Tag Archives: Crafts

For the Love of Purple

A purple story has long been in our family. Started by my darling Auntie Thelma, who loved the color best. My aunt was the older of my mother’s two sisters. The tallest, most robust, and memorable of the girls. Such personality overkill in that rifle-totin’, plaid flanneled, deer-hunting lady pictured alongside her husband, while camping in the woods. But for the day job? Auntie would be dressed to the nines, or the tens. With blazing, red hair worn in the up-do style of “I Love Lucy” fame, curls coiled into a cloud of corkscrews, supported by myriad bobby pins. Auntie’s eyebrows were fiercely drawn in and her lips outlined with deep red. Or purple.

An Auntie Thelma/”I Love Lucy” type hair-do. Think RED hair. Love the purple scarf & lips. UBP Unsplash.

Thelma’s hearty laugh and good nature made her welcome everywhere. I remembered her so well. But I especially remembered how much she loved the color purple, decking herself out in lavender dresses and deep purple sweaters. There were rugs on the floors and pillows on the sofa in her approved color. We all knew a purple gift would be more than appreciated. I remember when my mother, an artist of local repute, painted a still-life for Auntie in her favorite shades. The vase of lilacs set against a deep purple background maintained a starring role on my aunt’s entry wall for many years.

I wasn’t a fan of my Auntie Thelma’s color preferences. Not until I had my first boyfriend in high school. A boy who also loved shades of purple, maybe as much as my aunt. Suddenly, I was all about purple. In a bold move, I sewed a cute lavender dress for school I thought he’d like. He responded by wanting even more purple. My prom dress ended up a soft, whisper of a thing, with a filmy lavender overdress covering a shiny shift of lavender satin. It was heavenly. I walked on clouds all evening.

But we were a high school romance and both of us moved on. I left my purple fancies behind, favoring mauves and magentas. Eventually I became enamored with amethyst jewelry and the old adoration awakened a tendency toward the color periwinkle. Heavens, I even found a flowered ground-cover called periwinkle. New, yet familiar territory.

Cottonwood Creek Lavender Farm near me. What a great find!

Recently, I discovered a Lavender Farm near my home. What a find! Right away I was reminded of my old lavender-love locked in storage for another time. Besides the beautiful color, one could soak in lavender bath bubbles, dab on the aroma of a lavender fragrance, burn scented candles, & put out dishes filled with dried lavender fronds. They were easy decoration, too. A vase, pitcher, or jar filled with dried Provence Lavender bunches gave a natural elegance to the most simple space.

Lavender Bunch in old pitcher. Photo by Jez Timms. UBP Unsplash.

My imagination took flight and I thought about all the vintage, cotton and linen handkerchiefs I’d inherited from my Auntie Thelma – many printed with purple flowers, others pristine-white, edged in lace. They’d make lovely sachets for Christmas gifts. A sort of heritage offering. What else could I make with all those fresh and dried bundles from the lavender farm?

My niece, Kristen, once gifted me with some homemade, lavender cookies. So yummy. I’d make those, too. Maybe bring to a family event and include a vintage hankie with Auntie Thelma’s purple theme? I could feel the pull of cozy, fall days beckoning. With long evenings to craft and cook.

And resurrect memories for the love of purple.

Lavender Cookies. Photo by Heather Barnes. UBP Unsplash

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Love Letters

Have you seen writing imprinted on furniture? Whether on fabric or wood, it’s a graceful, vintage look. On close examination, one often recognizes the writing as a collection of love letters. My heart melts as I read the tender snippets & invent stories of the two who penned those thoughts. Pictures or pillows can also feature words that inspire…like dream or believe or love.

Pillows w:Writing

How welcoming! And inspirational. (Image by StockSnap from Pixabay)

I once saw a pillow decorated with the word Paris in fancy cursive next to an image of the Eiffel Tower. Made me want to book the next flight. (Sigh.) Love the look of imprinted writing. Probably, because I love words.

My only imprinted items are a couple of insulated water bottles. One was a gift. The other? A must-buy. But I’m very attached to them. And their writerly look.

A while back, I was putting together a workshop for a writer’s conference & wondered what visual aids I might use to make my point: Turn your rejection into REdirection! After all, one wants to find the right market for a piece. One needs the editor to believe in the work, to be a cheerleader. A rejection might be a good thing. A loving thing. It could turn out to be a wise new path. A REdirection, instead.

But how could I take the sting out of rejection for my workshop attendees? I remembered my own pile of rejection letters. Maybe I could I use them. An idea popped from the pile. I’d mimic the writing I’d seen on various fabric-covered chairs or pillows or other pretty furnishings by making a lovely writerly something out of the harshness of rejection.

First, I bought a big container of Mod Podge. Then…,

  • I photocopied the rejection letters;
    • Some on white paper;
    • Some on an aged-looking, onion-skin,
  • And ripped them to shreds!
  • I placed them at artistic angles;
    • On a lampshade;
    • On a lidded container;
    • And on a paper-mache star;
  • Then secured them to the surfaces with the Mod Podge.

My class got such a kick out of my crazy crafts! They amazed at the unexpected use of rejection letters to make new things. Pretty things I could use. Filling the container with Hershey Kisses, I passed it around so they could taste some REdirection love. I attached a silver thread to the star & stuck some rhinestones in the center, changing it into a Christmas ornament.

But the crowning glory was the papered lampshade, which I placed on top of a 1910 Weller (art pottery) lamp base. It sits on a small dresser in my bedroom to this day.

Weller Lampshade copy

When I look at it, I’m reminded of my beautiful writer journey, bruises & all. I don’t see rejection anywhere. I see love letters.


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