Let our fingers do the talkin’ …

Posted Apr 16 2018, 5:50 pm

Speaking of nail polish, did y’all know the habit of ‘decorating the fingernails’ originated way back in 3000 BC China?

Yep. And unlike the stuff we use today, the ingredients were henna, beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, & even vegetable dyes. Society ranking, ‘specially In Ancient Egypt, was determined by which ‘coloring’ was used on the nail…the lower class often wore nude and light colors, while the upper crust chose blood red [no wonder red manis are so iconic].

In 1878, a forward-thinking entrepreneur named Mary Cobb opened America’s first manicure parlor & she even held the monopoly on creating the world’s FIRST emery board with her then husband, J. Parker Pray. What began as a small shoppe called “Mrs. Prays Manicure” soon blossomed into popularity. By 1900, Mrs. Cobb [who’d divorced Pray by then & resumed using her maiden name] had become one of the largest female owned & managed business IN THE WORLD!

Yep, throughout history, nail polish has played a crucial role in a woman’s life, but, we modernists can thx the invention of the car, or more specifically, the car’s PAINT, for our current trend of bright colors. In fact, a non-color ‘clear coating’ was even introduced in 1916. But, we must thank a small company called Cutex who in 1917 became the first commercial nail polish brand.

And in 1932, its competitor company, Revlon, released a lacquer that used pigments, rather than dyes that would ‘stain’ the nail bed. Stylish ‘flappers’ flocked to these colors in droves!

My real nails are weak & brittle, so I use acrylics & THIS TYPE of ‘fingernail coating’ debuted in 1978 when a dentist named Fred Slack, Jr. broke his index nail while at work which led to him creating a “temporary replacement” out of aluminum foil & dental acrylic that he had on hand. The new ‘nail’ worked & looked quite stylish, so his brother, Tom Slack, took the process one step further & patented a successful acrylic version of the material, which ultimately led to a new business called, Patti Nails.

But, the most expensive nail polish ever made costs a whopping $250,000 a bottle. And the color? Black Diamond King, ’cause it’s made with 267 carats worth of black diamonds. Holy Moly!!!! Miley Cyrus & Kelly Osborne love & wear the color, along with several other celebrities! All-in-all, however, there are THIRTEEN “types” of nail polish finishes: shimmer, micro-shimmer, micro-glitter, glitter, frost, lustre, crème, prismatic micro-glitter or shimmer, iridescent, opalescent, matte, duo-chrome, & translucent. In an unopened bottle, nail lacquer will last indefinitely…but, once that slender brush is pulled out & air reaches the paint…you’ve got only TWO YEARS to use your color ‘for weird things start working on the compound. So…there you have it, Klatchers – Yep, NAIL POLISH is all the rage…to the tune of over $758 million dollars a year…& now YOU know the history of how the whole idea began! Hmmmm…I’m thinking OPI’s ‘Pinkin’ of YOU’ — How ’bout y’all? Woohoo!

 

Add a Comment

Easter bunnies, Puddle-ducks, & Tiggywinkles…Oh My!

Posted Apr 4 2018, 12:21 pm

Happy Easter, Everyone! Yes, we’ve all read the whimsical Tale of Peter Rabbit! But, how ’bout Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-duck, Squirrel Nutkin, or Mrs. Tiggywinkle? These, and so many others, were crafted into life from the amazing hand & inspiration of Beatrix Potter —

Seen in this c. 1913 image ‘walking’ with her bunny named Benjamin. According to The Storybook of Dreams & Beauty site “…The Tale of Benjamin Bunny is a children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and first published by Frederick Warne & Co. in September 1904. The book is a sequel to The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), and tells of Peter’s return to Mr. McGregor’s garden with his cousin Benjamin to retrieve the clothes he lost there during his previous adventure.

In Benjamin Bunny, Potter deepened the rabbit universe she created in Peter Rabbit, and, in doing so, suggested the rabbit world was parallel to the human world but complete and sufficient unto itself. Benjamin Bunny was an instant success, and thousands of copies were in print by the end of 1904.

The Times Literary Supplement thought Potter’s illustrations “pencil perfect”, but suggested that she engage a literary assistant for future productions. Potter created a nursery wallpaper tapping Benjamin’s image, and Benjamin returned as an adult rabbit in the Flopsy Bunnies and Mr. Tod. In 1992, Benjamin Bunny was adapted as an episode of the BBC animated television series, The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.” So, there you have it…Flopsy, Mopsy, & Cotton-tail, along with their mischevious brother, Peter, as well as Benjamin Bunny & so many delightful others, has forevermore anchored author Beatrix Potter a spot within our childhood memories. Hope y’all have a blessed Easter … ❤️ ~ Cindy

 

 

 

Add a Comment

The Color Purple!!!!

