Paper Doll


Nancy, Tricia and Rita on the beach at Port Aransas

In the summer of 1941 our family went to Port Aransas on vacation. Mother and Daddy fished off the pier while we played in the water. My little three year old sister Nancy was a beautiful child with long honey blond hair, big blue eyes and skin like porcelain, everyone always noticed her. (Now Tricia and I had a zillion freckles, which came from our red headed daddy and not within ten miles of pretty.) One morning on the pier, Mother and Daddy were fishing for tarpon and there were several servicemen  fishing with rented poles (it was during the war.) They had a big pile of angel fish they had caught. Of course, they noticed Nancy, she was really eyeing those fish. Then out of the blue, she started singing, never missing a note~

“ I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own
a doll that other fellows cannot steal
And all those flirty flirty guys with their flirty flirty eyes
will have to flirt with dollies that are real
When I come home at night she will be waiting
She’ll be the truest doll in all the world
I’d rather have  a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle minded real life girl”.
              She brought down the house!  Lots of clapping and laughing~
                                     They gave her all their fish~

Miniature Carved Chair


When she started on a project, she didn’t want to stop, she never got tired, sometimes I needed a nap~

This miniature chair and table was a project my little granddaughter Elizabeth made a few years ago. She had watched me carve and was sure she could make a chair. When it was starting to look good, she was hooked. She kept going and made the table and all the accessories. She decided she would make this for my friend Pat, because ‘Pat didn’t have a little chair’. The gift box is filled with pictures she scanned and reduced down to a tiny size, they were mostly of her and her good friend Natalie, Pat’s granddaughter. There is a Hershey bar, a phone, a note pad, reading glasses, and a coffee mug. She was able to do the whole job with little help. Pat was thrilled with her special gift. Later when Elizabeth went back home to Albuquerque she made bunk beds, tables, and all kinds of miniatures. 

twine is great for chair bottoms on the miniatures, it is the fun part~


Old Cowboy


The Cowboy Hat

you can make anyone what ever you like just by changing their hat

This old cowboy wasn’t really a cowboy at all, he just put on the hat for me that day. He usually wore a hard hat, he worked in the oil fields in West Texas on drilling rigs.  He was my daddy, Jack Elder, and  was the subject in several paintings. When someone has a wrinkled and weathered face, those are the best to paint. He could be a farmer, roughneck, sea captain, or cowboy, rough and rugged. I could just put him on a different hat  and in a different setting and make him whatever I wanted. My favorite painting was always the one I was doing right at the moment. I have always been a landscape artist, all the other things were  just for fun.  If you can wake up every morning with a project, you will be excited all your life.  (This morning it is to make some peanut patties.)


Peanut Brittle Candy

Peanut Brittle

this is an all time favorite candy, easy to make but you have to watch it closely toward the end. I usually take mine off the burner just one mark under 300 degrees .

In 2007, a friend got sick and a fund raiser was held to help with his medical expenses. There was a delicious bar-b-que dinner and an auction. I made 10 recipes of Peanut Brittle, put it in baskets with pretty fabric liners, and they auctioned this candy off  for over $500 . Big surprise! People like peanut brittle, they like homemade candy and they like to help their friends. You might want to try this for your next fund raiser, it only took me two afternoons to make all this candy~

Peanut Brittle
(first thing, butter a cookie sheet~)
2 c. sugar
3 or 4 c. raw peanuts
3/4 c. Karo Light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp soda (don’t add this yet)
In heavy sauce pan, mix sugar, peanuts, syrup, water and salt
cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly to hard crack stage
(one mark under 300 degrees on candy thermometer. Get it off the burner right now!
Add soda and stir a few seconds, it will foam up, that is good.
Pour onto buttered cookie sheet and don’t try to smooth it or disturb it. 
When completely cool, bend cookie sheet slightly and the candy
will come loose, break into big generous pieces.
(the secret to making candy is to use a very heavy sauce pan,
I use my Presto cooker without the lid) Remember, only make one recipe
at a time, if you want more, wash pan and start another batch
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can pick one up
at Wal Mart, they aren’t expensive and you will use it often.

Pet Java Monkey

Junior was part of our family for several years. It was an experience to say the least~

