Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Olive Fell, Flour Sacks, and Monkey Wards

A well know artist lived up the river from us.
"Olive Fell grew up in Wyoming, and after studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York, she returned to her home state. She settled on the Four Bear Ranch near Cody and lived there for the rest of her life. In the 1930s, Fell developed her popular "Little Bear Cubs" design on cards and novelties, which sold to tourists in the national parks and resorts. During the 1940s and 50s, she continued to create postcards and posters for Yellowstone National Park. In 1935, the artist began painting Native American children with oils and later acrylics. She also sculpted wildlife in wood, rock, and stone. 
Despite her isolation from the artistic community, Fell became known especially for her etchings. For Minds to Know was chosen as one of the one hundred best prints of the year by the Society of American Etchers in 1934. During the 1930s, several of her prints were featured in exhibitions sponsored by organizations such as the International Etchers, the Northwest Printmakers, and the Society of American Etchers. She also showed at the National Art Exhibition in Chicago in 1936 and the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. 

"The inspiration for most of Fell's work came from within the boundaries of her 1,800-acre ranch, a protected game refuge in the Absaroka Range of the Wyoming Rockies. Regularly she tracked animals on horseback or on skis, then sat for hours, often using precarious vantage points to observe and sketch for future reference." 
(Source: Kovinick, Phil and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick. An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.)"

Daddy became good friends with Olive, who preferred living an isolated existence.  He would shoe her horses, help with jobs around her ranch or some project that  she was working on. Sometimes she would make trips to New York City or Chicago for art exhibits. Knowing that my mom was a good seamstress she would give Dad boxes of "city clothes" that she was tired of.  Mom would carefully take them apart, and refashion them into dresses for herself and us girls, dresses made of expensive fabrics that she could only dream about..

For inspiration Mom would check the pages of the latest Monkey Wards catalog, and carefully recreate the current fashion.  Our good dresses made from the the reworked fabric, and our everyday dresses made from flour sack prints were always in the up to date styles.  We were poor, but always dressed well, thanks to Olive Fell, flour sacks, the catalog, and Mom's wonderful talent at the sewing machine.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sewing Machine

One day Daddy was on his way home to the ranch, when he noticed that  someone had cleaned out an old house, he stopped to see what was being thrown away.  You just never know what you might find, you know one man's junk is another man's treasure. He noticed a sewing machine in the heap,  loaded it up in the pickup, took it home, cleaned it up, made a few repairs, and this made Mom so happy. She had a Singer long bobbin treadle machine. 
And for more than twenty years she made all the family clothes, dolls and their clothes, other toys, quilts and mended many a pair of jeans and shirts on this machine.  Late in the evening after everyone was in bed, you could hear the rhythm of the machine as she turned out our wardrobe. She also taught all us kids to sew.  She felt that it was as important for a boy to know how to take care of himself as it was for a girl to know the details of homemaking. Her goal was to make us independent.  Being able to sew was just one element in self-sufficiency.  Her trusted old treadle machine was one of the tools that helped us learn these lessons.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday's Meditation--Electricity

Faith is like electricity. You can't see it, but you can see the light.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8  That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming. (The Message)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Many of you have asked for my quiche recipe.  Quiche is a simple baked egg dish that is almost foolproof.

First I will give you my no fail pie-crust recipe.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I got it from my mom who got it from Betty Crocker.

3 cups flour (rounded a little)
1 cup shortning
Cut in together, until size of small peas, then
In a separate bowl mix together
1 egg beaten
5 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Sprinkle mixture over flour, mix gently, roll out, no need to chill
This will make 3 crusts.

For the quiche, I have a basic recipe that can be added to.  The base is
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Beat until smooth and blended, then for
Quiche Lorraine
1/2 pound bacon, fried slightly crisp Save a bit for topping)
or for 
Sausage Quiche
12 ounces spicy sausage, fried and drained (save a bit for topping)
3 finely chopped green onions
*Chopped green pepper, broccoli, pimento, mushrooms, etc. may be added as desired.
Place meat and desired vegetables in an unbaked pie shell
Pour cheese mixture over
Garnish with reserved meat
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake 10 minutes longer till puffed and golden and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favorite Things-Follow Friday

friday favorite things | finding joy
These are a few of my favorite things this past week

 A beautiful sunset
Fresh from the oven Chocolate Chip Cookies (oh, oh time to clean the oven)
Fiery red flowers

A place to meditate

Each week, Hilary at Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to me at feelingbeachie@gmail.com. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Brenda from Ficton with a Purpose. She came up with the last two statements.

