February Finishes With Flowering Fanfare

Even with this February being a once every four years Leap Year, it's ends without much fanfare.  At least here on CollectInTexas Gal.

However, it has contributed Five February Collection posts to the Collection Label.
~Violet Survivors
~Hearts, Hats and Hello From 1903
~Fan of Fans and A Family Fannie
~Please Pass the Peas and Pass On the Phone
~February Hanky and Headache Vase

This February also presented the opportunity to explore and write about 'Leap Year'...February 2016~An Uncommon Solmonath...where I stepped out on ledge and declared February to be a Horologists/Astrologist nightmare with these stats...
~February 2016  STARTS on MONDAY and ENDS on MONDAY!
~There will be NO FULL MOON!
~A rodent named Phil will NOT see his shadow due to predicted cloud cover!
~Croaking Wood Frogs will NOT emerge from the 'Middle Ages Mud'!
It all happened, too...except...THERE WAS A FULL MOON!!!  Yep, the Horologist/Astrologist got it wrong for there it was a 'Full February Moon' on Monday, February 22nd.  At least it followed the Monday-Monday pattern.

Then there was the Rodent Phil's prediction of an early spring.  Boy, did he get it right this year...at least here in Texas.  It has been an Uncommonly Warm Solmonath, with early buds and blooms of trees, bushes, flowers and WEEDS...February Flowering Plant or Weed?
I do hope Phil consulted with Texas Mother Nature and suggested she not pull an
April Fools Freeze on February's Flowering Fanfare.



February Flowering Plant or Weed?

For years I have saved this flowering plant from the 'Weed Wacker's Wicked Knife' under the auspice that anything that flowers in Texas is not a weed.  He...the 'Weed Wacker'...agreed to leave them in the rocks and along the edges of borders and fences.

But NOT in the middle of his lawn! 

For years, he has assured me this pretty bright pink flower is most definitely a weed and a menace in the grass.  But then, anything other than blades of Bermuda and Saint Augustine are weeds and target for his wicked knife. 

Yes he weeds with a knife.

Once again I saved this February Flowering plant from the knife, and decided once and for all to prove or disapprove it's botanical species.  By the way, if it turns out to be a Texas Wildflower...it get's to thrive among the blades of the lawn.  The 'Weed Wacker' agreed.
It is called 'Henbit'.
It is not a Texas Wildflower although it is beginning to bloom along the roadsides like the Bluebonnet, Indian Paint Brush, Wild Verbena and others.  It's early greenery is sprouting and the tiny buds are blooming in manicured lawns, early flowering gardens and landscaped rock gardens.  Why so early in February?  Because the 'Weed Wacker' and other 'Weeder's' did not treat their lawns and gardens with a Pre-emergent aka Wicked Knife. 
It is a WEED.
Not even a native weed, but a pernicious non-native one.
pernicious...having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.
synonyms:  damaging, destructive, wicked, malevolent, noxious, poisonous. 
It is a winter annual and will be dead by late spring but drops, many, many seeds!
Mark one for the 'Weed Wacker' and his Wicked Knife.



This is a 'Keep It Short Sue' post. 
#l.  Short number of days in February.
#2. Short list of topics and photos to post about this month
#3. Short on time and shortly I will have to close this post and go to work. 
Keep It Short and Sweet because...
you never know which words you will have to eat!


February Hanky and Headache Headvase

Here we are in the last week...7 days...of February, and true to the 'Leap Year' calendar history, it ends on the same day of the week as it began...Monday.  You can read about February's Leap Year history and calendar oddities in my first post of this month...February 2016...An Uncommon Solmonath.   Along with the extra day on the calendar, February seems to be a month of confusion concerning it's traditional/appointed flower, birthstone and color.
For instance, most of us associate February with Roses, Ruby and Red when in truth February's flower is the Violet, birthstone is the Amythest and the color is Lavender.  It's enough to give anyone a headache...especially if one's birthday is on February 29th.
From my collection of vintage hankies, the Violet Rose Bouquet hanky is a lovely example of February's flowers without the headache worries of having to chose one or the other for traditions sake.  Now about the Headache Headvase. 
Dubbed 'Headache' by, no doubt, a collector trying to come up with a title to sell one.  Although, I never thought of her in that way, it does kind of fit and works for the theme/thread of this post. 

For the sake of a title less painful, I will call her Heddie.  She has been in my collection for thirty years or so, and wears the original hat of red net and 1950's plastic roses.  I have always imagined that she was a Valentine Gift from a florist shop.  Afterall, that was what Heddie was made for....a vase.

