NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Vintage Style and Wise Words

Last weekend I went to Recraft and Relic craft fair which features vintage, upcycled and handmade items for sale.

Readers Digest Condensed books cut into letters-
also available on Etsy

I'm on a spending freeze because we put an offer in on a house in Newfoundland and now I'm pinching every penny for the downpayment I wasn't expecting to have to come up with until we sold our house next spring.


I just walked around seeing if inspiration struck for ideas for our new home.  I was really inspired by the above dresser converted into a bench; if I find a dresser that would work for this project at a garage sale next spring I will be having Wayne help me make one!


And I really enjoyed this trailer converted into a food stand, though not the cookie dough that I bought from them.



Other trailers were turned into little shops featuring handmade soaps or Christmas ornaments.


It would have been so easy to pick up a few things to buy but I restrained myself and just took photographs, telling myself that the pictures would inspire creativity at a later date.

This booth had black and white accents on everything

Here's a great idea, take sawn off wood pieces and toss them on the table as a centerpiece with scraps of paper and pinecones in a glass jar.


I already know that when we build our cabin in St. Leonard's that I want a few Wisconsin themed items to make any friends that come to visit feel at home.  I'm thinking a stencil on a piece of wood would provide all kinds of opportunity for creativity, though this metal cutout was very tempting.


I was also drawn to the booth of ceramic tile art that evoked that Prairie style feeling Frank Lloyd Wright is famous for.


And while I'm happy to be moving to Canada next year, I am still and will still be an American with questions in her heart about the future of democracy in this country.


Here is a quote from Steve Schmidt on the most recent episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher".

"Fascism did not rise in the 30's because it was strong, it rose because democracy was weak."  Wise words from a Republican, folks!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Milwaukee Gas Light Building

In my draft blog post clean-up efforts I now present Milwaukee's Gas Light Building!  I was holding on to this one because I kept hoping I'd be able to get inside but no luck with that yet, unfortunately.


Constructed in 1929, the Gas Light Building is a 20 floor Art Deco building designed by architects Eschweiler & Eschweiler.  Known for its flame on top, the Gas Light Building was used as a navigational tool by ships traveling along Lake Michigan, but is most recognized as a featured icon in weather forecasts


When the flame is red, it's warm weather ahead. 
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold. 
When the flame is blue, there's no change in view. 
When there's a flickering flame, expect snow or rain. 

They updated to LED lights 2 years ago, but it is costly to light the flame so it is only in operation for a few hours each evening.


It was also renovated in 2002, including this great reproduction of the original bronze sunburst above the entryway.



The flame was added in 1956 during a different renovation, meant tosymbolize a blue natural gas flame it was an effort to promote the expansion of natural gas for cooking, heating and industrial uses. It was designed with neon and argon gas tubing.

Monogram MGL for Milwaukee Gas Light etched in bronze

When the energy crisis hit in 1978, the government called for the curtailment of all non-essential lighting uses for conservation purposes. That included extinguishing of the weather flame atop the building.

Selfie alert!

The interior features intricate bronze metal work and green colored marble, which I was not able to view for myself.  Gotta get inside! Maybe next year or the year after I plan a return visit to Wisconsin during the week they do Doors Open Milwaukee, right?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Peeking Through the Gate of the Cable House

The Cable House is a Richardsonian Romanesque-style house built in 1886 for  Ransom Cable who was the president of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company.  It's one of the few mansions I stumbled across on my walk in Chicago last June.

Triple arch continues around the side of the entrance

The Cable House is currently occupied by the offices of Driehaus Capital Management, which is operated by Chicago financier, preservationist and philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus. I'll get into that a bit more at the end.


The exterior is constructed of  peach-pink Kasota stone, a sedimentary rock from the upper Midwest which glows warmly when lit by the sun. It's steep gabled roof sure wouldn't have had a problem with snow build-up!


A hundred years ago this mansion was surrounded by other mansions and not skyscrapers.  Ransom was the son of one wealthy man, Hiram C. Cable, and the nephew of another, Philander Cable, yet he started his working life as a railroad conductor. By the way, the word "philanderer" is a popular name for a lover in stories, drama, and poetry - it comes from the Greek adjective philandros.  You learn something new every day!