.I would LOVE it if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…. So, please tweet, FaceBook share, add the linky to your post…

This week’s statements:

1. Nothing is better than._waking to the smell of fresh brewed coffee--love those timers!
2. I _wash_my _face_ in _water_but never _use soap, just a facial cleanser.___
3. Those _garden shows_ that are always _featuring gorgeous yards_ make me want to _rush down to the  plant nursery.
4. My favorite _time of day_ is when _the sun is just coloring the sky and the birds are starting their morning songs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pondering with a Purpose

This Week's prompt is: Home?
Webster defines home as home  (hm)
1. A place where one lives; a residence.
2. The physical structure within which one lives, such as a house or apartment.
3. A dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it; a household.
a. An environment offering security and happiness.
b. A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin.
5. The place, such as a country or town, where one was born or has lived for a long period.

I have lived in many place, many structures, most of them I considered houses.  I wasn't emotionally attached to them.  There was my college dorm, various apartments in Denver, houses we lived in throughout the United States.  Thinking back there were only three that I considered homes.
The first was my childhood home on the North Fork of the Shoshone River, west of Cody, Wyoming.  It was a comfortable, log house filled with love and laughter, pain and tears.  Here I learned the values that would shape me for the rest of my life.  It was an environment filled with security and happiness.

The second place I considered a home, was the apartment in Jouy-sur-Eure, France where I started my married life, where my first child was born.  It was a small run-down apartment, with uneven floors, covered with cracked linoleum, a small kitchenette, cupboards with no doors, rooms all connected with no doors, an open shower in the corner of the bedroom, the toilet in the outside hall used by all the tenants.  It was heated with a kerosene stove,
the chimney going outside through a pane in the living room window.  But it was in this place that I learned of love, the joy of motherhood, the heartbreak of losing my father, and the wonderful advantages and opportunities that I had stateside.

The final place that I consider as home is the house in Phoenix where I now live.  This place is solid--a refuge from the cares of the world.  In it I have experienced the joy of seeing my children grow up and become responsible adults, but I have also experienced the loss of my husband through divorce, a hurt that hung like a cloud over this dwelling for several years. Then this building saw my metamorphosis from a hurting depressed individual to a successful business person, well adjusted and happy.
So, looking back, I have concluded that it is not the dwelling that makes a place home for me, but the emotional ties those bricks and boards, windows and doors provide.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The NFL playoffs were held this past weekend and this year's Superbowl lineup will feature The New York Giants versus The New England Patriots. How do you define 'patriot'?
Several thoughts come to mind--those brave common people who fought for our freedom, then Mel Gibson as the peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution

2. What's something in your life right now that feels like a 'giant'?
Keeping on an even keel while my grandson is recovering from his accident.  He is facing emotional and physical trials, and is quick to lash out.  I pray daily for God to give me patience.
3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to being 18?
Being far away from home, living in Denver, so I could go to college.

4. Coconut-mashed potatoes-vanilla ice cream-mayonnaise...which white food would be the hardest to give up?

My favorite white food is scallops.  I absolutely love them any way they are fixed, but since they aren't on the list, I would have to go with mashed potatoes, all hot and fluffy with a pat of butter melting in a nice puddle in the center.

5. Describe an incident or a day you remember as the coldest you've ever experienced?
The coldest I have ever been, physically, was when I lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  In the winter of 1968 the temperature was -30 degrees, but with the wind chill it was close to 50 below.  There was about 2 feet of snow on the ground.  I couldn't be outside for more than a minute or so.  Now 40 years later, I am still thawing out.  The coldest emotionally, the day that my husband left me--my heart was frozen for the longest time.  But, through the years, I have thawed out from that also.  Now my life is warm!

