Pulling Strings

Greetings Kids! 😀
I hope you had a great weekend – one with a little bit of fun and a whole lot of relaxation!

How about a story to start off the week?


Once upon a time, Crystal and Sir Beads took a trip to the Czech Republic to visit their daughter, who was there on a study abroad semester. (You may remember Crystal showed you some decorated eggs that she found in Prague on that trip.)

But Prague is also famous for other things, including handmade marionettes. You see them everywhere. Some are incredibly detailed. They are often used in the musical performances that are going on numerous times a day in venues all over the city.

Sir Beads and Crystal were enchanted with the marionettes they saw. There was one shop, in particular, where marionettes were the only product offered. There were princesses, and scary creatures, and comical characters, and . . .


(Double-click to enlarge.)

Sir Beads loved Pinocchio when he was a little boy. He and Crystal fell in love with the version of Pinocchio they discovered in that puppet shop. He was carved from wood with colorful handmade clothes – quite a handsome fella! They decided he had to travel back home with them. The shopkeeper provided a long, sturdy box to protect him on the journey.

When Sir Beads and Crystal arrived at an airport in Europe, on their way home, they were carrying that long narrow box. Security officials eyed them a little suspiciously and then gruffly motioned for them to get out of line and approach the customs area. They were led to a long table and the stern-looking man behind the table asked:

“What is in that box?”

Sir Beads answered that it was a marionette. “Yes, a puppet.” Crystal added.

The official raised an eyebrow. He instructed the couple to give the box to him. He eyed the length and width of the package and then took out a box opener and swiftly cut the tape. He opened the cover and brusquely ripped at the inner wrappings.

With a final flourish, he ripped the last piece of paper packing that was covering the contents of the box . . .

Immediately, he let out a soft cry of surprise and childlike delight as he cooed:

Ohhhhh, PINOCCHIO!!!!!!!

It was an amazing transformation. One second he was a gruff official and the next he was a sentimental little boy.

He was then all apologies that he didn’t have the proper tape to re-bind the box. He carefully replaced the packing paper and found some scotch tape, which he applied with diligence. Incredibly, he smiled as he said goodbye.

Sir Beads and Lady Crystal sighed in relief. They looked at each other with a look that said, “Are we having fun, yet?” They knew that this was a story they’d be telling in the future – whenever a visitor to their home noticed Pinocchio for the first time.


“Show and Tell Tuesday” tomorrow! See you then. 🙂



Show and Tell Tuesday

Shhh! 😉 When nobody was looking, I stepped into the Show and Tell Tuesday line. (Actually, I don’t have any photos from you kids, at the moment! How about a few from me?)

Sir Beads’ grandparents were born in Czechoslovakia, and when our daughter studied there for a semester, we were thrilled to have a chance to visit an ancestral homeland. We were able to see the villages where his grandparents had lived before they came to America. It was an amazing feeling to enter the churches where they worshiped and to saunter down the paths they had walked. We spent several days in Prague, which is an incredibly beautiful city. I’ve talked about the talent of the Czech glassmakers, but there are many forms of art and music to be found there.

One traditional art is the decorating of blown eggs with paints, dyes, straw, and even fine knotted wire. Various techniques are used including batik, but Sir Beads and I were particularly drawn to those that were dyed and then decorated by scratching off the dye to form intricate designs.

We bought several treasures from this sweet lady, who is hard at work.

Here are the eggs up close.

They are truly gorgeous in person. We use them as Christmas ornaments but they’re meant for Easter. The lady explained that different regions of the country have their own unique methods for creating the finished eggs, and that often you can tell where they’re from just by looking at them.

Poor thing though! She was sitting outside, working in below freezing temperatures, to attract the attention of shoppers. It was the latter part of November. Notice the wool blanket around her waist!


Have you bought a Christmas present, put up a Christmas decoration, or finished some gift wrapping? C’mon, take a photo! The rest of us wanna see what you’re up to! 😀