Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Family Ties by Sandra Russell


Sandy's Grandmother Clara
(c) Sandra Russell

Family Ties
by Sandra Russell

“The best thing I can say about all this,
is that families need to nurture one another.”
-       Sandra Russell

    At an early age, the family had determined my fate was in the arts. I seldom got to visit with this side of the family, which is what is so odd about all this. The relations who had the greatest influence of shared experience were not so much alike to me as these folks I rarely saw. I am saying nature over nurture prevails in this case. Destiny can be delayed but not prevented. As adults I have come to know these cousins better in only the last few years. We individually have studied and enjoyed so many things that we find now are common to us all… 
This grandmother (Clara) gave me my first set of charcoal drawing sticks and sketch pads when I was 7 years old. Her daughter, my aunt Virginia, made me an embroidered and quilted "artist's apron" when I was 5 years old. It was sewn with narrow pockets all around the hem for crayons with a hand shaped pocket at the side, fingers and all, and my name embroidered on the waistband. Pretty great that Virginia's daughter Karol is also a quilter and we exchanged gifts (quilts and watercolors) at a horse show last summer. 

Grandmother Clara 
Original Art by (c) Sandra Russell

They all  showed horses. My dad took me to the shows because he was working 'sound'. I would go to the shows with my dad who was a sound engineer, and rigged up the loud speakers, etc. Sound, horses, quilting and painting. All repeated in the family. His mother is the banjo playing woman (painted by me) is also seen on the horse photo (above). This grandmother (Clara) gave me the charcoal set and drawing paper for Christmas when I was in first grade. Then later, when I was 13, she gave me her oil paints as she was going blind and could no longer paint. 
I think it's interesting how family ties can be evidenced in artwork and performance, even when these folks seldom see one another, there is a common pattern to their spirit, motives, and interests. These images tie into the other image of me seated with the art from 20+ years ago.

"Hylas and the Naiads" Original Art by (c) Sandra Russell
Sandra interviewed by the Athens News 2001

The fragment of the naiads can be seen in the other photo. I made all these tiles like a jigsaw puzzle or a 'crazy quilt' from clay, fired, then underglaze and glazed and refired, marked and pieced together it is about 4x8' ft and in private home in Athens County. The top row of similarly made mosaic is more sized 1x4' and was sold a couple of times last known to be Decatur, Illinois? Not sure? 
"Gypsy Princess" tile poem 1970
Original Art (c) Sandra Russell

This one was to illustrate a poem written by a friend in Brooklyn, New York in 1970. I made this piece about 17? years ago, hoping that it would find the author of the poem as a "Thankyou" note somehow?  My way of a 'message in a bottle' - do the art, send it out, see who finds it? I don't do this sort of tile work anymore, but created many, many hundreds in the nineties.
I am showing these, as they relate, I believe to the family tie of quilt making. Both require a 'vision' then a fracture of the elements, then a reassembly of those parts to resurrect the 'vision' manifest in material. The best thing I can say about all this, is that families need to nurture one another. I can only wonder how powerful and great we could have been if we'd had more of a chance to work together? Happy for what it is however!
My cousin Karol, daughter of Virginia, designed and quilted this piece.
She gave it to me recently at the barrel races.

(c) Sandra Russell

Monday, October 18, 2021

Milliron Monday: Marvin S. Phillips, D.V.M.

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017), including his wife Jody (1938-2021). 

"The environment and memories of the long
past is a thrill to remember.
Marvin S. Phillips

In the Smith archives is a treasured book Collected Thoughts and Meditations of Marvin S. Phillips (2009). The book was mailed to Jody in 2013 with a note: "Enclosed is a copy of my Dad's thoughts and quotes you had asked for recently at his memorial service. Please accept this copy as a gift from my family... especially Dad. We appreciate your attendance at the service and your friendship you shared throughout his life." Signed, Bruce Phillips.

In 1963, a year out of Colorado A&M Veterinary College, Pete joined Dr. Phillips and Dr. Bratton at the Athens Veterinary Hospital. Jody said that Pete, the new veterinarian, was often on farm calls and did not spend much time at the vet hospital, even though all the veterinarians shared an office. 

