About Blog Title...

As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Our beloved April....






The new little Shanty Garden is coming right along. I laid old bricks and creek rocks for pathways, and the Cowboy put some rusty old hog panels to provide some protection for the area.  We are watching each day for signs of life from the new little bulbs we planted a couple of weeks ago.  They are from Dutch Mill Bulbs Spring 2019 School Fundraiser.  They are guaranteed!  "...just add water!  Cover with soil, water, and enjoy a beautiful garden this Summer - guaranteed!"  How fun is that!







The little hummingbirds seem to like their new feeding station.  I am excited that, when the strong winds blow as they do here, there won't be a sticky, sweet mess across the porch.  And, the Cowboy is just happy to have his porch back.  





Some days the trail we walk seems quite crowded.  The cattle, intent now on their summer grazing, hardly give us a second look for they are so accustomed to seeing us walk amongst them.










These two feral hogs were photographed by me some time ago.


One day there were seven cousins of these wild critters on the trail.  Millie was excited to see them and tried to herd them up as a stock dog likes to do.  The cousins didn't seem to care for her little game and gave her a good little chase before they headed for the hills.  We haven't seen them since.




I take pictures almost every day of the pond.  It is always changed from the day before , especially at this time of year.  I just realized today that I don't even know what kind of tree grows on the little peninsula.  I will find out.




I continue to enjoy, but struggle to keep up, in Karen's Ledger class.  She stresses that it is a color study.  The first thing we did was choose an inspiration piece with colors we wanted to use in our work for the class.  I chose an old greeting card that my friend, Sarah, had sent to me.  It had originally been sent "To Nora, with Love, from Gwladys."

Karen asked me if I knew Nora and Gwladys, which, of course, I did not.  However, after that, I couldn't but help wonder about them, and began to think about making  Nora and Gwladys dolls.








I recently read, "Couture in Miniature" in an old 1991 Victoria magazine.  "How did resilient French dressmakers respond to the postwar fabric shortage that prevented them from producing full-size samples of their flamboyant, wasp-waisted materpieces?  Couturiers simply reduced the size of the challenge confronting them, opting to show off their fashions on exquisite doll-size mannequins.  One-hundred fifty of these elegant 30-inch-tall models starred in 'Theatre de la Mode,' a re-creation of the original show, which viewed through April 14, 1991 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City."

Dressed by such couturiers as Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Lanvin, and Worth, the dolls were intended to show the world that the devastation of the war years had failed to stifle the celebrated creativity of French fashion designers.  To mount the postwar exhibit, France's most talented milliners, hairdressers, shoemakers, glove makers, embroiderers, and furriers joined together dressing the dolls from head to toe in diminutive versions of their latest fashions.  Each tiny article of clothing was made with the same precision as those in a regular collection: zippers zipped, pockets held mouchoirs, and handstitched buttonholes opened and closed.  The small models even wore genuine scaled-down jewelry designed by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Wow!  What a show!



Nora and Gwladys will be mannequin-styled dolls, but will be only about sixteen inches tall. I have already begun working on them, but summers are such a busy time here on the farm that I know I must be realistic in my goals.  I just hope to have these beautiful ladies finished by the time class ends next January.  


In the meantime, I have been working on weaving in Karen's class.  Most of the others have gone on to the next page, or the one after that, but I stayed with the weaving a little longer for I so enjoyed it.  I wonder what I should do with the long tails in the picture below...  I can't bring myself to cut them.  
 




I will paint this little girl soon.  She wants to be a real girl with a real dress and real shoes.  She has been here so long that we have grown close.  She knows me well.  I love her...




 I hope you all are having a great April.  Take care and Happy Trails....

                                                                                        




Monday, March 18, 2019

"Spring was moving in the air..."






 "The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring cleaning his little home.  First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms.  Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.  It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said "Brother!" and "O blow!" and also "Hang spring cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat...."   ~Kenneth Grahame







Spring Cleaning, the pantry...

Now, Mole pretty much describes the way I have been feeling lately. "...with its spirit of divine discontent and longing..."  I, too, want to be outside doing outside stuff.  Like digging and planting and pruning and chopping and, well... you know!





Suffolk Puffs and French Knots (Karen Ruane's "Ledgers...")



And, more French knots...

Class is going well.  I am almost caught up.  I look forward to learning much more from Karen Ruane.  It is a year long class, so there's still a long ways to go.  I took a small watercolor notebook apart and washed over each page with a very thin burnt umber wash.  I am just not a white on white kind of gal.  I did have a moment of panic when I thought I might not be able to get it back together again.  You know, kind of like, "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall....and all the king's men and all the king's women..." Ha, Ha, that's not the way it goes!  :~)

The Christmas dolls came calling yesterday.  There were new Easter frocks for both.  We had a fun time dressing the dolls up.  I have been giving the girls sewing lessons so that, hopefully, before long they can design and sew their own dolls' dresses.



A new spring frock for Kate...



And, one for Mae...




A few added details...



Sarah was a great help in fitting sessions.  She really wanted to keep this dress.  Bless her heart!  

 And, finally, here we are taking one last long look at the magnificent oaks before they become clothed in thousands and thousands of new bright green leaves.   I think these trees are especially beautiful in winter, as though they are spreading their arms wide for the whole world to see.






Thank you, Lord, for another day!  
And, another spring!





Wednesday, February 20, 2019

February









According to the calendar on which I make notations for each day of the year, today was eleven hours and six minutes long.  The sun rose this morning at 6:54 and set promptly at six o'clock not long after Millie and I made it back home.  If my addition is correct, we will gain fifteen minutes of daylight this week.  

