Fairmont Creamery Breathes New Life

Today we drove into Lawton, OK.  Not for groceries for a change but to take a look at The  Fairmont Creamery Co. historic building be renovated and take photos. Fairmont2It was languishing amidst of other brick buildings long time abandoned and then fortuitously someone had enough imagination and the vision to see it brought back to life. As I peeked through the windows I discovered that major work has been done but there is a lot more to do and a load of bricks stacked up in front  of the building in the ready. These folk who take it upon themselves to preserve history are my heroes.

fairmont1 Fairmont3Fairmont Creameries were once spread out through the mid section of the US as far north as Minnesota, as far east as Buffalo NY and as far south as Lawton, OK. It all started about 1930 in Iowa. They must have been built to last as a number of them have been restored/ repurposed as Lofts and retail space which is the plan for the Lawton version

Check out these links to other Fairmont Creameries.








The Vintage Advantage: Clothing Frugally

Vintage Fashion

I’ve loved clothes design since I was a little tyke. I can bring to mind the wardrobe pieces that set me apart; the lavender quilted flare skirt with matching vest, a hand me down from a neighbor, the “Cinderella” blended rainbow dress my mother got on sale, my red Hudson Bay jacket my Dad bought for me on one of his bus runs to Canada. When I started earning money in the Summers to pay for my college education I would save back enough money to buy at least one “cool” outfit. I remember the “poor boy” gray sweater and the black and white check skirt I bought to go with it. It was in high School my sewing skills reached the point that I could fashion my self some outfits. I kept up with trends that were slightly ahead of the mainstream. I made myself a tunic with matching pants when pants were still not allowed in upscale restaurants.One so called upscale restaurant turned me away. I queried, if I take the pants off would I then be allowed in with my tunic mini dress length? I did just that.

Once in art school I became friends with Larry, he was my ride to school (although I had to walk several long blocks to wait for him to pass my area). No matter, as this then gave me a few extra dollars  saved from taking the bus to buy detestable indigestible food from the vending machines at school or enough to spend as Larry and I perused the nearby thrift stores during our lunch hour. It is in one of these stores I made my first thrift store purchase, a black velvet with with white top stitching and pearl snaps western style jacket.  I loved that jacket. I wore it with my soft pink wool pencil skirt, another thrift store find.

While I was a working mother (I no longer had the time to sew my wardrobe) I resorted to upscale resale shops (before ebay). Even with enough money, when I became management, I could not see dropping a lot of money on suits.

Putting it All Together
ebay and Goodwill finds

Today we are on a fixed income and I buy most of my clothes either on online auctions/ vintage sites (Poshmark, Etsy) or Goodwill. Not a downer by any means as this gives a myriad of decades to chose my clothes from versus having to settle on mass market clothes of the current year that all kind of look a like. This year as I will be turning over 70 I decided I no longer want tie shoes for couple of reasons. 1. Pull ons are just that, much quicker 2. I no longer have to hold on the dogs leash while having to retie my shoes 3. My feet don’t like feeling captive in tie shoes. Never a brand name fanatic I realize that often brand names are well made. Recent purchases include Jordache overalls – well made and tough, Born sandals super comfortable, sturdy and easy on and off, Ariat Probaby boots – short with wide tops, great padding and cute to boot!  And I will refer you back to my post on jewelry de jour, lucite. Easy on and off, doesn’t need polishing and cost my under $10.

My daughter Kim came up with this formula on spending money…For every dollar you spend on clothes you should have to wear it that many times. So the Born shoes I picked up at Goodwill cost me $4.99. I found them last week. I have already gotten my money out of them!

I am glad I live in small town Oklahoma where buying frugally is something to brag about.

My New Transparency

Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style 3D ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

Transparency is a word being bantered around in the American lexicon, specially in matters of politics these days. But “my transparency” has nothing to do with politics. I purchased a pair of clear acrylic eyeglass frames because frankly, I am tired of wearing glasses since I donned my first pair at age four. Clear frames would be they closest I could come to no frames. (It was determined years ago that contact lenses would not work for my “special” eye condition).

Translucent Orange Square Ring
Translucent Orange Square Ring ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

How it all started had more to do with my lateral method of thinking. “Ah” I thought I would now build around the concept of transparency. When one searches for “transparent plastic” Lucite pops up, a form of acrylic. Even though I was a young adult in the 1970s, I somehow missed the lucite bandwagon. In my possession was only a few translucent blue bangles. Two to be exact it had been sold as a trio but somewhere in my half a dozen moves one was lost. I am a frequent browser of both eBay and Etsy and I began my search by typing in “clear lucite”. The first piece that caught my fancy and fit my budget was an asymmetric clear chunky ring with sharp edges. It was obviously hand carved and polished. It had one small flaw, a 1/8 nick which you wouldn’t know unless you were told. Bought it, loved it.

