Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kayli's Silver Skates~

Kayli is a wonderful little girl with such a sweet disposition.  She is in the center.  You can see her little button nose and rounded cheeks.  What a cutie!  She was learning to skate at the local ice rink when her Daddy caught this moment on camera.  The photo reminded me of a Norman Rockwell moment and I felt compelled and inspired.  Permission was granted, and now the cutting graces their walls.  Have fun skating, Kayli!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hanukkah~

Each year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 1st.  The word Hanukkah is a Hebrew word defined as dedication or consecration.

In the days of King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the first Temple of Jerusalem was desecrated by his army.  The celebration marking the re-dedication of the second Temple of Jerusalem is known as Hanukkah.  It also commemorates the "miracle of the container of oil".  According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.

This papercutting is for a Jewish friend of my Catholic friend! 

Happy Hanukkah!  May your coming year be filled with beauty and peace.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Goats Are Great!~


Back in the day, when my daddy was just casting glances and winking at my mom, he had an older car for transportation to and from school.  He couldn't help but notice not many of the school girls looked his way as he passed by in his plain car.  Occasionally, he'd drive it to the next town to visit with his sweetie, my mom.  They would hold hands while sitting close in the front seat as they drove to the local car-hop to share a root beer float and other menu items.

Before long, daddy got a new car, and it was no ordinary car...it was a muscle car!  A 1966 GTO!  His ego was as big as the engine sounded!  He declined many pleas from the school girls for a ride in his car claiming that if his plain car was not good enough for them, then they also did not deserve to ride in his hot rod.  I'm sure he 'got their goat'!  However, as you can imagine, he honored every request by his sweetie to go for a drive...sitting close...holding hands...dreaming and planning a beautiful future together...and they did live happily ever after~

This 1970 GTO was a pleasure to cut for a friend of mine as a surprise Christmas gift for her hubby.  They have been married since shortly after high school, and after all these years, they are still completely in love!  Perhaps they will take the 'great goat' for a drive soon...sitting close...holding hands...dreaming and planning for the years to come...all the while living happily into the ever after~

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monarch, Swallowtail, Larvae~


I am fascinated with monarch butterflies.  I can remember my sister and I giggling as we chased them through the fields as they darted this way and that.  What a thrill it was to watch them fly high above all that enslaved them in their previous life cycle.

Through the years I have learned more and more about these tiny little wonders, and am still captivated with their beauty.  For a very long time, I believed that they only had two life stages, the cocoon and the butterfly stages, but recently found out that they actually go through four stages in their life cycle.  First, they start out as an egg after which they hatch into a larvae.  The larvaes sole source of nourishment is the milkweed plant.  Without it they cannot survive.  Then they wrap up into a cocoon beginning the final stage known as metamorphosis where they are transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

Once a monarch butterfly is an adult (after the metamorphosis into a full grown butterfly) it can eat the nectar from any flower, not just the milkweed plant.  Adult butterflies are poisonous, and although they won't harm humans, the chemicals built up from eating the milkweed plant when they were in the larvae stage gives them a poisonous defense against frogs, birds, mice and lizards.

It is true that the male and female butterflies are both brilliant in color.  Male monarchs are distinguished from the females in that they have a black spot on each of the hind wings over a vein, a characteristic the female monarch butterfly does not share.

A final interesting fact is that monarch butterflies go through four generations each year.  The first three generations hatch from their cocoon state (also known as the pupa or chrysalis state) and live for up to six weeks, but the fourth generation continues to live on for up to six or eight months.  It is only the fourth generation of monarchs that migrate each year, and they are the only insect to migrate up to 2,500 miles to escape cold weather, hibernate, and then start a new first generation in the spring time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Perseverance~

My brother has always been interested in horses.  From a young age, he started a collection of horse figurines and had a designated shelf in the family room where he displayed them with great pride.  On his wedding day, his beautiful bride rode in on horseback.  As a married couple, they enjoy the collection as part of their country home decor.

In 2005, when he was undergoing his medical trials and tests, I gifted him with this cutting as a symbol of calmness, relaxation, and gentleness after we were made aware that he would be enduring long, rigorous, and exhausting days ahead. 

Because of his faith and perseverance, he, his happy wifey, and bubbly kiddos are enjoying each day as it is given, rejoicing in a lifetime of happiness together.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Headed Home~


In this country/colonial cross-stitch style sampler, the dog seems confident being in lead, the chicken appears to be experiencing some anxiety being away from his roost, and the pig...did the pig really cry 'wee-wee-wee' all the way home?  If that were the case, don't you think the farmer would have the horse on a dead run? 

No matter how far you wander, no matter where you go...there's no place quite like home.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leaves and Pumpkins~


Once again, fall has arrived here in the Rockies!  It is difficult to pinpoint what heralded it's arrival: the morning chill, the glint of frost at daybreak, or the sound of migrating geese.  Maybe it's the splendor of the gold and emerald forests coupled with the aroma of pine and cedar; or perhaps it is in the change of produce, memories of fresh maple syrup, the taste of carmel apples, or the house adorned with pumpkins.

Each season is what you make it to be.  Our arms are wide open.  How about yours?