I told you about Junior Monkey in an earlier blog,  he was more than a one trick pony. It was something new every day. He was a Java monkey and had a long straight tail and his hands had prehensile thumbs, just like a human hand. (some monkeys just have five fingers and no thmb) He used his tail for balance only. He was able to do everything with his hands and do it well. When he had grapes, he would carefully peel each one, remove the seeds and fill his jaws up, then take them out and eat them. He liked grasshoppers and crickets. Whatever he ate, he worked on it quite a bit, he enjoyed playing with his food. It was  easy to read his moods. If he was happy, his hair went flat on the top of his head, he tilted his head back, half closed his eyes and made a sweet chattering sound with his teeth. Sometimes he got mad, when he had your car keys or sun glasses, and knew he was in trouble, that hair on his head went straight up, eyes wide open, pupils tiny as pinholes, screeching and showing his teeth. Pretty scary, you didn’t make eye contact, just looked away and started ’talking to someone’ who wasn’t there. Once I brought  him to Austin to be in the water carnival at UT and afterward took him to a vet clinic to spend the night. The next morning when I went to pick him up, that guy was SO mad! Junior had opened the latch on his cage, then opened doors  on several other cages. The room was destroyed. (I wasn’t the one responsible for locking him up) Once he ruined Mother’s kitchen with a sack of flour. The room was white and he was white. Junior liked his clothes and sat still while I painted his nails. He was interested in those nails, he would work all day on a hangnail. Monkeys like to groom each other (or anyone who is holding them). They are not looking for fleas, they don’t have those, but are picking tiny flecks of salt. This was always a loving time. When Junior went with Daddy to deliver fuel to the oil rigs, he wore green Phillip 66 overalls, and sat in the truck while Daddy was busy. He rolled the windows up and down,  locked the doors, pushed all the buttons, (pulled the buttons off the radio) and sat on the steering wheel to watch and wait. He tore the rubber blades off the windshield wipers more than once. He was sweet and fun and we loved him, but as I said before, don’t ever consider getting a monkey. A puppy is a better choice~

Art Show

I painted this as a demonstration during my art show at a Hemphill Well Department Store.

Hemphill Wells in San Angelo invited me to have an art show and demonstration at their store in 1973, (the same time the San Angelo Roping Fiesta was being held  at the fair grounds, the men roped, the wives shopped). I painted for a week and enjoyed every minute. People  came to look and other artists came watch me paint the bluebonnets, landscapes and water scenes. By the third day, they were bringing their folding chairs and staying all day. (Mr. Russell wasn’t too happy, he had planed for it to be a time they would be shopping for pretty things on the fourth floor). This is one of the paintings, it is 24″ X 36″.  Since I was painting under florescent lights, the colors seemed pale,  I had to work to make them brilliant. Later when I came home I found all the pictures were extra bright and a little different from the norm. I was happy with the end results. I was invited back several times for  demonstrations, something I looked forward to. I never taught  art lessons but gave demonstrations along with the art shows. When people watch, they are inspired and they learn a lot of the tricks and  techniques. I learned from an early age  by watching my mother Elizabeth Elder. She was wonderful painter.  If you pick up a brush and squeeze paint out on a pallet, I will be cheering you on! 

Shih Tzu Baby

Dogs I have Loved

This is Missy

Thank You for my Blessings~

At some time when the Lord was creating this earth He must have noticed there was something missing.There was a need to fill the emptiness in a mother’s heart once her children were all grown up.
If she could only have a special little creature to love and cherish and to nurture, then she could have a baby all her life. And so God created a most treasured gift for the world, a sweet, loving and faithful little dog. It would never go away to first grade, or summer camp, or college. It would be beside her in the car, in the kitchen, on her bed, always right there for her hand to reach out and touch when she needed a baby to love.
Thank you Lord
Babies I have loved~ Puddles,Big Spook, Suzy, Spook, Schatzie Kay, Lucy, Little Sweet, Kate, Missy, Kobi, Molly, Ginger, Little Elmo, Marci and Jitter Joe.

The Bridge Party

Wedding Cake

this cake was almost 3′ tall, it had a coconut and pineapple filling~it took me four days to make~

I had a Bridge party about 40 years ago for our little group and everyone came in their wedding dresses or something pertaining to their weddings. Nancy Powell had on her bridal nightgown and veil, Sandra Helmers was dressed in her wedding gown but could only button it up so far because she had just had Stacy, Sharon Mittel’s gown fit beautifully, Becky Moore and Dixie Bell wore bridesmaid’s dresses, Holly Brame was dressed in a wedding suit and hat, Tooter Dunham wore a black maternity dress, (she’s always full of fun) Madolyn Mertz was a mother of the bride, Lucille, Geneva McWhorter and Susan Stark were wedding guests. I served shish kabobs and Armenian rice. I made the wedding cake, it was the prize for high score, then another one for our dessert. We even had a bottle of Champagne. ( I didn’t have one of those cork screws but finally found a hook that holds a porch swing up and screwed that in the cork to get that thing out. We had several people come out to see what was going on, I remember County Judge Dick Bearce was there to check on us. Nancy won high and Jimmie came in the SUV to take it home. Here are some of the pictures~ since I was the camera lady, I am not in them. These are some of the nicest and most beautiful people I know, friendships are forever~

Sandra Helmers

Sandra just had a new baby girl

Holly Brame

Holly looked quite happy

Lucille & Geneva McWhorter

Lucille and Geneva came to watch

Sharon Mittel

Sharon sipping tea

Sharon Mittel

another shot of Sharon~

Nancy Powell

Nancy, the sweet smiling one~

Holly Brame

a dignified Holly

Dixie Bell

Dixie was a beauitful bridesmaid

Tooter Dunham

Tooter wore a black dress and got the most laughs!

