Thursday, January 31, 2019

Furs Again, Princess Marina of Greece, Mama in Greece

On November 3, 2016, I wrote a post here called "The Shorter the Sleeves, the Longer the Gloves," and had a photo of myself wearing my mother's silver mink stole on my honeymoon many decades ago. 

When I found the photograph above, another one RH took of me on our honeymoon, it reminded me that I had intended to do a followup discussion of furs. With the move back to Tennessee not long after that it never got written.

What better time for it than now during the bitterly cold weather across much of the U.S. and Canada?

In comments at the old post, here, many friends wrote of still wearing fur coats or jackets in cold weather, especially ones from consignment stores even if they might not buy new ones now. 

One woman even wrote that she had once lived in the Yukon and wore fur, where I would guess it makes not just perfect sense to wear them but good plain horse sense also. I imagine there may have been many women in the Chicago area who wore theirs this week, if they ventured outside. 

Deborah of The Beautiful Matters wrote that she had some fur collars she loves found at consignment stores and I thought of her when I spotted this one at a local antique mall after Christmas that was 50% off and cost me a big $10.

I could not resist that bargain and it feels so soft and warm around my neck and reminds me of the mouton fur collars my girlfriends and I wore in high school with sweater sets and form-fitting wool skirts with kick-pleats. We really dressed up for school back then.

I don't know if I'll ever get up my nerve to wear it anywhere but if I do I think I'll buy a piece of soft lining satin to line it with. There's even a little hook and eye at the neckline that is broken so I need to replace that.

Before you ask where is a picture of me wearing it or my mother's mink stole now, here it is...


And that's all you're going to see of me in it for now because a jillion attempted selfies did nothing but show how frizzy my freshly shampooed hair was and that I badly needed to visit a professional makeup artist first.

I splurged on a good haircut in downtown Nashville a couple of weeks ago so I will show you pictures the stylist took of me afterwards, even though lipstick was all I'd taken time for that day.

Why can't I blow dry my hair that smoothly? I've decided that RH needs to go to hair salon school so he can do it every morning for me. And learn to be a makeup artist. Don't you think he should do that?

Then I could wear my mother's 60-year-old mink stole almost as elegantly as Princess Marina of Greece did in the picture below in 1934 in Vogue magazine when she was about to be married to H. R. H. Prince George of England.

Her fur is an ermine cape from Molyneux, who also designed her wedding gown. Isn't it gorgeous?

I treasure the old Vogue magazines in my collection and can spend hours reading every single word in them, even the advertisements, and swooning over the beautiful clothes and furs. 

After reading the article about the princess, I talked to Greek-Canadian girlfriend Poppy about her and she told me lots of interesting things about this princess of Greece and Denmark who after her marriage was a beloved member of the British Royal Family until she died in 1963. (Poppy, I could not find the notes I took that day and if you happen to read this, please add in what you remember!)

I wish so much that I had a photo of my mother wearing her mink stole but my sisters and I couldn't find a single one of her in it for this post. We still remember how exciting it was when our father surprised Mama with it and how perfectly elegant she looked in it, the silver fur lovely with her hair that was dark as a raven's breast.

Another surprise came to Mama much later in life when her sister invited her on a Mediterranean cruise. On it she had the joy of visiting Greece herself. I have a copy of her itinerary and read it again today.

She arrived in Athens in October of 1997 aboard the Orient Lines' the Ocean Majesty, which I understand is now operated by a German cruise line. 

She and her sister Marty toured Athens for two days and then went back to the ship for ports of call at Delos and Mykonos and then on to Santorini. They also traveled to Rhodes and to Kusadasi and then on to Istanbul.

Here is a photo of her at Santorini...

I'm so grateful that my dear mother, the first Dewena, who I was named for, was given the opportunity for this trip of a lifetime by her sister. What a great time they had with lots of stories to tell us!

My mother had four sisters and they were all very close, seeing each other as often as they could. That's when the fun really happened. Oh, those sister parties at Myrtle Beach! Only Mama, the oldest of the five girls, and June, the baby sister, are are here with us now, the three middle girls now in their heavenly home. 

Here is Mama sitting next to her mother, with three of her four sisters, celebrating my grandmother's birthday. 

I've thought a lot about these beautiful women while writing this post. I grew up in the elegant age of the 1940s, 1950s and early 60s and remember how beautiful my mother and aunts were, dressed up in their finest. 

Whatever our view of wearing fur is now, we all must admit that the early part of the 20th century was certainly a glamorous age, wasn't it?

