Tag Archive for 'memories'

Spring Chalkboard 2017

Spring 2017 Chalkboard

Summer is probably halfway through and I haven’t erased the spring board yet, ooops.

Previous Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

I’ve lost my dad

July 9th my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He just turned 72 in June and my parents would have had their 46th anniversary next week. We have received such a wonderful outpouring of love, prayers and support this week as we said goodbye to him with the visitation and funeral. I’ve been so numb and drained but the fact that my whole family lives here, we’ve been able to hold each other up and it has kept us all sane and functioning.

Posts from Instagram

A picture of my dad when he was a kid. I have just been through the worst 2 days of my life, starting yesterday with the type of phone call that I’d never wish upon anyone. My dad died unexpectedly. I’ve often worried about a phone call just like this, partially because my family has been too lucky, too charmed, too fortunate, no one hurt, no one sick, no one died, and that is unheard of. Who gets this far in life without something wrong happening? And here it is, and now life will never be the same.

The man and his hats, legendary. It’s been very therapeutic going through ages and ages of pictures. Here we are, my brother, dad and little me peeking from behind to get in the shot. He was a big guy and some people have been telling us about how he really scared or intimidated them until they got to know him and realized he was really just a gentle giant. A smart and sarcastic, but gentle giant.

Photo collages

My dad

My dad
This is one of the framed photo collages we put together for the visitation. It was so therapeutic going through all of our family pictures, searching for pictures of him and recalling all of our memories.

Some memories or thoughts on my dad

My dad loved everything surf culture, Endless Summer and Dick Dale, we bought him a surf calendar every single year.

He took me twice to see the Rolling Stones in concert.

I have a memory from when I was really little of him laying on the hammock in my parents’ back yard and me asking him in my kid voice if we could go to “the libary” and him giving me a hard time because he didn’t know what a libary was. I expounded, “where they have books with words and pitchers” and he explained “It’s libRARY, and pitchers are for pouring”

I definitely got my multi-tasking from him. He was known to daily watch tv, with the radio on and read a magazine all at the same time.

I remember missing being held by him after my brother was born (at 4 years old. I was and am very much a middle child), and pretending to fall asleep on the couch just so that he would pick me up and carry me to bed.

He was a collector and hobbyist. Coins, knives, radios, guitars, violins, treadle sewing machines, ham radio, taking pictures of dilapidated barns set against the midwest plains, and on and on and on.

He was the hardest person to buy presents for because whatever he wanted he just bought for himself.

He said the movie Animal House was pretty much his exact experience from college and his fraternity years.

I remember visiting my dad’s office one time and seeing that he had posted a picture of me that was printed in the newspaper (when I worked for the paper) and realizing that my dad was proud of me after all.

He was extremely intelligent. I remember him saying how much he enjoyed talking to Mr. Dicky (Dickey?) because he was the only person he knew that was smarter than he himself was. #canyousayhumble?

Despite that intellect, we all found it very humorous then when he would get obsessed with certain tv shows like Clarissa Explains it All or Two and Half Men.

He always carried a handkerchief with him.

He was named after my grandma’s oldest brother, who was a millionaire and owned his own horse ranch.

He went by Dick, so you knew when someone called pretending to be his buddy but called him Rich, chances were it was a telemarketer.

He was an only child and we all remember our mom saying how he couldn’t understand why we (my siblings and I) would always argue and fight. He always figured if you had a sibling it would have been a built in best friend. But my mom, a child with a brother and sister as well, had to explain that’s just how siblings are.

My dad loved hats. We used to go to the Chicago Air and Water show every year. One time we went into the city and he bought two hat at a hat shop. One a regular hat, and one indestructible hat, the salesman demonstrated that you can pull and tug and wring it and nothing would phase the hat. He wore the regular hat out the door and got a box for the indestructible one. We walked out onto the streets of the “windy city” and the hat blew off his head and promptly got run over by a taxi. It ended up being ok, but it was just so funny that of course the indestructible hat was safe in the hat box still.

Chalkboard Calendars Winter and Spring

It’s exactly halfway through the year so no time like the present to post this.

7.2.14 Chalkboard winter 2014

Last summer I started using the chalkboard I made for our living room to keep track of all the memorable things that have happened. I’ve enjoyed it so much so I’ve kept it going for each season. I can’t be reliable to post regularly to my blog or scrapbook or journal or anything, but writing on a chalkboard is easy enough. I figure, I’ll try to write everything down on the board as it happens, take a picture each season and if I ever feel so inclined I can print those out and put them in scrapbooks. I think there are long slots on some project life pages.

I never got around to sharing Winter’s board when Spring rolled around, so this post is a two-fer.

