Happy 86th Birthday, Dad

My Dad, who turns 86 in a few days, published a book in January. My last blog post was celebrating still being creative, and creating, at age 85. But the beauty of creating at this late stage is that all the years’ of joy and sadness of life are also layered into the art. This is also true of my Dad’s book.

My parents were married for 58 years. And all the events described in Dads book were also a tribute to and love song for my Mom, who passed in 2013. She helped him start the book, but she didn’t see Dad finish it and get it published. Most times that I talk with Dad about his book, he comments that he wished Mom could have seen it published.

So I decided to create an art piece that visually demonstrates The physicality of Moms presence in Dads story. I took my favorite photo of them and created a piece of strip book art on the pages of Dads book. The picture is literally cut into strips and glued to the edge of the pages.

Mom and Dad circa 2005 (?)

I had to use two copies of the book in order to have enough pages to fully incorporate the image and to have enough strength and stability to hold the piece together. But I like to think I needed two books just like they needed each other to have the strength and wisdom to make it through their life together.

The gold button on the ribbon is a reference to old family stories. Though Mom and Dad grew up in the same town, they didn’t start dating until Dad was at West Point. Mom always claimed he was too much of a cut up in high school for her. Dad always said she was attracted to the gold buttons on his cadet uniform.

This is a deeply personal piece. On the surface, it’s a lovely, but perhaps more crafted than artistic, representation of an old photo. It’s when I explain the interconnected meanings of the parts that the depth of the whole comes into perspective. Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope you like it.

The Importance of Pom Poms

I’m not sure that Pom Pom’s really are all that important. But they are whimsical and slightly irresistible. Personally, I treasure the bits of whimsy in my life given the stress of real world work and family commitments. Pom Poms seem to be having a Moment in the the home decor and DIY community too. Which is just fine with me. During a last minute run to the mall during the holidays, my daughter and I saw the throw pillow on the right and we did the classic . . .’oh I could make that. . . ‘ that all crafter’s are prone to do. Of course, by the time we bought the yarn, the pillow, and the professional Pom Pom making tool, we probably could have just bought the pillow in the mall. But the result is the picture on the left. And an opportunity to share how easy and fun and soul-satisfying making Pom Pom’s is.

We found our supplies at Michaels and the Pom Pom making tool is manufactured by Clover . . . it takes about 2-3 minutes to make a Pom Pom and little to no concentration. You unfold the ‘wings’ on the tool, wind yarn around each side in turn, and then cut the yarn along the split between the ‘wings’ of the tool. Using a piece of the same yarn, run that piece around the split between the two halves of the tool, tie as tight a knot as possible and then open up both wings and pry the tool apart to extract a finished poof ball. Very satisfying. I made about 25 of the Pom Poms in two sizes. The hardest part, honestly, was figuring out how to attach the Pom Pom’s to the pillow. I tried gluing them on, but they didn’t stick very well and I wasn’t happy with the hard spots left by the glue. Ultimately, I sewed the Pom Pom’s on — it’s easier to sew them on if you start from the center and add on towards the outer edge.

The Pom Pom pillow is now tucked onto the guest room bed — adding a little extra cozy for when the kids come home to visit.