I never could see why women could be seduced with jewels, but, oh, I'm sorry for those who are tempted too far by furs! I should like to be swathed in them.
Agnes Sligh Turnbull (1941)

I don't care what they say: I love fur; I read National Enquirer; I rarely recycle; I think Prince Charles and Camilla deserve to be happy.
Julia Reed in an interview on

Thursday, January 24, 2019

No Excuses Needed for Cake

I was comforted when I read Simeon Zahl's entry in my daily devotion book where he wrote about the account of Elijah from First Kings, Chapter 19.

Zahl said that Elijah was "doing his very best to have a Thelma & Louise moment." Elijah was so low that he asked God to end his life. 

God didn't do that and instead of bawling him out, God had compassion on him and said, "The journey is too great for you."

God doesn't tell Elijah to put on his big boy pants and get back to the great job appointed him, and he doesn't guilt trip him, either. 

Instead, Zahl says, "God just gives him cake. And lets him sleep. And then gives him cake again."

I could put the rest in my own words but why try when Zahl says it so very well:

It is humiliating to hear that sometimes, when we think we are wrestling with angels, we are mainly just tired and hungry...The worst attack of anxiety we can experience is, in the end, mainly the product of a couple of temporary chemical reactions in the chest and stomach.
Simeon Zahl in the
Mockingbird Devotional

So take heart, dear friends, if we're having a really rough day, maybe what we most need is a piece of homemade cake and a good night's sleep.

But then we should never have to look for an excuse to bake a cake, should we? And here's a scrumptious recipe from the Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama for Sorghum Spice Cake.

It's our new favorite cake for winter and please take their advice and serve it with Rum Raisin ice cream for an amazing combination.

You may not need an excuse for cake but I admit to always looking for a Biblical excuse to eat something wonderful, even posting about it here in Hannah Ate and Her Face Was No Longer Sad. 

So don't underestimate the power of a good meal followed by a good dessert if things are looking down. And be sure to follow it up with a good winter night's sleep!

Don't even think about trying this--

I promise you, cake is a much better choice!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Fair Warning--A Deluge of Christmas 2018 Photos

We decorated, we baked, we tried my new idea of buying Christmas gifts for our large family, we cooked, we had a party and welcomed family AND a blog friend, and we had a fashion show.

We decorated.

We baked.

We tried my new idea of buying Christmas gifts by going to the ultimate recycling place--local antique malls--and picking out containers in which we would serve the food for our family Christmas party...and then give the containers away as gifts to the ladies! RH took care of gifts for the men.

[a mid-century ice bucket; a Christmasy set of cream & pitcher, napkin holder, S & P; an Italian plate with a tie-died blue linen mat; a small iron skillet, tin brownie pan, tea towel and stack of Spode plates from my collection...

[Pottery Barn Paris dessert plates and a fleur-de-lis Christmas ornament and Nashvillian Reese Witherspoon's Whiskey in a Teacup (from Amazon)...

[a Fiesta covered casserole and a David Douglas pine cone coffee carafe...

[2 Banana Republic Italian soup bowls with two soupspoons and two red and white cotton napkins]

We cooked and had a party.

We welcomed sweet blog friend Doreen who brought us some of her delicious home-baked cookies...

We welcomed our dear family including three of our four children and their spouses (one set home due to sickness), four grandsons and their sweethearts, two granddaughters, and two great-grandchildren and my sister and brother-in-law!

We had a fashion show! I cleaned the antique malls out of vintage aprons, and grandsons Alex and Luke modeled along with their little cousin...

And then the ladies decided which apron should belong to which lady...

Our party was over with lots of good memories left.

"Christmas wouldn't be Christmas
without at least one all-generation party."
Mary Moon in "Notes for the Hostess"
House and Garden 
December 1968

Christmas Eve was quiet with just us and our daughter and son-in-law who had never seen "It's A Wonderful Life." He loved it and we loved seeing him enjoying it for the first time.

On Christmas Day we went to another family party. Remember our old Valley View? That is now Zack and Courtney's The Farmhouse? 

At Christmas it truly is like living on Candy Lane.

Again, family gathered...

And friends...

And then we went home to BreeBree and James Mason. She's not really growling, but she sure does look like it here. It's so difficult to get decent pictures of two dachshunds at the same time. January 3rd marked our one year anniversary with them! And tomorrow is our two year anniversary of moving here to Home Hill!

A big thank you to Defee who took most of the good photos here, but obviously not this last one!

I hope your Christmas was wonderful too! Did you take a ton of photos? Did I hear someone say that at least you didn't bore everyone with a deluge of them? Nah, surely not!

One more photo, please. I almost forgot to show a picture of Zack and Courtney's new fur boy, he's a Big Lug. Really, that's his name, Big Lug! Big Lug is just a baby and went in his crate until they were sure he would calm down around the children. He's such a sweetheart!