Monday, February 29

Monday Morning Blahs? Hilda to the Rescue!

Being a very introspective and quiet person, I spend a lot of time in the realm of imagination. Daily, I write chapters, mentally, of various scenarios. One that I revisit often is imaging that Hilda is a real person, and I think of many adventures for her. I also spend a lot of time in the Hogwarts realm.

Dwayne Bryers, the artist who created and painted Hilda, is, of course, the source of her personality. I just take off from there. Maybe I'll have Hilda visit Hogwarts during my next flight of fancy.

Here is another of my favorite Hildas, and I hope you enjoy it this Monday morning. Looks like Hilda wanted to catch the last of the snow, with unfortunate results.

Sunday, February 28

DIY: Turn A Metal Trellis Into A Message Center

I have long admired many of the metal climbing guides I find out in the garden centers of stores, and even in Hobby Lobby. They have elongated metal stakes to push into the soil, and the idea is that you place them near a seedling, and it will be "trained" to grow up the trellis or guide.

Out here in West Texas, the drought has put an end to my gardening. Our ground water is so salty some people are raising shrimp in it, and unlike the wealthy oil families, I can't have water trucked in. So I have another use for those small metal trellises.

My husband has made me little tables from cedar fence boards. I asked him if he could drill some holes and let me place the trellis legs down in the holes. Then I could use my little clothespins to hold notes, cards, and other paper goods in place.

He got out his drill -- the same drill he bought 40 years ago for 25 cents at a yard sale and repaired (he can fix anything) -- and drilled me the holes. Then I placed the legs of the trellis into them and had an instant "memory board," "pin board," or "message center," whatever you call it. Click the collage (not on the "P") to make it bigger.

My little trellis is made of mini chicken wire, and I got it from Hobby Lobby for $3.50. 

I have quite a few of those padded fabric ribbon boards at home, and they get constant use. I needed another place to put my mementoes and messages, and the trellis just fit the bill. I'm putting my bills that are due on it, so I see them and don't forget about them, and a few sprigs of fake flowers, for cheer.

Tomorrow, I'm going to string up some pretty sea-blue twine, and use the clothespins to clip paper items to it. That won't be a "working message center," but rather something to use to display seasonal paper wares.

Saturday, February 27

Here, Chick Chick Chick - Cute Free Printable Easter Chickens

I usually like to make tags featuring the work of the artists of yesteryear, but sometimes I make a little set that is modern or "cute." 

Here are jpeg and png versions of a little decorated yellow chick.

I am very happy the horrible idea of dyeing baby chicks various colors and selling them as a sort of temporary, living decoration is much less popular than before. I found it a gruesome and odd tradition, even as a child.

Does anyone remember gathering eggs from a chicken coop? It could be quite a frightening experience, reaching into a nest and feeling the slither of a "bull snake," or worse, its bite, like a stubby-toothed monster latched onto your hand.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, February 26

Cascarones: Mexican Confetti-Filled Eggs

Every place I've moved, I've tried to adopt some of the local customs. The U.S. is a huge country; things common in one area are nowhere to be found in another. Some things are so charming that I wish they were nationwide!

One fun tradition out in West and Central Texas is "cascarones." It's pronounced "Cass-cuh-ROAN-ess." 

Cascarones are chicken eggs, emptied, washed, dried, dyed, dried again, and filled with tiny confetti, usually tissue-paper confetti instead of thicker paper. The hole where the confetti went in is covered with a piece of tissue matching the egg's color.

Most grocery stores carry the tiny tissue paper confetti on their party aisle, for homemade cascarones and for piƱatas.

I've had great luck in introducing cascarones to newcomers to the area. The point of them is to crack them on top of someone's head. Confetti falls everywhere (especially on the target's head), and for some reason, it's quite satisfying. The victim is also armed with some eggs, and chases after the person who put the egg on their head, and smushes an egg in retaliation.

Well, it doesn't sound as fun when I type it out, but it's actually fun, IF the people are good-natured. You know how there are always those with extreme egos, who have to make everything into something unpleasant and competitive -- avoid playing with them. Just crack some eggs with willing and happy people.

