Vintage Easter Cards by Cheryl Pierson

Happy Easter everyone! We had so much fun with Easter greetings of yesteryear the last time we did this, I thought I’d put up “part 2” for this year. I was laughing so hard trying to narrow down which of these cards to share–there are so many and whoever created these had some very odd ideas about “Easter appropriate-ness” (is that even a word?)

Easter 2-Gal on red carpet wlambNothing says Easter like a movie celeb on the red carpet with her pet lamb. Pink gloves set off the royal blue ensemble, as the bellman hurries behind her with all her bags, thinking, “HURRY UP! THESE THINGS ARE HEAVY!” But the lamb is taking his time, and my goodness, it looks as if there are autographs to be signed, as well! I wonder if the facility is “animal friendly”… I think this one is really odd…she’s carrying a basket of flowers…strange lady.

 

 

 

Easter 2 chicks and bunnies dancingHere’s the second picture I thought I would just have to include. What is wrong with this picture? Okay, let’s take a quick look. All the dancing rabbits are male. All the dancing chicks are female. We aren’t sure what sex the orchestra is, but they look to be all male chicks. Why aren’t there any female bunnies? Why are the female chicks having to dance with male rabbits rather than male chicks…Something is dreadfully wrong here…

EASTER 2 bunny coupleAfter the ball is over…well now we know why there were no female bunnies to dance with, don’t we? They were home, keeping their cracked eggshell houses clean, missing all the fun. Then Sparky comes home from the dance and wants to know why Delilah is so upset with him. “Let’s see…we live in a cracked eggshell house we can’t even move around in…I’ve put on my Easter shawl, and you have dressed in your finery and gone dancing with a bunch of floozy chicks. Need I say more?”

 

EASTER 2vintage-easter-egg-boat-450x298Poor little tyke! Out on the ocean sailing in an eggshell all alone.It’s looking like a storm is brewing, and the waves are kind of choppy. Way too cool to be out there with that short-sleeved outfit on and…wait a minute. See that pole with the flag on it? I wonder if that goes all the way through the bottom of that eggshell…

 

EASTER chicks drinking 2What in tarnation is in those steins? Lemonade, you say? I think we better look a little closer. Yeah, lemonade doesn’t come in kegs!  Perhaps THIS is where all the male chicks got off to when the band was playing earlier!

 

 

 

Easter vintage fairy pied piperI couldn’t resist this one again…it’s from last year, but it’s just so bizarre, I had to show it again. The fairy pied piper, leading the unsuspecting chicks…well, you know. “Best Easter Wishes” my foot.

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

 

 

The Easter of Dining Dangerously

Kathleen Rice Adams headerAm I the only one whose family traditions center around food? Pick a holiday—any holiday—and I guarantee my family spends most of the time preparing food, consuming food, and talking about food. It’s too bad the Olympic Games don’t include food sports, because we’d have a lock on every medal.

Much as Thanksgiving is Turkey Day, Christmas is Prime Rib Day, and July 4 is Hamburger Day, Easter is the day devoted to ham. One year, in a stark departure from tradition, an out-of-season prime rib roast sneaked onto the menu. Because the weather was nice and the men in the family had been pining to barbecue all winter, they decided the roast would be delicious cooked on a spit over charcoal. In another stark break with tradition, the women acquiesced.

Easter logo 2015aWe would live to rue the concession.

While the women slaved away in the kitchen to get the rest of the meal ready, the men… Well, heaven knows what they were doing, but they weren’t watching the roast. The next thing we knew, flames were licking around the closed top of the grill and the heretofore succulent beef had become a charred lump.

We regrouped, moved July’s tradition up by a couple of months, and ate hamburgers…with scalloped potatoes, green beans almondine, and homemade bread (in addition to hamburger buns). At least the men got to grill something.

No matter what other part of a holiday meal took a turn for the strange, the desserts have always been scrumptious (probably because baking seldom requires charcoal).

One of my favorite Easter desserts is lemon bites: a shortbread-like crust filled with tart, sticky goodness that forms a crackly surface as it bakes. This is the recipe my family has used for as long as I can remember.

Lemon Bites
Where is a food stylist when you really need one?

Lemon Bites

(Makes 16)

Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Filling

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)

4 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs

4-6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Powdered sugar for dusting the top after baking (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  1. Mix flour, butter or margarine, and powdered sugar. Press into bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of an ungreased 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 pan. Bake crust 20 minutes.
  1. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat granulated sugar, lemon peel (if using), lemon juice, baking powder, salt, eggs, and food coloring (if using) until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour onto crust. (No need to let crust cool.)
  1. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the center is firm when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
  1. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Notes:

Don’t double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan. The bigger pan requires a longer baking time, and the crust will burn on the bottom.

