Saturday, November 26, 2011

You May Be Halfway Dead. Wake up!

(I'm having trouble with the other Skarrs, so I'm skipping over
 to the Earles, my other paternal great grandparents)

"Send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee,"

~John Donne~

Hannah Earles, my great great paternal grandmother (read about her HERE) had 11 children. By 1900 only 6 were still living. Ten years later she and her husband Thomas were gone along with John and William who both passed away within months of each other, leaving 4 siblings, Miles, Michael, Thomas and Margaret.

I've already written about Michael and John. The first five children of Thomas and Hannah are proving hard to document. My children may have to find them in Ireland and Civil War records.

For now I'll concentrate on William and the remaining 4 children, all born in Wisconsin after arriving from Ireland in the mid 1800's.

William Henry Earles died Wednesday April 28, 1909, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about 4 months after his brother, John Earles. 

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage...
...he was a surgeon

I seem to be finding more and more lessons for me and how to live my life as I study my ancestors' lives. William's life is no different. I'm reminded of how precious life is and how we make choices every day about how we want to spend it. 

William's half-life birthday, although he didn't know it, and therefore wouldn't have celebrated it, would be in December, 1880, another census year. A year he was in medical school or already practicing medicine. I'm not sure. He was 28 and still a bachelor for two more years.

This is the record I found on that prompted this post:

Name:William Henry Earles
Birth Date:1854
Death Date:28 Apr 1909
Death Place:Milwaukee, Wl
Type Practice:Allopath
Practice Specialities:Milwaukee, WI
Practice Dates Places:Milwaukee, WI
Hospital:Trinity Hospital
Medical School:Rush Medical College, Chicago, 1880, (G)
Professorship:Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Marquette University School of Medicine, surgery
JAMA Citation:50:1551
Cause of Death:cerebral hemorrhage

So William, with a wife, age 46, and three boys ages 16, 18, and 25, died suddenly at the age of 56. He was a surgeon. He'd studied the human body and knew a bit about how to take care of it. I have to wonder, because it's all about me, did he practice what he practiced and possibly preached? 

It just struck me as ironic that a surgeon would die of something that may have been preventable, but in the end even he couldn't help himself with all of his skill and knowledge.

But there's always the flip side to that wondering. He may have been at peace with his life and what he'd offered to his world, both the medical profession and his family. I've heard that the sacrifices one makes to pursue a passion in the medical field are high and not too conducive to family life. 

William and his wife, Persis Day (gotta love that name. Reminds me of Doris Day!) had been married for 27 years when he died. She lived for 18 more years. And believe it or not, she moved to Seattle sometime before 1920 to live near Bridget, her sister-in-law who'd lost HER husband, John in 1909 as well! (Seattle must be a wonderful place to live. So many ancestors of mine flocked there!)

Sometimes the story of a person's life is not only in how they lived it but what they left behind, and how those that they love move forward when they're gone. It looks to me like William left Percis comfortable. I can't see anywhere that she worked after she was married. Guess some people might consider that to be one of the perks to being a surgeon's wife. I think I'd rather enjoy them while they're alive!

So, really, for me , the message is simple and clear. William's life was not nor will it ever be one for me to judge or to live. It just gives me a bird's-eye view of how short a life can be and still be very full of passion and purpose. AND...when your time's up it's UP! So you'd better be caught doing something that you love!

"Don't ask what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people that have come alive."
~Howard Thurman~

Who are you? 

If you're still breathing you can still do a little something that makes you feel like you today. Go do it. For 5 minutes. Hide the clock. You may spend the rest of your life blissfully entertained and entertaining!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Present: A Gift From Our Past

What touches and moves you deeply? When you think of making a list of things you're grateful for, what comes to mind?  Who and what would be on it? Why?

I keep a miniature  "Remember" journal that I'll write in once in a while. But I'm always looking at my life and seeing the blessings in it. Am I always in the attitude of gratitude? 

Yes, in one form or another.

Have you ever thought about how blessed you are that you even exist? That no matter how much or how little you were loved by your parents, you have parents who gave you life. 

We cannot be unborn.
 But our gratitude for that gift can change the quality of our life.

Ponder these things for a minute with me:

  • You ARE because they WERE first.
  • You were born.
  • Where and how you were born offers you unique opportunities.
  • You were cared for sufficiently to still be alive today.
  • Numerous people have contributed to your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

The same goes for each of your parents.

And your grandparents.

And your great grandparents, and on down the line...

When I stop and think about how today really is not only 

the present,

but A present...

