RSS Feed

Category Archives: Pinterest

Delightful Stuff Board: “Pussyland”

“Our Pussies singing. Our Pussies Ringing. Our Pussies dancing. Our Sammy singing a Serious solo Song.”

“Pussyland” is one part of a series of children’s books sold in Australia as “Childland.” Published in 1906, there is a copy of “Pussyland” for sale online for about a hundred dollars. I am keeping the location secret in case I suddenly inherit a fortune from a distant relative.

People in 1906 liked to see cats looking like cats. Not for them the cute-tification of the small tiger, the backyard terror, the deadly pouncer upon mice and birds. The “Hello Kitty” line is among the most stylized and least catlike. We like ‘em cute and cartoony, but the Edwardians wanted their cats beasty and a little wild. The serious bell ringers, the maw-stretching singers, “Sammy” in his tux fur, and the little girl kittens spreading wide their skirts to trip the light fantastic claw have much more charm to my eye. Oh, I wish I could see the other 16 pages of this book with illustrations in both black and white and color. What are the other pussies doing? Driving cars? Cooking fish for dinner? I want to know!

How did “pussy” acquire its modern meaning, its link to something other than cats? My guess is that both have fur and people like to pet them — and that’s all I’m saying, folks!

Whence came “Pussyland?” Edward William Cole, who published and sold this little book at his “E. W. Book Arcade,” ran a business known as “the palace of the intellect.”

But it was much more fun than that.

Customers could ignore the books and choose to eat and drink, listen to bands playing, look at themselves in wall-to-wall mirrors and watch the antics of  live monkeys. There was a confectionary department where changing displays had oddities such as the toy hen that “laid” a tin of candy. Costumed jugglers entertained, exotic displays and installations pleased the eye – and this reputedly biggest bookstore on earth even had corners for readers to read books. It was the early Borders chain in hyper mode – the social center of Melbourne – and known far beyond Australia’s shores.

It was only a matter of time before Cole began to publish his own material, and “Pussyland” with its seriously purposeful cats and kittens is a most charming example. Sing, ring, dance, and solo on dear pussies – oh, please, won’t someone republish this little treasure?

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/delightful-stuff/

Interesting Reflections Board: Little Winter

Daffodils are blooming, the crocuses are delicate fading flags of purple and yellow, hyacinths and tulips are determinedly rising from the soil – spring is on its way.

 But I am here to remind you about Little Winter.

 Little Winter comes after you’ve relaxed and decided the cold weather is over. When woolens and flannels are packed into dresser drawers and piled on storage shelves for next autumn, Little Winter comes sneaking back. There you are with a choice of sleeveless tops, capri pants, and sandals to meet that three-inch field of frozen white flakes that surrounds your house and sends an icy breath through those newly placed window screens.

 But don’t curse Little Winter for it’s really a holiday time. The chance to wear that nice sweater you were keeping for a special occasion, to pull on your fabulous boots one last time. Don’t forget to cook some comforting shepherd’s pie and enjoy hot chocolate.

 For Little Winter only lasts about three days and then the world spins onward  into the hot weather.

 And when after several months of fun in the sun, long days, flowers and lightning bugs, when  the cold returns and you’re putting away your summer clothes, leave out a few of the best because – there’s always Little Summer.

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/interesting-reflections/

Christmas and December Board: Mistletoe Hairpin

A hairpin, a few pearls, and a gathered knot of green felt – what can they tell us about Christmas? A woman gets dressed and in her hair she perches this tiny ornament, guaranteeing an evening of appreciative laughter and maybe kisses!

Christmas is a holiday in which we become absorbed. All through December it works magic in every corner of life. There develops a perfect need for greenery on fireplace mantels and at the base of candlesticks and the smell of pine trees indoors is what we want. Bells jingle on doorknobs; gleams of gold and silver brighten everything, everywhere. Santa’s jolly face adorns our clothing, our gift bags, our houses, and more.

We change how we say hello and good-bye, for “Merry Christmas” means, “I am thinking of your Christmas Day and hoping your home will be a bower of good feeling and warmth.” We change what we eat in honor of Christmas. Family receipts come out to lengthen tradition with one more celebration. Cookie sheets are slid from lower cupboards so that reindeer, gingerbread men, stars, wreaths, bells, and symbols of Christmas will be sprinkled with red and green sugar and eaten with more pleasure than mere “ordinary time” cookies.

And, of course, there appears — small or large, highly colored or marble white, outdoors on the lawn or inside in a place of honor — the reason for the season, a scene of a woman and man rejoicing over a modest event, the birth of yet another baby, but this child surrounded by signs of the miraculous.

