Saturday, March 31

Shogun Addie

Momma certainly has an interesting family with a wide variety of interests.

Tonight, Momma's brother (he refuses to be called my uncle) showed us the first nine kata in his Iaidō training.

Iaidō is a modern Japanese martial art associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard, striking or cutting motions, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard.

Iaidō literally translates as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction." Iaidō is a product of Japan’s 17th and 18th century Edo-period, more commonly known as the Shōgun era.

Iaidō students may start learning with a wooden bokken, many (like Momma's brother) use a blunt-edged iaito. More experienced Iaidō practitioners use a sharp-edged shinken.

Iaidō is practiced with a weapon, it is almost entirely practiced using forms called a kata, Japanese word describing detailed choreographed movements.

Iaidō, solo kata using the Japanese sword (katana) comprises almost all of its training. Because of this non-fighting aspect, and Iaidō's emphasis on precise, controlled, fluid motion, it is sometimes referred to as "moving Zen."

Momma doesn't trust me with a katana (yet) but she said she'd get me these chopsticks to practice with.

They'll look fine next to my light saber.

Just think, I could be the next Date Masamune. He was known as dokuganryū, the one-eyed dragon, due to his outstanding tactical skills and (more notably) his missing eye. Masamune's army was instantly recognizable by their black armor and golden head gear.

Piece of cake

chocolate cake by Pippaloo

Momma was sorting her recipe file box this morning (which my Big Sister dumped out several years ago) and came across this chocolate cake recipe she says is "an old family recipe from the Civil War."

Silly Momma. Doesn't she know that the Civil War is going on right now?

What she says is unusual about the recipe is the use of vinegar and baking soda to create a leavening agent, a substance used in doughs and batters that causes a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product.

Early chemical leavening was accomplished by activating baking soda in the presence of liquid(s) and an acid such as sour milk, vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar. These acidulants all react with baking soda quickly, meaning that retention of gas bubbles was dependent on batter viscosity and that it was critical for the batter to be baked before the gas escaped.

The development of baking powder created a system where the gas-producing reactions could be delayed until needed. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture.

While various baking powders (sold in separate packets) were sold in the first half of the 19th century, your modern varieties were discovered in 1843 by Alfred Bird.

Joseph and Cornelius Hoagland developed a baking powder after the American Civil War that became known as Royal Baking Powder. The small company eventually moved to New York in the 1890s and became the largest manufacturer of baking powder.

Eben Norton Horsford began his studies on baking powder in 1856 and by 1869 Horsford began the manufacture of a baking powder he named in honor of Count Rumford.

(Rumford Baking Powder was designated an ACS National Historical Chemical Landmark in 2006 in recognition of its significance for making baking "easier, quicker, and more reliable.")

Enough science. Here's the recipe for Momma's prize-winning chocolate cake.

Momma's Civil War Cake

  • ½ C. shortening 
  • 1½ C. sugar 
  • 1 C. sour milk 
  • 2 C. sifted flour 
  • 2 squares baking chocolate (or 4 T. unsweetened cocoa mixed into a paste with water) 
  • ½ t. salt 
  • 1 t. vanilla 
  • 1 T. vinegar 
  • 1 t. baking soda 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream shortening, add sugar, mix. Add one egg, unbeaten, then the other. Beat two minutes. Sift salt and flour together, add alternately with sour milk, then melted chocolate or cocoa paste; last add baking soda dissolved in vinegar (kids love this part!), mix well. Put mixture in a greased or wax-paper lined 9"x13" pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Let it cool, frost, and serve!

(Doesn't "Baking soda and vinegar!" make a magnificent expletive?!) And it's very descriptive, too.

Friday, March 30

Close, but no cigar

I have decided what to do with the lovely cigar box the Artificer of my Dreams packed my goggles and brass rose in.

It will become my writing desk.

My Dear Friend Betsy Ray stores her stories in a cigar box at the beginning of Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace.

"The perch in the maple tree was Betsy's private office. Here she thought out stories and poems and wrote them down. Here she kept what she had written in the cigar box that her mother had given her and Tacy had helped her nail to its present place."

She later uses her uncle's theatrical trunk for her desk, but she never forgets her humble cigar box.

