Monday, November 7, 2016

Capitola's Election Special

We're back with the Rare Reads Book Club and Capitola. For those of you who don't know what we're talking about, catch up here and here.

In the meantime, it's Chapter 2 and once again we are starting in the middle of a story with a bunch of new people we know nothing about.

It begins with somebody named Old Hurricane raging that another guy named Black Donald has tricked him by disguising himself and freeing some prisoners. Hurricane is furious! Mad at himself and everyone around him who didn't recognize the dastardly Donald.

"I've coddled him up with negusses! I've pampered him up with possets and put him to sleep in my own bed!" cries Old Hurricane.

Sounds pretty serious! What in the heck are negusses and possets anyway? cried Stephanie.

Google to the rescue. A quick search of the word negus brought up two definitions. The first is a king, specifically the title of a sovereign of Ethiopia. That revelation brought me to a very interesting article on the origin of the word negus and its use in modern-day music, but after reading that article, I figured that the second definition was probably the one that E.D.E.N. Southworth meant here. A hot drink of port, sugar, lemon, and spices.

A little more searching, and guess what. There are a few recipes for negusses floating around the Internet, like this one from Jane Austen's Cookbook and this other one from Esquire magazine. It was invented, according to the Esquire article, by Colonel Francis Negus in the early 1700s, and, since it is served warm, makes a dandy mid-winter drink.

Posset, it turns out, is another kind of drink--a drink made of hot milk curdled with booze and typically flavored with spices--which sounds kind of ewwww until I realized that pretty much describes Bailey's, Kahlua, and Rumchata.

Interesting tidbit, according to the website,, a posset was served in a posset pot that had this little pipe sticking out of it. Once set, a posset settled into three layers. The top layer was the foam on the top. People called it the grace, and they ate it with a spoon. The middle turned into a spicy custard, also consumed with a spoon. The grace and the custard sat on top of the boozy stuff at the bottom that you sucked out of the posset pot through the pipe.

So Old Hurricane went to the trouble of concocting a dish like that for Black Donald and then Donald turned around and tricked him? No wonder Hurricane was ticked.

In the middle of this tirade, we read:
"'Uncle!' said Capitola."

Hey, we finally meet our heroine--at least I think she's going to be our heroine. And she's Old Hurricane's niece. The pieces are starting to fall into place. But her interjection doesn't stop her uncle from continuing to rant--this one for your election enjoyment:

" the very next convention of our party I'll nominate him to represent us in the National Congress; for, of all the fools that ever I have met in my life the people of this county are the greatest! And fools should at least be represented by one clever man--and Black Donald is the very fellow! He is decidedly the ablest man in this congressional district."

Finally, the party breaks up and Hurricane--whose real name is apparently Major Warfield--goes out to take care of his animals and that's when a servant tells him about the beautiful young girl who has been brought to the nearby Hidden House.

"She had better be dead than in the power of that atrocious villain and consummate hypocrite!" the Major rails. So Colonel Lenoir's reputation precedes him.

The chapter ends with Capitola also finding out from her servant, Pitapat, that there is a new neighbor at Hidden House. Capitola immediately decides to arrange a visit to the consternation of poor Pat, who has been told by Major Warfiled not to spill the beans about the new next door beauty.

"Now why doesn't he wish me to call there? I shall have to go in order to find out, and so I will," thought Cap.

I think I'm gonna like this chick.

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Fall Fair Time

It's time for The Woodlands Fall Market and Fair, October 22 from 9 am-4 pm at Christ Church United Methodist Church.

I'm busy getting boxes filled and my truck packed, so these quick snaps with my iPhone (and lots of reflection in glass) are going to have to do.

Come to the Market to check out some of my new adventures in iris folding!

Or my new line of Fashion Statements...

Or maybe you need a turkey. 

See you there. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Rare Reads Book Club: Where's Capitola?

Here we go. Book Club post #1!

So I opened my copy of Capitola's Peril and began to read:

"At nine o'clock the next morning Traverse went to the library to keep his tryst with Colonel LeNoir."

That, my friends, is how you start a sequel! No dilly-dallying with those who haven't read the first book. If you're going to read this book, then you better know what happened on the last page of the first book.

