My grandmother, Rose, is a domestic goddess of mythic proportion in my mind. She could do everything. She made dresses for my mother that I am still able to wear. She hosted dinners for over 50 people on a weekly basis. Everything she created in the kitchen was extraordinary and the best I’ve eaten – even just spaghetti with meatballs (which was really the only thing I ate as a kid, earning me the nickname “the spaghetti wrangler”). She hosted pea parties where only dishes with peas were served (and it wasn’t gross!). She left her Christmas tree up all year long. She could knit an afghan, read a book and watch “Days of Our Lives” all at the same time. She had a built-in brick oven in her kitchen. She used to buy me gold lamé bathing suits and took me to the diner with her friends. Maybe it was her special Grandma touch, but she could do no wrong.
She also used to make the most remarkable wedding cakes. I was sorting through some old photographs with my mother this weekend and we found these pictures of cakes she made in the late 60′s to the early 80′s. The images aren’t in the greatest condition, but you’ll get the picture. These are the wedding cakes of yore – you’ll be hard pressed to find a baker who still makes them like this (except for maybe in the Bronx?) and, although, it’s not necessarily an aesthetic that’s stood the test of time – you can certainly appreciate the artistry that goes into them. They have electric fountains and angels and sugar roses for crying out loud! I don’t know who they belonged to. I wish I did. Even though they were promptly eaten on someone’s wedding day, I am happy that I can share them with you here.
My Parents & Their Wedding Cake…
I just purchased these two fonts and I’m going to use them in an invitation. I typed out this quote to see an example of how they looked together. And then I got to thinking about it.
When I was in 7th grade, Mrs. DeFelice wrote this on the board. I have a horrid memory and I’m shocked that, to this day, I remember it verbatim. I even remember writing it down in the back of my day planner as if it were some reminder on how to behave. I know this was written as an exercise in financial frugality (and maybe it’s my New England upbringing) but these words has somehow followed me around to this day, in the forefront of every decision I’ve made. I often felt guilty for enjoying myself, as if it were to set in motion a series of unpleasant events. I practiced restraint on the most base of levels. I made “smart” decisions and followed cerebral paths. Because if I did, I wouldn’t have deal with any collateral damage brought on by using my heart or following a feeling.
For the last few years, going back to about 2008, I consciously practiced a different exercise. I’ve stopped holding back, started encouraging desire, if you will. I treat every opportunity as a opportunity to treat myself and I love the opportunity to celebrate a moment. I’ve gotten more joy out of every day since then. I left a passionless professional field that I thought made me appear “smart, worldly and put together” (International Education) and entered a world based on something I love that thrives on beauty, vision and tradition (Paper Arts).
I am proud to have cultivated a beautiful life and I’m grateful for this quote as a reminder that, from time to time, the first action sets in motion all that follows – and sometimes that’s a positive thing. Sometimes the desires that follow are paying homage to the first heartfelt decision one can make.