Maggie’s Shire – Creating A Pandemic Fairy Land

Do you believe in fairies, love creative re-purposing, or like positive stories about how people spend their time? You might be interested in what my fellow third culture friend Miriam Lusk Berry has been up to during this pandemic. In addition to being a nurse, Miriam is a Mom, a daughter who gets to live with her own Mother (rather than be separated) and has a beautiful Grand Pyrenees mix named Maggie. Maggie deserves some credit, for it is her walks that produce the treasures used in creating her “shire.”

I love a good re-purposing story and I love people who pick up trash when out walking. In the case of Miriam, she not only picks up after Maggie, but picks up natural and man made debris to use in constructing fairy houses. I also enjoy learning how people spend their time and find joy during difficult times. Look at this fairy house made of bark, beads, twigs, moss and hand painted styrofoam!

Miriam, a Scotch/Welsh American, was actually raised in Hong Kong and Macau. She remembers studying examples of Chinese cork art as a child and was drawn to the life of miniatures. Her idea was to build some miniature homes similar to the Hobbit Houses of the J.R.R. Tolkien stories. The result was beautiful little fairy houses and bonsai like art. You can buy fairly garden houses and other accessories, but they are ugly and often made of plastic. It’s much more creative to clean up the trails around your house and use the bits and pieces to make your own. Miriam has a love of bead making, and and those are also integrated into the designs.

After constructing the tiny houses, Miriam sprays them with a clear water-proofing treatment and “plants” them in her garden. They are said to bring good luck. So far, they have lasted several weeks through several rain storms. Behold Maggie’s Shire:

Next up on “Project Shire” will be a couple of cairns, some miniature tree swings and stacks of cut logs. Have you repurposed anything lately? What have you been doing to bring new life to old things in your life?

Frame Job – Vintage Framing

IMG_6411 (2) Mom and Me.jpg

Along with the love of art and photography comes my obsession with framing. Vintage framing. Growing up, I always had a large collection of frames in which placed photos of friends and family. I preferred antique or vintage frames, but any frame would do. In part, this was due to my military brat upbringing and the longing to hold on to memories of friends after multiple moves or family I rarely saw (and in some cases never knew.) But I also think I got this from my Mother,  Artist Jacqueline Stubbs. She was the same way. Every time I moved, one of her contributions to my unpacking would be the creation of a family wall. Here is one of her with me as an infant, on my current family wall. In this case the frame and the photo are vintage!! Continue reading

Grieving is Unfinished Work

IMG_5395 (1) Man and baby

Water color portrait by Jacqueline Stubbs

Sometimes I have to write something for myself – about my Mom. I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately. Not that I don’t think about her throughout each day, because I do. I’m talking about the thoughts and questions that bring me to tears. The kind of boiling tears that make you walk around the house carrying tissues and not daring to put on mascara or go out because you’ll look like hell and start crying all over again when anyone asks how your day is going. Continue reading

Navy Fathers and Their Daughters

 

IMDB NAS Emerald Point

The other day I found the first episode of NAS Emerald Point on YouTube. Having lived on two Navy bases growing up, I was excited by this show (CBS 1983-84 season). I’d never seen the life of military dependents portrayed on TV. Often, one hears about the sacrifices military families make to support the careers of their fathers and husbands.  The show touched on this to some extent, but also featured a Navy Daughter following in her Father’s footsteps by graduating from the US Naval Academy and being accepted into flight school. It made me think about the opportunities that were presented to me as a Navy Daughter. I didn’t go into the service, but my Father’s service gave me the chance to live, work and study in many places. It also exposed me to Supply Chain, which I spent the first 20 years of my career performing. The TV show featured another real life Navy Daughter, my class-mate actress Stephanie Dunnam. We first met when we were 13 and I felt a geeky pride to see her in this show. She didn’t follow in her Father’s footsteps, but one of her Father’s tours of duty gave her life changing experiences. Continue reading

New Traditions

 

angel and dogCreative Pension Payment:  Learning New Things About Old Friends

My friend Judy Mackey told me about the red string of fate.  I was not familiar with the Asian legend of gods tying an invisible red string around those that are soul mates destined to be married.  Judy had written a short story about this, and it came up when I told her I wanted to start writing about traditions.  As a military dependent with no roots, I felt like my life was lacking in traditions.  I started to wonder how people with similar circumstances created traditions for themselves. I decided to start with Judy since we are similarly situated; middle-aged, no children/grand-children, grew up as a military dependent, etc. Continue reading