You can really see the pink tones in the stone above the fountain...if you can take your eyes off the lion heads long enough.


I got these photographs by sticking my iPhone through the bars of the gate that surrounds the property.  No visitors allowed, unfortunately.  Look at the lion head in the metal surrounding the window of the coach house and those gorgeous statues in the courtyard!


As I mentioned it is owned now by Driehaus Capital Management. The Richard H. Driehaus Museum is located across the intersection in the historic Edward J. Burling-designed Samuel M. Nickerson House at 40 E. Erie Street.  I'm hoping to go to Chicago soon to take a tour of this museum that explores the art, architecture, and design of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a focus on the Gilded Age.  They currently have an exhibit relating to the World's Fair of 1893...a passion of mine as you know if you've been following along for awhile!

Dickerson Mansion, home to the Driehaus Museum

I doubt the sun will be shining though, and the temperatures will be quite different as we are seeing winter weather here in the Midwest these days...

Back in Time

So take me away... I don't mind...


But you better promise me I'll be back in time!

See in Fond du Lac

And if that isn't a fun enough sighting for you, head over to the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts in Sheboygan.  Exhibits are always changing, and their latest is colorful to say the least.


While in Plymouth I spotted a mural I hadn't seen before, taking me back in time in a different way.

Painted by FranCisco Vargas

There are 25 murals to find, so not a surprise I may have missed a few. I see in the photo that there is a photograph of the original building front featuring the Plymouth Bottling Works sign. I didn't notice if the signage was still there, I'll have to look when I go through town again!


Friday, November 9, 2018

Tacoma Art Museum and Legendary Doughnuts

This post is from a trip to Seattle that I took with Cory last spring.

It used to be cupcakes and cookies but now I find myself searching out donut shops while on the road.  There were a few recommended for the Seattle/Tacoma area, but I chose Legendary Donuts in Tacoma.


It was a bit off the beaten path, but worth the journey.  Legendary donuts indeed!


From there it was on to the Tacoma Art Museum where I saw the coolest moose ever.

Eternal Vigilance, Sherry Markovitch

I really liked the space in this art museum, there were a lot of windows and I prefer natural light.


The painting below was done by Melissa Weinman and is titled Patron Saint of Vision.  At the time she was intrigued by the stories of the saints and how the gory forms of their martyrdom became the basis for their spiritual responsibilities.


Known as the patron saint of vision, part of Saint Lucy's torture was to have her eyes plucked out.  Yuck! Disturbing as the topic is, I did enjoy the painting with my long history of work in the optical field.


And it wouldn't be an art museum in Tacoma if it didn't include some work by Dale Chihuly, right?


Blown glass is one medium that actually benefits from a darker room with the objects spotlighted.


The museum has a good representation of Native art, and for me it's always interesting to contrast the Native work of the Pacific Northwest with the work of the Southwest or the Midwest.


Gregg Deal's painting Childlike Identity is a commentary on how the racist names of sports teams misrepresent native people.  There was a whole series on this topic that was very thought provoking.


Not all the art in Tacoma is indoors, keep your eyes open for the outdoor art as well.

Welcome Figure

This work above was done by Shaun Peterson, follow the link to read a great interview conducted by the art museum.  No more hidden posts about my trip to Seattle!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Celebratory Marshmallows

After I stumbled across a recipe for homemade marshmallows I dashed right out and bought a candy thermometer for the first time.


I was a bit intimidated by all the information in the recipe, but when I finally got down to it I was delighted to discover it was easier than it sounded. And what better way to spend the afternoon than making marshmallows that would be eaten either in celebration or consolation after the mid-terms?


After mixing up all that sugary goodness they had to "set" for some hours, and a little confectioner's sugar cuts down on the stickiness. Be prepared, I'm going to interrupt this delightfully fluffy post with a paragraph of politics next...


There was a lie going around that armed Black Panthers were campaigning for Stacey Abrams in her governor run in Georgia and roaming the streets intimidating voters.  The truth was that a small group from the Atlanta charter of the Black Panthers carried weapons while protesting voter suppression last weekend, days before the election. Some of them carried Stacey Abrams signs as is their right. The group said they were not officially represented by any party. No reports were made that they approached polling places or intimidated voters.  And yet there are multiple web pages claiming that the "story is real". Please folks, check your news sources and only believe reputable news outlets.  The websites I saw carrying this story when I googled it were not actual news outlets...unless you count Breitbart. Which I don't.

