hope you’ll understand that I’ll want to charge a small amount for the pattern.

I'll also include my parasol pattern, which is easy to tat, but the finishing work is a little 'fussy', so I'll give tips on how to do that.

Vicary House last August (2009)
This is one corner of the lovely parlor room at Vicary House. This large room is furnished in Victorian style, which is perfect for my Victorian-themed tree and tree skirt.
I’ll feature more about the Vicary House in future posts.

I have many photos and stories of our demonstration experiences to share. I’ve seriously thought about opening another blog, so I can go into more detail about our tatting demo adventures, for those who are interested. I feel privileged to have been a member of the Beaver County Tatters since 1990. (I promise to share the whole story of this group in the future!) Evelyn, Peg (Carol Lawecki’s mom) and I are presently the ‘core’ of the group, and we are often joined by a newer member, Pam, and also Carol Lawecki on some occasions!

Upcoming Maple Festival (April 10-11 this year)
We now have only one outdoor event each year, the Maple Festival at Brady’s Run (Beaver, PA), where thousands of visitors come to have “all-you-can-eat” pancakes and sausage. We are in an enclosed pavilion, which we share with other crafters, including bobbin lacers and quilters.
It’s a rustic setting, so I wear what I call my ‘prairie outfit’ with a fringed black suede jacket and long black skirt with a gathered ruffle at the bottom (also boots and a black felt bolero hat) My ‘folk art’ quilted vest has tatting on it, of course! Wearing costumes is so much fun for me!

The weather in April is always ‘interesting’, and has ranged from 80 degrees to freezing with snow! There was one memorable occasion where everyone had to evacuate the park when the ‘babbling brook’ (after a heavy rain) started to rise over the vehicle bridge and pedestrian bridge road surfaces! Then there was the time when many cars (including mine) got stuck in the mud in the parking area. However, we’ve also had many weekends of perfect weather, and it’s a marvelous family event.

Fortunately, I've kept a diary of all our events, because after 20 years they all kind of blend together! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, and I’ve gone from 46 to 66, seemingly ‘overnight’!!!

Antique Pattern Library - Problem with Adobe Reader
I was a little frustrated recently to discover that I couldn’t open PDF files in the Antique Pattern Library

Apparently the Library was updated recently (Feb 2010) and I guess they did something to change access to the files. I have Adobe 7 and 8 in my computer and laptop, respectively, and never had problems before, but now neither one opens the files.

It seems that I need Adobe 9. What I'm concerned about is that there are ‘warnings’ on the internet about adding the ‘9’ upgrade (even though it’s free). And some 'forums' state you should use some ‘other’ software that doesn’t take up so much ‘space’ as Adobe. I just wanted to check with those of you who are more familiar with these ‘computer’ things than I am. Thanks!!!