Friday, November 4, 2016

Let Me Introduce Madam Walker

It's been a busy week, filled with getting tasks done and making real progress. Today my calendar reminded me that I had set aside time to take in a cultural event. Since moving to Indiana last December, I've been very intrigued  with the state's Bicentennial. There are so many interesting programs exhibits and activities revolving around the celebration, that I am trying to take in as many as possible. It has the added benefit of helping me get to know my way around and to discover interesting restaurants too

"Freetown Village is a living history museum with the mussion to educate thep ublic about African American lives and culture in Indiana through living history, exhibits, allied programs, and the colletion and preservation of artifacts." Today Freetown was presenting the Madame Walker Story created and presented by a special character to bring this history to life.

Volunteers Preserving the Legacy of Madame Walker
The early life and legacy of Madame Walker was brought to us in a different way through storytelling by her "friend" dressed in period costume. Born Sarah Breedlove by her slave parents, she was born during the abolitionist period and their 5th but first "free" child.

Madame. Walker's "friend"
Sarah, learned about making hair care products from a dear friend, but went on to develop her own unique formula for hair care and other beauty products. She began calling herself "Madame" as she felt it lent sophistication to her product. She was one of the first of her time to think of branding her product, with the help of her lawyer firend, Mr. Freeman Ransom. By then she was married to her third husband, C. J. Walker, and her brand became the Madame C. J. Walker line of "Beauty Culture." A self-made millionaire, today the products are marketed online only through Sephora,

Although she divorced and parted amicably from Mr. Walker, Madame retained the "Walker" name and saw to it that her products retained the brand name as they were so well known by then.

The Walker Theatre Center, once the location for manufacturing Madame Walker's hair care products, is listed as one of our National Historic Landmarks. "From our beautifully maintained main stage that has seen the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, and Lena Horne perform, to our intimate Grand Casino Ballroom where local jazz greats like Gregg Bacon and Lonnie Lester entertain  – the Walker building still stands strong…a beacon of pride, hope, and the beauty that lies in diversity. It’s presence and programming both ensure that we do not forget the significance of Madam CJ Walker, Indiana Avenue, or African-American cultural arts."

Walker Theatre Centre 
I so enjoyed this experience that I told the ladies that I am a blogger and wanted to spread the word. "I only blog about crochet," I said. How will I weave crochet into this topic." Madame Walker's "friend" promptly replied, "Just tell them they can bring their crochet; as as they listen to the presentation, crochet away!Many people get antsy and have a hard time sitting still; crochet helps!" Right on!!! This woman knows what she is talking about!

It has been said that the ills of our society can only be cured if we give each other a chance, one-to-one, as we seek understanding and harmony. I felt such warmth for these two women, doing such good work one story at a time, that I'm convinced that belief is true. What thoughts or beliefs come to your mind?

The next free presentation of the Madame Walker Story will be Dec. 2 at the Madame Walker Heritage Center, 623 Indiana Ave. Indianapolis, on-going from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM. Schedule a program for your group, church or school.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Puts a Smile on Your Face?

They say that if an object held in your hand brings you joy, then hang on to it! I've been focusing on finding joy as a part of my grieving process after Alan's death on July 1. ILiving in a new town in a new state has given me ample opportunity to get out there and look around.

There is no shortage of art and culture in Indianapolis and it is the Bi-Centennial year of the state so there are extra-special things to see. Looking back on the last few weeks, it seems I'vebeen quite busy. A photo-essay about some of the things that brought me joy seemed a better idea than the minute details.

Outside Gallery 116
Two sparkly friends came to visit & comfort 
Debbie Watson's glass art
I dshed off to Florida to get food for the soul from Sista Cin.

At Isla Morada

Lime does Something for me!
Our favorite restaurant when we lived in Coral Springs (1977-85)

Had to have their famous Key Lime Pie! The wine was just an after-thought!
Leaving from Miami International

They say kids love "toilet humor." How did the Children's Museum in Columbus, IN know that?

If they went down the tubes once, they went down 30 times with it "flushing" behind them!
#Painting with a Twist: My House
Add caption

Sitting next to the inspiring and hilarious Sean from B105.7 @sean.copeland

Stutz (Bearcat) Gallery

20 yearss of Artist Residencies Exhibit
Just Cute!

Just Cute 2
A return to my Alma Mater, #ballstateUniversity: the Famous Ball Brothers

Things have changed in 45 years!

 art museum

Benificence where Alan proposed to me!

My dorm, Hurlbut Hall; renewed!
We've Reached New Heights

Yarn is key to this amazing fashion display! 

