My grandfather’s blanket stitch


This is a penny rug that legend has it, my grandfather made.  My grandpa died when I was 7 years old. I didn’t really get a chance to know him like I would have liked. He was Scotch-Irish and Cherokee. He owned and operated a restaurant called Ricardo’s. Often people mistook him for being Mexican… He had dark eyes and hair and must have been a damn good cook. This restaurant is where my grandparents met. My grandmother Ruth, waitressed for him. I never got to know her, though I am named after her and inherited her auburn hair and blue eyes. We had this rug displayed at home while I was growing up. Our home was pretty eclectic and shabby chic before there was such a thing. My mom did a good job making our home comfortable.  Now that I have my own family, I see how hard she had to work as a single mother.  In all honesty, I don’t know how she did it.

My grandfather later went on to own a taxi service and that’s what he did when I knew him. My mom drove taxi for a while for him.  So, I have some hard-working people in my gene pool..I want to be more like them.

I started this post thinking about an art assignment I was once given. Our instructor asked us to write a paper about who’s creative shoulders we stood on, who influenced us and lit our creative “fire”? At the time I didn’t think of my grandfather or my mother. Now I do. I don’t think either one of them would call themselves creative if asked. But how many white boys from Idaho could cook Mexican food well enough to have a successful Mexican restaurant, in the 1930’s? My mom didn’t ever feel like she could draw or sew, but give her a pencil and piece of paper and watch the poetry dance upon the page in eloquent, flowing, script. She can also sing and dance, like nobody’s business. I on the other hand,  I have two left feet and can’t carry a tune “in a bucket”. 

 There are other, more famous people who’s art and creativity I admire.  Chagall,  Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker,  Theodor Suess Geisel, Kandinsky, Chuck Close, Annie Lennox, Mrs Harriet Powers, John Lennon….so many…too many to list here.

And I have my grandfather and my mother to thank for giving  me both the heart and vision to see and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. Thank you! 

Who’s creative shoulders do you stand upon? 



  1. Tracy said,

    July 15, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    What an interesting and exciting post, Laney! Your grandfather’s rug is wonderful in color and composition! So nice to learn more about you, where you come from. And where your artistic inspriration comes from, or from whom. My own list is long, I hardly know where to begin…The French Impressionists mainly–Monet, Cezanne, Renoir. But also Klimt, Andrew Wyeth, Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, May Sarton Donald Hall, Robert Frost, Pauolo Coehlo, Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha…An eclectic mix!

  2. laneyloo said,

    July 15, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    I like your list Tracy. There have been some wonderfully creative human beings on this planet. I think that, that, is part of my fascination with blogs. So much unknown, unseen before talent can be shared with the world. We get to share our gifts with each other in such an expansive way. We also get to SEE, FEEL, HEAR, TOUCH this talent in a way we may not be able to, other wise.

  3. ninox said,

    July 16, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Very beautiful post Laney, I can’t really mention who my inspirations have been as I have always drawn and made things.. Perhaps my biggest influence was my mother.. the crafts I now do are something i learnt after she passed away and was handed a heap of her old items.. But I always admired her interests and passion for it all.. Though since I have started my course I have learnt alot more and found out influences I wasnt aware of previously.. 🙂

  4. laneyloo said,

    July 16, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Ninox, Thank you so much for the comment. I am sorry to hear about your mom. You must miss her. How wonderful that you have some of her things, to touch, and learn from something, that gave her such joy. How wonderful also, to be immersing yourself in arts/crafts. It is a great feeling to be so inspired by our surroundings and then to be able to create something tangible to give back to the world.

  5. beki said,

    July 16, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I honestly think that we all come from interesting ancestry if we look at it. Coming from a “young” family (not many years between generations), I never really asked about people in my family because they were alive, but now I know that they all have interesting pasts. I guess I used think that they had to be old and dead to be interesting, LOL! I need to do a better job at talking, visiting, and recording our history while they are around. A few months ago my great grandmother passed away, and I so regret not spending more time with her.
    Artistically, I suppose I was surrounded by people who were creative, mainly my maternal grandparents. They were creative out of necessity more so than artistically. My grandfather built all kinds of things. My father can draw well, but that’s one gift I do not possess.
    I am personally inspired by memories from my childhood. From the world in my head, that world that I wanted to be a part of. I like bold, happy colors. One of my favorite artists is Matisse, as well as Cezanne and Picasso. Gosh, there are so many, it’s hard to narrow down!

