Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

No matter what or how you celebrate, you have my sincere wishes for a wonderful holiday season.  Thanks for reading me!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Shopping

Please excuse me while I hop onto my soap box for a bit. We've reached the time of year where so many people buy things they don't actually need with money they don't actually have.  To top it off, what sells by the boatload is cheaply assembled crap from third world countries made by slave laborers, many of whom are kids.

This country, the USA, was built by entrepreneurs.  Whether it was mom selling her excess eggs to neighbors, or a family running a grocery store, small business and cottage industry made this country. Surprisingly, small business and cottage industry is still alive in the US.

So this holiday season, why don't we all make a conscious effort to support our driven, tax-paying brethren.  Put something, if not several somethings, on your list, either for yourself of for gifting, that's been hand-crafted right here in the States.  I promise you, whether it's something of mine or another artisan, what you will be purchasing will have been made by someone who actually cares about what they're making.  That item will be durable and lasting.  Odds are it won't need batteries, and it won't break in two or three days. Better yet, if you buy something hand-crafted for a child, the box it came in won't be their favorite part of the gift, and they'll probably still have it to pass down to a child of their own.  Let's all make just a small effort to help someone buy their groceries or pay their mortgage...  Those high-roller CEOs just don't  need a third (or fourth) vacation home.

Stepping off soap box now......

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - November 19, 2015

John Vladimir and Anna Liptak Deak
On the other side of the country, this photo of John Vladimir and Anna Liptak Deak was taken sometime in the 1930s in Brooklyn, New York (thanks to my sister, Carol, for finding this gem on!).  According to census records, one was born in Poland and the other in Hungary.  Among their children was Lewis James Deak who met and married Anne Cecelia Hynes.  James and Anne had three children - Perpetua, Eileen and James.  At some point - my guess is the mid-30s - Lewis and Anne moved with the three children to California...
Grandma Lee, Clayton, Charlotte, Donald, Eileen, Lewis and Anne

... where Donald met and married their daughter, Eileen.  They were married in grand style at the cathedral in Beverly Hills, California, with the ceremony being performed by the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  The 500 guests (I think) were all in attendance at the dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel where the reception was held.

Grandma Lee, Charlotte, Donald and me!

Nine months and 5 days later, I was born!  I have always loved this photo with four generations.  This crib is precious, too.  Not only were all of my brothers and sisters in this crib, but my children were in it, too.

I started this to preserve the photos and stories attached to the collage I made of the photos that Charlotte had.  That collage still hangs on the wall in my home and always will.  My children love the collage and it seems they all want it.  This way, they can all have the photos and stories.  All of the photos in that collage (and a few others) are now in this series.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday - November 12, 2015

Today, we have a couple of pictures of my paternal great-grandparents...  John and Mary Lee.  This one was taken mid to late-30s...  my best guess based on the cars.  John in the center with Mary on the right in the light coat.  Sadly, I don't know who the lady is in the dark hat.

This portrait of John was taken in 1943.  I never knew my great grandfather; he died before I was born.  But my Grandmother Charlotte told a very interesting story about her dad...

John & Mary bought a cabin in Metcalfe Bay, right across the street from Big Bear Lake in California.  It was a small, lovely little cabin - maybe 500 square feet total. You walked through the front door into the living room with a fireplace at one end.  Through the doorway at the other end of the living room was a tiny kitchen with an eating area.  I remember the table in the eating area sat all of three people. There was a small 3/4 bath off the kitchen. There was also a ladder along the side of the living room going up to the loft; it was divided into two sleeping areas, each of which was full to capacity with a double bed.

The story goes that John loved to go up to the cabin and fish in the lake.  Yet every time he did, he would remark that he wished he had a speedboat so that he could get out farther in the water, or simply cruise around the beautiful, alpine lake on a sunny day.  "I wish I had a speedboat..."

John died of a stroke in 1946 (or so), never having gotten that coveted speed boat, and leaving a huge estate behind. The story always ended with, "So if there is something you really want, don't dream about it - go get it!  Don't be like my Dad."

Until next Thursday.....