I figure if Betsy can create stories with a cigar box and a theatrical trunk, I can do no less with my cigar box. After all, it's Illuminati which is the plural of Latin illuminatus, "enlightened."

(Plus, it's a handy place for this Perfectly Awful Girl to store my pipe, cuspidor, rum and absinthe.)

Welcome to the Ether Dome

Oh, excuse me. You caught me hard at work in my laboratory.

Did you know ether anesthesia was used for the first time on March 30, 1842 in an operation by American surgeon Dr. Crawford Long.

William T.G. Morton participated in a public demonstration of ether anesthesia on Oct. 16, 1846 at the Ether Dome in Boston, Mass. (
Because of its associations with Boston, the use of ether became known as the "Yankee Dodge.")

However, Long known to have demonstrated its use privately as a surgical anesthetic to Georgia officials as early as March 30, 1842, and publicly demonstrated its use as a surgical anesthetic on numerous occasions before 1846.

British doctors widely prescribed ether as an anesthetic as early as 1840.

Today, ether is rarely used since it was found to have many undesirable side effects, such as post-anesthetic nausea and vomiting.

Thursday, March 29

The goggle ogle defense

gog·gle noun, verb, adjective

1. goggles,

  • large spectacles equipped with special lenses, protective rims, etc., to prevent injury to the eyes fromstrong wind, flying objects, blinding light, etc.
  • spectacles designed for a special purpose, as night-vision or stereoscopic goggles.
  • Informal . glasses, or eyeglasses: I can't see a thing withoutmy goggles. Synonyms: specs, shades.
2. a bulging or wide-open look of the eyes; stare.

verb (used without object)
3. to stare with bulging or wide-open eyes. Synonyms: gape, ogle, gawk, gawp, glare.
4. (of the eyes) to bulge and be wide open in a stare.
5. to roll the eyes.
6. (of the eyes) to roll.
7. Informal. to spearfish.

verb (used with object)
8. to roll (the eyes).

9. (of the eyes) rolling, bulging, or staring.

1350–1400; Middle English gogelen to look aside; compare agog

Related forms
un·gog·gled, adjective

Can be confused: goggle, Google, googol.

My wild American rose

Look at what the Artificer of my Dreams made for me!

An "American Beauty" is a hybrid perpetual rose, bred in France in 1875, and originally named "Madame Ferdinand Jamin." The cup-shaped flowers, which are deep pink and strongly scented, appear in flushes over a long period.

It was introduced in the United States in 1875 by George Valentine Nash. In 1888, Basset & Washburn first introduced the rose to other florists for purchase. It was the best selling variety of rose in the United States until 1920.

The flower makes repeated appearances in the 1999 film American Beauty.

It is also the official flower of the District of Columbia.

Snail mail

It's not really snail mail since my new goggles are coming from Michigan, but it sure feels like it!

I'm awaiting the mail carrier anxiously, using both my telescope and binoculars alternately.

Do you think he will be surprised to find me ready and waiting?

The African American Queen

I got a long-awaited Little Sister yesterday!

No, not that kind of Little Sister!

Momma ordered a dark tan BonBon (CAUTION: doll nudity!) more than a year ago, but some of life's mysteries got in the way so she didn't arrive until now.

BonBon and (and her sister Coco) are full-figured tinies by The Sleeping Elf Ltd. They have a mature body and face and are less than six inches tall. Their bodies are identical, but their face sculpts are different.

BonBon has a strong jawline, and dimples (like my Big Sister!), and Coco's features are of African descent and an oval-shaped face. Both are known as ball-jointed dolls.

A BJD is any doll that is articulated with ball and socket joints. It usually refers to modern Asian ball-jointed dolls cast in polyurethane synthetic resin (a hard, dense plastic) and the parts strung together with a thick elastic. They are predominantly produced in Japan, South Korea and China.

The BJD style has been described as both realistic and influenced by anime. They commonly range in size from about 24 inches for the larger dolls, 16 inches for the mini dolls, and all the way down to four inches or so for the tiniest of the tiny BJDs.

BJDs are primarily intended for adult collectors and customizers. They are easy to customize by painting, changing the eyes and wig, and so forth.

I sure hope Coco can come live with us someday, too.

Wednesday, March 28

Peeps show

Momma has loved Peeps since her grandfather brought her a box of traditional yellow Peeps and a 64-count box of Crayola Crayons as a child in the '60s.

