A Sparkling Vintage Life

Summer

Some new “hammock-ready” books for summer

July 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

 


Contemporary Romance:

A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)


General Contemporary:

Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)


General Historical:

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)


Historical Mystery:

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])


Historical Romance:

This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])


Mystery:

Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Ludwig — A mysterious key hidden in the depths of an ancient lighthouse unlocks family secrets hidden for generations. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Young Adult:

Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)

I is for Ice Cream Cone

My Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the term “ice cream cone” to 1909, but I’m sure I’ve heard the confection itself first appeared at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904. Or maybe I just remember that scene from Meet Me in St. Louis, one of my favorite movies of all time, or images like this commemorative stamp, below.

Wikipedia dates the concept of the cone back way back to an 1888 cookbook that included “Cornet with Cream,” a similar concept to the familiar cone.

(Did you know there’s also an “ice cream chair,” armless with a circular seat, for use in ice cream parlors? It’s a wonder what turns up when scanning the dictionary. )

Anyway, back to the cone. The specifics vary. It can be conical in shape, or more bucket-like with a flat bottom (sometimes called a cup or a cake cone). It can be sweetened (sugar cone) or unsweetened. The waffle-like or cake-like texture pairs well with the rich cream and helps soak it up as it melts. In any case, the point of the cone is that it allows ice cream to be eaten on the go, without dishes or utensils. You still have to be quick about it, though, to avoid your fingers getting coated in melting ice cream.

My personal favorite is mint-chocolate chip ice cream in a sugar cone. What’s your favorite kind of cone, and your favorite flavor of ice cream to put in it?

Chautauqua: End of an Era

Chautauqua Amp: Final Days

This article from David Steele at Buffalo Rising makes me sad. The iconic Chautauqua Ampitheater in New York will be torn down this week. In  Steele’s words,  “It becomes what it is over time, imbued with the mark of many summers and many generations. This magical place will soon be gone.”

For years, traveling companies took Chautauqua to cities and small towns all over America. But the Ampitheater in New York hosted the granddaddy of all Chautauquas. I know times have changed. I know the Ampitheater has been used for different things and is no longer what it once was. That doesn’t change the fact that my heart hurts.

Source: http://www.buffalorising.com

Source: http://www.buffalorising.com

Once upon a time I wrote about the Chautauqua movement at Writing North Idaho.

What buildings or other structures have you been said to see torn down?

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The rightness of white for summer

white suit

Christian Dior, 1952

Inspired by this post by Jessica Cangiano over at Chronically Vintage about wearing white, I’ve got white on my mind as we swoop toward summer and, in particular, Memorial Day–the traditional kickoff to the season of wearing white, at least here in the U.S. Although this “rule” is no longer strictly adhered to, there is something fresh and clean about white that belongs to summer.

White calls to mind fluffy clouds blown about by warm breezes, damp cotton flapping in the sunshine, June brides, sails on boats skimming over blue lakes, thick cream poured over fresh berries, and great bowls of vanilla ice cream (my favorite!). White was the favored choice for Edwardian tea gowns and nightgowns. And who can forget the “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” immortalized in the song, “My Favorite Things” from The

"Young woman in a white dress" by Harry Watson

“Young woman in a white dress” by Harry Watson

Sound of Music?

That said, I admit that there’s not a lot of white hanging in my closet at the moment. Just the stray shirt or tank-top. Why is that? I tend to steer clear of white on the bottom because of my size (white enlarges, visually). And white worn on top can seem impractical, an invitation to spills and stains.But the more I think about it, the more I want to incorporate more white in my wardrobe this summer, even if it does require a little extra care and vigilance.

Source: modcloth.com

Source: modcloth.com

 

What do you think about white?

 

B is for . . . Baseball!

spokane indians game aug 2015

Spokane Indians vs. Vancouver Canadians at Avista Statium, Aug. 29, 2015. (Spokane won.) Note that the sky isn’t overcast–that’s smoke from the forest fires plaguing the northwestern U.S. this summer.

Spending a lovely evening with friends at a Spokane Indians baseball game brought to mind that old chestnut, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Traditionally sung during the “seventh inning stretch,” the song was written in 1908 by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Titzer. Interestingly, neither songwriter had actually been to a ballgame, so it was amazing that they were able to capture the spirit of the ballpark so accurately. The song debuted in a vaudeville act. Its first known use during a ballgame didn’t happen until 1934. It’s written in waltz tempo–imagine the fun of waltzing to it!

