Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Recipe: Colcannon for Halloween

Colcannon is an Irish food eaten any time, really, but most especially on Halloween (I have the genealogy to call it Samhain, but not the pretension). One puts various charms in it, all of which portend one's marital or financial fate for the next year. The charms would include a thimble (the finder to remain a spinster) , a button (to remain a bachelor), a ring (marriage within the year), a sixpence/coin (wealth within the year), a tiny horseshoe (good luck).

1 lb. kale or cabbage
3 lbs. potatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cream
Pinch of dill
Pinch of nutmeg or mace
Salt and white pepper* to taste
Charms, see above.

  • Boil kale or cabbage in lightly salted water. Drain well and keep warm.
  • Peel and quarter potatoes; boil them in lightly salted water approx. 20 minutes, more if needed.
  • Sauté onion in about a 1 Tablespoon of the butter for about 5 minutes; add the cream, about 2 Tablespoons of the butter, the dill and the nutmeg.
  • Mash the potatoes until perfectly smooth.
  • Chop the kale or cabbage until fine.
  • In a warm bowl, gently stir together all of the foregoing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Gently stir in little charms, as noted above, wrapped in parchment if not silver or gold or if you're fearful of swallowing them, certainly sterilized beforehand.
  • Melt the rest of the butter; set aside. Once the colcannon is served onto plates, one makes a little bowl in the middle of the colcannon with one's spoon. The melted butter goes into this little bowl, and one dips the colcannon one is eating into the little bowl of butter as he/she eats.

*My dear old, sainted Grandma would say that black pepper on potatoes looks like fly shit.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Witch's Thimbles

There are actually many different flowers called Witch's Thimbles. This "Witch's Thimble" is a very popular daylily, or hemerocallis: a small ivory-yellow flower with a purple-ish center.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Little Ālē Inn

These two souvenir thimbles are from a place in Rachel, Nevada, called the Little Ālē Inn. I take some some of the responsibility (blame?) for their even having thimbles there, as I had an intense conversation about their prior lack of thimbles with one of their sales associates. They had all manner of souvenir stuff there--shotglasses, spoons, usual crap--but NO THIMBLES. Anyway, they now have a website with--ta-da!--these thimbles, available for $8.99 ea., plus S/H.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Good Witch?

This is an example of a figural thimble. I am not a huge fan of the figural thimble because they are basically not thimbles, but little hollow sculptures sold as thimbles because, of course, thimbles are the bestest thing in the whole world to collect.
This one is of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. I loved Glinda when I was a little girl, though I never really understood why she didn't tell Dorothy right off about clicking her ruby slippers together to get home. Poor girl had go to all that bother with the flying monkeys and everything when she could have popped right back to Kansas easy as pie.
This "thimble" is pewter with pink and blue crystals, and available through myrose.com for $7.95. NO S/H fee to the U.S. (and some other countries)! YAY!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Thimble Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Thimble Cookies
½ c. butter or margarine, softened
¾ c. sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 Tblsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 c. chopped walnuts

Caramel Filling:
15 (1-by-½-inch) plain caramels, unwrapped
3 Tblsp. heavy cream
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until blended well. Sift in flour, cocoa and salt and beat on low speed until mixture forms a dough. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll scant tablespoons of dough into balls. Coat dough balls with egg white, letting excess drip off, and roll in nuts to coat; arrange them 1½ inches apart, on greased baking sheets and press in the center of the balls with the top of a thimble that has been dipped in cocoa, to flatten, leaving a depression.
  • Bake in batches in the middle of the oven until cookies are puffed slightly but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press centers again with a thimble dipped in cocoa powder.
  • Make filling while cookies are cooling. Heat caramels and cream in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth. Spoon caramel into the centers of cookies and cool completely.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not a thimble, part three

Thimble Peak, Santa Catalina Mountains, near Tucson, Arizona.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Touch Earth