Dr. Phillips, originally from Barnesville, Ohio, studied at Ohio State University, graduating in 1944. He served in the Army Medical Corps before moving to Athens. Dr. Phillips passed away on August 28, 2014 at the age of 93. Collected Thoughts and Meditations is a look into his life - notes, ideas, wisdom, prose, and even his own poetry. I enjoyed reading Jody's copy. It has a profound sense of history - his history. He loved his childhood farm, family, and life. 

Jody penciled notes in the book. She marked her favorite passages. Here are a few of her favorites...

Memories when I was 45 -
For years I made country calls to treat animals for farmer's veterinary service in Athens' Ohio. Sometimes students rode with me, a country practitioner, so they could be admitted to the Veterinary State College. 
One morning as we drove through Athens, Ohio my student passenger said, "Did you see that woman thread traffic ahead of us?" I said, "Yes, that is my wife." 
The student was quiet for several miles.
- M.S. Phillips, DVM

Personal experience: Two older highly successful men in insurance and banking - R.V. Oakley and Dwight Rutherford said that, "It was more fun accumulating their fortunes than it was to have it."
Sounds like a proverb.
- M.S.P.

Memories -
in 1947 I was called to see a cow in labor on a farm near New Marshfield, Ohio. It was dark and the cow was dying and straining to calve. The farmer wanted to save the calf so I did a caesarian section on her and delivered a live calf. Since rabies was epidemic that year I removed the cow's head in a five-gallon bucket to send to the Athens, Ohio Health Department.
The cow's head showed Negri bodies in the brain tissue so I took the Pasteur treatment; fourteen daily injections. The new calf lived and so did I.

Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Anna Elizabeth Judd, Western Novelist

 Anna Elizabeth Judd

About the Author

Anna provides it all as if you are in the saddle along for the journey. Her rare books bring the readers joy from nearly every genre they can appreciate. She exuberantly brings the image and sentiments of the west to full life throughout the storyline. Yet, at the core of Judd’s work is a black stallion who engages life into every aspect of the book. Haystack fills children’s mind with wonder as he interacts with Marshal Spur and the Outrider Gang, to the mild minored young steed who brings Adam to new levels of learning in his life. Then he is brilliantly portrayed as a beautiful Appaloosa stallion in the Broncobuster as Cash.

Anna Elizabeth Judd includes a vast trove of Western Novels depicting the “Cowboy Way,” Horse Whispers, Gunslingers, and the Wild West, but very few scratch the surface relative to the vibrant depictions through which Anna takes this storyline in The Hourglass of el Diablo.

In her newest edition, The Handbook of Horsemanship Ann shows her extended knowledge in the art of horse training. As she originally wrote the book for her clients, so after the training with her was complete they would have a guide to take home. It ensured their continued success in the world of horsemanship.

Anna has many other books planned in the future, so stay tuned for the next adventure of Marshal Spur and the Outlaw coming winter 2020. But…… don’t think she has left us longing…. Dive into her new music album for all the young cowboys and girls in the world. Spur Up! Marshal Spur and the Outlaw.




Amazon Author Page

Reverb Nation Music Album 


Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thewesternnovelist/

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/westernsbyjudd/

Twitter:  twitter.com/westernsbyjudd

Monday, October 11, 2021

Milliron Monday: In the News 1969

Dr. Smith and his assistant James Keirns in the operation room.

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017), including his wife Jody (1938-2021). 

"...it is among the most complete hospitals for the 
treatment of sick or injured animals to be found in the state.." 

From The Athens Messenger, Sunday, November 9, 1969
Story by George Lovell
Photo by Ken Steinhoff

