Saturday, December 31, 2016

Enriching Moments of Reflection

"Poetry seems especially
like nothing else.
Poetry is not like,
it is very lining
of the inner life."
(C.D. Wright)
 Photography: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Bark


12 oz. white chocolate
12 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup crushed candy canes


Line a 9 on 12 pan with parchment paper. Place dark chocolate in a glass bowl and melt in microwave. Cook 30 seconds, stir and repeat with smooth.

Pour the melted dark chocolate on the parchment paper, and use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly in the pan. Melt the white chocolate following the same steps. After the white chocolate is smooth, pour it on top of the dark chocolate and spread evenly.

Place the candy canes into a heavy duty ziplock bag. Using a hammer, crush the mints. Sprinkle on top while the white chocolate is still melted. Let chocolates harden in the refrigerator for two hours, then break the candy into pieces.

Ready for the gifts!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Peace is Always Beautiful

"Peace is always beautiful." (Walt Whitman)
Photo illustrations: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Drink to the Health

Wine has been around for along time. In every civilization, people drank fermented grape juice. The ancient Greeks hold elaborate parties dedicated to enjoy wine. The Egyptian pharaohs were buried with stashes of bottles to entertain afterlife. Even the Torah tells the famous story that Noah planted a vineyard.

The phrase "drink to the health" originally comes from ancient Greece civilization, as a result of the practice of the dinner host taking the first sip of wine to prove it was not poisoned.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Bracelets Academy" by Ida Tomshinsky

The new book entitled "Bracelets Academy" by Ida Tomshinsky will be available for purchase and reading soon. This is the eighth book within the History of Fashion Accessories Series
In a way, bracelets are among the most common form of jewelry. With exception of earrings, bracelets are the most popular jewelry in the world. The book is a brief history lesson for bracelet curiosity type, jewelry aficionado, and collectors. The book explains the meaning, trendsetting, and evolving function of bracelets. It is an exciting reading from college student to professional jewelry makers, sellers, and buyers.
The “Bracelets Academy” is a comprehensive resource fulfilled with facts, quotes, and fascinating information that only a Librarian can put together.
Twin-photo illustrations: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Greater Miami and The Beaches

Greater Miami and The Beaches

Greater Miami and the Beaches
Couture and culture
Are two modern ways of life
By the pool, at the ocean -
Under the sun motion
Or cabana bathhouse
At the shoreline with your own wife
In the Greater Miami and the Beaches,
More over, for American riches -
The fashion design of tailoring,
Grooming, and dressmaking
With winery eating, clubs, and music
For amusing
And entertaining at the vacation time pick
What used to be at one 'click.'
However, not anymore.
Boom is not over for
Real estate and contractors,
Investors and other factors.

Society obligations,
Customs and traditions,
Modern civilization and ethnicity -
The modern way of life
Are great five
For publicity
Of the Greater Miami and the Beaches

Tourists Say

Tourists say that it's always June down of Miami Beach
With plenty of sun-tanned youth across the bridge.
Our tropical green land is a special place
Where summer spends winter faze.

Reporters Say

Reporters say there is crime
At any time.
As the city is growing,
The latest demography affecting
People's mind:
As the scientists find,
The world's most baffling cases
Are made out of famous faces,
Right here, in Miami.

Ida Says

She likes hot summer flow more
Then cold winters' wind-blow.
The tropical extraordinary nature is special,
Particularly by achieving the healthy and active lifestyle.
Individuals bring rhythm, color, and smile
In the every day life-mile.

Text and Poto: Ida Tomshinsky, 2006-2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Secret Garden: Photo Serial

Photo serial by Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

It Will Be Okay

Face with a clue
The eyes of the world upon you
Make another bold play
Examine and x-ray
Believe in yourself,
It will pay
For every workday.
Information gateway
Shines bright as astray
Try to pass way the gray
Feel the breezeway
At the causeway,
We are "hurray"
Study, learn and obey,
It will be okay!
Lyrics: Ida Tomshinsky, 2013

Photo: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Poetry Again

Like a shooting star,
As the soul,
Alive, ageless,
Meets the pristine moment:
Poetry again.

From "Birthday Present," A Durable Fire, by May Sarton

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Turquoise & Zircon, December Birthstones

Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones and its popularity has spanned the globe for centuries. As a fact, the world has had a fascination for turquoise for over 7000 years.

Information facts:

The Turquoise graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs. The oldest known example of any jewelry carved from Turquoise and set in gold was a bracelet found on the mummy of an Egyptian queen.

In the American Southwest, Native Americans have mined Turquoise since prehistoric times. Many legends surround Turquoise; it is believed to bring good fortune and health.