I can't help but be grateful to everyone who made that possible for me. To my friends, family, and especially my ancestors who are listening,

Thank you for:

  • choosing to live
  • choosing to give life
  • choosing to nurture, encourage, and inspire me.
But most of all, thank you for choosing me to be a part of your family, and your circle of friends.

I'm wondering if among all the things we have to be grateful for, the people who made it all possible are the most overlooked?

How do I show gratitude to the past and the present? 

I study people's lives and allow them and their influence to permeate my day. To teach, nurture and inspire me as if they were here.

Today I'm grateful for family and friends
 past, present and future.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Uff Da!

Skar, Norway

Norwegian ancestry research can be confusing, funny, and extremely helpful all at the same time due to one itty bitty idiosyncrasy. (Actually variations of this little "problem" are found in many family histories around the world.) What is it?

The Traditional Norwegian Naming System 

If you've been reading my stuff lately, you already know that I've been writing the skeleton stories of the Skars who emigrated to Hawaii in the late 1800's from Norway.

When I started looking into my family history years ago and came across all the Norwegians with children who had different last names in the same family I was so perplexed. It took a few minutes looking at them in family groups to see the pattern. And then I was fine.

Here's what Rasmus and Thrine Jacobsen's family looked in the mid 1800's:

  • Johan Rasmussen Skar
  • Nils Jacob Rasmussen Skar
  • Ingeborg Marie Rasmusdatter Skar
  • Petra Rasmusdatter Skar
  • Elsa Rasmusdatter Skar
  • Hans Peder Rasmussen Skar

What I learned:

 Son       First Name                            Last Name
   1   Paternal Grandfather    Father's first name + sen/son
   2   Maternal Grandfather
   3   Father
    4   Father's Oldest Brother

Daughter        First Name                   Last name
   1    Maternal Grandmother  Fathers's first name + datter
   2    Paternal Grandmother
   3    Mother
   4    Mother's Oldest Sister

I guess this worked really well unless someone died, moved out of the country or thoroughly messed up and lost their inheritance. Names would be reused, again with a definite pattern (unless there were more than 4 children of one gender and then they'd go to great grandparents' name in no particular order!) ultimately confusing the likes of moi. Guess you have to have a flexible, open, and patient mind when you're researching these lines?! This is MY kind of entertainment. 

What about the name Skar? It wasn't actually a last name at all. It was a place name, Skar Farm, somewhere that he lived. It wasn't uncommon for one person to have several "last" names if he/she move a lot. And when my ancestors emigrated to the United States they kept the name "Skar" as their new surname like a lot of families did to remind them where they came from. It wasn't until 1923 that the law in Norway required families to choose a permanent surname. 
Wouldn't that be fun? 
I wonder what name I'd choose?

Another fun fact which, if you weren't aware of it, might make your million dollar trip to Norway to take a picture of your great great grandparents gravestone a waste of time and money. You see, when a whole family left Norway for good, and the 20-year grace period to pay for cemetery maintenance expired, the headstones would be removed and a new person would be buried right on top of the original person. Crazy, huh?!!

What do I love about all this? I love discovering the patterns in the apparent chaos. These people also seem to be fiercely independent and funny at the same time. They make up rules because they can! And I don't think they care if people are tearing their hair out trying to figure it out. They have a unique sense of humor. I admire that.

I also like the help I'm getting in my research as I fill in the blanks of first and last names provided by their traditional naming system.  

It would go like this  for Rasmus Jacobsen's family if everything followed the pattern:

Johan=         Ramus' father's father
Nils=            Ramus' mother's father
Ingeborg=    Thrine's mother's mother
Petra=          Thrine's father's mother
Elsa=            Thrine's mother 
Hans Peder=Ramus' father

And they all lived happily on Skar Farm!! least for a little bit!!

Now here's a little joke I found for you:

Little Ole and the Stork

Little Ole was sitting at the kitchen table doing his school homework. He had a puzzled look on his face at he considered the assignment that was due--writing an essay about his origin. He turned to question his mother. "Mama, vere did Grandma come from?" he asked. "Da stork brought her," answered mama Lena. "And vere did yew come from?" asked Little Ole. "Da stork brought me," his mother answered. "And vere did I come from?" Little Ole inquired. "Vell, son, da stork brought yew, tew," mama Lena replied. With a scowl on his face, Little Ole picked up his pencil, turned to his school tablet, and began writing his essay: "Dere have been no natural births in our family for three yenerations."

