Texas Country Roads

this would be such nice road leading up to your home place, some people do have roads just like this~

This is a scene  near Mason. I would love to drive down this road on the way home every day, a winding road with trees making a canopy overhead. We used to visit relatives in East Texas and  between Douglasville and Atlanta, there were roads like this that went to the farm houses. It was magical, mystical, and maybe a little bit spooky at night. Dan’s ‘McWhorter cousins’ lived in East Texas and I liked going there, it was so different. The people were soft spoken and no one ever got in a hurry. Their voices had such a sweet, kind sound. (Dan always came home with an East Texas accent and it took a few days for it to wear off). I was amazed at how green it was back there, very hot and humid too. Ben took us  fishing in his boat, we got out in the middle of Caddo Lake, anchor in the water, hooks baited, then he had to turn around and take Cousin Lilla all the way back to the bait stand because she was afraid of the water. We fished all day while she sat on the dock beside the picnic basket with the food,  I wished I had stayed with her. We loved our East Texas people.

Miniature Swing Set

The real barn had a child size bed, table and small refrigerator  for ZZ’s playhouse. (this miniature swing set is 4″ tall)

I made the real table, which washed away in the same flood that took the River Mouse. It would seat 8 people, with two stumps on the end to use as seats. This miniature is 1 3/4″ tall~

This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together.  It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing  on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~

 

Bald-Faced Cow

cattle are fun to paint, ZZ was able to paint this one in two days, and then put in a little more detail after the paint dried.

This is a picture ZZ painted of a cow. We took lots of cow pictures in Buscher’s pasture, they were strange looking but probably good ones since they  all had ear tags.  ZZ was 9 years old on this one. I helped her sketch it off on a 9×12″ canvas. (paint the eyes in first, then it will watch you while you paint in everything else.) To show her how, I would write in b for brown, w for white, etc. and she would paint in the different colors. She learned to mix paint from an early age, we used very few colors,  white,  blue, yellow, red, and brown. Nearly any color can be mixed  from these. She learned early not to mix a big pile of color, if you mix small amounts, each one will be different and make  the picture more realistic. One time when ZZ was about 5 years old, we were buying brushes at the art store and an older man and his wife were shopping. From what we understood, he had decided to start painting. He was saying, ‘let me see, I need some purple and some green, and some black’~ I could tell ZZ was having a fit. She finally told me, ‘that man is not obeying’. She knew blue and red made purple, and yellow and blue made green. She was beside herself wanting to go help him. She painted several parrot pictures and sold them on e-bay. Children like bright colors. She painted a lot of adobe houses. They are easy to do and when you are finished, you have something worthy of a nice frame. They have a 3-D effect with shadows and sunlight hitting the walls. The great thing about her is she never got tired, she was never ready to quit. I love this old cow. I love that sweet girl~

Tea Party Cookies

these cookies are light and tender, the butter makes them extra special~I make all my cookies using butter~I took this pictures using my little Canon PowerShot  300HS and no flash~

Looks like a tea party going on, maybe for you and a special little granddaughter. It is almost as easy as reaching in the cookie tin and walking through the house eating cookies, except you will enjoy this special moment you give  yourself. The figurine is one my sister Nancy gave me, one of my favorites. The china is from my Grandmother Christian’s set when she started house keeping as a new bride. Little girls like tea parties and old girls do too~

 Sugar Cookies
2 sticks real butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour plus 3 T.
3 tsp. baking powder
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, milk and vanilla
and beat well. Sift  flour and baking powder together
and add to first mixture. Chill for 30 minutes. On
cookie sheet, make each cookie into a ball and press
flat with a water glass. (I put the glass in a little sugar
before pressing each cookie). Or if you like, you can roll the
dough out thin and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 400 degrees
until cookies start to turn slightly golden, don’t overcook.
Watch them carefully.
Place cookies on wire rack to cool.

Oil Painting of The River

 

My favorite river scene

The idea for this water scene came from a nice day I remember on a river in Sutton County, that place had a peaceful feeling~ good company too~

This is a large 24″x36″ painting of a river scene, no real place, not really anywhere. The idea for it came  from once going with Mother to a friend’s ranch in Sutton County and spending the day on the river. I remember the woman had a camp house with a wood cook stove, and she cooked up the most wonderful pot of red beans and baked a skillet of cornbread. We had that with iced tea and it was a feast. The smoky smell of the wood stove made it even more memorable. But back to the river scene, water has always been one of the things I enjoy painting most of all. As anyone who paints will tell you, when you are lost in this kind of project, you can only have good thoughts, good feelings, and all stress is washed away. For a while, you can forget problems (like worrying whether the avocado will be ripe by Sunday, you know~ those big things~)  I can look at one of the paintings and remember what was going on in my life when I was painting it. I think it always had something to do with the people I love~

Spring Brags in Texas

 

Bluebonnet painting with live oak tree

this live oak tree is a landmark between Eldorado and Christoval

Sen. and Mrs. John Tower

Sen. and Mrs. John Tower shown with the painting which was included in a special exhibit in Washington

In the summer of 1966, this painting was included in a special showing of paintings by 15 outstanding Texas women artists in the office of Sen. John Towers in Washington. The painting, “Spring Brags in Texas” is a bluebonnet scene with the huge live oak tree which is a landmark between Eldorado and Christoval. It stands at  the entrance to the Bob Helmers Ranch.  An account of the exhibit was written into the 89th Congressional Record and later taken on a circuit tour through Texas. I painted it 48 years ago and it was like yesterday~

The Card Game

The dress was wonderful to paint, her wrap too, it looks like ‘someone’ won her away from the card game~I painted this picture in 1965, it was  large and took two months to complete.

