Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Cleaning

We are having guests this weekend, so I have been on a cleaning spree. There will be four of them requiring three bedrooms, so that means even the third floor needs to be spruced up. Our workout equipment is up there, as well as my sewing machine and ironing board. As I am in the middle of two quilt projects, to say the area is a mess is an understatement. Hopefully I won't run out of time before I run out of dust. Ahchoo!

September sky
The weather has been so beautiful lately. I know we need the rain, but I certainly would prefer to have weather like this for the weekend. If it isn't too hot or rainy, I would like to take our out of town family members to the botanical garden for the Best of Missouri Market. I know it will be crowded, but if we get there when they open Sunday morning it shouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately the trams won't be running, so we probably won't get too far into the garden itself.

Bonhomme Old Stone Church
Today I was invited to speak at the next meeting of my local chamber of commerce. The topic is the stl250cakes, and I will be on a panel with the former executive director of the stl250 organization. She will talk about the genesis of the Cakeway to the West, and I will talk about the cake hunt itself and the historical aspects of some of the locations. I will also put together a slide show of all of my cakes that I will just have running in the background. Amazingly, there are people who have no idea what the cakes are all about, so the pictures should help them get an idea of the magnitude of this undertaking. The icing on the cake at this meeting, pardon the pun, is the unveiling of a "rebel" cake. (Meaning one that was not sanctioned by the stl250 organization. There are several unofficial cakes throughout the St. Louis area.) It should be fun!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Deer in the Headlights

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
A few of my friends on Facebook have been posting photos of deer taken in Jefferson Barracks Park. Saturday was so beautiful that Jim and I drove down there in late afternoon since deer are more likely to feed at that time of the day. We were not prepared for the number of deer that we saw, particularly when we traveled through Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. There were numerous cars doing the same thing as us, and the deer were not afraid. They are apparently used to the gawkers coming through.

deer in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

It was a beautiful and peaceful drive through the cemetery but as the sun set, casting shadows over the graves, it was also a sobering reminder of all the men and women who have laid down their lives so that we remain free to travel along the paths of our choosing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Meet Me at the Fare

St. Louis World's Fare Heritage Festival and Games
This past weekend the 1st Annual St. Louis World's Fare Heritage Festival and Games was held in Forest Park. (Pet peeve - if it is the first year of an event, it cannot be referred to as "annual.") Billed as a celebration of St. Louis history, the event offered live music, demonstrations by artists, numerous food vendors, and educational displays. On Saturday, I worked from 2-6 p.m. in the stl250 booth, as they kindly shared it with the Cakeway to the West Facebook group. Our group was selling postcards (14 of which contain my cake photos!), cake related jewelry and t-shirts, and cake coloring pages that were drawn by the cake artists. We also sold raffle tickets for two paintings that were donated by cake artists. The proceeds from the booth are going towards funding of a book about the cakes that will be published next year.

stl250 booth
It was fun to work with the other cakers and the artists who showed up, but unfortunately the crowds were pretty sparse, at least on my shift. I haven't talked to anyone yet to see if things picked up during the evening or on Sunday. The weather was incredibly beautiful, and with people crowding into the zoo and golf courses, parking was an issue. Perhaps that scared folks away. I am not sure the publicity was all that great, and first time events are always a little tough anyway.

Sunday night we attended Chef's in a Garden, an evening benefiting Gateway Greening. Chefs from the St. Louis area prepare a special dish (small tasting, really) utilizing locally grown produce and other ingredients when they can. The event includes silent and oral auction items as well. With the money that is raised, Gateway Greening helps communities and schools in the St. Louis area establish gardens to grow their own produce and other plants. It was a fun event, and one that always pushes me to eat outside of my comfort zone. My favorite dish last night was a scallop, and I have never liked them before. And I may or may not have had a couple of alcoholic beverages made with added vegetables. That makes them healthy, right?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Walking in an Ancestor's Footprints

Claudia & me
Last week the great-granddaughter of Claude Morton, the man who built my house, stopped by to see me. She lives in California and was driving cross-country with a friend to deliver a car to her daughter on the east coast. She had contacted me because she wanted to take a photo of herself with the house, and to meet me as well. We have been emailing back and forth ever since she mailed me an old photo of my house along with the plans from a 1902 issue of Ladies Home Journal. (For more about that, check out this post on my house research blog.)

It was so much fun to show her around, pointing out the parts of the house that would have been the same when her grandmother Jessie (who was two at the time the home was built) was growing up. When we went upstairs, Claudia wondered aloud which bedroom might have belonged to her grandmother. And she smiled as she pictured Jessie running up and down the same hallway we were standing in. I knew exactly how she felt, as I had experienced the same thing when I visited the home in Germany last fall that was built by my ancestors in 1717. It is hard to describe what it is like to walk in an ancestor's footprints, but I will never forget the thrill. I may still have goosebumps from it!

While researching my house back in 2007, I met with Claudia's second cousin in Chicago to scan some photos and documents that she had. Claudia has never met Holly, so I showed her all items I had about her Morton family. She was amazed by what I have in my possession. I told her I also have her family tree in my genealogy program so I can keep track of who is who. I may not have Morton blood running through my veins, but they are my family nonetheless!

The Morton family circa 1913