Grave Humor

I'm not saying I approve...but it's pretty funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Pleasures

"That man is the richest 
whose pleasures are the cheapest"
~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Wading Pool, built in 1910
Volunteer Park, Seattle, Washington

Some people just have a way about them.

I did NOT expect the emotions that overwhelmed me as soon as I started focusing on Edna Skarr, Hans Peder Rasmussen Skarr's 4th and youngest child, born in 1891. I had barely looked at her name and the tears started to flow.

There was a sweetness and a peace about her that made me cry. I'd been wanting to skip her sister, Tillie, and learn more about Edna earlier in the week, but I'd committed myself to a pattern and a schedule of writing, and for ONCE I was going to stay focused.

Edna was the only child in the family who was born in Washington after they emigrated from Hawaii. All the others were born on Maui. She was 4 years younger than Tillie, seven years younger than Ralph, and eleven years younger than Agnes.

Her mom died in 1905 when she was just 11-yrs-old. She was buried in The Old Pioneer Cemetery in Olalla, Washington. Edna would be laid to rest next to her mom after dying from pneumonia 10 years later. She would be just 24-yrs-old. (I often return to edit posts. Today I'm thinking, "What the heck? Don't I know how to do basic math? LOL! Edna was 14 when her mom died. She herself died 10 years later in 1915. Feel free to leave corrections in the comments! Esp. math ones!)

I can feel what Edna would have me say. But it's so hard to grasp and to express in words. Maybe that's because there aren't a lot of accomplishments to list that can tell us much about her. I don't know.

What I do know is where my mind goes when I look at the map of Seattle and see where she and her sister Tillie were living in 1910. They were both "servants", and lived on streets that abutted Volunteer Park. Tillie was on 16th Ave. and Enda was on Federal Way. (And by the way, their future distant relative, Bridget Earles was on 15th Ave.)

Edna was so young in 1910. Just 19-years-old. She didn't know that she had only five years left to live. Maybe she spent her time off from service at the Butterworth's home meandering around the city with her sister, looking for adventures. I imagine her taking a walk through the park to meet Tillie. Two sisters enjoying the beautiful park designed by the famous Olmstead brothers. 

What a treat to go to the new Wading Pool! Well it would have been for me! And of course they'd go inside the Conservatory every once in a while. Wouldn't you?

Volunteer Park Conservatory

It was just over two weeks ago (?) when we were house-hunting on Cape Cod and had about 1/2 an hour to kill when we approached a garden center that I'd always loved to visit when we lived there, especially in the wintertime.

 I'll do anything to smell flowers and begged to stop in to indulge in the sights and smells of the perpetual Spring that was calling through the glass windows. There was even a goldfish pond and a waterfall!  
No one else wanted to come inside. So I walked around by myself, shaking the leaves of the herbs, releasing the perfume of basil and mint into the air. The air was heavy and tropical. And they were decorating for Christmas! 
I was in Heaven. 
In the midst of my dreaming I was whisked away when someone decided that there were important things to do.
What's more important than flowers?

Edna may have longed for the Conservatory and its fragrant serenity as winter and sickness closed in upon her in Seattle. She may have gone home for the Holidays to be with her father in Olalla, about an hour away. Her place of death is listed as Seattle. But I'm not sure where she was when she died.

She died five days before Christmas. Can you imagine? I'm sure some of you can relate to how a holiday never feels the same when the anniversary of a tragedy occurs near it.

She died  on a Tuesday. Christmas was on a Sunday. 

This year Christmas falls on a Sunday, too.

Two of her cousins, Howard and Kenneth (my grandfather) were just 9 and 10 when Edna died. They'd been neighbors in Seattle in 1900. Her sisters Tillie and Agnes were 27 and 32. Her brother Ralph was 31. Her father was only 57. So many people were affected. Death doesn't occur in a vacuum.

But life is like that. Isn't it?
 It decides when it's time to go.

And you're left with the memories you made. Hopefully you made them with people you love. I feel like Edna lived her life right. I feel like she really cared about the simple beauties and pleasures around her.

I hope so.

November reminds us to be grateful. To count our blessings. And December begs us to share who we are with others.

How did Edna's loved ones' Christmas wishes change when she was gone? Did they wish for one more memory with her? Of course. 

What were her dying wishes? Was it to have mattered? To have made a difference? Probably.

Edna matters to me now. 

My love for her blossomed today as I studied her short life. The greatest gift that Edna gave to me as I studied her life was her joyful, peaceful spirit that reminds me to focus on the simple pleasures whose memories can be experienced every day or in my mind as I daydream during the cold, grey days of winter waiting for Spring.

