I have strong childhood memories of spending a week every summer at my maternal grandparent's house. We lived in Ohio through most of my childhood and my grandparents lived in Parma, Ohio, about an hour away from us. They had a few acres filled with an apple orchard, a hugs blueberry bush, grapes, and a large garden in the back. My parents dropped us off for a week and we would be spoiled rotten for that entire week.
Our days would start with breakfast. In the summers my grandparents ate every meal on their screened-in porch. They were always up before us and I would wake up to the smell of percolated coffee and the soft hum of the radio tuned to my grandparent's favorite big band radio station. Soon enough the smell of bacon cooking would lure us from our beds. My grandmother always made us "egg in an egg cup" (aka soft-boiled eggs) and crisp, buttered toast, cut into strips. Some mornings we would have cold cereal and were allowed out onto the dew covered grass to collect blueberries from the bush, most berries never making it to kitchen as we put far more into our mouths than in our bowls.
After breakfast a day of play would commence. Forts were strung from tress, hours spent on the tire swing, an occasional trip to the store where we were invariably gifted with any toy that caught our eye. My grandfather would return from his job as a plumber for the local bank around 3pm. We would gather around the Formica table, with beer for Grandpa and soda for us. The sodas came in individual, glass bottles in a dizzying array of flavors and colors. The soda (or "pop" as we called it in Ohio) choosing was part of the ritual. We would descend into the cool basement to fetch our sodas. Half of the basement was finished, where we had a play area, and the other half wasn't and it was a little scary. Dark corners held childhood fears, yet those fears were kept at bay by the strong smell of my grandfather's Lava brand soap and my grandmother's laundry soap. The sodas were held in a wood crate and my sisters, brother, and I would gather around it tightly, jostling to make sure we each got our favorite choice. I always chose a deep purple, grape soda. Once back upstairs, crazy straws were placed in the bottles and snack of pretzels or chips would be enjoyed as we caught my grandfather up on our day thus far. A full afternoon of play, then dinner. A faded and soft checked tablecloth was placed on the porch table and a dinner of meat and potatoes was served.
Baths and pajamas were next then we rushed to the family room to listen to my grandfather play his player piano. Rolls and rolls of music awaited us in a cabinet. Like the sodas, we all had a favorite that must be played every night. Mine was Little Red Wing. My grandfather would sit on the bench, back straight, feet on pedals as we danced, skipped, and swirled to the music around him, as though he were the sun and we little planets. Our days ended, slipping into cool, smooth, sheets that smelled of cut grass and sunshine from hanging outside to dry.
It was truly a magical time and, as I look back at it now, it was a fairy tale of a childhood. Both my grandparents have passed now, yet they will live on in my memory and the stories I tell my daughter about those summers. Which is why I think I am so drawn to enjoying the simple things. Why I am so drawn to homemade meals, embroidered pillowcases, and simple lazy summers at home. I am trying to recapture those fleeting childhood moments.
Bucilla sent me some Embroidered Pillowcase dress kits and some Paper Stitching kits to try out and, as I stitched a pillowcase, all my summer memories came flooding back. There are instructions for the making the dress, but I can't resist keeping the project as bed linens. I love seeing my daughter lay her sweet, tired head on the cool, bright white linen case after a summer day of playing. The kits come with a pillowcase that is stamped with classic floral designs and all the embroidery supplies you need. You just need to add a hoop. Once you are done stitching, the stamped design washes right out.
I have extra kits so I'm sharing them in a giveaway. Leave a comment, sharing your favorite summer memories. I have two sets of kits to giveaway, I will draw two names randomly. I'll announce a winner on June 10, 2016. This contest is only valid for U.S. readers.
WINNERS! Congratulations Renee and Natalie! Please email your adresses to me so I can send you the kits!