While Turquoise was once used as currency in the American Southwest, it has been treasured as an adornment throughout the centuries worldwide.

This beautiful ‘robin’s egg’ blue gemstone has been attributed with healing powers, promoting the wearer’s status and wealth, protecting from evil and bringing good luck.

Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem. People say that its finest color is being an intense blue. Turquoise may contain narrow veins of other materials either isolated or as a network. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish-brown in color. Known as the matrix, these veins of color are sometimes in the form of an intricate pattern, called a spider web.  

While the demand for Turquoise has increased dramatically, the supply of genuine Turquoise is limited. To satisfy the demand for Turquoise, many have turned to man-made imitations, often plastic or other dyed material.
Information facts:

Most people think of a bright sky blue when they hear Zircon, but it is also available in beautiful earth tones of green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange.

In the Middle Ages, Zircon was said to aid in resting, to bring prosperity and to promote honor and wisdom in its owner.

Today, the most popular colors of Zircon are the vivid blue and bright Caribbean Sea colors. The spectrum of beautiful colors, its rarity and affordability are why it is becoming very popular in current time. Some gem collectors seek out Zircon from different locations capturing gems in every color of the rainbow – colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between.

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

               Etan, Eric. (2011) Turquoise. – Gareth Stevens Publishers. –
               24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s Jewels).


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Real Value of Life

The real value of life are not purchasable with money. You can't buy peace and good will. If you could, the problems that face us would be simple. All you do, at most, is to help provide a setting, a scaffolding, an atmosphere, a soil perhaps, where these values can have at least some chance to grow.

(John D. Rockefeller Jr.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Inspirational Poem of the Day by H.W. Longfellow

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the stand of time...
Let us, then, be up and doing
With a heart of any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait."

H.W. Longfellow

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Mist and All

I like the fall,
The mist and all.
I like the night owl's
Lonely call -
And wailing sound
Of wind around.

I like the gray
November day,
And bare, dead boughs
That coldly sway
Against my pane.
I like the rain.

I like to sit
And laugh at it -
And tend
My cozy fire a bit.
I like the fall -
The mist and all!

(Dixie Wilson)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Topaz, November Birthstone

In shades of yellow, brown, honey, green, blue, red, pink and sometimes no color at all, Topaz has a mass appeal. Topaz is often found in an amber gold, yellow, or a blushing pink orange, and a pale pink or a sherry red Topaz are very exceptional. The most prized color of Topaz is called Imperial Topaz and features a magnificent orange with pink undertones. Blue, once a very rare color of Topaz, became the most common, due to man’s ability to enhance its color. Topaz with a naturally blue color is very unusual. The ancient Egyptians and Romans associated this golden gem with the Sun God that provides the power to protect and heal. Legend says that Topaz dispels enchantment. With its worldwide mass appeal throughout the centuries, once the person finds that perfect Topaz, he or she may be under its spell.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Arthritis Today

Discover the secrets that can change your life:
  • Walnut secret that lowers arthritis inflammation
  • Sleep secret that helps you wake up with less pain
  • Diet secret that "tricks" your body into burning fat - without exercise
Arthritis Today is a periodical that is published by Arthritis Foundation that shares medical breakthroughs that could improve someone quality of life.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Late Harvest Season

Photographer: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Autumn Flowers

"Those few pale Autumn flowers,
How beautiful they are!
Than all that went before,
Than all the Summer store,
How lovelier far!

And why? - They are the last!
The last! the last! the last!
Oh! by that little word
How many thoughts are stirred
That whisper of the past!

(Caroline Bowles Southey)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Poetry

"Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life.
It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that." (Mary Oliver, b.1935-)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Opal, October Birthstone

In ancient times, the Opal was known as the Queen of Gems because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. Each Opal is truly one-of-a-kind; as unique as our fingerprints. Some prefer the calming flashes of blues and greens; others love the bright reds and yellows. With its rainbow of colors, as you turn and move the Opal, the color plays and shifts, giving a gem the rare opportunity to be worn with a plethora of ensembles. Australia’s Lightning Ridge is known for its rare and stunning black Opals. The ideal Opal is one that displays broad patterns covering the surface, with all the colors of the rainbow, including red.