Before our big dogs passed, we would crack cascarones on their backs. They loved it! They felt very pretty, with all that confetti! We were very gentle when cracking the eggs on them. 

Some areas have the cascarones glued onto the ends of dowels, and the people have a much greater reach in smacking a head with a cascarone. But I don't think that's particularly appealing, and sticks and screaming people and kids are a bad mix.

A "slow motion" cracking of an egg is also a great use of the cascarones. It feels just like a regular egg. Crack by pushing gently on their head, then shake the confetti out and down around the ears. Dee-light-ful, as Teddy Roosevelt used to proclaim.

A place like San Antonio has a lot of cooks cracking the bottoms of eggs off, using the contents, and saving those specially broken shells for the people who make cascarones. 

Thursday, February 25

Harlequin Eggs and Hopes for Pysanky Making

Easter is so early this year that I might not have time to do any pysanky. I love the geometric patterns made on the eggs, and the rich colors. Yes, my hands are a bit shaky, but surely the babushkas in the Ukraine have shaky hands, too.

But I have to have weather warm enough and dry enough to work outside, because I'm so klutzy that I might spill the extremely strong dyes in the house, and my dog and the silly cats would be into it in moments. I guess I might try to use a stool and sit by the sink, if the weather does not cooperate.

Here are some harlequin eggs to print and use for tags, decorating, cards, and more. They are sizable eggs - more like duck eggs or goose eggs than chicken ones.

My House Mouse Update: Sir Mouse must be coming in and out of the house somehow. I see him now and again, and he's getting bigger. I think we're getting used to each other.

Thank you for dropping by!

Wednesday, February 24

Pretty Harlequin Patterns to Print and Enjoy

Here is a little sheet of printable tags or scrapbooking items - just common spring shapes with harlequin patterns. 

I love harlequin and "particolored" fabric. That's a word you don't hear much anymore. I think when horses were used for travel, it was more common. 

I once had a pretty skirt made from many jewel-toned colors in a harlequin pattern with the diamonds about the size of my hands. I felt so festive when wearing it. Black diamonds were scattered in with the bright ones, and made the whole thing pop. I so wish I had saved all my pretty clothes, if only for the fabric. 

Thank you for dropping by, m'dears. Tomorrow's post is Harlequin Eggs.

Tuesday, February 23

Ticket, Get Your Printable Ticket...for Easter

And here we have some printable "tickets" with Easter motifs, appropos nothing. 

Perhaps they are for viewing the Easter Parade. I do like that chick coming out of the egg.

I remember getting those "Chore Boy" copper pot scrubbers and "unrolling" them into little hats, like cloche hats during the 1920s. Then I'd stick flowers into them and make myself some sort of fancy floral hat. I think the main flowers used were clover flowers, because they were abundant. 

Monday, February 22

Beautiful Make-Do from World War II: Wire Coat Hanger, by My Granny

Despite my sad childhood, my happiest memories were of visiting my maternal grandmother, who lived in a little shotgun house surrounded by all manner of unusual plants. Granny could grow anything. She had a pair of Siamese cats, Sampson and Delilah, that had happened upon her house and found their forever home. Sampson's tail had quite a kink in it, and Delilah was very cross-eyed, and no doubt they had been discarded.

Granny had been born in the 1890's, and had clear memories of both world wars. She knew how to do many things, and was so clever in running her household on very little. I've mentioned her before - she made the darling chicken potholders from scraps and feed sacks and bit of calicoes.

One other thing she did was take long strips of cloth -- many times the selvedge cut from the edges of a length of cloth -- and wrap wire coat hangers with it. She'd fold the outer edges of the cloth strips towards the middle of the back side of the cloth, and wind it around the hanger. When she had gone all the way around, she'd secure the cloth with a few stitches. Then she's tack another piece to the back of the hanger, at the top, and curl a little rosette at the base of the hanger, again tacking it here and there.

