Monday, May 31, 2021

St. Louis & Joanna Ward

I flew to St. Louis this weekend. It was a last minute trip scheduled to celebrate Joanna Ward. I met Joanna around 1980 when she moved her family to Isabella Minnesota, population ~ 200, a 30 minute ride from my hometown of Silver Bay (population ~ 2,500). Joanna's daughter Jessie was in my 8th grade class, which had less than 60 kids. My view of the world was so small at the time.

Joanna Ward, 1928-2021

My first memory of Joanna is watching her cook crepes after a sleepover with Jessie. Since that day I have enjoyed crepes in several countries (including France) but at the time had never even heard of a crepe. Joanna and her family seemed so worldly to me. 

Sleepover  Shenanigans at the Wards
Day after a Ward Sleepover

The house was filled with people and it had so much energy it felt like a holiday. It wasn't. It was just a common day in the life of Joanna Ward's home. It was at the Ward's home I was first introduced to real cheese. I was 13. All I had known to that day was Velveeta. FYI, Velveeta is not cheese. I also had Tang, which I heard about on TV but had never had. I seriously looked at these people like they were from another world. Trust me when I say the Ward family is the most down-to-earth group of loving people you will know. But my world was just so small at the time they felt like foreigners.

Joanna introduced me to a world beyond my tiny town. She talked of travels and history and introduced me to exotic foods like…real cheese. Joanna was loved by so many, including myself. I will be forever grateful for Joanna teaching me there is a world beyond the confines of northern Minnesota and giving me the urge to explore. 

I flew to the ceremony and I'm here to say airports are feeling "normal". I found myself navigating past the slow walkers and it felt great! That crazy "award trip" I took to Chicago in December of 2019 (finally) paid off as I was upgraded to Comfort and First Class! Things are coming back my friends. 

New wanderlust Tattoo
Me, Mary Ward and Jeff Clement
The Pre-Flight Bloody Tradition

Get your vaccine. Don't lick doorknobs and wash your damn hands! More importantly, share your travel stories with the younger generation to instill in them there is a world beyond "their little world". 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Map Display Board

Over the last six years the crap I own has diminished GREATLY. Although it is impossible to calculate I would say I have gotten rid of 90% of what I owned in 2015. Oddly (or not), the amount of "travel memorabilia" has grown. 

I added something to that collection. 

I've been wanting to do this project for more than ten years now. COVID quarantine made it possible. I hate COVID. I created a board to display my maps. I love maps.  

The how: 

  • I purchased 1/8” thick plywood from Home Depot and found someone in my neighborhood Facebook group to cut the wood into perfect 2” x 2” squares
  • I sanded the edges slightly
  • I looked through my maps and cut out sections that were memorable, leaving about 1” around. This was my favorite part. I laughed and cried while looking through the maps. So many great memories. 
  • I used matte mod podge to attach the map pieces to the wood
  • I used a credit card to smooth the top
  • After they dried I used a utility blade to cut off the excess
  • I then applied mod podge to the top and attached magnets to the back
  • I attached the map blocks to a black IKEA SVENSAS magnet board
  • I hung near my bed so I could look at it every morning and dream about adding new blocks

After the tops were dry cutting close to the edge was easy!

Listed below are my other travel memorabilia with a link to view here:

  • Wall hanging with license plates we collected from each of the 50 states
  • Collection jars (I have well over 100)
  • Room keys
  • Pressed pennies

In case you need to hear it from a friend, if you have a "project" sitting around that you didn't get to during COVID quarantine, it probably won't happen. Release the guilt my friends and chuck the stuff. 

Happy travels, and crafting so you never forget the memories! Rae Ann