Monday, June 30, 2008

Forever June...

Ava Gardner

I wonder what it would be like to live
in a world where it was always June.

L.M. Montgomery

Late in June...

One morning late in June she was startled at the washtub by a sudden darkening of the room. David was on the threshold. She knew something had happened.

"Come," he said abruptly. "I want to show you something." His voice shook with excitement.

She stripped the suds from her arms and dried her hands. David picked up the baby as heedlessly as if the baby were a bundle. He went up the path so quickly that Molly almost ran to keep up with him.

She saw nothing unusual. The wind was blowing, the wild grass rippling; no cloud was in the sky. The Svenson's sod shanty stood beside its shadow; dust followed Mr. Svenson's plow. Yellow specks of buildings were clustered at the town site and a smudge of dust blown against the skyline showed that men were working as usual on the railroad. David went with long strides toward the slough.

The coarse slough grass was taller than she; it rustled harshly along the narrow path. An earthy smell came from its roots, for here in the slough the creek spread and vanished into the soil, keeping it damp through the summer drought. She followed David out of the slough, and stood amazed. The wheat field's green stalks rose before her...

An old childhood favorite...

Young Pioneers
By Rose Wilder Lane

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Recipe...

An aunt and cousin came to visit tonight and ended up staying for dinner. It was my night to make it (Sarah and I switch off every other day) and I decided that a yummy dessert would be the perfect finishing touch. ☺

I so enjoy this recipe that I thought I would share it with you. I've made it quite a few times--it's ultra quick and easy, and besides measuring cups and such, you only dirty the one pan that you bake it in! How nice is that?

It was popular during World War II as a substitute for more conventional cakes because it uses no eggs or butter...and you all know how much I love that era. It has since appeared in every basic Betty Crocker cookbook since 1950. Plus, there is just something so neat and "magical" about the fact that two separate textures (cake and hot fudge) are formed during baking.

Without further ado...

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
* * * * *
1 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbls. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup very hot water
Ice Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 Tbls. cocoa, the baking powder and salt in ungreased square pan, 9 by 9 by 2 inches. Mix in milk, oil and vanilla with fork until smooth. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Pour very hot water over batter.

Bake 40 minutes. Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes and top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Me, Myself, and I...

Aren't these bedrooms scrumptious?

Design inspiration from Rachel Ashwell's love-ah-ly, but oh-so-expensive site.

Elizabeth and I have shared a bedroom for the four years or so that we have lived in this house. I love her dearly, but...truthfully, we aren't the best of roommates. She doesn't care for the way I like everything put neatly away, and I don't care to see the belongings (okay, treasures) she likes to line up on her dresser or the many, many stuffed friends she like to decorate (*ahem* bury) her bed with.

A family member just recently gave us a brand new bed and dresser set they didn't want anymore for the *someday* when Elizabeth would be able to have her own room. We had been hoping to convert our laundry room into a tiny bedroom for her. She's always been longing to have her own small space, but the way things are going that wouldn't be a possibility for quite a long time.

But...Sarah to the rescue! Coming home from shopping with Mama a week or two ago, we were shocked to discover that Sarah had moved Elizabeth--bed, dresser, belongings and all--into her room. Wasn't that nice of her? Elizabeth is enjoying sharing a room with her, and likes it almost as much as if she had her own room. As for me...? I'm in heaven, simply heaven.

I'm having so much fun re-doing everything. Things are still all out of sorts, and nothing is really as I'd like to keep it...but it's ever so heavenly to have your own room! And I can still tiptoe down the hallway and into Elizabeth's room at night when she's fast asleep, and kiss her on her soft, sweet-smelling cheek. So...all's right!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It Happened One Night...

This lovable 1934 screwball comedy of sorts stars a rather young Clark Gable (with mustache intact, thank goodness) as Peter Warne, an out-of-work newspaper reporter scouting for that perfect story, with Claudette Colbert co-starring as runaway socialite Ellie Andrews.

I can't even remember the first time I saw this movie. My sister and I watched it often enough growing up and to this day it still remains a favorite. I wouldn't typically think that Clark and Claudette would be a good starring twosome, but somehow in this movie it more than works. Surprisingly, neither of them were looking forward to the filming and Claudette so disliked it--apparently, it was her most despised role--and was so sure that it was going to be a flop that they had to rush her to the Academy Awards, in a traveling suit, mind you, to accept her award for Best Actress.
Peter teaching Ellie how to "dunk"

It also was the first movie to ever win the Oscar "grand slam"...receiving Oscar's for Best Picture, Best Actor (the only one Clark was to ever receive), Best Actress, Best Director (lovable Frank Capra), and Best Screenplay.

