Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for March, 2014

Frieda Warther’s Button House

The late Freida Warther poses with some of her button creations.

The late Frieda Warther poses with some of her button creations.

Does your home have a jar of buttons? In earlier days, every button was saved before an item was discarded in case they might need a similar button later. Frieda Warther collected buttons since she was a child. In fact, she even brought a jar of her mother’s buttons to this country from Switzerland. Today many of those buttons are displayed in Warther Button House, just outside The Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio.

Frieda was, first of all, mother to their five children and an understanding wife to Ernest, master woodcarver nicknamed Mooney. Flower gardening was her main relaxation and she created beautiful Swiss style gardens outside their home and Mooney’s workshop.Those gardens have been maintained in much the style that Frieda enjoyed them. To her, they were a memory of her old back yard in Switzerland. Today, these gardens are a peaceful place to relax with many benches available. It is no surprise that in the garden, there is also an old red caboose since Mooney carved so many trains in his lifetime.

The Button House was the original shop of Ernest Warther.

The Button House was their original museum.

One of their evening pleasures was reading a large collection of books that they kept in their family library. Even though Mooney had only a second grade education, he was a genius and perused everything from repair manuals to Shakespeare.

It wasn’t until she was about sixty years old that Frieda began experimenting with her buttons and sewing them onto cloth to make beautiful designs. Today many of these designs containing 73,000 buttons hang on the walls and ceiling of the Button House, which was the original small museum to display his carvings.

Button Display for Children

Button Display for Children

Here you will find buttons of many different materials: handpainted ceramic, wooden, pearl, and metal. Amazing as it may sound, there are no duplicates in the creative displays in the Button House. One of her favorite designs had, as its centerpiece, a button from the Inaugural Dress of Abraham Lincoln’s wife.

Due to the family’s love of children, Frieda also designed one pattern just for them. In it she used Cracker Jack prizes, novelties, and what she called, Goofy Buttons.

But the Button House is not the only place you will find her button designs. The Women’s Rest Room at The Warther Museum displays Frieda’s beautiful creations on the walls. In the Men’s Rest Room, so I was told, there are designs she created from arrowheads that Mooney collected on his trips to the country with the children. There is beauty everywhere.

Warther Family Home

Warther Family Home

The original Warther Family Home, their residence for 63 years, is also opened for viewing. You can imagine the family with five children working and playing within its walls. Many of Mooney’s early carvings are on display there as well as a unique collection of pennies from the first one minted in 1793 to the Lincoln-head of 1909.

The kitchen table where Freida designed and assembled her button patterns.

The kitchen table where Freida created her button and arrowhead patterns.

The dining room table in their home was Frieda’s workshop after the children were raised. Ernest enjoyed her artistic endeavors saying, “Sometimes while Frieda was working, she would drill too deep and hit out table. One look at her breathtaking designs and you will realize it was well worth all the holes.”

Soon the springtime tulips – thousands of them – will be blooming in Frieda’s Swiss Garden. Stop by and relax on a bench and discover what it must have been like to live at the end of “Dumb Street” along the Calico Ditch.

Warthers can be found easily off I-77 in Dover, Ohio. Take Exit 83 to the east and follow the well placed signs to Warthers.


Relax with Snowbirds of Florida

Lunch at an outdoor patio.

Lunch at an outdoor patio.

Ever wonder how the Snowbirds live in Florida? Come along for a trip to southern Florida and see how these folks entertain themselves from day to day. Actually, they seem more like children than adults, playing at being grown-ups while enjoying the freedom of children.

This is basically a life of leisure, and everyone runs on their own schedule in the mornings. Some are early risers and like to swim in the pool or exercise before the day gets warms. Others tend to sit back in their recliners and watch the morning world come to life outside their windows. 

Most live near the water so there is always entertainment nearby. The appearance of egrets, ibises, sea gulls and turtles in the nearby lake adds joy to the day. One of the neighbors might decide to throw some bread towards the birds and then the fun begins.

Dolphin statues line the streets as part of Sea Venice Arts Project.

Dolphin statues line the streets as part of Sea Venice Arts Project.

More sea gulls than you thought were in the area, suddenly appear wanting a taste of bread.Turtles even rear their heads out of the water for a tasty treat. They are usually unseen in the water, but when feeding time comes along, their long necks reach out to grab a bite. Once in a while, they will climb out on a rock to sun themselves. 

Shopping seems to be one of the favorite activities for men and women alike. The men usually head to Home Depot while the women check out all the downtown stores almost every day. Most of the time they just look, but sometimes they are tempted to buy a colorful blouse or capris – Florida style. 

Buckeye Ladies gather for their weekly luncheon.

Two tables of Buckeye Ladies gather for their weekly luncheon.

Of course, shopping without lunch isn’t a possibility. All the Buckeye Ladies gather once a week to keep in touch with home news as well as form new friendships. Their weekly gatherings also give them a chance to try a different restaurant every week. You can be certain that quite often seafood is a part of the menu.

On the days when they’re not shopping, lunch on the patio is the order of the day. Everyone enjoys sitting out in the sunshine where they can enjoy fresh air, a gentle breeze, and a quick sandwich and soda.

Afternoons are spent visiting.  These are the friendliest people you could imagine. Ladies ride their three-wheel bicycles from house to house, sharing their latest purchases and bakings. Somehow these ladies still find time to bake the tastiest cookies when they are home for a few minutes.

Surprise visitors pop in unexpectedly quite often. If you have a home in Florida, you can expect company from the northern states to stop by to say hello anytime they are in the area. Refrigerators are well stocked so there is always something the men can throw on the grill, while the ladies can whip up some extras without too much problem. Steaks and hamburgers are quite popular on the grill and the guys seem to handle this with ease. Then the ladies will toss a salad, fix some potatoes, and always seem to manage some fresh fruit for dessert.

Sunset on the lake at their  backdoor

Sunset on the lake at their backdoor

Evenings might be spent playing cards or Scrabble around the table with friends who just happened to stop by. A card game called Head and Foot seemed to be popular as it could be played without too much concentration. That way everyone could visit and play cards at the same time. 

The Club House is also a popular place for friends to gather in the evening for Bingo. They are quite serious about plans for the evening as snacks are packed in coolers and everyone makes certain they have their Bingo spotter with them. The game is a fast moving affair with helpful eyes on everyone’s cards.

These adult children enjoy their relaxed lifestyle and that is what retirement should be all about. 

View of the causeways leaving Tampa

View of the causeways leaving Tampa

There is no doubt that the climate is perfect for the Snowbirds during the winter months. But visitors must return to the cold blasts of northern winter. Flying out, the scene of the causeways crossing Tampa Bay is a great way to say goodbye to a beautiful Florida visit.

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