Wednesday, October 31

Bitter sweet

Tonner Toys
Ooh, I like the sounds of this new girl!

Maudlynne McCobb (or is it Macabre?) is very sensitive, shy and able to see ghosts. Maudlynne was home-schooled for most of her life until her parents noticed her peculiarness and decided it was time for her to socialize a bit more with regular kids.

  • Age: 10
  • Favorite colors: Black, Blue & Purple.
  • Likes: Dark Chocolate, walks along moonlit beaches, black cats, all nocturnal creatures, & nice musty attics.
  • Lives: In a Victorian Mansion in a sleepy little town in Upstate New York.
  • Style: Modern Victorian Chic.
  • Ambition: TV clairvoyant.
  • Best Friends: Victoria, the Ghost in the attic & Edgar Allan, the talking Raven.
 Sound like someone you know?


Tuesday, October 30

Weathering out the storm

American Girl
I hope all my Faithful Readers are safe in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Thankfully Momma and I evacuated Philadelphia for Arizona a long time ago. Momma knows hurricanes are not to be argued with and clearly remembers the rough surf and damage on Manasota Key after a hurricane left Florida.

We're still waiting to hear word from my aunt's brother who lives in Hoboken, N.J., but I wanted to share a funny story from last year's Hurricane Irene.

My aunt's brother lives in an older home and the flood waters from Irene damaged the basement and revealed structure problems.

Surprisingly, it also revealed a number of Prohibition Era copper stills in a room below the basement that they didn't know about! (I have asked for photos which I can share.)

Now that is what I call a silver lining!

Keep safe everyone.

Sunday, October 28

This Week in The Civil War: Oct. 28, 1862

African-American troops in action for the Union for first time

African-American troops engaged in combat as an organized fighting force for the first time this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment repelled a Confederate unit while skirmishing with the rebels at Island Mound in Missouri on Oct. 29, 1862. It was among the first of the black regiments to be organized. Yet in a few months' time, numerous African-American regiments would be armed and poised to fight for the Union. Thousands would eventually join the Union ranks from both the population of free blacks and escaped slaves. One of the most famous fights by African-American troops would still be months ahead in July 1863 at Fort Wagner, S.C. Formally mustered into the federal army in 1863, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment would win praise as a disciplined and first-rate infantry unit. Authorities say that regiment saw five officers and 173 enlisted soldiers killed in action during its involvement in the war. Another 165 enlisted soldiers and officers died from diseases contracted during the conflict. Elsewhere, The Associated Press reports on Oct. 29, 1862, that a fire that began in a train loaded with bales of hay threatened to burn the large train trestle bridge at Harper's Ferry, connecting western Virginia with Maryland. AP reported: "Some teamsters were cooking their dinner under the trestle work ... where immense quantities of hay were being unloaded from the cars" when the fire erupted. In the end, the burning trainload of hay was pulled off the bridge and the bridge was saved, despite damage to the trestle.

Thursday, October 25

Tee time

San Marcos Golf Course in 1913.
Golf is so not my thing, but Phin was ecstatic to discover he was in Arizona and immediately set off to find a green.

Golfers have long flocked to Arizona and its sunny skies.  

Perhaps the first golf course was built in 1899 Arizona by a group that later would become the Phoenix Country Club. Their course was a nine-hole layout of dirt fairways and sand "greens" located near what is now Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street.

(Coincidentally, Trinity Episcopal Church needed larger facilities and purchased a parcel of land on Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street. The new site was so far north of Phoenix's business section that it was called "The Episcopal Folly." Building for what is now Trinity Episcopal Cathedral began in 1915. Arizona bishops always had a free Country Club membership until it was refused by Bishop Joseph Harte in 1962 because the Club would not admit African Americans.)

When the San Marcos Hotel opened in 1913 in present-day Chandler it also opened the nine-hole San Marcos Golf Course. One year later nine more holes were added.

