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Kaleidoscope in Orange

Kaleidoscope Box
Kaleidoscope Box in Orange, circa 1970, Japan.

This Kaleidoscope has moved many places with me, and I don’t remember when it came into my possession. Looking at it now, I see the type as 1970’s, in the way time makes us able to classify collections, characteristics that are invisible to us as children.

Butterfly Porthole, Kaleidoscope from Japan, circa 1970.
Butterfly Porthole, Kaleidoscope from Japan, circa 1970.

The butterfly revealed by the orange circle was the most fascinating butterfly.  It had a window to the world.  The box has two of these portholes, on opposite sides.

Butterfly Kaleidoscope from Japan, circa 1970.
Butterfly Kaleidoscope from Japan, circa 1970.

The Kaleidoscope has the heft of a mailing tube, with a visible seam where the label wraps around.  The eyepiece is a hole cut from red cardboard, revealing the plastic underneath.  There are no objects orbiting around inside the case to create the patterns. This is a type called a Teleidoscope, which according to David Brewster, Scottish physicist and inventor of the Kaleidoscope, means the mirrors inside transform the world around you into art.

I remember pointing the Butterfly Kaleidscope at the world around me as a girl, and seeing transformation, and yet recognizing some of the forms and colors, even as they were reflected.

Great at Eight: Tool Set for a Girl who Wanted to Build

Happy Birthday Card when I turned 8.
Happy Birthday Card when I turned 8.

On the occasion of celebrating an Orange Tuesday Birthday, I went into the archives for this birthday card with a whimsical orange giraffe.  My mother neatly wrote what my gifts were inside the card.  I don’t remember the dress, but I remember the tool set.

You're 8.  That's Great!
You’re 8. That’s Great!

I found the dollhouse I made with this tool set at age 8.  My father supervised as I hammered together scraps of plywood.  The wallpaper in the kitchen may be a scrap of the wallpaper from our actual kitchen.  The stove is an empty vanilla pudding box.  That is an orange light switch on the right.

Kitchen in the Dollhouse
Kitchen in the Dollhouse of the 1970’s

The wallpaper in the living room came from our neighbor Mrs. Firth.  The loopy orange carpet was found in many parts of our full size house.  Can you tell it was the Seventies?  I created a pastel bookcase and just noticed the row of love poems across the top shelf, which is in counterpoint to the rather forlorn spool person facing the wall.  I feel like interrupted a serious conversation.

Living Room in the Dollhouse of the 1970's
Living Room in the Dollhouse of the 1970’s

I don’t remember playing with dolls inside this house, but only the process of creating the building, and furnishing the rooms. In a journal from grade 3, I describe building a yard for the dollhouse out of Lego. The dollhouse was my world to bring forth.

Orange Lillies by Ruth Dupuit.

Friendship and Flowers

Orange Lillies by Ruth Dupuit.
Orange Lilies and the Lone Yellow. Photo by Ruth Dupuit.

 

My friend Ruth sent me this photo from her garden.  She said it made her think of me(orange) and Stratoz(flowers).  The yellow emerging from the front makes the point that orange contains yellow!  I met Ruth when I was 12.  Our fathers had adjacent offices at University, and Ruth’s father told Ruth to look for me on the first day at my new school.  It’s amazing how one suggestion can turn into a life-long friendship.  Ruth lived close to the school, whereas I took public transit.  She would invite me over to have lunch at her house.  Ruth’s mother makes me think of orange, since she would send me to the fruit drawer in the kitchen, and oranges were the only fruit I liked.

Margaret and Ruth 1983
Margaret and Ruth, 1983. Photo by Fred Clandfield.

 

Ruth’s father was a fine photographer.  I scanned this photo of his, and noticed the soft focus of the doors against our portrait of friendship.  Ruth takes after her father with her fine photography as well.

Sorprendido

A is for Anaranjado: A to Z Challenge 2014

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 

Sorprendido
Sorprendido circa 1976.

 

Fittingly, the first day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2014 is Orange Tuesday, and my theme for the challenge is color.