Momma contacts Just Born every year beseeching them to make a vegetarian version since she won't eat items containing gelatin. In the meantime, she looks at the Peeps contest in the Washington Post every year.

So what are Momma's favorite Easter candies?


Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pa., by Russian immigrant Sam Born. Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company i
n 1953 and replaced the time-consuming process of hand-forming the chicks with mass production.

In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a Marshmallow Peep. Today it takes six minutes. The yellow chicks were the original but the company has since introduced other colors and shapes.

Jelly beans

Turkish Delight, a Middle Eastern candy made of soft jelly, covered in confectioner's powder, was an early precursor of the jelly bean. However, it is generally thought that jelly beans first surfaced in 1861 when Boston confectioner William Schrafft urged people to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the American Civil War.

It wasn't until July 5, 1905 that jelly beans was mentioned in the Chicago Daily News. The advertisement publicized bulk jelly beans sold by volume for nine cents per pound, according to The Century in Food: America's Fads and Favorites. Most historians think that jelly beans became associated with Easter in the 1930s.

Cadbury Creme Eggs

A Cadbury Creme Egg is an egg-shaped candy which consists of a thick milk chocolate shell, housing a white and yellow fondant filling which mimics the white and yolk of a real egg. While filled eggs were first manufactured by the Cadbury Brothers in 1923, the Creme Egg in its current form was not introduced until 1963. Initially sold as "Fry's Creme Eggs," they were rebranded as "Cadbury Creme Eggs" in 1971.

When Grandmomma was in London in 2003, she had her photo taken in front of a Cadbury Egg vending machine!

Chocolate bunny

Momma's not too picky about her milk chocolate bunny, but it must be solid not hollow.

Tuesday, March 27

The shirtwaist off your back

Reading the penny-dreadful inspired by the Artificer of my Dreams steampunk goggles reminded me that Sunday was the 101st anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of New York City and the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

(The PS General Slocum was a passenger steamboat that caught fire on June 15, 1904 and sank in New York's East River. At the time of the accident she was on a chartered run carrying members of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church to a church picnic. An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died.)

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23; the oldest victim was 48, the youngest were two 14-year-old girls.

Because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks – many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the upper floors to the streets below.

Know what really steams me? The company's owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, who survived the fire by fleeing to the building's roof when the fire began, were indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in mid-April.

The jury acquitted the two men, but they lost a subsequent civil suit in 1913 and fined about $100,000 in damages from the fire but were paid $160,000 by their insurance companies to recover it. (Blanck was arrested again in 1913 for locking his factory door during working hours. He was fined $20.)

The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

So please say a silent word of thanks the next time you put on a blouse made in a factory. People have died for the shirt on your back.

Good golly Miss Molly

photo courtesy of Artificer Made
I have found the Artificer* of my Dreams!

Imagine my delight when I spotted these steampunk goggles for American Girl dolls by Artificer Made.

After first making goggles for a cat Christopher Bright decided to try making some for a doll, and voila!

These are sized to fit an American Girl Doll and designed to be just as rugged as any original accessory. The goggles will, of course, fit any similarly sized doll as well as a cat or small dog. Fitting to anything other than an American Girl doll may involve a little more tweaking to get everything just right but there is an expansion spring on the back of the strap that allows for a little flexibility.

You can read more about these goggles, including a video and lurid penny-dreadful story, at his blog:

And you thought I was crazy. Goggles for cats!

*An artificer is a skilled person who makes artifacts.

Monday, March 26

Wee Wii whee all the way home

My wee Wii remote is poised and ready.

"Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" finds Mickey Mouse back in Wasteland, a twisted take on Disneyland filled with forgotten characters and theme park attractions. Mickey will return to a few places he visited during his first trip, but earthquakes and other disasters have changed their appearance and he might explore previously unseen Wasteland realms.

"Epic Mickey" was a Wii game that sent Mickey Mouse on a journey of creativity and discovery. As Mickey, the player was propelled into Wasteland, an alternate world made up of Disney’s forgotten creative efforts, and was given the power to wield paint and paint thinner to dynamically change the world while determining Mickey’s path to becoming an epic hero.

