Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas Memories

Victorian Christmas Open House 2004

(NOTE:  This is what we had planned before we learned that our precious little grandaughter, Sadie, has acute myeloid leukemia.  The treatment is extensive and will last around 6 months.  Mammaw, who owns and operates this store had to close it temporarily to help out during this time.)  This will be our 9th Annual Victorian Christmas Open House at Memories Past and Present.  As I prepare for this one, I have so many pleasant memories of the past warm and wonderful events we have hosted.  It seems early, I know, to be thinking about Christmas, but I learned a long time ago that if you are in retail business of any kind, if you wait till after Thanksgiving, you have waited too long to begin.

Victorian Christmas Open House 2004 (me and my Daddy)
on the Porch

Our Christmas Open House has always been held on the second weekend in November and gets the season kicked off nicely for our customers and friends.  We have a few traditions which people have come to expect at Memories - and they involve all of our senses - sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.  As you enter our store you immediately get a sense of belonging, warmth and welcoming - kind of like going home on Christmas Eve to be with the family.  We welcome you at the door, lightly scented holiday candles are burning, soft piano music is playing your favorite Christmas carols, and beautiful treasures are everywhere for you to see and touch!  You are welcome to stay a while, browse, visit, have a special tasty treat, and even leave with a gift!

Victorian Christmas Open House 2006
On the Porch

In the days leading up to our Open House we spend time moving all Christmas trees and decorations to the front of the store - each tree is decorated with a unique theme - and the ornaments can be selected and purchased right off the trees.  All of our vintage red, green and crystal glassware is featured among the Christmas decorations and this year we have beautiful red velvet  furnishings in our "parlor" and other "sitting room".  We start baking our delicious treats for you to enjoy and prepare our famous old fashioned hot mulled apple cider!

Victorian Christmas Open House 2007
Country Tree

Traditions - as we enter the Christmas season, we must remember the reason for Christmas which is the remembrance and celebration of the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ!  We sing carols, go to special church services, give to local charities so that others can enjoy the Christmas season, plan family events and more!  It is true that Christmas has become very commercialized, but I choose to see it as a season for giving - showing our love for others in tangible and intangible ways.  At Memories, we like to be a part of your Christmas tradition where you can come and browse and find a special treasure for your family members and friends as a token of your love at Christmas time.

Victorian Christmas Open House 2008
On the Porch!

It gives me great pleasure each year to try to create "memories" at Memories!  Please plan to stop by our store this Christmas season and enjoy all the sights and sounds and scents.  November 16 and 17 - 10-5.  324 N. Elm Street, Henderson, KY

Victorian Christmas Open House 2009
Angel Tree

Victorian Christmas Open House 2010
Angel Tree and front dining table

Victorian Christmas Open House 2011
Front Window display!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prayer Shawl Ministry - Peace, Love, Crochet!

I saw this graphic on Pinterest, and it inspired me to write a little more about the prayer shawl ministry that I am involved in.  It is amazing what it has done for my life and that of others, and this graphic pretty much sums it up!  So I will expand on these thoughts!

I have described in previous blogs how I got started this past January in the prayer shawl ministry .  I have also described some of the gifts given in another blog  If you haven't read these, you might want some history.

In 2012, I have made 45 prayer shawls, around 20 chemo caps, and various other scarves and neck warmers.  Once I got started, there is no stopping me.

We all live in a world of turmoil and stress and busyness and pressures, and I have found that crocheting is the one very organized things I can do to de-stress my mind - it gives me peace in many ways.  When I can't sleep at night - I crochet.  When I am nervously waiting on something - I crochet.  When I am having my morning coffee and visiting with my husband - I crochet.  When I relax and watch television or listen to music at night - I crochet.  I have even begun to crochet during breaks from work in my antique/gift shop on occasion.  It helps my mind to work things out and the methodical stitching calms me.  Another calming aspect is that I am able to make something that I can give to help relieve the stress of someone else.