Posted Mar 12 2018, 5:37 pm

Say hello to Sir William Henry Perkin…the gifted scientist behind the creation of MAUVINE. You see, Klatchers, prior to the introduction of this magnificent hue, the world of Victorian fashions was a whole lot grayer. 😉 Discovered by accident when he was only 18 years old, the young chemist had been working on a way to ‘synthesize’ quinine to aid in the treatment of malaria.

By mixing alcohol with aniline [simplified, of course 😉 ], he somehow extracted an intense purple color! YOWZA, indeed!! What a magnificent creation! So bright. So bold. So breathtakingly perfect…a true boon to the color palette.

 

Realizing the impact, Perkin immediately began to mass-produce & commercialize his ‘dye’…which he’d soon dubbed “Mauvine” — For you see, Klatchers, prior to this incredible discovery, the only way clothiers could even make a ‘purple’ was to extract the glandular mucus from mollusks – which was an extremely labor-intensive & expensive process & which could only be afforded by royals!

 

Well, naturally, when Queen Victoria was introduced to his creation, she fell in love with the striking color & ordered myriad dresses made for her & her ladies-in-waiting. And this fact only escalated the chemist’s career further. Knighted for his achievements in color-making [he also created Britannia Violet & Perkin’s Green], Perkin lived long enough to see his aniline dyes monopolize the fashion industry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you go, ladies! Now, the next time y’all spot this gorgeous color on the fashion racks, you’ll know exactly how the rage began!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a Comment

Oh say! Can you see?!

Posted Mar 12 2018, 3:11 pm

 

Greetings, Klatchers! Yep, me again with another lil’ historical tidbit for everyone…   They were small. They were decidedly feminine. They offered just enough magnification to read a handbill. What am I chatting about? Why, a LORGNETTE [pronounced: lôrn-yĕt′], of course. And unlike today’s eyewear, the small spectacles were the ‘forerunners’ of the soon-to-follow opera glasses. The lorgnette was held in ‘front’ of a lady’s eyes via a simple frame that bore a pair of lenses attached to an elegant handle on one side. The rather unique name is derived from the French word “lorgner” [to take a sidelong glance] & “lorgne” [squinting].

 

Although crafted way back in 1770 by optician & microscope inventor, George Adams I, ’twas his son who truly expanded on the idea as a fashion essential in his writings titled: “Essay on Vision” where the lorgnette was described as ‘a kind of substitute for spectacles”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The earliest models have handles rarely longer than the width of the glasses & they fit neatly in the hand or clipped onto a chatelaine. But the popularity of this invention reached its apex during the Victorian years when long elegant handles arrived.

 

You see, at the time, wearing glasses detracted from a lady’s ‘beauty’, thus, the invention of the lorgnette. The desire of all single, ‘blind-as-a-bat’ debutantes who attended the opera [or other grand affair] was to catch the gaze of a potential beau. Indeed, he would sweep the room & the glint of the eye-piece would catch his attention. Then, the comely lass would fold the glasses back inside her lorgnette & be able to ‘flirt’ with the suitor from across a crowded room. Made from brass, solid gold, ivory, tortoiseshell & all other materials, even Mary Todd Lincoln owned a pair. Eventually, the lorgnette was replaced by the introduction/creation of small, yet elegant opera binoculars, but some of the older ladies used them forever. So the next time you’re at a play, the opera or even a sporting event & pull out the binocs…now YOU know how they began.

 

Add a Comment

Ice Skating galore!

Posted Feb 20 2018, 3:05 pm

Since the Winter Olympics is in full swing, I thought I’d share THIS tidbit of Victorian history. Around & around & around they go, those lovely Victorian folks, young and old,  in their crinolines & oh-so-elegant finery.

 

 

Back then [like today] ice skating was an enchanting pastime, but we can all thank a dashing fella named Jackson Haines for the winter sport we now know as ‘Figure Skating’ …Yep, in the 1850s, he began combining his much-loved, on-ground dance movements with his second-love of ice skating. Of course, the details are more detailed, such as the ‘type’ of edgings he made in ice, etc…but suffice to say, this chap is known the world over as ‘The Father of Figure Skating’.

 

And now, as you watch the U.S. try to snag another gold medal in THIS sport, or even glide out onto the ice yourself, y’all can smile & do a twirl in Jackson Haines honor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

The Upward Trail!

Posted Dec 30 2017, 2:08 am

 

Evening, all!!! Say hello to Jemima Morrell, a plucky woman from Yorkshire who had a spirit for true adventure. So much so that in 1863, at 31 years of age, she, along with three other lady friends, joined excursionist Thomas Cook on his FIRST guided tour of the Swiss Alps.