Water Fun!
Abba Tribute ~Outdoor Concert: loved the invitation
Alien Being at Amish Acres (the one in the middle!)
In Memorium: Alan's Hats
Please weigh in and share with me all that makes you smile!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Crown is Still Tilted, but I'm Back on the Throne!

First let me begin by saying that I've missed being perched up on the throne watching the crochet world evolve and sharing it weekly with you.  All I can say is life and death got in the way!

A long and progressive disease, Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), got the best of my husband, my King; and he died on July 1, 2016. If you want to know the details of this horrible and debilitating disease, you can find it online. If, after you read about it, you wish to contribute to the research to find a cure for this rare disease, thank you!

I've been faithfully committed to this blog since May of 2007; crochet is life to me. It is not my nature to let "life get in the way" of my weekly blog posts: but since my last post on May 5, 2016, I have not had the energy or the time to keep up with it. Although I am a public figure in the crochet world, I am also a private person. You have not read here or on Facebook about this 10-year journey Alan and I were on.

Explaining his condition required way too many words! Little is known about it and even pronouncing the disease is a challenge! Thank goodness, I have a medical background; I'm convinced it helped me stay strong and get through this. It helped me adjust to each step of Alan's gradual deterioration and to figure out what I had to do. Too many questions and too many suggestions led me to just wanting to focus quietly on what was best for us and to seek the guidance of professionals.

I will never forget the care we received from Heartland Hospice in both Illinois and Indiana. The staff's daily care and comfort, honesty, and support was what we needed, when we needed it. Without them, I would not have been able to keep Alan at homeand comfortable until he took his last breath. Sitting vigil by his bedside for 3 weeks as he was losing his battle with CBD was not like anything I had experienced before. I had many mixed emotions; so much time to think; and I was beginning what is calledl the grieving process.

Sitting beside him as he slept; watching his face and his breathing; holding his hand and talking even though he didn't respond took energy; but it was what I chose to do. I was amazed at how the hours went by and how I didn't pick up my crochet. Under any "normal" circumstances over the last forty years, I would not have been able to sit still in front of the t.v. or wait patiently in a doctor's office or a traffic jam! Instead, needing to reach for my crochet for relaxation and tranquility. This time, though,over those few weeks, it wasdifferent, and I don't know why. Perhaps I didn't have extra energy; I didn't have inspiration; or I didn't have the right project on my hook. Now it doesn't matter; I am learning a new rhythm with my hook, and with my life, for that matter!

I am such a strong believer in the therapuetic value of crochet, but I am not going to beat myself up for not reaching for my hook and crocheting away. My hands needed to be holding Alan's more than I needed to hold a hook!

Patriotic Afghan presented by Hospice for Service to our Country

Last winter my crochet therapy WAS at work. I was inspired to create a freeform necklace from mostly spirals. Each spiral in itself was a thrill and a learning experience of shape and color. Bringing those spirals together and filling in the final design taught me more about freeform crochet. The colors helped me smile. At the time, my life was mostly "rush-rush" based on the schedules of Alan's caretakers. On one of my free days, I found the perfect color of fabric with a free-formy embossed texture; and I did the grueling work (for me) of cutting the shape to fit the necklace perfectly.

In April I thought about entering the necklace into the CGOA Design Contest IF I got it done in time. Alas, I finished the hand-sewing of the backing to the front 2 days after the deadline. Seeing as how my memory is not always accurate, I thought I would just double check to see if I had missed the deadline. Lo and behold, it was announced online that the deadline was extended by two weeks! So, I packed up the necklace and our daughter graciously maiedl it for me as I was not leaving the house at this point.

I felt some pangs of guilt that I took my hands away from Alan long enough to do the hand-sewing; and to ready the necklace for something as frivolous as a contest! Imagine my surprise when I was informed that I had won 2nd prize in the Art category! I think it was a sign that I needed to rid my head of guilt and be reminded of the importance of crochet as therapy.

Swirling in Creativity Necklace
Seeing Alan's courage to the very end; knowing that his wish to donate his brain to research may be a small part of discovering a cure; and feeling a room full of love for Alan at his Memorial Service on August 19 has given me the strength to find a new rhythm for my hook and my heart.

He has dropped by twice since his death; first as a lady bug on the edge of my glasses and just yesterday as a butterfly who stayed on my shoulder for 8 minutes. I know he misses me as much as I miss him and is watching over our family!

Stay tuned as I now continue to bring you weekly news and tidbits about crochet as it is inter-woven into life as we know it!