Wednesday Whimsy Flower Girls

025Continuing on with my general theme of Spring and flowers, here are a series of Victorian trade (advertising) cards that feature delightful ladies perched a bit precariously on flower stems!

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions. Chanakya

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. Henri Matisse

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank

Earth laughs in flowers. Ralph Waldo Emerson027

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. A. A. Milne

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. Theodore Roethke

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful
bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.
Auguste Rodin

How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold. William Wordsworth

029It’s so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that’s what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower Is to bloom. Alice Walker

How can you consider flower power outdated? The essence of my lyrics is the desire for peace and harmony. That’s all anyone has ever wanted. How could it become outdated? Robert Plant

The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition. Honore de Balzac

By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive Truth. Yukio Mishima

The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is 030interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? Richard P. Feynman

When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole. William Makepeace Thackeray

Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow. John Lennon032


Wednesday Whimsy Sylphs

020I’m in a Springlike, flowery mood and when I went through my big box of Victorian trade (advertising) cards today, I found this series from The Liebig company, entitled “Les Sylphides.”  They were mythological spirits of the Air, first named and described by Paracelsus in the 16th century. A number of creative people have been inspired by the idea of  Sylphs and there are several different romantic ballets centered around this theme.

Until I researched the name for this post, I thought they were merely fairies but apparently Paracelsus himself visualized them “rougher, coarser, taller, and stronger than humans.”  You can see that the Liebig illustrator was more in tune with my theory of the ladies as nymphs or fairylike beings!

015(Liebig  by the way, was an 1800’s purveyor of extract of meat, and renowned for their beautifully illustrated sets of trading cards on just about any subject you can imagine. The company continued on into the 20th century in a variety of corporate incarnations.)


“She’s the only sylph I ever saw, who could stand upon one leg, and play the tambourine on her other knee, like a sylph.” Charles Dickens


Oft when the World imagine Women stray,
The Sylphs thro’ mystick Mazes guide their Way,
Thro’ all the giddy Circle they pursue,
And old Impertinence expel by new.


To draw fresh Colours from the vernal Flow’rs,
To steal from Rainbows ere they drop in Show’rs
A brighter Wash; to curl their waving Hairs,
Assist their Blushes, and inspire their Airs;
Nay oft, in Dreams, Invention we bestow,
To change a Flounce, or add a Furbelo.

Both quotes from Alexander Pope’s poem The Rape of the Lock


Victorian Fairy Tales for Wednesday Whimsy

032The holiday season all seems magical to me, so I thought I’d share some of my Victorian trade (advertising) cards which feature fairy tales, nursery rhymes or myths! The card above needs no further explanation, I’m sure. Lion Coffee ran quite a series of nursery rhyme cards.

019My favorites are these three from Au Bon Marche, the first modern department store, founded in 1852 in Paris. These cards are from the story of Cinderella, and I wish I had the entire set because they’re quite charming. We have her helping the wicked stepsisters to dress for the ball; the Fairy Godmother’s arrival – and I have to say the 018FG looks like she’s been imbibing a bit too much or something, her expression is a hoot! – and then the Prince finding that the glass slipper fits Cinderella. Typically the cards from this store are lovely…

Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.   Alexandre Dumas

All the ancient classic fairy tales have always been scary and dark.   Helena Bonham Carter (She was my favorite EVER Fairy Godmother in the recent live action Disney “Cinderella”.)


In kindergarten that used to be my job, to tell them fairytales. I liked Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm fairy tales, all the classic fairy tales.  Francis Ford Coppola

020With ‘Stardust’, I hope what I was doing is giving 30-year-olds and 40-year-olds and 25-year-olds and 60-year-olds a chance to get the same sense of wonder, the same feeling, the same magic, that they got in reading the classic fairy tales as children.   Neil Gaiman

I think that Shakespeare himself raided fairy tales and chronicle writers, and he always looked to people who worked in the mythic genres, whether it was folk tales or popular novels.   Kenneth Branagh


I also like these charming fairy tale cards featuring children….




Cup of Tea for Wednesday Whimsy

007004The chillier weather makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea so that’s my topic for today’s Whimsy post. I’m pretty basic with my tea – just good old Lipton’s, with sugar and a dollop of milk…as long as I have a pretty tea cup! (And if the ladies above are drinking coffee, the idea is pretty much the same!)

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.  C. S. Lewis

To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.  Henry David Thoreau

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.  Thomas de Quincey Well, all right then!