I'm not sure how she kept her hangers from ending up in a scrap metal drive in WWII. She kept a "milch cow" in her yard during the war, and "La Aragonesa" stayed on to live out her life long after the milk gave out. Granny also had the very best Victory Garden in town, we were told.

I have two of those hangers, and I treasure them as if they are solid gold or set with rubies. 


Sunday, February 21

Easter Basket Hang Tags, and Painfully Remembering My Easters

Although I had a terrible childhood in most ways, I did enjoy the holidays. I very much liked participating as much as I was allowed. I was extremely shy, even in my own home, where a small misstep could earn a child both emotional and physical abuse, and where my parents and older siblings were scathing and unkind about being timid. My family also ascribed to the idea that if a person were ill, or had a deformity, or a weakness, it was because they wanted it to be so. Because I was constantly sick from malformed and malfunctioning tonsils, I have moderate hearing loss, have a damaged heart, and was very weak physically. I was also extremely myopic, which particularly angered my mother.

My parents didn't particularly like children, and they had many of us. By the time my brother closest to me in age came along, and then me, my mother was completely sick of children. Our older siblings were almost grown or actually grown and married, and we last two were unwelcome additions, neglected and easy prey for the cruel and the perverted.

But my mother did go through the motions of Easter, somewhat. We dyed a couple of eggs each, and we had to eat the eggs later. The Depression years had deeply imprinted my parents.

We had Easter baskets, too, and used the same ones from year to year. Mine was yellow and blue, and it was that high-handled kind, with a flared basket, and I recall that the reeds were quite delicate. Our cellophane grass was always green. I think that pink and yellow were available at that time, but I'm not sure. Certainly none of the colors you can get now were common.

Of course, I never believed in the Easter Bunny, or Santa. My elder siblings had joyfully made sure I knew that none of the magical aspects of childhood were true. I still loved all the trappings of each holiday, though. 

As an adult, I taught myself pysanky - the art of the Ukrainian eggs. I have made many dozens of them. And when I had my child, now grown, I made sure he knew he was loved and wanted, and that he could have his own favorite color, and dye lots and lots of eggs, and eat the contents of his basket. And I still make him an Easter Basket each year.

Saturday, February 20

Easter Bunny Bookmark and Tags to Print

And here we have some printable tags featuring Easter bunnies and rabbits with various poses, colors, and expressions. Some of the white rabbits look very knowing indeed.

I once lived in a log cabin on an island up near the Canadian waters, in the cold northern Pacific, and it was quite overrun with black and white bunnies. Someone had let out quite a few pet rabbits, it was said, and they went forth and multiplied. I loved them and enjoyed watching their antics.

Hope your Saturday is a good one. To save, click, click again, right-click to save.

Friday, February 19

DIY Vintage-Style Chenille Figures for Easter or Any Holiday: Tutorial

It's easy to make vintage-style chenille figures. 

I've gathered some cute vintage images so you can make a batch of them for decorating! I found most of these vintage images after I made a few decorations - now I want to get some white chenille stems and make some lambs, too!

After making a standing bunny, I've decided I actually like the plainer, non-decorated animal figures better. They look more "vintage" to me. My last photo shows a "plain" bunny. But if I try to make a little "Easter Bonnet Girl" using one of the vintage heads, I do believe I will make a little crepe-paper skirt for her.


  • Chenille "Bump" Stems in your choice of colors.
  • The chenille stems I bought had three bumps total. I used regular scissors to cut them into two uneven pieces (one with two bumps, one with one bump)
  • Cardstock "heads"
  • Glue


  • Bit of ribbon, needle and thread to gather it
  • Small piece of crepe paper streamer to put around middle
  • Small bits of felt to glue on as "hands" and "shoes"

Thursday, February 18

Pastel Easter Tags, and Fruit Stripe Gum

Oh, remember that Fruit Stripe gum, with the darling animals and the striped pieces? I loved that gum -- not the flavor, which lasted only a moment, but the graphics (especially the zebra) and the colors.

Here are some striped Easter tags featuring vintage images and pastels.

