Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Evening...

Good evening, everyone!
I hope everyone is warm and dry with all the strange weather happening...
Tuesday night we had tornado warnings...(it had been close to 70 degrees that day) ~
We actually took the kitties to the basement,
 since they would be heck to catch in a hurry, if we all needed to go downstairs!
The storms passed us with no damage here; it's been super-windy all week, though...
late this afternoon it SNOWED again for about 15 minutes,
and the temperature is supposed to be in the teens tonight...
No wonder folks are sick!
Today would have been my Daddy's 92nd birthday...

Here he is at 6 months old...isn't he a cute little fellow?


My favorite photo of Daddy with Ring, his Great-Grandfather's dog...
His graduation photo from Mizzou (University of Missouri) in 1942.

When Daddy passed away I found his original diploma; still in the cardboard tube, pristine.

I immediately had it matted, but had not yet had it framed; of course, it was lost in the fire.

When my youngest son Jonathan was sending his high school transcripts

 to several universities a couple of months ago,

I went to the Mizzou website to get their address, and on a whim e-mailed one of the

under-graduate "helpers" for newcomers, telling her about the diploma.

The next day I got an e-mail from the registrar, telling me they would be happy

to issue a replacement diploma for Daddy, at no charge.

I thought that was so nice, and unexpected!


Happy Birthday, Daddy! ♥


Okay, here is one of the "arty things" I promised! ;^)

Another Fairy House ~ this one is the home of "Godiva the Chocolate Fairy"!

I did it all in "chocolate" colors, from the darkest "dark chocolate" to

"milk chocolate" to creamy "white chocolate"...


I had such fun trying to make the polymer clay look like candy!

This is the first time I've ever done anything in a monochromatic color scheme...

and you know, it was so strange...

I kept wanting to smell it ~ especially when I was making the "chocolate roses"...

like the clay had somehow transformed into chocolate!


It has found a home with the Chocolate Gypsy Queen herself,

Wendy of Victorian Chocolate Molds...(click here to go her wonderful website) ~ ♥

I hope she loves it!


And... here's a new one that I'm working on tonight...

Since the gourd "roof" didn't have a curly, "fancy" stem,

I added some polymer buds, leaves and tendrils...

More pics of the progress on this one tomorrow, I hope!

One more thing; a question for you...

This bean pot was my Mom's, and now it's my daughter Mandy's ~

I thought it was mainly decorative (in my house it would be!) ~ ;^)

Do any of you know about "bean pot" cooking?

(Please share if you do!)

Have a good night, all...and a creative Friday!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken Wishin'

Hi, Everyone! (May I say "Peeps"? ;^)
I didn't mean to go so long between posts!
I actually have been busy ~
 ("Doing something close to nothing, but different than the day before")...
No, really. I have.
Arty stuff.
I just can't show you pictures yet,
 until after the recipients have gotten their items, then I will.
So, I'm going to tell about my "Chicken Wishin'".
I even named a board on Pinterest that. ♥
I would LOVE to have some lovely hens, and I am SO envious of you that do!
Can't, though ~ we live in town, and chickens ~ "farm animals"~
aren't allowed. :^(
However, I do believe there is a Chicken Underground here in Sikeston.
I know a few folks who have them, but I guess no one has complained.
I wouldn't.
My backyard-adjoining neighbor Lynette says we could have them,
and cut a little door in the fence between,
 so they could have free-range bug-picking in both yards.
Lynette has two indoor/outdoor kitties, though ~ Thelma and Louise...
so I'm not sure how well that would work.
(They're so cute, Thelma and Louise...they're both white, so I never know
which one I'm seeing...
Come to think of it, I've never seen both of them at the same time...)
I'm afraid if we did that, though, and then got caught and had to give
them up, it would be just awful...I'd be so mad...
 and we'd probably be arrested and fined...I don't even want to think about it.
So, for now, chickens are a "maybe someday",
before I get too old to go out and gather eggs!
Me, in the Chicken Dress.
Here's the dress again!
(Daddy taught Taffy so many tricks! My Mom said he could make a caramel last all
evening...see it there in his hand? He would give Taffy tiny little bits...
she could identify and bring him her cow, horse, pig (toys) ~ whichever he asked her for...
She could "say her prayers", etc.
We had some of the old-fashioned Brach's square caramels at Christmas,
and they were so small! Like everything else ~ smaller in size, and higher in price...)
Wearing the Chicken Dress at Christmas...
Still wearing it at Easter! ~ ( In fact, look how short it is on me...
I think this is over a year later!)
Anyway, here I am with Daddy's favorite English Setter, Polly.
My usual position, on the floor, drawing ~ you guessed it ~ chickens.