Milliron Clinic Only Part of Area Vet's Plans
     Two related events became increasingly important to the eastern section of Athens County's Ames Township and might eventually have some impact on a wider area of Southeastern Ohio.
     One is the completion of Milliron Clinic. The other is the purchase by Dr. Abbott Smith, the clinic's founder, of the Fred Phillips farm.
     The Milliron Clinic is along Route 50A opposite the entrance to Windy Hills Farm. It has been under construction for some time, and it is among the most complete hospitals for the treatment of sick or injured animals to be found in the state. Dr. Smith says that his clinic has some modern facilities which are not yet available at the Veterinary School of Ohio State University.
     The clinic facilities are housed in two adjacent buildings. The offices are in a brick building which is entered from the parking lot which is on the opposite side of the building from Route 50A. 
     The entrance is decorated with a mural which shows horses and other animals owned by the Smiths against a background of local scenery which includes the nearby McDougal Church. The mural is the work of Sharyn Bickle. Other decorative features include an aquarium and a table featuring a shadow boxed sea shell display.
     Besides the office, this building has two consultation rooms for examination of small animals, a dispensary, a darkroom and storage areas.
     Larger animals, such as horses, have their own quarters in an adjacent frame building. It contains stalls and an indoor corral equipped with a mechanical exerciser. Facilities for X-raying and administering anesthetics are available here.
     They are near a unique hydraulically-controlled operating table. This table can be put into a vertical position and a patient walked to its side. After the animal has been fastened to it and anesthetized, the table is rotated to a horizontal position. Casters are placed under it, and it is rolled to the operating room in the main building.
     Following an operation, the table is rolled to a recovery room in the frame building. Here the patient is deposited on a clay floor which has been covered with fresh hay. Foam rubber covers the side of this room to prevent the possibility of an animal injuring itself.
     When he named the clinic, Dr. Smith was not aware that Milliron was a family name in this part of the country. He explained that a milliron is a piece of metal which holds a lathe shaft to a pillow block. He adopted the shape of this as a brand design for his livestock when he lived in Colorado.
     The clinic occupies a small portion of the 280-acre farm which the Smiths have occupied for some time. They have cattle, riding horses, dogs, sheep, goats, burros and ducks on the premises. From this, the conclusion that they are an outdoor oriented family is fairly obvious.
     Just as the clinic was being completed the Smiths were able to acquire the 760-acre Fred Phillips farm which stretches across Route 50A and extends along a part of Athens Route 3 near the intersection with Routes 691 and 50A. W.P. "Bill" Clark of Strout Reality negotiated the transaction which he says involved one of the largest tracts of land to change ownership in Athens County recently.
     Dr. Smith hopes to develop gradually his combined holdings into a recreational area. He views this as a gradual transformation to be accomplished over a number of years.
     Meanwhile, persons who wish to ride or hike over the area are welcome to do so, as long as they close gates and refrain from leaving litter behind. Because of the frequent presence of horseback riders and hikers, the 1,040 acre tract has been declared a game preserve and no hunting is permitted.
     Among Smith's long range plans is laying out restricted 5 to 10-acre home sites on the part of his tract roughly north of Route 50A. These sites will be so planned as to appeal to buyers who would like to live in the country with enough land around them so that they can own pleasure horses.
     One of the first things Smith hopes to do is start a cow and calf raising operation which can utilize corn grown on his bottom lands as well as the grass which grows abundantly on many of the acres. Smith also has some sheep grazing on his farm, accompanied by goats to keep dogs away.
     There is a possibility that Smith may eventually be able to construct a lake on part of his property which is adjacent to 691. All the land which comprises the watershed of two creeks which would feed the lake is located on his property.
     The countryside in the vicinity of the proposed lake offers a variety of interesting visual experiences to the hiker or rider. There are sandstone cliffs and several huge chunks of sandstone which have fallen from them so long ago that they have now been split by the roots of good size trees.
     Development of the area probably will take years, because it must be cleared of thorn bearing locust trees. However, it might be attractive to some campers in its present wild state.
     It is the location closest to Athens which has been suggested for development of this type of recreational facility. Service station employees and others in the Athens vicinity say they have frequent inquiries about camping facilities in the area. They usually direct those who ask about such facilities either to the Burr Oak region near Glouster or to Royal Oak Park off Route 7 north of Pomeroy. Smith's projected camp sites would be considerably closer than either of these.

Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

This Week @ Monday Creek: Autumn

Walking to the barn this morning, a black walnut fell from its branch and conked me in the head. Nothing serious, just a distraction from what I was daydreaming about. I looked at the walnut tree loaded with nuts and decided it was the tree’s way of saying “Hello, Gina, good to see you today.” I rubbed my head, smiled at the tree, stepped on the black walnut, and kept walking. Black walnuts are super healthy, super tasty, but difficult to get out of the shell. We have thousands of them and I suppose I need to start picking them up before the squirrels get them. I will put the nuts in storage for winter and shell them when the snow blows.  