Click, click again to get to full size, and right-click to save. Today I have a JPEG file up to print or save.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 17

Hilda and Her Flour-Sack Two-Piece, and the Word "Bikini"

I remember when "two piece" bathing suits were common - before everything seemed to become, and be called, a "bikini." How many knew that "bikinis" hark to the outfits worn in the Marshall Islands and the Bikini Island/Atoll, later destroyed by U.S. nuclear testing? A veritable island paradise was ruined, native people's homes and livelihoods destroyed, and cancers and radiation deaths resulted. War and the preparation for war - it is terrible, and how can it stop? Will people ever live without wishing to destroy or take over others? No sooner does one group stop its nonsense, than another begins.

I don't think Big Hilda much cares about these philosophical discussions. Oh, I am sure she would care, if she thought about it, but this precious creation of Duane Bryers is usually found enjoying a simple and wholesome life. Mr. Bryers, during WWII, painted propaganda, to help with the war effort. His dark and frightening images from that time are a far cry from sunny and sweet Hilda. I bet he was thoroughly sick of war when he invented Hilda.

One of my favorite images is this one, featuring the homemade and thrifty bathing suit. I hope you enjoy it, too. My little doggie Sophie knows the word "bikini" - it means the little step-in harness that goes around her front. It looks like a bikini top. If we say the word "Bikini!" she goes wild and runs to push it with her nose- time for a walk.

Tuesday, February 16

Luck O' the Irish Printable Tags, and My Barking Dog

As I am preparing this post, my beloved half-Bichon Sophie is barking up a storm, and throwing in some low growls and back-feet kicks. "Is it Curly Tail?" I ask her, "Or is it that Weiner Dog?"

Sophie knows the "names" of the dogs that are regularly walked by our home. She gives them the dressing-down they deserve for strutting by without permission to be on her street, and for not having on sparkly rhinestone collars like proper dogs should wear when in public.

Sophie has several different kinds of barks. One kind is for dogs, one for cats that are not "her" cats, one is to taunt the neighbor's dogs when she is told she's about to go on a walk, and the fourth is for strange humans.

We never hush our little Sophie when she barks. She has no words - her barking is her speaking. We have no boundaries with this dog. She even sits on the table while we eat. We feel like the luckiest doggie parents in the world, to have gotten this silly dog.

Here are some little green tags to print for St. Paddy's Day, mayhap to bring some of that famed Irish Luck into your home.

Click the file, and click again, to see how it looks blown up. Then right-click to save.

Monday, February 15

Feed Sack Teapots and Coffeepots - Cute Tags for Spring!

I love fat teapots and squatty coffeepots, vintage feedsacks and flour sacks, and pretty spring days. I think it will nearly reach 80 degrees today, while the east and midwest shiver.

Here are some little tags for decorating.

I've been looking for a vintage percolator recently. I want the kind that can sit on the stovetop or above a campfire on a grate. Presently we have a "K-cup" machine, and K-cups, even at the outlet stores, are rather expensive. I'm hoping to cut down on the cost of my coffee habit.

JPEGs are the top sheet, and PNGs are the bottom sheet. Remember to click, click again, and then right-click to save! 

Sunday, February 14

Forward to St. Patrick's Day

I don't know if many others are similarly afflicted, but I seem to feel each holiday down in my very bones. The year is like a becalmed sea, and I throw my anchor from one holiday to another, and start pulling myself along to it, only to then throw the anchor ahead to the next one.

Without the holidays, I would indeed be adrift in the year. 

Strangely, I am "done" with the holiday by the time it arrives, with the exceptions to that being the Fourth of July, and Halloween.

So, even though it's Valentine's Day, my mind has been busy with shades of green, for St. Paddy's Day.

Here are some more music-based tags, with various "Irish" motifs. 

Thank you for dropping by, and I hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day. 

JPEG file is first, then the PNG one. Older computers can handle JPEGs better than they can PNGs.

Saturday, February 13

Flourish Tags for Valentine's, and Victorians Loved Bright Colors

Some bloggers participate in a meme called "Pink Saturday," where they post pink things. I don't participate, but today, I have some Valentine's gift tags or scrapbooking tags featuring a coral pink.