As a girl from Canada, I spent grade 4 in El Paso, TX, my parents’ home town, while my father was on sabbatical.  I went into Spanish class behind all the kids who had taken Spanish since Kindergarten, or who already knew the language.  My Spanish teacher was encouraging, and I enjoyed drawing and labeling my familiar world in unfamiliar words.

I learned the names for colors, like anaranjado for orange tinted, named for the fruit naranja, the orange.  In illustrating surprise, my subject had orange socks and an orange sweater.  She looks creepily tranformed by the surprise, all the blue drained from her eyes, and an open mouth as if to scream.

Later, I realized I knew the Spanish color for green already, in the dish my mother made, Chile Verde.

From the Attic: Embroidery in Orange circa 1975

Coats & Clark Book No. 244: Embroidery in Orange
Coats & Clark Book No. 244: Embroidery in Orange, 1975.

Embroidery floss carried color to me as a girl.  Anchor Stranded Cotton came loosely coiled and held together with tiny paper labels, and woe to anyone who lost one of the bands while working to unfurl enough floss to thread the needle.  I don’t believe the colors made up for the tangle, and the frustration that set into my shoulders when stitching.  This sun applique had dark orange, tangerine and nectarine satin stitch, and french knots for the the centers of the circles.  I loved the colors, the silky texture, the way the thread built up the linen stretched across the embroidery hoop, but I avoided stitching, leaving the project in my sewing basket, which itself had a satin lining.

Christmas Embroidery Thread via Alicia Gallo on Flickr
Christmas Embroidery Thread via Alicia Gallo on Flickr

I wanted to love embroidering, in order to collect more embroidery thread.  Look at this wonderful collection from Alicia Gallo on Flickr!

What do you collect because of the colors?

 

My Snow Man March 8, 1975 in Edmonton, AB

The 40 Below Anthology: Sharing Stories of Edmonton Winters and my 1975 Snowman Captured on Film

 

My Snow Man March 8, 1975 in Edmonton, AB
My Snow Man March 7, 1975 in Edmonton, AB

 

My copy of 40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology arrived this week.  I was excited to see my name in the table of contents and look forward to reading many accounts of Edmonton winters.  I took this photo of a snow man(as I referred to him) with my mother’s Brownie camera in 1975 when I was 8 years old.  I don’t remember the actual making of this snow man, but I remember the photo.  I built with snow sticky enough to mold the form, the kind you can roll a snowball on the ground into a a larger and larger sphere. I wonder what the buttons and eyes are made of.  The one arm looks suspiciously like a kitchen utensil, and the perhaps a doll’s toque on top, with a pompom.  His expression is stoic(perhaps he predicted his fate).   He stands near my favorite weeping birch tree with the white bark that I could peel off in scrolls and imagine writing novels on.

Snow Man Diary
Snow Man Diary

My third grade teacher had us write a journal, and I discovered this entry when going through my old papers in the attic.  Someone had knocked down my snow man.  I don’t remember that either.  I was comforting myself with the photo I had taken of it, and the possibility of rebuilding.  My teacher was concerned whether it would be warm enough.  On a whim, I looked up the weather for that date on the Government Canada climate website, and March 8th was about 14 degrees Fahrenheit.  March 7th was just at freezing and it snowed.   My teacher asked if I used water in my craft of snow man making, and I had an unequivocal no.  Perhaps my Texan parents didn’t have the technique to pass on to me.  I don’t know if I rebuilt, but looking at the data, I would say no.

Check out the 40 Below book trailer, with its own theme song.

 

 Through a Brownie Camera

Zoom 1975

Z is for ZOOM and Stained Glass Cookies, A to Z Challenge 2013

Zoom 1975
Do a ZOOMdo, edited by Bernice Chesler, Little, Brown & Company, 1975

Z is for ZOOM. In the 1970s, Zoom was a place I wanted to be. Although I lived in Canada, a transmitter relayed the wonder of WGBH-Boston to my television set via Spokane’s PBS station.  I didn’t know where Boston was, except as the home of ZOOM, where kids my age made things.  This is the essence of what captivated me: making.  ZOOM kids encouraged the audience to write them letters, and the address was incorporated into the show with such rhythm, that I had it memorized.

