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 !


Tatskool said...

Interesting post, wishing you the luck of the Irish on Wed. You sound to be VERY Irish!

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

I loved reading your post. You certainly have some wonderful memories. I never did learn shorthand, but I did learn notehand, and abbreviated version. I remember when the first "computerized" typewriter was installed in the office where I worked. One person, Rosemary, was trained to use it. We were all fascinated and intimidated at the same time. I wonder what Rosemary is doing today?

Carol Lawecki said...

Hi Kathy, Happy St. Patrick's Day!! What an interesting life you lead. I enjoyed reading about your heritage and trip to Hawaii. How exciting.

I love the tatted shamrock made with tatted hearts. I'll have to look the pattern up in Monica's book. The shamrock could also be a cross if the bottom part was just a tad bit longer.

Happy TAtting!!

Anonymous said...

just found your blog site by way of the Vicary House. Friend of mine recommended I start there. I'm trying to find info on tatting. I quilt, crochet, knit, cross stitch..just love stitchin' of all types and would love to learn how to tat. Any suggestions on where to start? Is there a good how to book out there that you could recommend?

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Hi everyone - Thanks for the comments!

Diane - I wonder where 'Rosemary' is, too! I could write a book about the transformation of the office world over the last 40 years, especially the amazing disaappearance of typewriters, 'secretares' and the need for shorthand. Actually I used 'Speedwriting', an excellent 'ABC' system that competed with Gregg shorthand. It was easy to learn (a 10-mo. course from theory to 100 wpm) and served me well for 25 years! I also have a small typewriter collection, so young people can see what typewriters were like, especially the 'manual' ones.

Anonymous - Indeed, I can highly recommend the book "Learn to Tat" by Janette Baker, which can be found in JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, and Pat Catan's (in our area). Or can be ordered at Barnes & Noble, plus the internet.

The IMPORTANT feature is the EXCELLENT DVD which comes with the book. The book has attractive patterns, and the DVD covers the basics (VERY easy to see the 'flip') to more advanced techniques. It's abour $15, and well worth it!

Vicary House is a wonderful historic site, which has been beautifully restored by many dedicated volunteers!

❦TattingChic said...

Kathy you are one awesome tatter! Not only are you extremely talented but the manner in which you showcase your tatting is phenomenal!
I also appreciate the way you encourage each tatter...especially me! You always make me feel special! Thank you so much! Thanks again for coming over to celebrate my 2nd blogoversary with me! I appreciate the spirit in which you've joined the drawing and if you win I hope you find just the right person to share the book with! Good luck to you!
~TattingChic ♥

Margie said...

Kathy, Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind remarks about my tatting. I tend to work on one thing for a while and then go to another for a while. About the white motif in the first photo, I think it came from one of my craft magazines. Most all of my patterns are from the internet or from magazines (Have bunches of magz. am addicted). Also about the HGTV board it is a message board and anyone is welcome. If you have a problem there is always someone ready to help! Here is the link and please join us. Let me know if you post on it so I will know it's you!!!!

It's just a big group that chat about sewing crafts and we did have a thread for a long time on tatting. A lot of the women use small tatted things on their Crazy Quilts. Am going to add you to my blog and will follow you! Take Care!!