When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, 010that’s when I think life is over. Audrey Hepburn

I drink just as much tea when I’m in Los Angeles as I do when I’m in London. I take my tea bags with me wherever I go. Helen Mirren

Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea.  Yoshio Taniguchi

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.   Abraham Lincoln

The teapot takes in water and gives out tea. So the human individual takes in anything you give him and promptly transforms it; he is ready to give you out again his own reactions – first, in thought and emotion, then in voice or action.   Louis MacNeice (British playwright and poet)

008It has been well said that tea is suggestive of a thousand wants, from which spring the decencies and luxuries of civilization.  Agnes Repplier

A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog’s ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.  Charles Lamb

Tea does our fancy aid, Repress those vapours which the head invade, And keeps that palace of the soul serene.   Edmund Waller

013 I drink a bucket of white tea in the morning. I read about this tea of the Emperor of China, which is supposedly the tea of eternal youth. It’s called Silver Needle. It’s unbelievably expensive, but I get it on the Web.   Antonio Banderas

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.   Henry Fielding

I was always brought up to have a cup of tea at halfway up a rock face.  Bear Grylls

012I love this Victorian trade (advertising) card, which is actually for cocoa, because I find it amusing that the maid is helping herself to a cup – lots of plot bunnies come to mind!









ARCHIVE: Pilgrims, Turkeys and More for Wednesday Whimsy


Veronica: From the 2014 Archives. Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving, or else a simply beautiful November day.

I’ve been saving some of my Victorian 1880’s trade cards for this week because they have the??????????????????????????????? right theme. I’ve written before about being descended from Priscilla Mullins and John Alden (along with literally about  1,000,000 other people!), so I was thrilled to find the ad cards from “Alden Fruit Vinegar Company” that featured some of the family. You’ll see those further down in the post.

I like this quote from Buzz Aldrin, and wholeheartedly support his general stance that we should be returning to space, not relinquishing the foothold we made there. I’m sure my adventuresome ancestors would approve!  “The pilgrims on the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. To my knowledge, they didn’t wait around for a return trip to Europe. You settle some place with a purpose. If you don’t want to do that, stay home. You avoid an awful lot of risks by not venturing outward.”

“For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in a stream of stars – pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across the eternal seas of space and time.” Harry Beston (American writer and naturalist)
Going back to the Pilgrims of the Mayflower and the famous poem by  Longfellow, here’s a description of Captain Miles Standish:
In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrims,
To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,
Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather,
Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the Puritan Captain.
Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands behind him, and
Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of warfare,
Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber,–
He was apparently mourning for his first wife, Rose, and considering the fact that he
wished to remarry. and of course, my ancestress Priscilla Mullins, who he describes to John Alden thusly:
Patient, courageous, and strong, and said to myself, that if ever
There were angels on earth, as there are angels in heaven,
Two have I seen and known; and the angel whose name is Priscilla…


???????????????????????????????So off he sends his friend, poor John Alden, who of course is wildly in love with Priscilla himself, to make the case why she should marry him. Until she of course says, Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” And we all know how that story turned out! But not for a LOT of stanzas – that’s quite a lonngggg poem. John and Priscilla had ten children (one of whom married a son of Captain Standish).


Victorian Hats and Caps for Wednesday Whimsy

008It’s been rather windy of late where I live, which made me think of hats, so this week I’m026 sharing some of my Victorian trade (advertising) cards with that theme. I realize the hats and caps depicted are from different eras, but the cards are pretty much all Victorian.

I did another post about hats awhile ago, so for today’s quotes I’m going with the subject of wind. Speaing of which, the only song I ever learned in Spanish was “Windy” by The Association. Second random fact, the only song I ever learned in Russian was “Moscow Nights.” OK, on with the quotes!

004The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. William Arthur Ward

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of 011a person spreads in all directions. Chanakya

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. Bruce Lee

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. Khalil Gibran

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. e. e. cummings

Life is short. It can come and go like a feather in the wind. Shania Twain

010Same with anyone who’s been flying for years and loves it still… we’re part of a world we deeply love. Just as musicians feel about scores and melodies, dancers about the steps and flow of music, so we’re one with the principle of flight, the magic of being aloft in the wind! Richard Bach

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. Henry Beston

Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a 007rock that bends to no wind. Elizabeth I

He ploughs the waves, sows the sand, and hopes to gather the wind in a net, who places his hopes in the heart of a woman. Jacopo Sannazaro

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass. John Steinbeck

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head… The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun. Steve Sabol

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires. Francois de La Rochefoucauld

012One learns more from listening than speaking. And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls. Thor Heyerdahl

Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid. Homer



Victorian Veggie People for Halloween


013I’ve been saving these Victorian trade (advertising) cards all year, since they 001make me think of Halloween. The Victorians seem to have been fascinated by the idea of people-vegetable hybrids. I feel lucky to have the small collection that I do, because sometimes these cards go for pretty high prices. And then, some of the cards are just too grotesque for my taste, so I skip those.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. William Blake

I could happily lean on a gate all the livelong day, chatting to passers-by about the wind and the rain. I do a lot of gate-leaning while I am supposed to be gardening; instead of hoeing, I lean on the gate, stare at the vegetable beds and ponder.  Tom Hodgkinson

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. Ambrose Bierce002

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables. Gertrude Stein

The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent. Ralph Waldo Emerson

004An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh. Will Rogers

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself. Henry David Thoreau

The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness. Jessamyn West

The essential quality of an animal is that it seeks its own living, whereas a vegetable has its living brought to it. Henry Mayhew

And of course sometimes the Victorians just portrayed vegetables or other foods as people, with arms and legs, which can also be amusing to the eye!