When a prayer shawl is presented to someone - it represents love, peace, prayers, hugs, support, comfort - all these wonderful things can be found by the giving and the receiving of this shawl.  I have given many away to various people who have come into my life and are experiencing serious health problems or grief in their lives.  I have made more than I have people to give them to, so I decided to sell some of them with the $ received to go to my church for community outreach.  I wasn't sure at the time that this was a good idea as I didn't really want it to be perceived as a commercial venture.  But to my surprise, it has been so rewarding, as people from all over the country are purchasing them through my store on Etsy .  These individuals have asked me to say extra prayers for specific things and enclose loving notes from them in the package.  This gives me a feeling of warmth to be a part of something much bigger than me - sending love and prayers in a box - and knowing the reaction of the person on the other end.  Examples: one to Colorado for a lady undergoing brain surgery and her sister wanted to comfort her, another  to California again from a lady wanting to comfort her sister who is very ill, another to Florida to be given to a Grandmother who is terminally ill, and more.

God has given me many gifts, and one of them is the ability to make these beautiful shawls, and I am happy to be making them to benefit others - both the shawl and the $ go toward helping others who are less fortunate than I am at the moment.  We are supposed to reach out in this world and love each other - this is my small part.

If you have a talent you can share with others that will bring them happiness, laughter, peace, comfort - this is a good time to explore your gifts and determine what you can do for others.  The rewards for them and for yourself are immeasurable - I promise!  Well, gotta go - lots of crocheting to do!  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Add Some Vintage Sparkle to Your Fall Decor!

When I think of the Fall season, I think of colors - red, orange, green, rust, yellow, gold and brown - the colors of nature when the leaves begin to turn and fall to the ground.  I also think of cool, crisp air and sweaters, hot mulled cider, apples, warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream, hayrides, pumpkins, brisk walks, the shortening of days, candles burning and more!

At Memories when Fall is coming, we redecorate our front entrance and windows with anything that evokes the feeling and colors of Fall.  I call it "gathering" and it's a lot of fun - we push our carts through our 6,000 sq. ft. store and gather anything that reminds us of Fall - then we take it to the front and I work my magic with displays.  Our customers are delighted by the "new" look and the ideas and treasures they find there.

This year I decided to put an ecru lace tablecloth on the front table, but added a burlap runner down the center - I have seen so much decorating done with burlap recently on Pinterest - curtains, chair coverings, pillows, crafts, tablecloths and runners and more.  You can find some of the ideas on our Pinterest boards at .  Follow us if you want to keep up with some of the great ideas we come across - we are most happy to share them with you for inspiration!

On this table I have arranged a brass birdcage, garden angel, angels with leaf wings, amber moon and stars items, amber and green glass candy dishes and compotes, a hand blown glass pear, an antique Gone with the Wind lamp with Fall colors, a cloche with a robin inside, a garland of fruit, and more.  The idea is to layer and arrange anything that speaks of Fall.

You can achieve this in your own home.  You probably have some Fall decorations that you use year after year, but take a trip through your house to come up with a beautiful tablescape perhaps featuring birds, candles, fruit, amber glassware, Fall florals - anything that goes with your theme.  Set your foundation on your table with a pretty colorful tablecloth and runner down the center and then arrange your items all the way down the length of the table.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with - and your guests won't believe their eyes.

In the Fall I love to burn candles that smell like pumpkin pie or apple pie or cinnamon or spices - this will set the mood for your entertaining and will give your guests that comfy, cozy feeling in your home.  At Memories we have Fall scented candles that are hand made locally and burn for over 40 hours!  We have one burning each and every day to set the mood, along with our pretty music at Memories for laid back, comfortable browsing.

At Memories we think sparkling glassware adds to any seasonal decor - amber and green for Fall, crystal and red for Christmas and Valentines, blues and pinks for Spring and Summer!  If you have glassware, be sure to consider the effect it will have on your holiday table - get it out of the china cabinet, clean it, add some lighting either natural or candlelight - and watch the warm glow and sparkle.

Join us on Facebook at for ideas all year round!  Wishing you a blessed, warm and sparkling Fall season!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Crafting Instinct Is Returning - Look Out!

When my daughter was born 37 years ago, I received a beautiful hand-painted birth plaque presented by a lovely lady whose sister loved to paint and made these plaques, along with wedding plaques for practically everyone in town.  A few years later in the 1980's I decided that I would love to learn to do that type of painting so I, too, could paint such treasures.