Fully corseted and swathed from head to toe in heavy garments, dark crinoline, lace-up boots and donning a parasol, Jemima looked more ready for a walk in the park than a traipse across the rugged Swiss Alps; in this instance the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Jemima was one of 130 intrepid travelers to undertake the trip in 1863.

She belonged to the Junior United Alpine Club, a determined gang, to be sure, as five fellow members joined her on the Alpine adventure, including her younger brother, William. Their itinerary was grueling – awake at 4am every morning, went to bed late, and endured all weathers; all the while dressed in Victorian attire.

 

Some days the women walked 17 miles.” We know how tough the adventure was ’cause Jemima kept a diary, discovered by family members one hundred years later in 1963; the amazing account was published under the title: “Miss Jemima’s Swiss Journal: The First Conducted Tour of Switzerland”. So much for thinking those wily Victorians were…dare I say it? Fragile. 

Long live historical essays & the courageous ladies that filled their pages with passion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

The Origins of Santa Claus!

Posted Dec 21 2017, 5:34 pm

 

Ah yes…the holiday season! I love this time o’ year! And whether y’all call this seasonal fellow Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, or St. Nick…we must first go alllll the way back to southwestern Turkey in the 4th century to find the roots of this most colorful character.

As the bishop of Myra, Listers, St. Nicholas was credited with doing a number of miracles. So much so, in fact, that when he died on December 6, 343, he left behind a legacy that would grow into a strong and beloved cult.

By the early 1500s, he was even given his own celebratory “feast day”.. But, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “…at about the same time Nicholas lived, Pope Julius I decided to establish a date for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As the actual time of year for this event was unknown, the Pope decided to assign the holiday to December 25th. There had long been a midwinter festival  and the Pope hoped to use the holiday to Christianize the celebrations.”

Sooooo, the ‘feast day’ slid from the 6th to the 25th & a tradition around the world began as St. Nicholas supposedly visited homes on Christmas Eve. Children would place nuts, apples, sweets and other items around the house to welcome him. And all celebrating went smoothly, ’til the Reformation [a Protestant movement which began in 1517 & lasted ’til the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648] took hold of Europe & St. Nicholas’ popularity dropped in most countries, except in Holland where the saint was called “Sinter Klaas.”

After the tradition came to New Amsterdam, U.S. via the Dutch [New Amsterdam would later be renamed “New York”], their “Sinter Klass” evolved to “Sancte Claus”. Then, in 1809, following the Revolutionary War, author Washington Irving (of Sleepy Hollow fame 😀 ) included the saint in a comic piece called “History of New York City” which caught the notice of the New York Historical Society, and in 1810, they hosted their first St. Nicholas Dinner. Member and artist, Alexander Anderson, was commissioned to draw an image of the good Saint for the festivity, & his image reflected a religious St. Nick, BUT…he was also clearly depositing gifts in children’s stockings which were hung by a fireplace.

NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
Cover of an 1883 edition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863).

In 1823, author Clement Moore further expounded on this idea when he drafted a poem for his children which he called, A Visit from St. Nick [which has since became the now-famous poem, The Night Before Christmas], where the saint is depicted as a tiny man in colorful robes [blue & purple were the favored colors in the 1800s] atop a sleigh drawn by eight miniature reindeer [the Saami people of northern Scandinavia often used reindeer to pull their rigs as these animals were well adapted to cold climates with their heavy fur coats and broad, flat hooves for walking on snow] which fly him from house to house, where unseen he shimmies down the chimneys and shoves gifts into stockings hung by the fireplaces.

BUT, we must thank American artist Norman Rockwell for the red & white adornment of St. Nicholas in his painting, A Drum for Tommy, which appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman in 1921. 

 

Then, THIS image was to become forevermore solidified in our hearts & minds when, in 1931, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company needed a seasonal ad to sell their product. They hired a painter named Hadden Sundblom who created the jolly ol’ Santa Claus we love best today.

So, there you go, my dearest readers, now you all know the real story of how Santa came to be… HO HO HOOOOOOOOO!!!!! <3 ~ Cindy / amazon.com/author/www.cindynord.com

 

 

 

 

 

Add a Comment

HO HO HO

Posted Dec 9 2017, 10:01 pm

 

Every Christmas millions of folks ‘deck the halls’ & most include the ritual of hanging bright ‘n shiny baubles & ornaments to their lofty evergreen boughs. But, did y’all know ‘glass ornament hanging’ in the U.S. didn’t even begin until the early Victorian era. Yep, ’tis true. Of course, Christmas trees had already graced homes in Germany as far back as the 15th century & decorated with apples & pastries & cotton-stuffed items. And by the 1700s, that custom traversed the great sea with German & English immigrants to reach our colonial shores.

