Saturday, July 13, 2013

Catching up ... A Long Story behind an Older Project

Before I gathered up my courage to start a blog, I started pinning some of my work onto Pinterest.  These projects are dear to my heart, so I thought I would share them with you.

The first project that I ever put up online was a piece that made for my "Aunt Velma".  This wonderful woman and I are not related by blood, but by an amazing story of loss and love. Forgive me if the story gets a little long, but I'd like to introduce you to some of the people that made this story so incredible.

When my dad was stationed at Naval Base San Diego during the Korean War (early 1950's), he was best friends with a guy named Marion.  When my Dad was discharged, Marion was getting ready to be deployed on a new ship that was going to be based out of San Francisco. Dad dropped Marion off at the transport ship to San Francisco the day before he took a bus back to his home in North Carolina.

After Dad got home, he developed the last role of film he had in his camera from San Diego.  He sent copies to Marion.  Dad went for months without hearing back from Marion.  Then one day, he got a letter that had an Atlanta, Ga postmark and unfamiliar name on the return address.   It was a letter from Marion's parents, Charlie and Velma Hood.  Marion contracted a very virulent form of polio on the transport ship from San Diego to San Francisco.  He died before the boat reached San Francisco.

This was such a blow to my father.  The letter went on to say the pictures that he sent Marion had been given to Charlie and Velma along with Marion's other possessions.  They wanted my Dad to know about Marion's passing. Marion was Charlie and Velma's only child.  The Navy had called them as soon as they found out he was so sick, but they did not arrive in time to see him before he died. Since my dad was one of the last people to see Marion alive, they wanted to know more about Marion's last days in San Diego.  They invited my dad to visit them in Atlanta.  

Dad drove the long trip to the metropolis of Atlanta Georgia.  Charlie and Velma instantly bonded with this lanky young man from the mountains of North Carolina.  They welcomed him in as an extended family member and invited him back down, this time with his new girlfriend Faith (who would later end up his wife and my mom).   Charlie and Velma adopted my mom as well and over the years this once grieving couple had more "family" than they knew what to do with :).  It was years before I ever realized that these people were not blood relatives.  That gives you a little glimpse of the way they enveloped our family into their own.

Charlie passed away in the 1980's.  But Aunt Velma is still a vibrant part of our lives today.  She turned 102 this year and quite frankly, I think she will probably outlive me :).  I made this project for her birthday.  I loved the story behind their 1929 wedding.  A furniture company in Atlanta had a very unique way to publicize their business.  They invited couples to get married in their store.  If the couple agreed, the store  paid for their wedding and gave them furniture for their new home (a new bedroom suit, dining room table, etc).  Finances were very tight then and it was an offer that Charlie and Velma could not turn down.  The photo that I used in this project is from the newspaper article publicizing their wedding at the furniture store.

The project was inspired by a Jan Hobbins' piece that was showcased at CHA Winter 2013.    I used cardboard and Tim Holtz's Hanging Sign die to create the frames.  The top and bottom frame pieces were covered with Walnut Stain Distress Ink and then painted with Peeled Paint Crackle Paint.   I embossed the middle split photo frame pieces with Tim's Damask Texture Fade.  I covered the embossed pieces with Picket Fence Distress Stain and hit the embossed edges with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  Then I sprayed them with Mod Podge Super High Shine Spray.  The end result gives an antique enameled look that doesn't quite show up as well in this picture as it does in real life.

I embellished it with a piece of an old crocheted doily that I had on hand, some glass pearls on a TH safety pin, and a Recollections rose sticker. I added some grungeboard hearts that I stained with Picket Fence, stamped with a flourish, grunged with Walnut Stain ink and covered with Rangers' Crackle Accents.  The top bookplate was cut out of Vanilla Cardstock using another Tim Holtz die.  It was painted with Ranger Adirondack Ginger Alcohol ink and  Copper Alcohol Ink Mixative.  Then the bookplate was sprayed with the the Mod Podge shine spray.  Pretty cool metal look for a piece of cardstock :)

Ok -- enough typing.  My fingers are tired (and I imagine so are your eyes after reading all of this).  I hope you weren't too weary from this entry.   Sometimes the story that inspires me is more important to me that the actual piece itself.  Thanks for letting me share this with you.

-- Mary Elizabeth


Yvonne Garner said...

My life is enriched from reading your post. Stories like this are what life is about. Thank you or sharing Mary Elizabeth! Best, Yvonne

butterfly said...

Wonderful read and an amazing make, Mary Elizabeth - thank you!
Alison x

barbarayaya62 said...

Thanks Mary Elisabeth for the story you told us! Only yesterday I was talking with a friend and I said words very similar to yours: behind every piece there is a story and each of us tells it in his own way, with his art! Thanks for sharing! BArbarayaya