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday - November 5, 2015

Time to introduce the next generation!  My dad, Donald, was born to Charlotte in the mid-1920s.  Since we live in an age of identity theft, and my Dad is still alive, I am no going to publish his exact birth date...  I know you all understand!

This formal portrait of my Dad was taken when he was probably a year or so old...  my best guess.  He was a cutie, don't you agree?  I love the button-up shoes.  And if you look closely, the baby ring is on his right hand! 

My Dad was, and still is, quite a character.  Maybe he's three in this photo.


Love the top hat!

This one was probably taken at the same time as the one above.

See you  next Thursday!

Monday, November 2, 2015


I have been told that my dolls are special, that they are so cute, that they're unique.  I have sold lots of dolls over the years, but this last year, they are simply keeping me company.

I love to quilt and my quilts are gaining in popularity.  As much as I love making my dolls, I think they need to be out of my inventory.

So now is the time to snatch one if you like!  I've marked all of my big dolls down by 50%... even the angels!  I will continue to make the miniatures, as they seem to still be popular even though they don't move, talk, walk or need batteries.  Who knows...  some time in the future, I may again make/stock dolls.  In the meantime, if you need a special one, please don't hesitate to ask! 

To see all of my dolls, click HERE.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday - October 29, 2015

There aren't any more pictures of Charlotte growing up.  Nor are there any other pictures of her grandfather, John.  But there is one of her grandmother, Gertrude.

This photo was taken ca. 1905.  Grandfather John died not long after Charlotte was born in 1904, and Gertrude followed him not long after that.  They were both in their 70s by then - long lives for that time.

Charlotte's young adult life is kind of a mystery.  But there is a story I am not going to share on the internet for everyone, everywhere, forever, to read.  That story will be shared with my immediate family for the sake of family history.  We'll just skip it here and get right to the important parts.

Charlotte met Clayton and married him in Santa Monica, California in 1935.  Clayton was born in Canada on May 7, 1901.  He became a nationalized citizen of the US in 1934.  They were together for the rest of their lives.

See you next Thursday!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday - October 22, 2015

Charlotte spent the rest of her life in Southern California, enjoying the amenities of Santa Monica and the nearby Pacific Ocean. 

Portraits were still popular in her family. Three of these came from the same sitting. None of them are signed or dated. My guess is that the one in the darker dress to the left is earlier than the three below, which were taken all at the same sitting.

The house she grew up in in Santa Monica was just off of San Vicente on 14th Street (if my memory is accurate).  This photo is not a formal portrait and was taken in the back yard of that house.  She did love her doll even as she grew up.  

The story on this photo was that it was her "class" photo. Seven girls in the class... how times have changed!  You have to love the big hair bows, too!

This one has to be my favorite of this group.  Hand-written in the bottom border of this photo, it reads "Venice, Calif."  Charlotte was nearly a young woman in this photo.  I'm guessing that this would have been taken ca. 1912-15 or so.  That roller coaster in the background became part of what would be Pacific Ocean Park, which is now completely gone.

See you next Thursday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Quilting a Waterfall

Serenity in progress
I think it's safe to say that I have wanted to quilt a waterfall for years.  I've actually attempted it on three previous occasions, only to change the quilt design, eliminating the waterfall.  It finally occurred to me that the only way this might be remotely possible would be to embroider the waterfall.

Serenity waterfall

I cut all of the bushes and assembled the face first.  Then, in the evening for the next two weeks, I embroidered the cascading water using single strand cotton embroidery floss in white, pale yellow, gray, silver and the palest of blue.  Yes, my husband reminded me that I am a special kind of crazy.

Serenity finished and hung

Once I was happy with all of the embroidery, I hand-quilted the piece using several different colors of hand-quilting thread. After all...  I didn't want the quilting itself to show - just the affect of it. For a piece measuring 14 x 20 inches, it took way too much time.  But I feel it was time well spent - I'm happy with this one, which is good!

Serenity is listed for sale in my shop on  I would love to know what you think!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday - October 15, 2015

Charlotte with her doll in Santa Monica, California

At some point in time early in Charlotte's life, John and Mary moved to Santa Monica, California.  She was a tiny child when they moved.  This picture was taken in Santa Monica.  She was rarely without her doll.

