Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My new hobby.


Recently I've discovered a new hobby!
Digital scrap-booking. It was always a mystery to me, until a friend introduced me to a free program online called "Picmonkey.com". It's a strange name, but a marvelous program. Last month they advertised a special, so I bought a year's membership which works out to $3.00 per month.
I've also discovered free scrap book images to work with online. I simply type "free images" in Google search engine, and voila, magic happens. For the above image I used a square shape to begin with, then I added a lace image, a poem by Emily Dickinson, a rose border and the sweet old-fashioned little girl.


The above image was one of the first ones I created for a doll group I'm in.
I love "png" images as they can be layered on top of other things, without any white; they have clear borders. 


A few weeks ago I participated in a contest in one of my online doll groups for Chatty Cathy, and I created a series of collages which I'll share here. I had great fun making these! All the photos are taken by me, using my Chatty Cathy doll collection and their cute props.
The above Chatty is a soft face glassine eye pig tail brunette, which I sold in 2014 to a friend.
The little washing machine is vintage, re-painted by a friend, Patricia Jean Floyd, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 58. She was very talented. 


This is my childhood Chatty Cathy. I got her in 1964 so we've been together a while!
She is wearing a dress I bought, with an apron by "Gloria's Goodies", a mother daughter sewing team on eBay. The hutch and chair were purchased in Fife WA last month. The little vintage iron was purchased in Vancouver for only $2.00! The background is a scene from American Girl's Molly character, no longer made. I love to iron, too!


Here is my childhood doll again, wearing a dress made by me. The child's sewing machine was made in the USA zone of Germany, after WWII. I paid $30 for it years ago, and bought it here in Vancouver. 


I had fun creating this one, as I LOVE to shop! Especially for fabric!
Or dolls and their props! I bought this buggy (that's what we call them in Canada) a long time ago. They used to be popular for holding fresh fruit on your kitchen counter.
I'm afraid that's never happened! The "Picmonkey" program has the darling typewriter style font.
This is a prototype Chatty Cathy; she is the first one produced by Mattel in 1960.


Here is my childhood Chatty at work again.
The vintage toy fridge was also painted by Patricia. I'm glad I bought her cute items when I had the chance. 


I had fun creating this collage too! There are a few talented artists who share their cute designs for FREE online! Here is my childhood doll on the right, with a visiting Chatty doll. I made their hair ties and aprons.


Ah...the day of rest. It seems not many people stop and relax from all work on Sunday these days, but in our home we sure do! We still attend church in the morning, have a quiet lunch, and read or nap in the afternoon. We also go for long walks with our dog. This Chatty is a pigtail glassine eyed Canadian doll. She is one of my favourites. My husband bought her cute violin as a surprise for me a few years ago. I gave the piano to Jackie, a friend in Bellingham, WA.
I hope you enjoyed viewing my collages.
By Loretta Houben


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Days of the week T-towels.


A long time ago, way back in 1981 when I was engaged to Robert on November 1st, my mom Susie began to plan for my wedding shower. She had saved a set of 1940's flour sack fabric for T-towels (from Amity Oregon and which were really used for flour sacks) and she picked out a design and began to embroider while I was at work. She had 5 months to complete them in her busy schedule.


She chose a darling duck pattern and I just love her tiny exquisite stitches and the pretty colour scheme which she chose. I used the T-towels for many years, as that's what one did in the 1980's!
But then I came to my senses and realized that if I kept on using them they would wear out.
Now they are carefully kept in a dark cupboard.


For Christmas in 1972 my mom gave me a lovely yellow sewing basket complete with needles and embroidery thread, and a set of T-towel fabric so I could sew my own. I chose an iron on pattern from Harvey's store on Kingsway and Earles. I picked little Dutch girls, and set to. It was hard work. 


I finally completed the set years later as an older teenager.
I think it's interesting that I married a man of Dutch descent, don't you?
By Loretta Houben

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!


Happy Mother's Day to all the dear deserving moms out there!
This photo was taken on May 9, 2015.
Me and my mother, Susie Williams.
Leona and I spent the afternoon at her home because it's quite difficult for my dad to get around these days, and we didn't have access to a car. Leona gave my mom the beautiful bouquet and I gave her a pretty nightie and housecoat and a Hello magazine with the new little Princess Charlotte's photos.
We brought her Chinese food lunch and enjoyed a nice time together.


Matthew and I. I've enjoyed being a mom for 26 years.
It's the best job in the world. There's nothing quite like it.


In daguerreotype form!


I don't have too many photos of my mom and me together.
This is one of my favourites, taken in the little yard at our home on Euclid Ave in Vancouver.
This is at the corner of Tyne and Euclid. That's Central Park in the far distance with no towers in sight as far as the eye can see.


