Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oktoberfest - Texas Style

This weekend is Oktoberfest in downtown McKinney! This is the first year for the city to host a full blown Oktoberfest. There was a lot of activity on the downtown square. There were two stages set up, one on the North side of the square and one on the South side. The dancers were already at it by the time we arrived at noon. There were a lot of cute little boys and girls (and some adults) involved in the dance routines.

They performed the handkerchief dance...
and various other dances (no sign of the chicken dance yet!)
When it came time to eat all the "traditional" German food places had lines wrapped around the square and we had to purchase "tickets" (no cash accepted). We heard a rumor that Hamm's meat market was serving sandwiches so we headed down a side street towards Hamms'.
On the way to lunch we passed the petting zoo and pony rides (what would a good ole' fashioned Oktoberfest be without horseback riding?)They all had their mains braided - just like the other little German girls on the square!Hamm's is an old fashioned meat market that has been on the square for years. (Family owned - and very friendly people.) We all opted for the bar-b-que brisket...Miss Janice decided on the pulled pork sandwich. There wasn't any seating outside of Hamm's but the antique market across the street had a large umbrella and a few tables outside. They've been re-doing their windows and enlarging their space. Soon they'll have the third floor open and Herby's Soda Fountain will open again with a whole lot more room.
We all enjoyed our lunch. I think Miss Jennifer is tired of being an Ike evacuee and she's hoping to have her electricity back on by tomorrow, but she'll have to look on the website before she leaves to see if she's connected again. (Otherwise...more time away from Houston.)
This guy was performing on the stage on the North side of the city and he had a great German accent! Everyone that walked by he hollered at them to dance!There were several vendors on the square and this one looked very interesting. German clothes. They were up from Fredericksburg for the event.
It appeared they were selling "updated" German ware. I'm not sure a "Haus Frau" would be wearing this around some small town Germany! A little too short. However....
I did find these really cute "heart " Leidehosen for Margrit. ONLY $69.I also thought this dress was cute. More traditional ware. As we left these guys were playing and they mentioned the Chicken Dance...still never saw/heard it while I was there.
I found this guy sitting under a shade tree - I think he'd had enough polka in the hot Texas son!
Lots of "interesting" Germans were found walking about....
Some real...some not so real!
All in all...I think Miss Janice had a great time - she's happy!
This is her "don't take my picture" look - but it holds no sway over me - so give me that look any way! I ain't skeert!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I LOVE Ironing!

I was born in the 1950’s so I remember ironing. I think I might have been about six years old when my grandmother taught me to iron handkerchiefs and pillow cases. As I matured in my ironing skills my chore was to iron my dad’s shirts.

