Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Lunchtime Adventure

Pretty pots of flowers greeted us as we walked up the brick walk. About 40 to 50 of us waited in the warm sunshine for the doors to be opened. We formed a loose line from the street to the porch. As I chatted with the couple behind me, I learned that they do this every month. Most of us were of the older generation, but there was a group of home school children on a field trip. 

You see, I recently discovered a program, Sandwiching In History at Lunch,  presented by the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Each month historic homes and buildings are opened for a tour and a short lecture about their historical significance. This month's tour was of the Rozelle-Murphy House, a Queen Anne-style house built about 1887.

Extensive remodeling was done in 1930. Mr. Murphy who bought the house from the Rozelle family, married when he was 60 years old. He was so excited to finally have a family that he remodeled the house making it large enough for many of his wife's family to reside with them. He added a grand staircase and had the huge attic converted into bedrooms. When the remodeling was done, the house had ten bedrooms and five bathrooms. At one time five generations were living here together. I can't imagine that! They must have been a very close family!  We were all surprised when an older lady standing in the audience was introduced to us. She was part of this large family and was actually born in the house. She provided "inside" information about the house. I thought that was pretty cool!

I was impressed with the large kitchen area in the back of the house. I loved the built-in cupboard and the antiques that were still in it. I'm sure it was quite a busy place since the family was so large. One of the ladies actually opened a small restaurant in one section of the house. She later became a chef at the Capitol Hotel, one of Little Rock's historic hotels.

On one hand, I was a little disappointed to find that the house is now occupied by a law firm, but on the other hand I was certainly glad the firm bought the house and is keeping it in great condition. Instead of rooms furnished as a home there were large desks, hundreds of law books, and many computers. There are still touches of the old house like this corner of the glassed in porch with an old rocker, original French doors, and beautiful glass doorknobs. That immediately changes though, when you look to the left.

The porch is used as a conference room. The room looked whimsical to me with it's eclectic decor.

I was intrigued by the different shaped windows.  Most of the glass in the house is original and wavy. Remember, I mentioned that we stood in the sun waiting to get in? I looked out an upstairs window and was surprised to see that it was storming, really storming as in strong winds and pouring rain!

I had decided to take my outside pictures of the house after the tour. Of course, that didn't happen since it was still raining. I wanted to get a better picture of the gas lamps on the porch, but this was as close as I could get and keep my camera dry. The vintage gas street lamps were added when the porch was remodeled in 1930.

I had no umbrella and had parked a half-block away. I had no choice but to tuck my camera under my shirt and walk through the rising water down the street. By the time I got to the car I was drenched from head to toe, but my camera was dry. I did grab a quick picture of the hitching post as I hurried by and was glad I wasn't on horseback or in a buggy on this rainy day. 

It was such a fun experience I couldn't stop grinning as I drove home soakin' wet! I am definitely going to October's history tour. It's another home, this one built in 1925. Before I go though, I will check the weather!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 30

When you see me in the fields,
My orange glowing in the sun,
It's time to say goodbye to summer
and hello to autumn fun!!
~author unknown

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Finds

Finding things of beauty in the ordinary. That's been my challenge this week. You see, I found another photography class this week; Slice Of Life, given by Darrah Parker. First, we threw all the rules out the window! This class is not about composition, the perfect light, correct exposure, or razor sharp focus. This class is about looking at what we have, what we've collected, and what has special meaning to us. It's about photographing the ordinary little things or moments in our daily life. Lately I've found myself being rather tired of perfect images. Yes, they have their place. Yes they are beautiful, but it has taken some of the joy out of my photography. It seems photography has become more work than fun. It's so refreshing to walk away from that and just have fun with my camera!

This week I've walked through my home several times each day just looking and I've taken pictures of what I've found; things that matter to me.

Day 1
In the bathroom I have a collection of sea shells. They matter to me because they remind me of happy times at the beach with family. I've only been to the beach four times; most recently this summer with our two children, their spouses, and our five grandsons. It was the most wonderful week! My shells also remind me of the quiet morning walks I took along the beach; just me and a bright blue bucket.

Day 2
This is what you see when you walk in my front door. A folding table with everything I need to finish a Project Life album I'm working on. I've put it front and center because I'm determined to finish this album. Each day for a year after my 60th birthday I took a picture of my feet wherever I was and I also took a picture capturing light. Now, I'm working on the album and have so far completed six months. 