I keep a running tab on the number of days I have made my daily pilgrimage over the hillside trail.  Today marked 491 walks without missing a single day.   Millie's record is at 490 days for you may remember the sad day when she was sick and wasn't able to walk.  Bless her heart!  

Our 490th walk today was such a delightful one.  Maybe it was because of yesterday, one of the dreariest days of the year, that today seemed so nice.  Even though there was still a chill in the air, the world seemed bigger and brighter than it had in a long time.  Small streams were rushing happily along because of yesterday's rain.  The meadows were painted in hues of pale green, looking as though some watercolorist had been at work.  I threw back the hood on my coat and breathed deeply, feeling for all the world that spring might be right around the corner.  Millie ran on ahead, exploring the countryside as though spring had already come.  


**************************


The cold, windy, and wet days of February have given me time to work in my sewing room.  I have been cutting, sewing and stuffing six dolls.  Six dolls that I am planning to be my last.  But, we shall see about that.

I have enrolled in another stitchery class, and have been trying all month to get caught up with the other students.  I always seem to be the last one in the class.  And, to think that I am a retired school teacher.  Shame on me!  Well, that's okay, for I always loved and adored those little stragglers.  I miss them still...

And, I did finish all sixty pages of my little handmade journal.  If I had known I would put so much effort into it, I would have used better paper.  My theme had to do with needle, thread and cloth, so that gave me the opportunity to include a few old prints of little girls with their dolls.  The pages below are a few of my favorites.

And, speaking of girls and dolls, the granddaughters invited me over a couple of days ago for tea with the Christmas dolls.  They were all dressed up and seated in little chairs at a small doll-sized table on the island in the kitchen where the tea setting was arranged.  My heart did a flip flop to see how sweet they all were - the pretty little dolls and the pretty growing-up-too-fast granddaughters.  What fun!




















Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Journal...















A little grubby, imperfect journal, but I love it.  It is my first.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Millie gets a snow day...












Her first and biggest concern seemed to be who, or what, had hidden her favorite bone.
  Today's snow was only the third in her life time,
 none of which have amounted to much, so 
she still seemed a bit mystified by it all.
She didn't seem to care much for the white stuff when it was coming down,
but once it was over, she was eager to go,
sniffing out each and every new scent along the trail.

Of course, I was eager to get to the pond for a picture or two.
Snow is not something we see a lot of here, 
so it really is quite special.

I was amazed how every picture I got seemed to be in black and white.  But then
that's the way it was, I suppose.  Snow is like that - white.  The pond surely did
look beautiful all dressed up in all of that white.

By the time Millie and I walked over the trail, the snow had stopped
and a brisk wind had begun to blow.  It will be a cold night.











Snow was falling,
So much like stars
Filling the Dark Trees
That one could
easily imagine
Its reason for being was
Nothing more
Than Prettiness

~Mary Oliver





Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Joys of a Christmas Doll...









Kate








Mae





 Well, we made it!   I think the dolls actually fared  better than me for I do feel a bit weary from too many late nights of staying up to get them finished by Christmas.  I am having a lot of empathy tonight for Mrs. Claus who does this year after year.  She surely must deal with deadlines better than I do!

I hope the girls love these sweet little dolls as much as I do.  They are, without a doubt, the best I have made.  I think they are attached to me as much as I am to them, but I am quite sure, once they meet those sweet and happy girls, they are going to be delighted with their new home.  And, of course, I can always go to visit them, and even take them a new dress every now and then.

Merry Christmas, Kate and Mae!  And, Merry Christmas to all of my friends who stop here to visit from time to time.  I hope you all have a good one!




Saturday, December 8, 2018

Before We Go On...







When Millie and I walked over the hillside trail this morning, it was cold and blustery.  I had put on my warmest puffy coat, the one that reminds me of the kid in The Christmas Story who couldn't put his arms down.  And, it had seemed a good idea to carry my umbrella too,  but it may not have been for the cattle didn't recognize me at all and behaved quite badly.  Here a few of them watched from wood's edge as some seemingly foreboding stranger passed by.  The others had already stampeded farther up the hill.  Silly cows!






 Today, I am painting the Christmas dolls.  This is slow work for me.  Slow and tedious.   Somewhere along the way, I decided that the arms and legs I had already sewn were out of proportion and should be larger.  So I made new ones.  We surely didn't want anything that might remind one of Tyrannosaurs Rex, you know.  But, all of that takes time.  I noted that one little thumb, alone, took me almost three quarters of an hour to meticulously sew onto one little hand.  And, here I was racing against the clock!

 



 Now, I know it is the winter season, when I should be posting pictures of Christmas preparations, but here I am out in the Shanty Garden where things have still been going on.  For ever so long, in fact ever since I have been feeding the hummingbirds, I have longed for somewhere to hang the feeders other than on the porch.  In order to reach each feeder, it must hang from a long chain, so that when the wind blows (and it does a lot here on our hill) the feeders move back and forth like a pendulum, spilling sweet homemade nectar all across the porch.  What a mess!

So, here it is...  a covered hummingbird feeding station, large enough to accommodate several feeders.  Happy birthday (six-weeks late) to me from the Cowboy.

Now, for those Christmas dolls..….


Thursday, November 29, 2018

There was really nothing exceptional about the day... Or was there?




  The reflections were oh-so-wonderful on the pond.


 And,  the sun set so beautifully in the warmth of a late November evening.



  Millie even waded into the pond just because...



  It was a pleasant day for outdoor work.



 And, my 502nd consecutive walk over the trail couldn't have been better.


And, last, but by no means least, I finally finished sculpting the Christmas dolls!  It's surely turning out to be a race against time.