"The Walls of Jericho"

I won't spoil the storyline for you...but this is one classic that is a must-see. The script is superb, the actors mesh so well, and there are more funny quotes than I could mention. All in all, I think Claudette Colbert was could you not love this movie?

Audrey and 'Ip'...

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it all in at once."

Audrey Hepburn

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Never-Ending Summer...

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard

We all have certain memories from childhood that stand out in our minds from all the rest. Moments that seem to sum up the entire beginnings of our existence in this lovable-faulty world of ours. Some of mine are crisp and perfectly clear to me. They couldn't be any clearer if I had a snapshot in my hands to look back on and remember with, and others are hazy, seen through the thin veil that separates fantasy from reality. Sometimes I wonder how much I was really seeing of either side.

The funny thing about most of my early memories is that they all are set in summer. I can't for the life of me seem to think of one that wasn't. Oh, I know that I do have some, but my early, early memories seem to be of things that happened in summertime...or else I just remember them that way.

I remember the coolness of our front steps under my skin as my sister and I sat there eating watermelon to our heart's content, having contests to see who could spit seeds the farthest or the most at one time. Busy "spitting" until we were tired or ran out of watermelon; with sticky red juice dripping down our chins and across our hands.

I remember the peach pies with Dream Whip that we would make when I was a little girl. Cool from the refrigerator, and lovely in their yellow-orange peachy goodness, this is one of those memories you can taste. I long for the sound of my extended family's voices--noisy and overpowering at times--to be around me, just as they were that one summer evening ever so long ago, as we all sat around sharing those lovely pies. I wouldn't even care to would be enough to listen to them; to hear their excited chattering around me once again; all of us together...just as it used to be.

I remember the sharp loveliness and the little catch in my throat I had as I looked up at the night sky, studded with stars that looked like a million tiny diamonds shimmering down at me. Feeling so small, but so close to God that I could reach up and touch His fingertips if I only tried.

I remember running around with cousins after dark, mosquito-bitten, but too busy catching elusive fireflies between fingertips to care; squealing as they tickled my palms and fairly throwing them into the jar we were collecting them in. The flash of fireflies against the dark night sky is like nothing else I've ever seen--like watching thousands of cameras with their flashes going off all at once.

I remember groaning when Mama called us to come in from outdoors, not realizing how tired we really were until we had been tumbled into our pajamas and tucked into bed, eyelids heavy with dreams.

I remember my mother's soft kiss as she whispered in my ear the song she sang to me nearly every night, and I remember how I would pretend that I was asleep, and she would pretend that I was asleep--I, for the sake of being tucked into bed, and she, for the sake that I could be tucked into bed sooner. And for many years I truthfully thought I tricked her...

I remember all of these things so fondly, with a touch of something that is almost painfully sweet. There is nothing quite like a happy childhood.

It's growing close to that time of year again, when I begin to get strange longings for root beer and watermelon, and wish to sleep out under the stars. And all I can think of is how thankful I am to be alive; to be so blessed that I have the chance to have another happy summer; to be able to spend this time with my family that I love so much.

I'm a strange sort of a girl who thinks that nothing could be better.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Grace Kelly

I love this photo and I love this dress Grace is wearing. I don't know if I could pull off that color, but isn't the style simply scrumptious? I can't help falling in love with so many vintage dresses. I find myself pouring over one old photo after another and my list of "hope-to-make" outfits grow and grow. By the way, don't you love her hairstyle?

Happy Birthday, Dear...

My sister Sarah and I are about as different as two people can be. Oh, on fundamental and Very Important Things, we think alike, but that's about it. She says black and I say white. In a good-natured, but never-the-less, serious sort of way. We love to laugh at ourselves.

While I'm a romantic and dreamer, she's practical almost to a fault and I'm simply convinced that she comes from the sturdy, pioneer-stock, side of the family.

She loves working in her vegetable garden, while I love my roses and flower gardens. She thinks that everything you own has to serve a practical purpose, while I think sometimes an object is worth owning just for beauty's sake. Sometimes we don't understand why the other likes what she does...but we always have fun.

