When I was a kid I always liked babysitting for the Andersons. It wasn't because they introduced me to cheese fondue (although I will be forever grateful) or that they paid a dollar an hour when everyone else was paying 50 cents (well, maybe it was a little bit that). Truth be told, the real reason I liked babysitting for them was because they had very well behaved kids, and when it was bedtime, they went to bed. No whining. No fifteen trips to the bathroom or the kitchen for a glass of water. Tuck 'em in, and out they'd go. And that meant I had the rest of the evening to read.
And back in those days I was usually reading James Michener. I read Chesapeake, and Centenniel, and The Covenant, and for some reason I especially remember reading The Source on the big couch in the Anderson's living room. I loved Michener for all the reasons that many people find him tedious--because every book started at the very, very beginning and took epic journeys through time in a single place. For weeks I'd be totally wrapped up in whatever place I was reading about and the generations who peopled it.
Now I have another reason to love Michener. His books make great flower vases.
I lucked out when I first started ripping the guts out of books so I could fill them with paper flowers. I found a copy of Michener's Caribbean at the Goodwill Store. It was the perfect proportions for a vase--tall and thick. It had a shiny palm on the front cover, and it was a orange, which is my new favorite color since I was told I was not allowed to buy anything else purple.
My Caribbean vase sits in my office where I can see it every workday. Despite being one of my first works, it is still one of my favorites.
The flowers in Caribbean are simple ones. I watched a YouTube video to learn how to make them.
The problem, so Captain America told me one day, is that the flowers are all white. "They need some color!"
That was the day he came home with the can of orange spray paint.
"Watch this!" he said, as he grabbed a couple of flowers off my craft table and began spraying away. In my house. "It'll look great!"
Eh, not so much. But I'll admit that the idea of adding color started to grow on me.
And that's when Michener found his way back into my life again. Actually, I found him out in the garage. I was looking for gardening tools one day when I ran across a long forgotten copy of Texas stashed in a corner. For being as mistreated as it had been out in the garage, the book was in pretty good shape. The cover was still a beautiful blue and there was a very cool star on the front.
I took it up to my craft room and, as fortune would have it, set it down right next to that stack of kitschy pictures that I had ripped out of all the RDCBs. Remember these?
And that's when inspiration hit. So here is Michener's Texas reimagined by me:
It features bluebonnets...
and Indian Paintbrush...
...and of course yellow roses.
There's a little bit of whimsy, a little bit of text, and a whole lot of color going on. Welcome back, Mr Michener. Nice to have you around again.