Friday, February 20, 2015

Maryland Through My Lens #6: Sister Time in Sykesville

Short post this time! My sister Barb had an appointment in historic Sykesville, and I went along with her.

As we did last year, we savored crepes from the French Twist Cafe - mine berry and hers spinach and tomato with cheese.

We also browsed through an antique store and an indie bookstore (A Likely Story). I bought Susan Branch's gorgeously illustrated travel book, A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, as a birthday present for my daughter Rachel, who hopes to travel to the United Kingdom this spring.

We have lovely and historic sites in the States, too, like the beautiful old Methodist church building nestled in the center of Sykesville.

We had driven through the countryside many times during the days I was in Maryland. I kept seeing these beautiful bare white tree trunks in among the brown ones. I hadn't had much luck getting a good picture of one as we whizzed by on our way to wherever. When I mentioned this to Barb, she pulled over so I could get a photo of this glorious one. What are sisters for?

That's it for my Maryland Through My Lens series. The other posts are:
Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Maryland Through My Lens #5: Around Home

It's another post in my Maryland Through My Lens series! My two youngest daughters and I flew up there for several days earlier this month to visit family.

My favorite room at my parents' house in Maryland has always been the dining room with the big picture window looking out over the bird feeders. I haven't yet mastered bird photography, but I'll keep trying!

More outdoor photos - just a little ice and snow left on the ground for my Florida girls!

 Back inside the nice warm house...



Yours truly!

Barb and my little girl

My teenage sweetie
loves to draw on her hands!

A trip to Maryland wouldn't be the same without playing Scotch Bridge, a tradition passed down through the Hess family.

That's it for this one!

Other "Maryland Through My Lens" posts:

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Maryland Through My Lens #4: The Works of Our Hands

Welcome back to my Maryland Through My Lens series. I've been back home for over a week now.

When I was trying to figure out how to divvy up the pictures among blog posts, I decided to do it by subject. One post was on our visit to the Clara Barton home, and another on a Sunday celebration in honor of my dad's autumn wedding to Anny.

In this post, I am including several handmade pieces by the women in our family. Most of them are in Maryland, but the last two in Florida. This post will jump around the decades a bit!

The inspiring needlepoint above was created by my late grandmother, Dorothy Ransom Hess. She also enjoyed making afghans and Christmas ornaments for her children, grandchildren, many of her great-grandchildren. You can read more about her here: Sweet Grandma, Dorothy Ransom Hess.

Though I was first an oil painter, I started machine quilting as a newlywed. I haven't quilted in many years, but here are two of my early pieces. I designed and sewed this Bethlehem star as a present for my sister Barb, and it still hangs on her wall!

I found this quilt square hanging in the kitchen at my niece and nephew's apartment. I recognized the fabric, because I used it in some other quilt pieces. I think I made this one in the late 1980s.

What's with the roosters? When my sister and I were on a road trip with our family in 1976, en route from our home in California to grandmother's house in Pennsylvania, I would pester her for suggestions of what to draw. She would invariably say, "A rooster!" I thought of that shortly before we left on our trip this month, so my youngest daughter and I each sketched a rooster for her when we were doing a home school unit study on pioneers and farming. Unfortunately, at nine, she didn't realize you're supposed to keep them flat instead of folding them for transit!

Here's that sweet little one wearing a hat knit by her Aunt Barb, who is quite talented with her yarn and needles.

Barb is showing Anny one of her latest knitting projects, a shawl.

Another recent project by Barb - a hand knit sweater. This is a little detail from a picture I took while she was wearing it. The design on the right is on the front of the sweater. Isn't she talented?

Anny is an amazing knitter, too. She made this lovely lacy scalloped scarf for me for Christmas.

Shortly after we arrived, Anny pulled me aside and told me she had something that she thought I would want. It was my mother's, a small photo album with Bible verses written on index cards. What Anny didn't know is that I am the one who made it for my mother. So sweet to see it again and bring it home.

Here's a peek inside at some of the pages - such a wonderful reminder for me even now. I can't even remember when I gave these to my mom, but I'm guessing it was over 20 years ago.

Speaking of my mother, she was a amazing crafter, too. Her specialty, besides sewing dresses and blankets for her grandchildren, was stained glass. She designed these two pieces for me many years ago because I have camellia and magnolia flowers in my Florida backyard. Beautiful!

I hope you've enjoyed these "works of our hands." The phrase comes from Psalm 90:17.  

"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. One more old picture! My mother in the middle with four of my kids more than 10 years ago. The afghans were made by my grandmother.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Maryland Through My Lens #3: Celebrating Newlyweds Phil and Anny

My father, who is 78, married Anny, who is 79, in November. It was a tiny wedding on short notice, with only the pastor, one grandson, and a church member in attendance. Since they had originally planned their wedding for February, they decided to have a public affirmation of their marriage at church in the Sunday service, and then celebrate with family. I flew up last week to join the festivities.

I was designated as the event photographer, so these are my photos of the day!

My brother John, sister Barb, me, and our dad Phil
(before I changed my clothes)

Barb and her husband David

My daughter Naomi's birthday
was on Sunday!
Anny is of German-Bolivian ancestry (she is a citizen of both countries), and most of her extended family who came on Sunday were born and raised in Bolivia.

Anny's daughter Maike, Anny,
son-in-law Erwin, and
granddaughter Carla

Off to the church!
The pastor, Rev. Ginny Price, incorporated their affirmation of marriage vows into the service and invited other couples to participate as well. I appreciated her candid sermon on love.

The happy newlyweds,
reaffirming their vows

Carla sang "Ave Maria" accompanied
by my brother John

After the service, we had a celebration lunch at Hunan Manor.

My big brother and I

Anny's granddaughters, Carla and Kathi

Maike (Anny's daughter) is on the right,
and her mother-in-law Edith is on the left.
Anny's son Karl Ludwig lives in Germany,
and her daughter Birgit lives in Bolivia.

Maike's husband Erwin and Kathi's husband Evan

My little Melody

After lunch, we had a reception at Dad and Anny's house.

Edith and Anny have been close
friends for 50 years, 
ever since their children 
(who are married to each other)
were elementary students in Bolivia.

Edith is married to Max,
who is from the Netherlands
and has worked all over the world.
(I wish I could have heard his
fascinating stories at lunch.)

Barb bought the flowers for Anny 
and corsage for my dad

Vintage crystal vase
with tiny bubbles in the water

It was a truly lovely day and I enjoyed getting to know Anny's family!

You may also wish to see my last photo post on the Clara Barton house.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

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