In 1913, L.Batlin and Son started an antique company which eventually became a Japanese import company during the mid 1900s called Tilco.  Heddie's foil sticker bears the Tilco made in Japan stamp.  Tilco, although quite Japanese sounding was a combination of L. Batlin's wife and daughters names...Tillie and Sonia.

For her headache in February Leap Year 1952, Heddie's choice of relief would have been 2 Anadin tablets.  Advertised as the tablets to give you the power to stop pain...fast and safe...with Phenacetin to increase and prolong the action of aspirin, tonic element of caffeine and a trace of quinine for an immediate sense of well-being and to counteract depression. 

February 29, 1952 was on a Friday when Pharmacies were closed for Leap Year and the recall of all products containing phenacetin and quinine. And that is how and why Heddie came to be known as the Headache Headvase.


"Please Pass the Peas" and Pass on The Phone

Even though I wasn't all that interested in cooking and food preparation, I was very interested in Kitchen Design and any and everything that had to do with Setting the Table.  And so began a lifetime of collecting Dishes, Glassware, Tablecloths, Napkins, Crystal, Pottery and you name it in the realm of Vintage to Retro Table Settings.  (from...AtoZ Letter H~Home Economics...Heloise Who?) 
Although, written for 2015's April Challenge, the reference was from my 1964 Home Economics Class where 'Proper Table Setting' was introduced regardless of  how many matching knives, forks and spoons your mother had in her silverware drawer. 

Once you learned the art of setting out proper cutlery and tired to make sense of why 3 different sizes of glasses were necessary when your Mama served Texas Sweet Tea in a mason jar...you were told, "As hostess of your Table Setting you are the model for using EACH and EVERY piece in the setting".

Imagine my eyes rolling at the idea of unfolding a paper napkin and tucking it under my chin.  At our table, Mama brought a dish towel to pass around the table, used her apron and made sure baby brother had a bib.

The next, and in my mind, most important lesson learned was Table Etiquette/Manners.  Even though my Mama only had the basic three pieces of silverware, mason jar glasses, and a dish towel to share, she was big on 'elbows off the table', don't shovel in your food, chew with your mouth closed,  and always say, "Please pass the peas."

"Please pass the peas" was about the only conversation at our table as my Dad was a firm believer in 'Chew with your mouth shut and Clean your Plate'.  When your plate was clean, you were expected to clean it again at the sink with a conversation of, "Who's turn is it to do the dishes?".  It usually was mine...especially when I could not clean my plate of the boiled okra.
The idea of adding ONE more THING to a Table Setting would have sent Heloise into a Table Spin,  had Mama trying to fit it into her 'Junk Utensil Drawer' and my Dad scraping it off the plate into the trash...along with my boiled okra!


Fan of 'FANS' and A Family Fannie

Getting in the groove of February blogging has been anything but 'groovy'.  After hearts, flowers and this years short calendar day count, everything else about February sort of faded away as far as my interest. 

When that happens, I start taking count of my collections.  This serves a dual purpose as I ponder how to work them into the 2016 AtoZ April Challenge and a post for February.  So, let's see where a small collection of 'Hand Held Fans' takes us.

The first 'Fan' in my collection is very special and came from far, far away VietNam.  I will save that fan photo and story for the AtoZ Challenge.  It has possibilities of fitting into several letters other than the Letter 'F'.  I'll be working on that idea and theme for what will be my 5th year to participate.

The origin of 'Hand Held Fans' can be traced back 4,000 years to Egypt where it was a sacred instrument of religious ceremonies and a symbol of power.  Other ancient civilizations used fans in various forms as scribed in Greek and Roman texts as well as the Bible.  The folding hand fan was a creation of the oriental country of Japan where it was thought to be modeled after the folding wings of a bat.  The folding hand held fan made it's way to Europe in the 1500s by way of trade routes and quickly became an exotic and stylish symbol of wealth and class.
In America, fans had a humble beginning, were a necessary utilitarian implement, and a way of life for women who made and mended them for a living.  Shaker fans were made from woven straw or paper and by the mid 1800's were a viable manufactured product.  Vintage fans are highly collectible in a multitude of categories from advertising to Victorian Needlework Embellished fans with mother of pearl inlaid blades.
As is my usual way of delving into a collection/topic...one thing leads to another.  In the case of  'Fan'...it lead to Fannie. 

The name Fannie means Free, and is often short for Francis.  People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family.  Fannie fit that character trait to a 'T' as a wife for 70 years and mother of seven children.