We lived in rural Indiana at that time, and there was a tole painting studio in Evansville, Indiana, called the Red Sled.  It was located in an old two story home which added to the charm of the shop.  With a red sled with hand painted detail sitting in the front yard, the steps led to a front porch with a hand painted Welcome sign, and upon entering the foyer I was greeted by so many beautiful items on display, all lovingly handpainted.  Upon browsing through the store they offered all types of wood products, acrylic paints, brushes, pallets, painting instruction books and patterns, and completed projects from which to choose among their many classes offered.

I immediately signed up for their beginner's series which included several projects for learning basic skills.  There was a floral plaque where I could learn basic brush strokes and use of the different types of brushes and get the feel for the paint.  Then there was a lovely welcome sign that stated "All Ye Who Enter Must Wear A Smile" which taught basic floating, shading and lettering techniques.  After these we could choose our own projects to use our newly found talents.  I chose to paint a sled to go under my Christmas tree with a red interior, blue outside and decorated with calico flowers and leaves - I still have many of these projects in my home today.

After moving to Florida I decided to open a little corner of my hand painted treasures in our orange grove business - soon that grew to a whole room - and I found myself with my new shop "Simple Country Pleasures" where I handpainted gifts, country items, birth and wedding plaques and I began to teach classes similar to the ones I had taken in Indiana.  This proved to be quite a venture for me as I taught over 100 students at various times over about 8 years and many, many lovely projects.  I would teach myself new techniques - then teach all of them.  It was a very rewarding and busy time in my life.

Students (which became my friends) told me that this had changed their lives - that they had a creative talent that they never knew they had.  Many of us participated in craft shows together and enjoyed sharing our talents with many.  I also had my own Open Houses in my home where I featured my own hand-painted items and all of their lovely crafts for sale!

By the latter 1990's the trade with China in the gift market had increased so much, and they were mass producing so many "handmade" looking items for very cheap prices, the craft market began to dwindle for truly handcrafted items.  I gradually shifted my interests to antiques and other outlets for my creative interests.

Now that our society is in distress, I have noticed many people returning to the crafts of the past - painted furniture with handpainted details, crocheting and knitting, making something "new" out of something "old".  So naturally, what is happening to me is that my interest in crafting is beginning to resurface.  I have recently felt the nudge to get creative in this way again.  I have been poking around on Pinterest (you can follow me at ) and am about to explode with lots of great ideas for handcrafted gifts using vintage items!  Who knows where this will lead - but I can tell you - it is starting to feel exciting!  Hang in there -- and keep an eye out -- because my brain is starting to work again!  The possibilities are unlimited!

Currently, I am practically buried alive in my antique store with lots and lots of work to do to clear out a lot of the inventory as I have decided to place my building up for sale with the hopes of retiring from this business.  Who knows where this will lead as I am keeping my options open at this point.  I have no idea if the building will sell or not or exactly what my future holds, but my brain has been set free to be open to the possibilities again.  Just one step off dead center can cause such a tremendous change in our lives if we will let it!  Enthusiasm is returning; I have a spring in my step; and my eyes are wide open with anticipation of an exciting future!  Every day is a gift .... be sure to enjoy each and every one ... and if you need to get off dead center ... just take a step forward, and do it!  I highly recommend it!  Stay tuned.......

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Face of the Antique Shopper is Changing!

Everything in this world, it seems, is changing!  I know it always has been, but as I get older, I believe I notice it more.  Everything is zooming by so fast, and it is exciting to be a part of this every-changing world, observing and trying new ideas, and trying to keep up with the technology.

I have operated Memories Past and Present for almost 9 years and am noticing big changes just this year that have been exciting and interesting to watch.  More and more I am seeing young 20 somethings coming in the store, usually with a friend with similar interests, and the excitement over their finds reminds me of when my friend, Carol, and I used to go shopping at the first ever mall in Evansville, IN, in 1966.  We loved to show each other things that we liked and try things on, and talk and talk, and laugh and enjoy just the looking!  This is the kind of place that Memories is; but of the vintage sort!

I credit most of the new interest in hand crafted items and/or repurposing and upcycling of vintage items to Pinterest and Etsy shops and, of course, our faltering economy!  If you haven't taken a look at these sites, you don't know what you are missing.  I am about to explode with creative ideas from getting involved with these sites!  Out of necessity, too, because of the economy, people are trying to be more creative with what they already have or can make or create cheaper than buying new.