"Epic Mickey" had a respectable but not spectacular debut when Disney released it two years ago. Despite its original homage to silent cartoons, the characters will speak in "Epic Mickey 2."

That includes Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the zany predecessor to Mickey Mouse lost in a 1928 contract dispute. Oswald, who never uttered a word in a Disney cartoon, returned to Disney's control in 2006 and had a starring role in the "Epic Mickey."

Oswald is now a playable character who joins the mouse's side in a new cooperative mode. Mickey will again wield a brush powered by magical paint and thinner, while Oswald is armed with a remote control that has the power to command electricity. The pair will have to work together to overcome obstacles.

As with the first outing, players' choices will affect what happens throughout the second installment, which is set for release this fall. The songs and music in "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" will change based on whether gamers prompt Mickey to be well-mannered or mischievous.

Quite the deux et machine, eh?

(A deus ex machine,  Latin for "god out of the machine," is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.)

I can't wait.

Sunday, March 25

Uneeda chocolate sandwich cookie?

Chocolate sandwich cookie by Pippaloo
Happy 100th birthday Oreo cookies!

The Oreo cookie was developed and produced by Nabisco (originally known as the National Biscuit Company) in March 1912. They sold in the United States for 25 cents a pound in novelty cans with clear glass tops.

The Oreo was originally called the Oreo Biscuit. ("Biscuit" is a British and early American term for cracker products.) The name was later changed to the Oreo Sandwich in 1921. In 1948, the name was changed again to the Oreo Creme Sandwich, and finally became the Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie in 1974.

Incidentally, Nabisco's 1,800,000-square-foot production facility is the largest bakery in the world.

This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, March 25, 1862

Fighting out West, McClellan's moves

A battle unfolded out West 150 years ago this week during the Civil War. On March 26, 1862, a Confederate force of about 300 Texas fighters camped near Glorieta Pass in New Mexico Territory - a strategic location at the southernmost end of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the Santa Fe trail. Several hundred approaching Union soldiers led by Maj. John M. Chivington went on the attack, pressing in on the Confederates until artillery fire threw the federal fighters back. Chivington split his force into two groups on each side of the pass and put the Rebels in a crossfire before fighting halted for the day. The next day both sides regrouped and fighting wouldn't resume again until March 28, 1862, with the Union side swelled by hundreds of reinforcements. Confederates held their ground as the battle surged back and forth in the coming hours. Eventually a wearied Confederate force retreated to Santa Fe - and eventually back to Texas - securing a strategic Union victory in a key point of the conflict out West. Elsewhere Union Gen. George B. McClellan has begun a long-awaited step of moving his troops, weapons and supplies to Fort Monroe off Virginia as he prepares for a major assault on Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, up the York River. Many Southerners were anxious to defend Richmond against capture. The Springfield Republican in Massachusetts, indicates McClellan had already lost some element of surprise ahead of what would be his ill-fated Virginia peninsula campaign. A dispatch in the paper reported: "The latest accounts from Richmond show that the rebels are crowding troops down upon the York and James River, showing they know where to expect Gen. McClellan."

Saturday, March 24

The incredible Holtz

Momma discovered yesterday a line of products that seems to have been created just for me: Tim Holtz's idea-ology.

From his website:

Tim Holtz is the Creative Director for Ranger Industries, one of the leading manufacturers of innovative inks, paints, and embossing products. Tim plays an integral part in the development and design of cutting edge paper crafting products. Tim has teamed up with various key companies like Ranger, Advantus, Tonic Studios, Sizzix, and Stampers Anonymous to bring unique products that work hand in hand with Ranger’s extensive lines.

So far I have:

CHAIN TASSELS: An ornamental piece consisting of several strands of metal chain which dangle from a decorative cap. The package contains nine chain tassels in three antique finishes: nickel, copper, and brass. (I'm now wearing the brass tassels on my earrings!)

SPROCKET GEARS: A collection of metal cogs used as adornment. The Sprocket Gears vary in size and the package contains 12 gears in three antique finishes: nickel, brass, and copper.

CORKED VIALS: Glass containers used to hold small objects or elements. The nine bottles range in sizes from 3 to 1 1/4 inches. (These are great for Harry Potter, too!)

She's now trying to find these two:


I can't wait to see what else he comes up with!

Friday, March 23

Just Steampunk!