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

                Etan, Eric. (2011) Opals. – Gareth Stevens Publishers. – 24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s

Friday, September 9, 2016

Arts and Science

"Without art, we should have no notion of the sacred;
 without science, we should always worship false gods." (W. H. Auden, 1907-1973)
Photographer: Ida Tomshinsky, c.2012
Orlando, FL

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keep Moving

"Life is riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
(Albert Einstein)

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Sentence

A sentence is like a tune. A memorable sentence gives its emotion a melodic shape. You want to hear it again, say it - in a way, to hum it to yourself. You desire, if only in the sound studio of your imagination, to repeat the physical experience of that sentence. That craving, emotional and intellectual but beginning in the body with a certain gesture of sound, is near the heart of poetry. (Robert Pinsky)

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Time of August

August: the time of the year when outdoors becomes a world of wonderful possibilities. A place to run through a country road, to fly a kite with your kids, or just sit on a porch and swing to enjoy a refreshing breeze. The memorable family trips to the beach, going for mushrooms, and taking the August days on when the living is easy. Lucky August's birthday-babies know how to decorate the birthday parties in great outdoors.

These long sunny days are perfect for adventure time and lookout for such opportunities, wherever they may present themselves!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sapphire, September Birthstone

When hearing the word Sapphire many people immediately envision a stunning violet-blue gemstone because the word “Sapphire” is Greek means ‘blue.’ For centuries, the Sapphire has been referred to as the ultimate blue gemstone. Since Ancient times, the blue Sapphire represented a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust. Today to keep up with this tradition, Sapphires are one of the most popular engagement gemstones. Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized Sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir and Sri Lanka. Sapphires with highly saturated violet-blue color and “velvety” or “sleepy” transparency are very rare. The purer the blue of the Sapphire, the greater the price. However, many people find that the darker hues of Sapphire can be just as appealing. Sapphires are not only blue, they come in almost every color of the rainbow: pink, yellow, orange, peach, and violet colors. The most sought-after color fancy Sapphire is the rare and beautiful Padparadscha: a pink-orange corundum with a distinctive salmon color reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These ultra-rare, ultra-expensive stones are among the most desirable gems in the world.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Peridot, August Birthstone

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that exists in only one color: a distinctive signature lime green. In ancient times it was believed that Peridot was a gift of Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world.

When presented as a gift, Peridot is said to bring the wearer magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares. It is also said, Peridot may to instill power, and influence through the wearing of the gemstone. Today, most Peridot comes from Arizona, but it is also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Peridot is available in several colors ranging from yellowish green to brown, but the bright lime greens and olive greens are the most desired. If you prefer citrus tones or earth tones, you may find that Peridot belongs in your jewelry collection. Peridot gemstones smaller than three carats are very common; gemstones over five carats are rare, and therefore have a higher value. Peridot in 10 to 15 carats are even more rare; but then again, they deliver a big and bold look for an affordable price.

Mesopotamian Bracelets

Among the earliest bracelets were those that belonged to the Sumerians of Southern Mesopotamia dating back to about 2,500 B.C. The ‘good student’ knows that even more ancient is the archaeological evidence of Ancient Egyptians adorning themselves with bracelets from at least as early as 5,000 B.C. However, an obsidian bracelet found in Turkey at the exceptional site of Asikli Höyük in 1995 significantly beats these estimates as it has been dated to about 7,500 B.C.

It is the earliest evidence of obsidian in working, which only reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia B.C. with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels. The obsidian bracelet studied by the researchers is unique. It has a complex shape and a remarkable central ridge, and is 10 cm in diameter and 3.3 cm wide. It was discovered in 1995 at the exceptional site of Asıklı Höyük in Turkey and displayed ever since at the Aksaray Archeological Museum.

Black Obsidian is a powerful gemstone for eliminating all the negative and harmful energy in the body and in the environment around it. It acts sort of like an “energetic vacuum cleaner,” cleansing the personal energy field of disharmony, negative attachments; and even, the anger, greed, fear or resentment. Wearing obsidian jewelry and bracelets is extremely grounding, as it stimulates the root chakra, deepening on personal connection to the Earth. People say, wearing an obsidian bracelet with other grounding gemstones, such as smoky quartz and hematite, will magnify its grounding power, balancing and cleansing the ‘root chakra.’

Among the ancient jewelry found in Queen Puabi’s tomb at Ur in Sumar, dated from third millennium B.C., were wrist and arm bracelets.

Researchers are amazed at the craftsmanship, which in the chronological rank, perhaps indicates that it probably wasn’t the first of its kind to be crafted by these early people.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Did you know?