This buffalo bone hair pipe choker is available through the eBay store Touch Earth. This particular one has a starting bid of $19.99, and will surely be gone when, if ever, anybody reads this. BUT, they have several similar ones available for a BuyItNow price of $27.50 plus $6.50 S/H. They also have several Breastplates, Breastplate chokers, and hair ties, prices depending on materials used and how elaborate the items are. Typically the items include horn, buffalo bone hair pipe, glass crow beads, brass beads, various types of shells, soft but durable leather, and maybe (maybe not) brass thimbles, among other high quality materials. They also take custom orders.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thimble Pencil Sharpener

This is the Clover Thimble Pencil Sharpener. It is available through many websites, but I think the best price is though Applique & More for $6.38 plus $2.00 S/H. One of the little blurbs I read about it stated that it's designed to work with most pencils designed for marking on fabrics. Another photograph of it that I've seen has a little part cut away so one can see the its workings , and it looks pretty much like every other pencil sharpener I've ever seen, including those for eyebrow/eyeliner pencils, so I would get it because its a cute little pencil sharpener, not for any extra special capabilities its advertised to have.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Patent: No. 2609978: Ventilated Sewing Thimble

Patent No. 2609978, Faith E. Harden, Chicago, Il,
Sept. 9, 1952

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Patent: No. 502036: Thread Cutting Attachment

Patent No. 502,036, Mary Fogg, Beaver Dam, WI,
July 25, 1893

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thimble Key Ring

This little thimble keychain is availale through Cedar Creek Quilt Designs (among other places) for $3.00 plus S/H. They also have keyrings with: a tape measure; a sewing machine; a spool; scissors; and a pin cushion. All for the same price! YAY!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Recipe: Yüksük Çorbası (Thimble Soup)

Yüksük Çorbası
⅓ c. chickpeas
7 c. water
1 c. flour
2½ tsp. Salt
1 small egg
½ c. ground meat
¼ tsp. pepper
1 Tblsp. oil
2 Tblsp. tomato paste
3 Tblsp. margarine
1 Tblsp. mint
3 Tblsp. lemon juice

  • Soak chickpeas overnight with 1 c. of water. Cook in a pressure cooker with 1 c. of water for 40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
  • Sift all but 2-3 Tblsp. (reserve) of flour with salt. Make a hole in center. Add egg and 3 Tblsp. of water to make medium stiff dough. Knead for 2-3 minutes shaping into a ball. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out into very thin circle. Cut into small circles--¾ inch--with a thimble. Cover and set aside.
  • Combine ground meat, some salt, and black pepper, mixing well: shape into marble sized balls. Brown in heated oil on both sides in a non-stick pan, shaking occasionally.
  • Heat chickpeas over low heat. Add diluted tomato paste, some salt and hot water mixing well. Bring to boil. Stir in round noodles, blending well. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. Add meatballs and lemon juice, stirring well.
  • Simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • Melt margarine in a skillet. Stir in crushed mint. Sprinkle over soup before serving.
  • Serve hot.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not a thimble, part two

The thing is: I don't think this looks especially like a thimble, but it's called "The Thimble." It's a peak in the San Ysidro Mountains of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. Frankly, it strikes me as more nipple-ish. But perhaps I have less imagination than the mountain-namers of the world.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Favorite Thimble

OK, this isn't actually my own personal favorite thimble. As a mother loves all her children, I love all my thimbles equally. (Well. . . maybe not all of them equally. I have a lot more thimbles than any mother has children: some have sentimental associations, some are very beautiful. . . but, as usual, I digress.) The brand name of this thimble is "My Favorite Thimble," and comes from a company called My Favorite Thimble. The deal is, their thimbles are rubber-coated. The have the traditional closed top thimble for $6.50*, the open top thimble (pictured) for $9.00*, and an embellished closed top thimble for $9.75*. There is also a re-coating kit (basically liquid rubber one squirts on) for $6.00*.