The smell of carnations, sand between my toes, walks in the rain, cocoa, butterfly kisses, mounds of spaghetti. Greasy pizza, a good book, an afternoon with friends, and line-dried bed sheets.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Life is good. Let's enjoy it...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Devil's In the Details

I've spent 4 days trying to figure out where the story was for Tillie Skarr. I kept going back to the documents that I had and came up with NOTHING except that she died on my 15th birthday in 1976. I had a laundry list of places she'd been and lived. But I've yet to really find out who she was.

And since there were gaping holes in her history, I thought there's no way I'm qualified to write a story about her. 

So, late last night (around 7:30, when I was about to turn back into a pumpkin) I decided that this was not a story about Tillie at all. I stood at my sink washing dishes, and replayed the last few hours and knew that I was given an opportunity to share a common frustration amongst researchers that you may not have known existed.

Sometimes the facts lie.

I'd gathered all of the documents I could and I'd studied them thoroughly. But when I couldn't find Tillie in a 1920 census I scratched my head and started my back door searches. If I could find her 6-yr-old daughter , even if it was in school records, then I'd get a better idea of where they were living at least. I looked at the same list of available records on for hours. I kept expecting SOMETHING to change. But nothing did. 

"Bumbershoots!!" I cried.

"Not a word," 15-yr-old, Kyle called from the kitchen.

"It's a word if I say it is," I called back. I was getting tired. Bedtime was nearing. I'd taken a break to get dinner going. (But 20 minutes later I remembered that I'd forgotten to turn the oven on!) It was okay if I couldn't find Tillie in 1920. But she was Hans Peder Skarr's third child. I HAD to write a story about her. She was next in line!

So, by 5:30 two of my children had fallen asleep and four others left for the Mall with their dad, leaving me to finish dinner and wait for Divine Intervention to bless me with its presence. 

I sat down one last time to make sure I'd reviewed the records correctly. And I decided to look at the records I KNEW weren't a match to Tillie, her husband Howard Campbell, and her daughter in 1920. I had nothing to lose.

That's when I found her.

She was living with her mother-in-law, husband and daughter at 404 Terry Ave in Seattle, Wa. I was so tired that I started to imagine what had happened to make her so hard to find. I even made myself laugh. I laughed about possible laziness and frustration of census-takers who are sent out on an errand to collect facts and either find no one home or have to wonder about  the sanity of the person who's filling in the blanks of the form. 

I imagined he came knocking and no one was home, but it was April and the neighbors were outside. So he asked THEM the questions, hoping their answers would suffice and he wouldn't have to come back. 

Census-taker: "You said her name is Tillie? Do you know where she was born?"

Neighbor: "Just put "US" (United States). She speaks English. Must've been born here." 

"Do you know how old she is?"

" 'Bout my daughter's age. Put 29. That's about right. Her husband, too.That'll do."

Or scenario #2: Mom-in-law is losing her marbles and makes things up so as not to look crazy not being able to remember that her own son was born in 1887, not 1891! And she doesn't know Tillie that well, or doesn't like her much, so she dismissively says "USA" with a wave of her hand when asked where she was born, adding that she was also born in 1891, not 1887.

Scenario #3 is even funnier: "Hello, Darling!Are your parents home?"

Six-year-old Jean stares blankly and rattles off answers, feeling mighty proud of herself as she sees him writing fast and furiously after each question. But she does amazingly well for a little girl who's yelling back and forth to her grandmother who's in the kitchen, down the hall. Her grandmother has no idea the census-taker has come looking for information! Could have happened? 

Either way, that census record had to be transferred to a digital file at some point in time or I wouldn't have found it. And that's where my lesson (one that I thought I'd already learned), and hopefully yours is found.

You see, the preview to these documents are provided by volunteers.  

Men and women with pure hearts and possibly very poor eyesight, sit and do their best to decode the census-taker's handwriting on an original, faded, incomplete and ofttimes messy document. (I've worn the glasses prescribed to me 19 yrs. ago a total of 10 minutes since I got them. So, I can relate to knowing you could do better with better tools!) But here's where the second snafu occurred and tripped me up in my search for Tillie.

I was looking for Tillie's daughter, Jean, who'd be 6-yrs-old in 1920. But on this census record preview she was "William". So I didn't bother to look at the original document until there was nowhere else to go. That's when I saw the handwriting and wondered how anyone could make heads or tails of what was written unless they knew what they were looking for.