We’ve been busy at Monday Creek Publishing. So far this month, we have launched two books - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Yerba Mate: The Culture, Ceremony & Curiosities of South America's Favorite Tea by Marcia Lewandowski and Max’s Great Big World (children’s literature by Rebecca Elkins, illustrated by Kelly Lincoln). Rebecca’s book is actually launching today and I hope you are able to attend her book event. We have had trouble getting books from our printer. There is a delay in the printing process due to lack of supplies and labor. This puts us in a bad spot when we are trying to schedule book events. The wait time is almost triple to what it was before the pandemic. If you are waiting for one of our titles, we appreciate your patience.

D&R Studio – Dave Norris and Ron Mash –  came over last weekend and shot videos of three of our authors; Kathy Elasky, Carolyn Bailey Lewis, and Larry A. Horn, Sr.  A super fun morning! Kathy is working on a new book Pudgy the Brave: How Pudgy Got His Name, a sequel to Pudgy Possum and the Porcupine; Carolyn’s new book Love and Loss: The Storied Nature of Nursing Home Care will launch at the Monday Creek Book Festival, November 13th, Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville, Ohio; Larry’s new book Haydenville: The Company Owned Ohio Town that Outlived the Company is available on Amazon.com. Larry will be signing copies locally at the Nelsonville Public Library, Friday, October 22nd, 5 PM.

Another cool video we just received from author Tamara Martin is of Ernest John, illustrator of her book Bluebird: Dog of the Navajo Nation (children’s literature). Besides an artist, Ernest is a professional horse trainer and horseman. See his video here. Subscribe to see all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

Other than that, not much else is new. Zubie, my mare, has been lame for a few weeks. The veterinarian ruled out anything major and suggested shoes on her front feet as she has flat feet and does better with shoes. When she is too short in the hoof, she puts extra strain on her shoulders, which makes her gimpy. I called her massage therapist, Taryn @ Yarnell Equine Massage (highly recommended) for a treatment and it has made the world of difference in Zubie’s demeanor. Zubie is on Previcox while she works her way through being sore.

Zubie and Tinker @ Monday Creek

Our pumpkin and gourd harvest was good this year. The secret is horse manure and creek loam. We had a nice crop and have been giving pumpkins away to visitors. We purchased the mums from local Nelsonville Madison Street Produce. They are healthy and gorgeous!

Stay tuned for further updates as we move further into autumn. Follow us on insta for photos and events. See all of our social media links at www.mondaycreekpublishing.com.


Friday, October 8, 2021

The Hitchhikers Guide to Yerba Mate: An Interview with Marcia Lewandowski


Marcia Lewandowski, Author

Marcia Lewandowski is a world traveler and seasoned author. I had the great opportunity to connect with Marcia and ask about her new book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Yerba Mate: The Culture, Ceremony & Curiosities of South America's Favorite Tea (Monday Creek Publishing, September 2021). 

Welcome, Marcia!


GM: What is the premise for your new book The Hitchhiker's Guide to Yerba Mate

ML:  Provide an entertaining and interesting look at the stories, culture and traditions surrounding the age-old custom of drinking yerba mate, a South American tea drank in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia. There is a rich history and folklore, timeless symbolism, and unique acts of community associated with yerba mate that I wanted to record to on the printed page, to ensure that its legacy does not get lost for prosperity. 


GM: What other books have you written?  


GM: As an aide worker you have traveled the world. Where have you traveled? Where in the world is your favorite place to be?

ML:  My family and I spent 8 years in Bolivia, where The Hitchhiker's Guide to Yerba Mate was first envisioned. As the title of the book implies, I have hitchhiked in several mate-drinking South American countries. Now we are planted in Cambodia; we have a contract for two more years working with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as Peace program coordinators. 

          It not a certain place that we love to call home, but rather it is a type of place. We do best, and are at our happiest, when we are close to natural areas, that are green and flourishing. We love hiking in forests and appreciating the beauty of lakes, streams, and mountains.  We appreciate rural agricultural land, grazing animals and thriving croplands. In grew up in Minnesota and living in all this year around heat also makes me think kindly of stark black and white winter landscapes.

I do miss having my children closer, they have both left the nest and have made their own place in the world. But being with my husband centers me.  I tell him: “Put your arms around me and I am home.” 