Boat ride - near the Santa Monica Pier

When you live within blocks of the Pacific Ocean, you would be silly not to take a boat ride!  My guess is that this picture was taken ca. 1906.  Don't you just love everyone's boating attire!

Boat ride near the Santa Monica Pier

Charlotte is the tiny child at the left in both of these; her mother is right next to her.  John isn't in either.  Both photos were taken not far from the Santa Monica Pier.

More next Thursday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Art in Kayenta

We were so incredibly excited to be accepted into this very prestigious art festival!  But there was lots of planning to do.

After much searching about on the internet, we knew we were going to need a road trip prior to the show.  Kayenta is surrounded by BLM lands which are closed to camping and Paiute Indian Reservation.  The two campgrounds near it were already booked.  So the Sunday before the show, we went on a fact-finding mission.

Gunlock State Park is about 9 miles from the show location, so that was our target destination.  We found it with the help of navigation from my phone, and liked what we saw.  It was just a matter of determining if it was close enough to the show.  We didn't want to create a huge commute situation.

It turned out that it was a fairly easy 9-mile drive to the show location.  Cool!  Feeling that our lodging problems were resolved, we headed into St. George and happily had In-N-Out hamburgers for dinner, then headed back home on I-15.

Thursday, we were ready.  With everything packed, checked at least three times to make sure nothing had been forgotten, we hit the road just before noon.  The drive to Gunlock was uneventful, until we actually arrived there.  To our dismay, the entrance was obstructed with yellow caution tape.  The notice indicated that it would be closed to the public October 6-8 (Thursday was the 8th) due to water treatment in the reservoir.  Why on earth didn't they put a note up last weekend so that we would have been forewarned?  Now we had nowhere to park our travel trailer for the night.

We knew that there was some open BLM land between the State Park and the Indian Reservation.  So with the trailer behind the truck, we headed in the direction of the show location.  We found a nice turnout with a terrible access road, but at that point we didn't have a lot of choices.  Paul gingerly drove down the horrible road (more of a driveway) into the turnout.  

It turned out to be a nice, level spot, surrounded by beautiful, old-growth oak trees.  We unhooked the trailer, got it level, and fired up the refrigerator....  life was good.  But when I stepped out of the trailer, my left foot found the nicely rounded rock right at the bottom of the stairs.  That ankle rolled big time and down I went like a ton of bricks.

Sitting there, I took inventory...  toes move, ankle moves, foot flexes...  not broken.  I decided not to mention it to Paul at that point, because he worries so.

When we got to the Art in Kayenta location, found the information booth, and were told where our spot was, we found a car parked in it.  After about half an hour, the show organizer moved us over a spot, since the owner of the car could not be found.

The canopy was up and quilts were hung within an hour.  We smiled at each other, knowing that we were really getting the hang of this.  "About time," we thought....  we're into our sixth year now!  I had a gift card for Red Lobster burning a hole in my pocket, so we drove into St. George and had an absolutely delicious meal for less than the price of McDonald's!  But during dinner, without looking I knew the ankle was swelling, and it became obvious that I was going to need help.  So the conversation began with, "I don't want you to worry...." which always makes the listener panic!  We figured that the ER would say, "$300 for the visit, $200 for the xrays, it's an inversion sprain, here's a $40 brace."  We opted for Big 5 Sporting Goods for the brace.

Friday morning, we were up about 8.  Paul took a ride up to the State Park.  The caution tape was down...  hooray!  So we hooked the trailer up and moved into a "real" camping spot.  The whole process took less than an hour.  That done, we headed off to the first day of this three day event.

We had noticed during the night that there was a stiff breeze.  What we didn't know that the draw in which the Kayenta Art Village sits is subject to severe wind storms when there is any disturbance around it.  What we found when we arrived at our booth was a disaster.  The front of the canopy was on the ground.  Our neighbors were terrific in helping us lift it to determine what happened.  It turned out the one of the front legs had broken right at the top.  One of the roof cross-members was bent, but not broken.  We learned a bit later that as many as eight other artists suffered a far worse fate, as their canopies had blown and rolled, mangling them beyond repair.  Ours hadn't gone anywhere; our weights did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The broken leg did fit into what was left of the pipe at the very top of the corner.  You give my husband duck tape and he can fix anything.  We found a mangled frame, and he stole metal pieces off of it, taping them to the broken leg and the bent roof truss.  IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!  And it wasn't even all that ugly!  Thankfully, nothing else was lost or broken.