It's funny that pink is one of those colors that is either blue-based or yellow-based. I always think of pinks as either of the "bubblegum pink" family or "coral pink" family, and my taste for which one is "prettiest" varies by season and by use. 

I do love a clear, blue-based pink. It's such a happy color. But coral pink has been growing on me, too, especially paired with a turquoise blue. 

The very bright colors of the "mod" end of the 1960's were usually blue-based, as in the "shocking pink" hue and "neon blue" hue. I wonder if the reason so many vintage cards seem to feature coral pinks is that the paper aged to an ivory base, turning any pink into a yellow-based one. 

Supposedly, Victorians favored vivid blue-based tones. We only think they liked the muted tones because the pigments and papers and fabrics have aged. Inside folded seams of skirts and waistcoats, the bright and even tawdry shades remain.

Hope you enjoy your Saturday and the printables, and thank'ee for stopping by! As usual, you can pick from a JPEG version (smaller, not quite as clear) or a PNG file (far bigger, clearer). Click on the little thumbnails to blow them up and save them.

These are my last Valentine's printables for 2016. Now it's on to St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Spring!

Friday, February 12

Do It Yourself Puppy Bouquet for Valentine's or Any Time!

I wanted to get my husband one of those adorable fresh flower bouquets that are made to look like puppies or dogs. I think either the Japanese or South Korean florists invented these a few years ago. Ever since, I've wanted one.

I called the places advertising them online - and always the same response - "No florists in your area make those," or "Those are not available."


I also wanted to make a bouquet for our veterinary hospital. They are the best vets I have ever encountered, and I have lived all over and dealt with literally dozens of veterinarians over the decades. These guys are the best, combining kindness with 100 percent accuracy in diagnoses and excellence in surgery - all at low prices. 

What to do? I just HAD TO HAVE those puppy bouquets to give out!

I decided to make my own.

1-2 bouquets, with at least 12 blooms of the same size, color, and type
Bowl or short vase
Florists' "Wet Foam" brick or block
Animal Eyes, such as Bear Eyes from craft store like Hobby Lobby
Animal Nose, or black pompom or black Sharpie if using a daisy
Optional: Dog Bow for ear
Optional: Spanish Moss or Sheet Moss to help cover the foam

I tried to find a Youtube video, but there was not much there in terms of Do It Yourself. But there was enough to get the general idea. So here are some instructions on how to make a puppy bouquet:

I got out a small bowl and a block of "wet" florists' foam (from Walmart). I soaked the foam in water, cut it bigger than the bowl,  and pushed it into the bowl. It's the kind of foam that comes dried, but absorbs lots of water and yet is soft enough to stick stems into, cut with a butter knife, and hold blooms at any angle desired.

Then I bought a bouquet featuring white daisies, mainly, and some other blooms as well. I really needed carnations or white pompom mums, but I was working against the clock (having gotten the idea late). I knew I needed at least 12 blooms of the same color and type and approximate size.

Dang! Daisies grow in bunches on long stems, with many of the blooms on SHORT stems. Yikes! I didn't realize that. I thought they were all on individual stems. So it was a bit hard to make the puppy using so many short stems.

If you try this, too, get a bunch of flowers that have greenery in them, or just get an extra bouquet of greenery such as ferns or salal leaves.

I stuck the daisies in to form the head (using a clump of them all growing from a single stem), then stuck in some more (growing on longer stems) at the sides of the "head" for the "ears." Then I stuck the "paws" in to make it look like the puppy's front legs were kind of overhanging the bowl.

I put in a very small, unopened red daisy to be a "tongue" at the side of the mouth.


I placed some green Spanish Moss in the chest area, to cover up the foam block. That's where some greenery would really have come in handy, to put green fronds all around, as if the puppy was coming out of a bed of ferns or salal leaves.

I put longer stems of other flowers and of colored daisies in the back. Ideally, KEEP THE PUPPY using all one color (such as white or pink), and then DON'T USE THAT COLOR anywhere else. My puppy blended into the light-colored "filler" daisies a bit too much.

