Tuesday, November 23, 2021

FINDING FRANKLIN IN FULTON - a Holiday special coming soon!


My husband and I have been watching 
way to many Christmas Hallmark movies.
I'm sure you have seen some too. We have some favorites already! (my husband already purchased "Five Star Christmas" 
which is a new one)

 In the past years we got a little tired of the repetitive ones where the prince is about to become the king and needs a queen and finds her in New York City, at an ice skating rink or one of the nannies that are hired for his kids, etc.  Please don't give us another one of those.

We always laugh at the shops they portray and how the few customers are in the shop and not buying anything.  Trust me, with bills to pay and as a former proprietor of a shop - this is NOT GOOD!  Also, the shop owners close up for lunch and take off.  This is because sales are unnecessary in Hallmarks.  Bookstores don't need to sell books.

        Last night I announced to
 my husband that I could write a Hallmark story in just 15 minutes.  Wrong - it took me an hour.  We have several
 of those little old towns like the ones they feature that are near us so I decided to write
my story about Fulton, Missouri and I even 
included a friend in my story who lives there.

The real Karen Mertens
 who lives in Fulton:

So here goes and yes I am sure there are grammatical errors but I'm really not a writer so that gets me off the hook :

A Spoof Hallmark Production Written by Bernideen Canfield


It all began in the summer of 2011 when I graduated from High School in Fulton,  Missouri. Let me tell you about the events of my life that summer:


I certainly had no intention of staying in my home town.  After 23 years of family sacrifice, my Grandmother stepped down from her position as the Fulton town Mayor which frankly consisted of lousy pay and long hours.  And did I mention that for the last five years she had talked about it at every family gathering?  While volunteering at the Churchill Museum, I heard about a summer internship at the Smithsonian Institute so early in the summer of 2019 and with my Masters Degree in hand I knew I was ready for an adventure.  My Grandmother was in great health and said she would spend her time in her beloved garden so I set out for DC.  It’s hard coming from a small town but DC meant a real adventure which I was more than ready for. 


After high school and while attending MU, I had dated a couple of professors at Westminster (our local college) but nothing serious.  I didn’t even find it hard to say goodbye to my friends – many I had known since grade school.  Mr. Sharper, my next door neighbor was probably going to be the one I would miss.  I had tried every trick in the book to match him up with my Grandmother but all this was to no avail.  She had no interest in Mr. Sharper because he had allergies and my Grandmother had plants everywhere in her house – even in the laundry and the bathroom.  Once I invited him for Thanksgiving without telling her who he was.  She had agreed I could bring a friend but didn’t realize it would be him.  After sneezing for 15 minutes he excused himself and down the lane he went in his SUV.  I never call Mr. Sharper by his first name because he’s the sort of man you refer to with dignity and find yourself thinking of him in a professional way.


If there was a possible companion for my Grandmother he would have to love gardening for sure.  But let me get back to my story and tell you that Washington DC was everything I dreamed about.  My job allowed me to visit eight other museums in town as I was responsible for coordinating various events at the Smithsonian Institute.  I worked in the same building as some very interesting people (they are everywhere in DC) but Franklin Sutherland was certainly a person of interest to me.  Franklin was tall and had red hair.  I don’t usually notice men with red hair but he pulled it off well.  My summer in DC went so fast and before I knew it I was packing to come home.  Now this will certainly surprise everyone, I rode the Amtrack home.  Yes, I had come to DC on the Amtrack leaving from Jefferson City, Missouri, so the return home late in 2019 was part of the plan.


Mr. Sharper greeted me at the station in Jefferson City and filled me in on anything he could remember that hadn’t been texted or emailed.  All I could think of was “please just tell me about my kitty” and finally that news jumped out of his mouth.  He assured me she had missed me so as we drove home I was anxious to see her.

Mostly, I was horrified to hear that the whole town would be waiting for my response to Mr. Sharper who had been commissioned to pressure me into taking the position as town Mayor.  The City Council had met on numerous occasions and Mr. Sharper assured me my office at City Hall would be redecorated.  I found this whole idea a bit overwhelming and I don’t mean to sound condescending but I wasn’t impressed at all.  With Christmas coming I knew my Grandmother Karen Mertens would be making all sorts of plans.  She loves to bake and cook and even in in her retirement remains super involved in all the town activities.


In Fulton we have a busy schedule of events.  Of course, as a town Mayor I would be right there involved in so much planning.  Really, after a good night of sleep and finding my Kitty spoiled rotten by Mr. Sharper I decided to to down to city hall and see what the position entailed.  Did I mention that the Mayor’s office had a real leather sofa?  Well, to make a very long story short, I accepted the position as Mayor and became buried in Holiday planning.  Can you believe it?  Me, Marie as a Mayor of my little town of Fulton.  The Churchill Museum was in a big commotion about their Director and the staff complained he spent all his time flirting with the girls over at Westminster and riding his motorcycle over to Columbia to weekend parties at several sororities on the MU campus.

I have to admit, that sounded pretty interesting since I hadn’t had a single date.  Not that I would have had any time anyway.  I had met a coworker at Beck’s for dinner but we are just friends.  I did everything I could to avoid Tim Johnson who owns Brooklyn Pizza on the corner.  He was a pest in high school and still seemed to appear out of nowhere.


The whole town came out for all the Holiday activities this Christmas.  The lighting of the City Hall Christmas Tree was heralded by carolers and of course as Mayor we had the usual count down to light the tree.  I have to tell you that the fact that it started to snow as the tree lights came on was in my opinion something very magical.  I found myself feeling rather proud.  I had arranged for my Grandmother Karen to arrive right at that moment with (of course) Santa Claus!  She was dressed in a red plaid wool cape with a fur collar.  I know it cost a small fortune but as the former Mayor she was wanting to make an impression and this she surely did!


After Santa Claus arrived the children of Fulton were extremely excited and the Fulton High School Chorus spontaneously began to sing the Hallelujah Chorus!  Right there in front of City Hall I almost fainted!  Not because of Santa or the singers or even my Grandmother…..but as I looked back in the crowd there he was.  It was none other than Franklin Sutherland, looking very debonair in a black velvet sports coat with red wool slacks and a red plaid scarf.  I have to say, I was totally shocked to see him.  Can you believe it?  Franklin Sutherland.


 And here is the rest of my story.  Unbeknown to me, Franklin has just been hired to oversee the Churchill Museum in our town.  My Grandmother has wasted no time in inviting him for Christmas dinner and he seems very pleased.  I guess my life in little Fulton, Missouri won’t be so lonely this Christmas after all.  Now I just  hope he doesn’t have plant allergies and loves kitties!

Saturday, November 20, 2021


Everyday Paris -
 Eiffel Tower: 

I just shipped the large 
blue toile one

For the Nutcracker fans:

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


 Today was supposed to be a little warmer
and I had put some projects off in the
 garden counting on that last warm day.  Wrong!

 It is 58 degrees which isn't that cold so
 I did go out with my husband  to wrap the birdbaths better and plant a few bulbs. 
 I found some on sale at Menards and am anxious to see how many of the perennial ones come up next
 year too.  With the recent increases
 in cost of living we aren't spending
 much on bulbs this year.
The leaves are almost off the trees.

This maple is in our neighbors yard:

We don't have window treatments in
our living areas because we love to 
see our trees.  Of course, that comes
with a lot of raking though in the fall.

Our view of the yard below:

Several of the items we see
out our living room windows:

This year we enjoyed a cover over
this deck frame but now we
took it off for the winter:

All the birds baths and statuary are
ready for the cold.

What have you done to get ready
for the coming season?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021



I attend a Bible Class for Seniors each week and frankly am glad to have this opportunity to "unload" a lot of calories.  I love to bake so this gives me a place to try things out and keep learning.

I tend to write short recipes without details because I figure if someone is going to bake
something I post - they probably already have a basic understanding of baking:

Click and follow the link to Taste of Home

I think Sugar Cookies are required to
deal with life:  I suggest you always 
keep an assortment of seasonal cookie
cutters on hand for EVERY season!

Age old tried and true recipe for
Sugar Cookies:
You will need 1 cup butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 ½ cups sugar, 3 eggs, 3 ½ cups sifted flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar ½ tsp baking soda if using icing (1 tsp if not using icing) ½ tsp salt

This makes about 36-40 medium sized cookies

Use a kitchen aid to mix dry ingredients – if not a big bowl and a mixer works too.  In a separate bowl cream the butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs together and ad this a little at a time to the dry mix.  Some people refrigerate their dough now – I just keep going.  Using a floured surface – roll out to about ½” and cut dough with cutters.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes (less if convection)

Decorate when cool Icing:  Mix together 2 cups confectioners sugar, 2 egg whites, food coloring if desired – can be messy!

Friday, November 12, 2021


 When I was a teenager my Mother was a
waitress at a restaurant and worked the dinner shift. On Fridays and Saturdays 
I went to work with her and helped out.  I refilled the coffee makers and made ice cream desserts.  The restaurant was in Newport News, Virgina and was called Mr. B's. Their logo was a big bee.   Mr B had passed away
but Mrs. B (Velma Bane) still ran it and was
in her senior years.  Her daughter and son
and law helped her.  She had an Italian baker
in a side kitchen who made all the pies.  I would go back and help her by washing her
dishes.  She talked and I listened.  She
 told me "you always put everything away after you use it and exactly in the right
 place". I remember drying the measuring cups and spoons and then putting them in a special drawer.  She had her own baking
 area off the side of the main kitchen.  I have been thinking about her lately - Pearl Cardamone was her name.  Her pies were amazing.  I think she was the one who influenced my love of baking.

I am so glad that we can bake whatever
we like whenever we like.  For example,
Gingerbread Boys aren't
 just for Christmastime.

Here is my recipe which I have
 had for a very long time.

Gingerbread Boys
Use appropriate cookie cutter and I
used the small (not the tiny one though)
This recipe made 60 small cookies which could be iced although I did plain

1 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg, 1 cup molasses, 2 Tb Vinegar, 5 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 Tb ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves and cinnamon dots for eyes and buttons

Thoroughly cream the shortening, sugar and salt, then stir in egg, molasses and vinegar.
Add dry ingredients together and add to shortening mix.  Chill 3 hours (I need to say I did not do this but my kitchen was not hot like in the summer)
On a floured surface - roll out cookies a hand full of dough at a time.  I rolled mine about 3/8" deep.  ***Press the cinnamon dots into the dough before baking.  BAKE AT 375 degrees about 7 min regular oven - 6 min convection
If you are going to
ice the cookies - put the 
cinnamon candies
on last.

And if that isn't enough, what about some
Pecan Sandies.  I just made these using

I did add 1/3 cup of water to the recipe
 - not sure why I needed it but the dough
 was much more manageable.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


 I have shared several posts about a town
 west of Columbia called Boonville and
 a town east of here called Fulton.
Today my husband and I went over to
Boonville to the Visitors Center.  The
town along the Missouri River
 is now 200 years old. 

When we ride over to Boonville , I usually take photos of the old Victorian and Edwardian homes and their gardens. 

 I have posted some of these before here on
my blog but today the with the colors of
the leaves - everything was aglow:

I took these photos from in
inside of our car.

I always admire this Bed and Breakfast:

It looks like it has a new name 
and a fresh new look.

What I want to share about now
is the fascinating story about the
real life pioneer woman who
first settled there.  Her name was
Hannah Cole.  I have read all the
documents I could find about her on
line and I am in awe about her
personal quality of endurance.

Hannah was actually originally from Virginia as I also am.  Here is her story if you would 
like to read all the many details about her.  I would not have made a very good pioneer woman myself because I don't like to be cold.  How this woman raised 9 children
without a husband is absolutely amazing.

A few weeks ago I was on a crafting roll
and created some Ephemera for a few of the history centers in nearby towns for them to sell.   Here are the ones I made about
Cole for Boonville:

No photo was ever taken of photo but that
is a photo of her youngest son,
Samuel, when he
was old.  

I have visited Roslyn Heights before
and taken photos so I made these
for them:

These were for our Boone County
History and Culture Center and depict 
one of the first families who built
 Maplewood House here
in 1877, the Lenoir's.  their
daughter, Lavinia married Dr. Frank
Nifong who founded the local
Boone Hospital.

And lastly this was one of the ones
I did for the
Churchill Museum in Fulton:

It always feels good when
is done. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

ITALIAN CREAM CAKE from Victoria Magazine

 I could not wait to try a recipe from the
new November/December 2021 of Victoria 
Magazine.  The one that I am speaking 
about is the ITALIAN CREAM CAKE 
on page 94 from the article "Cakes of

I made a 3 layer cake
 (instead of 2 layers)
and it tastes yummy. 

I love to bake!  I know that
many of you do too. 
 Do I plan to
try any of the others?
  How about that German 
Chocolate Cake on page 98? 
 That might
be calling my name next.