Last week a young lady bought one of those old, old fans and a beat-up suitcase - I can just imagine how she is decorating with these finds!  Yesterday I had two sisters come in who are working together to create items for sale on their own web site and possibly  They looked closely at everything in the shop and purchased vintage jewelry (to them the 1970's and 1980's is ancient)!  It is so fun to see their excitement over the vintage jewelry, when just the other day someone else was making fun of this one dangly necklace wondering who would ever wear it?  I was thinking "I would!".  The world is ever changing!  And I have noticed with styles and trends, it goes in cycles.  The hippie things that I loved in the 1960's and 1970's are now popular again!

I can always tell when someone has been looking at Pinterest by what they purchase: doilies, wooden spools, old quilts, beat up furniture, vintage necklaces and rhinestones, old fans, suitcases, vintage clothing, hats, gloves and more.  I will ask "Have you been looking around on Pinterest?" and the answer is a big smile and a "yes"!

Sometimes I wish I were 20 something again so I could start all over and have time to do all the things I want to do!  But in the meantime, I am enjoying seeing these treasures through the eyes of a young girl full of dreams and ideas and thoughts of an etsy shop!  Wait a minute!  I have an Etsy shop!  Life is good and the future is looking like a whole lot of fun right now!  Check out our Etsy shop we have just opened if you get a chance:   and our Pinterest boards for some inspiration!  Stay tuned for some great new ideas coming from Memories!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Prayer Shawl Ministry Offers New Inspiration!

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When I first started my prayer shawl ministry at Memories, it was just to make a few shawls for people that I came in contact with that were in need of prayer and comfort.  I have enjoyed picking up the crochet hook again and creating something of beauty out of a piece of string!  I quickly found out that I can make more shawls than most people - I have made about one a week since January of 2012.  The more I make, the more I give, the more I want to do!  I found that the creating and the giving are very therapeutic for me also!

I started with a very simple checkerboard pattern like this one:
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I have been able to give two of these to special people in my life:  One to my Mother, who is 84 years old and still going strong.  She has so many creative interests - she makes baby hats for her little great grandchildren; beautiful one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments out of satin balls trimmed in jewelry, lace, sequins and more; and beautiful needlepoint items.  She is lucky in that she still feels good, can see well, and is able to get out and about.  But sometimes she is lonely and needs a hug and encouragement - that's what the prayer shawl is for her - it holds prayers for her health and happiness and hugs when she needs one!

Another one like the one above was given to a friend whose young sister recently passed away - she is torn up wondering why something like this would happen.  I just wanted her to know that prayers were being sent up for her and that many people were concerned and cared for her and that God would help her through. 

Then I got a little bored with the simple patterns and branched out to those with scallops and elegant edges - you see I always love a challenge:

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I have given a pretty purple shawl to a young woman whose husband was in a serious accident and suffered head trauma and now even months later is still in rehab, unable to hold his head up or talk or eat by himself.  She is so brave and has two little girls who love to snuggle beneath this shawl of prayers for their Daddy and the family.

Pinned ImageAnother has gone to a wonderful lady I have known all my life who is now 97 years old and can no longer see.  She is sharp as a tack in every other way, but is very frustrated by not being able to do much as she is legally blind.  She has always treated me like her own child and is pleasant and loving even though she suffers - I wanted her to have a shawl of prayers to wrap around her when she is lonely, or chilled, or just feeling in need of a hug.
Pinned ImageI have another friend who suffered several years back with West Nile Virus - she has recovered enough to be active again, but still suffers from the nerve damage that it caused.  Her fingers are numb and it causes her pain to get chilled.  She is using her shawl to warm herself at home and at church, always knowing that she is loved and cared for by many and that prayers are always going up for her health and happiness.
Another special friend suffers with Lupus and appears healthy, but is always aware of this illness and all of its affects on her life.  She lives every day with a smile on her face and a warm and caring spirit.  I wanted her to know that this shawl represented prayers for her health and well-being, especially on those days when she is not feeling well.

Another went to a friend of my Mother's who can no longer get out of her home.  She is lonely, and she is someone who loves to talk and laugh and have a good time.  Such a wonderful woman who also has always been in my life.

