Spotlight: Linda Cartwright (Taters55)

By Nancy Polanski (nap) on December 20, 2010

Taters55 is Linda Cartwright, a very down to earth person who enjoys creating handmade crafts and Christmas decorations with her grandchildren. Today I'd like to have you meet Linda, and then maybe share some of your own craft ideas with us.

I wonder how many of you have ever done this...I used to fold a square piece of paper and cut nicks out of it, so that it looks like a snowflake when it's opened up.  That was fun, but I think I'd like to try my hand at more homemade decorations.  So, I turned to Taters55.


NP: Linda, I know you have a lot of experience decorating for Christmas. You make many of your own decorations. With Christmas 2010 just a breath away, I'd like to have you talk about that and maybe share some ideas with us . Would you please?


Linda: Where to begin??? Well, I learned a lot of crafts from my Mom, as we grew up poor and had to do a lot for ourselves. There never seemed to be a lot of money for birthdays or for Christmas, so what few gifts we got, we cherished for a long time.


So when I had kids of my own, I was always finding things for them to do as well. We made Fall decorations out of leaves ironed between pieces of waxed paper, or Christmas ornaments out of toilet paper or paper towel rolls, covered with felt, and fancy rickrack. And the trend continues today with the grandkids! What's my favorite holiday? It is Christmas. I love to see all my family together, and the joy on the kids' faces Christmas morning!


NP: I love that you have continued the art of imaginative ornament making with your grandchildren. How nice it would be to turn back  the clock to a time when pleasures were simple, not commercial. Tell me more about what you're teaching your grandchildren. And how old are they?


Linda: I have a grandson that is six, a step-grandson that is thirteen, a granddaughter eleven and a step-gr2010-12-15/nap/0a9189anddaughter that is three. We have made so many things. We use paper towel tubes and make ornaments as I did as a child. We have made painted rocks into assorted bugs, like ladybugs, and frogs. They love to make paper chains for the tree out of colored  paper. I have made many other things in the past, like pinecones with glitter, and ribbons! I've also strung popcorn, and cranberries for the tree, bread dough ornaments too!


NP: Can you show us an example?


Linda: I just made a bunch of these Quiltballs for different gifts and swaps. (See photo) They are time consuming, but really easy to make! They take a lot more pieces of fabric than the instructions call for, but other than that, really easy!


NP: Those are so pretty, Linda!2010-12-15/nap/dc06cc I took a look at the link you provided that shows the instructions. Let's provide that link for our readers. I'd love it if someone would try making one and let us see how it turned out. You do a fair amount of sewing too, don't you?


Linda: I learned how to sew in 9th grade home-economics class, and have been hooked ever since! Back then, we bought material and made a lot of our own clothes, because that was the affordable thing to do! Now fabric is quite pricey, but I still have the urge to buy all the pretty pieces I see, whether I need them at the time or not! I will eventually use them, I say to  myself!


I love to make quilts! I hav2010-12-15/nap/f693f8e made one for each of the nieces and nephews and grandkids in the family. I have also made several baby quilts this past summer, and donated them.


NP: Really? That sounds wonderful. Where do you  donate your quilts? And have you ever sold any of them? 


Linda: I have never sold the quilts, they are always  gifts or donated to charity.


 I donated six quilts to the Downy Foundation for example.  And I have made several for “barefootT” here on cubits.  She donates them to the local sheriff's department.


I love to find new quilt patterns all the time! Some are more difficult than others.


NP: Tell me more about yourself, Linda. And don't forget the part about your tattoos.


Linda: Tattoos! Well, I always wanted one, just never had the money to get one. So when I was divorced from my 2nd husband, I had a good job at the Air Force base as a seamstress and I saved some money. I told my boyfriend that I was going to go and get a rose on my chest. He said “not without me,” so we went and got our first tattoos. Mine was a peace rose, as that is my favorite rose. Since then, I have added the hummer and another rose. I have 14 of them, some which I can't show!!!

My boys have al
2010-12-15/nap/d29896ways been good artists, and it seemed like I was always sending them money for rent or something else. So I went to San Antonio where they both lived and said, “let's open a tattoo shop.” I figured if I gave them a career, they would stop borrowing money! My oldest had been working for a big shop over there so he knew how to run everything, and he taught my youngest how to do it! They have been tattooing ever since!


