Friday, December 27, 2013



Do you think the popularity of silhouettes originated in Paris?  Actually, "silhouette" is a French word named after Monsieur Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767,) the Minister of Finance, who did this form of paper-cutting as a hobby.


There are three methods currently used to create a profile:

1. Trace a shadow and produce a large profile. This can be reduced to miniature by use of a grid or a Xerox reduction process.

2.  Sketch a person's profile before cutting it, which requires art experience.

3.  Observe and cut free-hand, by using the scissors instead of a sketch pencil The first two methods take considerable tine and do not hold the intrigue and interest of a free-hand silhouette. (To do this, you may need to practice on patterns as well as study the proportions.)

The above techniques for cutting silhouettes have served a purpose in capturing a likeness that can be treasured through the years, and can be considered a work of art. Before the arrival of the camera, many who could not afford a portrait availed themselves of this "cheap" likeness that recorded their image and is now a prized possession and a family heirloom.

In your school years, perhaps your teacher used the 1st means of making your likeness. Have you a large silhouette done in this manner? Silhouettes such as these can hold many memories, but are seldom displayed. Mothers prefer miniature silhouettes rather than a large one traced from a shadow.
Some teachers still cut silhouettes by projecting a shadow on the wall. Many would relinquish this task if they could find a silhouette-cutter (This is where you can HAVE FUN and MONEY.)

In addition to paper, paste and scissors, you'll need two things:
1st, models. That's easy. You will find them at the swimming pool, schools outings, Girl Scouts, parties, etc.
2nd, confidence. Relax you wrists and have no qualms about what comes forth from your "magic" scissors. With practice, from sample patterns that instill observation and concentration, you'll soon get the knack of it. You'll gain confidence before you realize it.

As you can surmise, from the various methods employed by other silhouette-cutters, the object is to obtain a likeness, regardless of the method used. If that is achieved in the eyes of the beholder, you have accomplished your mission regardless of your technique.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PRACTICING, EMAIL ME AT and let me know.  Perhaps we can get good.

Christmas - a time of love

THE TREE OF LOVE  and The Christmas Tree

Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". Though Victoria’s young life was turbulent, one of her fondest memories was of Christmas with her grandmother, Queen Charlotte, where she was introduced to the Christmas tree. It wasn’t until after she married Albert, however, that the tree became an iconic part of Victorian life. 

Prince Albert wanted to make Christmas very special for his new bride, and finding the perfect gift for a monarch who could have anything she wanted must have been a daunting task.  Because the Christmas tree had always been a part of his Christmas growing up in Germany, Albert decided it would be a perfect gift for his beloved.  After careful planning and preparation, Albert surprised Victoria with his Tree of Love -- carefully selected and lovingly ornamented with delicate and gorgeously intricate decorations made by his own hand.  Victoria was enchanted, and from that moment on the tree became one of her most cherished traditions. 

In 1848, with his wife’s encouragement, Prince Albert allowed the London News to print an illustration of the royal family gathered round their beautiful Christmas tree.  From that moment on, the world became smitten with the tree given from his heart to hers.  It became the rage in London to have a Christmas tree, and the reprinted illustration introduced the royal tree to Canadian and American societies, thus ensuring that the bond between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would forever be immortalized.  Tragically Prince Albert died just a few short years later at the age of 42. 

Though her reign was a long and prosperous one for England, Queen Victoria never recovered from the shock of Albert’s death.  She mourned and wore black for the rest of her life.  Today, there are still symbols of their deep and abiding love in countless monuments Victoria built to honor Albert.  But of all the monuments that symbolize their love, none is so sweeping or as deeply woven into cultural tradition as that of the Christmas tree ~ their Tree of Love. 

       New activities for 2013 Luminary event included:
·         Booster Model Inertia Nutcracker:  almonds were used (pecans would have been better.) 
      With the Camera Lucinda, attempts were made to make silhouettes, but better lighting will be needed in the future to make this a wonderful activity.
·         Five different St. Nicholas coloring pages were available as handouts for children. 
       Stephen and Faith, taught children about the REAL Santa with the St. Nicholas Echo Story.  These Santa Helpers also helped demonstrate vintage toys. 
·         Lettered slates from A to Z were laid out so children could spell “Christmas” or write on reverse side any missing letters.
·         Homemade cookies given to Santa and church photography crew from Wells Branch.
       Activities from previous years included:
·         The Real Santa board and pedestal on the front porch
·         St. Nicholas word search posters: New erasers and markers
·         One-cut star using 8-1/2" x 11" paper: with green and red pre-folded paper, scissors
·         Vintage toys available for use by the children and even adults
·         Nativity display was prominent as the families entered the Homestead; children could move figures as desired
·         Fires in both fireplaces during each evening; families (and workers) appreciated the warmth as they entered the Homestead
     Decorations and setup  NO PICTURES TAKEN ...  too busy
Advent wreathe and four candles, carpet and quilts,  wood Christmas tree with three new felt storybook figures, gourds, glass vase arrangement, over the mantel angel, stockings, window items, baskets for holding items, taffy candy for children and workers; Bible and prophecy card, the colored paper chain from last year worked again. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Texas Thanksgivings giving God Thanks and Praise

Two Texas Thanksgivings giving God thanks and praise on calendar: The Spanish colonization and the New England Pilgrim landing

We are all glad when the battle is over.  Then we give thanks.  What if we gave thanks and praise during the struggle. Yes, we can learn to give thanks and praise always, have an attitude of gratitude and count our blessings.  For my family and faith (Fr. Larry) I give thanks and praise; for Brian my husband; for Lisa and Frank (and Conrad) Jeremy & Kim HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEREMY and Valerie; for Tina; for Wendi and Sean (and Tommy) Lindsay and Zachary; for Michael and Vanessa; for Barry and Katie and Baby A; for Kathleen and the consecrated; for Amber and Joshua!

 Amid a raging Civil War, Lincoln declares a day of Thanks. Until 1863, the Thanksgiving holiday wandered around the calendar and sometimes disappeared altogether. As president, George Washington declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789, President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea. Seventy-four years later, President Abraham Lincoln revived the holiday with a proclamation establishing the last Thursday in November, 1863, as Thanksgiving Day. 
Later, FDR signed the federal law making the fourth Thursday in November the nation's official Thanksgiving day.  By 1939 all other states proclaimed the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving.  However, the Texas Legislature didn't change our state law until 1956, making Texas the last state to do so.  

Texas history brings to mind another, earlier struggle followed by a thanksgiving. On January 26, 1598, a Spanish expedition under Juan de Onate of 500 people, including soldiers, colonists, wives and children and 7,000 head of livestock set out from Santa Barbara in southern Chihuahua Mexico with the aim of founding a new kingdom. Three months later, after a long, dangerous trek forging a new trail northward, the now famous El Camino Real, it crossed the Rio Grande and set up camp south of present day El Paso, Texas. Then on April 30, 1598, after recuperating for ten days, Onate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition.  Included in the event was a feast supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A Mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition. And finally, Onate read La Tome - the Taking  - declaring the  land drained by the Great River to be the possession of King Philip II of Spain - the beginning of Spanish colonization in the American Southwest. 

The American history books mention the New England Protestant Puritan sect of 102 people landed on Plymouth Rock and established a Calvinist theocracy after struggling an ocean voyage, leaving family and friends venturing out into the unknown and cross a vast ocean  In 1621, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was formed and began an annual special day of thanksgiving prayer observances in 1660.

While all things are passing, and may be better in years to come
We work in the short term, and we do what we can with love.

Love of God and love of neighbor and gratitude to boot

Makes our struggles worthwhile and moves our attitude above

To think of the long term and to trust in God providence alone. 
When someone expresses thankfulness, it not only impacts the receiver, but it also has benefits for the one giving thanks. Recognizing the blessings in your life and acting upon them regularly increases your awareness and appreciation. Sharing your gratitude improves your quality of life because it can only result in positive emotions. Learning to appreciate what you have also makes life more valuable and meaningful.

Being Grateful to Those Who Light the Flame
Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, once said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

Everyone hits rough spots – and some people seem to survive avalanches – but often, other people are sent our way to rekindle our faith and keep us from despair. Who are the people in your life who deserve gratitude for supporting you when you needed it most?

Being Thankful For a New Opportunity
Each day we’re given a new chance to make a difference in the world. Until we are gone, there is always hope of finding happiness. Meister Eckhart, a German theologian from the 13th century, wrote: “If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brush Arbor is Upright Again and Garden Cared For THANKS!

A Successful Day, November 16, 2013 

Early Saturday morning Michael Almon, Brian Almon, Bill Glass and Christopher Flores set out to correct the "dirt creep" that just happens when buildings begin to lean.  The Homestead brush arbor leaned. The four guys  dug down about 18" beside each leaning brush arbor pole.  Then Bill and Chris attached the Come-Along to the top of the arbor and also to the adjacent tree and slowly began the action to set the arbor straight. It worked; none of the poles cracked or popped out. 