I used four drops of food coloring to attain the lemon color in the photo.

 

Jodi Thomas: ONE TRUE HEART


jodi-thomas
As I began work on ONE TRUE HEART, I knew my hero would be a very intelligent man living in a little cabin in TwistedOne True Heart2
Creek, a lake community near Harmony in the map in my head.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if this man had a nutty sister who believed she could see the future?  You know the type:  Sweet, but not in the mainstream of anything.  We’ve all got one in our family.  I looked around and didn’t see one in my family so I must be it.

Running through the stories of Harmony I’ve always had a bookstore on the main street.  One night, while I was writing, I noticed a sign in the corner between two over-crowded shelves that advertised palm readings the only night the bookstore was open.  As the stories went along the sign would change.  Once it read:  Fortunes, two hands for the price of
one.

Sooo, in the corners of my mind I knew that one day I’d have to put a fortune teller in Harmony.  Two years ago I was in a fortune teller dolldelightful little second hand store in Denison.  I noticed a beautiful hand-made doll, a fortune teller complete with cards in her hand and dice in her box tied to her waist.  The doll traveled all over Texas with me while I was signing and finally made it home to my desk.

I had so much fun researching gypsy fortune tellers and learned much about the fascinating British Romani people. I especially enjoyed reading about the different types of gypsy wagons. My favorite is the Vardo horse-drawn gypsy wagon and you can view a beautiful one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LPnAYm9d4g.

While my hero, Drew, is trying to live his normal life, maybe even get a date with a fascinating woman who has returned to Harmony to recover, his little sister is making his life impossible.  You see, she was reading a man’s fortune when the sheriff arrested him for killing his wife.  She’s the only one who believes Johnny Wheeler is innocent, because she didn’t see murder in his past.  Kare defends Johnny and drives him insane while she drags her quiet, reluctant brother into a mystery that might get them all killed.

You’ll have to read to find out…unless you are a fortune teller, of course.

Even after over 40 books, I often feel like I step into a story as if it’s already a place in my mind.  I meet theJodi office 2 people just like my readers do and some nights I stay up writing late because I want to know what is going to happen. I don’t know if I’d believe a fortune teller, but I do believe in the magic of creativity.

I do hope you will enjoy ONE TRUE HEART, so be sure to pre-order your copy at my website at www.jodithomas.com.

You can also pre-order here at Amazon.

I would love to give away an autographed copy of ONE TRUE HEART to one lucky reader. I look forward to chatting with you.

Happy reading!

Jodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas

Go West Young Man–and You Could Land in the Poor House…

MargaretBrownley-header

poorhouse3Growing up I thought one of the worst things that could happen was to end up in the poor house. If we left the lights on, outgrew shoes too quickly, or took more than our share of food we’d hear, “Do you want to send us to the poor house?”

It wasn’t until I was an adult that it occurred to me that one, I never saw a poor house and two, I’d never even met anyone who lived there. As it turns out there really were poor houses throughout the country, including the Old West.

Though poor houses had been in the east since early colonial times, their numbers spread to the west following the westward expansion.   Dreams of striking it rich fell through leaving many destitute. Families separated by great distances could no longer turn to each other for help. The Civil War also created a great deal of poverty. Men often returned home to find farms gone or taxes in arrears.

What we call welfare today was once called “outdoor relief.” Indigent people would have to go to an elected town official called an Overseer of the Poor or Poor Master and plead their case.

I Do So Solemnly Swear…poor

Before a person could move to an almshouse they had to take the pauper oath swearing they had no more than ten dollars to their names. Poverty was considered a sign of moral weakness so feelings of guilt and shame prevailed.

Being poor wasn’t just an embarrassment it was also treated as a crime, and many of these farms also served as prisons.

No such thing as Social Security existed at the time so, as you might expect, many paupers were elderly people with physical ailments. The greatest number of residents was widows and mothers with small children. Some famous people lived in poor houses including Annie Oakley who was sent to one at age 9.

oregonpF
Oregon Poor Farm

Even back then, fraud flourished and people claimed to be paupers who weren’t. One farm superintendent accidentally found a $1000 dollars hidden in an inmate’s belongings. The man preferred living off charity than his own resources.

Paupers were expected to work and many of these farms grew cotton and other crops. Some poor houses were run with compassion, but most were not.