I love this photo too. My mom was expecting Leona who was born in May that year.
  


I'm thankful for the wonderful Christian mother I was blessed with, who patiently taught me the most important things in life, and who was an example for me of how a godly woman should live.
Thanks, Mom! I love you so much.
By Loretta Houben

Saturday, May 2, 2015

It's a girl for Prince William and Kate!

How exciting! A darling baby girl was born today, May 2, 2015, to Prince William and Kate. Isn't she adorable? She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz. Kate delivered her in 2 1/2 hours after being admitted to hospital.
Then after 10 hours she went home!

It's amazing to see all these photos online. I snipped some of them from video clips.
I haven't seen any of this on TV yet...just on my computer.

I admire how Kate dresses so modestly and with such a classic style.
Isn't she beautiful? I love her dress! And she is in heels!

I wonder what the little princess's name will be.
I love Catherine, Victoria or Alice.



And here's the sweet older brother, Prince George!
He's just the cutest little boy.

I remember when Prince William was born. Wow. How time passes.
Do you notice Prince George's shoes? I wanted a pair like that for Matthew, but never could find them. Marlene looked high and low when she was in England for 6 months in 1990, but we think the shoes must only be made for royal children!
Congratulations to the sweet couple. Now you are a perfect family.
By Loretta Houben

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Brutke homestead in Amity, OR.


I'm having fun using Picmonkey.com...try it for yourself!
It's all free. There is an upgrade for more content, but what I've used here is free.
I am learning how to make collages, and I'm learning how to layer.
One thing for sure, I can't believe it's been 40 years since this happy summer when I was only 15.


This is the only photo I have of the inside of the old cabin my maternal grandparents, Adolph and Helen Brutke, bought in the 1910's. (I can't remember the exact year they moved here from Taylor, Texas.) It was called a "cabin", and the big bedroom in which I and two of my sisters are standing in was added on after my grandparents bought it. When I knew it was going to be torn down so that my Uncle Ed could build a new tool shed, I was heartbroken. I think my mom was too.
I took a piece of wallpaper from the wall of that bedroom. I need to scan it in. It has a white dotted stripe, with tiny blue flowers in between, on what looks like a pale grey background.


Each summer we had such fun on this farm. It was simply marvelous to unwind from the big city of Vancouver BC, and roam free and wild over Uncle Ed's acreage. Down by the creek it was so relaxing. We would pick cherries in the morning, and play here in the afternoon. To the left of this photo, there was a steep hill with a small grove of tall fir trees. I loved to sit underneath them in the shade, during a hot and humid day, and listen to the breeze in the branches above.
Such happy times, 40 years ago.
By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A spring outfit for Isabelle!


I'm so far behind in this blog of mine!
I've been very busy in 2015.
But I will stop and pause and show you a collage I put together using Picmonkey which is a free program online, however for a month I'm trying out the Royale version and I'm already hooked.
I used the green background from the Graphicsfairy online.
The rest is from Picmonkey Royale.

This is neglected Isabelle. I went to my local AG boutique on Robson St last Saturday, and I spotted this cute outfit on sale, marked down from $36 Cdn to $24.50. It comes with the yellow barrette, green top, blue pants and cute yellow shoes. I just love it and so does Isabelle!
I also purchased the darling little mini doll carrier. 
Isabelle is so happy!
By Loretta Houben

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Remembering my great uncle, Stanley James Palmer.


100 years ago, little Stanley pictured above, died in Tonypandy, Wales.
This is the only photo I have of him. He was 2 years old and 5 months.
This photo was taken shortly before his death.
My paternal grandma, Alma May Williams, often told us about him, and why he died.
It's a sad but common story. My Grandma felt badly as she thought it was through her negligence he died. She had taken him to the outhouse in the back yard, (she was age 7) on a bitterly cold day, and alas, she forgot about him. Someone heard him crying at the back door. He caught pneumonia and died.


In 2007, Phil Evans, whom I found online somehow somewhere, helped me out and sent me the above scan. I have no idea where he got it. It shows the notice of interment for little Stanley in the Trealaw Cemetery in Tonypandy, Wales. It lists his age and date of death, the address of where the Palmer family was living, and the signature of my great grandfather, Herbert Palmer.


Here is an old picture of Trealaw Cemetery found online.


A recent photo for Trealaw Cemetery found online.

This is the closest I've come to the cemetery, in July 2007.
It's to the top right of the photo above. That's Matthew and Robert.
We had visited Penygraig where the Palmer's relocated before immigrating to Canada in 1927.
I wonder what little Stanley would of thought of relatives coming to visit his part of the world.
Life is very interesting. I wished to remember Stanley and this is the only way I know how.
By Loretta Houben