Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Halloween Costumes

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.

You get to dress up
You get to go door to door and come home with a grocery sack full of free candy!
What could be better than that?

Halloween costumes were mostly sold in the dime stores
(TG & Y -- Woolworths)
I'm sure they were no more than $1
But they were inexpensive and flimsy
I so wanted a homemade costume
And in the 6th grade, I talked my grandmother into making me one!
A pilgrim is what I decided.    So we picked fabric and I took an old pair of black shoes, got some cardboard an silver glitter and made big buckles for them.
I was in seventh heaven with my
Halloween costume
And I couldn't wait to show it off!

And then a few days before Halloween, I came down with the mumps.
I never got to wear it
For the next year I was in Junior High
And Junior High Schoolers wouldn't wear a "real" costume
No -- we were gypsies or hobos using our clothes (or our mother's or father's)

Then we had Sarah
And I was determined that she would only have so t

Not for her first but for her second Halloween,
I made her a clown costume
(in the 70s, clowns were okay)

I made it big so that she could wear it several years.    It was cute.   No mask for we used makeup and she had a matching hat!      The ladies I worked with said that she would never wear it again.    But I knew she would and she did until the bottom of the baggy pants (which weren't so baggy anymore) were at her knees and we had to have knee socks to cover her legs.

Then Grand Lucy came into our lives.     Her first Halloween when she was but a few months old, Daughter Sarah bought her a costume but the next year, Sarah said that I could make her one.     Sarah decided on Little Red Riding Hood.      The costume consisted of three pieces -- a dress with a vested bodice and trim, pantaloons, and a cape.

I had not sewn in 25 years or so except to make curtains.    But years ago, I did sew and sew quite a lot -- clothes for both me and Jim, clothes for Sarah and clothes for Sarah's dolls.      

We bought a pattern and all the fabrics and trims and as I recall all of that was probably at least 4 times what a $10 costume would have been at Wal Mart.

And so sewing began . . . sewing is like riding a bike.    You really do never forget.    But like riding a bike you "fall off" a lot!    I started with the cape (it was closest to sewing a curtain) and I think I ripped out every seam at least 3 times before I got it right.     But I was progressing and my "bike riding" was better for the pantaloons required only ripping out the seams 2 times before I got it right.      The dress -- which really was a complicated pattern -- I had my "bike legs" and I think I ripped out only a seam or two.

I must admit that I was very proud of the costume and so I boxed it up and sent it up north.     Sarah was pleased but what warmed my heart the most was seeing Lucy in the costume.

A good Little Red Riding Hood she was

And look at the expression when she realized that people actually gave you candy!!!!!

The next year, there was no doubt that "Nana" would make the Halloween costume.     And one became two as Piper was born in July.      Sarah decided that Alice in Wonderland would be a good costume for Lucy but told me not to worry about Piper because she'd get something for her.       But if I was making one costume, I could easily make two and so for a surprise for Sarah, I made The White Rabbit for Piper.

Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit -- complete with clock!

Ad helping to Trick or Treat was the Mad Hatter -- also known as Daddy -- and no, I did not make that costume!

The next year Lucy was old enough to decide on her own costume and she wanted to be a witch.   I was elated for I still had Sarah's second costume that I made her -- a witch costume.     I got it out, washed it, ironed it and noticed that over the years there were a few moth holes in the fabric.    So I got iron on orange fabric and made stars.     The pattern is no pattern, but everywhere you see a star was a hole!   A new hat and magic wand completed her costume.     It really touched my heart that Lucy could wear her mother's Halloween costume!      That black net above the costume is Piper's costume for I made a black net tutu for her, she wore black tights and had headband ears and went as the witch's black cat!

Lucy liked being the witch so much that the following year she decided that she wanted to wear the witch costume again!     And Piper who could decided what she wanted to be decided that she wanted to be a witch like big sister.    I still had the original witch pattern from long ago and so made Piper a witch costume that was a miniature of the her sister's.     Purple stars instead of orange but not to cover holes but because her sister had stars on hers.    And Piper is a purple kind of girl!

And that night in Excelsior, the witches were out on the street Halloween night!

I was tasked with making a Minnie Mouse costume and a Pink and Purple Princess costume.    The princess was not any of the Disney princess and we kept showing Lucy pictures of princesses and she would say "no, that's not right".      So I found a pattern and some pink and purple fabrics and just winged it.    It's the start of accessories for Lucy -- a glittery wand, purple necklaces and a crown.     And when she received her costume in the mail, she was super excited.      Nana nailed it!

