When I went to start working on the March chart for AotH I realized that the fabric collage that goes on is longer than any of my scroll rods. I have a pair that I found at a yardsale for $10 and are WAY too long. I am in the process of having them shortened. And Liz, from Needlewoman East has told me that she can order any size I want from K's Creations - but, I'm being cheap.
So, I began on May instead (on the fabric collage I've been working on so far). I was looking forward to May anyway for several reasons.
First, my husband and I are celebrating 20 years this May. That's us, down on the lawn. Then, my eldest, Mitch - he was born in May. He's up top with the initials. Finally, there's my mom. She was born on May Day - 1920; that explains the number on the roof. And, if you've been paying attention, between the months I've done so far, there's a little secret. I'm not letting the cat out of the bag yet, but soon - soon. I bet a bunch of you smarties will figure it out.
Leona was the daughter of Howard (the Valentine's baby who was on my February piece) and Hazel (who was the daughter of Addie). She was their first child - named Leona after a friend of her mother's. She was born on the Old Buxton Place in Rocky Ford, Colorado. That's not all aspens and rocky mountains there; no, it's more like a desert. It is, in fact, the home of the Rocky Ford Canteloupe that was hybridized there back in the late 1800's and became world famous. It was also the place where an annual Watermelon Festival was held. I know what you're thinking - cantaloupe and watermelon in a desert? Yep. Don't know why, but it's true.
And that watermelon festival was a big deal - see?
Toldjaso. Oh, what is also true is that they pronounced it Co lo rah dough. NOT Co lo raaaaa do like they do nowadays. I suspect THAT comes from the mountains was what my mom used to say. Just my mother's opinion. She's been gone more than 10 years now, so I guess the state can do whatever it wants at this point.
Lee, as she was called, was really, really smart. She was class valedictorian and awarded a scholarship to Colorado State. She went to secretarial school instead. Don't know why, but she did. And you'd think that would be a dead end, but it wasn't. As soon as she'd graduated from her year there, she left the school, left the farm, and rode the train all the way to Washington, D.C. where she got a job as personal secretary to one of the undersecretaries of agriculture at the USDA. She stayed on good terms with him for the remainder of his life; I can remember when we'd go to visit him at his home when I was a kid.
She was very gregarious, had lots of friends and was talented in many ways. In many other ways, she was a little lost. I have always wondered if that secretarial school thing was her idea; and maybe she spent the rest of her life thinking she could have done better. Later in life she was secretary to the president of Marymount College (before it became a University). When they "reorganized" and left her without a job (ageism) she was devastated and thought she'd never get work again. One day she pointed out an ad to me in our local paper. I read it and she asked if she should apply. I said I should think so because it was a law firm, looking for a legal secretary. At the time, I was working for a firm in Alexandria - the BEST job I ever had. So, she applied, and was called for an interview, and was then hired to be the secretary for one of the senior partners. At each step, she was surprised. But not me. She was an awesome secretary. Didn't need any legal experience either, she was that good. That was back in the days - BC - before computers. All legal documents had to be submitted to the court with no errors - no white-out - ever. And my mom, she didn't make typos.
She was a long-standing member of Hope Chapter, O.E.S. in Fairfax, Virginia and also a member of the N.S.D.A.R. She's the one who taught me to sew; made almost all my clothes when I was a kid. Money was tight, so when she needed a new gown for Star, she'd make one. I can honestly say, I've never attempted that. She never said, but I think it was her grandmother Addie that taught her. It was said that her mother, Hazel, could not sew to save her life. I got my love of crafts from her; there was nothing she wasn't willing to try once to see if she liked doing it.
The one thing that she tried once, and then never gave up until she had to, was genealogy. Much of what I have has been built on the work that she did in the 70's with my Aunt Ruthie. The two of them were twin tornadoes going into courthouses all over the place looking for their families histories. By the time my own interest emerged, we had computers and the internet - it was easy for me!
I almost forgot to tell you about the changes I made. The chart calls for Crescent Colours. Well, I don't have those and I'm being cheap again - so I replaced them with WDW because I'm trying to get rid of those. So, where it calls for Cinnamon Toast, I used Hibiscusw; Avacado, I used Scuppernong; Fools Gold, I used Olive (yes, it's really a golden green); and Mulled Berries was replaced with Purple Majesty. But, I didn't stop there. I discarded Cidermill Brown altogether and where it was called for in the chart, I used the Olive. Also, the chart calls for Lexington Green. Now, it could be my eyes, but when I looked at the picture on the front cover, it looked like an Aqua house to me, not a Green one. So, I replaced Lexington Green with Weeks Sea Foam. Finally, on the birds - which were supposed to be done in Old Purple Paint, but I didn't like that - I combined one strand of Tin Bucket with one strand of Old Purple Paint. It's very subtle, but I like it.
And so now you know the story of my May AotH block. It was really nice to hear from a lot of you that you liked reading the stories behind the people in my blocks. Thanks so much; that's so nice to hear. Nine more blocks to go! Hope you enjoyed.