Something Old

The final countdown has begun–there are less than 4 weeks left until the wedding! There is something very real about having that “over a month left” buffer, and now that it’s gone. I’m stressed. But with much help and plugging away, I know I will get there.

For the next few weeks I’m going to run a series on different pieces of my wedding outfit, going by the “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” adage. I didn’t start out with any intent of going by that adage, but once the pieces started falling into place for it anyway, it seemed only logical to follow it through. Today, we begin with my something old.

I’ve mentioned before that it’s been very difficult doing this wedding thing without my mom. Although I’m very blessed with the friends and family I have around me who are constantly pitching in and bolstering me up, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s supposed to be there, on that day. I tried to capture as much of her as I could, but it still wasn’t quite enough.

One day, when I was looking through her jewelry, searching for her memory, I came across a very important necklace.

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I remember my mom treasuring that necklace, because it reminded her of her mother, who died when she was even younger than my mom. I remember her telling me that she had gotten a jeweller to make the wire wrapping to make it into a pendant and keep the stone safe. I can still feel the significance of it, when I hold it.

I knew as soon as I held it that I had to wear it when I got married. The only issue is that the earrings I made match with my dress, with their pearls and silver. Gold? Not a match with that dress, or those earrings. Which means that I need to either mismatch (still an option), or make new earrings that tie in the gold of the necklace with some silver. I’ve been mulling over ways to do it for several days now and still have not come up with anything. I haven’t given up yet though! And regardless of the earrings, I know wearing that necklace will help me get through that big day all that much stronger.

See you back here next week for “Something New”!

Capturing the Memories

This last weekend, I visited the place I will get married in just 47 days. It is a place that has a lot of meaning for my family, and I have a lot of wonderful memories there. It is the place that I feel my mother the strongest–which is one of the main reasons we chose to get married there. That, and it is beautiful.

Being there, as wonderful as it is, is a bit of a tease. I feel just that much closer to my mother, but she is still untouchable. As the wedding draws closer, I feel the desperate need to find things that remind me of her, to capture her memory. Slowly, I begin to realize that no matter how many things I gather that remind me of her in one place, it will never be enough.

I have questions. Questions that can only be answered by her. People tell me that she would love my partner, that she would be so happy for me, and that she, in the end, wouldn’t care what I do with my last name. But I want to hear it from her. I want to know, with certainty, that she would, indeed, be excited for this wedding. Because I don’t know. And it is hurting my heart.

I’ve been told to look inwards, because her memory is as much alive within me as anyone else. I’ve looked. Maybe I am doing it wrong, but all I have found is scattered memories and sadness. There is not enough there for me to answer my questions. I have hope that one day those memories will coalesce into something solid. But I cannot escape the possibility the memories will simply become more vague, and this is as solid as it ever gets.

So I need help. For those of you who knew my mother, please help me capture her memory by sending me your favourite memory/memories of her. For everyone, have you ever successfully captured a lost loved one’s memory? Or is this an impossible task?

A Tree Of Memories

Christmastime, to me, has always been about family. It’s about being with those you love, thinking of those who are far, and remembering those who are no longer with us. It is a wonderful time, and sometimes a hard time. But it is always full of love.

My family has started many traditions over the years that I now associated with what gives the holidays meaning for me. One of the most important is the tree–it must meet several requirements to be considered a “real Christmas tree”.

Our First Christmas Tree

First, it has to be real. None of that fake tree crap. It smells wonderful, looks wonderful, and keeping it alive for 3 weeks really makes me feel like I accomplished something.

Second, we have to cut it down ourselves. That’s right, down on those hands and knees in the dirt, sawing that sucker down. Just gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t it?

Third, it must have coloured lights. White lights look very classy, I admit, but that’s not the look I want. I leave the classy trees to classy people.

Fourth, it must have moving ornaments. Some of you may not have had the pleasure of these particular motorized ornaments, but they are pretty much the best thing ever. Unless I hear that buzz of tiny motors, it doesn’t seem like a real tree.

The little elves rotate around the tree to "decorate it"

The little elves rotate around the tree to “decorate it”

Lastly, mostly importantly, there are the picture decorations. I could probably suffer through the absence of 2 – 4 as long as I had these (not the fake tree though, never the fake tree). They contain memories, that you can put up on your tree, all the while reminiscing about all the good times, and all the people you love. It is an especially good way to remember loved ones, be they human, pets, or just dear inanimate objects.

Picture Ornament

And because it’s the holiday season, I am going to be generous enough to share the how-to for these cherished decorations.

DIY Picture Decorations

Materials:

  • thin cardboard (file folders work really well)
  • wrapping paper
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • a pencil
  • a photograph (not an original!)
  • ribbon
  • single hole punch
  • Approximately 3.5″ and 4″ round stencils (I used a small sour cream container for both, it was perfect! Other options are lids, using a compass or mugs)
  • glitter (optional)
The tools (minus the hole punch)

The tools (minus the hole punch)

On the cardboard, draw a circle 3.5″ in diameter and cut it out – if you want to make multiples, this can be kept and used as a template, so I suggest using it to draw another

Trace the 3.5" circle onto the file folder

Trace the 3.5″ circle onto the file folder

Trace a circle 3.5″ in diameter on the back of the photo and cut along the line

Trace 3.5" circle onto the back of the photograph

Trace 3.5″ circle onto the back of the photograph

Use glue stick to glue photo to cardboard

Photo and cardboard glued together

Photo and cardboard glued together

Trace a circle 4″ in diameter on the boring side of the wrapping paper, and cut it out (sensing a pattern yet?)

Trace 4" circle on wrapping paper

Trace 4″ circle on wrapping paper

Put glue all over the boring side of the wrapping paper circle. Stick the exposed cardboard side in the center of the wrapping paper circle, then fold edges of wrapping paper over the photo.

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Glue the photo-cardboard to the wrapping paper and press the exposed edges onto the photo

Use hole punch to put a hole through top of the ornament. Cut about 8″ of ribbon and loop it through the hole, tying off the ends.

Tada!

Tada!

Optional fun bonus steps:

  • Put glue on the exposed wrapping paper on the photo side, and sprinkle some glitter on. (Ooooh shiny!)
  • Stick a label on the back of that sucker! 20 years from now you may not remember who that person was, or why the photo was significant. Then you have arguments over who the baby in the picture was, where the picture was taken, who took it…(I may or may not be speaking from personal experience)

This Christmas, I’m very excited to make some new ones including my fiance and his family, so that we can start our own collection of memories to put on our tree every year.

Your turn: what memory would you make an ornament out of?