  6. laneyloo said,

    July 16, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Beki,
    Thank you for stopping by. I think your right about everyone having interesting ancestry. You don’t have to scratch the surface too much to come up with intrigueing stuff.
    I’m glad we in the present, are getting the oppurtunity to be creative for necessity and fun! The list keeps growing, even more people to be inspired by, in blogland…LOL…it’s very easy to spend a lot of time surfing all the talented blogs out there. It sure is fun!

  7. Darlene Cornett said,

    July 20, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Laney,
    Whatever creativity I have developed, I inherited from my mother. Although her talent was expressed in many mediums, like sewing, crocheting, painting, writing, and more, my inheritance is more ellusive, not quite concrete yet. She loved reading, a joy which I share. There is poem, The Dream Time, by Jack Cegeste, that captures the fascinating yet strange and often dark gift she left me.
    I have sporadically throughout my life kept a dream journal. Two nights ago I had an anxious dream in which I got a new job teaching elementary school. The dream involved a assorted box of christmas paper. This paper wrap was totally at odds with everything in the dream, a fact that I was aware of while dreaming. Everyone has dreamt enough to know that this confusion is normal in dreaming.
    However, the next day while fully awake, I met for the first time an elementary school teacher and overheard her telliing another acquaintance that she was decorating her classroom in wrapping paper. She mentioned that she was going to Oildale, an area of town where I currently teach high school, because the Dollar Tree has a great assortment of cheap wrapping paper. She works in another neighboring town, Arvin.
    Not that I place any great consequence on this dream or think my mother is communicating from the afterlife or anything, but just in case, I think I’ll check out the Dollar Tree to see if there is any paper I might find suitable for my classroom.

  8. laneyloo said,

    July 22, 2007 at 1:35 am

    Hi Darlene,

    What fun to have you write on my blog. It is turning out to be a nice way to stay in touch. I loved your dream and that your gonna check out the dollar tree for wrapping paper! You know how I feel about intuition. We all have it, just need to stay in tune. It sounds like your in tune!…But I already knew that.
    You are incredible and I’m so glad you’re my friend.

  9. Carley said,

    July 23, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Hey Laney,

    Wonderful post! It was really neat to hear different things about your family. I love your mom, so fun! I got a kick out of the dancing comment and poetry. Your mom is such a neat lady. You guys were always a special family to us. There for us more times than I can even remember, babysitting and what not! I always knew you would be an incredible mom as I got to see your talents first hand early in my life 🙂

    I have thought alot about this topic. I know that my creativeness in part came from my mother but also my stepmother. She was very crafty taught me to sew and do more “crafty” things. Mom taught me more from the single mom side, how to make do with what you have and positively rubbing pennies together, which has to be CREATIVE with a capital C!

    Alot of the mention of your mom and her eclectic-ness reminds me of mom too. She could probably never describe the style her house is decorated in. If she likes it, she puts it somewhere! But the lists, oh wow, that is a big one for mom. She is ALWAYS making lists. No wonder they got along so well!

    Thanks for making my mind think…I’ll be back!

  10. laneyloo said,

    July 23, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Carley,

    How nice to hear from you and thank you for leaving a comment. You and Gabe were fun kids to take care of. It seems like we always had a ton of kids around, and they all got along really well. Your comments about your creativity are great. It’s nice that you got to have such a positive experience not only with your wonderful mother but your stepmom as well. It sounds like your mom is doing great. She is one of the most gentle people I have ever known, you should have seen her take care of Tom’s mom, it was extraordinary. It sounds like you and your gang are all well too. Time flies, doesn’t it…? It doesn’t seem that long ago that you were a little girl and Gabe was a toddler..
    Please do come back, it has been fun to re-connect with people I don’t get to see as often as I would like to.
    take care,

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