The original course was made of oiled sand with cottonseed meal greens. In 1914, the entire course was planted to rye grass, giving it the distinction of being the first turf course in the entire state of Arizona.

Arizona now has at least 421 golf courses to choose from, so Phin will have plenty of choices.

Once he gets some clubs.

Wednesday, October 24

The right to arm bears

Look who unexpectedly joined my Steam Team yesterday!

Phin stands approximately 17" tall and is crafted of hard plastic and vinyl. He comes with a raven wig (non-removable), blue painted eyes, and hand painted details. Phin comes dressed in a shirt with arm bands, tie, matching pants with black trim, vest with golden buttons and black trim, socks, tie shoes, and arm gauntlets. A faux gun, holster and belt, and matching hat completes the outfit.

Much to Momma's amusement Grandpoppa thinks all dolls should carry guns
(I concur!) and admired Phin's latest model.

According to Grandpoppa, Phin's weapon looks like a Gabbet-Fairfax Mars Automatic Pistol from the turn-of-the-last century. He said its muzzle velocity was unmatched until the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935. The Mars had a very heavy recoil.

A British captain said in 1902, "No one who fired once with the pistol wished to shoot it again." Shooting the Mars pistol was described as "singularly unpleasant and alarming."

Don't worry Grandpoppa, Phin can handle it.

And if he can't,  I certainly can.

Tuesday, October 23

Accessory after the fact

I was asked today what are my "must have" accessories.

Hmm, so many choices....

Well, my Unusually Stout Parasol, of course! I never leave home without it. Even if you don't see it in my photos, it is somewhere close by.

A tiny top hat since a lady never leaves the house without her hair covered. Besides, it looks fabulous! (I also use a headband and snood to keep my hair out of my face.)

My tinted glasses (or goggles) since they give me an inscrutable look.

My chatelaine - a chain belt with a padlock. The padlock keeps it safe upon my person while reminding me that NO ONE will EVER put ME in chains again. On it I have:

  • Aether Pistol - in case my parasol fails me - which it never has.
  • Flask (for medicinal purposes)
  • Candle stubs
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Compass
  • Scissors
  • First-aid kit
  • A coil of stout cord
  • Magnifying glass
  • Telescope

Boots - they protect my lower legs while making a grand sound while I stomp around. They help deliver sharp blows to villains, too.

Bling - It might not be sparkly (the enemy can spot sparkly a mile away) but I love to wear flowers, necklaces (especially my shell necklace), and lace mitts.

Unmentionables - I blush to mention them but you never know when corset stays might come in handy for picking a lock or filing bars. The same goes for my hoop skirt or crinoline.

Monday, October 22

You've Got (International) Mail!

Dearest Marie-Grace,

Thank you so very much for your kind Letter and Gift. I was so excited to get my first International Fan Letter, and all the way from the Shores of the Red Sea!

Imagine my surprise to find you Halfway Across the World in 2012!

Are you now a Time Traveler, too?

Your Gift was so Thoughtful and I shall use it in my Studies to better Understand the World's Cultures and Religions. 

Thank you kindly for thinking of me. I hope Momma and I can return the favor someday.

Steampunk Addie 

P.S. I have carefully Blotted Out any identifying information so Your Gift can remain Our Little Secret. 


Kissin' cousins

Happy birthday, cousin Daniel Boone!

I discovered last week that Momma is (distantly) related to Daniel Boone!

Depending on which calendar you use, Daniel Boone was born on Oct. 22, 1734 (That's the date he used so I shall, too.). Boone was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States.

Daniel Boone's aunt Sarah Boone married Jacob Stover at Christ Church (Episcopal) in Philadelphia, Pa. (This caused quite a scandal since the Boone family was Quaker.)