As an adult, I found a copy of Do a ZOOMdo at a thrift store, and all the ZOOM goodness was mine for a dollar.  The pages are saturated with color, and instructions for many of the projects I watched raptly at age 8 or 9.  I kept it on the shelf in reserve, just happy it was there.  I picked it up to write this post, and yes, the most memorable project is there:  Stained Glass Cookies.

Stained Glass Cookies from ZOOM circa 1975.
Stained Glass Cookies from ZOOM circa 1975.

Two details imprinted themselves.  One was the sour ball candy, and how the kids crushed them and filled in the cookie dough frames.  The other was how baking transformed what was crushed into translucent color.  It is no surprise I married a man who eventually became a stained glass artist. . .

Bonus:  Bernadette Yao’s Butterfly Arms(if you watched ZOOM you know what I’m talking about.)  Also, the ZOOM logo has some fine orange in it for Orange Tuesday.

My previous A to Z posts.

More images on my A to Z Challenge 2013 Pinterest Board.

A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2013

Y is for Ysleta, TX and the Texas Readers Club, A to Z Challenge 2013

Ysleta Spanish Mission, near El Paso, Texas. Established in 1682
Ysleta Spanish Mission, near El Paso, Texas. Established in 1682 via Boston Public Library on Flickr.

Y is for Ysleta, TX. I lived in El Paso, TX during the 4th grade, when my father was on sabbatical, and we rented a house near my grandparents. I went to Loma Terrace Elementary School part of the Ysleta Independent School District.  The name Ysleta came from the mission settlement, established in 1682 by Spaniards and Tigua Indians fleeing the Pueblo Revolt in NM.  El Paso annexed Ysleta in 1955.  I didn’t know any of this when I was in the 4th grade, but I did love the sound of the word Ysleta.

Texas Readers Club. 1977.
Texas Readers Club. 1977.

Moving from Canada to the desert of Western Texas was a shock.  One way I insulated myself was reading.  My father kept our schedule of visiting the library on Saturdays.  I have 5 gold stars on my Texas Readers Club Certificate of Award.  Each star stood for 10 books.  Now I want to look up the authors in the border of the certificate.  I only recognize Lois Lenski.

My previous A to Z posts.

More images on my A to Z Challenge 2013 Pinterest Board.

A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2013

San Francisco de Asis, Ranches de Taos, NM

T is for Taos, NM through a Brownie Camera, A to Z Challenge 2013

Horno in Taos, NM, circa 1974.  Photo by Margaret Almon.
Hornos in Taos, NM, circa 1974. Photo by Margaret Almon.

T is for Taos, NM.  My memory of Taos is intertwined with taking photos with my mother’s Brownie camera, which was probably a Starflex, with an aluminum reflector that flipped up from the top of the camera.  To capture an image, I had to look down into the camera, which fascinated me at age 7, since what I wanted to photograph was in front of me.  The round adobe ovens of the Taos Pueblo reminded me of the igloo shape often associated with Canada even if you lived in a city like I did.

San Francisco de Asis, Ranches de Taos, NM
San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, Ranches de Taos, NM, circa 1974. Photo by Margaret Almon.

For the first time, when I got these photos out, I noticed that there was a name on the sign in front of the Mission Church, San Francisco de Asis, and discovered this is the church that artists were inspired by, including Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams.

Taos Pueblo, NM
Taos Pueblo, NM, circa 1974. Photo by Margaret Almon.

 

Cate and Margaret Almon, Taos, NM
Cate and Margaret Almon, Taos, NM, circa 1974. Photo by Barbara Rich.

The Taos Pueblo was many interconnected spaces, yet unified with the adobe.  The photo my sister Cate and I was probably taken by my mother, who was the original owner of the camera.

 

Bonus for Orange Tuesday:  Taos brings orange out in many artists and this painting by Pat Pollard is an orange delight.

 

 

My previous A to Z posts.

More images on my A to Z Challenge 2013 Pinterest Board.

A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2013