The Seamstress Fairy

The Texas School of Fairies

The Texas School of Fairies brought students from far and wide for its excellence in fairie acadaemia.  Some were in, dare I say, boring subjects such as Fairy Law but the departments of Magick and Apothecary Arts was so popular that there was a long waiting list.  The Art of Textiles faculty was the best of all; so renowned that Fairy Royalty used their services for special occasions such as coronations.  You could study weaving, sewing or design of fairy fabrics such as thistledown and beetle silk.  On the student tour even Flax, the most pragmatic of fairies majoring in beetle husbandry, gasped when he saw the Hall of Fabrics.  Every color in nature was represented in delicate material – fuchsia silk and golden velvet draped the walls and vaulted ceilings.  Sumptuous fabrics were strewn across the sewing tables; reams of sapphire, emerald, sepia, and scarlet fabric.

Most students grouped in their natural color or environment; Pacific fairies group were working with sea foam, marine blues and corals.  Piney Wood fairies were cutting deep green and chocolate velvet.  Some of the more gregarious fairies were working outside their element rejoicing in non-native hues such as New England Fall.  Crimson, pumpkin, yellow and copper fabric gleamed like an autumnal sunset.  One little fairy, named Aiya, felt she was in fairy heaven!  She had travelled from her home in Missouri to the Texas School of Fairies but came from a very special lineage.  Her father was a Japanese Maple Fairy with magnificent copper and flame colored wings.  Her mother was a descendent of the much revered Irish fairies.  Humans have a similar reverence for the Irish…  Aiya’s mother was a woodland fairy with long glossy brown hair and fair of face.  Her wings were gentle shades of green from the old country.  Like many fairy parents they met at school when glimpsed each other the Apothecary Arts class.  Their union was not entirely approved of by fairy society as they came from very different family lines but their attraction was so powerful that they moved to the state of Missouri just to be together.

Aiya, which means beautiful silk in Japanese, was a striking mixture of both parents.  Her long dark brown hair gleamed as did her eyes which were almost black.  Her wings were a melange of her parents coloring – deep amber with the palest cicada green.  She was only 12 so her coloring would change after the blossoming and she would choose an appropriate Forever Name.  Aiya was one of very few students chosen to study Textile Arts and she had already displayed a natural talent for couture and sewing.  Just like every other college you have to submit an application and a sample of your talent.  Aiya sewed the most exquisite coin purse in delicate beetle silk.  It was a simple creation but her color choice of deep garnet red with gold embroidery and tassels impressed her tutors.  Monsieur Marcel, head of design, was quite taken with this young fairy’s skills and envisioned a future with one of the Royal Families.  As excited as Aiya was for her tutor’s vision, it seemed intimidating.

Her new friend Ria, from Brownsville on the Texas border, had told her about Selina the seamstress’s workshop in Mexico and to Aiya that sounded exciting enough.  It was a trip to meet family in Japan that sparked her love of fabric and sewing.  One glimpse of a fairy kimono made with spider silk and embroidered with chrysanthemums made Aiya’s heart race.  For years after that she would sketch kimonos and make miniature outfits for her little willow twig dolls.  Aiya had the great fortune to attend a royal fairy wedding in Japan and her grandmother made her a special kimono to wear.  It was silk in a delicate Celadon green with copper leaves embroidered on it. Her Jiji, or grandma, had spent many hours lovingly sewing it for a precious granddaughter that lived so far away.  Aiya’s loved the kimono but was terrified by the pomp and ceremony of the wedding.  She had been instructed to be absolutely silent and bow very deeply when the royal couple walked past.   They didn’t seem like real fairies.  The Princess bride’s formal makeup created a solemn mask – there was no twinkle or sparkle.  Their wedding robes, in scarlet, gold and black for the Prince, were magnificent but stood stiffly to match the seriousness of the occasion.

Aiya’s Dolls

One day, Ria, Blu and Aiya walked into the Hall of Fabrics to a stunned silence.  “What has happened?” whispered the girls.  Just then Monsieur Marcel coughed loudly for attention, “Attention, étudiants féeriques!” Blu, who loved all things French, translated “Attention Fairy Students!” “By Royal Decree, it is my pleasure to announce the arrival of a new student for one semester – her royal highness, Princess Kaida from Japan.  She will arrive tomorrow with her entourage and you will all behave respectfully.”  Aiya blanched as every other student chattered excitedly about this noble arrival.  Ria and Blu were already discussing what outfits they would wear but all Aiya could feel was panic.  Just then, Monsieur Marcel appeared in front of the three girls and said, “I understand that you have attended a royal wedding in Kyoto, Aiya?”  Ria and Blue looked at their friend from Missouri in stunned silence.  Aiya blushed furiously and looked at the floor.  “It would make me very happy if you could accompany Princess Kaida during her visit with us.  We have arranged for her hammock to be put next to yours in the dormitory.  Her parents want her to be treated like any other student”. “It would be my pleasure” whispered Aiya in response to Monsieur Marcel.