  1. Their daughter (Boone's first cousin) Barbara Stover married Martin Kauffman;
  2. Their daughter Anna Kauffman married Johann Brombach;
  3. Their daughter Elizabeth Brombach married Abraham Miller;
  4. Their daughter Elizabeth Miller married Christian Beery;
  5. Their daughter Elizabeth Beery married John Wilson Weltner;
  6. Their daughter Elizabeth Roberts Weltner married Captain William Harrison Huls;
  7. Their son A.E. Huls married Anna Rebecca Troxell;
  8. Their son Fred Huls married Alice Hamilton;
  9. Their son Fritz Huls married Patricia Taylor;
  10. Their daughter Greta had my Big Sister - and Me!

I knew I got that adventurous spirit somewhere!

Sunday, October 21

This Week in The Civil War: Oct. 21, 1862

McClellan's last days in Union command

Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan is in his last days as commander of federal fighting forces. President Abraham Lincoln has testily written McClellan of late, exhorting him to drive after the Confederate army retreating after the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. In a letter dated Oct. 13, 1862, Lincoln reminds his top general that he should not shrink from pursuing and vanquishing the rival. "You remember my speaking to you of what I called your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing?" Lincoln writes. Although Lincoln says in the letter that his suggestions of aggressively pursuing the enemy by no means constitute an explicit order, he nonetheless exhorts McClellan to move toward Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, and cut off secessionist forces returning to Virginia under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Of the foe, Lincoln says: "I would press closely to him, fight him if a favorable opportunity should present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond." McClellan, who had taken command earlyin the war amid great promise and then drilled, trained and equipped the Union war machine, has long been chided for failing to fight aggressively. Now, McClellan will ignore the latest call by Lincoln to pounce on the enemy – only to be sacked by Lincoln in early November. The Associated Press reports this week that the stringing of the telegraph across the land is revolutionizing the delivery of news of war and other affairs. AP reports on how California telegraph operators can now communicate directly with Chicago and other points – to the point that one operator in California told his Chicago counterpart while transmitting news: "Hold on `till I light my pipe."

Tuesday, October 16

Tea for two or more

As some of you might know, Momma and I are voracious drinkers of tea ("Tea. Oolong. Hot.") and of course the members of my Steam Team are also since they hail from New Britain.

Theodora spotted these cups and saucers in my cabinet and asked if she could use them.

Since they fit her, and are a bit small for me, I gladly gave my consent.

With Momma's approval, of course.

You see, this antique metal tea set originally belonged to Momma's great-grandmother who was born in 1868. Her tea set consists of a teapot, lidded sugar bowl, four cups and six saucers.

(Momma said she saw the same saucers in an antique shop about 25 years ago and they wanted $35 per saucer!)

I think they suit Theodora admirably, don't you?

Monday, October 15

The sincerest form of flattery


I like to think of myself as a trendsetter, and that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

While looking at the Fashion Design Contest by Nora and Maple's blog The Doll Wardrobe, I noticed not one, not two, but THREE steampunk outfits.

(A fourth might qualify but wasn't labeled as such.)

If Momma hadn't landed herself in the hospital she could have entered some fabulous new outfits for Me.

Maybe next time, but in the meantime good luck to all the entrants!

Especially those trend-setting steampunkers!

Some spider

From bears to spiders.

Sixty years ago, on Oct. 15, 1952, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web was published. It has since become one of the most beloved children's books of all time.

According to a story by NPR's Michael Sims, White sat down in a studio in 1970 to record the narration.

"He, of course, as anyone does doing an audio book, had to do several takes for various things, just to get it right," Sims says. "But every time, he broke down when he got to Charlotte's death. And he would do it, and it would mess up. ... He took 17 takes to get through Charlotte's death without his voice cracking or beginning to cry."

Me too.

Happy birthday, Nellie ~ Oct. 15, 1895

Happy birthday, Nellie!

In Nellie's Promise, Nellie mentions that she spent her 8th birthday working in a factory, and did not have a celebration that year.

I bet Samantha changed that!