As a result of the prayer shawl ministry, I have been requested to make chemo caps which I have begun.  Life is so full of opportunities to do for others - just stop and take a look around - there is someone in need of prayers and love and understanding at each turn.  You meet them every day, mostly unaware of the trials and tribulations they have in their lives.  Everyone has a gift from God that they can share with others - discover what yours is - maybe cooking, or playing music, or visiting, etc. - and share with someone today.

When I began this I had no idea where it would lead me.  Now I am constantly aware of those around me and any needs they might have.  When you focus on others, it seems that your own problems pale in comparison and you become more thankful for the blessings in your life. 

I have begun to collect so many great crocheting ideas on my Prayer Shawl and other Crocheting projects pinterest board.  If you have an interest, take a look:

Crocheting is like reading a good book - you just can't put it down - and when you are doing it for someone else, it is like giving a gift to yourself!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vintage Registry for Wedding Gifts

There are so many beautiful things to be found in antique stores that would be suitable for wedding gifts!  People say that young people don't want fine things anymore, but I say that times are changing!  Young people are interested in environmentally friendly businesses and products, repurposing of vintage items, the cottage or shabby chic look, and more.  I believe within the next few years, due to the economy and other factors, that interest in vintage will grow and grow.

For years I have had subscriptions to Country Living and Romantic Homes - one look at the pages inside take you back to a time when beauty and quality was important.  I believe that our young people are becoming more aware and interested in shopping vintage and finding unique items rather than just what all of the other wedding registries are offering.  They are even interested in vintage for their weddings - bridal dresses, vintage jewelry in their hair or their bouquet, setting the tables with fine china and crystal, and more!  So it would stand to reason that they might also have some interest in having these items in their homes.

At this time there are many baby boomers who are inheriting their parents and grandparents silver, crystal and china - and they already have their own that they love.  These items are becoming available in thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores in great volumes.  Why go buy expensive new items such as these when the quality and uniqueness just isn't there?

Think outside the box when setting up a bridal registry - think about your local antique store!

Just walking around Memories for a few minutes I spotted so many items that make wonderful wedding registry choices, such as our Fostoria Nosegay Crystal luncheon plates, ice tea goblets, sherbets and water - we have the whole set!
Or maybe some of the beautiful pieces from our collection of Imperial Candlewick crystal!
We have a complete set of 1847 Rogers Heritage Silverplate flatware and extra serving pieces in wooden box!
Beautiful Dutch Delft Canister Set!
We have pottery items for the kitchen, beautiful Westmoreland Paneled Grape Milk Glass Punch Bowl Set, crystal candlesticks, antique china serving pieces, Crown Imperial Rosari set of dishes
and the list goes on and on! 

I have been browsing on Pinterest, and the ideas for a vintage wedding registry are endless and I believe that young ladies are going to become more and more interested in shopping vintage for their homes.  Give them a treasure from an antique store to pique their interest in vintage and perhaps start a collection.  A gift that is unique and thoughtful such as these will be a gift always remembered!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paint Makes It New Again!

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As I think back to my childhood, I remember visiting my Granny and Grandaddy at their cabin down by Cumberland Lake in Kentucky.  It was a wonderful place, and when we all went at once, there were 13 of us crammed into that tiny place with no bathroom - just an outhouse!  My grandparents, Mother and Daddy, me and my brother, my two Uncles and Aunts and their three children (my cousins).  There was one bedroom and the rest of us slept all lined up on the back enclosed porch.  When we had to go to the bathroom, we had to check for Grandaddy long-legs spiders at the Outhouse or there was no way I would go in there.  We would all go to the lake and feed the ducks and fish for crappie!  Then Granny would cook them all up with cornbread and we would have a feast.  Somehow we all got ready and went to church on Sunday, too!

I didn't really notice it then, but as I think back I remember that everything was painted black!  The iron planters out front, the iron kettle full of magazines, the kitchen table and chairs, the coffee table, the end tables, the bed, the yard furniture, everything!  My Granny could take any old thing and make it look great by applying this black paint on it! 

With all the shabby chic style and Pinterest repurposing ideas, there is a lot of paint being applied to almost everything.  Even in my store if I have something that is the wrong color, I immediately suggest a little paint would fix that in no time!  I saw a post on Pinterest this morning where they had spray painted brass lamps into bright colors - I would have never thought of that - but if you don't like the brass, just paint it!