Square Clear Lucite with Embedded Blue
Square Clear Lucite Embedded Blue ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

I also experimented by buying a “lot” of rings less than a half of which I kept (some were too small others to glitzy or pink). I moved the rest to a local gallery and put an impulse buy price on them. A few have found the right finger to go on. Other lots have come up but none too promising. So I have gone back to single stunners.

So many directions I could have taken (a few I took that weren’t right for me) I have settled on what I would be buy, mostly rings with an artistic twist. I prefer ones that are either translucent or combination of translucent, clear and opaque. FYI: Sellers often make mistakes here and don’t know the difference between

Red Sphere, OrangeDisk Clear Band 3D
Red Sphere Orange Disk 3D ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

transparent, opaque and semi opaque. The other restriction I put on my purchases is price staying under $10 including shipping. So yes, I’ve have to restrain myself and not go for the tempting pricier pieces and believe me there are a lot of those.

Clear Stacked Cylinders

It is hard to tell what decade my rings come from but no matter I am buying them for style first. Lucite appeared on the scene in the 1930’s but most of what you can find in rings come out of 50s, 60s, and 70s. Flash forward to today there are some new designs coming out. Alex Bittar lucite creations are interesting but way too pricey for me. Jackie Brazil Sorbal comes closer but outside where I’ve set my limit. If you are looking for some fun inexpensive lucite or Milano glass rings I might suggest “Carrot Box” who carries fun rings in a myriad of colors. But for me I will probably stay with vintage.

Lucite seems to fit who I am, it is light and more importantly fun with just enough flash for this artist. Besides having the rings gives me the opportunity to render plastic items in 3D. I am sure I will add some new Lucite to “ring” in the New Year!

Translucent White Square End
Translucent White Square End
Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Note: 3D renderings ©Muriel Fahrion 2014.

The Games We Played

I was reminded by Colin Fahrion and Tess Aquarium at “Figment”  in Boston of the games I played as a kid. Certainly there was hopscotch, Spud, Red Rover, Sally in the Saucer and London Bridges,  but there was a game called “Here Comes 3 Kings A-Riding”. I have never found any reference to that game until now.

The verse went like this as I could remember from over 50 years ago:

Here comes 3 Kings a riding,  a riding, a riding Here comes 3 Kings a riding,  a riding, a riding for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

What are you riding here for, here for, here for, what you riding here for? For tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

We’re riding here to get married, married, married, we’re riding here to get married for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

Who are going to marry, marry, marry? Who are you going to marry for for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

We are not marry any of you, any of you, any of you. We are not marry any of you for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

Why aren’t you going to marry us, marry us, marry us? for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

You’re too fat and greasy, greasy, greasy, You’re too fat and greasy for tipsy topsy ti-i-oh.

How it was played: 

The participants (2 groups of 3 facing each other) hop on one foot with folded arms and try to knock the other person so they have 2 feet on the ground. I believe now it was supposed to represent jousting. The last of the trio still on one foot had a pretend marriage. 

Curiously I found the following excerpt from a newspaper article archived on Google.

 The Ludington News 1925

Welcome Welfare Girls Hold Mother Goose Party

The Welcome Welfare girls of the First Methodist Episcopal church held a mother Goose party in the church parlors Tuesday evening. Almost all of Mother Goose’s children were present. Some had Lolly-pops in there mouths, some were carrying dolls and other had various kinds of toys. Prizes were given to those who acted best according to their costumes and to the two who looked the cutest in their costumes. Leona Bellland and Helen Hansen dressed as Jack and Jill, received the prices for the two acting best according to their costumes. Marguerite Bellland was awarded a small prize for being the cutest dressed person there. She represented Bo-Peep. Thelma Pelter as Boy Blue was awarded 2nd prize, a toy horn.

Games, such as musical chairs, Little Sally Saucer and Here Comes Three Kings A-Riding, were played. London Bridge was also played. Irene Gifford received the prize, which was a small doll. A flashlight picture was taking of this group of girls. Each Mother Goose character told who she represented by the Mother Goose verse suitable to the costumes.

Later delicious refreshments were served. These consisted of: sandwiches, cookies and coffee. Each girl was also given a stick of candy and a stick of gum.

 Upwards of 60 girls were present at this affair. It is expected that all these girls will attend the rally day services on Sunday. Each member is expected to bring a new member to Sunday school and also be thinking about good motto for the class.


