Spring in Texas 2018 Edition. . . .


When the Bluebonnets start popping up it means Spring has arrived in Texas.  Every year we take a day to drive The Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis Texas; we take in the beautiful views, gawk at all the wild flowers, and even stop to say hi to a few horses and a donkey.  

I love this tradition of ours.  We talk about our kids, goals, hobbies, animals, work, and we always come home feeling inspired and renewed.  As with any job, even the cool ones I'm sure, day after day at the work bench can become tiresome.  Joseph can get so lost into his projects that he forgets to eat (weird), but I feel rather stir crazy if I have to stay home day after day.  Traditions like these have become a kind of life-line for me.    

Bright and early this morning our sweet Mable gave birth! We have a new sweet baby girl on the homestead; nothing is sweeter than baby lambs hopping around the yard in Spring. 


“Bellwether”, oil on canvas, 2018.

Spring of 2017 I took this photo of Hettie, our flock’s leading lady, and I just love it so much! She has such a sweet face yet a strong one.  Later I asked Joseph if he’d do a painting of the photo, a kind of loose painting with a lot of texture, and I wanted the painting to be really big.


So he bought some canvas, built a frame and prepped the canvas secured to the frame he built. He reserved Sunday evenings for painting and the project began. 

He chose to use oil paints and built up layers and layers of paint using a palette knife and a paint brush to create and refine the image of our sweet bellwether, Hettie. The painting is 3’x3’ square. 

I couldn’t be happier with the painting! It’s just beautiful; something we’ll have in our home forever!  

Here are a few photos showing the process of his painting and the finished piece, although photos don’t do it justice.  


Please respect the artist and copyright laws. Do not download any images without written consent. 

Crossing the Bench: Custom Enclosure with Fore-Edge Painting.

A few months ago I posted a video of a concealed fore-edge painting I did on an old book.  This sparked an idea for a client of mine who quickly sent me a text asking if I could do a fore-edge painting on an enclosure rather than a book; I said sure why not, and this is what became of that text.

First of all the tooling on the leather cover was too much fun; it was one of those projects that I just got lost in and spent a few more hours doing than I should’ve. 

The painting on the top fore-edge tray is of the Kirtland Temple before later changes were made to the exterior. The bottom fore-edge tray painting is landscape tying both the top and bottom trays together. 

This was such a fun project; I see more enclosure fore-edge treatments in my future.  


In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Oatmeal Cookies!


While thumbing through old cookbooks that once belonged to my mother, tucked in one of the pages I found a recipe she penned for oatmeal cookies.


When I was young I didn’t think of myself as a sentimental person or see the importance of keeping my mom’s old cookbooks. Now that my day job involves saving old books, but more importantly saving inscriptions, handwritten letters found in old books, and random pieces of provenance, I realize how lucky I am to have mindlessly grabbed these old cookbooks several years ago, because finding this recipe in my mother’s handwriting today made for a special moment.

I think I’ll bake a batch of cookies this evening.  Love ya Margie!


Ingredients:  3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sifted flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3 cups oats. 

The Process:   Beat shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla together until creamy.  Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture. Blend well. Stir in oats. 

Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 12 to 15 minutes. For variety add chopped nuts, or raisins, or chocolate chips, or shredded coconut. Recipe makes 5 dozen. 

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Creamy Cheesy Squash Soup


Soup season is basically over here in Texas, but I’m not from Texas, I’m from Utah, and it’s still cold and wintery there so I’m still wired for cold weather through April or May.

This year Joe and I made a goal to cook healthier meals at home. This is going to be a difficult goal simply because we’re already super busy with projects and deadlines and cooking feels like another project. I see many salads in our future.  Wish us luck!   

From time to time I’ll share a successful recipe that we came up with because it’s fun to share something delicious.  This evening I wanted to use up some squash I’ve had in the freezer, and I knew it would really only be good for a soup of some sort. What I came up with looks like baby food, or something one would find in a baby’s diaper, but I promise the soup is delicious! 

This recipe will serve 4 to 6 people. It would be a great option for freezing the leftovers, or keep half for you and take the other half to your neighbor. 