As soon as he walked away, Ria and Blu had a torrent of questions for Aiya.  “Was Aiya a Princess?” “What does Princess Kaida look like?” “What was it like to attend a royal wedding?”  She briefly, almost tersely, responded that she was a distant cousin of the Japanese Royal Fairy family, she had never met Princess Kaida and that the Royal wedding was AMAZING (because overwhelming and terrifying did not sound right.)  Aiya ran off to prepare for the next day.  She sat on her hammock and tears rolled down her pretty face.  This whole situation was so embarrassing; she just wanted to be a regular student.  Now she had to babysit a spoiled Princess whose name meant “Little Dragon”.  She slept fitfully that night, endlessly playing out her meeting with the Princess.  Her family would be so disappointed if she didn’t welcome Princess Kaida gracefully.  “I hope she doesn’t breathe fire…”was Aiya’s last waking thought.

The next morning Aiya put on her best green silk pinafore with an ivory blouse; Ria was in a chocolate velvet pinafore and Blu in the palest blue linen.  At 7am, all the students gathered in the Hall of Fabrics anxiously awaiting Princess Kaida’s entrance.  Most Texan students had never even seen a sketch of a Japanese princess so the excitement was tangible.  There was a fanfare of fairy trumpets fashioned from bluebells and Princess Kaida fluttered down with her consorts.  There was an audible gasp from the assembly at her vivid peacock blue kimono embroidered with a red dragon.  Her face was painted with formal white makeup with red lips and her black hair was coiled all over her delicate head.  The principal of the school welcomed Princess Kaida and after the formalities, Aiya was called over to accompany the Princess to the dormitory.  Two of her royal servants followed behind with a golden trunk.  Aiya bowed deeply to the Princess and greeted her formally in Japanese.  Princess Kaida bowed in return and followed Aiya to the dormitory.  Once they arrived, the servants were dismissed and the Princess collapsed laughing onto her new hammock, “Oh, I am so glad that is over, Aiya.  Can you help me out of this kimono?”  Aiya looked at the Princess perplexedly but immediately jumped up to help her.  Princess Kaida then looked her trunk to find a light turquoise pinafore with a similar ivory blouse to Aiya’s.  Then she grabbed Aiya’s hand and rushed to the bathroom. “You take my hair down and I will take off my make-up.”  Aiya carefully took out what seemed like hundreds of pins until the Princess’s beautiful long black hair lay straight to her waist.  With a wipe of a flower puff and witch hazel, Princess Kaida soon washed all remnants of her make-up off.  As she turned around, Aiya gasped in astonishment! Princess Kaida was just a little girl fairy not unlike Aiya, who was a relative after all.  “So, cousin Aiya, what are we going to do first?  Can I meet some of your friends?”  Almost inevitably Blu and Ria were right outside the door and within minutes the four fairy girls were chatting like they had known each other forever.

It was a very busy day, exploring the campus, watching Princess Kaida’s face as she tried Texan delicacies such as root beer and deep fried cactus.  Princess Kaida’s English was perfect but she really enjoyed all the local accents y’alls.  When the sun set Aiya and Princess Kaida settled down into their hammocks.  Within minutes the Princess fell into a deep slumber – even fairies get jet lag.  Aiya reflected with surprise upon her day.  Despite her name and nobility, Princess Kaida was just as much fun as Ria and Blu.  She realized that the pomp and ceremony was just that.  Fairy Princesses were just as real as anyone else.  Aiya fell into a happy sleep dreaming of designing royal kimonos…with dragons on them.

The End

Postscript

All of my fairy stories were written to celebrate a friend’s birthday and include elements of their life.

 

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Germany or Texas?

It is Texas, of course, Tomball to be precise!  The closest I have been to Germany was Frankfurt airport in the middle of the night  but there is a distinct German feel to our local area.  We live north of Houston and in the past it was home to German settlers who farmed the area.  Most of the local roads are German or some corruption of such.  The Kuykendahl Road has been mangled into submission by locals who call it Kirkendall.  I think I pronounce it slightly better with my Scottish drawl but am constantly corrected.☹ To be honest I pronounce most things better…

Teddy was off last Friday and we decided to go to Tomball for lunch.  When we first moved here it was even more German, with many descendants of the original settlers.  Most of them arrived in the late 1800’s by ship to Galveston, TX.  There is a Lutheran High School and a sweet little Main Street that has been kept intact.  It slumbered during the recession but now it is vibrant with new restaurants and antique shops.  To our surprise, they were setting up for the spring German festival.

One of our favorite restaurants was empty because it was difficult to maneuver through the vendors trucks and equipment.  America and Texas, to be frank, has a terrible reputation for food.  Some of that criticism is worthy when you look at the amount of fast food franchises.  Life is changing, however, and below you can see the freshest local blackened catfish served with sauteed vegetables.  Just a touch of butter made it delicious.

Blackened catfish with sauteed vegetables

The restaurant was originally a meat locker and the original signs are intact.  The German flags were just for the festival.

 

Teddy and Bunny

We sadly declined to eat the apple cobbler and wandered outside to see what was going on.  My eyes were immediately drawn to a petting zoo from a local farm.  Oh how I love goats!  I would have some but they are little gremlins, always getting into trouble.

Isn’t he perfect. Look at his tiny little horns!

Look at those ears! They are fat little goats.

I was surprised at the amount of goat products in Texas but I think there was some money benefit to having goats at one point and now we all love goat cheese.  Goat’s milk – gaaaaa!

Loved this shot – the water is just a few inches deep.  It gets so hot in the summer here that I guess some liquored locals took the water!  Finally, a happy Teddy is enjoying a flight of local German style craft beer.  I despaired of the regular beer in Texas when we arrived but thank goodness for the current craze of craft beer!  Decent European style beer at last.  We also have some very good wine, vodka and bourbon now.  Moonshine too – that will get you swimming!.

The Pelicans are back!

Every year our street waits with eager anticipation for our visit from the white pelicans. We live in the middle of a forest so pelicans aren’t a regular sight. There is a well stocked containment pond at the end of our street which provides the pod of pelicans with some R&R on their long journey from The Gulf of Mexico to as far as Canada. They are American white Pelicans but as you can see from the image, they have dark feathers underneath.

This is the best shot I could get up close and you can see their lovely yellow beaks. They are astonishingly white and look like fluffy cotton balls on the lake. A regular white egret was keeping it’s distance from the much larger birds. They fill up their beaks with water and fish and then filter out the water. The pod gather closely to herd the little fishies.


SEASONAL SOLILOQUY

This is the real Christmas letter that I send to our friends and family – enjoy!

SEASONAL SOLILOQUY

The title is deceptive – it was just to lure you in.  The truth is that not much has changed from last year.  Here are the best bits

  • Andy turned 60 years old in April. He is just as grumpy and annoying as I thought he would be.
  • I am horribly hormonal and bark orders at my poor senior spouse. Zits and wrinkles. Piss and vinegar.
  • We went to Mobile, Alabama, to celebrate the above senior’s birthday and it was wonderful despite back seat driving.
  • We are both working – enough said.
  • Andy traveled to California, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Kerry went to Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.  I ticked the Grand Canyon off my list and it was the trip from hell.
  • WE GOT A NEW REFRIGERATOR IN BLACK STAINLESS STEEL. So much anticipation and excitement only to find it just keeps food cold.
  • There were no hurricanes in Houston. There was a tropical storm on one of my VERY LONG work trips across the south of Texas.
  • MILLENNIALS! That references the previous point.  There are no Starbucks in rural Texas; deal with it.
  • Andy is about to exhibit some of his wonderful photographs on stretched canvas.
  • Kerry still writes nonsense on her blog and this year the fairy stories were popular but her fashion blogs even more so. Que?
  • We both had new DNA tests to clear up some anomalies. Andy has found some biological relatives in – wait for it – PETERHEAD!!  I am still Mexican and Irish.  I like Tequila and potatoes.
  • Kerry reduced Andy’s blood sugar levels – YAY! Some of this involved barking orders about food choices but now he is no longer pre-diabetic.
  • We watched a lot of Netflix.

Here we are in Brenham just after Thanksgiving this November.  One of the benefits of living in Texas is that it is warm in the winter time.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

From Kerry and Andy xxx

Toffee says Howdy!

READ THE NEXT PAGE FOR THE LESS HORMONAL VERSION…

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Kerry’s hormones have balanced somewhat and I have stopped barking orders at Andy… ❤  We had a lovely evening showcasing Andy’s photos that we would like to exhibit in 2019.  Andy has been successful at selling some photos through Getty Images over the last few years, so this is a fun new adventure.