GM: You are currently in Cambodia. People probably do not realize the perils and harsh conditions you face daily. Describe a typical day…

ML: I don’t think there are perils that we face. (The word peril reminds me of a skit I once starred in, “The Perils of Penelope Pitstop” when she went from one crisis to the next, with only the handsome defender, Dudley DoRight, to save her.)  

We do face the challenges anyone would face in a new foreign culture: First and foremost is learning a new language with a different alphabet. And so many slang words!  For example: As you all can well imagine, knowing basic numbers when shopping and paying for my purchases in the street markets is important.  I dutifully memorized all the numbers from one to hundred, but still I struggled to understand what I owed, why was this proving to be so difficult?  Picture my surprise when my Khmer teacher (many months into my studies) said that the women in the marketplace always use slang numbers which sounded completely different from the “regular” numbers I had practiced so well. Couldn’t this have been mentioned sooner?)   

There are also new weather patterns to adjust to (constantly 80-90% humidity day and night all year round) and monsoon rains that come as floods.  And the tiny mosquitos, that carry many diseases, that constantly circle my ankles. (Especially when I am cooking and not at liberty to swat them!). 

New foods are always an adventure, fried crickets are enjoyed here, as well as other insects and spiders. And every weed along the roadside is a desirable green to chop and used in their cooking.  Nothing that I can’t adjust to, but what I really miss is cheese. A life without cheese is not perilous but it is a sadder existence. Never take cheese for granted!

          We have had close encounters with some Cambodian wildlife.  A large fruit bat was using our kitchen ceiling to hang in while eating. He (she?) brought his own food. We have since discouraged him from using that location, but we were gentle, since they are an endangered species here. We have a pair of monkeys that swing by our flat in the early morning, and geckos (large blue lizards that climb up walls) that serenade us, but they are more endearing than dangerous. The call of the gecko sounds like its name and can predict whether one will marry or not. It’s also considered good luck if a gecko is in the same room and calls out seven or more times, three or less is bad luck. Perhaps the only perilous creature was a wasp the size of a clothes pin that was flying around our heads last night.


GM: What are you currently reading?

ML: I am currently re-reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The story begins in Amsterdam in 1972, when a teenage girl discovers a medieval book and a cache of yellowed letters. Jumping between centuries, the book blends together the history and folklore of the fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. I enjoy it every time I read.


GM: What are you currently writing? 

ML: Now that I am though making edits on The Hitchhiker's Guide to Yerba Mate, an endless process until time finally ran out, I can finally let go to pursue other projects. This book is, and will remain, the book that I was born to write, written as a tribute, in so many ways, to some of the most defining and beloved days of my life.  I was young with boundless energy in pursuit of adventure, both my children still called our house their home, and we were surrounded by friends and a welcoming (old world exotic) community doing meaningful, interesting work at the very ends of the earth. 

I hope someday to write a book featuring classic parables from cultures around the world.  Ancient tales that teach us timeless lessons in a short story.  Right now, I am in the process of collecting and sorting through the possibilities. 


GM: What advice do you have for novice writers? 

ML: I will borrow some thoughts of Hemingway...

1.    “Prepare to waste a lot of paper.” Of course, this is different now, and the trees are happier for it, but the sentiment is still true, there will be a lot of rewrites. Creating a piece worth reading — whether it’s a story, a poem, or a book — will take far more time than you expect.  

2.    “Strive to write something that will outlive you; if [your writing] is good enough, it will last as long as there are human beings.” Writing is one of the best ways for any of us to leave a legacy about something you care about. (If you read the titles of my books, you can see I love folklore, and the essence of history and people they contain.)  Writing offers intrinsic benefits. Whenever I finish a piece, I feel a surge of pride in what I have accomplished. Creating something from nothing is a worthwhile experience, all on its own. Writing is one of the best ways for any of us to leave a personal legacy. 

A thought from Tolstoy  (NOTE: This is NOT from Tolstoy!  I made it up, it just seems to fit with the way he wrote.)

  • Never be satisfied with writing just 20 words when you can use 100.  Of course, this is not true, rather the opposite is the gold standard.  I wonder who his editor was?  

GM: What is your favorite thing about Yerba Mate? 