I couldn't get my hands on something called "Floral Glue." It's what the professional florists use to glue on the fake eyes and nose. So, I used my good old "Fast Grab" Aleene's glue and glued some bear eyes (sorry, teddy bear, for stealing your eyes) onto the centers of daisies where the dog's eyes should go. Then, lacking a nose (OMG, no nose!), I colored in the center of a daisy with a black Sharpie. A black pompom would have been good, but I couldn't find one.

I finished the dog bouquet off with a little pink bow put over one "ear." My dog is happy to see a bow leave the house - she is not one for bows, but I love her to wear them!

I think it came out okay for an amateur attempt, lacking some vital parts!

Thursday, February 11

Hilda, A Mouse, and My Mouse

Hilda is about to get a big surprise.

A mouse is about to jump on her! I know how she feels. We have had a mouse in the kitchen for several days. We don't use traps, other than Hav-A-Hart traps that catch them unharmed, but we haven't caught the wee varmint yet. One of our cats keeps a weather eye on the mouse, but the others show no interest. Hilda's pets aren't exactly on the ball, either!

I love Hilda's exuberance, as created and painted by the artist Duane Bryers. She is so deep into her book that she has scared herself silly.

My book list that's posted on the sidebar has Lord of the Rings on it. I can get so scared reading it that I feel the Black Riders are real and creeping about the yard. Such foolishness! But it's a delicious fear!

Wednesday, February 10

Wash Day Memories and A Laundry Room Banner to Print Free

Remember blueing? I used it, mainly for my whites, and for my hair. I'd make a "rinse" of it for my hair, and apply it at the end of every wash, turning my hair ashen. 

One of my most-valued beauty secrets is to apply a blueing rinse after shampooing and conditioning, and then rinse it out (your final rinse) with the coldest water you can stand. Don't get the water down onto your scalp - keep it on the hair, as much as you can. 

(If your hair has desirable red or gold tones, skip the blueing, but not the cold-water rinse. My hair had a bad tendency to be brassy because I was prematurely gray.)

Your hair will shine like glass.

The more mundane use of blueing (or bluing, as it's also spelled) was to optically remove yellow tones from cloth. In the olden days, laundry seemed a greater task. And it was a greater task, and a lengthy one. Wringers, washboards, washtubs, grating bars of detergent, line drying, and ironing were all part of it. So were drying racks inside, and large square outdoor drying trees. I walked around with clothespins in my mouth, and I can recall the woody taste. 

Once dried or nearly dry, there was the ironing. I remember the little water sprinkler shaped like a Dutch doll (wish I had it still) and then the introduction of the spray bottle. 

I started ironing at age five. At age two, I had pulled up a chair and drank a cup of bleach that my mother always kept at the end of the ironing board, and nearly died, but it didn't dissuade me from ironing later, again standing on a chair. 

I began with towels (ironing the binding, mainly, so that it would not curl), plain handkerchiefs, and plain pillowcases. Later I could handle starch, and larger and embroidered linens, and by age ten, I could iron anything, including my father's shirts and my sisters' fancy outfits, including skirts with knife-edge pleats. It was an art and a science. Care had to be taken not to put a shine onto a fabric, iron in a hard wrinkle, or worst of all, scorch something. Things like that mattered

And there was lots of folding, too. Seems there was more to fold, back then. My mother had a special way to fold towels, in thirds, with the last fold tucked into another fold. When I returned home after my mother died, I was shocked to find towels folded in an easier way. There they were, just sitting on the shelf! I just stared. I don't even know when she switched over to that "new" way. I myself roll towels and washcloths, and I can't remember when I started that, either.

I don't know anyone who irons or folds much now. Interestingly, the recent immigrants into our area do a lot of ironing, just as I did decades ago. They even iron their jeans, and even the jeans of their kindergartners.

I think the printable below would be cute to print and string up over your laundry area. The letters spell out "Wash & Dry."

