Sunday, October 31, 2021

Falling for Fall

YES!  Fall has finally arrived in North Central Texas.  And, so did our new patio, but more on that later.

Along with cooler and windier weather, came a busted pipe connected to our hot-water heater.  Of course, you know that means no hot water until a plumber can get here to find the leak, possibly dig a hole to China in the tile floor of the utility room, and charge us the price of a new car.

More on that later too when I can think about it without twitching.

Since it is Fall and that is my favorite season, I will show you some happy little vignettes of color in my house that currently has no hot water.  Perhaps I've already mentioned that?

As Fall is the only season I particularly decorate for, I take advantage of every available space, but especially the fireplace mantel.  After all, that is usually the focal point of the room.

I started collecting glass pumpkins several years ago.  Here I have combined some of the smaller ones with a few velvets and sequined fruit into a cornucopia effect.

Items such as metal, leather and old books speak of Fall and also are objects I love to look at.

One end of the credenza holds more fall color and a rather new pumpkin that I discovered at a Dallas estate sale.

Layering is a favorite decorating hint and I have chosen to use several pieces of white pottery to lighten the darker Fall colors in the room.

The round dining table is centered with this artificial arrangement that continues the color theme and provides lovely candlelight in the evenings.

The front door, which remains open most of the day, (we have an outside glass door that provides security and light) is bedecked with this dried eucalyptus wreath that we enjoy from inside.

The sunroom is always on display and where we spend a good bit our time.
(Artist information:  James Conner)

These colors speak to my Autumn soul and bring comfort to me. The weight of the plaid throw is perfect on these early fall mornings.

This living room end table display is another mix of white and orange fall-themed items.  The plate was a gift from a good friend and the pumpkin is a candle made by my granddaughter, Cassidy.

Again, notice the layering and how placing a small item on a larger one elevates its importance.

The light walls of our home allow us to bring in patterns and colors as accessories that bring us joy.

And just so you know, no home is completely accessorized for Fall without this mixture.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Revealing Hodgepodge

Thank you, Joyce for some interesting things to think about this morning.

1.  Do you (or did you used to) watch talk shows?  Which are or were your favorite?

Because I worked outside the home for 35 years after I worked inside the home, I never watched much day-time television.  After retiring, I rarely turned the TV on during the day, and even now, never watch day-time TV programs.  I cannot imagine sitting and listening to a group such as "The View" for pleasure.  Never!

2.  Would you describe yourself as resilient?  If so, what do you think makes you that way?  If you answered no explain why?

Yes, I would consider myself to be resilient.  Why?
1st and perhaps primary is birth order.  I am the oldest child and therefore have a git'her done attitude.
2nd, at the age of 4, I dealt with Polio and daily spinal taps before a miraculous healing.  My parents told me that my personality was pretty evident when no longer completely paralyzed, I literally kicked the syringe out of a nurses hand in protest.
3rd, life and loss have taught me that to survive, there is no time for pity parties.  My mantra:  Just do what you have to do!

3.  What parts of life have surprised you the most?  Explain.

How rapidly the symptoms of the aging process have occurred!

4.  Why do you live where you live?

Refer to previous answer.  At the encouragement of our children, we decided it was time to live near one of them.  With son in the harsh winters, and daughter in the harsh summers, we chose the latter.  Therefore, Plano, Texas has become our new home and we know it was all in God's plan and time.  We love it here.  Besides, there is a direct flight to son's anytime we want to be there.

5.  A memory from this week that made you smile?

We had our Great-Grandbaby Gender Reveal this past Saturday.  There were smiles everywhere!

Even Samson was part of the celebration.

The mothers could hardly wait to know what to start buying.

And neither could we.

Even the Mom and Dad awaited with eager anticipation.


Chandler is still in a bit of shock but Brad was ecstatic.
We cannot wait to meet Landon Vincent in April, 2022!

Insert your own random thought here.

Before the weekend was over, we celebrated our youngest's 15th birthday.

