Thursday, April 30, 2009

My "History"

I have been thinking a lot lately about my family history. This photo is of my grandmother as a bridesmaid at her sister's wedding circa 1916. It is one of the precious few photos that I have of her. She was about 16 years of age when this was taken. She and her family came here by ship from Sicily in 1912. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. My mother remembers my grandmother telling her stories of how hard that vogage was and the hardships that everyone endured to come here to the United States. She was only 12 years old when she made that voyage with her parents and two sisters. They, like so many immigrants, went through Ellis Island. What I find so remarkable is how much she and I look alike - it is like looking into a mirror and seeing my reflection when looking at this photo. The resemblance is uncanny.

Both of my fathers' parents were immigrants from Italy; my grandmother from Palermo, Sicily and my grandfather from a small village near Naples that bears my surname. I loved hearing stories from my grandfather while he was alive (he died in 1994 at age 99) about his life and how he met my grandmother. My cousins and I got together one evening many years ago and decided to tape my grandfather telling us the story of his life. I am so thankful that we did and that we each have a cassette of that family history; however, I have yet to transcribe it. I know it's silly that it has been so many years, but I think I may finally be able to listen to it and hear to his voice again. I was very close to him.

My grandmother (whose picture is above) Ester, died when I was four, but I can still remember going through her jewelry box and being mesmerized by all the sparking pins and necklaces that she had. I have some of those pieces now, which I treasure. I know that this is where my love of jewelry began. Even back then, I felt that it was such a priviledge to be given the "permission" to go through her jewelry box, especially since I was so young. I only wish that she had lived long enough that I could have known her better. It tugs at my heartstrings when I remember those family members who were so important to me who have passed, but I hold onto the promise that we will be reunited one day and hold on to that, especially the older I get. It does bring me a sense of peace.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Crafting" Picnic

I met my dear friend "C" on Saturday at a little park in So. Pas. It was a lovely day; breezy and a little cool. We sat and talked quite a bit and then had a bite to eat. I made cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and she had brought some fruit to eat, although we only ended-up eating the sandwiches! We sat at the picnic table for quite a while before it got really breezy and a little chilly, so we decided we'd like to be a little warmer and moved to her car. She is working on granny squares for an afghan - the center is a really pretty red and the main square is an ecru color. The outside round is black, which is a really hard color to see without having really good light. I suggested she go buy an Ott-Lite; I love mine. JoAnns has them for 50% off, but I'm not sure how long that is good for. I worked on one of my WIPs, Aibhlinn from the 2004 Winter Issue of Knitty. I just got the one picture of her working on her square and a few of the park while I was waiting for her to arrive. I will try to take more pictures next time we meet to do our crafting.

We then drove over to San Marino to Julienne for a treat. They have wonderful food there and next time we decided we'll get something from there, as they have food-to-go. They have a great selection of sandwiches, salads and desserts! We both got an espresso and a coconut macaroon - YUM!!! We sat and talked for a while at the tables outside until they closed at 5:00 (there are heaters set up outside so it was very comfortable). We then said goodbye with plans to get another get-together on the calendar very soon. It was a wonderful day with a wonderful friend, even if we did end-up talking more than doing any actual knitting or crochet! Time just seems to fly by when we get together.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone. I hope you all have a great weekend. I'm off to help my SIL paint my nephews' bedroom today. Tomorrow I'm meeting my dear friend "C" at a lovely little park; we're going to have a "crafting picnic". We're both bringing a project to work on and goodies for lunch. I'm hoping this will turn into a regular get-together for working on craft projects.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever it is you'll be doing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April Arrival

Every April, these Black-headed Grosbeaks show up at my feeders. They stay for a while and then move on to wherever it is they go. I just love the markings on their wings and their bright orange color. It's hard to get a closer photo, as they fly off at the slightest sound. I had to take these photos a farther distance away than I would have liked to, but I'm glad I at least got these. There are just two of them right now, but usually more show up. I'm hoping they do!

And the cute, furry little character in the bottom picture gets into my flower pots I have on my front porch almost every morning! We have our little ritual - she digs in the pots, getting dirt all over the place, and I then go out, sweep it up and put it back in the flower pots! You can't get mad at a face like that!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Flashback

This is a photo of me, my brother and my cousins on Easter Sunday at my grandmother's house, oh so long ago. I hope all of you who celebrate Easter have a wonderful day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Speaking of Crochet...

I finished this little cutie up this morning. This is another free pattern, this time from the very talented Mia Zamora Johnson of "Owlishly". She calls this one "Huevitos - Amigurumi Easter Eggs". I decided to do a different pattern for my older nephew, whose favorite color is blue, and to give "Bunny Boo" to my younger nephew.

You can get this adorable free PDF pattern by clicking on the link I have listed above to Mia's blog. There is even an Owlishly Flickr Group! Fun!

Crochet Can Save Your Life!

This is amazing: I just heard this remarkable and happy story, amid so many heartbreaking ones, coming out of a tiny village near L'Aquila, Italy where they experienced the devastating earthquake earlier this week. A 98-year-old woman, who was pulled-out alive, said she spent the time (not knowing if she would live or die) crocheting as she awaited being rescued.

Amid Italy's earthquake rubble, 98-year-old woman is pulled free
John Hopper in L'Aquila
The Guardian, Wednesday 8 April 2009

Whatever faults Maria D'Antuono may have, wasting time is not among them. The 98-year-old villager, from Tempera, near L'Aquila, yesterday became one of the latest survivors to be dragged from the rubble left by Monday's devastating earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. For 30 interminable hours, she lay below the ruins of her house, a few miles from the epicentre.

So what did she do to while away the time, not knowing whether she would live or die as rescue workers dug towards her? The answer, it seems, was "crochet". According to the Ansa news agency, D'Antuono was pulled from the rubble to cheers from the crowd and briefly answered questions from a reporter for Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset television network before she was taken to hospital. Asked how she had passed the time since her house had collapsed on her, she reportedly said she had been busy with her hook and wool.

Living here in Southern California and having lived through two moderate quakes and hundreds of smaller ones, my heart goes out to the Italians. It is extremely disconcerting to have the ground underneath your feet, which you think of as "solid ground", shake, rattle and roll and bring such devastation and death. You never get used to it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cute Amigurumi Bunny

I received an email offering this adorable free amigurumi Easter Bunny pattern for "Bunny Boo" by Tamie Snow who has a blog called "Roxycraft" and just had to make one! This was my first-ever amigurumi project and I found it to be fun and easy. This is the first one I finished this afternoon and I will be starting another one this evening. I'm making them to put into my darling nephews' Easter baskets - I hope they like them! The lighting is not real good in these photos, as it's been a very cloudy day with intermittent sprinkles at times.

Make sure to check out Tamie's blog. She also has her adorable patterns available on Ravelry.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Poppies? Here? Who Knew?!!!

I find this so ironic: my neighbor's yard has more California Poppies than what we saw out at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve last week! Funny how that works - sometimes beauty is right in front of our eyes and we only have to take the time to stop and observe it. Have a beautiful week and make sure that you take the time to observe the beauty that is around you - whatever it may be!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just a Few Reasons Why...

...I love spring! The fruit trees are becoming full of blossoms and the rose bushes are beginning to wake from their winter pruning. This is the first rose from my "Just Joey" rose bush. My brother and sister-in-law bought it for us 10-1/2 years ago when my nephew was born. This is definitely a wonderful time of year; so full of the colors, sights and sounds of new beginnings and rebirth. I think we can all use a little of that.