Friday, March 1, 2013

The Giving Tree

One of the greatest kids books ever written in my estimation. This masterful story of a little boy and a tree is of course told by Shel Silverstein.  Harper Collins describes it this way.  "Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk...and the tree was happy.  But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave." This not so subtle story sounds like parenthood; us giving, and our children, always receiving.  There is never a time that I read this book, that I don't come away with tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat. If I were to see a copy in a used book store or Salvation Army book section, I would buy it, even though I already have 3 copies on my book shelves.

My hot water tank burst in the basement yesterday. I realized it when I tried to do dishes and the water never moved past frigid. Most people would be in a panic, showers, laundry, just rinsing your hands, but not me. I just took a shower in a bathroom fed by another tank. The wisdom of 'my giving tree' (although he has been gone for many years) decided that for a family our size with all the dishes, laundry and people cleaning that we do, we need TWO hot water tanks.  Eventually I will get enough money to replace the one that feeds the kitchen, laundry and lower bath, but we can make do until then. "And the tree was happy."


I finished the Swedish chair.  Although it does not photograph as well, the seat upholstery has the exact colors of the chair paint.  I put it in the coat room, next to the pine flooring that I cut, painted, stained and hung ON THE WALL.

Old pine attic flooring isn't just to walk on anymore.

Now the rest of the room needs some work.


Show Your Colors!

I promised that on March 1st, at 12:01 AM I would show you a project that I am working on of which I am quite PLEASED!

When I was a little girl, my grandmother, Margaret Joyce Aylward, crocheted for each of us a small shamrock that we treasured and wore ever so proudly on St. Patrick's Day. We would tuck them safely away for the next year and pull them out again.  Michelle surely has hers in a safe place, and Therese sewed hers unto a small quilt that we all made our mom for Mother's Day, years ago.  Below are some photos.

Here is a small sampling of the hundreds of Irish Flag Pins I have crafted out of recycled wood.  They are various sizes and shapes, made for the diversity of people who will SHOW THEIR COLORS and wear them.  Each one is a unique keepsake, not like the gaudy beads, foam hats and other cheap paraphernalia that will be purchased at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and discarded at the end of the day.

Some have wood knots in them, or divots.  Some are chunky, or wide, or tiny, rough-hewn and brawny, smooth, or distressed something awful.  There is one to fit each personality of the wearer.

My ever present green sweater showing my colors. I do not wear it from June through August, but any other time it will be on or near me.  [I made my kids promise to give it to a homeless person in need, upon my demise.]

Up close.  The green is for Catholic Ireland, the orange for Protestant, and the white is for PEACE between.

I will be making some kid friendly pins also.  Each pin is carefully cut, with groves carved between, sanded, hand painted (front and back), distressed, glazed with a walnut stain, varnished, and a pin hot glued to the back.  The pins will be available from all my kids, a few outlets, on Etsy, Craigslist, and at the parade on March 17th. If you leave a comment here or contact me at, I will see that you get one, or many.  They are modestly priced at $5.00 each. If you sell several, I will give you one. 

As most of those who know me can attest, I live a very frugal life.  Always have. My green sweater I wear for a winter coat, and is my oldest possession; everything else went in the fire. In the past year since my lay-off, breast cancer surgery and knee injuries, I have survived at the Federal Poverty Level. And, blessedly so.  Nothing makes me happier than bartering, making things from scratch, conserving energy, and pretending I am a pioneer.  The sale of these flags is more than just pin money. It is my house tax money for July. Poverty only pays for a house payment, tight utility bills, some food, and cupfuls of gas. The government does not say, "Pay when you can." In order to have the surgery, I had to sign my house over to Medicaid.  Paying house taxes just assures me that I can wear my sweater in this house, not under a bridge. Which brings me back to The Giving Tree.  It is the Social Security Widow's Pension that makes me the queen of all I survey, not the half salaries I earned on my own, with little or no dividends. Thank you, Howard.

"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired." 

"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."  

And the boy did.  

And the tree was happy.

With love,
La Verne


  1. Do you happen to know where Grandma's pattern for crocheting the Shamrocks might be? I gave up crocheting a few years back, but think that would be a fun quick project. Will be in touch about the water heater...

  2. I don't think anyone would have it, maybe Mary Pat. I'm sure Magee made it up herself. It was more of a tatting than a crochet. I'll send you some better photos of Therese's. Try this one.