Let us give thanks.

 Brownie Troop 1960


Troop Leader Laura Armbrush with Brownies  Elizaabeth Johnson, Andreaya Wood, Kali Garza, Emma Armbrush, Emily Corpus Keira Johnson and Scarlett Gurko weeded front garden and planted carrots and basil.
Brownies Cheaibi Innes, Hanna Wilson and Madilyn Ng planted carrots in the back.
    Precious and small seeds  
I wonder.
So much power and energy - how did that power and energy get into those seeds?


Monday, November 11, 2013

A potato chip, graham cracker, evaporated milk Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for many things, especially for those who lived before me with a strong faith in God and country, preparing the way for a very good life in Texas and America.

Breaking the Way

Although Conestoga wagons were the vehicles many pioneers used to reach the frontier, an even greater number of settlers came west in more arduous ways. So great was their determination to find a new life, they came any way they could. Some used small horse-drawn wagons. Some pushed handcarts. Some even walked. One missionary described a family traveling west as follows: " The man carried an ax and gun...the wife, the rim of a spinning wheel in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. Several little boys and girls each with a bundle, according to their size. Two poor horses each heavily loaded...On the top of the baggage of one was an infant, rocked to sleep in a kind of wicker cage...A cow formed one of the company...a bed cord...wound around her forms and a bag of meal on her back.

Preparing food in the wilderness was a challenge. In the wintertime, eating was monotonous; meals often consisted of no more than cornmeal mush or cornbread sweetened with molasses, a few potatoes or turnips or perhaps a bit of salt pork. But with the coming of summer things changed and cows began producing milk again. That meant the families could have milk, butter, and cheese, and many foods could be found growing wild.  There was an abundance of big game such as buffalo, deer, bear, turkey, boars, rabbits, etc. To remove the "wild" game taste. the meat was soaked overnight in salted water or milk.

 Settling In

When the pioneer arrived, the first job was to build a shelter. Then the tough prairie sod had to be conquered. Once corn was planted, they turned to other priorities.

Join me in using a heritage food this Thanksgiving to remember the past sacrifices.

HERITAGE  FOOD: Evaporated Milk 1856
Choco Mo Ice Cream is made in the refrigerator and uses evaporated milk to give it a rich creaminess.  Evaporated milk was invented by Gail Borden in 1856 and was first used by the troops in the Civil War in place of fresh milk.  Today we're more apt to use evaporated milk as a cooking ingredient.

Choco Mo Ice Cream
2/3 cup cold water                                     Dash of sale
1    tablespoon cornstarch                          3     egg whites
1    13-ounce can evaporated milk             1/4 cup sugar
3    beaten egg yolks                                  1/2  cup semisweet chocolate pieces,
1/4 cup light molasses                                       finely chopped

In saucepan slowly blend cold water into cornstarch. Stir in evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly till mixture boils. Stir a moderate amount hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return to remaining hot mixture in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, till mixture is almost boiling. Stir in molasses and salt; chill thoroughly. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. Fold into molasses mixture. Turn into 11x7x1-1/2 inch pan.Freeze till firm. Break into chunks and place in chilled bowl; beat till smooth with electric mixer. Fold in chopped chocolate pieces. Return to cold pan. Freeze till Firm.  Makes 8-10 servings.

HERITAGE FOOD: Graham Crackers early 1800
 In the early 1800s the Reverend Sylvester Graham was a temperance lecturer and a nutritional "expert." He encouraged the use of coarse cereals which later led to breakfast cereals. He also urged the use of more fruits and vegetables in the American diet. Yet, for all his work, he is known to history at something of a crank, barely tolerating the use of milk, eggs, honey, salt, shellfish, or port. In 1835 specialized shops featuring Graham approved foods were started. The graham cracker, however, is perhaps his most well-known legacy in America.

The original potato chip recipe was invented by chef George Crum at Moon's Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 24, 1853.  Fed up with a customer who continued to send his fried potatoes back complaining that they were too thick and soggy, Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they could not be eaten with a fork.  As they could not be fried normally in a pan, he decided to stir-fry the potato slices.  Against Crum's expectation, the guest was ecstatic about the new chips and they soon became a regular item on the lodge's menu, and were known as "Saratoga chips".