Tuesday, February 9

Valentine's Day Will Be A Little Chili Here

At work, as part of my duties, I run the potlucks. With layoffs, infighting, pay cuts, the constant threat of firings, coworkers disappearing daily - escorted out by security guards seconds after they learn their job was just dissolved, and the incredible arrogance of upper management, no one is in the mood for a potluck, and some of us can hardly afford it. I spoke against having any potlucks until things settled down and the price of oil went up, and for that, I got saddled with them.

I often have to make the main dish, and for Valentines I'm featuring chili. If someone is low on love, it might give them a burning feeling in the heart region and let them at least participate that way in the celebration of romantic love.

I don't eat meat, but the chili will have meat, or there would be complaints. It's a good recipe. Sometimes it's better than others, and I can't quite figure that out, since I try to make it the same way each time.

 It's a small package of stew meat, seared; a small package of ground turkey, cooked; and a small package of hamburger, cooked. Then a large onion is chopped and cooked in the leftover grease. 

Now the meats and onion go into a bowl, and a big-sized can of diced tomatoes goes in (fire-roasted). A tablespoon of tomato paste is added, too.

To that drained, rinsed cans of cannelli beans (white kidney beans) and black beans are added and mixed in (one each of normal-sized cans).

Since I'm feeding a crowd, I add in an extra can of beans and diced tomatoes (regular cans). Then I add in two packets of chili seasoning, a few shakes of Worchestershire, and the "prize" ingredients, a tablespoon of New Mexico red chile powder, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a tablespoon of smoked paparika, a quarter cup of strong black coffee, and a teaspoon of cocoa powder.

Then it all commingles on low in the crock pot for seven hours. I serve it with Fritos. I guess it's really just that Texas favorite, Frito Pie.

Here's hoping your Tuesday is going well! 

Monday, February 8

Handy Victorian Tags, and Cast Down on Valentine's Day

Less than a week now, to Valentine's Day 2016.

I'm always relieved when Valentine's Day passes each year. For me, it's been a yearly lesson in keeping your chin up, having maturity of thought, and being humbled. Husbands, past and present, have never given me a token of their love on this day of days. 

My present husband has given flowers to neighbors and to his favorite female co-workers, when he still taught. One of my more ego-busting moments was picking him up from work one year, and when his bouquet recipients learned I had received no flowers (he proudly told them), they each kindly picked a blossom from their bunches and gave them to me. What can a person do? It was sweetly meant, and painful.

I do make sure that I have my little decorations up around the house. They are cheery and I can participate in the pretty end of Valentine's Day, if not the romantic end.

Click to see the designs better. JPEGs are smaller files, but a PNG is also available for better print quality.

Sunday, February 7

Victorian Shoes Collage Sheet / Tags Free for You

I love the design of these fanciful vintage shoes. And I love the Dutch wooden clogs, too. For Easter I will try to hunt up some images of clogs with tulips.

Print and enjoy, and Happy Sunday to you! Click to enlarge the tags and take a look at them.

And here is the better - but much larger in terms of bytes - png version. PNGs are usually clearer and better, but some older computer systems can't handle them.

Saturday, February 6

Big Hilda Says "Relax" This Saturday!

I think Hilda has the right idea. Just get in comfy jammies, put on a big pot of coffee, and relax! I'd like to have both that coffeepot and that bowl!

Hoping you have a wonderful Big-Hilda style weekend!

Friday, February 5

Undying Admiration for Big Hilda and Her Artist, Duane Bryers

Back in 2006, I began blogging. At some point shortly thereafter, I began sprinkling my posts with images of Big Hilda, the red-headed, voluptuous creation of Duane Bryers. At the time, there weren't too many images of Hilda online. 

The "Hilda" posts were some of my readers' favorites. While some may say, perhaps rightfully, that pinups of any kind are demeaning, in Hilda, the artist created a character who seemed real. She was more Everywoman than Pinup. In fact, she thumbed her nose at the contemporary ideal of beauty.

Hilda wore her heart on her sleeve - and sometimes little else. She was funny, brave, a bit clumsy, loving, and strong. In all her depictions, you see someone happy with herself, and busy living a sweet and simple life. 

