Fireplace Colors, ca. 1960

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is the recipe for fireplace colors, as sent in to the 1960 edition of Maxine Mulvey’s “Hello, Neighbor” Book by a Mrs. Steve Shaball, P.O. Box 597, Rollinsville, Colorado. Don’t blame me if the purchase of any of the below mentioned chemicals puts you on some sort of watch list.


Pine cones or wood will burn with fascinating colors if they are first soaked in certain chemical solutions and then dried. Prepare some now to give your yuletide a glow in the fireplace.

Each of these solutions will make a different color of flame. Don’t dip a piece in more than one solution or try to mix solutions. Make some cones or wood for blue, some for purple, some for green, and some for red.

For blue flames—copper sulphate, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For purple flames—potassium permaganate, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For green flames—boric acid, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For red flames—lithium chloride or barium chloride, 1/4 pound to 1 gallon water

After dissolving the chemical, put the cones or wood into a large square of cheesecloth, gather up the corners and dip the bag into the liquid for about an hour. Remove it and let the cones or wood dry.

Old newspapers may be rolled up and tied into small “logs” and dipped too. They are good for starting a fire. Dry them thoroughly.

Be careful not to put hands into the solutions as they may stain or irritate the skin. Most of these chemicals are poison, so keep any left-over solutions well marked and safe from children and pets.


Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Scripture Cake

Hmmm, I found some cookies in the pantry with a Best By date of 2008, so I’d better eat them, and while I do, I’ll flip through this copy of Maxine Mulvey’s “Hello Neighbor” Book from 1960. Mrs. Mulvey, for those of you who don’t know (I certainly didn’t), was an on-air personality at 850 KOA, and hostess of the Hello Neighbor radio show.

As I flip through the book of recipes sent in to Maxine by faithful Denver area homemakers, what should catch my eye but a recipe for Scripture Cake.

Scripture Cake?

I flip back to find it again.

Okay, here we go. The recipe for Scripture Cake was sent in by one Mrs. C. R. Van Dyke of 244 S. 10th Avenue, Brighton, Colorado. It’s a spice cake, and as best as I can tell, all of the ingredients are mentioned in the Bible. There’s a chapter/verse notation after each one. As for the directions, well, they include this charming little tidbit: “Add egg yolks and follow advice in Proverbs, Ch. 23, v. 14, for making a good boy (Beat well).”

Gracious living, my ass. 😉

Tomorrow: Fireplace Colors. In case any of my camping friends ::coughJAYANDALISONcough:: have wood-burning fireplaces.

Week In Review

I finally went to my first 2008 Rockies game, which happened to be the last home game of the season. Shout out to Megan and Joe for giving me a ticket. I had a great time, even though the Dbacks spanked us. Opening Day for 2009 is April 10, and I plan to be there after missing the last two years because of Stupid Work Stuff.

After mentioning on Twitter that I’d sold a couple more bracelets before even getting around to posting them in my shop, an acquaintance/follower commissioned me to make a manly-looking mala bracelet for him. Cool beans! Not that malas are generally very girlie-looking, but I chose paint-brush jasper for it’s grey/black tones. The hard part was/is finding an affordable “guru” bead. This is the 3-hole-drilled bead that is used as the counting point on a mala, to mark the beginning and end of the circle. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I’m going to attempt to drill my own. As for the other bracelets: Still not photographed and posted.

My last contract day with my prior employer was Tuesday. I slipped out with a complete lack of fanfare, because I’m not very good with good-byes. Also, I was RACING to a FedEx drop box, and didn’t have time for chit-chat. I realize that the reorg put into place by upper management, under pressure from the Board and stockholders, was short-sighted. Heck, it was BLIND. But I don’t work (much) with upper management, the Board, or the stockholders. The folks with whom I worked are my friends, and in some cases feel like family. I will be happy to return to the office for more work whenever I’m needed. At twice my old pay, of course. 🙂

I took my mom in for a preventative maintenance ’scope, and she gets a clean bill of health. The family genes are pretty good at shielding themselves from everything we throw at them. Yes, yes, mom’s side of the family battles diabetes, and her sweet tooth (which I thankfully did not inherit) keeps me worried, but she has managed to escape that particular complication for YEARS longer than her mom or brother did. Still, I’m keeping my eye on her.

Two former colleagues and I met up for lunch, to discuss the possibility of joining forces into one design company. After speaking to our individual strengths and weaknesses, I’m not sure that we’d be any better off than we are as independent contractors, but I still want to see what the initial business plan looks like before I bow out (or shake hands on the deal).

With my new, limited income, I’m trying to stay close to home and keep as much money in the bank as possible. I went to the thrift store ONLY to do a quick check for a dress that could affordably be used for Costume Two. I didn’t find one, but I did find a vintage, self-belt dress for the ridiculous price of $2.95, so I bought it. It looks to be home-made, but by someone who really knew what she was doing. I considered buying the new-but-retro-styled wedding dress that needed a dry cleaning but was priced somehow at $4.95, but it was a size 4 and there was NO WAY that I was ever going to be able to use that for anything. The sad, sad part of that trek was finding a mid-century-looking buffet-style chest of drawers for $60, and not knowing anyone with a pickup truck to help me get it home. Regardless of provenance, I liked the shape. It doesn’t go with ANYTHING in my house, outside of the kidney coffee table in the basement, so I should just put it out of my head.

I came up with the brilliant plan of using Very Long Tweezers to remove the offending thread from my comatose sewing machine. Except that I didn’t know where to buy Very Long Tweezers. Mandelion came to my rescue, and suggested the local fabric store. Of course! One trip to JoAnn later, and I was holding in my hands tweezers that are specifically advertised for reaching tight spots in sewing machines. Perfect! Alas, they don’t fit into this particular tight spot. Oh, for fuck’s sake. In frustration, with the aid of the tweezers, a metal barbecue skewer, and scissors, I wrestled most of the thread out. I am skipping the last camping trip of the season this weekend, but hope to make good use of my time at home by getting some of these sewing/beading/photographing projects out of the way.