Here are the rest of my 010015Veggie People cards for your enjoyment this Halloween!017

Strike up the Victorian Ladies Band! Wednesday Whimsy

001I lucked into this set of  Victorian trade (advertising) cards awhile ago. I have no idea what they were meant to advertise or who issued them. Also, 002they’re numbered, which implies they were part of some kind of set originally. Maybe as an inducement to collect them all by buying a certain product? Mine have numbers in the 90’s, so there must have been at least 100 in the series.

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. Beethoven

003Music is the strongest form of magic. Marilyn Manson

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. Benjamin Britten004

For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness. Reba McIntire

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Jazz is smooth and cool. Jazz is rage. Jazz flows like water. Jazz never seems to begin or end. Jazz isn’t methodical, but jazz isn’t messy either. Jazz is a conversation, a give and take. Jazz is the connection and communication between musicians. Jazz is abandon. Nat Wolff

006Music is the shorthand of emotion. Tolstoy

Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it. John Lennon

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. Jean Paul

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until005 you die. Paul Simon

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya Angelou

Beatrix Potter for Wednesday Whimsy No Bunnies!

004Everyone knows Beatrix Potter wrote about rabbits, as in Peter and his family. Her mice and her kittens are nearly as famous. Even her hedgehog laundress, Mrs. Tiggywinkle! I thought today I’d feature a few of her other creatures, from my collection of figurines.

012Did you know she included a few dogs in her tales? Here are Duchess with a pie, and John Joiner…

The following quotes are all from Ms. Potter, collected from various sources:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality. 

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you. 

I do so hate finishing books. I would like to go on with them for years. 

“In the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered 010lappets – when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta – there lived a tailor in Gloucester.”

Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.

011For quiet, solitary and observant children create their own world and live in it, nourishing their imaginations on the material at hand.008

The pigs aren’t my personal favorites but at the end of the post are a trio, including “Yock-Yock in the Tub”. I must confess I’ve never read whatever story featured this scene!


Outrageous Victorian Hats for Wednesday Whimsy

001Picked some of my favorite Victorian trade (advertising) cards for today’s topic of hats. 003This lovely lady to the left is an advertisement for “Heather’s Popular Dry & Fancy Goods Store” between 5th and 6th Avenues in NYC. She’s soooo serious!

I don’t wear hats much, unless I’m going to a costume thing, as with this steampunk steampunk selfiealtcowgirl-themed event at the 2014 RWA conference. Purple cowgirl hat with rhinestones and feathers – what’s not to love? I used to have those little unsatisfactory white hats every year for Easter as a girl and one of my best friends gave me a blue velvet Dumas Three Musketeers hat years ago at a Ren Faire. Yes, complete with ostrich plume. I wish I were British sometimes because I’d love to wear those insane ‘fascinator’ hats that seem to defy gravity.

I have different hats; I’m a mother, I’m a woman, I’m a human being, I’m an artist and hopefully I’m an advocate. All of those plates are things I spin all the time.   Annie Lennox
006A person carries off the hat. Hats are about emotion. It is all about how it makes you feel.
Philip Treacy

As a singer I tried on all these hats, these voices, these clothes, and eventually out came me.   Carly Simon

When I first became a lawyer, only 2% of the bar was women. People would always think I was a secretary. In those days, professional women in the business world wore hats. So I started wearing hats.   Bella Abzug

I just let the work speak for itself. An actor is not afraid to take risks; to put on different hats; to be a good guy, a bad guy, a victim, an abuser. There are all kinds of people in the world, and playing them is what acting is all about.   Kevin Bacon

There’s a technicality to designing and wearing hats. A hat is balancing the proportions of your face; it’s like architecture or mathematics.   Philip Treacy

I own over ninety-five different hats and, over the years, have lost or given away 120 hats. You gain to lose… you lose to 007gain.  Theophilus London

All politicians should have 3 hats – one to throw into the ring, one to talk through, and one to pull rabbits out of if elected.    Carl Sandburg

The only person I never made a hat for was my mother because my mother didn’t really – she preferred to make her own hats. I mean, she was intrigued by everything, but she didn’t want one of my hats. She made her own.   Philip Treacy

004Hats divide generally into three classes: offensive hats, defensive hats, and shrapnel.  Katharine Whitehorn


And sometimes a hat isn’t a hat at all! This lady was used to advertise a “tonic and dyspeptic” remedy that actually sounded pretty darn unpleasant in the advertising copy on the reverse side.