Dan’s mother saw this painting and mentioned it several times, it hangs in the Hermitage in Russia. It was an old world painting, ‘The Stolen Kiss’ by Fragonard. I found a photograph of the painting and was overwhelmed by the beautiful detail in the woman’s dress, I decided to try to copy it. It took several weeks to sketch it off on canvas and once I started painting, I was terribly excited to be doing it. Painting the folds in the woman’s dress was a great experience, it was like reading a good book~ hard to put down. When it was finished Dan gave it to his mother on Mother’s Day, she loved it. She had a beautiful formal living room and the perfect place for it. It has been in the family for 47 years, it now hangs in her grandson’s home. 

Moist Rich Carrot Cake

with pineapple, raisins and toasted pecans, then the tart lemon icing, this cake is wonderful~

Carrot cake is one of the best cakes around. It is moist and full of flavors. The lemon icing makes it extra special. It is one of the easiest cakes since you dump it all in the bowl and mix it up. When you are taking it out of the pan, run a sharp knife around the edges and then shake it loose from the sides before you flip it out on to a rack. Put wax paper under the rack to catch any icing that drips.

CARROT CAKE

Heat oven to 350 degrees

2 c sugar
1 c Canola oil
3 eggs
1 flat can crushed pineapple (drained)
2 c grated carrots
1 c white raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 c coarsely chopped pecans (toast in microwave about 2 minutes, stir after a minute)
1 c shredded cocoanut
Beat this all together in mixer

Mix next 5 ingredients together and then pour into first mixture..
3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp soda

Spray bundt or tube pan with Pam. Pour in batter. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, test with a tooth pick for doneness .
Cool for about 10 minutes then carefully remove from pan onto wire rack.

Lemon Icing
Grate lemon peel,
squeeze juice from one lemon into small bowl
¼ tsp lemon extract
1/8 tsp vanilla
Mix  with 2 c powdered sugar.
Drizzle or spread on top and sides of warm cake
(this cake freezes well)

Stetson Hat Story Continues

here is Dan in his new Stetson hat his Granddad Jack bought for him on Easter in 1960.

 

the label inside reads Stetson 3X Beaver Quality~Shudde Bros~it is one of the oldest businesses in Houston~ since 1901

The picture today is more about the Stetson hat topic from a while back. Here is Granddad Jack with his little grandson~ wearing the new Stetson  hat he gave him for Easter. The year was 1960. I was planning to have the hat steamed and cleaned, these hats can be restored to look like new, but It might be better to leave alone, with all the wear and age showing. Like old saddles, these hats grow in character as they age. I am starting to re-think my dislike for hats. I sure loved that little boy who wore it ~

Miniature Bedroom

It has taken a week to re-decorate and restore this room~

This is the first miniature room I made, it was in 1972. I had planned to only make one room and I just kept adding things to it until it was to the brim, way too much stuff in it. It had criss-cross curtains and divided light windows, linen shades with a crocheted pull on them, and most of this work was hidden behind something else. The windows were too big for the rest of the room and it always bothered me. When I started redoing it last week, I took the windows out, made the curtains more tailored, and got rid of some of the clutter. The lamp shade had completely fallen apart after 40 years and it took me several hours to make a new one. A thing I have learned is to be careful with glue, it goes on clear but through the years turns a dark dirty brown. I had to take everything off the walls and repaint them because of the glue. It has been a lot of fun working with the different rooms though. Three down, four to go~

Granddad and ZZ

this was right down his alley, he did a perfect job and was happy to help

This is a picture of Granddad marking the hem on ZZ’s new dress. When she came to see us there were always projects.  She learned to sew and cook, oil paint and, and most of all practice driving the pickup. Here she is at 9 years old. She made this dress in two days. Dan always was happy to mark hems for me and he helped her with hers. You had to stand perfectly still, he would stick a pin in and and then say ‘shift’. He praised  her for whatever work she was doing. They were great friends. He died four years ago and while I was going through some of his things, I found about 20 ‘tickets’ she had printed for him, each with a picture of an omelet, plate of scrambled eggs or brownies~which he could redeem “at any time” and she would cook it for his supper. Sometimes we find these treasures that remind us of precious moments~ they are priceless~

Pet Peacocks

I brought this beautiful bird to Anna, he was full grown and he spent his time showing off his beautiful feathers.

Handsome Jack ran the place at Christoval, he is now relocated to Schleicher County. What a beautiful magnificent bird. Unbelievably colorful. Anna started out with Lovie and her three two day old babies, then she got Handsome Jack and in four years the flock grew to 21. They were wonderful and so much fun to be with, like the chickies, wherever you were working in they yard, they were right there too. I love to hear their big voices! They have several loud honks/screeches/bird songs, especially in the spring. (they can quietly walk up behind you and then scare the life out of you) Several of them now live at the Sonora Caverns, eight miles west of Sonora. Others have moved to their new homes on two different ranches. Now there are two boys left but once in a while a stray girl walks up to eat and visit with them. What a wonderful experience it has been to have these birds as pets. They are unbelievably beautiful.