Nostalgia, Sentiment and Peaceful Coexistence

Many years ago, when I was a boy ( tee hee) I lived a pretty monastic life on a busy street in Hamilton, Ontario. There were very few children to play with and besides, I was a solitary sort of child anyway- always living in my own head and content with my own company. (What's new, I hear some of you ask???) I was always away somewhere else in my head, creating, imagining, dreaming! This week, two hollyhocks that persisted after the great garden culling of 2013 came into bloom in one of our front flower beds! They are not very tall and not very profuse bloomers, but they ARE in bloom! I had to dig out the old ones last year as they had succumbed to rust and weevils.

Those two little stalks of bloom INSTANTLY transported me back to my Granny's garden on that busy street in Hamilton. Very little in the way of flowers grew in that garden but hollyhocks DID bloom there. To amuse myself , I used to pick a few blooms - and Granny grew LOTS of colours- and matching buds. Then with a toothpick, or sometimes a straight pin, I would transform the hollyhock flowers into beautiful dancing ladies or fairies in colourful, fluttery gowns. I know now that I was not alone in my pursuit of this pastime but at the time, I felt terribly clever :-) I am not sure if Grandma or Aunty Lizzie showed me how to make these dollies or if I just figured it out by myself, but they were a magical outlet for my passion for flowers as well as for my passion for creating.

Today, in case I had forgotten some little trick in making hollyhock dolls, I googled it and found that I remembered EVERY step! I learned a new step too for making little "faces" too, but as that was not MY way, I ignored it. Then, of course, I had to make one doll, just for fun. I WOULD have made a whole bevy if I had had enough flowers but this one was all I felt I could spare!
All the same bloom, just different views!

I find I still love making them and have the little flower doll in a bit of water. She will likely have perished by morning :-(
Well, that is most of the nostalgia. On to sentiment! In preparation for the impending visit of DD, DSIL and Baby O, we are in a frenzy of cleanup and of chucking out to make room . Baby O is not THAT big but he comes with EQ!!! The EQ needs room so DH is trying to clear out some long held stuff in his little study so there is room on the floor for a Pack 'N' Play and a desktop clear enough to use as a changing table. I have been down in the grotto throwing out magazines, books :-( and fabric etc. Some of the discards tugged at my heartstrings but a lot of it needed to go ages ago. WHY DO WE KEEP THAT STUFF??? Then, came the hard part!!!

Years ago when our daughter was a boy ( again with the tee hee) , she was bound and determined to be a palaeontologist and to that end, she became VERY keen on geology and fossils etc. We spent many magical and wonderfully educational summer holidays in Nova Scotia , beach combing for fallen fossils at Joggins ( you are NOT allowed to pick up ANYTHING off the beach there now but we were actually encouraged to do so way back then) AND, DD learned about forams- or foraminifera, to give them their full name. Forams are tiny, one celled creatures that live in the sea and when they die, their minute skeletons wash up on the beaches , invisible to the naked eye except as a little, lacy line of dried foam on the sand ,but spectacularly exquisite under a microscope. We all had a BALL collecting sand samples and then looking at the samples with a borrowed microscope from the school where DH taught. Google the word and see for yourselves.

We collected sand samples ourselves and friends who were travelling collected them for us too. I had several big boxes in my laundry room devoted to samples and as Archaeology is now DD's chosen field, I called and asked what to do with the foram stuff. She said what I thought she'd say- chuck 'em out! She said, rightly so, that if she needs more samples , she now knows where to go and how to find them.

Well, that was a HEAP of sand and we had samples from all over the world- Nova Scotia, Scotland and England, Philippines, South China Sea, Indian Ocean, East and West coasts of USA etc. WHAT TO DO?? I simply could NOT just chuck it into the garbage- so, by way of Peaceful Coexistence, I mixed the sand all up , threw in some little shells and I am going to distribute it in our garden, symbolic of a bringing together of the whole world at our house!so now, the sand and shells from all over our poor beleaguered little world, will join with good old Canadian garden dirt to help amend it into a fruitful medium for growing- hollyhocks and other beautiful things. I call that a good day's work!

And , as a parting thought, I got two emails today that made me smile! They were announcing that two of my quilts have been juried into Central Canada SAQA's Fibre Content show here in Burlington this year in September-
Bruce's Favourite

Wire Fence II
That was nice to hear on a very wet , hot Monday!

I believe I will pass this on to the I was not going to post this week as I have clearly been doing other than quilting. However, I am now in mid experiment( stay tuned) and decided that I would pass this off as WIP ;-) Hope you have all had a great, productive week!


  1. I think if the fossils and sand samples were labelled I'd have offered them to a local school. You never know what they can do with them - even if it's some sort of art project. Of course they might not have wanted them (I recently tried to recycle large numbers of old science magazines) but they'd have had the chance. One man's (tee hee!) rubbish is another's treasure.

  2. Congratulations on your pieces acceptance into Fibre Content. The Wire Fence II is a subject dear to me... I grew up on a grape farm! And on another note... it is hard to let things go... I have been doing the same thing.

  3. Good for You. My holly hocks are seeding themselves all over. It is always a good time to get rid of stuff. By all means amend the soil. I see great things ahead!!!

  4. Congratulations!!! I love both those pieces.

  5. Thanks for your nostalgia piece. I too grew up with hollyhocks, and managed to start some in Calgary -- but then I moved. Started over here 2 years ago, and now the plants are strong and tall and budding! Apparently they are good for natural dyeing so I may give it a try. Congratulations on your latest show acceptances. Had you any doubt? ;-)

  6. Congratulations on your quilts! Great post on stuff and what to do with it.

  7. Wonderful post, Carolynn, I googled the foram.....fantastic. Have fun with little O and the rest.