Well, I did know. 

And there it was. Plain as day. 

"Jean Campbell, granddaughter" (relationship to the head of household). The transcriber couldn't read the handwriting and had put in what he/she saw, even though I could clearly see "granddaughter, not son" right next to the scribbled name, "Jean".

Tillie Skar Campbell's story is awaiting new information. I've sent relatives an email that might fill in more gaps and add a few more details to make it interesting. 

I think she's as exhausted as I am!

I pictured her jumping up and down, waving her arms shouting, "Here I am! Don't leave!!" and then plopping down in a heap of discouragement each time I left. Reminds me of the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!". Have you seen it? These people, our ancestors, are right in front of our eyes most of the time, but we get focused on what we think we know about them and can't see them. That, or we have all the right information and a transcriber has changed it by mistake.

In the meantime here's what I want you to take away from my experience with my search for her:

  • Read and study from original documents whenever you can.
  • Get at least 3 original documents and compare the facts.
  • Never assume that the preview to a document has correct information.
  • Record transcribers are human. They make mistakes.
  • Sometimes what you're looking for is right in front of you.
  • Put your glasses on.

    So, I bid you adieu, and Happy Hunting! 

    And please remember that the devil IS in the details. And he's having fun messing them up!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Six Degrees of Separation

    Do you ever marvel at how small the world is?

    Yesterday I was wondering about Ralph Skarr, Hans Peder Rasmussen Skarr's second child. For a few days I'd been collecting records, perusing data and searching for THE story I would want to write about his life.

    Problem is I don't have much to work with. Just bits and pieces and a lot of questions.

    Want to know what lit me up about Ralph? I'll tell you in a minute. You'll probably think it's crazy. But it's the little synchronicities of life that make the hairs on my neck stand up and excite me. 

    Most people wouldn't get a rush out of what I find the way that I do....

    So, I'm following Ralph from Hawaii in 1884, the year he was born and over to the States just a year later. The family ended up in Port Orchard, Washington, a coastal town. Something I've learned from experience is that if you're born near the water you're drawn to it forever. There's a freedom in the endless horizon of the ocean.

    By 1917, according to his World War I Draft Registration card, he was living in San Pedro, California, at the Alexandria Hotel. A hotel? Who lives in a hotel? All I cloud think of was poverty. But as I studied the hotel's history I realized that I had new questions about Ralph. Questions aside, it seems he just used the hotel as his home base.

    Was he lured away from home by the intrigue that Hollywood had in that day? He was 32-yrs.-old by then and I can't find him between 1900 and 1917, so I don't know how long he'd been there. But that hotel has some fun history with guests ranging from Charlie Chaplin and Valentino to President Theodore Roosevelt. Interesting.

    The registration card gave me more information than I'd thought I'd find. It gave me the correct spelling of his last name (two R's). It is so thrilling to see an ancestor's signature that's almost 100years old! I laughed when the boxes "tall" and "medium build" were checked. I thought to myself, "All depends on the point of view of the person filling out the form." Maybe Ralph had. That's even more amusing. Was he really tall? Or was he a "wanna-be"? 

    I'm easily amused... 

    Lastly, almost, he had light brown hair, blue eyes and was a US citizen.

    Yes, I'm a bit bored, too. Sorry Ralph.

    One fun fact from the registration card was that he was employed by the US government at Ft. MacArthur as a carpenter. I thought my brother would get a kick out of that because he's a skilled carpenter amongst other things. Again, I'm left wondering how much of our skills and passions are passed down through the generations, sometimes skipping a few, landing serendipitously on the soul of a like-minded descendant? Read more about Fort MacArthur here. It was fun imagining which buildings Ralph might have built.

    Ralph died in 1936 of pancreatic cancer. He never married nor had children as far as I can tell. I hope he stayed with Tillie or Agnes, his sisters. It's not good to die alone. He was only 52.

    I looked at the one last fact on that card and the fun began. I know! Finally.

     Let's see if you enjoy it as much as I did...

    Ralph listed his "nearest living relative" as Mrs. Howard Campbell, of Beacon Hill, Seattle Washington, Ward 7.  Mrs. Howard Campbell is Ralph's sister, Tillie, 23-yrs.old. Guess where Tillie lives?

    16th Ave., Seattle, Washington.

    Want to know who lives a block away 
    on 15th Ave.?

    Bridget Earles and her children. Her eldest daughter is Margaret, 23-yrs.-old as well.

    Isn't that the best?!! Maybe you need more information to see what I see.