But even if you didn't read the first book, you can't help but be drawn in by the drama on the very first page of this one, right? Some guy named Traverse tells this Colonel LeNoir that a lady named Clara Day is staying at her childhood home with her old companion, Marah Rocke, based on the deathbed wishes of Clara's father. LeNoir accuses Traverse of wanting to keep the heiress for himself—ah! she's an heiress—and that maybe he isn't being totally truthful. To which Traverse says how dare you, and LeNoir says how dare you back.

At which point I'm asking myself, wait, isn't this supposed to be about someone named Capitola?

So then comes the reading of the dead father's will and when nothing is included about Clara staying put, LeNoir says ok, she's coming with me to my place called (cue ominous music: dun dun dun) Hidden House. And then the doctor that brought the will to the house says now wait a minute, I was there when the good man died, and and I testify that he wanted his daughter to stay with Mrs Rocke PLUS did you know that Clara and Traverse are engaged and the recently deceased daddy knew and approved? But LeNoir (cue maniacal laughter) says she ain't staying and she sure ain't getting married; she's coming with me.

Then Traverse Rocke (oh yeah, I forgot the part where we find out that Traverse is Marah Rocke's son) says not so fast, I'm going to take this to Orphan Court in the morning. So the next morning everyone heads to Orphan Court, and after 3 hours the judge sides with Colonel LeNoir. Gasp! After a tearful goodbye and a pledge to stay faithful, Traverse and Clara split, and LeNoir deposits Clara into his carriage and takes off. Despondent Mrs Rocke heads back to her cabin, and heartbroken Traverse takes off to bide his time in the West.

And holy schmoley that is just Chapter One!

Well-known fact (and if you didn't know it before, you know it now): The author E.D.E.N. Southworth was known for her sensational plots.
Lesser-known fact: Her contemporary, Louisa May Alcott, made fun of Southworth for that very thing in her book, Little Women. Check this out from Chapter 27, where we find Jo stealing a look at a newspaper held by a boy sitting next to her.
Pausing to turn a page, the lad saw her looking and, with boyish good nature offered half his paper, saying bluntly, "Want to read it? That's a first-rate story." 
Jo accepted it with a smile, for she had never outgrown her liking for lads, and soon found herself involved in the usual labyrinth of love, mystery, and murder, for the story belonged to that class of light literature in which the passions have a holiday, and when the author's invention fails, a grand catastrophe clears the stage of one half the dramatis personae, leaving the other half to exult over their downfall. 
"Prime, isn't it?" asked the boy, as her eye went down the last paragraph of her portion. 
"I think you and I could do as well as that if we tried," returned Jo, amused at his admiration of the trash. 
"I should think I was a pretty lucky chap if I could. She makes a good living out of such stories, they say;" And he pointed to the name of Mrs. S.L.A.N.G. Northbury, under the title of the tale.
"Do you know her?" asked Jo, with sudden interest.
"No, but I read all her pieces, and I know a fellow who works in the office where this paper is printed."
"Do you say she makes a good living out of stories like this?" And Jo looked more respectfully at the agitated group and thickly sprinkled exclamation points that adorned the page.
"Guess she does! She knows just what folks like, and gets paid well for writing it."
Here the lecture began, but Jo heard very little of it, for while Professor Sands was prosing away about Belzoni, Cheops, scarabei, and hieroglyphics, she was covertly taking down the address of the paper, and boldly resolving to try for the hundred-dollar prize offered in its columns for a sensational story. By the time the lecture ended and the audience awoke, she had built up a splendid fortune for herself (not the first founded on paper), and was already deep in the concoction of her story, being unable to decide whether the duel should come before the elopement or after the murder. 
Trash? S.L.A.N.G. Northbury? Thickly sprinkled exclamation points!?!?!

But I have to confess that "being unable to decide whether the duel should come before the elopement or after the murder" cracked me up. (Should the Orphan Court come before or after the reading of the will?)

Don't you love being in on the joke?

Anyway, we're on to more fun next time.  If you haven't started reading yet, download your copy here. Here's a preview: Capitola actually shows up in Chapter 2!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet Capitola

One of the best parts about having a business based on old books is that I have an excellent excuse to visit estate sales on the weekends. When Captain America raises his eyebrows, I just say, “Hey, it’s for Reading with Scissors. I have to, because you know, I’m making you rich one art project at a time.” Sometimes that even works!