6. You're hosting a brunch...what's your favorite dish to prepare and serve?
I love to make Quiche, serve it with fresh fruit, green salad, and sherbet for dessert.

7. How do you combat negative thinking?
Pray, listen to good music, get busy doing something creative.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Sheridan found out today that he might need more surgery on his upper face.  He is very upset with this.  He still does not have insurance, so am hoping that his work will get busy and submit the paperwork, so he might be covered  before this happens.  Sometimes I think I am too old to have to deal with all these problems, but then a still small voice comes to me and says that I am just the right age--my faith, experience and knowledge will see us both through these trying times.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lunch at Wapiti

It was lunch recess at Wapiti, the one room school I attended when I was a kid. As you entered the building, there was a shelf where all the lunch pails were lined up. In nice weather we ate our lunches outside, sitting on the porch, When it was cold, we could eat in the library.  
Lunch consisted of a sandwich, wrapped in wax paper that we must save to use for the week–maybe peanut butter and jelly, fried egg, or perhaps cheese, and a cookie for dessert or as a special treat–a pancake left over from breakfast, sprinkled with powdered sugar and rolled up tight, and a thermos of milk, fresh from the cows the night before.  
After we finished eating we played outside. In winter weather we made paths in the snow and played fox and geese, or made snow angels.  We always had big snowmen families posed around the playground. The older boys made igloos that the girls weren’t allowed in.  In nice weather we played "Annie, Annie Over, Red Rover or Tag.  There was a slide, three swings, and monkey bars in the far corner of the playground.  The boys always had a game of marbles going on.  Then before we knew it, lunch hour was over, and it was back to class.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not Sweet Little Buttercup

A couple of days ago, I told the story of Sheila--a wonderful wild horse that we raised from a colt.  She was a gentle, well-behaved mare.  When she was four or five years old, she had a colt, a pretty little pale buckskin that Daddy named Buttercup.  Now, Buttercup was like a lot of today's kids--she just didn't want to conform.  She would nip you every chance she got; picked fights with other horses; and when Daddy tried to break her, she was ornery.  Here she is trying to buck Daddy off.  She never did conform.  She was one generation removed from a wild horse, and that blood coursed through her veins.  
I'm sure at night she heard the call of the wild horses across the river, and longed to join them as they roamed the  high plateaus. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday's Meditation--Poker and Freedom

You never know where you may find bits of wisdom. Consider this man--Doyle F. Brunson (born August 10, 1933) an American professional poker player who has played professionally for over 50 years. He is the first two-time World Series of Poker main event champion to win consecutively, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of several books on poker.  He was the first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments.
Doyle Brunson said, "Dear God, I have a problem; it's me." Unfortunately I share this same problem.

Paul, the apostle, says the exact thing in Romans 7: 15, 18-19, 24-25 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate....And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway...Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord (NLT) 

 Now that is something to  treasure!

Be sure and check out this great giveaway.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Comforting Thoughts

Hand made sympathy cards are always hard to make.  As you are constructing them you feel the pain and loss of the recipient.  But it is important to acknowledge the loss.

This card with a Victorian feel will convey your thoughts.  The card is navy with a white picture frame die cut.  A light blue angel print is placed inside the corners. Out of a square white lacy paper doily fashion an envelope, trim the bottom flap with a pearl button and embroidery floss.  The message stamped on a little card fits inside the envelope.

Inside the card, a sentiment is stamped on white and adhered to the card.

Another loss besides death is the person going through divorce.  That loss hurts as much as death.  And although it may be hard, it is so important to keep in contact with that person after the obligatory casserole is delivered. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Favorite Things

Some of my favorite things this week
Going into my doctor's office for post-op visit, no more visits for a month.  Yeah!

