Five Top Books I’m Reading Right Now

When I open my reading app (I have an Amazon Fire Phone, sort of like owning an Edsel in the 1960's), I see the first five or six books are texts I am reading simultaneously. I don't read serially because my moods change and drive my decisions, my cravings, even my goals. Here are my current reads: … Continue reading Five Top Books I’m Reading Right Now

Seed Packet Illustrations

Vintage illustrations include those drawn for children's books, works of art chosen carefully for the covers of magazines, and copies of flora and fauna hand-drawn from observation for encyclopedias and other reference books. Some of the loveliest vintage art, for me, can be found on calendars, seed packets, and other, more utilitarian papers. As an … Continue reading Seed Packet Illustrations

April, Cardinals, and Birthdays

The late spring this year reminds me of childhood Aprils in Iowa, apple trees clothed in white blooms, warm grass beneath my feet, and the promise of warm days to come. Here in the Ozarks, spring often comes much earlier, woods coming alive in a parade of colour: redbuds, magnolias, and dogwoods (although not early this … Continue reading April, Cardinals, and Birthdays

100 Years Ago: Cleaning House

When I was younger, I developed a slight obsession with housekeeping. Oh, not with actually cleaning my house, but with reading books and manuals about cleaning! This started when I was still in my teen years, and I discovered a book called The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton, which taught its readers to clean a room by … Continue reading 100 Years Ago: Cleaning House

Snowy Vintage Illustrations

Even though January can be dark and cloudy and the weather unpredictable, it can also be breathtakingly beautiful, even in a vintage illustration! Olive greens, browns, and deep reds remind us of robins, cardinals, holly, and evergreens, the bright spots of winter. Did you ever notice how you really see houses when they are highlighted by … Continue reading Snowy Vintage Illustrations

New Year’s, Bigfoot, and Lucy Maud Montgomery

I guess I've always had a thing for sleuthing. When I was nine, my best friend and I formed a Mystery Club. We were convinced that Bigfoot prowled around our neighborhood at night. With notebooks in hand, we inspected the fields and tree rows near our houses and wrote down anything that looked suspicious. Once, we … Continue reading New Year’s, Bigfoot, and Lucy Maud Montgomery

100 Years Ago this Month…December 1917

  A Christmas menu from 1917 promises: Cream of Celery Soup; Currant Jelly; Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing; Mashed Potatoes; Scalloped Onions; Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Mayonnaise; Plum Pudding; Cake; Mints; and Coffee. Christmas Pudding, whether in America, Canada, or Great Britain, completed the meal (with its raisins, real cream, and brandy). Still, war … Continue reading 100 Years Ago this Month…December 1917

“A Quiet Christmas”

Louisa May Alcott captures the feelings of Christmas like no other writer other than perhaps Dickens himself (and I think their styles are extremely compatible). Her gift for pathos, making her reader smile and laugh and cry, making us feel again as children feel, reminding us to think of others during the holidays, may have come from personal … Continue reading “A Quiet Christmas”

Christmas Illustrations in Literature

Illustrator Frances Brundage wishes us a Merry Christmas in 1910: If you could caption this postcard, what would you call it? Louisa May Alcott was no longer alive when Brundage began to illustrate re-printings of Alcott's beloved novels (the above drawing is not connected). I'm not sure the sweet-faced cherubs drawn by this idealistic, albeit … Continue reading Christmas Illustrations in Literature