Look at what Momma found today!

A craft magazine dedicated to just steampunk!

What is steampunk? Steampunk is a design style heavily influenced by science fiction, from a Victorian perspective—”Steampunk is the future as dreamt by the past.” Although steampunk is a style vague in definition, it is certain in identifiably: think bits of broken jewelry, corroded clock gears and vintage anything. But don’t forget the fantasy, the whimsy or most definitely the metallic. This unique, inspiring edition includes over 300 photographs showcasing projects from a variety of talented designers. Just Steampunk! is sure to satisfy the demand of die hard fans, or whet the appetite of the newly curious. Enjoy, but be warned: steampunk art may become addictive!

Gee? You think?

Thursday, March 22

A 'snoodful' of mail

I got mail!

Yes, for the first time I, Steampunk Addie, got mail addressed to me.

It's about time.

"Look! It's mail addressed to me!"

"Oh, it's my snoods from Darling Dolly! Red, green, silver and gold!"

"Modeling my red snood. It's just the thing while working in the lab."

"I look good from every angle."
I'll model more colors in my upcoming adventures.

A game for red-blooded American Girls

Boy howdy, you should have seen my eyes light up when Momma showed me her grandfather's "metallic toy construction set" by American Model Builder of Dayton, Ohio.

Just the thing for a red-blooded American Girl!

Technically, an Erector Set was the trade name of the metallic toy construction set originally patented and manufactured by the AC Gilbert Company of New Haven, Conn. It consisted of small metal beams with holes for nuts, bolts, screws, and mechanical parts such as pulleys, gears, and small electric motors.

But while the AC Gilbert Company was developing its Erector system, AMB was working on its own system in Dayton, Ohio.

Both were influenced by England's Meccano system that had been developed in 1901; AC Gilbert Company sought to design something different, AMB duplicated the Meccano system.


Understandably, Meccano sued him for copyright infringement and AMB, which started in 1911, ceased production by 1921.

Wednesday, March 21

An Electra-fying Mystery

A new clue could soon uncover the fate of American aviator Amelia Earhart, who went missing in the South Pacific on July 2, 1937.

Enhanced analysis of a photograph taken just months after Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane vanished shows what may be the landing gear of the aircraft protruding from the waters off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati, 350 miles southeast of Howland Island.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has suggested Earhart may have flown without further radio transmissions for two and a half hours along the line of position she noted in her last transmission received at Howland, arrived at then-uninhabited Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro) in the Phoenix group, landed on an extensive reef flat near the wreck of a large freighter (the SS Norwich City) and ultimately perished.

A British colonial officer and licensed pilot radioed his superiors in 1940 to inform them that he had found a "skeleton... possibly that of a woman," along with an old-fashioned sextant box, under a tree on the island's southeast corner.

Artifacts discovered by TIGHAR after six expeditions on Nikumaroro have included improvised tools, an aluminum panel (possibly from an Electra), an oddly cut piece of clear Plexiglas the same thickness and curvature of an Electra window, bronze bearings which may have belonged to Earhart's aircraft, a zipper pull which might have come from her flight suit, and a size 9 Cat's Paw heel dating from the 1930s.

Earhart's surviving stepson, George Putnam Jr., has expressed enthusiasm for TIGHAR's research and circumstantial evidence.

TIGHAR said in 2010 it had found bones that appeared to be part of a human finger, but DNA testing proved inconclusive.

They announced on March 20, 2012 that they are launching a new search starting in June 2012 to find the wreckage of Earhart's Lockheed Electra off Nikumaroro.

I wonder if they need my help?

Tuesday, March 20

Cabin fever

Poor Uncle Tom has gotten a bad rap over the years.

Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published on March 20, 1852, the two-volume novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War."

An abolitionist, Stowe featured the character of Uncle Tom around whom the other characters revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States; one million copies were sold in Great Britain.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is credited with fueling the abolitionist cause in the 1850s, and it is said that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe on Nov. 25, 1862, he declared, "So this is the little lady who started this great war." (The quote is did not appear in print until 1896.)

It is my belief that the early plays and moving pictures it inspired popularized a number of stereotypes about black people (usually portrayed by white actors in blackface) and overshadowed the historical impact of the book.

Monday, March 19

¡Feliz cumpleaños Josefina!

