Playing Mrs. Astor

Memories of going to my grandmother’s house include a special treat she reserved for my sister and me.  She called it “playing Mrs. Astor.”  Her large home in the county (at least from my perspective as a child it was big) sat nestled among numerous towering trees, blooming shrubs and annual flowers on top of a hill.  An occasional car passed by on the road below.  More often you heard the call of mocking birds and sometimes the whisper of the wind through the trees.

“Playing Mrs. Astor” meant we took out the fancy china in order to eat off pretty plates and drank out of dainty cups.  Many years later, as an adult, I learned Mrs. Astor was a wealthy woman my grandmother never met, but someone whom she would have seen in a newspaper or a magazine.

Pink-Hat

Pink Hat

Last Easter, a friend wore this delightful pink hat to church.  It was perfect for her, complimenting her blonde hair and soft complexion.  I asked if I might  photograph it.  In a way it reminded me of “playing Mrs. Astor”.  We didn’t wear fancy clothes or hats at my grandmother’s tea parties, but she made this granddaughter feel special.  I saw the way other women on Easter morning admired this pink hat.  Inside every grown up woman I still believe there is a little girl that likes to “play Mrs. Astor,” to dress up in whatever was makes her feel special.

 

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Sweethearts Forever

Anyone, who has ever been a bridesmaid, has heard the familiar phrase describing the dress the bride has selected for you to wear, “It’s something you can wear later.”  That never worked for me, hopefully it did for you!

In Vintage Weddings, Simple Ideas for Creating a Romantic Vintage Wedding, a delightful book by Daniela Turudich, you can learn where this idea originated.  Want to know the vintage color palette or a song list of weddings during each decade of the 1910s-1950s? It is in this small, but lovely book.  Included are drawings and photos of wedding attire for brides, grooms, and bridesmaids of each decade.  It is a fun read.

Here are two more images of the vintage wedding items I photographed recently.  The cake topper was used in an August 1941 wedding.  The bride and groom had lost some of their painted hair.  Actually, losing one’s hair, natural color or dyed, is not an uncommon event for many humans as they age in real life.  🙂  Someone had obviously treasured it through the last almost 74 years.  It was in good condition.

Sweathearts--Forever

This final image shows a different angle and other details of the 1930’s vintage dress in my previous post.

By the way, the “Something you can wear later” idea stems from the the post war years (WWII) and into the 1950s. The 1950’s bridesmaids dresses were designed for dual purposes.  Wear the dress as a bridesmaid and then later use it as a cocktail dress.

Pearls-and-ButtonsThanks for taking “A Second Look”.  Hope you have enjoyed stepping back into the past with these last two posts.  Next time, I will be sharing an entirely different type of focus, so stay tuned . . . In the meantime, visit http://www.stephaniehalstead.com if you just can’t wait.

Twinkle in My Eye

Twinkle, heart beat, and soul mate just to name a few . . .

Twinkle in My Eye

Music to my heart.

Heart Music

Strong, but tender.web--Best-Guy-Ever_0630

Sweet like candy.
Candy Love

Valentines come in all sizes and shapes.  What is yours?  Thanks for taking a “Second Look”.  More Valentines are posted under “Seasonal Images” at www.stephaniehalstead.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Birthday to You and You and You!

It’s someone’s birthday today or tomorrow.  Maybe it is yours!

I have always thought birthdays are special in a way that no holiday is.  There are probably hundreds of thousands in the world that claim that same date on the calendar with you.  When it’s YOUR birthday, somehow it is a day more special than the other 364 days in the year.

So, in light of that here are a variety of the birthday images I have created.  Two of the images include names on them to give you an idea how a personalized one looks.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look”

For:  Anyone 🙂

web-Cupcake-Birthday

For:  The man in your life – brother, brother-in-law, uncle, husband, son, cousin, good friend.

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For:  Your mom, sister, aunt or best girlfriend?

web-Birthday-Tea

For:  Anyone who like flowers.

Sunflower-Birthday

For:  That special little girl in your life.

web-Your-are-special!

For:  The beach lover

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For:  The organic gardener, fruit lover in your life, or someone whose favorite color is orange or blue.

web-Sweet-Refreshment

web-Just-Picked

For:  The one who likes the uncluttered look.

web-Happy-Birthday-Narcissus

Most of the images on my website can be customized.  Many more images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com   Contact me through my website if you are interested in ordering.  I ship anywhere in the continental United States.