Day 3
When I sit down it's either on the couch or in the chair next to it. I consider this "my corner." Between the couch and chair is "my basket." A rather large one 8"w X 28"l. Big enough to hold all the good stuff I need near me. It may not the prettiest way to store anything, but I want these things within easy reach. The basket contains magazines (Artful Blogging and Bella Grace, my favorites), clipboards with bits and pieces I don't want to lose, notebooks filled with thoughts I've scribbled down, brain game books to keep the old brain active, small legal pads where I jot down quotes, password notebook, and a pouch with my pencils, pens, bookmarks, clips, and other small items. Beside the basket are two three-ring binders; one that has photography class work and the other has writing class work. You can look in this basket and know what I enjoy; photography, blogging, and writing.

Day 4
This clock matters to me because when I look at the time, wind the clock, or hear it's chimes I feel loved! Several years ago my husband brought home this Howard Miller clock from a pawn shop auction. Jerry told me that when he saw the clock up for auction, he thought of me. How sweet is that! He's not a spontaneous gift giver, so that makes the clock all the more special and so does the fact that he had never bid at an auction before.

Day 5
I really think nostalgic should be part of my name since it's definitely part of who I am. I don't pine away for the old days, but I do enjoy keeping old things around me and remembering. This corner of my sewing/scrapbooking/craft room makes me feel nostalgic. The quilt I made has fabric scraps from four generations; my grandmother, my mother, my daughter, and me. Some of the fabrics are over 70 years old. We made most of our dresses and our girl's dresses. The four outside blocks on the quilt show the four generations. I love to look at this quilt and remember the dresses, aprons, and blouses that we made and wore. I also keep a lot of memories hanging on my bulletin board that I made using an old dresser mirror. It holds special cards, photos, vintage sewing supplies, and other small keepsakes. The dresses hanging from the lamp and on the board were made by my mother for my Barbie doll.

This week has had me thinking deeply about my home. Here's what I've discovered:

  • There's a lot of things lying around that I have no connection with anymore and just need to get rid of.
  • I enjoy my home. It's comfortable, sometimes messy, but it's my refuge from the business of the world.
  • I need to slow down, open my eyes, and find the beauty in the ordinary things of home.

You'll probably be seeing some more of my class pictures next week.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The prompt was "organic."  I was at a total loss. Sure, I know there's organic milk, veggies, and fruit, but those didn't appeal to me for a photograph.

I think of organic as earthy things; living things; nature. I walked around the yard for a while looking for mushrooms. They're certainly organic, but no luck! It's been too dry.

I found a leaf and liked the way it curled, so I picked it up to try a macro shot of a leaf curl. I was holding the leaf in my cupped hand and began filling it with a few acorns. My brain kicked in. Ding! Ding!  Hello there! You have the makings of a nature still life right in the palm of your hand. 

Since the wind was blowing I brought them inside and just happened to lay them down beside this small square frame. I also grabbed an old cutting board, a silk ribbon, and some burlap. Presto! There you have it; a still life. I'm always making things harder than they are!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 29

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."

~ Edwin Way Teale
Autumn Across America

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finds

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I guess the image above makes it pretty obvious what I found!!  Jacks...metal jacks...not exactly what I had as a child, they were a little thinner than these, but these will do. I can now play jacks again. Thanks to Wanda for suggesting that I look on Amazon for them. I should have known, you can just about buy anything from Amazon. Just so you know, in case you're dying to buy a set, the pouch in the background didn't come with the jacks, it was my grandfather's and has some fool's gold from Colorado in it.

Jacks is an ancient game, but kids all over the world still play it in one form or the other. I've read that you can play a different version of jacks with rocks. I think I'd better stick to throwing up a ball, not tossing up rocks! We played jacks every day, either at school or home. We played...
  • Black Widow (ones to tens without missing)
  • Cherries in a Basket (place jacks in cupped hand)
  • Pigs in a Pen (slide jacks into other hand that is slightly cupped on the ground)
  • Over the Fence (place jacks on the other side of straight hand)
  • Around the World (make a circle in the air around the ball before it bounces)

Do you remember Kissies?  I'd almost forgotten about Kissies, when the jacks are thrown out and two (or more) jacks are touching or stacked. You can choose to either pick them up as part of a play or drop them again to spread them out. We always kissed the two that were touching before dropping them again.