Lick it quick, it firms up fast!

And now some excellent news - Florida had 12 amendments on the ballot.  Twelve! A few passed and a few failed. One amendment gives voters the exclusive right to decide whether a new casino can open in the state. It takes that right away from the Florida Legislature, which has failed in recent years to reach an agreement on the issue.

After they were firm I cut off long slices with a knife
and then cut into cubes with a scissors.
Now I just need to make some homemade hot cocoa!

But the best amendment that passed in Florida was amendment 4 which restores voting rights to former felons who served their sentence, including parole and probation, with the exception of those convicted of murder and sexual offenses. Currently, former felons must wait at least 5 years after completing their sentences to ask the Florida Clemency Board, made up by the governor and the Cabinet, to restore their rights. Florida was one of four states whose constitution permanently disenfranchised citizens with past felony convictions and granted the governor the authority to restore voting rights according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The others are Kentucky and Iowa, where lifetime bars remain in place, and Virginia, where the governor has promised to restore voting rights on a rolling basis.

Marshmallows were DELICIOUS and so glad they were in celebration of all the great election news instead of in consolation! Recipe made 1.75 quart container full, and you need less than half of the confectioner sugar mixture to coat them than what the recipe says.  Next time I'll try to make flavored marshmallows, but first I need to make some hot cocoa to go with the ones I have!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

An Election Story - Rutherford Hayes Presidential Library


I visited the Rutherford Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio more than a year ago, and the post kept getting shuffled to the bottom of the pile due to the amount of research I usually put into these types of posts.  But with the election yesterday, I decided instead to do a little comparison on voting then versus voting today since a large part of the exhibit at the museum actually dealt with this issue.


But first let's take a moment to talk about the President's wife, Lucy Webb Hayes, who was born in Ohio in 1831.  She met her husband on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware and they were married in 1852 in Cincinnati.  They had 8 children, and Rutherford was influenced by Lucy's antislavery sentiments and she also supported his decision to volunteer for military service during the Civil War. She also assisted her brother, Dr. Joe Webb in caring for the sick during the war.  When her husband served in U.S. Congress and when he was Governor of Ohio she worked for the welfare of children and veterans.  As First Lady she regularly visited the National Deaf Mute College and the Hampton Institute where she sponsored a scholarship for an African American student. It was Lucy who started the tradition of the Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn!  She was the first First Lady who had received a college education and was the first wife of a U.S. President to be referred to as the First Lady.

Little active campaigninig? Go to work instead of rallies?

What I found most interesting at this particular presidential museum was the information on campaigning and elections.  I'll let you read the text in the pictures I took. Click on the photo to make it larger if you're having trouble reading it!

What's the secret there?

Nearly 82% of eligible voters turned out to vote? Doesn't that sound crazy? Normally in this country only 40% of eligible voters turn out for mid-term elections and maybe 50% for presidential elections according to an article from Forbes.  The 2016 election had a turnout of about 55%.  Still, 82% of Swedes voted in 2014 and 78% of South Koreans voted in 2017!

REPUBLICANS were concerned that blacks would be kept from polling places.

When I showed up to vote yesterday morning I had a chat with the fellow processing the Early Voter ballots.  Out of 3300 eligible voters in Twin Lakes over 700 submitted early ballots which they process right there at the polls on Election Day.  At 8:30 in the morning he said that meant that with the folks standing in line so far turnout was already higher than in 2016!

Strange to see an election map with blank spots! Those areas still just territories in 1876.

The election in 1876 was a close one, and we know how that turns out.  We had a close race for governor here in Wisconsin yesterday, so I waited until morning for the results.  With 99% of votes counted the Democrat Tony Evers is projected to have won over incumbent governor Scott Walker. There is talk in Walker's campaign of a recount, but an unofficial tally had Evers winning by 1.1 percentage points - a margin that would be too large for a recount if it held according to news reports.

Hayes name not even on the ballot?? Talk about election interference!