Here’s an early recording. Interesting that there’s a whole lot more to the song than just the familiar chorus!

Related post: A is for . . . Antiques Stores

31 Days of Summer, Day 31: “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”

 

nat king coleNat King Cole, whose real name was Nathaniel Adams Coles, was born in 1919 in Alabama and grew up in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where his father was a Baptist minister and his mother, the church organist, taught him to play the keyboard.  He showed an early talent for music, and as a teenager he sneaked out to hear some of the jazz greats of the day, like Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines. He began performing in the 1930s, calling himself Nat Cole. The “King” got added by friends later, perhaps a fleeting reference to the nursery rhyme “Old King Cole.” He first built a reputation as a jazz pianist, but it was his velvety voice that made him famous. He died of cancer in 1965. “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” was his last hit.

31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Summer, Day 30: Snap up an end-of-season bargain

summer dress and hatThis is the weekend for end-of-summer clearance sales. Stores have been clearing out their summer inventory since July, so the selection might not be quite as great as a few weeks ago, but prices will be rock-bottom on those hot-weather items that are left. Of course we hope there is still some warm weather left to enjoy wearing summery clothing. But even if you buy it now and have to pack it away until next year, think of how much fun it will be to find a brand-new garment waiting for you next spring.

If you  have some spare time this weekend, take some of it to look over your summer clothes, get rid of those that are torn, faded, or past their prime, and note what you need for next year. Then hit the sales, either in store or online, and see what bargains you can score. Getting good value for your money is a very “sparkling vintage” thing to do.

You probably have a good sense of what you need to fill in the holes in your wardrobe. Think back over your summer–was there ever an occasion where you wished you had something more suitable to wear? Also think ahead to fall. What activities are coming up? Any special events planned? Do you and your family have appropriate clothes for all of them? Jot down a list of activities and clothes and check to see if there are any gaps to be filled. If you’re interested in knowing what such a list might have looked like in 1943, here’s a handy checklist for a city-dweller from the ever-on-top-of-things Grace Margaret Morton:

Coats and wraps, both tailored and dressy
Suits
Jackets
Skirts
Sweaters
Blouses
Dresses for street, office or school, dates or “afternoons,” dinner, and formal
Sportswear, both spectator and active
Lingerie: slips, bras, girdles, briefs, sleepwear, robes
At-home wear: hostess gowns, pants and tops
Accessories: shoes, hosiery, hats, gloves, handbags, jewelry

Whew, that’s quite a list! Miss Morton suggests you budget your clothing expenditures carefully. She wrote, “Regardless of how little or how much one may have to spend for clothes, the smart, intelligent, alert young woman will take stock of what is on hand at the beginning of each season. Note which items are wearable as they are, which ones need to be cleaned or altered, and which ones are of no further use to you. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have certain basic costumes over which your coat is not suitable because of a pronounced discord of style, color, or trimming?
Do you have suitable accessories for each costume or wardrobe area?
Are your separates of such a type that they may be mixed harmoniously and worn for many occasions?
Do you have certain costumes in which you never have a good time? If so, why?
Do you have certain ensembles which you have worn for several seasons and each time you wear them you receive compliments? If so, why?
Do you have certain needs which your present wardrobe does not supply?
Do you have garments which require so much care that you hesitate to wear them?

Honest, straightforward answers to questions such as these in relation to your inventory of clothing will determine how skillful you really are in the selection, planning, and financing of your wardrobe.”

Ensembles. Costumes. How many years has it been since we thought of our clothes in those terms?

If you wrote down a list of clothing necessities for your life this fall, what sorts of things would be on it?

31 Days of Summer, Day 29: A Motor Picnic

picnic-3We’ve met Bettina before, from the 1917 book A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, in which newlywed Bettina learns to cook and keep house for herself and her husband, Bob. In this excerpt,

“Hello, Bettina; this is Bob. What are you having for dinner tonight?”

“It’s all in the oven! Why?”