We sold a quilt about 10 minutes into that first morning, without any discussion of price.  We were both thrilled!  The rest of the day, we spoke to maybe 3 dozen people; there simply wasn't much of a crowd.  Not a problem....  we did sell a quilt, and tomorrow is Saturday.

Saturday morning, we woke up and made coffee.  But when we went to warm it up for a second cup, oooopppppsssss.... we're out of propane.  We had taken all of the quilts home with us Friday.  Hoping to find the canopy still standing, we drove back to the show location...  the canopy was up!  Paul dropped me and the quilts off and went to solve our propane issue.

Saturday dragged.  I am not sure that we saw as many people all day Saturday as we had seen Friday.  We noticed several artists closing early that day.  What we found out the next morning was that many of them simply packed up and went home, including everyone within 50 feet of us.

Sunday morning, we found the canopy still standing.  Traffic was almost nothing, but we did have one customer who bought a comforter.  At this point, our booth was nowhere near any other art booths, so we weren't surprised that if there were any shoppers, we didn't see them.  They would walk to where the booths seemingly ended and leave.

All in all, this show was such a disappointment.  The organizers decided to change it this year, completely destroying the compact ambiance of an art village.  It was spread out all over the place with no rhyme or reason and no set traffic pattern for visitors to follow so that every artist would be seen.  We know that it's not a show's job to get us sales - that's our job.  But we can't do that if the shoppers never find us.  We spoke to a number of other artists, and heard the same story over and over again.  None of them made even their booth fee back, let alone the traveling expenses.  This used to be such a wonderful show........

Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular) for Art in Kayenta:

Load In/Load Out  10

Availability of show organizers during show 5

Overall layout and traffic pattern 1

Mix of show 10 (absolutely beautiful works of art in every possible medium were on display)

Show matched pre-show materials N/A (no pre-show materials were received)

Parking for exhibitors 1 (there wasn't any - when we asked where we parked, we were told to find a place on the street wherever we could)

Overall rating 1

Weather Expectations: Temperatures will be breezy, hot and dry.  Do check weather reports as thunderstorms with flash floods can pop up.

Who should do this show? Only true "artists" in traditional mediums are accepted into this show.  There are no "crafts."  This is an expensive show ($20 application fee + $250 booth fee).

Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors? Not after our experience.

Will we do this show again?  Probably not, unless we walk it in the future to see if it has gone back to its original format.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday - October 8, 2015

Today is "baby picture" day!

These photos of Charlotte are both dated '05 (that would be 1905!).  They are signed as well.  At first glance, it would appear that it's the same signature.  On closer inspection, the first initial on the photo on the left is M; on the right it's A.  I think the last name of the photographer is Michael on both photos, but it really is just a guess.

Though not dated or signed, my guess is that this photo of Charlotte was taken about the same time as the ones above, or perhaps just a bit later.  She was so wide-eyed.  And the tiny cross pendant is just charming.

She only got cuter with each passing day.  The details are so amazing.  Someone got this tiny child to sit still long enough to do her hair with the enormous bow, and lace up those shoes!  Looking closely, the baby ring is on her right hand in this photo.

And here is Charlotte with her doll.  She had that doll well into her 60s, as it sat on her dresser until I was in my mid-twenties.  I spent many a night at her home when I was a child, and on all of them, I slept with that doll.  It was just lovely, with its porcelain face and blond soft curls.  On one of my drop-in visits, I noticed that the doll was not sitting on the dresser.  "Where's your doll?" I asked.  "I sold it."  I was so incredibly sorry that it was gone.

And since it is baby picture day, here is a new face.  This is Clayton Melville Schrader, born May 7, 1901 in Ontario, Canada.  This little boy would immigrate to the US (specifically California) at some point.  As a grown-up, he would marry Charlotte.  Sadly, I don't have any information about his journey prior to marrying Charlotte.