*Plus S/H.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thimble Theatre Font

So. This font has no actual thimble relevance, except that the name of the font is derived from the Thimble Theatre comic strip-- whence came Popeye the Sailor, et al.--which name I assume somehow derives from the tiny size of the thimble. But I dunno.
Anyway, I like the graphic for the font, at left, which is zippy and fun. Happy Thimble!
The font was designed by Nick Curtis, and is available from myfonts for $20.00.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thou Thimble!

The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 3
Petruchio: O monstrous arrogance! Thou liest, thou thread, Thou thimble,
Thou yard, three-quarters, half-yard, quarter, nail!
Thou flea, thou nit, thou winter-cricket thou!
Brav’d in mine own house with a skein of thread!
Away! thou rag, thou quantity, thou remnant,
Or I shall so be-mete thee with thy yard
As thou shalt think on prating whilst thou liv’st!
I tell thee, I, that thou hast marr’d her gown.

Later in the same scene. . .
Grumio: Error i' the bill, sir;
error i' the bill.
I commanded the sleeves should be cut out and
sewed up again; and that I'll prove upon thee
though thy little finger be armed in a thimble.

The bone china thimble pictured above is available from Globe Shop for £3.50 (US$6.52) plus S/H.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Semper Fi!

From the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Museum Gift Shop. They are, of course, pictured out of proportion to one another. They are priced, left to right: $9.00, $6.00, and $7.50. Plus S/H.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Surely you know what a kiss is?

This bronze statue of J.M. Barrie's Tinkerbell by Diarmuid Bryon O'Connor was unveiled in London on September 29, 2005. It was commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children which owned the copyright to Peter Pan until 1987 when the copyright expired. It is seven inches high and has a nine-and-a-half inch wing span, and was created to join the hospital's four foot statue of Peter Pan. Limited editions (150 each) of the two sculptures are available directly from Diarmuid Bryon O'Connor for £1500 (approx. US$2,783) plus delivery, etc., with 17% of the net proceeds going to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Only a thimble.

"But she must have a prize herself, you know," said the Mouse.
"Of course," the Dodo replied very gravely. 'What else have you got in your pocket?" he went on, turning to Alice.
"Only a thimble," said Alice sadly.
"Hand it over here," said the Dodo.
Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying "We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble"; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.
Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.

[from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Of course.]

The above illustration by John Tenniel is available as a poster through barnesandnoble.com in the following formats:
  • 20 x 29 Standard Paper: $19.95
  • 20 x 30 Standard Canvas: $99.00
  • 32 x 48 Large Canvas: $295.00

Check out their shipping policy to see if you get free shipping on your particular order.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Can I pay for them with Monopoly money?

These two items are available through etailgifts.com. They are licensed Monopoly products. The ceramic thimble tumbler (left) is $9.95 plus S/H; the pewter thimble paperweight is $19.95 plus S/H.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I need--OK, want--to know where this "thimble" is from. There seems to be something written around the center band, but I cannot imagine what language it is. I have been told it is not Arabic. It doesn't look like Greek or Japanese or Chinese or Korean to me, but what do I know? Help!

Update: There has been a credible suggestion that the thimble is from either India or Nepal. Pending further evidence...

Further update: So. It looks like this is Nepali, inscribed with the Sanskrit prayer, "Om Mani Padme Hum" (Hail to the jewel in the lotus), which is on Nepali and Tibetan Buddhist prayer wheels and bells. I have found a photo of a prayer wheel that looks as if the same silversmith made it. This looks more bell-ish, but it is exactly the size of the average thimble and does not have any kind of clapper. Maybe I'm thinking too narrowly of the actual bell concept, but I think that in most cultures "bell" indicates some kind of ringing apparatus. Maybe I'm just clinging too desperately to the thimble concept. I know: maybe it's a prayer thimble!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Recipe: Thimbleberry Pie

Thimbleberry Pie
1-9" two-crust pie pastry (see below)
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
4 c. fresh thimbleberries (or similar berries)
2 T. butter or margarine

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Prepare pie pastry, roll out half and gently set into pie tin; refrigerate rest until needed.
  • Mix sugar and flour; gently stir in berries.
  • Turn berry mixture into pastry-lined pie tin; dot with butter or margarine.
  • Roll out rest of pastry and gently set over pie. Trim ends, seal and flute.
  • Bake at 425°F, 35-45 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Two-crust Pie Pastry
2 c. sifted flour
1 t. salt
2/3 c. shortening
4 Tblsp. water (approx.)