    Ralph's cousin's son, Carl Kenneth Carlson, would marry Bridget's husband John's cousin's child, Evelyn Michaelle Earles in 1935, 18 years in the future. So Tillie and Margaret may have crossed each other's paths as they shopped, went to church or took a walk. You never know.

    I love picturing my Grandpa Ken explaining his relationship to his first wife, Evelyn to his son (my dad), or his friends.

    "My dad's (1) wife's (2) sister (3) lived a block away from my wife's(4) dad's (5) brother's wife (6) in 1910.

    Six degrees of separation.

    And EVERYONE he was talking to would do the same thing that EVERYONE in my house did as I excitedly told them what I'd found. 

    They'd say, "So? And...." 

    And they'd wait for the punchline. 

    (I told you I'm easily amused.)

    That was it... 

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Gingerbread House Recipe and Template

    Gingerbread House Recipe

    Combine in one bowl, all at once:
    2 3/4 cups flour
    3t baking powder
    1 t cinnamon
    1 t ginger
    1/4 t ground cloves (optional)
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg
    2/3 cup molasses (Buy at Sam's Club by the gallon. It's cheaper.)
    1/3 cup brown sugar

    Press dough evenly onto well-oiled cookie sheet all the way to edges. Bake at 300* for 12-15 mins. or until touch leaves no impression. Use template pieces to cut out house pieces immediately. Remove from cookie sheet to counter to cool and harden. You can always stick the cut pieces back in the oven for a while to stiffen even if they've cooled.

    Frosting "Cement" Recipe

    3 egg whites
    1/2 t cream of tartar
    1 lb +/- confectioner's sugar

    Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner's sugar until peanut butter-like consistency. Add water if too stiff, one drop at a time!
    You get to make your own template
    because I'm too lazy to create a download!
    I use an empty cereal box.
    The measurements for the front are 7 1/2" from base to the peak, and 3 1/4" from base to bottom of roof. I forgot to measure the base of the front. It's about as wide as the roof (short end)
    The measurements for the roof are 5"x5 /2"The sides are 3 1/4" tall x 4 1/2" wide.
    (Just in case you couldn't read my writing!)
    I had to buy Dove Chocolates instead of regular Christmas candy because there wasn't any in the stores, yet! (Add candy canes.)
    Just make sure it's festive and shiny! 
    ( Andes candies=shutters, Waffle pretzels=windows, gumdrops and spearmint leaves-trees and bushes)

    "Cement" icing. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
    Should be the consistency of peanut butter.
    I use a "star" tip and a regular tip (round hole) to decorate. 
    Spread a layer of the "cement" on a 10" cake round,
    OR a ceramic tile from a flooring store.
    Ask for the discontinued tiles.
    You can sometimes get them for under $1 ea.
    Just make sure that you put felt tabs
    on the bottom corners to protect against scratches!

    Quickly pipe "cement"on the sides of a side and front,
     centering them in the fresh "cement".

    Repeat for other side and back.

    Add roof, door and chimney. "Cement" both wrong sides of the
    two chimney pieces and connect to make it thicker.

    Don't let the base "cement dry before adding  the candy!
    (This house was hurried! Pretty messy!)

    I like to add something BIG in the back.
    Today it was Santa!
    For the roof I cross-hatch the cement,
    and use M&M's for the centers.
    Then I clean it all up by piping all around the eves,
    adding dripping icicles.

    Wrap in clear Cellophane. Make sure you cut a large enough piece
    so that there's plenty on top, above the ribbon.

    My children misplaced all of my other ribbon.
    Usually there's a lot more. The more the better!

    The Plan

    Do you want to sell them?

    I sell them for $35. each.

    I always make a few samples. Some years, when we lived out West, I asked to display them in bakeries and candy shops. If that's what you want to do, remember they get a cut! So price it accordingly.

    You can use one as a raffle prize like I did one year to raise money for a local Boy's and Girl's Club. 

    Go to office buildings and talk to secretaries who will be thrilled if they have the assignment to get the boss' gifts for the holidays. Bring a sample to show.

    Remember,you can...
    • bring one as a"White Elephant" gift
    • or a hostess gift
    • use one as a centerpiece
    • sell them at a craft fair 
    • use them for your child's teacher's gift
    One more idea...have a House Party where attendees pay to watch a house being mixed, baked, and put together. AND get a house (miniature) to decorate and take home with the recipe and template. (Sort of like a Pampered Chef party)

    Have fun! Let me know how it goes or if you need help. Good luck!