Some of the pictures I see of distressed furniture tell me that there is no way you could "make" something look like that although there are many people trying.  "Real" distressed furniture is a treasure that cannot be duplicated - it is distressed through years of painting it to make it new and then using it a while, then painting it another color to match the new decor and then using it for a while, and on and on.  Any good old solid wood furniture is suitable for using paint to make it look new again - although there are some that would disagree as it destroys a piece of furniture's value.  But, who cares? - if it creates a way you can use it without buying new, it is a good thing.  You are truly making a treasure for years to come by reusing what you have or buying something old and making it new again.
There are a lot of people saying that no one wants antique furniture any more, but I beg to differ if you will apply just a little creativity.  All you have to do is take one look at the new furniture being offered, and it is easy to see the value in the old, solid wood, hand crafted furniture.  Paint - it's a wonderful thing!  Black, white, red, yellow, pale green, blue, whatever color you can dream up is out there, and it is a cheap way to redecorate your home!  You can go to our pinterest board and you will find tons of great ideas.  Then take a look around at what you have, or visit your local antique or consignment store and search for a piece of furniture, lamp, etc. that would work for you and paint it to start your redecorating project.  A lot more fun than just buying something new!  I believe it's more fun to decorate with antiques!

As I think back about my Granny, I smile - it was a special time for me as a child - eating fish off of that black painted table, sleeping on the porch, and trips to the Outhouse!  Create some memories for your children and grandchildren!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinterest Is Changing The Way I Think About Antiques!

I know that many young ladies would never even think about stopping in an antique store to shop.  I am a 60+ year old antique dealer who also has a past in creating beautiful crafts.  Having had a craft store in Florida for years, teaching tole painting, hosting craft open houses in my home, and then gradually shifting over to the antiques business, I had thought that antiques was my new "thing" - that was, until Pinterest came into my life!

First, my daughter mentioned it and asked if I had looked at it - that all her friends were so excited about the ideas on there.  I didn't pay much attention to her as I am sort of an old fuddy duddy and am happy with my life like it is.  That was until a professional young man probably in his 20's came into my antique store and asked me if I had looked at Pinterest.  I told him "no", but why would he suggest such a thing?  He told me that all the young women were finding ideas on there and printing out the pictures and scouring yard sales, flea markets and such for the vintage items to put together the ideas that they were finding there.  So I decided I needed to take a look - and WOW!

I have always been a fan of decorating magazines, primarily Country Decorating Ideas and Romantic Homes - in fact, it is probably those magazines that have placed so many images in my mind that I just had to get into the antique business to be able to express myself!  Well, they pale in comparison to what can be found and shared on Pinterest!  I have joined at Memories Past and Present and share pictures and ideas from my shop, but also have found and re-posted so many great ideas on my many boards there that I am about to POP!

If you have an interest in decorating with antiques, repurposing vintage items, vintage fashion, crafting, crocheting, music, tea parties, etc. I would encourage you to take a look at what Memories is sharing on its Pinterest boards, and then stop by the shop and let us help you to achieve these ideas for your home.  It's fun and I have found so much inspiration there!  Please take a look at our boards and follow us for great ideas: 

This is just the beginning!  I feel a change in the air!  Keep in touch for new ideas coming out of our shop at

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Old Books and Ideas For Decorating with Them

At one time I was a painter and got the idea of painting a decorative picture on the front of old books!  I bought dozens and dozens of old books and first painted them with a crackle medium, then a background color, then painted the cover with roses, teddy bears, bunnies and a multitude of other items.  I couldn't even tell you how many of those I sold at craft shows and in my shop (I probably need to take up this hobby again - in my spare time!).

Recently, I joined Pinterest where ideas for decorating, crafts, etc. abound - it can almost drive you crazy looking at all the creative ideas available there.  If you would like to follow my boards, you can by going to .  I am just beginning, but finding some unique ideas for vintage decorating especially using items found in my store

Old books look so beautiful displayed on a table or desk opened up with a pair of old glasses on them, or a beautiful fringed or lace bookmark to mark the page.  It gives the feeling that you were just relaxing there, actually reading a book!