Its encompassing, energetic joy may be why Christmas is so resented. We become immersed in Christmas. It is a large holiday and properly celebrated it is everywhere. From store windows and spreads in national magazines to lawn crèches, neighborly charity, and hometown parades, Christmas creates a kindness and joy, a sharing that opens hearts and binds close those who love it.

What a powerful holiday it must when even lowly hairpins take on Christmas garb.

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/christmas-and-december/

Interesting Reflections Board: Billowing Lavender

This looks like Lavender itself billowing across water — sunset clouds spilled from the heavenly realm onto land and lake and leaving behind an icy sky bereft of color.

In Beverly Hills, near that winding way of tall palms whose image seems required in every L.A. movie, there is a set of parallel streets, each entirely planted with one species of trees. My first spring in Los Angeles, I stumbled upon the street of blooming Jacarandas. Standing edge to edge, they were as solidly lavender as this photo, ragged lavender spheres above a flawless lavender carpet of fallen petals. I got out of the car and stared, knowing that never again would I stand in such a landscape. The air was lavender, the reflections on my car, the glint on my glasses, even my thoughts shimmered with the vibrant presence of these Jacaranda blossoms.

It reminded me of that classic old cartoon where a tree stands in green and brown and suddenly the eraser end of an unseen artist’s pencil sweeps in and rubs away the green. A paintbrush applies – lavender – what more cartoon-like color is there? What color so seldom found in quantities in nature and certainly not on a tree?

Yet there I was in the midst of this natural miracle. And in this photograph I see that moment, something too beautiful to be examined.

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/interesting-reflections/

1870s Board: Those Cherry Stockings!

These stockings startled me.

With 1870s photos it is easy to emphasize “Victorian” decorum and forget color. All those ladies with heads held stiffly in vises to ensure a clear photograph were not wearing charcoal-grey gowns. And — apparently — they might not have been wearing modest black stockings on their “limbs.”

Imagine the flash of color when a woman lifted her heavy, restraining skirts to climb into a carriage. A pair of these flirty French stockings must have ruined – or confirmed – the reputation of many a “lady.”

My western novel is set in 1877 California, and when I revise it, I will give Faye Shelburne, my wealthy young widow, a pair of these wonderful stockings. She and her husband spent a few years in Europe. Of course she would have bought these in France. Fancying herself a rebel, Faye would risk them being seen.

This particular pair of “cherry-brights” is still tagged, which indicates to me that they were never sold, but put away as something too special to discard when their era of fashion was over. If they had been worn and still looked this good, I would guess a careful maid slipped a wooden “shaper” into them when they were wet so they would shrink to the right size.

The amount of work that clothes once required is unimaginable nowadays. I used to iron my blouses – no more! But if I had a chance to wear beautiful stockings such as these I might start hunting antique stores for some stocking shapers ….

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/1870s/

Orange — My Favorite Color Board: My First Pin, Orange Kitties!

Orange kitties are such a marvel. What made God and nature decide to move a few genes here and there and come up with cats who are so delightful? Orange kitties tend to be males and they also tend to be more intelligent than cats of other colors. It’s a mystery whether this is genetic or the result of the orange kits in a litter receiving more handling and coos of admiration from human cat lovers. The theory is that this “good stress” causes the little gingers’ brains to develop in more complex ways.

People everywhere seem to admire orange cats. In fact their appearance in the artwork of nations exactly follows the expansion of trade routes by ship. It seems that sailors liked to take a long a nice orange cat, then the cat either became a gift to an admirer at some port, or left behind its seed in the manner of sailors everywhere — and soon someone had a nice orange cat of their own to put into a painting.

The little orange fellows in this photo were just too dear not to pin. Look how deeply they sleep, completely relaxed together and secure and happy. And their little tabby coats remind me of stripey pajamas. Too dear for words!

http://pinterest.com/brendacious/orange-my-favorite-color/

Hello, Fellow Pinteresters!

I love Pinterest and spend a deal of time on the site.

My boards reflect me and my many, many interests. I try to make them as pleasing as they can be — I write my captions to interest and share information or just plain fun.

Because there is a method to my madness when it comes to Pinterest, I decided to start a blog to reflect on my boards, my subjects, and the rational, intuitive, impulsive, image-greedy, eye-delighted choices that end up being a little facet of the Pinterest Me on my boards.

I am going to try to share some images here and talk about them with you.

Hoping to make many new Pinterest friends — and learn about why you, too, are a Pinterester!