Black voter turnout was a problem in Milwaukee in 2016, dropping by about 20%,  and was one of the pieces of the puzzle that allowed Trump to win. Some think that no matter the politicians on the ballot, their vote won't make a difference. Many are confused by the Voter ID law that Governor Scott Walker put into effect. They think you need a voter ID card instead of just a drivers license or other state ID.

Though the 15th amendment gave them the right
to vote, African Americans had difficulty doing so

As a matter of fact, when Katrina went to vote in Waukesha she presented a paper photo ID card from the DMV because she is waiting for her new drivers license to come in the mail.  And her poll worker didn't believe it was legal ID even though it stated right on the card legal ID for voting. Luckily Katrina stood her ground and they found someone to confirm its authenticity.


A special congressional commission decided the outcome of the election of 1876. I'm sure we will be hearing lots of conspiracy theories over some of the election results in the days ahead.  It makes me tired.

Another gentleman told me that once he stood in line to vote for an hour just to get to the front of the line and be told he was at the wrong polling place.  How often does that happen in the larger cities? How often do those folks bother going to the proper polling place and standing in line again? Why don't we have someone at the end of the line double checking that people are in the right place before making them wait? Or put up some sort of signage helping people determine if the polling place serves their district?  Couldn't they put up a big map?  Ah, but then it would be obvious how weirdly drawn the districts are?

Women get the right to vote in 1920

In 1876 women did not have the right to vote.  In these crucial mid-terms it is estimated that 52% of the voters were women! And now more than 100 women will be serving in the House of Representatives! Still not even 20% of the representatives are women...but we're getting there. Though women could not vote during the election of 1876, President Hayes did sign a bill that allowed women attorneys to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Nearly 2.7 million people voted in Wisconsin, according to unofficial returns from the Associated Press, in an election that saw Democrats win a narrow victory for governor and a bigger one for US Senate. That is easily the most ever votes cast in a mid-term election in Wisconsin. It is also higher than the 2,516,065 that voted in the 2012 recall election for governor. Based on state population estimates from earlier this year, turnout was equal to almost 60 percent of the voting-age population. (source: Journal Sentinel)  Are the young finally voting? I hope so!


President Hayes had to resolve governor races in South Carolina and Louisiana, using troops of soldiers for a time to keep the peace. Speaking of law enforcement, former federal prosecutor Democrat Josh Kaul appears to have defeated Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel in a very tight race also! Democrats did well in Wisconsin! 


Shocking that white leaders in the south didn't keep their promises to treat blacks equal under the law in 1876?  In nearby Milwaukee the black community still is denied equal economic and educational opportunities, not to mention they have to fear for their safety from the police who should be on their side helping to make their communities safe. My daughter tells me a lot from her experience with Girl Scouts and from her contacts in the domestic violence community.  It's heartbreaking.                 


Frederick Douglass was appointed U.S. Marshal by President Hayes! I guess President Trump never visited this museum or he would have known that he was dead, right?  Sorry, I couldn't help myself!  You have to laugh so you don't cry sometimes.


President Hayes faced numerous major issues, including the end of Reconstruction and its aftermath, and the plight of American Indians. His major concerns were civil service reform, returning the nation’s currency to a gold standard, and education.  In 1880 there was a push to bar Chinese immigration to the United States and after Hayes was gone Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  Sound familiar?  These museums always alarm me by pointing out how the issues seem to never change very much.


Before he took office, Hayes publicly said he would only serve one term, and he returned to his home in Spiegel Grove after completing his term. The museum is located there, and is not all about the issues during his time in office. You can also see artifacts such as Abraham lincoln's slippers, their White House china, their daughter Fanny's elaborate dollhouses, information and artifacts related to the Civil War, and George Washington's ring.  The admission price includes the home so you can also visit that if you like but I did not have the time.


I'll end with a fun fact: while Rutherford Hayes was President the White House was home to a menagerie of their pets which included a mockingbird, 2 dogs, a goat and the nation's first Siamese cat!  I'm hoping to add a few presidential sites to my tally when we head east next summer, specifically JFK in Boston, John Adams in Quincy, and FDR in Hyde Park, New York.  I'll have to sneak away from the "moving to Canada" caravan to do it.  Our caravan of immigrants isn't scary either, I hope we won't have any trouble at the border.

Hope everyone survived the mid-terms with their sanity intact!