During the 50’s most of our garments were 100% cotton, which all required ironing (if you wanted to look presentable.) I do remember life before clothing care was revolutionized by steam irons, polyester blends and clothes dryers. Most garments were 100% cotton and they required ironing, especially if they were dried on a clothesline, as nearly all clothing was. Some things were labeled “wash and wear” and were made from a new cotton-acrylic blend and there were a few devices that had been invented to help with the wrinkle problem, but...there were no steam irons.
Cotton! Lovely, lovely cotton!
I love nothing better than fresh wash that has been dried in the sun! The smell and feel...there is nothing like it. I remember when it came time to iron all the clothes had to be sprinkled. My mother had a metal stopper with holes in it like a salt shaker top. She filled a large glass coke bottle with water, put the stopper on top, and sprinkled water over the clothes that needed ironing. Then she rolled up each garment so the dampness would diffuse and she put them into the ice box until it was time to iron. (We didn't call it a refrigerator when I was young - even though it was no longer an ice box) The coolness delayed the mildew and sour odors that could develop if clothing wasn't ironed the same day that it was sprinkled. If ironing was to take place immediately the clothes were stacked in the laundry basket to sit for a little while before ironing. I guess they hadn't invented spray bottles yet, but I remember my grandmother's also had the same "sprinkle bottles". I've seen a few pretty clever ceramic sprinkle bottles on eBay (I guess they were used by "fancier" people) However, the sprinkle top my mom had for a coke bottle could be purchased at any dime store. They had a cork base to fit the coke bottle's opening tightly. (These are also offered on eBay for about $1.00.) I guess if you were a fancier person, you could buy the whimsical ceramic ones...but we only had the dime store type and the glass coke bottle.
My mom would have to set up the large ironing board in the kitchen so I could be near the ice box or so the laundry basket could be set on the kitchen table. I remember early on having to stand on a chair to reach the ironing board.
I now own a large ironing board that I set up in the den for my "ironing binges". I pick a good movie to watch, have all my wash "sprinkled"...then I'm all set to iron. Nothing is more satisfying than to see a damp pile of clothes become freshly ironed/starched pieces all hanging in a row. I know, I know...perhaps a visit to a therapist would help me over come this illness...but secretly I LOVE to IRON and don't really want to recover!
Now days though, most of my ironing is done on my small "over the door" ironing board that is in my sewing room. I use this one for pressing small items, ironing linens I've purchased and soaked clean, or my "on the run" ironing (just before I wear it.) Today I own a spray bottle (but think I may need a "sprinkler"), I have a lovely ironing board cover made from new (but appears to look vintage) fabric, and I own a good steam iron - so ironing is not such a chore. It's a very relaxing activity for me. Can't even begin to explain that one! So, with that background laid...I ponder why I love old linens. Is it because they are made of cotton, or because they have to be ironed? Perhaps it is the combination of the two...the look and feel of old washed and ironed linens. There is just something that calls my name.
I think fresh linens should be in every room of the house. I love freshly ironed tea towels in my kitchen....
Vintage aprons hung and within reach in case I want to throw one on and whip up something special...
I think my quests should have freshly ironed linens in the guest room...
and in the guest bath....(my sister gave me the lovely sister towel),
and in my bathroom...I believe I DO have linens in all the rooms! There's a theme!
I love the old 40's and 50's tablecloths...these are all ironed, folded and in good enough shape to spread on the kitchen table and serve my guests.
However, these are also vintage linens I keep in the sewing room and they're not in such good condition. I re-purpose these for use in my various projects. I can usually cut around the bad spots to create aprons, purses, or many other useful items.
The not so perfect ones are also soaked clean, washed and ironed and kept ready for any creative whim I might dream up for them. Sometimes in the ironing and prepping of the "cast offs"...I'm reminded that God uses us despite our "worn" and "torn" spots, and our "not so perfect" personalities. He can "re-purpose" us to put on His nature. We too can be washed and ironed to serve a new purpose!
Ephesians 4:21-24 "Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Driver's Education!

New driver in the state of Texas!

He figured out how to go forward...
and fall underneath the peddles.
Very proud new driver!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday in Texarkana church. We have a mission of mercy!

We picked up the sister duo at Miss Janice's early. Miss Janice grabbed all her moving blankets... and Jennifer grabbed the drinks. (It was going to be a long day!) A quick stop in Greenville for breakfast and then lunch in Texarkana before the big move!
In reality - this trip has been planned for awhile...but has also been postponed a couple of times. The last postponement was earlier this month due to Hurricane Ike. We were to travel with Miss Janice to Texarkana, meet up with her brother and sister, and clean out the last of the items in their childhood home that belonged to them.

Their father died this last July and this was a long anticipated trip to bring home the last of their mother and father's belongings that had been promised to them so long ago. The difficulty of this undertaking, of course, was her father's second wife. (Miss Janice, her sister and brother, previously lost their mother to cancer more than 20 years ago.) This has been a hard process for all involved!

The sister duo rode from McKinney with us and we met up with brother Jed and his entourage from Tyler. Jed brought his wife and son (pictured with the gloves below) to help load up the designated items. I'm not sure why he brought any gloves...he didn't do ANYTHING! Unless he was led by the hand to the item he was to move or help with...he basically did NOTHING! (Later he complained he had a blister??? I think he must have gotten it from taking the gloves on and other explanation in my book!)
Not to worry - he ditched the gloves very shortly (and all pretense of work). The rest of our time in Texarkana he "supervised" our moving of the furniture outside. I'm sure he didn't want to get in the way!The sister duo and brother knew which items they were to packed up and load on the trailer. These items had been clearly spelled out by their dad prior to his death. However...that seemed to be now open to interpretation by his "current wife." The new Mrs. had already made up her mind about several of the items... she needed to keep them until she was dead! They could have them when she was good and gone. The Mrs. said she'd sign a paper stating the stuff belonged to the children, but basically she was telling them (in a very passive-aggressive way) it's MINE! Everyone kept their cool, but it was an uncomfortable situation. The Mrs. had her daughter-in-law stop by with her children in tow (more useless helpers that were just in the way) I think as back up for whatever the Mrs. was going to push as her agenda for the day!
We were able to load up the things pretty quickly...filling brother Jed's new trailer with a bedroom suite, kitchen hutch, lamps, tables, and chairs. We filled the back of our truck with boxes of books and dishes.