Ingredients: 2 pounds sliced squash (zucchini and yellow), 2 cups water, 3 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 can Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup (optional), 1 cup milk or cream, 1 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese (if you opt out of the Campbell’s Cheddar cheese soup add another 1/2 cup grated cheese), 1 cup water (if needed), 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, 1 pinch of nutmeg.

The Process:  Boil squash covered in 2 cups water with chicken bouillon on med/high heat until the squash is quite mushy; 15-20 minutes.  At this point purée the squash mixture. You can start by cooking the squash in butter or olive oil before adding the water and bouillon; this would add more yummy flavor, but we’re trying for more healthy options so I decided to just boil the squash.

Next turn heat down to medium, add can of Cheddar cheese soup and 1 cup of milk or cream. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add another cup of water or milk if you prefer.  Mix everything together well.  

Next add the seasonings:  1 bay leaf, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, 1 pinch of nutmeg. Mix together well.  Put the lid back on the pot and let the soup cook for another 15-20 minutes on med/low.  

Lastly, taste the soup, add more salt & pepper if needed, turn down the heat to low, then add the grated Cheddar cheese, stir well and let the soup cook for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted in well. Before serving fish out the bay leaf.  

Serve with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top, and croutons (store bought or homemade).  


Crossing the Bench: 1808 The Thomson Bible.


We recently had the pleasure of restoring this set of The Thomson Bible, 1808, generally known as 'Thomson's Bible'; the earliest translation of the Septuagint into English, and only 1,000 copies printed.  Charles Thomson was Secretary to Congress from 1774 to 1789; when he retired he devoted himself to Biblical Study. 

J. F. Watson in his Anals of Philadelphia. . . (1844, vol. i. pp. 568-9) says of Thomson:  'He told me that he was first induced to study Greek from having bought a part of the Septuagint at an auction in this city.  He had bought it for mere trifle, and without knowing what it was, save that the crier said it was outlandish letters.  When he had mastered it enough to understand it, his anxiety became great to see the whole; but he could find no copy.  Strange to tell, in the interval of two years, passing the same store, and chancing to look in, he then saw the remainder actually crying off for a few pence, and he bought it.  I used to tell him that the translation which he afterwards made should have had these facts set at the front of the work as a preface; for that great work, the first the kind in the English language, strangely enough, was ushered into the world without any preface.' 

This copy has amazing provinance as it is  signed by Charles Thomson himself, and it was also printed and bound by Jane Aitken, daughter of Robert Aitken.  Robert Aitken was the first to print the KJV Bible in/for the US; Aitken's Bible was used by the Continental Army.


We restored the leather and rebacked three of the four volumes.  The fun part about this restoration was recreating the new spines to match the original bindings so well that one can not tell what books were rebacked.  Can you tell?  


More fun information about The Thomson Bible from the Library of Congress Information Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 46.  November 14, 1975.

The Bible on which the Librarian of Congress took the oath of office has both Library and Bicentennial associations.  The Thomson Bible, as it is known, was once in the Library of Thomas Jefferson and came to the Library of Congress when his library was purchased in 1815; it still bears the 1815 bookplate of the Library of Congress.
Charles Thomson was the secretary of  the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1789; probably no other man had such an opportunity to watch the continuing drama of the Revolution and the development of the nation.  One of his last acts was to notify George Washington of his election to the Presidency of the New Federal government.  After his resignation in 1789 he spent the next 20 years making and English translation of the Septuagint (according to bibliographers his is the first English translation of the pre-Christian Greek version of the Old Testament) and of the New Testament (the first English translation in the western hemisphere).  It was published in Philadelphia in 1808 as The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Covenant, commonly called the Old and New Testament.  The printer was Jane Aitken, who was carrying on the printing business of her father, Robert Aitken, famous in his turn as the printer of the Aitken Bible or the Bible of the Revolution, on which L. Quincy Mumford took the oath of office in 1954.
In January 1808, Thomas Jefferson saw an advertisement for the work and wrote to Thomson asking to be entered as a subscriber.  The four octavo volumes sent to Jefferson are now in the custody of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.  Jefferson initialled each volume at signatures I and T, the secret way in which he identified most of the books in his library; three of the volumes still have the original sheep, red and blue morocco labels on the back, and "C. Thomson" lettered in gold.