The list says: Camelot Tree Farm, Cleaning, decorating and hosting Christmas, Fireplace & Fire Wood, Petit Fours and Mittens, Ice Globes, Bunny Sitting Rue, Tomato Sauce from the garden, No Work on Fridays, Too Cold days -17, Sledding, Confetti on New Years, Salon Haircut, Bomb Diggity mail, 36/36 Spoon Art, Gaelic Storm, Heater Broke, Wolves Game, Matt got an iphone, I got an ipad, Katie and Winter buttons, Ipod broke and replaced, Pie Boss

And just a quick commentary on a couple things: We hosted Christmas at our house. We used our fireplace for the first time since we moved in and let me tell ya, this winter called for it. When we were house hunting we weren’t looking for a fireplace but I am so glad to have it. I got my hair cut at a real salon for the first time in over a decade. I LOVED IT. I was SOOO Happy with my hair until I got the next cut. The next cut was meh. I just got it cut again with another kinda disheartening experience so now, even though I know that salon and stylist are capable of giving me an AMAZING hair cut, I’ve been getting schlock instead. And after literally a couple of years of Matt making due with this ancient, cracked screen, slider phone, he upgraded to an iphone. It pretty much updated our household into the current millennium. Now it feels like that was forever ago and that he’s had an iphone forever. Meanwhile, the home button on my ipod touch broke so I had to take it into the apple store. Fortunately I always get the apple care plan and they swapped it out with a new one. And then for Christmas I got an ipad which is great for using on the treadmill, which I still do regularly, getting in my 10,000 steps every day.

And now for more current happenings:

Monthly chalkboard spring 2014

The list: Maple Syrup collection and all day cook, Pie Boss, Walk to Oasis, Blumen Gardens, Animal Crossing, Walk to China House, Tchotchke Mantel, Steel Drum Band, Rex Manning Day, 2048, Iphone!!!, Easter breakfast/syrup waffles, Kane County Flea Market with Ann and Courtney, MS Walk in Chicago, geocaching, 5 weeks of Hell at work, Butterfly release, Bowling, Vino & Vangogh, Union, IL, Black 47, Deer on path, photobooth convention, Gorey Exhibit, Rockford City Market, Matt lost wallet for 2 months, 20,000 fitbit steps, treasure maps/hunt.

Quick commentary: wow! This spring, I tell ya! After the absolute coldest and dreariest and longest lasting winter, we were amped to get out, get some fresh air and be productive as soon as possible. Some pretty epic things happened this season. Attending the maple syrup fest and then making my very own maple syrup from sap collected in my own yard will be one of the most memorable things from the year, let alone that season. I attended the International Photobooth Convention, showed at the Rockford City Market, and FINALLY updated my phone to an iphone as well (only after talking about it for probably 2 years first). Most recently, my sister created a treasure map in my parents’ yard with a treasure at the end for my nephew to find. This is exactly my kind of project and I’m very excited about the possibilities. Overall this Spring I kept very busy and stayed happy and productive.

Chalkboard related – When I originally made this board I painted it with many layers (a whole can) of magnetic paint and then chalkboard paint. Because of all the layers it caused the top layer to be very rough and uneven. Before Spring I finally sanded the board down and gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint and now it writes so much smoother. Also, since I’ve been using the chalkboard strictly to keep track of events each season I was a bit sad that I lost drawing space for my niece and nephew, so I bought another board. We used it for the Rockford City Market, pictured here on A Beautiful Party’s post.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

edit to share this post I just read:

I love this! Natalie and her husband create a list on a chalkboard each season as well, only they are making a checklist of things they need to do! What a great idea. Read this post to see some of the items on their list for this summer.


Little Books

Earlier this year my friend Joon (instagram and etsy) sent me this little book that she made for me, and I treasure it so much.

Book by Joon Wilkinson, music by Grandaddy – Am180

I finally got around to making the above video to share with you. I don’t know if Joon really knows how much she was speaking my language. We both really love making treasures from what might otherwise be scrap papers.

I immediately had to make another little video of a book that was given to me as a child.

Book made by my grandma, music Detektivbyran – Rymden i en lada

They’re almost the exact same size! The pages move quickly so you may not have been able to read, but it was made by my grandma for me in the spring of 1980. I would have been 2 years old at the time.

It’s just one of the many things that probably helped form my aesthetics and I’m sure contributed to my love of little stapled books.

I remember when I first realized how much I loved making little stapled books. I was working at the local weekly newspaper and as offices often do, we used old scrap paper, quartered up, as note paper. I started stapling the edges like a binding and doodling on the pages, writing notes to coworkers and making lists, etc. on pages.


They kind of resembled this. I actually made an animated gif of this complete book which can be seen here.

staple books

Or this. Over the years I’ve made plenty of staple books and variations on them. Here are some more books I’ve made below.

4.30.11 Mailart little books


Day Two- mini books

Robayre Patterned Books

scratchpad unfinished thing-a-day, day 2 scratchpad

Moleskin fun

5.20 Mailart books backs

Day Two- mini books

And then of course I often have little books in my etsy shop, but eeep, when I just went to go get the link I saw a frightening low quantity of little books. I have plenty made, so perhaps that should be a project for Friday, photograph and list little books to my shop.