More next Thursday! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday - October 1, 2015

Although it's out of order, which doesn't surprise me since there are a lot of photos, here is John's christening photo.  It, too, was taken in Detroit, Michigan by a photographer named Mannatt, 131 133 and 135 Woodward Avenue.  I love it that so many of these photos have the photographer's name and address on them.  I sincerely wish more of them were dated.

John left the farm and moved into the city.  My grandmother said the he worked with Henry Ford, but I have no other details. 


He met and married Mary, though I don't know how or when.  I also don't know how long they were married before my grandmother was born.  I do know that she was an only child.

Charlotte Gertrude Lee was born on October 2, 1904.  All of these portraits are signed by the photographer, though I can't read the very artsy signature.  What I can read is the date... '06, making Charlotte 2 in the photos.

From the looks of it, John was doing well!  What I find so interesting is that this lady is NOT Mary - that's Lottie holding Charlotte!  Interesting, too, is that she was named after John's mother and sister.  My grandmother used to tell the story that her mother was adamant that even though she was named after her, do not let them call you Lottie!  There was apparently no love lost between Mary and her in-laws.

Tillie is noticeably absent from all of the pictures taken after my grandmother was born.  It seems I recall hearing that she died during a virus epidemic, but I don't remember a date/year being mentioned.  Although there are no pictures of John Sr. and Gertrude with their granddaughter, they probably got to meet her as there are photos of them as older folks.

If you look very closely at the photo of John with Charlotte, baby Charlotte is wearing a ring on the middle finger of her right hand.  That baby ring is in my jewelry box!  That little ring shows up in several photos as time rolls on.

The story continues next Thursday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday - September 24, 2015

We take pictures all the time...  with our phones, cameras, tablets ...  But 100+ years ago, it was a colossal undertaking to take a photo.  I'm guessing they weren't cheap, either.  So today, I'm sharing more formal portraits.

This is the only formal portrait I have of John alone.  My guess is he was six or seven, making this one taken in the mid-1880s.  It was taken by Ferdinand Friend in Detroit, Michigan.

This portrait of Lottie, Tillie and John was taken by A.G. McMichael in Detroit.  John was such a little guy that this one must have been taken right around 1880.

This portrait of Tillie was taken by Hughes in Detroit, Michigan.  Interesting that most of these photographers show their address on Woodward Avenue... it must have been photographer lane back then.

This portrait of Tillie was captured by Butler & Company, also on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.  I think this was a studio shot, judging by the trees.  In the other photos I have on and around the farm, there are no trees anywhere.  The most interesting thing about this photo is the locket Tillie is wearing.  My grandmother had that locket.  I wish I knew where it is now.

See you next week!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursdays - September 17, 2015

I missed last Thursday - sorry about that.  I was running about like mad packing and organizing to get us out of the house and on our way to the show we did last weekend.  So I will make up for it today!

Lottie and Tillie were the older sisters of my paternal great-grandfather.  This is the oldest of all the photos - taken before the Civil War.  Lottie was the older of the two (standing).  This photo is actually a tin-type, which is very cool.

Lottie and Tillie both had formal portraits done - I wish I knew the years.  This one is Lottie.  It's matted in a black cardstock-type material that has a cloth-like feel to it.  It's also embossed all around the edge photo.
The photo-grapher's name is also em-
bossed at the lower right-hand corner of the mat - it reads Marwick Bros. 204 Woodward Ave. Detroit.

Here is Tillie's portrait.  It's not as fancy as Lottie's and my guess is it was taken  a bit later.  This photographer was Taylor - 41 & 43 Monroe Ave., Detroit, Michigan (printed below the photo).  The photo is applied to the background piece.  Not nearly as fancy as Lottie's.

And here are two little girls you haven't seen before...  The smaller of the two is my paternal great-grandmother, Mary.  Sadly, I don't know her sister's name.  This photo was taken in the mid 1880s.  At the bottom of the photo (not shown), it reads Hamilton, 79 Canal St., Grand Rapids.

See you next Thursday!