I am happily married for the third time, and Todd works at Laughlin Air Force Base for the civil service. He has been an Egress mechanic (works on the ejection seats) for about 18 years now. I worked for the same company for about 12 years till I hurt my back. I was a seamstress, and I made all kinds of heavy covers for the machines and aircraft, to cover them from the weather. I also packed parachutes and repaired the flight suits. I really enjoyed my job as a seamstress at the base! I loved meeting new people from all over the world! Pilots come here for their basic flight training, and I got to meet a bunch of wonderful men and women.


I also take care of my handicapped Dad. Dad had multiple strokes ten years ago that left him paralyzed on his right side and without speech, other than a few words, like “OK” and “I don't know.” He can't walk very well, and spends most of his time in a wheelchair, so my sister Kathy in Michigan, and two brothers (Roger in Washington and Jim in Colorado) and I take turns


  taking care of him. Dad loves to travel, so I try to take him for a ride on the week-ends.


Since he can't hunt anymore, I try to take him so he can see the wildlife.  


 I lost my Mom almost five years ago. In her memory I collect angels, especially if they have blue in their dress or ribbons

I have an Angel garden in the front yard, with Angel trumpets, and Angel statues for her!


I love gardening, as I got hooked on the Angel trumpets (brugmansia), and am always searching for “that one” that no one else seems to have! I had 60 brugs this summer. Very few were named ones. Mostly NOID.

With gardening comes all the beautiful butterflies, and hummingbirds! Hubby and I could spend hours in the spring and summer watching the hummingbirds fly around and try to sneak into the feeder before another one can chase them away! I have 10 feeders around the yard during the summer, and fill them at least once a week. We have Ruby Throat and Black Chinned hummers here. I have also seen a Rufous hummer, but only one time! Guess he was migrating through?



NP: I'm wondering about your name, Taters 55.


Linda: Taters55! Well, my maiden name is Tate, and I was born in 55, so that is where I got the name from. Now I have given away my age, but that is OK!

NP: Have you always lived in Texas?


Linda: I was born in Michig2010-12-15/nap/e8c0f4an and spent my first 20 years there. Then I got married and first hubby joined the air force, so we traveled a lot! I spent six months in Belgium, and absolutely loved it there! I would go back in a heartbeat! I lived in Missouri for four years, and then we moved here to Texas. I have visited many States; Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kentucky. Lots of relatives and family members are all over the US. I have never been to California, but would love to visit some day. 


NP: Before we close our time together, have you any last thoughts you'd like to share?


Linda: A few years ago, when I was searching in Dave's Garden for a plant I had in my yard that I could not ID, BJ invited me to one of the chat threads. I have been hooked ever since! I have since met her, and several others at the round up that was over by Dallas a few years ago! Everyone was so friendly, and it was like I had know them for years! I also met two ladies out in Washington State. I flew out there earlier this year to visit with my brother, and drove down to have lunch with Trish and Laura! It was a very nice day!


I would really like to thank all the wonderful online friends I have from Cubits. I have learned so much from all of them, and have really improved my sewing skills! I look forward to logging on each morning and seeing what everyone is up to! And when one does not post for awhile, we all worry till we hear from them again! Just like a regular family does I guess!


NP:  I have to agree with you about the Family aspect of Cubits.  I think many of us feel like you do, Linda, and I think you've expressed it very well for everyone.  Thanks for letting me chat with you today.

Readers, hover over Linda's photos for their descriptions, and click on them to get a better look.  You can visit her Crafty Cubit for more craft ideas.  Be sure to say hello to Linda in the threads below, and if you are in the mood to make some Christmas decorations, may I suggest this good link?

Thank you for visiting our Spotlight today!

Related articles:
biography, Christmas, crafts, decorations, homemade, interview, spotlight, tattoos

About Nancy Polanski
I live in Western New York. I'm retired, after working for 30 years in the Microbiology Labs at our county hospital. My time now is spent mostly with the Karen refugee population in Buffalo, advocating for them, teaching, helping and enjoying them. I've twice traveled to their camps in Thailand and experienced their culture. It seems they have taught me more about life than I have taught them.

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Comments and discussion:
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wow denimangle Jan 15, 2011 3:38 PM 34
Hummingbirds = JOY Boopaints Jan 14, 2011 9:50 AM 4
My sistah, LK. Heavenscape Dec 25, 2010 7:24 AM 5
Awesome sassafrass Dec 22, 2010 9:03 PM 23
Knew you were special kareoke Dec 22, 2010 7:07 AM 8
Hey LK.... Sharon Dec 21, 2010 9:38 PM 4

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