Happy birthday Josefina!

Instead of celebrating her birthday, Josefina celebrates the feast day of San José, the saint for whom she was named.

San José, or San Jose, is Spanish for St. Joseph.

March 19 has been the principal feast day of St. Joseph in Western Christianity since the 10th century and is celebrated by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and many other denominations.

(Josefina's 15th birthday might be a Quinceañera, which is celebrated differently from any other birthday because it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. The celebration in some countries is more religious than in others.)

I'm a Versatile Blogger!

Nora and Maple of The Doll Wardrobe nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award.

The nice thing about this award? You automatically win when nominated!

So when you win you are supposed to follow these rules:

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate four fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award. 
  2. In the same post, add The Versatile Blogger Award
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to their blog. 
  4. In the same post, include seven random pieces of information about you. 
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules. 
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination with a comment on their blog.


#3. Thanks Nora and Maple, I am duly (and deservedly) honored.
  1. I was born a slave in 1855.
  2. I'm now a spy and time traveler.
  3. I have weakness for hats.
  4. I love kick-a$$ boots, too.
  5. Momma says I have champagne taste on a beer budget.
  6. I loathe pink.
  7. ♥ steampunk!
#5. See above.
#6. Done!

Well, color me surprised

I have now seen it all.

Dover Publications released a Steampunk Stained Glass Coloring Book last week.
Sixteen imaginative stained glass illustrations transport colorists into an alternative reality. Dressed in eccentric adaptations of Victorian fashions, these steampunkers operate flying machines and submarines, build robots, conduct experiments, and engage in other activities reminiscent of the futuristic fiction of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Momma has got to get one of these for my Big Sister.

What really cracks me up is that has used copies for sale already.

Really? Used coloring books?

And just to keep this educational, the McLoughlin Brothers produced the first known coloring book, The Little Folks' Painting Bookin the 1879 with the prolific English children's book illustrator and writer, Kate Greenaway.

Sunday, March 18

A star is born

I want to remind you that my birthday is fast approaching on April 9 and I expect lots of birthday felicitations!

I'm not sure exactly when I was born but Momma started writing about me last February on the American Girl doll boards and my first blog was May 3, 2011.

I compromised and chose April 9 to be my birthday since that was the end of the Civil War in 1865.

By the way, did you know there was another doll (other than me!) at Appomattox Court House when General Lee surrendered to General Grant? You can read about The Silent Witness at Lula McLean's Rag Doll.

This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, March 18, 1862

Confederate Cabinet Shake-up, Stonewall Attacks

Confederate President Jefferson Davis, beset by recent military setbacks, orders a major Cabinet reshuffle this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. The Confederate leader orders on March 18, 1862, that George W. Randolph — a Virginia native and grandson of Thomas Jefferson — take charge as Confederate war secretary. Randolph succeeds Judah P. Benjamin. Benjamin, who was criticized for his handling of the department and now moves to secretary of state. Randolph will go on in the next eight months to reorganize and bolster the Confederate war machinery for the battles ahead. Despite recent reversals for the Confederacy, the war is still young. An Associated Press dispatch in early March speaks of growing federal worries about a vexing Confederate commander, Maj. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, now ranging about the Virginia countryside. AP's correspondent reports: "Intelligence from Winchester leads to the belief that General Jackson is there in full force." Indeed, some 3,400 Confederate troops commanded by Jackson will clash with a far larger Union force of about 8,500 troops on March 23, 1862, not far away at Kernston, Va. Federal forces stop Jackson's daring drive, but his campaign sounds alarm bells in Washington. President Abraham Lincoln, wary of J to protect Washington's back door just when Union Gen. George B. McClellan is pressing for all the troops the federal War Department can spare him. McClellan argues a huge force is needed for an all-out attack on Richmond he is planning for his upcoming Peninsula Campaign. And after his campaign fails later in 1862, McClellan will claim he could have captured the seat of the Confederacy if he had had those extra troops at his command.

Saturday, March 17

The Adventures of Tintin ... and Addie

Billions of blistering barnacles! Why has no one ever told me about the marvelous adventures of Tintin?!

It has everything: a young journalist, planes, steamships, pirates and more!

The Adventures of Tintin is a 2011 adventure film based on The Adventures of Tintin, a series of 24 comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé (Georges Remi).