Andy is standing next to his piece de resistance, a 12 image composite of Arches, a natural rock formation, in Utah.  It is taken without a tripod – the composites are both horizontal and vertical.  Doesn’t he look slim and handsome for a 60 year old senior; all that hormonal barking has paid off? 🐕

One of the images is Kerry’s; the crow in silhouette at the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  This was on the aforementioned trip from hell to Grand Canyon.  At least I got a good photograph out of it and potentially funny blogs in the future.  I have taken a break from the blog but hope to get back to it soon.

WISHING ALL MY FRIENDS AND READERS HOPE, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN 2019

This is just for Leah – our forests look exactly the same.  This was taken at Lake Bedias in Texas just after Thanksgiving.  The sign at the start of the forest tells us to watch out for snakes, alligators, bobcats, coyotes (but no lions, tigers or bears…oh my!)

 

Sam Houston Dellinger — Stories of My Family

As most of you know, I am obsessed with finding new family members. For the most part, they are long since deceased but within the last few weeks a new, and very much alive, cousin has come into my life. Sarah’s great grandmother was my paternal grandfather’s sister (Nelle and Raymond Dellinger) so we are Dellinger 2nd cousins, one generation between us. We have been excitedly sharing information and photographs to help build a picture of our most interesting family. Sarah had never seen a photo of Raymond, or I of Nelle, so that was very exciting. If you look at Sarah’s gravatar image you will see a resemblance in our smiles. To my astonishment, Sarah thought that I look like a Dellinger. As an only child with little connection to my paternal side, this is all manna from Heaven. Curiously, we both have WordPress Blogs and write similarly. Now we are pondering whether the writing gene comes from the Dellinger side…and why do we have so much Swedish DNA???
Please enjoy this beautifully researched genealogy post below on Sam Houston Dellinger (my great-grandfather) and have a look at Sarah’s blogs – Stories of my Family and A blog dedicated to my love for books

The Dellinger side of the family is full of of fantastic stories. Samuel Houston Dellinger and his wife, Lillie (née Dillingham) were quite the characters and it is not surprising that their independent, pioneer spirit rubbed off on their children (though it manifested quite differently in some of them).

via Sam Houston Dellinger — Stories of My Family

Texas Trains

Look at that! A Texas sky and an old railroad with no barriers. Us Texans are brave…

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Brenham in the Texas hill country for work.  It is a small country town, German in origin, north west of Houston.  The last time I traveled for work was in the UK, to grim industrial towns in England.  This trip was much better with perfect spring weather in Texas (hot summer weather in UK).

I used to be terribly frightened of railroad crossings but since moving here, I have had to get used to them.  Most of them around me have no barriers so the train uses the horn for miles – a sound I love.  Sometimes on a quiet night I can hear them at night about 4 miles in the distance.  Now I just stop briefly at the railroad and check there are no trains (not everyone stops…)  The crossing above was right in the middle of the old section of town.

Santa Fe Depot

These train company names immediately bring nostalgic memories of old American movies and I dream of jumping on a wagon to travel across country.

Abandoned train line

Or at least I think it is abandoned – it is sometimes hard to tell out in the countryside.  As I child I would have constantly been on these train lines imagining the destinations.

Yellow train

This is just one part of a very long train that had dozens of wagons.  They sometimes are so long that it takes 20 minutes for one to pass.

Wildflowers beside the Walmart

As I was leaving the Super Walmart I noticed this field of bluebonnets, followed by red wildflowers and finally yellow.  The sky was very overcast and it gave a surreal feel to the field.  I attempted a photo watercolor below.

Watercolor created by using Photoscape

There’s one vegetarian in Texas…

It is not very easy to be vegetarian in our traditional part of Texas.  Not only do we rear cattle but the original settlers were mostly German.  I laughed out loud when I saw this Stop sign a few hundred yards from my house.  Graffiti usually annoys me but this was clever and funny!  Although more flexi than veggie, I rarely cook meat and many of the local restaurants balk at me asking for the steak flatbread, for example, with no steak.  My weakness is real ham….  Every Saturday I have a ham and cheese Arepa at our local brunch place – they smoke their own ham.

Longhorn steer

The Germans have been joined by a very diverse group of immigrants including many from Latin America thus the Arepa – maize based flatbread.  We live in a very tight series of cul-de-sacs with traffic circles.  To stop trucks and school buses churning up the corner, our HOA has put cobbles and more large boulders to deter them.  Do you think the vegetarian created this zen stacked rock cairn?