Now I have something else to waste my time on, but I tell myself I'm keeping my hands and fingers limber!  I don't think I'm too bad either. I made it all the way to the sevens the first game and my hands don't move near as fast as they used too. I also don't sit on the floor very well any more.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Looking For Arkansas Courthouses

As many of you know I'm trying to take a picture of all the county courthouses in Arkansas. Recently we had a free day and Mr. H suggested that we make a courthouse run. I'm always ready for a little traveling. Our destinations were Prescott, Hope, and Nashville. The courthouses weren't as impressive as some I've photographed. I like the ones that are ornate with the tall clock towers, but they can't all be built like that!

I know it's going to be a good day when the first wrong turn we made in Prescott lead us to a beautiful mural, painted by Jorge and Maria Villegas, that told the history of the town. The train front and center is pretty much the way it is.  The tracks run right beside the main street and we constantly heard trains.

Downtown was in pretty bad shape, but there's still an old fashioned barbershop.

The detail work in these old buildings fascinate me. It's beautiful the way the bricks were placed to create unique designs like the herringbone below. It's also nice when the names and dates are worked into the design; makes research so much easier. This building was built about 1908 and housed the Bemis Department store.

The Hamby Building was built in 1905 to house the law office of Col. C. C. Hamby. 

The largest building in downtown was built about 1905. The Prescott Hardware Company building is enormous, a full city block deep. 

Of all the buildings it was in the worst shape and has been condemned by the city for demolition.

Which is such a shame.  On the sides and back of the building are fourteen ghost signs. This back section was used to store the large items for sale like buggies, harnesses, wagons, vehicles, and agricultural implements.

Here's the statistics of the day:
seven hours to drive
250+ miles through
seven counties to
find three courthouses

20 ghost signs

Such a fun day!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Portrait

A Portrait Of My Grandfather

I called him Papaw Culps.
He called me Cafe (Kafee).

My grandfather lived to be 94. He never changed, just aged. He was a small, thin man who was hardworking, full of energy, full of fun, and full of love for his family.

I gathered some of his things together to show you who he was.
  • an old wooden cigar box - He didn't smoke cigars, but he kept little bits of his life in them.
  • Gideon Bible - He was a strong Christian.
  • oil can and wrench - He was always tinkering on something or building something.
  • glass bottle - He had a bottle tree in his front yard that was even featured in the newspaper one time.
  • backhoe belt buckle - He worked in construction, usually operating a large crane. He was part of the crew that built several bridges in Arkansas.
  • coin purse and lucky coin - He always had the coin purse in his pocket.
  • cuff links - He probably only wore them on Sundays. Papa was always in work pants and a long sleeve shirt even in the hot humid summer.
  • purple rock - He was a collector. He had large crystal rocks around his flower beds.
  • collapsible metal drinking cup - It was dented and well used. My guess is he kept it on the dash of his truck for use on the job site.
My favorite memories with Papa were when he loaded us all up in a large wagon behind the old tractor and took us for a ride around my Uncle's land. Sometimes we picking blackberries from the wagon, sometimes we headed down to the pond to fish, and later we shared the ride with our children.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 28

This weekend marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." On the morning of September 13, 1814 the British began their attack on Baltimore by bombarding Fort McHenry. The fort successfully resisted the British attack. The following morning Francis Scott Key saw the U. S. flag still flying over the fort and wrote his thoughts on paper setting his words to the tune of a popular English song. His brother-in-law, commander of a militia at Fort McHenry, read Key's words and had it printed with the name "Defence of Fort M'Henry." The Baltimore Patriot newspaper printed it and within weeks it would become known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."  In 1931 it was adopted by Congress as the official U.S. National Anthem. I know the first verse is familiar to all Americans,  but I encourage you to slowly read all four verses. The last one is very powerful! You can read more at Smithsonian.com.

The Star-Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Finds

This week I find myself empty of photography inspiration. Nothing that's really a big deal. It just seemed that after a very busy posting month, the finish of a 365 project, and completing two classes in August, I was ready to rest. I am keeping up my habit of taking pictures everyday, but there wasn't much worth sharing.

I have started another daily habit...writing. The only writing I do is right here on this blog, but for a while now I've wanted to journal. I've also wanted to record my family stories. One of the classes I took last month was Write Now with Amanda at A.L.M. Writes. The class was exactly what I needed to get me motivated. I now have two journals. One is for family stories. The second one is a personal journal I'm trying to write in every day. I'm taking another class with Amanda this month, Wholly Ordinary that focuses more on journaling and should keep the motivation going until writing daily is a firm habit.

So there you have it. My find this week is less photography...more words. This is very different than my usual Friday Finds. Must be the writing thing!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Milk & Brownies

For some reason I don't make brownies very well.
They're either too dry
or not done!
I've tried different pans and watched them closely,
but they hardly ever turn out well.

That doesn't mean that I'll stop making them!
They still taste good; dry or chewy.
I tried this new flavor by Duncan Hines
Red Velvet with a Cream Cheese drizzle.
To be honest,
we thought they tasted like regular brownies,
but they do look a little red!

The prompt this week for Be Still 52 was milk and cookies.
I'd rather have milk and brownies.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 27

New beauty meets us at every step in all our wanderings.
~ John Muir

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Finds

Way back in the old days, this was the type of school box I had. The smell of cigars mingled with smell of erasers and crayons. It's not the most pleasant smell, but I've smelled far worse! 

I remember how much I loved looking through my school box with the shiny new scissors, the green and yellow box of perfect crayons,  and the unsharpened #2 yellow pencils. But, by the end of the year my box looked much like the one above; messy crayons their box long torn up, tarnished scissors, and well used erasers. Of course I always had a few toys tucked in, maybe marbles, but most likely jacks. I loved to play jacks. I'm keeping my eye for a set of metal jacks, I want to play again.

The prompt this week for one of the groups that I share photos with is "school daze." As I thought about school supplies and school boxes, I remembered the old cigar boxes that I carried to school. No one in our family smoked cigars, but somehow my Papa Culps always managed to find us some. I had to look quite a while before I FOUND this one hidden in the back of a drawer. I may just have to keep it out now.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Down At The Station

Down by the station
Early in the morning
See the little pufferfellies
All in a row

With one son and five grandsons that are train enthusiasts we've sung "Down by the Station" many, many times. We've been to train stations and train museums.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times we've sat beside railroad tracks and watched trains. We actually cheer when we get stopped at a railroad crossing. It doesn't matter to us how long the train is! You know how every family has it's own private lingo. We call railroad crossing gates...dingers.  Someone asked me why recently and I explained that our son loved trains even as a toddler and "dingers" is easier to say than "crossing gates!" And, they go...ding, ding, ding!

Anyway, back to the station. I stood there and imagined what it would have been like years ago when traveling by train across America. I could just see the hustle and bustle on the platform. I could hear the chattering of excited travelers; the bangs and bumping as the train was loaded with luggage, crates and barrels; and the hissing of steam from the old engine.

This depot in Hope, Arkansas was built in 1912 by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad. Most of the old stations along this route are built in the Mediterranean Revival style with gabled red tile roofs. The depot remained in use until 1968 and then sat unused for many years before it was turned over to the town.  Hope is the hometown of former President Clinton and to celebrate his presidential election in 1992 the citizens of Hope restored it. One end is a museum and the other is once again a working train station; a stop for Amtrac's Texas Eagle.

In another small town we passed through we even saw tracks going right down the middle of the street. I wondered how that would feel driving right beside a huge locomotive. My grandsons would love that!

In case your worried about me standing on the tracks...don't. This is a spur and the tracks are gated off, so there was no worry about a train coming. I'm not even sure the tracks are used very often. Those rails look pretty bumpy!  On the crossing gates in the distance is a red sign that says STOP. The trains on this spur would have to stop for the trains on the main line.

I have a confession. The tracks in the middle kind of blew my mind and I drove down the wrong side of the road. Not very far, just a few feet until I turned into an empty lot to take these pictures. Oops!! Mr. H just shook his head at me. Oh well, as you can see there weren't any cars around and thankfully no policeman!

This trip was one of our courthouse runs. I added four more courthouses to my photography project. I'll be back with some more pictures from the towns we went through.