Fannie was my 1st cousin 2x removed.  Her father and my great grandfather were brothers who came to Texas together from Georgia.  She was born on April 1, 1878, in Arkansas and was raised in Texas.

Fannie was the fourth of six children...all girls with interesting Southern names...Texannah, Mary Jo,  Sallie Savannah, Susanna, and Ann Charlie.  The descendants of Fannie and her sisters are active members of Ancestry.com and have shared a wealth of our family history and many photos like this one of Fannie.  Fannie lived a long life of 89 years.  She died in May, 1967...8 months after her husband of 70 years.

Girls/women with the name Fannie tend to be orderly and dedicated to building their lives on a solid foundation of order and service.  They value truth, justice, and discipline.  I'd say my cousin Fannie certainly lived up to her name.
 I wonder if she had a collection of hand held fans.
I wonder if  this photo once had a handle!


Hearts, Hats and Hello from 1903

Valentines Day in 1903 was on Saturday.  Nice that it was on a weekend...like this years Valentines Day which falls on Sunday.  The next time Valentines Day falls on a Saturday will be in 2026, and on Sunday...in 2021. 

A bit of February Calendar Trivia for you.  As for the history of Valentines Day...there is a plethora of information on the web...if you are interested.  My interest for this post is not so much about Valentines Day as the iconic shape associated with February 14th...The HEART!!

From my collection of Hearts, my favorites are the 'Crocheted Heart Pin Cushions'.  Vintage ones are rare finds and often pricey...the reason I decided to make them.  That post...Feelin The Love features ones I've made.  Three Roses post features a Vintage Crocheted Heart from my collection.

I should have bought this pin cushion instead of just taking a picture.  I probably would have paid $28 had I paid more attention to The Pins.  The seller tried to tell me how special they were on the tag...w/HAT Pins!  Which brings me to the second 1903 item...HATS!

As you see, the style of hats in 1903 were elaborate and BIG.   How in the world did the Edwardian era women keep those hats on their heads?  Glad you asked.

The hat itself was a shapeless, amorphous mass of tulle, smothered floral ribbon rosettes, and plumage draped in lace veils which gave an impression of the hat being a frothy mass...or mess.  The secret to shaping the massive hat and keeping it on the head was...

...Pompadour Hair Frame Supports, a pompadour expert hairdresser/maid, a head of long, thick hair and Hatpins.  The frames were used as a base for a woman's hair to be built up and smoothed over the base.  Those with thinner, fine hair collected hair from their brush and used it for a filler.

The volume of the support contraptions gave the hats a firm structure to rest on.  Even so Hatpins were essential to holding the pompadour frame in place.

"Hello, Minnie's Millinery & Salon"
Oh, yes, we have Pompadour Supports.
Certainly, we have a large selection of Frothy Red Hats.
An appointment for the Valentines Ball?
I have an opening on Saturday, February 14th at 9 in the morning.
How long?  Depends on your hair and hat.
Thin you say.  Biggest Red Hat in stock!
Fine, we will see you Saturday at 9....oh, and...
Bring a ditty bag lunch
Your 'Hairbrush' collection!

Linking to
 Beverly's How Sweet The Sound
Pink Saturday!
Happy Valentines Day!


Viola...Cousin of Faith, Joy and Encouragement

Do you know anyone named Violet or Viola?  During the late 1800's through 1910,  Flower Names including Violet, Viola, and Violeta, were popular first names.  Violet was the 88th most frequent girls' given name in 1900, and oddly enough, Violet has made a comeback in the 21st Century.  In 2013 it was the 69th most popular girls' name.

In my Family Tree on Ancestry, out of over 1500 names, I found one Viola.  She was my 2nd cousin 3x removed, was born on September 1, 1873, and was born in Texas.  She fit the time period for girls given floral names, however, her birth state of Texas did not fit in with the rest of her family born in Georgia.  Her grandfather was my 4th Great Uncle and brother of my 3rd Great Grandfather.  Both deeply entrenched in Georgia's early history. 

Needless to say, I was curious how she came to be a Texan.  Viola was the youngest of six children with her five siblings born in Georgia.  In the 1870 US Census Viola's family was enumerated in Texas which indicates they left Georgia between 1862 and 1869.  Viola was first listed in the 1880 US Census taken in Texas with the number 6 placed in her age column.  Viola's father, Joseph was one of the first Georgia family members to migrate to Texas after the Civil War.  He led the way for others, including my Great Grandfather.