Tangled in Your Christmas Tinsel?

It happens!

Tinsel-Tangle

Food to prepare.  Ok, I am going to admit it to the world.  Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, or Julia Child do not live at our home.  Not one of them has stopped by to visit and bring us festive food creations.  Where are these food divas or their Christmas elves when you need them???

Santa's StashPresents to buy.  Some people, I know exactly what to give to them.  There’s a few whose yearly answer is “I don’t know” when asked what they are hoping for under the tree.  I keep hoping next year they will be more specific. 🙂  Probably shouldn’t hold my breath on this one.

Decorations to put up.  Certain decorations I look forward to seeing again.  A few I thought I gave to a charity store last year, but apparently I did not.  Others my mom made I keep for sentimental reasons. This is our first Christmas without her.  (She is probably having the best Christmas of all . . . heaven with Jesus, and angels singing, etc.  Bet it is spectular!)  Definitely keeping the ones made by our kids when they were growing up.  What mother can resist saving those featuring their missing tooth photos?  How did they grow up so fast?

Parties and Celebrations.  This year, we had time with extended family, early November, Thanksgiving, and the first week of Christmas.  Feels like I have already celebrated, because being with family is so important to me!  Seeing our two grandsons (age 3 and 5) open their gifts on Christmas Eve will be the final highlight for me!

Christmas-Time_3990Think I have convinced my husband to drive through neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights at night this weekend.  Thought we would top off the night with some hot chocolate.  Then he reminded me that it’s hot weather here, oh well.  Turn up the air condition.  Create your own mood.

Wanted to shoot some Christmas images, different from the flowers, ornaments, decorations I have done in the past.

Untangle your tinsel.  Enjoy yourself and the ones you love.

Thanks once again for taking a “A Second Look”.  www.stephaniehalstead.com

 

 

A Tribute

There are reasons I have not posted anything in three months.  My mother went to heaven, late May 2014. Until now, this has been too close, too personal to share on the web.  I miss her voice, her touch, her smile. The photo was one I took of her hands quite a few years ago.  I call it “Hands that Nurture”.

It was my privilege to help my sister care for our mother her last two months in hospice. We saw God show up in so many ways. It was a difficult time, but one full of sweet blessings. I will always be glad I was there. My loving husband was so supportive in giving me the freedom to do this. Below is my tribute to Mother, that was read at her memorial service in June.  

TRIBUTE to MOTHER

Each of us leaves a legacy. Our choices and how we live each day, each year, leaves a mark on others.

Mother never finished high school. She never traveled far. She had no shelf on the wall full of awards. But when she went to heaven on May 23, 2014, she left a legacy of rich love and deep influence. She deeply loved others. She was deeply loved. By being faithful to God and who He designed her to be, she influenced others, especially me.

My brother, my sister and I never doubted our mother loved us. Her words and actions made it a question we never thought to ask. What a blessing to have such a mother! She gave each of us the freedom to be individuals and simply loved us for who were. The three of us agree, that we are who we are today, in large part because of her.

Mother was a woman of courage and perseverance. During her 92 years she experienced both deep heartache and decades of physical pain. Yet, she chose to not become a bitter woman. Instead she chose to love and do the best she could.

An excellent seamstress, she made most of my clothes when I was growing up. After I married and had my own home, she made quilts for me. The quilts were designed using scraps from the many clothes she had made me through the years. Each of her children and grandchildren also were given quilts crafted by her.
Hands-that-Nurtured, death, legacy
Every time I visited her, she always had selected something she wanted to give me. Before I left she always asked the same question, “Is there anything I have that you want?” She was a generous woman.

Many times, when Mother, my siblings, and I were in the car together, she would utter a loud unexpected cry. We thought she was in pain. No, it was just Mother’s response to beautiful flowers she had seen on the roadside. How that woman loved beautiful flowers! Don’t think Mother ever met a flower she didn’t like!

Strong and courageous she chose to do what was right (sometime at great personal sacrifice), yet one who retained her beauty, gentleness, humor and faithful love to the end. Of all the blessings God has given me, being her daughter is one of the best and most prized. 

Mama, I look forward to the day we will be together again. The miles will no longer separate us. We will sing and dance and worship Jesus together forever. I love you!