ML:  The favorite thing about mate is sense of community and belonging that being part of a mate circle brings. It is not something to be rushed; it is an act of celebrating the moment with others. I was once told that there is no place on earth where the drinking of a few hundred milliliters of water takes so long and is so thoroughly enjoyed. I agree!

Connect with Marcia:

Amazon Author Page

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Yerba Mate

From the back cover: Whether you are a veteran mate drinker, enthusiastic student of foreign cultures or are simply considering adopting a new unique pastime, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Yerba Mate was written for you. This book is a practical manual on how to authentically drink yerba mate and a deep dive into the ceremony, hospitality and engaging cultural norms and nuances of the mate circle. Read about yerba mate’s not so insignificant role in history, its evolving folklore, and its role in promoting health physically, socially and spiritually. The author learned the art of drinking yerba mate while living in a tiny village in the Bolivian Chaco. She was introduced to the broader world of yerba mate while hitchhiking through the other mate-drinking hot spots of South America.

Illustrations by Nathan Vieland and Kelly Lincoln


Illustration (c) Nathan Vieland

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

How to Make a Halloween Mask from a Pumpkin Mold in Paper Mache

You may be familiar with paper mache made over balloons or chicken wire with newspapers and wheat paste. But I would like to introduce you to a method that is a bit quicker and capable of a variety of applications, masks, ornaments, and even larger projects.

This method is the 'slump' method, which means an object can have the paper mache laid on top of forms to dry but instead of a shrinking balloon to release the hardened paper form, a release agent is put onto the form before the paste and paper is applied.

What you will need to get started is a face. A pumpkin near the size of your head, or larger if you want? A ruler to measure your face so you will know later how wide the eye holes should be for the mask, and a breathing hole for the mouth and nose. The method is simple and will go quickly. Materials you will need are a pot or pan to hold about a quart of water (you can always make more)... Some cheap table salt (about 3 T.). Bring that to a rolling boil on the stove. Meanwhile put into a plastic dish or cup a 1/2 cup of cold water in which to dissolve about 3 T of cornstarch.  Gather up about 3 large paper grocery bags, tear those into about a dozen pieces each, wad them up, then flatten them with your hands. Take the pumpkin and set onto a protected work surface such as a sheet of plastic.  Coat your hands with some petroleum jelly and rub the surface of the pumpkin that you intend to paper mache, make sure you get into the grooves or any places that might cause the paper to stick.  Now when the water is boiling pour in your coldwater/cornstarch mix and stir rapidly with a wire whisk. This is to ensure a smooth paste without lumps.  When this mix just begins to show bubbles to the surface, shut off the heat. This glue should be translucent and slimy about as thick as yogurt. Let it cool for a few minutes you can pour the glue into another container to use, dip a piece of your paper into the glue and start rubbing it over the surface of the pumpkin. Do not be tempted to soak the paper in the glue, it will actually weaken the structure becoming soggy and not sticky, the same thing will happen if you try to build your wet layers too thickly. Be patient and allow two coats of paper to dry before adding one to two more layers the next day. A dry breezy warm day outdoors will dry faster, and indoors a fan set on low, can also help speed the drying time. Okay, so you will notice after about 3 or 4 layers of paper, that is dry, the paper is starting to pull away from the pumpkin, you can go ahead and pull slowly at the edges and release it. The pumpkin can be wiped off and used as a pumpkin. The mold mask now can be trimmed with scissors, elastic stapled to the insides can secure it to your head. figure where the breathing and site holes should go. Then paint your mask as you would like with cheap craft paints or tempera. You can also add additional decorations...the face can be a pumpkin or a monster, use a paper cone and make a unicorn. This is just a foundation for many things...could be you make a few and tape together, make a turtle and not a face. I've managed to make a few large props for plays and parades using this method. 

Good Luck to you, and Happy and Safe holiday!

About the Author: Sandra Russell was born in rural Athens County, at mid-century modern time in a pre-Civil War farmhouse near Hebardsville, Ohio.  Sandra's interests include art history, studio arts, animals both wild and domestic, and baking. She can sometimes be found on the stage performing in local community theater productions, or behind the scenes creating props or designing sets. Sandy's recent DNA results have increased her interest in learning more about Scotland.  

Family Ties by Sandra Russell

  Sandy's Grandmother Clara (c) Sandra Russell Family Ties by Sandra Russell “The best thing I can say about all this, is that familie...