Smiley Faced Pouch Time Capsule

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

Matt just came home and asked me “Anything happen while I was out?” and I was able to reply “Only that I found a TIME CAPSULE!

I have FOUR HUGE storage bins that I packed up of all my belongings from my parents’ house when I moved out around 2000ish. These storage bins went into a storage shed at my sisters’ house and stayed there until Matt and I bought our house in 2011. Now they reside in my garage, but I still haven’t gone through them. These bins alone are like time capsules, filled with my Cabbage Patch Dolls and diaries and Seventeen magazines, etc., etc., but this is not the time capsule I refer to.

I want to execute a project in our house and had to get something that I knew was in those storage bins. I opened the first bin and fortunately what I wanted was sitting right on top. But immediately underneath, was this little smiley faced pouch. It was a zipper pouch I used in high school, and carried the necessities in it (probably my driver’s license, cash and chapstick) and it might have been attached to my keychain. When I picked it up from the storage bin it was stuffed round and I immediately grabbed it to see what was inside. The zipper wouldn’t budge and then the pull actually broke right off. I could tell the zipper was completely corroded closed and there was no way it was going to zip open. It was so stuffed and I knew I had to find out what was inside so I decided to document opening it just in case it was good.

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

In other news, and just by chance, last week Kaylah from the Dainty Squid posted a picture on instagram that she said was “A collection of absolutely worthless things that mean everything to me.” I replied that she needed to hashtag that and that I wanted to play along. I am 100% the type of person to keep “junk” purely for sentimental reasons. She hashtagged #worthlessthingsthatmeaneverything and I thought “ok, now how shall I go around gathering little trinkets from all over the house and get a picture of it?” Little did I know this gem would all but just drop into my lap a few days later.

I love when things like that happen. I kind of feel like it’s the universe telling me that I’m on the right path.

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

But really, who knew what would be inside? It could be awesome, but it could just as easily and more likely be a bunch of junk like rocks I picked up from who-knows-where because let’s face it, that would be so me. Instead it ended up being AWESOME!!!!! Scroll down.













2.15.14 time capsule

Can you believe all this stuff was stuffed into that little pouch? Some of it really is junk, like a half of a broken button. What the heck is that about? Maybe in my old life that button meant something to me, but right now I haven’t the slightest clue why I would have kept it. BUT, there were other things in there that really do mean the world to me. Things I have long wondered “what happened to that? I wish I still had it.”

A few highlights:

Near the center, a little to the left there is a white ceramic oval that says my name. I received that, probably for a birthday, when I was 6-8(maybe younger?) from my Godmother. It was a pin that I treasured. It said MY name (Robyn) on it and as a girl if ever I would find customized items, AND on the super rare chance that they would have my name, it would 100% surely be spelled Robin. As a little kid having an oddish name was a rough thing for me, I dreamed of being named Samantha, or Alexandra (then I could have a nickname like Sam or Alex), but no instead I had a name that was unusual and on top of that it was an unusual spelling. I got over it by the time I was in high school and all the kids started wishing their names were unique and trying to come up with unique spellings for Sara and Jennifer. Underneath my name it says “Strength of Character” and my mom always said that my Godmother said about me when I was little, “There’s no worry that Robyn won’t get what she wants in this life. She knows exactly what she wants and goes after it.

When I was in high school I took a train trip to a family reunion with my Grandma Wells. We were in Amish country and they had tons of gift shops. We went into one store and they had an assortment of these super tiny ceramic vegetables, Top to middle of the Righthand side. I loved them so much and talked my grandma into buying them for me. It was no easy feat. I LOVED my grandma, but my memories of her were also VERY THRIFTY and money conscious. She was born in 1910 (I believe) and lived through the great depression, and that pretty much changed everyone that had to go through that. So, getting her to buy something for me was HUGE. I also got her to buy me a pair of huge black, chunky healed maryjanes that trip and I wore those things until they DIED. I still think of those shoes and wish I still had them as well. Sometimes I try to find something similar but that was a very 90s style.¬† I remember her asking me “what are you going to do with those (the vegetables)? and I said I didn’t know but that maybe I could somehow turn them into charms and make a bracelet. You can see that never happened, but I still love them as they are, all the same. I just love everything miniature and I have often wondered where they went.

In the bottom center is a brass silhouette of a “Jamaican Basketball Player”. It was the very first assignment in my very first metalwork class in college. We had to learn to use our jeweler’s saws and this was the shape everyone in the class had to cut. This is actually the discard piece from the finished piece of jewelry that can be seen here (the second lowest hanging piece on the display)

One last note, the pile of red junk appears to be a disintegrated remains of a red water balloon, yet, the silly putty is perfectly good still!

Please feel free to click on over to flickr and see see the image BIGGER and to hover over the images to see exactly what everything else  is.