“Couldn’t you manage to make a picnic supper of it? One of the men at the office has invited us to go motoring tonight with him and his wife, and of course, I said we’d be delighted. They’re boarding, poor things, and I asked if we couldn’t bring the supper. He seemed glad to have me suggest it. I suppose he hasn’t had any home cooking for months. Do you suppose you could manage the lunch? How about it?”

“Why, let me think. How soon must we start?”

“We’ll be there in an hour or a little less. Don’t bother about it–get anything you happen to have.”

“It’s fine to go, dear. Of course I’ll be ready. Good-bye!”

Bettina’s brain was busy. There was a veal loaf baking in the oven while, on the table, a fresh loaf of Boston brown bread stood cooling. Her potatoes were cooked already for creaming, and although old potatoes would have been better for the purpose, she might make a salad of them. As she hastily put on some eggs to hard-cook, she inspected her ice box. Yes, those cold green beans, left from last night’s dinner, would be good in the salad. What else? “It needs something to give it character,” she reflected. “A little canned pimiento–and, yes–a few of the pickles in that jar.”

Of course, she had salad dressing–she was never without it. Sandwiches? The brown bread would be too fresh and soft for sandwiches, but she could keep it hot, and take some butter along. “I’m glad it is cool today. We’ll need hot coffee in the thermos bottle, and I can make it a warm supper–except for the salad.”

“How lucky it is that I made those Spanish buns! And the bananas that were to have been sliced for dessert, I can just take along whole.”

When Bettina heard the auto horn, and then Bob’s voice, she was putting on her hat.

“Well, Betty, could you manage it?”

“Yes, indeed, dear. Everything is ready. The thermos bottle has coffee in it, piping hot; the lunch basket over there is packed with the warm things wrapped tight, and that pail with the burlap over it is a temporary ice box. It holds a piece of ice, and beside it is the cream for the coffee and the potato salad. It is cool today, but I thought it best to pack them that way.”

“You are the best little housekeeper in this town,” said Bob as he kissed her. “I don’t believe anyone else could have managed a picnic supper on such short notice. Come on out and meet Mr. and Mrs. Dixon. May I tell them that they have a fine spread coming?”

“Don’t you dare, sir. It’s a very ordinary kind of a supper and even you are apt to be disappointed.”

But he wasn’t.

Bettina’s picnic supper that cool day consisted of:

Warm Veal Loaf
Cold Potato Salad
Fresh Brown Bread
Butter
Spanish Buns
Bananas
Hot Coffee

Bettina’s Boston Brown Bread (six portions)

1 cup rye or graham flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup sour milk or 1-1/4 cup sweet milk (if sweet milk is used, 1 T. vinegar to 1-1/4 c, milk will sour the milk)
2/3 cup raisins

Mix and sift dry ingredients, add molasses, liquid, and raisins. Fill well-buttered moulds (sic) two-thirds full, butter the top of the mould, and steam three and one-half hours. Remove from moulds and place in an oven to dry ten minutes before serving. Baking powder cans, melon moulds, lard pails or any attractively shaped tin cans may be used as a mould. Two methods of steaming [may be] used: (a) Regular steamer, in which the mould is placed over a pan of boiling water. Buttered papers may be tied firmly over the tops of  uncovered moulds, or  (b) Steaming in boiling water. The mould is placed on a small article in the bottom of a pan of boiling water. This enables the water to circulate around the mould. Care must be observed in keeping the kettle two-thirds full of boiling water all the time of cooking.

(From A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron.)

31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Summer, Day 28: Take a Drive Into the Past

cover-art077-196x300If the price of gas or the demands on your time are keeping you close to home this summer, hop in the car and take a driving tour of your own area.

“Why would I want to drive around and look at the same old stuff that I see every day?” you may ask. Because you’re not looking for the stuff you see every day. You’re looking for the stuff that was there fifty or a hundred-and-fifty years ago (or even older, depending on where you live).

For example, in my area of northern Idaho, historian Nancy Foster Renk has written a new book called Driving Past: Tours of Historical Sites in Bonner County, Idaho. In it she outlines several driving tours, and along the way she tells you the stories of what to look for. See that tumbledown building? It was once one-room schoolhouse, and here’s what it was like to be a student or teacher there. That patch of meadow? Indians tribes used to gather there every year. That old cabin now used as a museum? It was built as a ranger station by the Civilian Conservation Corps 1934. For a history- or nostalgia-minded person, soaking your imagination in “how it used to be”  is a delightful, refreshing way to spend  summer afternoon.