Nancy Powell

Nancy wore her wedding ‘gown’~

Becky Moore

Becky was the sweet bridesmaid

Madolyn Mertz

Madolyn came as a bride’s mother~she knew how to play Bridge~



Sandra Helmers

Sandra was having a great time, she was one of our younger ones


Susan Stark was a guest
























































Sharon Mittel

Sharon was another good player


Downtown San Angelo


Billy and her babies, real life rancher’s wife

Billy has been my friend for almost 50 years. Our children were the same age, we had the same interests, we loved to shop! We were trying to furnish our homes with pretty things, getting a new chair was exciting, finding a pretty rug was a celebration and we knew how and when to shop. We looked all year but usually only bought at the sales. At that time Hemphill Wells downtown was the big brown brick five story building with a basement and mezzanine. Everyone dressed up to go shopping, stockings, dress shoes, nice outfits. Twice a year, in January and July, they had their big sales,  no first day of the month sales or midnight sales or weekly lowest price of the year sales. We were always the first in line at the door, and at the right door too, the one nearest the stairway. No elevator for us, we were headed for the forth floor where the pretty things were, the elevator would make a stop at each floor so we always charged up the stairs instead. This one time when we got to the door on fourth  floor, I was in front, I burst in and headed straight for Mr. Russell, completely out of breath, puffing and pointing I said, “I want  those two  lamps and that curio table!”  He had a surprised look on his face, then I noticed that it was only him, Foy Mackey and the sales ladies not another soul.  A minute later the elevator door opened and in came the crowd. Billy found me later and told me a lady behind her had stumbled on the stairs and she had stopped to help her and everything was blocked until they could get her up and going again. We found all of our pretty stuff, loaded it in the car, then went back to look for clothes. This was another adventure, carrying an armload of dresses  to a small dressing room that we would be sharing with with five other women and  piles of clothes on the floor.  I still have most of the pretty things I bought for my house way back then, with me if I liked something it was always my treasure. I loved that store.  Thank you Billy for all good times!

Texas Cowboy


Cowboy at Hulldale barn

always nice to hang out around the barn at Hulldale, the only sounds you hear are the birds and the windmill pumping.

The boys posed for me when I was painting a lot of cowboy pictures. PJ and his friend Matt were always good to let me use them as my subjects. There is an old barn on the place at Hulldale, a good background for all kinds of western scenes. Here is one of them holding a Winchester 30-30 rifle, and of course had a pistol in his holster. They did some target practice out there, it is several miles from neighbors so the perfect place. They usually found a rattle snake around the barn so the guns were put to good use. I liked painting the guns, boots, and cowboy hats. I liked to add a little humor to the paintings, this one had wasp nests on the studs. They are a fact of life around barns and out buildings. If disturbed, they can sting the daylights out of you, ‘you gotta run fast’.

River Mouse

Abandoned Boat

In 1992, one of my boys and I were out at the place at Hulldale taking pictures and we found several old boats in the barn. He told me I should restore one. One look and I knew I didn’t want to get into such a big project. He persuaded me, he told me how much fun it would be for my tiny granddaughter at the river. Oh my goodness, what a mess~ there were, gaping holes and gashes and they were buried in dirt and silt. I was dragging my feet but finally decided I would try, I picked the best one of the bunch. I had to learn to fiberglass, make the electrical harness, find all the hardware, bumpers, rails, make the seat cover, make a template for a windshield, and I found a place in San Angelo to rebuild the electric motor. Nine months later, the deed was done. The RIVER MOUSE was born.     This was the hardest and most wonderful project ever.

ZZ driving the boat


Stacy and Dan at Shady Lane

Stacy Mae, Schatzie Kay and Dan going for a spin at Shady Lane

ZZ and her granddad

Granddad and ZZ, making plans

Ready to roll

I bought an old wielding trailer and restored it to use to haul the boat

ZZ loving the flag

the flag was the final touch, it flew proudly any time the River Mouse sailed, there is a light at the top of the flagstaff.

Junior Monkey


Port Aransas  Pier

My day to watch Junior Monkey, everyone liked him~

In the summer of 1952, I was in Port Aransas, Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) with my parents and two sisters. The monkey belonged to Daddy, some friends gave it to him as a prank. Junior was sweet but then he had another side~he could bite! (no one got bit that time though). Everyone was fishing from the pier, Mother and Daddy fished for Tarpon and we fished for supper.That day I was in charge of Junior. I put on an old swim suit and shower cap and spent the day entertaining everyone, Junior could draw a crowd. He was wearing his swimming trunks but he took them off after they got wet, or should I say, he wet them~ Every day he would get in the water with us and  run on the beach trying to beat the waves. He was curious about everything, he picked up every shell he found and worked on it to see if anything was inside.  Several weeks after we came back home, a big brown envelope came in the mail. A photographer from the San Antonio Express newspaper had snapped the picture and they ran it  in their magazine. Someone recognized me and Junior and sent it to us. What a fun time to remember. A few years later, Junior went to live at the Zoo in San Antonio. I will have other stories about Junior later. Don’t get a monkey, get a sweet puppy instead.