Later this week I will be making a road trip to spend a few days with my two sweet sisters in South Louisiana, as well as visit one of my dearest and long-time friends.  Charlene and Jim were college friends of Dick's, and the Lord put us all together in 1969.  We still miss our Jim, but I don't ever want to miss an opportunity to see Charlene whenever I can.  Time is short!

Happy Fall Ya’ll

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

American Memory Hodgepodge

Thank you, Joyce for coming up such thought provoking and interesting questions each week.

1.  What obligation do you believe you have to your country?

What an appropriate question as the following quotes, and others were in my husband's Wednesday morning reading from "Harvest of Gold."

Jesus answered that question with this response:  "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God's."

William Tyler Page wrote the following in 1917, that I believe every American should have imprinted in their heart if not on their forehead:


"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.  I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."
Adopted by the House of Representatives April 3, 1918

I think at this point in our country we should add to the end, "both foreign and domestic!"

2.  October 12 is National Farmers Day?  Do you know any farmers?  What do they farm/grow/raise?  Are there any farm stands where you live?  Do you shop there?

I have a dear friend who lives in Morehouse Parish whose two sons are carrying on the legacy of their father and grandfather.  She no doubt also has a grandchild or two who are likely to be 4th generation Stutts Farmers.  They successfully grow cotton, corn, beans, beautiful children, and who knows what else.

One weekend a month this summer, there was a large Farmer's Market on the parking lot of a nearby Mall, but I didn't shop there.

Some of you may find it of interest that my adjoining neighbor edited the long ago "Progressive Farmer Magazine" for 27 years.  You can read about Del Detering and that magazine that was in every rural household, at the following link.

3.  What's a skill you think everyone should have?  Tell us why?

Knowing when to shut one's mouth and just listen.
No explanation required.

4.  Favorite thing you've purchased this year?

Since we made a major move this year and we found it necessary to purchase a few things, finding a favorite isn't coming easily.  It could be the most comfortable sofa and chair, or the toile throw pillow, or the pumpkin candle my granddaughter made.  I think though, that my favorite purchase is yet to be bought.  Our oldest granddaughter and husband will be blessing us with our first great-grandchild in April 2022.  So there will be at least one big purchase before then.

5.  What's your favorite place to visit in the fall?

It goes without saying my favorite place in the fall is wherever it is cool/cold and there are plenty of colorful fall leaves.  But, yesterday, although it was neither cool nor cold and not a tree in sight, this was my favorite place to be.

A local nursery was totally bedecked with the most beautiful pumpkins.

See random thought below.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

My Facebook memories for Oct. 12 were so much fun to re-live and they also reveal some of my most favorite places to be in the fall.  So go with me back in time.

2020:  Having our grandson's wedding in a cornfield on an Amish farm in Northern Indiana on Oct 10th.

Taking a road trip southward from there through Ohio, the Virginias', Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and homeward.

2019:  The Fall outdoor wedding of a granddaughter in Fayetteville, AR on Oct 11th.

Spending the following week in Bentonville, AR and surrounding area.

2018:  Sharing Dick's 60th HS reunion at an old country homestead in Columbia, LA, with old friends.

2013:  On Oct 12, grandson Jackson began his D1 colligate football career as a starter at left guard #65 for the Western Michigan Broncos.

2012:  Being told that my daughter's good friend, Holly, who was in Uganda, had just received word of official guardianship of two little "chocolate-skinned" (her words) babies.  But there was still so much paper-work to go through before flying back to Dallas with them by herself.

P.S.  They have thrived!

2011:  Having retired in May, Oct 12 found me sitting in my favorite spot, my back porch, enjoying a cappuccino and watching it rain.  Isn't that was retirement looks like?

2010:  Sitting at an outdoor table at Starbucks with my Hubby, savoring my first cup of hot Caramel Spice of the fall.

A fallen leaf is nothing more
than a summer's wave good bye.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

What Makes a Watercolorist?

Our story of a particular watercolorist begins all the way back in Bavaria sometime prior to 1872, when two young men decided to avoid being conscripted in yet another of the Kaiser Ludwig’s many wars, and fled for America.  They arrived in California only to learn the gold was depleted and opportunities to make a living were limited.  However, they learned that land was available in Texas, but before they went to Texas, one of them sent for his bride-to-be, the sister of his friend.  They were married in 1872 in San Francisco.