 

However, in 1841, the Christmas decorating ‘theme’ was about to change forever when Prince Albert of England, a father of two children by then & missing his own childhood traditions back in Germany [glass beads were first crafted by glassblower Hans Greiner in Lauscha, Germany], decided to decorate the balsam tree at Windsor Castle with his own momentos. Even Queen Victoria, upon seeing the glorious site of their bedecked holiday balsam all aglow with candles & candies, tiny cakes & paper chains, wrote in her diary, “…it is like a dream come true.” —

 

And from that Christmas forward, cherished heirlooms of glass-blown German ornaments caught the candlelight on a million or more evergreens near & far & Christmas trees would never be the same.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1870, the first American-made glass ornaments appeared, & in 1880, the salesman, Frank Winfield Woolworth, began selling glass Christmas ornaments at his Great Five Cent Store.

 

Now, his silver mercury baubles & other glass blown ornaments were affordable for all Americans to buy– & the rest, as they say, is history. Soon, other merchants began selling these shiny little holiday treasures & by the turn of the century the humble lil’ Christmas ornament topped $25 million in sales across America. Today, Christmas tree decorations rank second only to gift purchasing in U.S. seasonal sales. And so, as you’re placing those beloved little baubles on YOUR family’s tree this year, you can share the tale of how all this ornamentation began. Happy holidays, Coffee Klatchers. I truly LOVE this time o’ year.

 

Add a Comment

We wacky cruciverbalists!!!

Posted Dec 7 2017, 8:59 pm

 

Who else ‘sides me loves to work crossword puzzles? If y’all do, then you’re a CRUCIVERBALIST – Yep, the word means a crossword puzzle enthusiast. And those savvy, smart folks who compile our fun games are actually called ‘SETTERS’ – These setters employ wordplay gimmicks & themes to make their ‘solvers’ [that would be us – 😀 ] sweat!!!

 

The most prolific crossword ‘setter’ of all time is Roger Squires who has to date authored well over 75,000 puzzles.

 

But we must go allllll the way back to New York City in 1900, for the whole story. That’s when a man named Arthur Wynne left Liverpool, England & onion farming to learn journalism in America. Upon arriving on U.S. shores, he found work at Joseph Pulitzer’s [yes, THAT man, who upon his death, bequeathed $2Million to Columbia University & they created the Pulitzer Prizes for literature in 22 categories in his honor] newspaper called The New York WORLD [founded in 1860 & purchased by Pulitzer in 1883].

 

 

Inspired by the ancient word game Satar Squares [first played in 1AD Pompeii – a tablet reflecting this is one of the few items that survived the Mt. Vesuvius explosion], which read the same backward as forward, Wynne expanded on the simple game/idea & decided to provide ‘clues’ for what word he wanted in a certain empty space.

 

VOILA!! The first crossword, a diamond-shaped pattern one, appeared on December 21st, 1913 under the heading of WORD CROSS PUZZLE. But a typesetting error by Pulitzer reversed the words to CROSS WORD PUZZLE & an instant hit was born.

 

Then, in 1924, two young & fervent cruciverbalist journalist friends, decided to enter the publishing world. They asked the New York World to compile a group of Wynne’s puzzles together so they could make a ‘book-of-sorts’ out of them. Of course, Pulitzer & Wynne complied. And soon the very first Crossword puzzle booklet, with a pencil attached, was released by the brand new Simon & Shuster publishing ‘group’…Rave reviews followed & in the spring of 1942 even the competition, The New York Times, began printing up a crossword puzzle – & now THEIR puzzle remains, to this day, the most difficult one to solve. So, Klatchers, that’s how the whole madness began! Woohoo…Now, if only I could solve today’s 2 across!

Add a Comment

Upcoming Booksignings

Posted Jul 31 2017, 7:30 pm

Heads-up to all my COLORADO pals. I’m booksigning TWICE in your great state this fall! The first location on Sat., Oct. 7th at the B&N in FORT COLLINS, CO — & the second location on Sun., Oct. 8th at the B&N in BOULDER, CO – Both spots from 1-3 p.m.

So save those dates & come see me!! I’d love to say hello!!!

Add a Comment

 

  • Sharon: Love the skating finery!
  • Elizabeth Clements: I loved reading this. I can’t imagine what those women went through, wearing all those...
  • LastWillard: I have noticed you don’t monetize your blog, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn...
  • Sharon Moore: I just love this, Cindy! Thanks for introducing me to Jemima. She might become one of the Intrepid...
  • FirstWinona: I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn...