Thursday, October 30, 2014


      An opening line unlike any I've read in a very long time. It captured and held my attention . . .drawing  my eyes right down the page!  
        This is not a Romantic Suspense. No,  it's Historical Romance - taking place in 1874. 
       Read that first line for yourself. . .wouldn't it make you keep reading?

"Are you going to poison her the way you killed your first wife?"

Wouldn't that opener make you sit up and take notice? It certainly did me. I read this book long into the night. I noted that Misty Beller's plot didn't follow a norm for the "Mail Order Bride" books. Her inadequately trained heroine wasn't turned off by the sights and/or smells she faced, but. . .well. . .I don't want to give it all away.
You won't be disappointed in the read of Misty Beller's THE LADY AND THE MOUNTAIN MAN
 If Historical Romance is your genre of choice for reading - be sure to get your hands on Misty's book! SOON! 

Go to and order NOW! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Colonial American Aromatherapy

Susan F. Craft
(Author of the award-winning Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile.)

Considering unrefrigerated food, people’s infrequent full baths, chamber pots, odors from horses and other animals, and the fact that people wore shifts throughout several days and nights, can you imagine the odors that must have assaulted the noses of colonial Americans?

Or were they so acclimated to the smells that they didn’t notice? Apparently not.

Many colonists doused handkerchiefs with rosewater or other perfumes, or carried pomanders. A pomander, from the French pomme d'ambre, means apple of amber.
Pomander ball
A ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris, musk, or civet, pomanders were carried in a vase or worn in round containers hung from a neck chain or belt. For the wealthy, the containers were globular and usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Simpler pomanders were bags of fragrant herbs.
Venetian woman wearing a pomander chain around her waist.

Europeans carried nosegays, which were small, hand-held flower bouquets. They have existed in some form since at least medieval times.
A tussie-mussie, nosegay brooch

Posy brooches, or tussie-mussies as they were called in Victorian times, came in all shapes and sizes and enabled people to pin the flowers at the waist, the shoulder, or in the hair.

The term nosegay came about in fifteenth-century Middle English as a combination of nose and gay (gay meaning "ornament"). So, a nosegay was an ornament that appeals to the nose or nostrils.
How to make a pomander –
You will need:
• toothpick
• apple, orange, or lemon
• whole cloves
• ground cinnamon
• gallon-sized ziplock bag
• ribbon

• Prick holes in an apple, orange, or lemon using the toothpick. You can cover the fruit in rows or you can make the holes in a pattern.
• Push a whole clove into each of the holes you made, so that the top of the clove sits on the surface of the fruit.
• Put a tablespoon of ground cinnamon into a ziplock bag; place the fruit in the bag, and shake until the fruit is completely covered in cinnamon.
• Tie a ribbon around the fruit, making a knot or bow at the top of the fruit with a streamer.
• Hang the fruit in a cool, dry place for several weeks until the pomander is hard and dry.
• Hang the pomander in a room or fill a bowl with several of them and enjoy the sweet, fragrant arrangement.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when people stepped out of their houses into the filthy, smelly streets, they would wear vinaigrettes, which were jewelry pieces that held vinegar-soaked sponges. If the odors of the streets were so strong that people felt faint, they would sniff the vinaigrette.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Michigan’s Logging Era.

                             Michigan’s Logging Era.

It's Tidbit Tuesday here at Stitches Thru Time and Michele Morris is here to share some tidbits about Michigan's logging era.

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the logging industry in Michigan and other mid-west states began to explode with activity. The Civil War had ended and the United States entered into a time of growth and prosperity.

With growth comes the need for building materials and the Michigan white pine was a perfect fit for the that need. The trees grow tall, straight, and close together, therefore are basically branch-less until close to the top.

The logging industry ushered in a time of great wealth for a select few and provided steady, though backbreaking, employment for thousands of others. Farmers, army deserters, and any other man who needed work would travel from one logging camp to another in search of good paying work. They each received a week’s wage, a place to sleep, though cold and bug infested, and two meals a day. Vinegar pie was a favorite among the men.

Vinegar Pie: (Recipe from Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling Michigan)
One pie shell
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup flour
Dash of nutmeg to taste
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
3 Tbsp of vinegar *
1 cup of water **
In a large bowl, blend white, brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg, with fingers until no lumps remain. Stir in vinegar, eggs, butter, and water until well mixed. Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

*Try different variety of vinegars. Distilled white may give a pecan pie flavor. Apple cider may give an apple flavor. Both would be historical adaptations.
** Original recipe calls for 1 cup of water, but Hartwick Pines State Park has found that the pie comes out a little soupy. We have adjusted the amount to ½ cup of water and the pie seems to be much better.

Shanty boys, river hogs, and fellers, as the loggers, river workers, and tree cutters named themselves, put their lives on the line every day. By most accounts, loggers had a bond with each other, a brotherhood. They counted on their co-workers to do their job correctly to keep one another other safe. The crew worked as one to get the logs cut, hauled, stacked, and finally in the spring floated down the river.

It only took less than a half of century to clear-cut most of the white pine in the lower peninsula of Michigan. The resulting devastation on the land and wildlife can still be felt, almost two hundred years later. Very few stands of white pines are left. Hartwick Pines State park in Graying, Michigan has one of the oldest.

Do you know how to tell the difference between a white pine and other pines?

(The above pictures are from Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan. They have a beautiful historic museum and information center. If you're ever in the area stop in, the tour guides are a wealth of information.)