Sunday, October 14

The Adventures of the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh

New York Public Library
Speaking of British bears, the beloved children's book Winnie-the-Pooh was first published on Oct. 14, 1926!

I said goodbye to Paddington and popped back across The Pond to wish Winnie and his friends a happy anniversary.

Author A. A. Milne originally gave the stuffed bear to his son Christopher for his first birthday. Eventually named Winnie-the-Pooh, the bear and other stuffed animals inspired Milne to write his famous books.

Milne later donated the stuffed toys to American publisher E.P. Dutton in 1947. Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Kanga (Roo was long gone), Eeyore and Tigger remained with Dutton until they were donated to the New York Public Library where they have been on display since Sept. 11, 1987.

British politicians have been asking for the historic toys return (and American politicians refusing) since at least 1998.

Mike McCurry, spokesman for then-President Bill Clinton proclaimed, "As the President indicated to some of us, the notion that the United States would lose Winnie is utterly unbearable."

It's nice to see some toys getting the respect they deserve.

This Week in The Civil War: Oct. 14, 1862

Confederate raiders, impact of Antietam on Europe

Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan raided Lexington, Ky., 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. Morgan's cavalry overpowered Union forces posted at Lexington on Oct. 18, 1862, and briefly captured its garrison before withdrawing. His raid has whipped up fear and unease in the border state of Kentucky and surrounding states, including Ohio. But he's not the only Confederate sowing unease this month in 1862. Confederate cavalry legend J.E.B. Stuart has just raided Chambersburg, Penn., in early October 1862 following the carnage at Antietam. Stuart set out on a hard, fast ride with hundreds of horsemen to reconnoiter Union positions, cut telegraph lines and cause destruction. By Oct. 11, 1862, Stuart's raiders have turned back from the 100-plus mile raid into the North that shocks Union forces. Wary about his foe, Union Major Gen. George McClellan orders scouts to spy out Confederate positions and troop strength after the Battle of Antietam. McClellan, long criticized for a cautious and go-slow approach to the war, will find his days numbered at the top of the Union command as President Abraham Lincoln grows increasingly restless and anxious to put an aggressive, fighting general in command. The Associated Press reports on Oct. 17, 1862, that Antietam's bloody outcome, meanwhile, is is having an impact in how European powers view the war. AP reports: "Since the battle of Antietam, there is less indication in Europe than previously to recognize the Southern Confederacy, and that the result of that engagement, so far as the Government of the United States are concerned, has decidedly had a beneficial influence." AP also reports federal prisoners held in Richmond, Va., are receiving better treatment than before, including regular rations and daily newspapers.

Saturday, October 13

The adventure is about to begin

Sometimes I wonder why the British love their bears so much.

Bears haven't existed in Great Britain since the 10th century, yet they have produced fictional literary bears such as Winnie the Pooh (1926) and Paddington Bear.

Paddington Bear (
written by Michael Bond) first appeared on Oct. 13, 1958 and is now featured in 21 books, which have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Plus, his own moving picture in two years!

The polite migrant bear from darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase (complete with a secret compartment!), and duffle coat has become a classic character from English kidlit.

Paddington is always polite and well-meaning, although he inflicts hard stares on those who incur his disapproval.

He likes marmalade sandwiches and cocoa and has an endless capacity for getting into trouble.

I asked Paddington why the British love bears so much, but all I got was a hard stare.

Ahh, a bear after my own heart. I completely understand.