The film is based on three of the original comic books: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham's Treasure (1944).

Adventure-seeking Belgian reporter Tintin is shopping at a local market where he buys a detailed reproduction of the Unicorn, a 17th century ship captained by Sir Francis Haddock. A mysterious stranger issues a dire warning, and then the persistent Ivanovich Sakharine appears out of nowhere to make a generous offer on the newly acquired miniature.

When the boat is stolen Tintin discovers something the thieves had overlooked, but gets kidnapped while chasing a notorious pickpocket. Upon regaining consciousness, Tintin finds himself and his dog Snowy aboard the ship the SS Karaboudjan. Though Sakharine and his men have taken over the ship from Captain Archibald Haddock, Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy make a daring escape while uncovering Sakharine's true intentions.

The race is on to solve a centuries-old mystery only Haddock, Tintin and Snowy can solve.

And moi, of course.

Friday, March 16

Rule Britannica

The digital age has won yet another battle.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced on Tuesday, March 13, 2011 that it will stop publishing print editions of its encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768.

It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company said. The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopedia.

Officials said the end of the printed, 32-volume set has been foreseen for some time since it was out-of-date by the time it was printed.

The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996.

The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

The final hardcover encyclopedia set is available for sale at Britannica's website for a mere $1,395.

Encyclopaedia Britannica plans to mark the end of the print version by making the contents of its website free for one week.

Thursday, March 15

This is sewious!

When I started blogging last May (my, how time does fly - even for a time traveler!) most people didn't seem to know what steampunk was.

Now it seems to be everywhere!

Pullip has long had steampunk inspired dolls.

Then came Ashton Drake's dealer-exclusive
Delilah Noir steampunk doll.

I just announced the new steampunk line by Wilde Imagination on Monday.

And now I find out Monster High is releasing a steampunk doll next fall!

Introducing Robecca Steam!

Age: 116

Killer Style: I would have described my style as rather old fashioned in this current time although I have been recently informed that it was totally "steam-punk" and quite "cutting-edge." This is a relief as no monster wishes to be thought of as dull.

Freaky Flaw: My internal clock does not properly function and I seem to always arrive late. It seems not to matter how many alarms I set or watches I wear; nothing helps. Good thing I have a permanent mechanics excuse in the Headmistress' office.

Pet: Captain Penny is my mechanical penguin. Working wings are unnecessary when one is equipped with a rocket pack.

Favorite Activity: I am quite the scaredevil and I delight in using my rocket boots to do stunts and tricks that make other monsters stop what they are doing to watch me perform.

Biggest Pet Peeve: Rain.

Favorite School Subject: Metal shop

Least Favorite Subject: Home Ick. I am skilled, however, in the boiling of water.

Favorite Color: Copper.

Favorite Food: Even though I do not require traditional food, I am fond of ginger tea.

Catch phrase: "A riveting personality"

Is it just me, or does Captain Penny look like Ming-Ming on Wonder Pets?

Feeling snooty about snoods

photo by Darling Dolly
A Darling Dolly friend of Momma's has offered to make me some snoods after I told her how much I admired hers.

Historically a small bag—netted, tatted, knitted, crocheted, or knotted — of fine thread or yarn, enclosed the long hair on the back of the head and held it close to the nape.

A tighter band (in my case a hose clamp!) will cover the forehead or crown, then run behind the ears and under the nape of the neck, holding the bag in place.

Just the thing for keeping my hair out of my face while working on a steam engine.

But what color should I get? Silver, bronze, black, brown, red, or green?

Or one of each....

Wednesday, March 14

Bye, bye miss American pi

Did you have your pi today and eat it, too?

Pi Day is an unofficial holiday commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (or 3/14 in month/day date format), since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.

On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224), recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day.

Wilde about steampunk

I was complaining to Momma last night about the new Imperium Park line by Wilde Imagination and wondered why they hadn't given those lovely steampunk items to my dear friend Lizette Dionne.

Air Ship Escape
So Momma got busy with Photoshop.

Isn't Lizette stunning in her new outfits?

Military Theory
Now Momma says I have to get busy and earn the money myself to buy Steampunk Lizette and her costumes.


Don't you think Lizette would make a fine traveling companion for me?