  • Mix flour and salt together.
  • Add shortening and mix until crumbly.
  • Add about 2 Tblsp. water and blend gently with fork or pastry cutter until dough is of proper consistency and texture. If needed, slowly add up to 2 more Tblsp. of water.
  • Form dough into ball and refrigerate until needed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Museum of the Cherokee Indians

This thimble is available through the Museum of the Cherokee Indians for $5.00. There are several thimbles available at the website, including seven thimbles in the Seven Clans* Thimble Set series, purchased separately for $7.50 each.

*The seven clans being: the Bird Clan; the Wolf Clan; the Wild Potato Clan; the Paint Clan; the Long Hair Clan; the Deer Clan; and the Blue Clan.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The People's House?

This White House souvenir thimble is available, appropriately, from the White House Gift Shop. It's on the "Knick Knacks" page along with the blue Presidential Seal bath towels and keychains and aprons and such stuff. The thimble is $5.50 plus S/H. The most expensive items on the page are the Air Force One and Presidential Seal throw blankets for $46.00 each. Other pages at the website have golf tees and bookmarks and lapel pins, which don't merit the special Knick Knack designation.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Totally Cool!

This innovative thimble was designed by Liuxin Newman, an Australian handquilter and metalsmith.
She has also developed an innovative quilting technique that saves one's fingers from pricking and cramping. She has written books, Perfect Hand Quilting Without Pain and Perfect Hand Applique. This particular thimble is sterling and is available through Liuxin's website, Thimblelady.com, for $80.00. She has other thimbles available: a Plastic Cone thimble (similar to the silver one) for $14.00; and an Open Cut shape Thimble, in sterling for $80.00 and in 9ct. gold for $ 330.00. The website gives information on sizing. Books and VHS/DVDs are also available.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thimble Puzzles

For one's spare time...
Logic Problems
A Game of Monopoly: Who wins and who goes bankrupt in the classic board game? (References to the thimble gamepiece, of course.)
The Wodgeweed Thimbles: Noted English characters decorate thimbles in a 3x3 curio box.

Word Search Puzzles
"Needle and Thread"
"Sewing and Tailoring"

I will add more as I find them.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A sad and horrible end for a thimble maker.

Horrible Suicide
Philadelphia. Oct. 5 (1899) -- The most horrible method of suicide yet devised was hit upon by Peter J. Smith, of No. 822 South Twentieth street, who made a determined effort to end his life in Fairmount Park. Saturating his hair and clothing with kerosene, the man deliberately set fire to himself and in a moment was a mass of living flame. When discovered the struggled desperately against every attempt to extinguish the fire, but he was finally overpowered and sent to German Hospital, where the physicians have no hope of his recovery.
Smith is a thimble maker and was employed by Simons Brothers, No. 616 Chestnut street, at the same time keeping a small cigar store at his home. He started out for work at the usual time in the morning, but, purchasing a can of oil, he went to the north concourse, near Belmont avenue, where he made the horrible attempt at suicide. A small boy on a bicycle called the attention of J.F. Boyd, who was gathering papers and rubbish at the park, to what seemed to be a dog on fire at the top of the hill. Boyd ran over to the spot, thinking as he aproached that a shaggy coated dog had been set fire to, but he was horror stricken when he saw that the object was a man and ablaze from head to foot.
Smith fought desperately against every attempt to extinguish the flames, and Boyd summoned a passing milkman, who hurried to the scene with a rubber blanket. With Boyd's assistance, he suceeded, after a har struggle, in getting this about the burning man. Smith was then thrown to the ground, and the flames soon smothered.
At the hospital the physicians succeeded in getting from him a statement that he was tired of living and that he had poured about a gallon of oil over himself, saturating his cloting with the fluid, and then applied a match. "The whole world," he said,"has been a trouble to me. I had sins to answer for, and though I might as well end it all now than wait longer and have more trouble."From Smith's neighbors it was learned that he was subject to fits of melancholia and that at times he acted like a demented man. It was said by them that his condition was thought to be due to excessive smoking.
--Davenport (IA) Daily Leader, 5 Oct 1899, page 1.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Ladies Parlor