So it was the other day when I found myself way out in the country in someone’s house searching for books. I always hope to find sales that have big walls of books, but this one wasn’t like that. The owners had books scattered throughout the house--a shelf of books here and another shelf of books there. However, when I got to the living room I finally saw a big shelf of books…with an even bigger man standing in front of it. I stood over his shoulder for a bit, watching him carefully open each book, thumb through all the pages, close it up, put it back, take the next book off the shelf. It was obviously going to be a while.

That’s when I turned around and saw another small shelf near the door I came in. Many of the books on this shelf were decidedly older than anything I would cut up. First I grabbed this 1935 jewel about fellow Oklahoman, Will Rogers.

And then I found this one, The Spirit of the Border, by Zane Grey, published in 1906. Is that an awesome cover or what?

But then I saw this one, and I had to have it.

I mean, c’mon, isn’t that a great title? Capitola’s Peril! And if that’s her on the front cover, I figured the peril had to be from that big ole scarf around her neck that was causing her to walk around with an s-shaped spine! She’s so bent over, her bosom is even with her elbow. Girlfriend, I can relate!

The title page held even more intrigue…

First, this isn’t the first the world had heard of Capitola. It’s a sequel!

Second, E.D.E.N. Southworth – What kind of initials are those?

I had to go check it out. A Wikipedia search later and I had my answer. The author’s full name is Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth, and according to the article, she was the most popular American novelist of her day. And her day included Hawthorne, Melville, Alcott, Twain, and James. So there.

Why hadn’t I ever heard of her before? And what made her so popular?

That’s when I got the idea that I should actually read Capitola’s Peril. The problem was the pages in the book, while in fairly good shape, are still pretty brittle. I was afraid that they could end up disintegrating in my hand.

Kindle to the rescue! Capitola’s Peril is available on Amazon—for free!

So wanna read along? Download it on your gadget and join the first selection of the Reading With Scissors Rare Reads Book Club. And sign up for my newsletter so you can keep up with all the fun.

Here's some chocolate and some wine to set the mood. Now get going!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

C-man turns 1!

I am going only a little crazy getting ready for Shop 'Til You Drop on Sep 10. I've been cutting and folding and coloring and painting and...whose idea was this anyway?

So with all this to do, what did I do this weekend? Threw a party, of course. Cause who wouldn't want to throw a party for this guy? C-man turned one!

And my Silhouette machine went nuts in the process. We had a baseball theme with hamburgers and hot dogs in the concessions area. (Check out that spiffy banner.) 

And then here were bags of peanuts and bubbles for party favors with fancy-dancy Silhouette cut bag toppers. 

C-man's aunt Stephanie made the cutest banner for the front of the high chair.

Stephanie works for the Texas Rangers, and she got an authenticated ball from an Astros/Rangers game to serve as a guest book.

There were the baseball cupcakes for the crowd.

And, of course, there was one moment of pure panic. Seconds before the smash cake made its debut, the "1 candle" fell and broke into two pieces.  

It took two grandmas, a grandpa and some special work with a Bic lighter to put it back together and get it to C-man in time for the song. I think the parents were none the wiser until they read this story. Surprise!!

C-man didn't seem to mind. In fact, I'm not sure he even noticed a candle. Two-fisted cake eating--that's what I'm talking about.

Now it's time to get back to folding and cutting and drawing and coloring and...all-around getting ready. Sep 10 will be here soon! Get ready! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It's not even September yet, so what the heck??

Less than three weeks until I'm at the Shop Til You Drop craft show in Cypress, TX. So you know what that means...

It's time to pull out the Halloween merch.

Less than three weeks and I'm pretty sure I'm way behind the getting ready curve. That's...

 Wait. Did you say Scary and Creepy? I think I dated that guy in college!

This is one of my favorites. C'mon, it's Halloween. It's funny, and...'s made out of a Twilight book. Get it?

Speaking of getting it, click any of these pictures to buy a book. Oh, and one last chance to get on my email list to get the inaugural issue. It'll be worth your while. Promise. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Things that make you go unhhhhh

You know how I get addicted to things? Right now I'm kinda addicted to markers. I bought a big box of them.

And then I bought another big box of them.

I even downloaded a color chart so I could track all the markers that I have...and now I can buy the ones I'm missing. Because that's what addicts do. Or people with OCD. Or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, here's one of the things I've been using them for.

I call them Booktangles, which is a mashup between books and Zentangle. I've been having fun finding pages with just the right words on them. 

Like this one. 

Doesn't this little three line novel just make you want to go unhhhhh? (Is that how do you spell unhhhhh? That sound you make when you just barely moan because it hurts too much to really moan?)

Unrequited love. It'll do that to you.

Here's a brighter one. 

In spirit and in color.

You could put this one on your desk to remind you that your mother was right. You are a genius. 

Booklovers love Booktangles. They make them go unhhhhh. Promise.

Click one and see.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Did You See My New Stuff?

Notice anything different around here? Like maybe everything?

Yep, I decided it was time for a little spruce up at Reading with Scissors so check out that fancy-dancy new banner up there.

Or check out the new design on my Etsy shop...or ask me for a new business card...or have you seen my new packing slips? 

I'd like to take credit for how ultra cool it all looks, but that honor goes to my friend, Paula. That's her below in the blue shirt. The one without the mustache.

Paula and I work together in Cube City with Chris (the one with the mustache) and Jasmine. Twice a day we get out of our chairs, circle the campus, and try to get some steps in. On one of those trips, I told Paula that I was thinking about rebranding Reading with Scissors, and Paula told me rebranding stuff was one of her best things. Match made in heaven!

I wanted to make her a special book for all the work that she had done for me. When I asked her what word she would like, she said...

Good choice! One of my favorite words, too.

I really like the way it turned out. Not only because it's one of those "round letter words" that looks so pretty in script, but also because I like the impressionist painting that covers the end papers.

It's a roiling sea--just like most of life these days--but in the midst of it: Grace.

If you would like to give the gift of Grace to a friend, you can order one by clicking here. And BONUS! You'll get to see Paula's work on the packing slip, too!

But wait, there's more! Click here to sign up for the Reading with Scissors newsletter. It'll be lots of fun including behind the scenes looks at what's going on in the studio and what's happening in my car--which is where most of my good ideas are born.  AND more Paula banners! Don't be left out. Sign up now. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bo Does Mountains

You know the way I love books? Well, that's the way Captain America likes airplanes. He can't get enough of them.

And that's how we got the newest addition to our family.

Meet Bo. Short for Bonanza F33a.

Isn't he a beauty? And the plane ain't half bad either!

Captain America traded in our first plane and brought Bo home a couple of months ago. We've already taken him a few places, but this weekend we decided to go on our longest trip yet--to the mountains of Colorado.

Those of you who regularly fly the friendly skies in one of those big jet airliners at 35,000 feet don't know what you're missing at 13,000 feet.

That scenery right below your toes!

Another thing you're missing in an airliner is wearing an oxygen mask. It's a necessity when you're flying high in an unpressurized plane like Bo. Here I am modeling the latest in tube technology and looking remarkably like someone's grandma. Oh wait, I am someone's grandma!

Our first full day was spent in the quaint old mining town of Creede, known primarily as the place where the Coward Robert Ford was gunned down, which I'm pretty sure puts me at one degree of separation from Brad Pitt. So there's that.

The next day we went to Williams Creek Reservoir in the San Juan National Forest. 

In Houston the temperature that day was 96 degrees and 94% humidity. (That is not a typo.)
At Williams Creek Reservoir that day it was about 78 degrees and 11% humidity. 

That's why we are smiling in this picture.

It was such a pretty Colorado weekend, one morning I sat out on the porch and before I knew it, I had made this! After I decorate the endpapers, it will be ready for your Christmas decor. 

Wait, what? Christmas already?

Yes! I'm pleased to announce that on September 10th, Reading With Scissors will be at the Shop 'til You Drop Marketplace, so I'm already making holiday products. I'll be featuring some of them here over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

Speaking of staying tuned, one of the easiest ways to find out what's going on is to sign up for my new email list. The first email will be coming out shortly. There's a sign-up form on this page, so go ahead and don't miss out! There will be goodies. Just saying.