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Passages in Time~


This cutting is a companion piece to Stages of Life.  I cut it specifically with my yummy, little boys in mind trusing they find fulfillment in life no matter the path they choose.  May they experience remarkable moments, true happiness, and warm memories.

Mommy loves you! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Storm at Sea~

I love handmade quilts!  To me they provide warmth for my toes, laughter to my conversation, and pride in my lineage.  They emanate inner indulgences: artwork, healing, solace, quietude.

While cutting, thought was provoked to the many symbolism's that 'Storm at Sea' provided.  Each of us has our own 'Storm at Sea', and our outcome depends on our approach, our attitude, and our willingness to help and be helped.

However, the symbolism that provoked most thought was in how we take pieces from everyone we encounter, and those pieces, regardless of race, religion, or creed, comprise the fabric of our lives.  It is in how we assemble those pieces that provides the quality to our finished product.  No matter our personal journeys, we are intricately interwoven with those around us making us, in essence, one fabric.  The fabric of our Maker's hand.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Autumn~

In times past, autumn marked the arrival of 'hunting and gathering'.  Men would outfit themselves for the hunt and venture out to provide meats and pelts for the coming harsh winter days.  Women would harvest the gardens, gather fruits from the orchards and kindling from the forests.  Quilts were stitched with a sense of urgency while maples were tapped for their golden goodness.  Oh, the hustle and bustle of fall before the calm, quiet dormancy of winter!

Here in the Rockies, the leaves are beginning to don their finer colors punctuating the forest with golden spikes.  Pumpkin patches are nearly ready for harvest, and a sense of autumn is in the air.  Cool, crisp mornings lend to a whisper of Jack Frost.  Although I anticipate and enjoy each season, it seems the coming of autumn spurs the need to 'cozy up'.  I experimented with 'cozying up' this morning over a steaming cup of coffee by cutting a 'welcome autumn' piece while watching the first sunrise of autumn melt away the frost.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stages of Life~

I loved my childhood!  It was fun and happy.  I felt secure in knowing that my mommy and daddy were in love!

Last year, I was thanking my mother for such a wonderful childhood that harbored imagination.  I was telling her that the earliest moment I can recall from my childhood would be of me standing in the front seat of our car.  I was wearing a pretty jacket with little lambs printed all over it, and three pink buttons down the front.  There was a matching bonnet with satin ribbons that tied under my chin.  I could tell by her silence that my recollection had caught her off guard.  She quietly conveyed that it just isn't possible that I could remember that.  She told me I would have been dressed for Easter Sunday church and about nine months old.  Amazing!

With the recent birth of my little boys, life turned yet another corner.  Not only am I thankful for the stages of life I've already lived, but I am ever vigilant in becoming the best mommy I can be for those little rascals.  They, also, are experiencing their own passages of time, and it just might be that this is the passage that becomes their earliest recollection of childhood.  I want it to be a happy memory.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lest We Forget~

I cut this around the 4th of July this year.

I waited until today to post this cutting as a tribute to all the children who grieve the loss of a parent either from the September 11th disaster or the war on terror.

May they experience peace at some point in their fragile lives.

One nation under God~

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cyrel and Kayla~

Cyrel and Kayla, my oldest brothers older children, dearly loved their beautiful airedale, Allie. She was a gentle dog with great disposition.

I surprised their parents with this papercutting for Christmas 2003, and, as I recall, their eyes were a bit misty.

Home Away from Home~

In 2003, my brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a grim prognosis. The news was devestating! They were a young family at the time with four children under 5, the youngest being just nine months old. After seeking a second opinion from an expert at Duke University, hope was renewed and surgery was scheduled. My parents, my siblings, and some extended family made the wintery trip to be with my brother and his family during this difficult time.

Lodging and food were being discussed when someone informed us that Terri, a friend of the family, had offered her house as a home away from home. We were overwhelmed with gratitude!

This papercutting was gifted in thanksgiving to Terri, and commemorates family togetherness. A moment when all came together as one big family in support of my brother, his wonderful wife and their innocent little kiddos.

My brother is still fighting the good fight with his wife and kids right there with him. Nothing trumps family...nothing!

Blessings to you, Terri! You are an angel~

Laurencio's Ride~


Evening rides, weekend rides, Poker runs, Sturgis and more...this Harley has been there.

I had such a blast cutting this for my sister-in-law. She gifted the cutting to her hubby in 2004.

Twelve Days of Christmas~


My mother is inadvertently an inspiration to this piece. She is a strong lady and what she likes she really, really likes, and what she dislikes, she STRONGLY dislikes. The Twelve Days of Christmas song ranks close to the top of her list of strong dislikes. I can remember purposely singing it while working in the kitchen just for a reaction, and I was never disappointed. To this day, I think of her every time I hear the song. When she saw a photo of this piece, she did mention that she liked the papercut, but hasn't changed her mind about the song.
No doubt she will read this and smile. Hugs, Mom.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stamps~

I was introduced to stamp collecting when I was either 7 or 8 by my Aunt Nan. She collected commemorative stamps and donated them to missions. I continue to collect stamps and occasionally have a sorting day to manage my collection.

One day, on impulse, I decided a treasured stamp was worthy of its own papercut border.
The papercut border is shown here with an ordinary stamp.

Quiet Garden Moment~

This is just how I imagined one of my Victorian gardens. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Calm and serene with wrought iron furnishings bordered in hollyhocks. Even the birds seem to approve. Perfect for daydreaming.

This papercut is from 2002.

Sweet Dreams~

In 1989 while I was away at college, I found a job as a housekeeper for a wonderful couple, John and Jane, who had high social status. I needed to pay my tuition, so I accepted the job without previewing the property. When I arrived for my first day of work, I stood numb at the end of the driveway in disbelief. They lived in a magnificent old Victorian with 3 floors and a full basement. Even the porches offered a sense of welcoming solace. I was thrilled! I had found the job of a lifetime! A tiny piece of my Victorian-living dream had finally come true.
In one of the guest rooms on the second floor, there were ornate matching beds similar to this one. They were bedecked in the finest linens with antique quilts hanging on quilt racks at the foot of each bed.
This papercut brings back such fond memories. Resor Place was glory at its finest, and John and Jane made it all worthwhile.

Hunting Remembered~



In 1994, my daddy was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent medical trials, medical experiments, many operations, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. He was a medical miracle and overcame the initial onslaught of the ravages of cancer.

One of the many things he enjoyed, was hunting season. However, without the strength and stamina required for the hunt, he reluctantly bowed out and waited to hear trophy stories from nearby hunters.
I cut each of these hunting pictographs for him hoping to lessen his disappointment of not being able to join the hunt.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Sweet Sister~

I could never say enough about my sister! We have such wonderful memories from our childhood.

Together, we shared a love for the wood plank swing that hung from our big tree near the barn. The limb it was hanging from was high over our heads providing wonderful long sweeps. More often than not, when we were 'missing' from the house, one could find us swinging.

This piece was cut specifically for my sister from a carefully selected sheet of wallpaper. I cannot help but think of simpler days when I look at this.

I love you, Sherry! You're the best sister a sister could ever want...and more!

Victorian Row Houses~

In the fall of 1988, I was packing to head to Cincinatti for my first year of college. I cut certain pieces of wallpaper from my treasured books and lined the bottom of my suitcase with them. I relaxed knowing I wouldn't be without paper to cut.

Once settled into my new routine, I cut this series of stately little ladies in pursuit of my ongoing dream of Victorian living. I imagined my sister, my mother, my grandmother and I occupying these row houses allowing us to share tea and borrow a cup of sugar anytime of the day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Victorian Lady~

We lived in an old farmhouse located near Gypsy, Pennsylvania. My mother had lofty dreams of someday owning a modest home in the country with manicured lawns and gardens lavish with flowers. This house couldn't be any more opposite, but it fit our meager budget. She hated, hated, hated that house and despite the efforts she put into it, it just was not 'home' to her. She didn't allow her disappointments get her down, and succeeded at creating many wonderful family memories. After all, it was the togetherness that mattered and not so much the house.

It was during this time that I became enamored with Victorian houses. They seemed to have such welcoming personalities. I would imagine color schemes, furnishings, draperies, and dishes for my 'stately lady' as I poured over the pages of old Victoria magazines. I recall rearranging the furniture in my bedroom to mirror rooms on the pages of the magazine. I imagined they were mine as we drove by them on our way to school each day. Victorian-style consumed my being to the point that I was convinced I had been born in the wrong era. I decided I would cut the houses of my dreams out of paper so I would have them forever. They would be my inspiration when I was ready for a house of my very own.

Being as there was not paper readily available simply for the pleasure of 'cutting up', my parents allowed me to inquire with the paint stores in Punxsutawney for discarded wallpaper books. I was delighted as I exited toting seven books of paper treasuries just for me!

Once home, I sketched, snipped, cut and evaluated. I cut and I cut. I cut Victorian houses, beautiful beds, chairs and rocking chairs, roses, ornate fans, children at play, row houses and tree swings. I was so appreciative of the accolades that came with a finished cutting, I ended up giving away more cuttings than I kept.

Amongst all the cuttings, I distinctly remember cutting the pictured Victorian house for my mother in 1988. I was so proud of it and the anticipation of gifting it to her was almost unbearable. The joy on her face made me feel as though a little part of her house dreams had come true. She framed it beautifully and it still graces her walls to this day.

I'll work on getting a better photo of it on my next visit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blossoming~

So, there I sat with my freckled nose and blonde braided hair in the backseat of our 1971 Chevy Nova. I was bored. I had read as many pages from my book as a restless little girl could possibly read while waiting quietly for Daddy to finish "running for mayor" (he loved to talk). I climbed into the front seat and opened the glove box. There was a map, lots of napkins, a bottle of asprin, a pencil, and a pair of rusty scissors. Remember the safety scissors from kindergarden? Well, these scissors were a step up from safety scissors as they were pointed on the end. And oh my goodness, were they rusty!

A new interest was sparked and my bookmark soon became my first papercutting.
Creativity was beginning to blossom! I was just 14.