These two thimbles are examples of two kinds of enamel thimbles. They are both from China and available through The Ladies Parlor, a website with 19th-to-early-20th-century style sewing accessories and knick-knacks. The thimble on the left is cloisonné for $4.50; the one on the right is plique à jour for $7.00. I will spare you the gory details of the enamelling processes involved. Roughly speaking, in cloisonné a design is outlined in metal wire on metal background; the design is then filled in with different colors of opaque enamelling. In plique à jour, the design is outlined without the background--think of filigree--and filled in with translucent, vitreous enamelling; a stained-glass look, but a little different.
Anyway, I like the look of these thimbles sold by The Ladies Parlor because it's a little softer, more finely-detailed than I have found in cloisonné and plique à jour thimbles.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Royal Delft

The thimble pictured at left is one of five available from Delft Wares. It is $50.00 plus S/H. The others in the line vary in price from $36.95 ("sale" price, usually $50.00) to $58.00. They are made by De Porceleyne Fles (The Porcelain Bottle) Factory in Delft in the Netherlands. The website has a lot of information about Delft wares. For example, De Porceleyne Fles is the delftware factory that produces "genuine Royal Delft," having been honored with the prefix Koninklijke, or Royal, by Queen Wilhelmina in 1919. The site further mentions that the word Royal is not included in the factory's mark, and that "if it says Royal Delft on the item, it's not genuine" Royal Delft.
In addition to the regular Delftware, they also have Dutch tiles (Westraven and Royal Delft), Gouda Pottery, and personalized Royal Delft birth, wedding, and anniversary plates.
A gentle warning: "Please allow up to 6 weeks for delivery." Ouch! They note that expedited delivery is available for an additional charge.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Patent: No. 837896: Sewing Thimble

Patent No. 837896, Horace Bourne, Catford, England
Dec. 4, 1906

Sunday, October 01, 2006

William Cole, Thimble Thief.

From the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 15 April 1830.
WILLIAM COLE was indicted for stealing, on the 26th of February, 15 silver thimbles, value 15s., the goods of Rowland Hastings, his master .
ROWLAND HASTINGS . I am a silver thimble-maker, and live in Great Sutton-street; the prisoner was in my employ for thirteen years. On the 26th of February we watched the prisoner, and he was seen to take these thimbles - we had missed some the day before.
CHARLES CAMERON . I am an officer. I was sent for on the 26th of February; I took the prisoner, and found in his fob pocket eleven thimbles, and a duplicate relating to four others - the prisoner said he meant to take them back again.
LEONARD CLARE MATTHEWS . I am a pawnbroker. I took in these thimbles on the 26th of February, of a person I cannot swear to, but I believe it was the prisoner.
JOSEPH AUBERRY . I am in the prosecutor's employ. I saw the prisoner take the thimbles out of the bowls, and put them into his right hand pocket.
SAMUEL VESTY . I am in the prosecutor's employ. We were all ordered into the counting-house to be searched, and these were found on the prisoner.
Prisoner's Defence. I earned 30s. of my master, and he stopped 15s. 6d. out of it - my wife and child were turned out of doors; my child is blind, and is an idiot.
ROWLAND HASTINGS . I had had the prisoner from a boy- he at first had 5s. a week, and went on till he had 24s. a week; if I had been going out on a Sunday, I should have asked him to come and mind my house; he is an object of great pity.
GUILTY. Aged 29.
Recommended to Mercy by the Jury. - Judgement Respited.
See original.