I drew them dressed and with families.

I've always loved chickens...

My favorite dress, ever, was my Chicken Dress.

My Great Aunt Anna (for whom I was named) was an exquisite seamstress...

She made the Chicken Dress, as well as most of my clothes (and my Mom's).

I must have worn it for quite some time, as I look quite a bit older in a couple

of the photos, above.

I "wore the tail off it" as my Grandma would say.

I did have a quilt that had pieces of the chicken fabric in it,

and I was going to take a picture, but then I couldn't find it ~

(I did find my Grandma Launius's wool granny-square afghan, though,

where I thought the quilt was...)

It may have been in the house where the fire was. I hope not,

but we were in the midst of moving some things that had been in storage

to that house, and there are things for which I just cannot account.

Hopefully it will still turn up in a box somewhere!


Grandma Collier had chickens, and I loved to go in the hen-house...

gingerly feeling under the hens sitting on their nests,

to see if there were eggs...

Grandma used a glass darning-egg as a "fooler" (does that really work?) ~

moving it around from nest to nest...we had it for a long time,

 but  unfortunately it didn't survive being played with

by my first-born, Mark, at my Mom's!

I can still close my eyes and see the hen-house ~ it was on the other side

 of Grandpa's workshop, opposite Cecil's room.

You walked into a little area where Grandma kept the chicken feed,

cracked corn and something called "shorts", I think,

that looked pretty much like sawdust. And little bits of oyster shells,

that I believe were supposed to strengthen the egg shells...

Then you went through a squeaky screen door into the room

 where the roost and nest-boxes were.

There was a window, but it was always dim and dusty in there...

you could see dust-motes in the rays of sun coming through late in the afternoon.

I loved hearing the hens, making their soft, clucking sounds...

slightly scolding when they realized someone was in their house ~

I always tiptoed through there, afraid I was going to disturb them!

Then through another screen door that Grandma kept propped open

during the day, out into the chicken-yard...

Grandma always told me to watch where I stepped, especially out there!

There were raspberry bushes planted as a sort of screen all along one side,

at the edge of the garden ~ the chickens loved that, as they could eat all

the berries that grew through the fence on their side.

I would go around the yard and pick dandelions and violets, along with

any earthworms (I was never a squeamish child) I could find,

and make "pretty" plates of goodies for the hens...

Such is life for an only child!

I had fun, though.

Here I am, circa 1962, in Grandma's kitchen with one of the

 Chinese Silkie chickens that were "mine" ...
Little did I know what an early trend-setter I was!

(Click here to read more about Tori Spelling and using Silkies as a fashion accessory...)

I did a watercolor yesterday of Grandma's hens watching my little Silkie rooster...

"Strutting His Stuff" ~ ;^)

One more chicken story...

There were probably a half-dozen or so of the little Silkies,

 who lived peacefully with Grandma's hens...

Down the street from Grandma and Grandpa's house, though, there was a family...

actually, "older" (it seemed) parents and a teenaged (I think) boy.

When I first started thinking about telling this, I had no recollection of their names,

but yesterday it came to me all of a sudden ~

 Isn't it amazing how all that is hidden in our memories?

Anyway, the family was...trying to be tactful here...

do you remember the "Darlings" on Andy Griffith?

 Well, these people were like the Darlings.

And their boy, Willie, was a chicken thief.