The 1880 Census also revealed Viola's father, Joseph at age 51, served in the electoral position of District Clerk.  Her mother Laura, age 45 was a housekeeper and her siblings listed were 21, 19, 17,16, 14.  In 1883, when Viola was 10 years old, her mother died.  She continued to live with her father and siblings until his death in 1898...she was 16 years old.
Surely, Viola was an example of forgiveness, faith and joy to her family and friends.  Even after losing both her parents at a young age, she in all likelihood, never spread unhappiness or doubt.  But where did she go after the death of her father?  Which of her older siblings became her guardians?  The answer most likely was in the 1890 US Census which was destroyed by fire in January 1921.

"Some people bring encouragement to everyone they touch
...they really know what life is all about".
Viola didn't get a chance to fulfill the last verse of knowing what life is all about...she died on January 7, 1891 at 17 years of age.  With her death and the lack of the 1890 Census, my research on Viola came to an abrupt end at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Goliad County where she was buried in the family plot along with her parents, an infant brother and an uncle and aunt.
As it happens in Genealogy Family research, one name leads to another, and Viola's distant Texas cousin relationship is a perfect example.  Through her, I discovered her older brother Walter who although a distant cousin, lived, died and is buried a short distance from where I am now. 
Thank-you Viola for touching my life
...you really did know what life was all about...Family!
Disclaimer:  Photo from collection of Vintage Photos...not intended to portray anyone mentioned in this family history post.


Violet Surviors

What flower do you associate with February?   Roses?  Red Roses, right?  A bouquet of a dozen red roses this time of the year...first couple of weeks of February, anyway...keeps floral shops and other Sweetheart gift providers, hopping. 

What about February's Flower of the Month...the Violet? 

Typically, not thought of as a February flower or as a bouquet gift unless the sweetheart's name is Violet or Viola...or...the recipient is an avid 'Saintpaulia' grower/collector/fan. 

Saintpaulia is the botanical name for African Violets, and yes, I have had a collection of them, and no, I was never a member of the African Violet Society of America....but my Aunt Bea was.

Bea was my African Violet mentor and inspiration to be an African Violet enthusiast.  At first I was content with the five or so plants she gave me to start my own violet collection/hobby.  Then, as they began to bloom with a plethora of 'Blooming Must Haves', my hobby turned into yet another 'OverDoSue' life changing event.

Before I knew it, shelves of violets took over every appropriately sun lite window, and when that space was over run, out came UV Grower Bulbs to hang over more shelves.  I read and collected books on How To Grow Violets, bought Violet Pots, Violet Potting Soil, Violet Food, and of course more Violets...usually ones that were on their last living leaf and bloom.  After Easter is a good time to find bargain violets.

Like many of my life changing events/collections the 'Living Violets' eventually bit the dust as we say here in Texas.  After several moves to not so violet friendly places, the only survivors were a mixed media painting and a McCoy Pitcher.

Aunt Bea and her violets have also been the inspiration for several posts here on CollectInTexas Gal.
The Vast Violet Veranda
The Letter V...AtoZ 2014


February 2016...An Uncommon Solmonath

In Old English language...like the Middle Ages...February was called Solmonath (mud month).  Do you think they much liked the second month of winter?  Probably not for the muddy mess that freezing rain and snow left for them to deal with, but there was a bright side to Solmonath.  It was also known as Kale-monath.  That's right...February as we know it was not always celebrated with chocolates and cherries...but...cabbage.

February has a confusing calendar history with day tripping starts and endings.  For example it starts on the same day of the week as both March and November in common years, and as August in leap years.  That one day of 24 hours every four years is a horologists and astrologists nightmare.

Here's how Leap Year messes with February's end of the month...it ends on the same day of the week as July of the following year in years immediately before leap years.  In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday on which it began and is the only month of that year that can pass without a single full moon...except in 1999.  Horologists...students of  horology...the art or science of measuring time,  calculate the next February full moon will occur in 2018.  I am going to consult my Crystal Ball or maybe even the Ouija Board...better yet a croaking frog.  It's true, says so in the Farmer's Almanac...the wood frog is the voice of the weather.  Oh wait...that's a gopher. 

I imagine by now you are wondering how this month's opening post got off on amphibians and rodents when we generally think of February as a month of pretty valentines, chocolates, amethysts and violets.  My best guess is because this is one of those...
...Horologists/Astrologist nightmares.
February 2016
There will be NO FULL MOON!
A rodent named Phil will NOT see his shadow due to predicted cloud cover!
Croaking Wood Frogs will NOT emerge from the 'Middle Ages Mud'!
It is a LEAP YEAR!