Alas, you can't go out and buy a Minnie Mouse dress pattern either but that pattern from Lucy's first Halloween became the basis for a Minnie Mouse dress.     Thankfully, I found red fabric with white polka dots.

Piper was a perfect Minnie Mouse.      She loved that costume!

Last year Piper wanted to be Ariel the Princess (versus Ariel the mermaid) and so I sewed a pink Princess dress for her.

Lucy wanted to be a Rainbow Tooth Fairy.      A rainbow tutu was easy . . .  . 

But then there was all the accessories -- a bag for the coins, a bag for the teeth and of course, every fairy needs a wand.    The tooth fairy's would come with a tooth, of course!

Piper was excited with her costume.    I think it was the red wig that she liked the most but I do think she makes a fine Ariel the Princess (rather than Ariel the mermaid).

And now it is 2020.     We're not sure if there will be any trick or treating but there will be dress up at school and so costumes are needed.       Since last year, Piper has stated that this year she wanted to be Tinkerbell.     Lucy decided on Princess Celestia.   (And for those, like me, who didn't know who Princess Celestia is, she's a "My Little Pony" unicorn princess.    But I think she can and does become human at times.)

The girls tax my sewing skill (which like riding a bike, once you're continued to ride, you don't fall off all that much -- I rarely have to rip a seam out now) for you can't just buy a pattern to make a Tinkerbell costume  nor a Princess Celestia costume.

But there are two girls I wouldn't want to disappoint.    So I get creative.      And here, is my obligatory picture that I take every year -- the costumes (and accessories) just before I mail them.

Tinkerbell on the left.    Her mother does have proper Tinkerbell shoes for Piper as well as wings.   I am sending a roll of ribbon for her hair.      Princess Celestia on the right.     A white dress and a crown, unicorn horn and pony ears, a necklace and bracelets and a sun on the dress (for Princess Celestia is day -- her sister Princess Luna is night).    Lucy's mom has the rest of the accessories, real feather wings, a rainbow pony tail and a rainbow wig.

I just mailed them today, so I'm not sure of their reaction when they see them.     I hope they like them.   The last couple of weeks, Piper has called me to see her costume but I hadn't started on it yet.    I do know that Piper has her Halloween costumes decided on for the next four years and will tell you what she wants to be when.    Knowing Piper, I'm not sure that will change.       

And the very last costume I made Sarah . . . . 

Ronald McDonald.     It was totally created and I was very proud of it.    The only thing I didn't do was to make it big enough that she could wear it more than one year.      She was too big for it the next year.     Jim worked at McDonald's and we all thought it was a fitting costume.      I kept it too and then I loaned it to someone (never a borrower or a lender be Mother always said -- for I never got it back).      It's a shame because I could see both of the Grands in that costume.

I mailed the costumes today -- they'll get them Saturday and Sarah will give me a call when they open the package so I'll get to see their reaction.     I sure hope that I nailed them.     So far so good for I'm 11 and 0 in the costume department.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Autumn at Linderhof

Years ago, I bought a carload of pumpkins to put everywhere
at Linderhof
A trip to the garden center and I had blooming mums
in every possible spot I could!

Now . . . sense prevails!

I get some mums and a few pumpkins
spending about $30 to $40 overall
to decorate the outside of Linderhof
for Autumn

Some small pumpkins line the porch

And mums are in the upstairs window box

I'll get a bigger pumpkin or two right before Halloween

to carve into a scary Jack o Lantern!

Inside there's enough "autumn" to make the house

look seasonal -- it's all real so when the time comes

to decorate for Christmas, it will be tossed.

No storage needed!

The dining room table

sports a cut glass pedestal bowl filled with gourds and pumpkins

A bouquet of flowers in a Waterford vase is on an end table in the living room

And the breakfast room table boasts another Waterford vase filled with autumn color

The back garden:

A pot of mums and a pumpkin on the table under the arbor.

Oh, there are fall plants blooming -- mums that have been here a long time,

Montauk daisies, garlic chives and live forevers.

 And I noticed the fairies had harvested a wee pumpkin to put by their front door!