A Texas “Poor Farm” Romance

One story I came across involved a poor farm in Cass County, Texas. An elderly man ended up there after losing all his money. There he met a woman he had once been engaged to when he was a young man of 21 and she was 18. The families had been against the wedding and the two were forced to break off their betrothal. The elderly couple picked up where they left off and decided to marry. He asked the county supervisors to let them continue to live on the farm after they wed, but was denied permission. Two people were not allowed to marry after taking the pauper’s oath.

Soon after, the woman went to live with her daughter. She requested that a white rose be placed on her shroud to symbolize a love that had lasted through a lifetime, and hoped they would meet again in heaven.

Thank goodness Social Security put an end to poor houses, which brings up the question: What do parents threaten their kids with today?

 

Maggie Michaels is sent to Arizona Territory as an undercover mail order bride to track down the notorious Whistle-Stop Bandit. If she doesn’t prove the suspect guilty before the wedding—she could end up as his wife!

undercoversmallClick cover To Preorder print or eBook

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

Homestead Brides Cover400

The winner of a 9-signature signed copy of

The Homestead Brides Collection 

is

Vickie Couturier

Vickie, I will email you and find out where to send the book.

A cool additional note.

The Homestead Brides Collection is currently on the bestseller list!

It’s number 4 on the ECPA Bestseller list for March!

That’s the highest ranking I’ve ever gotten.

(And it hasn’t missed my notice that it took 8 other authors to boost me there!!! YAY Great Team Effort)

Elisabet Ney – Sculptor of Texas

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Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

During Spring Break this year, my daughter and I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel with a group from her high school to Italy and Greece. What an amazing experience! Ancient ruins like the Colosseum and the Parthenon, gorgeous cathedrals like St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s basilicas, and artwork from paintings to sculptures to tapestries to mosaics that simply took my breath away. One of my very favorite statues was created by the incomparable Michelangelo. His depiction of Mary holding her son after he was taken down from the cross. It is called “Pieta” which means pity in Italian. Truly stunning.

Greece, of course, is also known for their statuary, and after seeing so many examples of classical art, I started wondering about some of the artists behind the statuary closer to home. As it turns out, one of the most talented sculptors of Texas heroes is a woman.

Elisabeth NeyElisabet Ney was a German-born sculptor who worked in Europe the first half of her life, perfecting her craft and becoming so accomplished, she was commissioned to create busts of such influential world leaders as Otto von Bismarck and King George V of Hanover (pictured with her in the portrait to the left). She was the first female sculptor admitted to the all-male Munich Academy of Art.

A stringent feminist, Elisabet wore trousers and rode astride like her male counterparts. She also despised the marital state, believing it to be a form of bondage for women. However, a young (and exceedingly patient) Scottish medical student named Edward Montgomery eventually wore her down. After 10 years, he finally convinced her to marry him in 1863. That same year, he contracted tuberculosis. After struggling with the disease for many years, Montgomery took a friend’s advice and moved to the United States in 1871, to a resort for consumptives in Georgia. In 1873, after the birth of two sons, the couple moved to Waller County, Texas.

In the 1880’s, Elisabet was invited to Austin by the governor of Texas, and her artistic career gained new life. In 1892 she built a studio in north Austin and began to seek commissions. Right away, she was commissioned by the Board of Lady Managers of the Chicago World’s Fair Association to create marble figures of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston to be on display at the World’s Fair. They can now be seen in the Texas State Capitol building.

Stephen F Austin by Elisabet_Ney
Stephen F Austin
Sam Houston by Elisabet Ney
Sam Houston

Upon her death in 1907, her husband sold her studio to  Ella Dibrell, and per his wife’s wishes, bequeathed the contents to the University of Texas at Austin.  Four years later, Dibrell and other investors established the Texas Fine Arts Association in Elisabet’s honor. Today, the studio is the site of the Elisabet Ney Museum.

This passionate, strong-willed woman left her mark on Texas that still exists more than 100 years after her death. What a lasting legacy!

I can barely draw a stick figure, so art like this always leaves me amazed.

What about you?

  • Have you encountered a particular sculpture or painting that touched you in some way?
  • Have you ever wondered about the life of the artist who created it?

 

 

We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s Tradepaper book THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR

bannerWe have a winner for the Tradepaper book THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, a $16.00 value.  And that winner is:  Melanie Backus.  Congratulations Melanie!

My granddaughter helped me to pick the winner today.  We put all the names into her fire-fighter plastic hat, and she drew the winner.

Melanie, you’ll need to contact me directly at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net.  Place a (.) for (dot) and the @ for (at).  Since this is a print book, I’ll need your address.  My thanks to everyone who came to the blog yesterday and left a message.  I really enjoyed them all.

Stay tuned.  I intend to give away another Tradepaper copy of the book in two weeks time.