I have also decorated books with old doilies, ribbon, flowers, cameos, old brooches and buttons - the ideas are endless as far as decorating the top of the book for display.  Or they can just be stacked up and tied with a pretty ribbon if you don't want to damage the book in any way. 

Recently on Pinterest I saw the idea of making shelves out of old books - now that was interesting.  They had just purchased pairs of shelf brackets and mounted them on the wall with a book on top as the shelf and grouped them on the wall with pretty vintage items sitting on them.

At Memories we use old books to layer our displays - this would be a great idea in your home as a way to display items at different heights - it helps to show off your collections better than just placing them all at the same level.

After all of this, of course, you could just place them on your bookshelf and actually read an old book every now and then - now that's the best idea of all!  We all have them and wonder what to do with them - now go out and get creative!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prayer Shawl Ministry Revives Art From the Past (Updated)

I remember as a young girl learning to knit and crochet by my Mother's side.  Over my lifetime I have made several afghans, little baby outfits, and more.  It has been a source of enjoyment to me on many a cold winter evening and given me such pleasure to have a creative outlet.

Over time my interest has waned as life has kept me very busy with other things.  Recently, I have begun to hear about a ministry that has sprung out of women's desire to create, comfort and nourish - the Prayer Shawl Ministry which after researching a little I understand had it's beginnings around 1998.  In our community there are a few groups which have formed fairly recently to make various types of shawls to give to those in need of prayers, warmth, and the feeling of loving arms around them.  Suddenly many ladies are rediscovering the wonderful feeling it gives to create something of beauty from a simple ball of yarn.

I recently have begun to crochet again since I have been blessed with two grandchildren over the past couple of years.  I decided to try my hand at making them a tiny baby afghan to be used in their car seat when they traveled around from place to place.  I made this for them to use, but also attached a poem written for them by me, so that they would know how much I love them and that I was thinking of them with each stitch - a sort of prayer shawl I suppose.

My husband watches me as my hands are busy making a thing of beauty out of nothing but a ball of yarn and thinks I am a miracle worker.  I guess it is really a miracle of sorts - especially to get me to sit still long enough to make one.  But I will tell you, that it is addictive and a very satisfying experience - the art of creating something meaningful and beautiful. 

Once recently I came across a prayer shawl crochet pattern book in a craft store, couldn't resist, bought it and four 1-pound balls of yarn.  Since then I have made three beautiful shawls which I intend to give away or sell so that the money will go to charity.  After a ladies' meeting at our church last night there was a group of ladies talking excitedly about getting involved in the prayer shawl ministry in our community.  They were making all kinds of plans to knit and crochet together and go to yarn shops to purchase yarn to make scarves and shawls to give away!

What a wonderful resurgence of interest in a nearly lost art!  In this day and age of technology and so many distractions, it is amazing that the art of crocheting and knitting is making a come-back.  I am quite sure that those getting involved and learning will soon find the satisfaction that it brings to create a work of art - and then when all the work is done - to give it away!

The next time you are in an antique store, take a look at the stacks of doilies that you will find there and picture ladies sitting together crocheting these delicate works of art to adorn their homes.  You will find a new appreciation for this artwork when you decide to tackle a beautiful project, work on it for hours, and then lovingly bless it and give it away to someone in need.  What a wonderful ministry to emerge in this crazy, mixed up world!  I do believe there is hope for us yet!

Added 3/24/12:  Since I have written this I have made so many beautiful shawls that are pictured on my pinterest board  You might want to take a look and follow my page to see the new ones.  In addition to giving them away to those people who have a need, I plan to have them available in my store for sale with all the money going to my First Christian Church Women's Ministry who will use the money to do outreach in our community.  That way those who cannot crochet can still be able to give one to someone they know who would love to know that others are praying for them. 

In visiting with a couple of nice ladies who came into my store today, I learned that they are involved in a prayer shawl ministry in Boonville, IN, but they also make up hat boxes with a beautiful hat inside and other gifts to give to ladies who have undergone chemotherapy and have lost their hair - what a wonderful ministry!

Anyone who thinks that this world is going the wrong direction and all is doomed, need to know about such ministries.  The giving spirit of people has amazed me, and I know that God is at work in all of us - and I have faith that all will be OK!  I just can't make the shawls fast enough - and the joy comes when they are given away!