I don't know what I would do without her. She is my kindred spirit; my best friend. We share a love for all things vintage and we both adore old movies. We can talk and laugh until the wee hours of the morning, and there is nothing we like better after a long hard day's worth of work, than to sit together, with the house all dark and quiet and everyone else asleep, and watch an old movie and knit.

I guess all I'm trying to say, Sarah, is...I love you. I know this is a few days late, but I wanted to wish you a happy birthday, and year, just the same.

And, Emma...I was so delighted to find that you shared a birthday with my sister. You are such a sweet girl...someone I consider a friend, though we've never met. Many blessings!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book Meme...

Clare tagged me for a book meme. I've never done one of these, but since it's about books--one of my very favorite-est things--it should be fun!

Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the questions, tag six people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.

Who is your all-time favorite author and why?
My, my, they do start out with the hard question, don't they? I've been reading profusely and as fast as I can for so long, I don't know if I can pick just one! Hmm...I think I'll have to say L.M. Montgomery. Even though many years have passed since she first dreamt up Anne, Emily, Pat, and all of her other lovely characters, her stories still seem relevant to me today. Her books are usually one of the first ones I snatch off of my shelf when we are going to be traveling and I can spend hours on ordinary days enraptured with her lovely descriptions and the "kindred spirit-ness" of her characters. I usually re-read just about all of her books at least once a year.

Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him/her to be among your favorites?
Seven was a big year for me book-wise. I discovered the majority of my favorite authors then that I still love to this day. Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and other such lovely classic books made their way into my eager hands. And as much as I loved the "Little House" series, I think I would have to claim L.M. Montgomery as my first favorite author, also. I received a good majority of her books that year, and to use one of Anne Shirley's expressions, I just drank them in. ☺

Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?
Hmm...maybe Wilkie Collins? I loved The Woman in White. I happened to see it at a sale at Barnes and Noble and as it looked somewhat interesting I decided to splurge. ☺ I was surprised at how interesting it really was, and also surprised at the depth and many intriguing twists and turns the story carried as it was played out.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?
Lenora Mattingly Weber, Austen, Longfellow, Elizabeth Gaskell, Louisa May Alcott, Shakespeare, Beverly Cleary, Elizabeth George Speare, Maud Hart Lovelace, Andrew Carroll...

A good many of my favorite authors and favorite books are technically considered children's author's/books. I really don't care, though. ☺ Their stories carry a simplicity along with depth, and somehow often seem more meaningful than "grown-up" novels. They are timeless to me.
Oops! I thought that darling Emma and her lovely blog had already been "tagged". Consider yourself officially "it"! ☺

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer at Tiffany...

Crossing Fifth Avenue with the Upper East Side ladies in their spiffy Lilly Dache hats and debutantes sporting golden beach tans headed for the Terrace Room at the Plaza, I felt out of my league in my scuffed saddle shoes...

"So where do you think the bargains are?" I asked Marty. Nothing set my heart racing like a for sale sign.

"Hattie Carnegie?" She laughed. "No--Bergdorf's, like we planned."

"Are you serious?"

Bergdorf's wouldn't have a sale, I muttered, as we peered into their surrealistic show windows. But Marty was right, a SUMMER SALE sign was discreetly displayed. Once inside, the tantalizing scent of Chanel No. 5 sent me into a dream-like trance as I milled around with the elite. How my mother would love this store. She had the greatest eye for high fashion and would have had one of the designers' dresses copied in no time.

As soon as we spotted the MARKED DOWN sign, we made a dive for it. Marty snapped up a pair of white gloves immediately--great bargain. Buried in the back, I found a crisp pink and white pique dress, with a fitted bolero.

"It's five dollars!" I cried, showing Marty how the tiny pleats in the skirt billowed out like a Ginger Rogers dress, a show-off number to dance in. Even she gasped.

When I marched to the front counter to buy it, a snooty saleslady squinted through her chic glasses to examine the price tag.

"This dress is fifty dollars," she said, pointing to a tiny zero with her lurid red fingernail. Fifty dollars! Was she kidding?

I looked to make sure--that dress was meant for me. How could a meager snip of a summer dress be on sale for fifty dollars?

I almost keeled over.

Summer at Tiffany
By Marjorie Hart