Tag Archives: tales

If cutting boards could talk…

Christmas at Crossroads, of course, included a visit to Miss Vicki at Homepieces in McKinney- always on the cutting edge of casual home design…her unerring eye captures the latest trend…cutting boards!


the tales these boards could tell…


perhaps of the aroma of freshly baked bread…


or of the succulent heaviness of aged fruitcake…


of the hands fashioning their design,

or of the journey bringing them to this particular place;


now looking for a new home and new tales to tell.


Filed under Food, Holidays, Inspiration, Interiors, Travel

once upon a fig…..

Since featuring Erika Carter’s marvelous painting…..

(a portion seen here)


a confluence of FIGS !!!!

While browsing Volume Three of Kinfolk….I came upon this lovely illustration by Katie Stratton


which brought to mind luscious linen just used for pillows for a client.


Picking up custom forged fire screens for another client led me to downtown Santa Barbara to a side street only one block long…..


All of which sent my mind spinning off………

We once had a fig tree  (long before my tastes turned to the possibilities of slices wrapped in prosciutto…..).   My husband’s aunt brought a rooted branch from her tree in Palm Springs.  I planted it in our yard next to the front porch (the ‘why’ of that escapes me now).  Those were the days when I was happy if anything I planted grew…although the tree did not grow tall, it was prolific!  Every year a multitude of  figs – first a pretty green, turned brown and soft, oozing juice and attracting noxious pests which threatened my small children.  Having not the heart or the time to cut it down, I cleaned up the rotting fruit as it fell through the summer and the big leaves as they browned in fall.  I did once make a batch of fig newtons – but they were relegated to the ‘don’t bother to make that again’ category. 

I did not appreciate that tree!!!

….and where am I going with this tale of the fig???

Now, coming up on twenty-four years since we moved from that house, I have wished for that fig tree with regularity.

I’ve been set to thinking about what might be in my life at this very moment that I am not appreciating, not recognizing as a blessing………..perhaps seeing as a burden when, indeed, it may be anything but……….

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Filed under Art, Family history, Garden, Inspiration, Seasons

Tales of the silver napkin rings

As with silver spoons handed down in my family, napkin rings also have stories to tell.  Some are quite straight forward:

Lemuel from Mother


Lemuel was Lena’s second born son – my father

 Lemuel Joseph Downs



Others have a back-story:

Mama from Evelyn    09



‘Mama’ refers to Lena, my grandmother, married to my grandfather George Wallingford Downs in in 1909.  Lena was 19; George at 35, a widower with an 8 year old daughter, Evelyn.  The hope for relationship expressed in the engraving was not to be.  Evelyn was soon sent to boarding school; Lena and George went on to have 3 sons.  The oldest, George Jr., had no children, my father only one daughter, and his younger brother, Bernard died in infancy.
Evelyn married and had four children.  Lena, to the end of her days, only claimed two sons and one granddaughter.  She was never ‘Mama’ to Evelyn.

Evelyn Elizabeth Downs

with her grandmother

Susan Eliza Houston Downs



Susan Eliza Houston Downs


my great grandmother, my father’s grandmother, his father’s mother – Lena’s mother-in-law

This napkin ring does not so much tell its own story, as gives confirmation of the one just told.  Indeed, I was named for the Susan of the napkin ring, so it seems to logically follow that it would come to me…..eventually.  Nineteen years would pass between Susan’s death and my birth.  I would think that it might have been passed first during that time to Evelyn from her grandmother.  Instead, it came to me directly from Lena……


Do you have family treasures with stories to tell???  Perhaps you have not yet listened……………




Filed under Family history