How I wish there were a real Hilda! But I wonder, if Hilda were a real woman, would she be so happy and confident, or would she spend her life thinking she was "too fat" and bleaching her red hair into blonde and wearing what everyone else wears? 

I was so awestruck when I first "met" Hilda that I began a relentless pursuit of obtaining vintage images of her, both online and actual printed materials.

Some images I have only been able to find online. Many times, the scans of her are faded, distorted, or discolored. I use my Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro programs to try to bring her back to her former glory. And she was glorious!

Here is one of my favorite Hildas. She is always fussing over her pets, reading, knitting, gardening or in the great outdoors, and she definitely enjoys her little potbellied stove and her long johns during cold weather. 

I hope you will like Hilda as much as I do.

Thursday, February 4

Musing About A Chicken Potholder, and More Facebook Header/Cover Designs

Some people like to change their FB headers, or "covers," as FB calls them, frequently. I am certainly constantly tinkering with my actual decorations each season, and have been changing my FB to match. 

Here are a couple of Valentine covers with a pretty birdie. One features "2016" and one does not.

As always, thank you for stopping by. I'm teaching myself "Armenian Needle Lace" at the moment and hope to have a bit of a piece to show in the next few days. I have always liked needle lace, because it's so portable, and speaks of the past. 

The past was not perfect or even very nice, in many ways. But one thing I did love was how efforts to make pretty and useful things mattered, and were attainable by the poor. Unfortunately, the truly destitute were simply out of luck. But during the Depression, before the war began in the U.S., my grandmothers, very poor, were able to "pretty up" things for their families.

One thing my maternal grandmother did was make needle lace edgings and crocheted edgings for linens, including potholders. She made a crocheted edging using rick-rack as a base for many efforts, including her little chicken potholders. 

I'm working on making up a pattern from the one potholder I still have. I really don't want her handiwork to vanish! The little chicken is just adorable. So, stay tuned for photos and patterns!

It seems to me now that people feel they must have "designer" and expensive things to decorate their homes. They want $1,000 purses for their daughters to carry to school, and think little of spending $2,000 for a prom dress. It's like the bar has been raised, and I don't think it's healthy. It seems mean-spirited, and false, but then, I'm old-fashioned in many ways. It just seems to leave out ingenuity and heart. It's all about money, now -- or the appearance of it.

Wednesday, February 3

Pretty Header or Facbook Cover for Valentine's Day

Here is an altered copyright free vintage image of two cherubs and a pretty floral heart. Might be nice for a FB cover (why do they call it a "cover"?) or an image on a blog. I don't care for overly bare cherubs -- these are nicely draped.

As always, thank you for dropping by!

Tuesday, February 2

Vintage Cats and Dogs Kids' Valentines Free Printable Images and Cards

I love the freshness, energy, and sheer oddness of "off-brand" mid-century Valentines. Here is a small collection of "cleaned up" and slightly altered school Valentines for your printing and crafting pleasure. Many were die-cut, and some featured gilding (usually silver) and glitter. You got a lot of clever designs for your 25 cents or so. Today's Valentines, like the rest of the curriculum, are dumbed down. The puns are gone, and the vocabulary is simple.

As always, thank you for stopping by. 

Monday, February 1

Music Tags / Collage Sheet Free Printable

At LSU, one of the older buildings was labeled "MVSIC," with the "U" in the "V" shape, in an attempt to appear lofty and ancient, I suppose. The Latin alphabet lacks the modern letter "U." But we laughingly referred to it as "Mivsic," so the attempt to elevate our sophomoric minds failed.

Here we have a set of tags featuring yellowing sheet music. I received a similar tag on a gift, once. The floral accent had been glittered. I still have the tag and have it hanging on a birdcage. It's one of my favorite "vignettes" in the house, which is relatively bare.

For beautiful, large hearts made from real sheet music, check out the handiwork on this blog post from Goodnightgram. 

Her hearts are gorgeous, and big enough to pair with a ribbon and tie onto a chair back. I'm on the prowl for old music now, so I can make some, too!

Thank you for stopping by.