I'm much happier with my subtle fall decorating -- enough so that you know summer is over but not too much that taking it down (and putting it away) seems like a chore.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Tea Trio's Weekly Tea

We named ourselves the Tea Trio,
Judy, Carol and I
It's an island of civilization in this sea of loneliness that COVID has created.

I've know Carol "forever" and she told me about her new friend Judy, whom I should meet
And I did -- social distancing on the front porch of Carol's 1919 home -- with masks!

We hit it off and did it again, only the second time Judy brought her latest tea book

I resisted buying it but upon seeing Judy's, I ordered one as did Carol

Carol always provided tea for us and Judy and I and sometimes Carol would provide a nosh

But in mid July it was Carol's birthday, she was fond of Victoria sponge and I was intrigued by the individual sponges found in the Downton Abbey book.

So Judy and I decided that I would bring the Victoria sponge from the book and she would bring something else from the book.

Carol set a lovely tea table for us

And we celebrated her birthday in style!

The Mini Victoria Sponge's -- fantastic

Judy chose the Scottish shortbread
The best homemade I've ever eaten!

And so a "tradition" was born . . . We all three had the cookbook.    We all three loved tea.    We would have a tea party every week and each one of us would bring a treat made from a recipe in The Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea book!
What fun!!!!

Week two:

I made the orange butter cake
That recipe was the one that intrigued me the most -- loved the slice of orange on the top

Judy made the Ginger Biscuits

Week Three:

Yorkshire Curd Tarts for me

Lemon Drizzle Cake for Judy

Prince of Wales Biscuits that Carol made

She even bought the stamps to make them look just like the ones in the book!

Week Three:

I made madeleines

Carol chose palmiers

And Judy the plum cake

Week Four:

After having watched Great British Bake Off Master Class and watching Paul make Chelsea buns more than once, I got brave, and decided to try something yeasty -- so I brought Chelsea buns

Judy brought the Apple Crumb Cake

And Carol made the perfect Bakewell tart

Not for our group, but for dessert on tea day --


The raspberry meringues from the book.    Only because I had two egg whites left from my Yorkshire Tarts and rather than tea size I made them dessert size and Husband Jim and I had them for dessert that night.

The Tea Trio loves the book.    It is fun to bake from the same book and before we left yesterday, we decided what we would bring -- Judy is doing the Ginger Butter Cake, I'm doing Banberry Tarts and Carol is doing the Butterfly Cakes.     We'll have another great tea time next week -- we Tea Trio Girls!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Garden . . . . Through The Years

The garden at Linderhof has been a 32 year work in progress
And with most gardens, it's still in progress!

Looking at the garden from the side yard . . . 
The sundial is on a water fountain which used to be in Gunn Park
Significant because the son of the benefactor of that park lived in our house
for 3 years in the late 20s and early 30s

The garden started as lawn . . . . just a green space that needed to be mowed
But I've always wanted a four square mostly herb garden
In 1997, I began my plans

May - 1997 Laying out bricks to determine the individual beds
and where the brick paths were to go

Summer 1997 - we laid the bricks for the path
(it's summer because the watering house is out and the plants have grown!)

2020 - But the beds are raised --
not because I'm older or infirmed
But because we own a digger dog
Who delights in digging up any plant in the ground!
The very tall raised beds prevent that!
And I find it is much easier to garden when the plants are waist high!

1998 - Pretty flowers in the main flower bed at the time.
We had just built the arbor running along the garage to the house
No fence to enclose the garden

2002 - And put up a fence we did
A privacy fence!

2020 - That fence has aged well
There's a pond in the middle of that flower bed
And mostly day lilies grow around it

 1998  - From the back of the lot looking toward the house

2009 - From the back of the lot looking toward the house
Wait, where are the two little windows?
There are sliders there now!!!!
Our addition -- the breakfast room which overlooks the garden!

 2020 - under the pergola looking towards the house

2009 - On the terrace looking towards the garden through the arbor

 2020 - On the terrace looking through the arbor toward the garden

2009 - One of the years Linderhof's garden was on tour -- we had a pond built
And a cat fountain installed
And we bought a water lily!

2020 - The pond surrounded by mature day lilies . . . and that little water lily
fills the pond!     And it's only half -- about five years ago, I divided it and shared it with a friend . . . 

Am I finished?
Is a gardener every really finished?

I'm planning fall bulbs to plant
putting in a raspberry patch
a small vegetable garden


You'll have to come back and see for yourself if I do it!