Every couple of months for what seemed to me like a very long time,

Willie would slip in Grandma's hen house at night, and steal several

of her hens, along with all of my Silkies.

They lived maybe half a block away, "the Darlings"...

So, you could practically see their chicken coop from

Grandma and Grandpa's side porch...

Every time, Grandpa would call the sheriff,

And every time, the chickens would be returned by Willie,

accompanied by his parents and the sheriff .

(No one else had Silkies in Morehouse, Missouri at that time...;^)

Grandpa and Grandma never pressed charges; they just wanted the chickens back.

Then a couple of months later, Willie would come back and steal a few of

Grandma's hens, and again all of my Silkies.

They were a bit noticeable, the Silkies!

Then we would go through the whole drama of the "return" again.

It always made me so angry, to think that my chickens were being

unceremoniously thrown in a bag and carried off!

I don't know whatever happened to Willie, but hopefully he wised up

and stopped running "afowl" of the law...

Okay, I'll stop!

Everyone have a wonderful Sunday!

More soon!


Saturday, January 12, 2013


What a grey, rainy day here! ~
I hope you all are warm and dry where you are.
All of our snow is gone, washed away by the rain and 60+ temperatures...
That carol "In the Bleak Midwinter" comes to mind.
For some reason this morning I woke up
 with Cecil on my mind.
What brings to mind a person that you really didn't know,
but were around a little
50 years ago?
I don't know.
Maybe I'm supposed to write about him.
Cecil was a man who lived in a little room at the end
of my Grandpa Collier's workshop building.
He could have been fifty years old or eighty.
There aren't any photos that I know of. Not in our family's photos, anyway.
So I looked through Google images until I found this 1924 illustration
by Norman Rockwell...from my recollection, Cecil could have
posed for it ~ though, if he had a dog, he wasn't with him by the time
he came to stay at Grandpa and Grandma's.
If I'd ever heard any details about Cecil, I don't remember.
And, to tell the truth, I didn't just wake up thinking of him out of the blue...
The other night when I was driving home, I saw a man walking along the highway
carrying two duffel bags, and my first instinct was to think "That poor man"...
and then wondering if he had eaten, as I drove home to my warm house.
I even considered circling around, just to see how old ~or how desperate ~ he looked...
But then, I was so close to home at that point, and our house and driveway can
be seen from the highway...
that I reconsidered...I was nervous about him seeing where I lived if I made
myself conspicuous by going past him twice.
Isn't it awful that our society has come to that?
We still have the right instincts, but we push them back for fear of our own
or our family's safety.
Just not worth the risk. Sad.
It was then that I first started thinking about how my Grandparents
would have probably offered him help without a second thought,
and then I thought about Cecil.
As I said, Cecil could have been 50 or 80. He was probably somewhere in between.
I don't know how he came to know my Grandparents ~
he probably just showed up one day, a "hobo"...
He helped Grandpa with the garden and did little odd jobs for them,
but most of the time he just stayed in his room, which was dark and sparsely furnished ~

There was electricity and a light overhead, but I believe he chose not to use it often,

as not to put Grandpa and Grandma 'out' further..
I didn't go in ~ I just got glimpses of it when I occasionally took him a plate of
Grandma's wonderful food...
(Grandma provided meals for Cecil three times a was such a big deal
at Grandma and Grandpa's...Grandma loved to cook and Grandpa loved to eat! They had
owned a restaurant before retirement, and their world centered
 around the kitchen and food...♥)
I say "occasionally" because I was a little afraid of Cecil...

like Scout and Jem were afraid of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird...
Just because of the way he looked; his general shabbiness...
He was never anything but polite and kind.
He would say to me, "Tell yer Grandma 'thank ye'"....
but I still dreaded going out there and knocking on his door!
I can still smell the saw-dusty workshop on my way to his room...
I was a shy little thing and didn't like talking to people
that I didn't know really well...
I dreaded going out to the workshop every step of the way,
carrying a pie-pan heaped with Grandma's fabulous fried chicken
or ham and vegetables galore, and always accompanied by her
mouth-watering biscuits...(the most heavenly biscuits you can imagine ~