Sunday, October 7

This Week in The Civil War: Oct. 7, 1862

Fight for Kentucky

This week 150 years ago, Kentucky's biggest Civil war battle was fought at Perryville, or Chaplin Hills. A border state coveted both by North and South, Kentucky was at the crossroads of the Civil War and Confederate and Union fighters fought on Oct. 8, 1862, in its crossroads town of Perryville. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg had invaded Kentucky in the fall of 1862, nearly reaching Louisville before falling back. In central Kentucky, more than 50,000 federal troops caught up with Bragg's army and skirmishing on Oct. 7, 1862, led to a wider battle the next day at Perryville. Savage combat saw Confederate fighters pummeling a Union flank, then forced back under a Union counterattack. Fighting raged for hours. But in the end, the weary rebels under Bragg retreated at night following the battle, headed for eastern Tennessee. Thus a major Confederate incursion to take Kentucky ended with the Union in control of the border state. The Union's strategic victory was not without a cost. Perryville's bloody combat claimed more than 7,400 in dead, missing and wounded on both sides – but more heavily on the Union side. Elsewhere, The Associated Press reported in early October of 1862 that Abraham Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation stirred anger in the Southern slave states and Confederate calls to redouble the fight. One AP dispatch quoted The Richmond Whig newspaper as saying Lincoln's proclamation aiming to eventually free of slaves in states in rebellion was tantamount to "ordering servile insurrection in the Confederate States." Said The Richmond Whig, it was "a dash of the pen to destroy four thousand millions of our property, and it is as much as a bid to the slaves to rise in insurrection – with assurance of aid, from the whole military and the naval power of the United States."

Friday, October 5

Steampunk gone Wilde

Alas, my half-dime was not enough to get me into the first Wilde Weekend in Louisville, Kent.

Not only is it all Wilde all weekend, but tonight they had a steampunk event!

Table gift
Join Wilde Imagination as we open our first-ever Wilde Weekend with a glimpse into the genre known as Steampunk. Our hosts will be our very own Theodora Curiosity Bennett, along with her brother Phineas Jules. Be prepared for a Steampunk-inspired table gift, an informative program, and the opportunity to purchase an amazing centerpiece. You’ll indulge in savory desserts and finger foods while getting to know your fellow Wilde Weekenders. A costume contest will be held during the event – so if you choose to, dress in your most imaginative Steampunk fashions and gear up for some fun prizes!



Thursday, October 4

Those magnificent men and their flying machines

© Jean-Dominique Billaud
I think, by now, that it is no secret that I am a geek.

Momma is too, so imagine our delight when we spotted this fantastique French carousel while reading one of our favorite blogs, Epbot.

Les Machines de I’île (The Machines of the Isle of Nantes) is a blend of the invented worlds of Jules Verne, the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and the industrial history of Nantes, France on the site of the former shipyards.

Open to the public since July 1, 2007, the project of Machines de I'île in Nantes aims to promote city's image and tries to build an identity as a creative metropolis of dream and of fantasy.

The Great Elephant (2007) is 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk!

The Marine Worlds Carousel (2012) is a huge carousel, rising nearly 25 meters high and measuring 20 meters in diameter. It features 35 moving underwater creatures on three levels: the ocean floor, the depths, and sea and boats. Visitors will be able to move about amidst a ballet of aquatic animals (The squid! The sea dragon!) and sea carriages, as well as climb aboard and guide the movements of the Machines.

The Heron Tree (2014) is a steel structure of 45 meters in diameter and 28 meters in height, topped with two herons. The project plans to allow visitors to climb either onto the back or onto the wings of the birds for a circular flight over the hanging gardens of the tree.

Momma can only dream of going.

But as for Moi....

Monday, October 1

Eye candy

Russell Williams - 2006 Basic
I think I'm in love.

And if I'm not, the girls of my Steam Team certainly are!

Meet Russell Williams.

And he's no longer on the market - sob!

Part of Robert Tonner's Matt O'Neill collection, Russell seems to have been first introduced in 2006 and again in 2010.

His first edition came with a dark skin tone, short curly hair, and green eyes.

2010 Russell Williams Ultra Basic
His second version came with a honey skin tone, brown eyes, and rooted raven hair.

And both have dimples


Since he's no longer available, I shall have to go back in time and persuade one (or both) to become a time traveler with me.

And I can be very persuasive.