Friday, February 25, 2011

Whoa, flashbacks!

I have become a member of the Polish Club. I say that because it's never been something I planned to do. The local Polish Club, ie Polish American Citizen's Club, has a growing membership and is gaining popularity among a younger group of people. So it has become very active. They now have country music concerts, ping pong tournaments, and free lunches on Saturdays in the winter. And it's always crowded.

But that's not why I joined. My husband is now a director and he thought I might enjoy going to a wine tasting he was organizing. Mostly women were signing up to find a chardonnay suitable for the growing number of women members. So he bought me a membership.

I remember the Polish Club of my youth as a place for old men to hang out to smoke and drink beer. Every Friday in the summer there was a polka dance with a live band and my dad, who was a polka dj, had a one hour remote broadcast from the dance. My friends & I sold soda at the dances to raise money for the uniforms we needed as the baton twirling contingent of the Polish American Veterans group that marched in several parades each summer. Parades in the local small towns are pretty scarce now. Polka dances are becoming pretty scarce as well.

So as the Polish Club of my youth considers whether to close its doors due to an aging and dwindling membership, the Polish Club of my maturity continues to grow and prosper. My husband is attempting to bring back polka dances (it is a Polish club after all) with the first one happening next month. And as a member I'll be at the front door collecting the $2 admission fee. Deja vu.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Down Time

I haven't posted in a few days. I've put away my jewelry supplies and am trying to work on other things. A new blog post was just one of them.

There's the taxes. I don't actually do the paperwork but I do fill in my accountant's questionnaire and find all the papers he needs for both the business and home. It's time consuming and I now have time.

There's all the hunting through genealogy sites and making a list of LDS films to look at soon.

The house needs a good cleaning.

And I have some sewing (mending) that's piling up.

There are a couple more craft show applications that need to be completed.

I have lots of time to do all these things since I now have a pretty good inventory of jewelry.

So why is it that with all these things to do I can't pass my containers of jewelry supplies without sitting down and making yet another piece of jewelry?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Handmade with Love at Eastworks

Yesterday I sold at a small but very impressive craft show in Easthampton. It's February! What's wrong with me?? It's cold, it could snow. Well it did snow for about 20 minutes but mostly it was a bright, sunny day. And people came... many people... all day long.

Aviva of Sieberdesigns and Karen of Stargazer Studios organized this craft show in a large room on the first floor of Eastworks in Easthampton. There were 22 vendors, many of them members of the Artisans of Western Mass. The organizers managed to get sponsorship, gave out goodie bags to the first 50 people, and worked very hard to get the word out about the show.

I decided to do this first time show because I knew several of my friends were going to be selling there. It's always fun when you know the other vendors. We have a few laughs, get caught up and talk about things like the new technology for taking credit cards. So I had fun and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came out to support us. Best of all, I sold several pieces of steampunk and even a couple of my fine silver necklaces.

It was a great mix of crafts. I chatted all day with fine artists Diane Clancy and Susan Elkin in the next booth. Soapbaker was getting a lot of attention across the aisle from me as was Doobadoop with her colorful display. Noelle Horsfield's beautiful cut paper designs were hung on the opposite wall and I had a nice view of them. Katie Richardson brought her glass and metal work. I saw several customers walking around with Pop's biscotti and chocolates. Underhill House had knitted items and Zoe from Valley of the Doll had a great collection of altered art items and jewelry.

Congratulations to Karen & Aviva for hosting a great little craft fair. Looking forward to next year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Simple, Elegant, and Mostly Recycled

My daughters and I create both traditional and non-traditional jewelry. The steampunk pieces made of vintage watch parts and old skeleton keys look very non-traditional. And, of course, there's our more traditional gemstone and precious metal jewelry.

My older daughter has now put together some pieces that kinda fall somewhere in between. Made of newer hardware found in a stash of old sewing machine parts or in a box of small items we picked up at a tag sale, she's created some simple and more modern designs mostly in black.

Somehow when we find ourselves alone with almost any kind of small objects and a little wire or chain, my daughters and I manage to create jewelry.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Retirement Means Cultivating Family Trees

Whenever I'm in a social situation with people of a certain age inevitably the subject of ancestors and genealogy comes up. As we get older it seems we have more time to think about our heritage and wonder where we came from. Having worked as a librarian most of my life, I was the logical candidate for the job of finding my family's people, compiling data, cataloging it all.

Several years ago I was contacted by a few very dedicated relatives who were well into the genealogy of my husband's family. So I had a good head start. One even managed to find the connecting generation for our 2 family lines and eventually sent a 4 foot long family tree. The others had done a lot of work but no one had gone back far enough to find the connections.

Newly retired and of a certain age, I'm resuming my search for family. I was really certain that by now everything would be digitized. Not only is it not but when you find relevant material you have to pay for a membership to access it. It's really too bad that I can't find online what I need on these miserable snowy days when I can't leave the house.

So I'll be contacting the local Polish Genealogical Society once the weather starts to get warmer and the Latter Day Saints who have microfilmed millions of records and I will continue searching the old fashioned way.

While my husband's family is about 75% complete, there's still my mother's family for whom I have some information. And I have almost nothing on my father's family. While the names may not be Smith or Jones, it turns out that these names are fairly common.

So many names to wade through!