I wish I had paid more attention to how she made them!)
As soon as I delivered Cecil's food I would high-tail it back to the house...
Grandma was trying to "socialize" me a little, I'm sure.
(Now I more than make up for my lack of talking then!)
Then one day we came to Grandpa and Grandma's and they said that
Cecil had passed away; a heart attack while he was sitting out in the yard,
talking with Grandpa.
His little room stayed just the way it had been, up until the time the
house and property were sold; after Grandpa passed away and Grandma
came to stay with us.
I can't help but wonder about who Cecil was (I never even knew his last name),
where his family was, and how he came to be in such a predicament.
Maybe he was an angel.
If so, my Grandparents certainly stepped up
 and did their part, entertaining "angels unawares"...

Lon and Elphia Collier (better known as Grandpa and Grandma),

far right, at their 4-Way Cafe in Heath, Kentucky, 1950s.

I'll leave you with Cyrus and his new favorite toy,

recommended by daughter Katie's kitties...

the Cosmic Catnip carrot ~ :^)
I've watched a little too much Lord of the Rings lately, haven't I?
Have a good rest-of-the-weekend!
P.S. Do you like my January background? Possum Haw! Or, Deciduous Holly ~ Ilex decidua.
We had a tree in our yard at our "vintage house", and my Grandpa Launius had one that
he shaped and pampered at their house in Essex, Missouri. At this time of year you can see it
in all the fence-rows and along the highway. It's an "iffy" plant, though, because depending
on when (not "if") the birds find it, it can be a glorious winter sight with its beautiful plump,
scarlet berries, or it can be feasted upon and be completely bare in an afternoon!
You can read more about Possum Haw here...:^)

Friday, January 11, 2013

A New Look for January...

Hi, Everyone!
Trying a new look for the remainder of January...
and everything started going all wonky...
(My banner was hugging the far left side...and didn't budge with the usual "fixes"...)
Thankfully, it fixed itself when I closed everything and logged back on...
...then my computer froze...
What do you think...since I wasn't able to change it for the time being...
Should I keep the white background?...Is it easier to read?
Maybe it's a sign that I should just go to bed?
 Here's a picture of Cyrus from before Christmas
that kind of fits...
He could give Grumpy Cat a run for his money, don't you think?
Have a great weekend, anyway!
I'm going to try the shortbread cookie recipe in a couple of
Brown Bag cookie molds tomorrow...
I'll let you know how it goes!
(Notice the message on Daddy's typewriter?...that's mostly for me...;^) ~

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Feast of the Magi...A Day Late ;^)

Hi, Everyone!
Yes, in my world even the Magi might be a day late...
and it would be okay.
January 6th was actually the Feast of the Magi,
and I was prepared to make my Camel Cookies...
But then, Jonathan and Mr. B wanted me to watch
The Return of the King...
(just not those Kings) ~
...we had spent the previous two evenings
watching the first and second movies in the
 Lord of the Rings trilogy (I know, I'm way behind),
and I didn't want to disappoint ~
They were educating me in the ways of Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves...
Before I see The Hobbit ~
So I decided that it wouldn't hurt to wait another day for cookie-baking...

A couple of weeks ago I re-found the copper camel cookie-cutter

that Mr. B made me when Jonathan was small,

and I decided that we needed to make Camel Cookies again.

We'd started the tradition in 2000 after I saw the recipe

in Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine,

and because I thought it would be something I could actually keep up with;

something that didn't have to be done in the rush before Christmas,

but in the more relaxed days after...

and still be right on time!

Well, that was the plan, anyway.

We kept it up for quite a while, then gradually the poor Magi

got later and later, and then we kind of forgot about the

little camels.

So, this year, I decided we'd revive the tradition.

First I had to get the magazine again...

(I'd had them all at one time, before the fire.)

I could have just made sugar cookies, but I remembered how good

the little frosted shortbread cookies were...

and I looked on eBay.

There it was!

I could usually remember what was in certain issues of

Home Companion by the art that was on the cover ~ of the earlier ones, anyway.