Our Own Personal Portland


It was a trip I have been thinking about for years, a journey to Portland and Oregon. Not for any reason in particular but for the fact that I have never been to the corner of the U.S. The last few years have been traumatic what with the ice storm, wildfire, my husband’s cancer, death of family members and all. Along with that we hadn’t seen our son for over a year and half. My grown children make me happy. So the trip was planned months in advance to squeeze between Michael’s scan and his chemo and naturally to mesh with our son Colin’s vacation time. It looked like things we were going to be perfect but then… The storm hit and we had 8 inches of rain in one night and were struck by nearby lightening, not once but twice. It took out 11 appliances and flooded our newly completed room. It was a bit of scramble but we set up repair people, order replacement small appliances and parts and talked to the insurance adjuster. We left the rest in the hands in our capable daughter to deal with and we headed off to Portland.


Our son Colin and his girlfriend Tess traveled by car up from San Francisco and met us at the airport. We had rented a precious house in Hillsboro a short drive from Portland in an amazing flowered neighborhood. We chose (or rather were persuaded by our son to chose it) based on the fact that they had egg laying chickens, a hot tub, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. We experienced unusually lovely weather  with 6 days of mild temperatures and only one day of cold drizzle.

The Vintage Shops: All the great vintage clothing shops are too numerous to mention. We probably hit 5 of them. Well managed and laid out. Prices are reasonable.  The Bins of Goodwill where you buy clothes by the pound. Wash your hands afterwards but we found some pretty fab stuff there.

2013-04-23 12.02.42

Pittock Mansion: Most fabulous view of Portland EVER! You can view the mountains and the city. The mansion is beautiful outside and in with marvelous interior details.

The Museum of Contemporary Crafts: The focus on the day we went was Bowls. It is a small museum but sometimes small is better.

Japanese Garden: Tranquil beauty, a meditation while walking through it.

Leach Botanical Garden: We arrived at the blossoming of the Magnolias. Who knew there was so many varieties?

Our Friend’s High-rise Condo: Seeing Portland from the 25 floor with a 270 degree view was awesome. If you don’t have a friend that lives in a highrise in Portland try one of these recommended restaurants for the view.

Portland is REALLY bicycle friendly so if you have one use it but it is also walker friendly. Our friend took us on an 4 1/2 mile walk that took us through the Portland State campus where we got to see the Benson House, stopping at the Keller Fountain Park (now my favorite city fountain ever!)  over an array of bridges crossing Williamette River.

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Powell’s Books: The rooms are arranged by colors. There are 3 floors and seemingly endless number of books. A book lover’s paradise. I bought a couple of poetry books. Everyone walked out with books.


The Hat Museum: Yes, you must see it. The only way to see it is to reserve a tour. It is $15 a person but if you love hats it is a have to. Our tour lasted 2 hours. You will be thoroughly dipped in the history and etiquette of hats. It is the prettiest neighborhoods of Portland, the Ladd district. One amazing bungalow after another.

Cannon Beach: We grabbed a bite at Sweet Basils in the town for some fabulous fresh crab and headed toward the beach. It was the only cold and drizzly day we had but one MUST walk on Canon Beach or you can’t call it a trip to Oregon. We did our best but then headed down the coast and stop at a friend of a friends rented cottage on the ocean for cocktails. Colin carried all you needed to mix up a variation of great drinks. The folks were extraordinary and amazing to chat with.

Stumptown Comic Fest: I thought this is not going to be my cup of tea. The coolest thing I discovered was all the talented indie comic/ graphic novel artists. Many of them were drawing right on the spot. Who doesn’t love artists?


Where we ate…. Portland is renowned for excellent cuisine. Today with the help of sites like “Yelp” you can find top rated independent local places. You have to love the industrial look that some restaurants take on. One example was The Pizza Research Institute in Eugene, OR where we met for the first time my cousin and his family. I believe it was a converted auto body shop. You order from a menu with a quirky assortment of pizza toppings. My choice was the apple, smoked gouda and walnut pizza. Loved it!  In mid-city Portland is Abby’s Table an open kitchen format that features cooking classes. You eat at large stainless steel tables. If you are vegan, dairy or gluten challenged this is your nirvana. I am none of these but still found the food to be very tasty.


On our way to Eugene we stopped in Corvallis where we ate at Nearly Normals fresh, healthy menu. I loved loved the pumpkin tacos!

When you are in Oregon drink Oregon Beer! Its the terrific. We stopped at Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene and bought a sample tasting.

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A note about Voodoo Donuts. We went to the one in Eugene just to say we stopped in. I did NOT eat a donuts but Michael & Colin did. I just don’t eat donuts. So if you LOVE donuts go there or just go there because it like going to Chicago and eating Chicago style pizza. In Portland you could wait hours to get in unless, as my sister tells it, you go at 3 in the morning.

I’ve talked to a lot of people since we returned home. Many said, like I had, that wanted to go to Portland someday. I say enough talk just DO IT!