Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poke and Grits

I recall a recent conversation with a desk librarian at the library we visit quite frequently. She asked me if I had ever heard of the phrase “poke and grits?” I wasn’t sure what she was referring to, so asked her where she had heard this term. She said her mother always told anyone who asked what they were having for supper that they were having “poke and grits.” As a young girl she was curious to know where the expression came from so she asked her mother about it and her mother said it was her mother's expression. So the next time her grandmother came to visit, her grandma told her,  “poke your feet under the table and grit your teeth,” meaning “get ready to eat.”

I don’t recall that my mother ever saying this to us, but I do remember her telling us to wash up right before she brought the food to the table.

In David’s family, the saying was "come to the table before the food gets cold,” which sometimes meant wild greens –young poke sprouts, lambs quarters and burdock, fried morel mushrooms (YUM! 😋), fried wild meats like squirrel, rabbit, fish, frog legs, turkey, eel, coon or tame meat and vegetables. Often there was wild grape or elderberry jelly to spread on Grandma Marie’s homemade lightbread and sometimes wild blueberry pie or custard pie to eat. And like us, they didn't eat grits except as a hot breakfast cereal.

I asked my mother after we were married, why our family never ate wild things and she relayed a story about how after the first winter after her grandparents moved to Oklahoma, they were starving for fresh greens in the spring and gathered a big bunch up, cooked them and about poisoned all of themselves to death, not knowing the proper plants to pick in that area. After that time, her family stayed away from picking wild plants to eat. My dad, however, loved to hunt deer and we fished (mostly catfish) at Grandpa's pond on the farm.

And my husband's family also has another saying in their family about eating -- "chickie fly high, no good eat." A wandering gypsy, tramping through their part of the Ozarks, in his broken English, told them that one must be careful about what wild birds one eats -- certain flying birds were not edible -- one had made him sick! 😛

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I was thinking of the things my dad used to say today. He was an air conditioning and heating serviceman and a trustee at church. He took care of all our church’s air-conditioning and furnace systems and some of the plumbing too and I remember that he told me “to leave a place better than I found it!”
David said he can remember his dad saying that if he got into trouble at school, expect trouble at home.

Do you remember any sayings or “proverbs” your dad used to say to you? Do you mind sharing your daddy quotes with me? I’d love to hear them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

We have FREE TV and David has “discovered” a new television show advertised by called “Who Do You Think You Are?” Last week's episode featured Martin Sheen. He was most interested in researching his ancestry in Ireland and Spain (two uncles) and the biggest surprise discovered was about his 4th great-grandparents. I was most interested to learn that his paternal grandmother’s name was also “Dolores.” I don’t know of too many “Dolores’.” David said it must be nice to visit Europe and being able to afford to pay other genealogists and historians to dig up information about one’s ancestors, but as a bonus, Martin was able to visit his sister who lives in Spain. She had been able to dig up some information already on their background and shared photographs with him.

Anyway, I’d recommend the show for both family researchers and history buffs. It was on last Friday night  at 7:00 pm on NBC station here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Moment in Time Ephemera

Some people like to use 3-D decorations in their heritage scrapbooks of the ancestors, but I, personally, don’t like bumpy albums with dented pages. I do like using personal keepsakes, however, that bring my ancestors to life and thought I would compile a list of flat ephemera one could use. Take time to plunder the attics, closets, dressers, hope chests, jewelry boxes, junk drawers, photo albums, recipe boxes, scrapbooks, sewing cabinets, and writing desks of your grand-relatives for mementoes before the estate sale.

Note: Reproduce good quality permanent copies of paper documents at your local printer and archive the originals in a fireproof document box. Ink-jet photocopies are temporary in nature and might fade over time.

address labels, alphabet stencils (new & used), autographs, baseball trading cards, botanical illustrations, bookmarks, calling/business cards, cancelled checks, car keys, certificates (adoption, award, birth, church membership, death, guarantees, marriage, military, prize, stock, Sunday School promotion, warranties) children’s artwork, church bulletins, clothing tags, candy packaging labels (candy bar, crackerjack, gum wrappers, Valentine), dance cards, desk calendar pages, dog tags, flashcards, garden catalogs, garden seed packets, hair ribbons, embroidery thread, favorite poetry (Bible verses, quotes), feathers, flattened spice tin fronts, foreign coins (tokens), funeral leaflets, graduation diploma, handwritten recipes, hankies, images from a favorite book, lace, lacy gloves, ledger, library cards, guest-books (guest check receipts), journal and diary accounts, letters, a lock of hair (hair-nets), locker tag, maps, menus, old-fashioned packaging labels, old greeting cards,  old schoolbook pages, measuring tapes, needle threader, newspaper clippings, old magazine ads, old patterns (envelopes with images & tissue patterns), old typewriter keys, paper doilies, paper dolls, patches, photos of heirlooms (favorite toys), photographs of their homes, perfume bottle labels, pinked swatches of calico and gingham feedsack fabric, playing cards, postcards,  pressed flowers, printed tablecloths, quilt patterns, receipts, report cards, rickrack, school papers, a sequin from a special dress, sheet metal jewelry (photos of jewelry), sheet music, silhouettes, slides, stereoscopic viewing cards, suitcase stickers, theater programs, ticket stubs, traced hands or feet cut-outs, travel brochures, utility bills/receipts, used envelopes, used postage stamps, vintage Valentines, vintage wrapping paper, wallpaper remnants, watch parts (crystals, faces, hands, gears), wedding invitations, and wedding dress fabric.

Postscript: I stumbled across a Civil War quilt blog and she had an article on Albums: Silk and Paper. Another item to add to the list to look for!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Memory Scrapbooking Papers

In my last article on Heritage Scrapbooking, I explained the basics of what to collect to put into your scrapbook. My husband and I have been looking at hobby stores when we go out and about and online and there are companies out there that are now producing product that cater to family historians. Here are a few.

For starters, my mother gave me a thin paperback book from Deja Views, called “Heritage Technique and Idea Book”. It’s from their Time and Again Vintage Inspired Collection by Lori Pieper, Sharon Kropp, and Norma Manak; 2002 that went with a couple of vinyl decorative scrapbook templates. I love this book! I plan to use this book as a jumping off point when I re-create our family albums. (Note: previous photo albums were damaged in a flood, but that’s a story for another time.)

Next I found three, very good books at my local library on scrapbooking old photographs. The first one is called “Scrapbooking Your Family History.” By Laura Best. A Sterling/Chapelle Book, NY; 2005. The second and third ones are both by Maureen A. Taylor = “Preserving Your Family Photographs: How to Organize, Present,and Restore Precious Family Images” Betterway Books, Cincinnati, OH; 2001 and “Scrapbooking Your Family History” Betterway Books, Cincinnati, OH.; 2003. If your library doesn’t carry them, perhaps you can order them through World Cat (it’s an interlibrary catalogue of books from other library systems around the world). My library doesn’t charge for interlibrary loans within the USA, but I know some libraries do. If that fails or is too costly for your pocketbook, perhaps you can purchase them at a local new/used bookstore or online.

We have found product in different nostalgic styles and colors. What do you like best? If you don’t know, here’s a variety below that might help you decide =
  • Antique Toys/Comics/Literature/Old School (think old paper dolls; baby handprints; old comic books; Alice in Wonderland, early Disney illustrations; jacks, jumpropes, rocking horses & wagons; old one room schoolhouse; blackboards, block printing; alphabet strips);
  • Beach/Tropical (sand, pastel colors, lighthouses, macrame, sea shells, palm trees; flamingos); Bistro (think little French/Italian café chefs);
  • Colonial (Early Americana);
  • Exotic (animal prints, safari, Asian);
  • Kitschy or Retro (1940s, 1950s, 60s, 70s);
  • Rustic (vintage camp, bears, deers, elk, log cabins, row boats, earthtones);
  • Shabby Chic (vintage/romantic tea garden theme, distressed white metal containers or wicker, lace, vintage Valentines, etc);
  • Traditional (classic, sophisticated patterns like argyle, diamonds, paisley, plaid, and tweed);
  • Western/Southwestern/Country (think Cowboys and Indians, pioneers, Little House on the Prairie, calico, quilts, cactus, coyotes); or
  • Vintage (Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic romantic). Choose papers accordingly.
Like me, you may decide you don’t want one style of scrapbook decoration, but a happy eclectic mixture of what you love.

Next, decide on the color combinations you are drawn to and incorporate them into your scrapbook. Personally, I like to stick to certain color combinations in one project as I feel it gives a harmonious look to the whole book. I usually purchase enough scrapbook paper to make a photo spread (two pages that face each other) and rubber stamp stickers to match. You can purchase stickers or die-cuts, if you aren’t into rubber stamping. Sometimes, certain styles, like those mentioned above, dictate color choices. For instance, faded colors of cream, beige, putty, parchment, sand, tarnished gold, tea brown, olive green, smoky grey, jet black, linen, and French country blue evokes an antique mood. When artist Mary Engelbreit first hit the market, her bright colors caught my eye and I was riveted, but as we’ve both matured, she and I have added lighter colors to our palettes. I also like the cottagey tea garden theme of rose pink, sage green, and off-white of Shabby Chic. It makes me feel deliriously romantic. LOL!

David and I have been trying to collect enough scrapbook supplies (ie. Paper, rubber stamps or stickers, charts, etc.) to reconstruct his and her heritage albums. His color choices are different than mine. He dislikes pink, mint green, and white and is drawn to blue. I would add neutral colors to his blue, like tan, off-white, and black or brown in woodtones or rich leather plus maybe deep burgandy for a pop of color –a traditional vintage color combination!

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* American Traditional Designs Family Tree paper = Family Tree Men (in blues) #PA-0394.

* Anything Tim Holtz is definitely vintage!

* Civil War Paper! #KCW4. Kersten Scrapbook Collection license exclusively by Sugartree. Also #KCW10. And Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, #KCW12. Civil War Flags, #KCW1.

* Creative Imaginations, #8214 Heritage Gold Imprint of John Deere Tractors in tarnished gold.

* EK Success Family Traditions vellum and papers, = Almanac #OTM284V. Looks like old newspaper. And “Blessed Grandfather”, #OTM278V.

* Graphic 45 Fashionista Collection Bon Marche #4500073. Very Vintage. And Playtimes Past Collection Dollie’s Teaparty #4500032.

* Karen Foster Design ( has a Family Tree Scrapbook Paper Kit #20441 and includes 8 (12” x 12”) papers and 2 sticker sheets. I would say it’s a campy retro style.
She also has #64098 Family Reunion Collage paper.

* Life’s Journey Family Record paper by K & Company. # 64077 638426. Traditional Vintage in style.

* October Afternoon, = “Recess, #PP-090 and Story Hour, #PP-092 are antique schoolhouse papers with coordinating patterns on the back of each.

* Paperbilities Scrap-N-Treasures Antique Kit, #MPR-72024. Includes 2 (12” x 12”) printed cardstock papers, 2 (8” x 12”) printed papers, 2 (8.5” x 11”) specialty papers, 9 (6” x 8”) printed papers, 1 (6” x 8”) printed tag, 5 assorted tags and 2 miniature envelopes in vintage colors of oatmeal, black, brown, and gold.

* Rusty Pickle/Pickle Press = “Taylor Made Lumber” #RP33 will suit those lumber loggers or carpenters in the family. I picked up a tiny checked paper print in olive green to coordinate.

* It Takes Two, = #COTOB LS152 Generation paper.

* Vintage Army, #B2140 by NRN Designs.