The trip back to McKinney was uneventful. It took us very little time to unload the trailer and the back of the truck into Miss Janice's garage. (No...Mr. Gloves did not get out of work on this end! He could not so easily hide in another room - since we were all together in the garage, and Miss Janice made him climb up in the truck and hand out boxes of books. Hope he didn't break that blister open! I'm sure he had to sleep the whole way home - just totally worn out!)
We ended our evening together with great pizza and conversations concerning the day. The only dark cloud hanging over them was the thought there would be another trip to Texarkana in the near future to pick up the very last of the matter what the Mrs. has decided!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday in Paris

We began the morning early. Peter loaded up his camera and then we headed off to breakfast. Our actual first stop was still in McKinney...back to the Red Barn sale. We thought we'd check out what "new items" Keith brought in this morning. Nothing we couldn't live without so we headed North to Denison.
First stop in Denison is the old Katy Railroad Station - the original building. The Katy Railroad Museum is now located in a new "station" across the street.

This old building is filled with lots of treasures, but you MUST be willing to dig. Almost everything in the building was 20% to 50% off. Can't beat that. We found a really cool tray that has a map of the US on top.
Of course, I can always find treasures for those not with us. Miss Janice would have loved this old adding machine (she's got a thing for them, you know!)
But this brown leather suitcase would have been hauled to the front counter immediately...if she'd been along! (I'll show you the few she has in her front hall on another post.)
I found a lovely 1950's style dress that Emily would love to own...but alas, I think it's made for a 12 year old girl (judging by the really small waist)! I don't think it would even be too big for Lauren - a little long, but it was a very small size! I could just imagine a young girl at her first dance!
Once shopping was done in the Station - Peter discovered a train waiting along the street outside. Photo opportunity!

More opportunities....of the architecture
It was a pretty cool train.
We also spotted a really interesting gas station (you can almost see the old hot rod at the pump.)
Oh...more photo opportunities!
It's just another church (Catholic).
Must be something in the garden also. (He loves to get out and wander the streets.) I lost him a few times during the day. But, cell phones can always find the lost ones. Back downtown and focused on the task....antiquing!
Once again - I love shopping for those who can't come along. A shelf full of red items...for RT. I can picture each of these items in her kitchen. Is there room? Of course...what a question!
On to the next store....
There's another one across the street....
How about the one further down?
Best purchase in Denison. A chalkware girl reading and a photographer...finding a photo opportunity! I think we have a theme!
Peter's thinking enough with the shopping - we need nourishment before we can continue on to Paris.
But in the meanwhile - we were told by the ladies sitting on the patio with us for lunch that there was a car show down at the end of the main street in Denison.
There were tons of cars all around the Watson's Burger drive in. We only took photos from the car - we were on a mission.
On to Paris....
and on to more Antique stores. There were about 5 on the square, but it was getting close to 3:30 and some of them close at 5:00 on Saturday (who thinks that's a good idea?)
We loved the old Train Station(looks really new - so couldn't decide if it was restored or rebuilt). This building contains the Paris Chamber of Commerce, a museum and several other businesses. It was closed today, but we were able to drive in and take some close up shots.
We finally headed home to McKinney about 5ish - but we still had to make a trip to Dallas to pick up the diesel truck at IBSA. (We need it for tomorrow's activities.) When we hit the Plano city limits we realized it was their balloon festival weekend. There were probably about 20+ balloons going up right as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful site - unfortunately we were traveling down the highway at about 70 miles an hour - so just a quick shot out the window!
Once we picked up the truck at IBSA we headed home - and grab a bite of dinner!

Notice - the good Baptist spot (as usual) was waiting for me at the restaurant. (The good Baptist spot is the closest spot near the door!)
Once home I was able to unpack some of my treasures. The tray we bought has a great map of the US on top and it can also be set up as a display. I got two really cool old "books" was an old ledger and the other was a University "loose leaf" book (notes included.) I also purchased a Shorthand book....bad school memories. HA! Who can remember shorthand? We also found a great display case that Peter will mount on an old sewing machine base we have. I found three really tiny Hummel reproductions. They were too cute to pass up and at 20% off (80 cents each) I knew they were coming home with me!However, my best purchase of the day was a real Hummel. It is a small boy in leidehosen holding an American Flag. I thought he was an excellent reminder to commemorate Peter receiving his US citizenship this year!
All in all - I think we walked miles, found some really cool stuff (on sale) and had a great day together (even if we didn't make it to Galveston!) Off to bed now. Tomorrow we leave early ~ off to Texarkana ~ (and a new adventure!)