These were the paternal great-grandparents of our artist.

How they got to Texas is still a mystery, as other members of their families went north to Canada.  Perhaps, since they were mostly farmers, the open available land of North West Texas appealed to them.  I do wonder though if they were prepared for the harshness of that barren Comanche Indian country.  They settled in Clay County, near where Wichita Falls is now, and began growing a family.

The Germans who settled in Clay County consisted of only a few families, but they had many children—probably because many hands are needed to manage farm lands and because they could acquire more land if they had workers/children to work it.
I found a picture of the remains of what was a typical German sod home in the Henrietta, Texas area that could have been much like where our young couple started their family.

Now, meet Linda Franklin, my neighbor and new friend as well as an acknowledged watercolorist.

I recently became aware of Linda when her painting "Freckles In Arabia" was accepted from over 250 applicants from all over the country to be among the 50 to show in the 58th Annual Membership Exhibition at the Southwestern Watercolor Society in Allen, Texas.

And guess who won first place?

This is no paint-by-number watercolor!  She explained the many intricate steps and time consuming process of this art work.  Evidently the judges appreciated what they saw.

Linda was an art major her first two years in college, before realizing that might not be the most financially supportive career path for a young woman.  She then majored in English and French and taught English, writing and literature in the Dallas area for 40 years.

As a single mom in 1992, a friend invited her to attend a 4-session watercolor class and that led to other more lengthy and detailed classes.  It was in one of these that she met and studied under the artist, Jane E. Jones.  This was the beginning of a 25 year association and continued study with this amazing lady.

It has been at her feet that Linda has become a recognized watercolorist in her own right.  She learned from Jane valuable lessons such as "It is always important to do it well," and to always "give yourself permission to have fun."

Victoria Nightscape

Five years ago, Jane E. Jones and Linda began a partnership of writing a text book for art students.  It was completed this year and is now waiting to be published.  This 172 page manuscript will provide invaluable information not only for the beginner art student but an old "slather'r of paint" like myself.

This is a painting of Linda's maternal great-grandmother entitled "Great Grandmother and Her Chicks."

The baby is Linda's mother.  I will let Linda fill in some of the story here:

   "I consider my (Anglo) maternal grandmother to be the source of whatever creativity I have.  I stayed with her frequently as a child and she taught me to knit, to cook a bit, to sew a bit, and to be disciplined about whatever I tried to accomplish.  Neither she nor my mother was artistic, but Momma was college-educated, quite eloquent, and she encouraged me to draw and paint.  The discipline necessary to get things done, whatever the task, comes from the examples and love of these two women." 

The Hare

Now, for a bit of trivia.  Did you know that among the earliest examples of watercoloring is one by the iconic German artist Albrecht Durer dating back to 1502, the Renaissance period?  He is recognized as the pioneer of watercolor painting and best known for his painting "The Hare."

Is it coincidental or could it be much more than that?  Were Linda and her sister destined by ancestry to paint with watercolors?  We will never know, but doesn't it make an interesting side story?

Speaking of stories, all of Linda's paintings have a story and many are from their travels and personal experiences.  The one above is especially meaningful to her because it portrays the interests of her 15 year old granddaughter.  It is appropriately named, "Mandala for Olivia."  One can only imagine the hours Linda spent making sure each detail of this amazing painting was done perfectly.

This Italian lady, spotted while on a trip in Italy, is remembered for her attitude.  This too sounds like an interesting back story.

While walking a street on a Sunday afternoon in an Italian village, Linda saw these four ladies sitting at a table, which she assumed was a normal thing for them to do following Sunday Mass.

This is such a study of expressions.  Linda explained that the one on the end above, was the talker and since I'm telling this part of the story, it is my guess that these other three friends had heard her stories a few too many times.

Berry Branch

Spying Eyes

This last one was taken at the Japanese Garden in Ft Worth, Tx.  How many spying eyes can you find?

Don't you love meeting new people and learning their story?

Thank you Linda Franklin for allowing us into your story.

If you would like to see more of Linda's works, follow her on Facebook: