That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

My Kitchen Needs a Video Crew on Thanksgiving

Penguin cookie decorated as a turkey for Thanksgiving
Penguin cookie with Thanksgiving turkey decorations

Rushing to finish my Thanksgiving cooking list, Pumpkin Pie, Frosted Apple Pie Slices, Sweet-potato Puff, and a bowl of Romaine Crunchy Salad, I skidded out of control.

I hit the first curve when Shep reported on Fox News, “Just in! ALL Romaine lettuce – RECALLED!”

Yikes! Hubby ran to Wal-Mart to return two packages of Romaine bought for Thanksgiving’s Romaine Crunchy Salad. I ran to our favorite neighborhood grocer for gourmet lettuce to replace Romaine.

Then, as I rushed to whip the sweet potatoes with my KitchenAid, I flipped the speed to high with my left hand and I pulled the lock lever to lock the mixing bowl with my right hand. Unfortunately, I had not seated the bowl into the locking groove at the bottom of the mixer stand.

My sweet potatoes went flying. The bowl flipped and wedged against its base at a 45-degree angle. The motor froze.

I panicked, of course. Fortunately hubby saw this as an opportunity to employ his engineering skills and ran to the garage for tools.

He entered the kitchen armed with a giant paint-stir stick in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other. Within minutes, my mixing bowl was freed, and my KitchenAid was safe to operate. Continue reading That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

Spooky Halloween – Doylestown, Wisconsin

Spooky grapes floating in egg whites and eyeballs
Float grapes in a bowl of egg whites. Close your eyes. Feel the slimy grapes squish through your fingers. Imagine how brave I felt in first grade as I listened to ghost stories, with visions of eyeballs dancing in my head!

My First Ever Spooky Halloween

Unaware to me as a child, I had a speech impediment.

I was clueless my speech was not stellar until my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Theresa Bow, enlisted Sally, a 6th-grader, to tutor me in pronunciation.

Those speech lessons turned spooky on Halloween morning, thanks to my playful tutor. She snagged my imagination and drew me into the 6th-grade plot —  scare the Jello out of  the 1st-graders.

Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll
Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll

Continue reading Spooky Halloween – Doylestown, Wisconsin

Easter and Springtime Collide

Easter arrives at springtime. For me, spring brings marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies, daffodils, dandelions, colored eggs, egg hunts, fishing, hiking, boating, canoeing, ball caps, flip-flops, summer clothes, summer colors, golf, tennis, camping, traveling, friends, flowers, sun glasses, plein aire watercolors, graduations, parties – and family.

Is it Easter yet?

Living in the Ozarks means I enjoy the best spring offers. Our lilac bush is blooming, and we bought a new lawn mower that’s still in the box. Too early to mow.

Illustration of a cardinal sitting atop an Easter egg surrounded by dandelions and a lucky worm
Cardinal’s Easter Egg

Spring comes with sounds. Canaries, titmice, woodpeckers, robins, and cardinals are daily sites at our bird feeders. The canaries made an early return from their winter’s journey, adding splashes of yellow to the backyard. Titmice and woodpeckers stick the winter out in the Ozarks. As well, some robins and cardinals winter here. All we have to do is step outdoors or open a window to hear spring.

We have a squirrel nesting in our back yard – and a possum!

Best of all, spring is when we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His gift of new life evermore.

Slow down for Easter

Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, just came and went.

I say to myself as I do each year at this time, “Let’s not rush through this epic event.”  Do some bird watching. Watch Mother Nature wake up from her winter  nap. Journal an Easter Bible Study.

This week read the Gospel records on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that changed history forever.

  • Matthew 26:1-28:20
  • Mark 11:1-16:19
  • Luke 22:1-24:53
  • John 13:1-21:25.

As it is written … the week of Easter

Continue reading Easter and Springtime Collide

Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Extra, Extra Sprinkles … Please!

sprinkles on ice-cream sundae illustration
Say it with Sprinkles!

Sprinkles on ice cream at a drive-through window inspired my fancy sundae art. I was seeking ice cream, i.e., DQ Fan Food, with granddaughter Tori, and discovered the secret of life — sprinkles.

While traveling in Kentucky, we pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen.

We sailed past the menu board (memorized), rolled down the car window, and chirped out our order.

illustration of bird with plumes and pumps
Chirp-chirp

Tori ordered her favorite Blizzard, topped with sprinkles.

A nano second later, she springs forward from the car seat as if she had an emergency. She needed to add something important to her order. In her most polite voice she adds …”and extra, EXTRA, sprinkles, please!”

Add Sprinkles to Everything!

ice cream sundae art with extra, extra sprinkles
Extra, extra sprinkles, please!

What’s a few more sprinkles? I loved the delight in Tori’s eyes when she saw her Blizzard lavishly covered with sprinkles.

When I think of good getting better, I visualize extra, extra sprinkles and the enjoyment the little things in life bring.

Don’t skimp on the good stuff.

It is that practice in life to top what you are doing with something better and to want to change the ordinary into the extra ordinary that maximizes those little joys of  life. Continue reading Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

An Easter Dinner Invitation for Twelve

Invitation to The Last Supper … for the first Easter

Scripture reference, the Gospel of Luke, verses 22: 7-20

Dinner Invitation for Twelve

First, invitations for twelve to an upper room
A guest of honor, ceremony, singing,
Communion, a remembrance of His promise to come again,
I will not eat of this bread or drink of this cup until … you and I become one
His farewell shook the earth, blackened the sky.
Friends mourned His leaving not knowing
The Father above was planning the first Easter surprise.
The Lord’s day –a resurrection – a coming again.

The guest of honor has gone to prepare a dwelling place
with streets of gold in heavenly places.
We’re invited, too, but He led the way.
Because He lives, we too shall live evermore.
If these things were not so, surely He would have told us.
Peace be unto you

Continue reading An Easter Dinner Invitation for Twelve

Happy Valentine’s Day

I Made a Pretty Valentine

Victorian Bonnet Girl Valentine
Victorian Bonnet Girl
  • Dear little friend,
  • I send you here
  • With heart sincere,
  • A loving line;
  • And it will be
  • A joy to me,
  • To get from you
  • A Valentine
  • Be My Valentine!

A Victorian Valentine’s Day card  inspired my Bonnet Girl art. Thanks to the iPad, I no longer feel like a couch potato because I can draw and paint with my apps, anywhere. I completed this illustration on the sofa with the inkPad app, watching the Iowa caucus.

The card’s sentimental verse celebrates the beloved tradition of giving and receiving a valentine.

If you need a resource for old postcards, there is a page on my companion website, Estate Trinkets & Treasures, with thumbnails of postcards. Click on the thumbnail, and it opens to a larger image and details about the card.

Love Poetry for Mom

At the end of Christmas break, my grandson Eric dropped by on his trip back to the U of A. The sight of him reminded me of a poem he wrote for his sweet “momma” when he was  in grade school.

The boy Eric would fit the poet’s description, “What are little boys made of … frogs, and snails, and puppy dog tails.”

Inspired by the classic verse,  “Roses are Red … Violets are Blue …,” Eric went rogue during his frogs and snails stage and inscribed his card:

Roses are red, violets are blue. If you were a flower, I would pick you! -Love, Eric

Continue reading Happy Valentine’s Day

New Year 2016 Wish

Grandpa’s wish for the merriest, happiest year

Darrell signed a Christmas card for our granddaughter Zlata with a wish for a “Merriest Happiest Year” to celebrate her first Christmas and the beginning of a New Year. She is about to crawl, so things will get merry, fast.

We haven’t hand-inscribed Christmas cards for friends and family for years. However, this year we bought some Charlie Brown stamps, sat down with our list, and started writing.

I was charmed when Darrell signed our granddaughter’s note wishing her a “merriest, happiest year,” and thought it a perfect sentiment for all as we begin a New Year.

Darrell gets a little wild when he signs cards. To share the full effect of his signature with you, I scanned it.  Then traced his ink letters in Illustrator, and added a frame with some embossing in Photoshop.

Chipping sparrow decked out for the New Year
“Chip” sparrow on a snowy day in festive attire

A new year of bird watching

Continue reading New Year 2016 Wish

Rufus the Red Nose Mule

Rudolph’s Distant Cousin

Rufus and his Family Tree

“Rufus” insists on wearing his favorite Christmas ornaments for you. As far as lineage is concerned, Rufus, the mule, is a distant cousin to “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.”

Rufus is not your traditional mule. He’s from the Ozarks. He’s a powerhouse and a trend setter who prefers argyle sweaters to bib overalls and a life of eating sorghum to pulling the treading pole of the sorghum press.

Birth of Rufus

Santa Claus original by Peter Engler of Santa with bird, bunny, and tree
St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, original by Peter Engler

Rufus was born in an art studio. Darrell’s [Wiskur] imagination was in Christmas mode as he sketched and carved patterns and characters with Peter Engler,  a famous wood-carver and friend.

Peter designed Santa carvings after the style of St. Nicholas or Father Christmas. His Santa’s were coveted by tourists to his woodcarving shop in Branson, Mo. He was always carving, but no Santa of his ever sat on the shelf with a For Sale tag. Rather, they were sold by special requests from a long waiting list of tourists who became friends and collectors of his delightful characters.

The mule is noble in Missouri, so Darrell whittled twigs for antlers and added a bulbous nose and a Santa hat. It wasn’t long before Rufus the mule  emerged as Rufus the red nose reindeer!

Rufus carving
Rufus in his furry Santa hat to wish all a Merry Christmas!

Home in the Ozarks

Twinkling lights (over four million at Silver Dollar City, Mo., alone) outnumber neon lights in the Ozarks during the holidays.  Here, deer wander into our yards and nibble on shrubs and rose bushes; buffalo graze on ridges at our premier golf course (Buffalo Ridge, Branson, Mo.); and mules hold a place of distinction on  farms and at theme parks, pulling plows and grinding sorghum. It’s a perfect home for Rufus.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I saw Rufus peeking out the barn window, hoping to catch a glimpse of cousin Rudolph at the head of Santa’s sleigh.

Merry Christmas and the happiest of newest New Year’s!

 

Merry Moosmas & the Flying Moose

A Wish for a Merry Moosmas!

Red criss cross ornamentMy flying moose began as a sketch by Darrell over a year ago. I think he was still laughing when he got out his paper and pencil.
While watching a promo for Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them, he heard the moderator refer to photographer Moose Peterson as the “Flying Moose,” a nickname the  pilots gave him for his many flights to photograph the noble planes.
So, visions of a flying moose leaped into Darrell’s head and onto paper. Darrell added runaway sleigh bells to the sketch for me because I was in a Christmas state of mind.

I copied the sketch to my iPad and used it as my layout in Inkpad to wish you a Merry Moosmas!

A flying moose is better than a goose! -D. Wiskur

A Fireplace, a Hallmark Movie, and an iPad

Snowman ornamentI binged on Hallmark Christmas movies while on vacation. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and I was feeling rather festive.
I don’t know how the Hallmark Channel has eluded me all these years, but it was perfect for my holiday, particularly since it rained the first three days of vacation.

Watching Christmas movies in front of a fireplace, overlooking the lake, at Big Cedar’s five star woodland resort, with my husband, is hard to beat.

gingerbread tree cookie
Gingerbread tree

When you check into your room at Big Cedar, you are welcomed with freshly-baked cookies, waiting on your night stand. Each evening during your stay, cookies magically appear to your room, thanks to the Cookie Lady. So, I ate cookies and drew cookies.

Angel cookie covered in frosting with stars on her wings
Frosted Angel Cookie

I worked the hardest on the angel cookie because I wanted it to look like it had piles of fluffy icing on top.

Of course, I made snowmen and stars and bells and a row of penguin cookies, each a little different from the other.

Continue reading Merry Moosmas & the Flying Moose

Christmas in the Spirit of St. Nicholas

St. NicholasEACH YEAR WE DRAW NAMES FOR A GIFT EXCHANGE with the family tree. It’s been a tradition for years to draw names after Thanksgiving dinner and as soon as our tummies are filled with dessert and Wendy’s coffee frappe. The adults draw names and the cousins draw names.

But NOT this year. We decided that since Christmas is not about the gifts, we would not draw names to exchange gifts at Christmas dinner. After all, “Santa” already makes a myriad of visits to our homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, filling stockings and stashing gifts under the tree. There is no lack of gifts, thanks to parents, grandparents, friends, and aunts and uncles. So, to rustle up more gifts for an extended family exchange seemed superfluous.

Moose ornamentWhat followed was the biggest Christmas surprise ever. When we arrived for Christmas dinner at Greg and Wendy’s, we found a tree circled with gifts. Of course, we didn’t think anything about the gifts because we had decided not to exchange gifts this year. Still, it was puzzling to walk into a room and see a myriad of beautifully-wrapped, unopened gifts under the tree and in the middle of Christmas Day!

We later learned that St. Nicholas had been there and left a gift for each of us, a jaw dropping moment.

Continue reading Christmas in the Spirit of St. Nicholas

Christmas Ornaments and eBay

Bell Christmas ornaments, made in Japan
Porcelain bell ornaments, made in Japan

Are you busy digging out Christmas ornaments like me?

I’ve decided mine have grown either more precious or more ridiculous with age. Sometimes I have to laugh over the things we’ve hung on our tree.

For years we hung a parking ticket on our tree. We got the ticket on Christmas Eve, one starry night in the 70s. We were busy with Christmas when Darrell looked out the living room to see a  parking ticket on the windshield of our car, which we had parked on the street and not in our driveway.

When Darrell spotted the ticket gleaming brightly in the street light —on Christmas Eve — he marched out the door and down the sidewalk, huffing and puffing all the way to the car. Minutes later, he came back in the door dancing a jig.

Our friend, Lieutenant Ed Sweeney on the Aurora [Illinois] Police Dept., had left us a ticket, and the ticket read, “Fine $40,000 – Merry Christmas! Ed!” We hung the ticket on the tree that night and laughed about it for years.
Funny parking ticket left on car window

Continue reading Christmas Ornaments and eBay

Best Ever Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving turkey art
Happy Thanksgiving! Give thanks!

Do you time travel back in your mind and pick out your favorite,  best-ever times? I do that with everything. I have a Best Ever Hall of Fame —  best ever birthday, best ever Christmas,  best ever vacation, etc., which brings me to my best ever Thanksgiving!

I’ve thought about my best ever Thanksgiving and what made it so memorable and am going to pass along the how-to have the best ever family celebration.

    • Invite family into your home like honored guests. I love that my family practices hospitality.
    • Add a surprise element to your celebration. Maybe a new centerpiece, a great menu item, name cards, a game or activity, special invited guests — something unexpected.
    • And if you are a Thanksgiving dinner guest, don’t come with empty hands or an empty spirit. Add to the festivities or to the menu — pitch in and enjoy.

My best ever Thanksgiving came as a surprise years back when we celebrated at my daughter Wendy’s for dinner with our family tree and her husband’s parents, which makes a group of 18-25 children and adults. Continue reading Best Ever Thanksgiving!