Now, chances are most of you won’t be visiting North Idaho anytime soon. But you can do something similar for your town or county. Look for a book fo historical driving tours or, if there’s none available, map out a plan of your own. Visit your local library or historical society to find out where buildings and other structures were located, or what was there before there were any buildings at all (a farm field? A forest where people picked huckleberries?) Then plot your route, grab your lunch and  your camera, and hit the road. Let your car become a time-travel machine as you learn about the people and places of yesteryear.

 

31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Life, Day 27: Cook over a campfire

campfireWhen’s the last time you ate a meal that had been cooked over an open fire? If you don’t camp regularly, it’s probably been quite a while.

As the weather cools, gathering around a campfire begins to sound more appealing, and having something special to eat just adds to the fun. The Camp Fire Girls handbook of 1925 said, “Outdoor cooking is being appreciated more and more every day. One of the best sports and most healthy and invigorating pastimes is to strap a few necessities on one’s back and go away for one or two days’ trip. To be able to get far into the woods, away from houses, stores, and restaurants, and depend on one’s own resources is a delightful experience.”

(CAVEAT: Safety first! Follow your local fire and burning laws and regulations, tend your fire carefully, drench it completely before you leave the area, and always make safety your first priority.)

To start, of course, you must build your fire. The manual advises, “In choosing a spot on which to build a camp fire, make sure that there is no flammable, dry grass near. Note the direction of the wind and relative locations of buildings, brush piles, roots, dry grass, etc. If the wind is high, fire should be protected by earth banks, which will prevent sparks carrying. The lee side of a rock, stone fence, or bank makes a good place for a fire where there is danger of the sparks being carried.

“A fire for cooking should be very small. Always choose dry wood. In laying the fire, it is well to make a small, tent-shaped structure of the shavings having an opening in which to insert a match. Always be sure that the finest material is at the bottom and have other materials at hand so as to be ready to lay on larger twigs or sticks, letting no bit of kindling burn up without igniting a larger stick above it. A skilled woodsman does not use paper for kindling his fire and he seldom finds it necessary to use more than one match. The finely shredded bark of the yellow birch, which is found in the northern forests, makes the best kindling known.

“Having secured some dry wood, make “fuzz sticks” by whittling long thin shavings, but not cutting them off completely. The inner bark of standing, dead cedar trees makes excellent kindling, while dead twigs from the lower branches of standing trees, especially hemlock, balsam, and spruce, if dry, ignite very easily.

“Build a wigwam of small sticks around a bunch of little twigs or fire sticks. Around the wigwam lay in cross-cross fashion a pen of sticks about one inch square. Light the fire in the center, and in a few minutes the pen will fall to a bed of hot coals. After this is burning briskly, lay side logs either parallel or closer together at one end (to hold the pot or pan). The fire is then ready for cooking.”

Finally!

When you think of cooking over a fire, does your mind immediately go to hot dogs and s’mores? Those are traditional campfire fare, to be sure, but this Fudge Feast from the Camp Fire Girls sounds mighty tempting.

Menu (for six people):

Corn chowder
Bread and butter
Fudge

Corn chowder: 1 can corn, 4 cups parboiled potatoes, 1 small onion, 1/4 lb. bacon, 2 cups milk, 1 cup water, 6 crackers, salt and pepper to taste. Cut the bacon into small dice, fry until crisp, add the onion diced and fry all together until a light brown, stirring constantly. Then add corn. Cook until hot. Add potatoes (diced) and water. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few broken crackers and milk. Take from fire and serve immediately.

Fudge: 3 cups sugar, 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, 1-1/2 cups milk OR 1 can evaporated milk and 1/2 can water, 1/2 tablespoon butter (if using evaporated milk, omit the butter). Cook together in the frying pan until it forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Set to one side to cool. Then beat until creamy.

When you’re through eating and have finished enjoying your fire, it’s time to put it out. The manual emphasized, “Never leave a fire until you are sure that it is out. If there is sufficient water near, drench them thoroughly. If there is any doubt, throw fresh, moist earth over the fire, stamping it to smother all coals”

 

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