But, to make sure, I asked the seller before I bid if there was a recipe for

Camel Cookies in there ~ :^)

The Canadian seller was a sweet lady named Joyce who offered

 to just e-mail me the recipe...♥

I told her I would like to have the Home Companion again, as well,

but would appreciate it if she would send the recipe in case

 the magazine didn't arrive in time, so she did...

then went out of her way to mail the magazine when she

had business in the States, to save me money (I got it really quickly, too!) ~

We (as Bloggers, of course!) already know that there are still lots of

kind people in the world, but it's always nice to run into one, isn't it?

Thank you again, Joyce!

Here's everything we used ~ very simple ingredients.
I must have not used a sifter when we made the cookies when

Jonathan was small, because he said "Have we always had this??"~

And proceeded to do the sifting for me.

Fascinating, sifters!

I washed it very well first because I had just used it last week to

sift the mica for those little bleached trees....(Oops!)


Okay, here is the recipe...


You can make the adaptable dough into a cylinder, refrigerate it until

it is firm, and then slice it into rounds...

Or, press into a cake pan, cut into squares or diamonds

(or camels)

and bake. Cookies can be frozen or stored in an airtight container

for a week or so.

Makes two dozen cookies, depending on shape.

2 sticks unsalted butter

3/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted all-purpose or unbleached flour

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

(I used the meltable chocolate wafers instead, which came in their own little

container and didn't require the addition of shortening)

1 teaspoon vegetable shortening (if using regular chocolate chips)


1. Cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in large bowl.

2. Add flour and beat until well mixed.

Form cookie dough into a flattened round and wrap in wax paper;

refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

4. Roll cookie dough 1/4 thick on a lightly floured surface.

Cut into shapes and bake on ungreased cookies sheets for 20-25 minutes

until they are still pale and just beginning to turn light brown.

Let cool on rack.

5. Melt chocolate chips with vegetable shortening on top of a double

boiler over simmering water.

Dip cooled cookies in mixture or spread with a pastry knife.

Place on waxed paper until chocolate hardens.

Ours looked pretty much like these!

So glad that I still have my Mom's rolling pin...
A herd of camels...
Made even better with Chocolate...
Jonathan put a little fez on this one...;^)
And here they are!

Ready to carry the Wise Men to follow the Star!

These Wise Men were my Mom's, purchased in 1968.

They look "60s"-ish, don't you think?


I love them, though...♥
Here is one of my favorite Christmas things, a Santa cookie jar...

 from William Joyce's Santa Calls...

Love him! ~ I'm putting away Christmas for the most part,

but he gets to stay out for a little while longer ~
One more thing...

Another vintage Woolworth's photo ~ a window display of ornaments...

(Time machine....!!)

Good night, all ~ have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!
I've been going through some vintage postcards
to post here for you...
It wasn't easy narrowing them down to just a few!
The Winsch ones are always so elegant,

no matter the holiday...this one is from 1910.
Kitties celebrating are always fun!

Leo, Cyrus and Tallulah thought I should post all kitties,

but I said we needed a little variety ~ ;^)
I wonder what Little New Year is writing?
These Kitties look like they may be having a little too

much fun! Look at the expression on the little Girl-Kitty in the back!
One can never go wrong with Fairies and Gnomes...

...or Cherubs and pigs...with sacks of coins ~

And more waltzing Kitties!

I have been back to blogging for a little more than a year now,

and I have met the dearest people...

thank you all for visiting me and for all your sweet comments...

I used to paint and decorate,

and then have my Mom come over to see...

Or I'd tell my Dad about it on the phone when I talked to him every evening.

After they both passed, and after the loss of my nine Angel Kitties,

I could have easily let depression take over...

Of course, I have my sweet children, but they are grown

 (well, all but one, and he is almost) and have busy lives...

Blogging has given me an outlet to share what I do with

all of you, and the immediate responses I get from you are

more than gratifying...♥

Thank you.

I wish all of you a wonderful, healthy, prosperous 2013!