Amazing St Joseph's Hospital where they took care of my grandson.  Monday he went in for outpatient surgery on his face.  He is so ready to get in the car and come home.
Taking a vote for membership
Lifting their face to the warm sunshine


This week’s statements:
1. I used to enjoy working but now I don’t really anymore except for when I am broke
2. My first job was as a nanny when I way 13.
3. I am a bit obsessed with rearranging my studio at the moment
4. If I don’t have my fan on at night, I don’t sleep well.  I also like to have a nice comforter to snuggle under.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Madame Bovary

One Silent Winter has a book club that features the classics.  This month's book was Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert set in the mid 1800 in Normandy France, a novel about a middle class woman---Emma--who yearns for a life of wealth and romance like those heroines that she reads about, and her country doctor husband--Charles--who is dull, boorish, and only marginally successful.  His love and devotion to her does not fulfill her need for romance, so she seeks it in illicit affairs which are not satisfying either.  With no care for money, she ruins the family with unpayable debts, and finally not able to face Charles, she commits suicide.
This novel was interesting to me on several levels.  First of all the setting was just a few miles from where I lived for three years.  The rural setting has changed little from the 1800's.  Farmers still use horse drawn carts in their fields, much of the work is done by hand.  They are a poor people scratching out a day to day existence.  
The major towns like Rouen, although having come into the 20th century still retain remnants of the old world.  Only a block or so off the main streets with its paved roads and autos, you can see a sight like this--narrow cobbled streets with houses tall and narrow hovering over passersby. You can imagine Emma hurrying through these narrow passageways on the way to meet her lover, or leaving the opera to get a breathe of air.
I also enjoyed the contrasts in the book.  Flaubert used such good word pictures it drew you into the scenes.
Boiled beef dinner that I
had many times while in
Throughout the book Flaubert contrasts reality with Emma's romantic expectations.
"But it was above all at mealtimes that she could bear it no longer, in that little room on the ground floor, with the smoking stove, the creaking door, the oozing walls, the damp floor-tiles; all the bitterness of life seemed to be served to her on her plate, and, with the steam from the boiled beef, there rose from the depths of her soul other exhalations as it were of disgust. Charles was a slow eater; she would nibble a few hazel-nuts, or else, leaning on her elbow, would amuse herself making marks on the oilcloth with the point of her table-knife."
This quote, from Part One, Chapter IX, demonstrates Flaubert’s combination of realism and emotional subjectivity-- realism because of telling of tiny details, even if unpleasant; subjective because we can feel Emma’s disgust and frustration. The importance of the object world to Emma’s thoughts is emphasized by the connections of her soul’s exhalations to the steam from the beef.  Flaubert connects emotions to objects throughout the story--making emotions inseparable from objects,  Emma cannot escape from the physical world and live the life she imagines. She is trapped among objects that disgust her.
The only criticism I have that sometimes Flauber's obsession with descriptive words gets in the way of the movement of the story--it feels labored, but on the whole is was a good read, a study in reality and fantasy and a picture of the times in France during the 1800's.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. A new Miss America was crowned on Saturday night-did you watch? If you were a contestant what would your talent be?
I didn't watch.  If I were a contestant, ha ha, my talent would be cooking baking.  I am the queen of cookies.
2. Do you have houseplants? Real or fake?
I have real house plants, but not too many of them--three on my kitchen windowsill, and two in my living room. Above is a spindly ficus, and a Chinese aralia
3. When you were in school did you speak up or were you more of the hide your face, avoid eye contact, and pray the teacher didn't call on you type of student?
I was so shy that I would never volunteer when I was in school.  I was smart and could always answer if called upon.  But by the time I got to college, I learned to speak up.
4. Next Monday marks the Chinese New Year...what do you order when someone suggests Chinese food? 
Love to eat at PF Changs.  I start with lettuce wraps, and then anything with chicken or seafood to follow.  I love Chinese food.
5. How would you define a miracle? What would it take for you to consider something a miracle?
A miracle is when something beyond human expectations happen.  I am a firm believer in miracles.  Christmas Eve day the stranger who appeared to help my grandson--a miracle.  That my grandson wasn't killed in the accident, even the doctors said was a miracle.
6. What's your favorite Disney song? If you're stuck you'll find a list here.
From Cinderella--A Dream is a wish your Heart Makes
A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep

Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true
7. I should have _____________ yesterday.
Gotten more sleep yesterday.  I was restless because of Sheridan's surgery.  Every sound he made, woke me, now I am so tired.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
The middle of January has come and gone, and its time to begin Spring cleaning, have to get it done before it gets to hot here, and I am a slow worker, like the turtle in the turtle and the hare, I do finally get it accomplished.