  • Florida is the lighting capital of the U.S.
  • In 2014 alone, there were 10,440 lighting-related homeowner insurance claims in Florida.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aimee Song's Bracelet Line

In 2015, the young fashion and interior designer, Aimee Song, came up with four bracelet line, which is not even called a collection.
The combination of black and pink and variations of blue colors plays in favor to younger generation divine taste. The stones framed in a pyramid shape, but Aimee has also bracelets with the traditional round bead form, and even from rainbow of colors in textile bows. However, the pyramid studded design of the bangles, they are gorgeous with a touch of edge! The “Song of Style” bracelets The whole point of these bracelets, they add some edge and a pop of color, plus they look really great alone or mixed in with other bracelets! Who does not like the game of mixing and matching! Aimee explained in her own words: “The reason I wanted to work with stones is because when I first started my career in interior design, I worked as a kitchen and bathroom designer and mainly worked with natural stone such as marble, granite, and quartz. I wanted to find stones for my bracelets that were either marble, or that looked as close as marble to tie in my love for interior design and fashion. Just because I have my own line of bracelets doesn’t mean that I’ll stop supporting my favorite jewelry designers!”
Good to know, Aimee! Once again, the inspiration come from visits to the local Library, from a hobby, or use of education in many different ways.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Professor had been spoken: Bracelets

Today bracelets are amongst the most popular forms of jewelry. With the exception of earrings, bracelets are the most popular jewelry in the world. In a way, jewelry is a testament to how history repeats itself! Comparing jewelry from hundreds of years ago to contemporary jewelry, we will notice that ancient jewelry continues to inspire our current styles. “Every kiss begins with…fine jewelry,” says the famous TV ad. From classic sterling silver to colorful woven leather, everyone can string its own story on the array of bracelets.

Exactly when someone first discovered that tying a vine around the wrist made a pretty decoration isn't known, but people have worn bracelets for centuries. The best artisans of many cultures applied their skills to the bracelet designs still worn today by both women and men.
In general, ever since the dawn of human race, jewelry managed to be a constant presence and driving force of many fashion and cultural changes we experienced trough each millennium.  Luminous fairy tales tell us wonder of nature woven with legends.

Professor has been spoken as the bracelets draw attention to the beauty of wrists and hands. Their gentle jingle is a constant reminder of a sparkling presence that turns even an everyday outing into a more festive occasion. Women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Michelle Obama, have worn bracelets as decorative accessories, and contemporary women continue to keep the bracelet tradition going strong.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hattie Carnegie or Business of Beauty

“Beauty is my business!” (Carnegie, 1942) Hattie Carnegie was a fashion entrepreneur based in New York, between 1920s and 1960s.

She was born in Vienna, Austria as Henrietta Kanengeiser, in Austrian Jewish tailor family as a second child of seven siblings. Henrietta Kanengeiser was just a teenager when her family left Austria for the United States around 1900. Upon their arrival, the family settled into New York’s Lower East Side, where they hoped to work in the garment factories. During one of the trips, Henrietta asked a man who the richest, most successful person in America was, and he told her, “Andrew Carnegie.” Some years later, when she was in her 20s, she adopted “Carnegie” as her last name, and the rest of her family, trying to blend into American culture. Henrietta eventually got in with Macy’s as a salesgirl, a position that promised a lot of mobility for a girl of her background. At Macy’s, she became a student of women’s clothing and fashion accessories; her job in the hat department earned her the nickname “Hattie.”

She went from being a destitute Macy's messenger girl who owned three blouses and one skirt to controlling, at its high point, a ten-million-dollar empire. Her five companies included custom and ready-to-wear clothing, hats, perfume, and fabulous costume jewelry. For decades, her personal taste and fashion sense influenced the styles worn by countless American women. While it’s believed Carnegie produced jewelry to complement her clothing, particularly her trademark “little Carnegie suits,” her official line of marked jewelry did not hit the market until 1939. Like Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, Carnegie flourished in the “cocktail jewelry” movement (1935-1960), where pieces like brooches and demi-parures of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings put the finishing touches on outfits.

 Carnegie’s designs, whether it was hats, clothing, or jewelry, were adored by Hollywood stars and other American celebrities including Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Fontaine, Norma Shearer, and Joan Crawford. Carnegie seemed to have a sixth sense about the taste of American women, flying to Paris on a regular basis and then returning home to adapt the latest look to U.S. sensibilities.

 In the 1930s and 1940s, her clothes were considered smart, neat, and tailored. She particularly excelled at the little black dress. In contrast, her jewelry designs were downright wild, giving a touch of flair to otherwise conservative outfits. She commissioned a wide array of talented jewelry designers to work in a variety of styles, but in general, Hattie Carnegie pieces tended to stay away from all-paste copies of gemstone fine jewelry. She employed plastics, enamels, and gilt metals. Her brooches became iconic in the 1950s.

 One of her more popular jewelry collections is the Oriental line, inspired by Far Eastern and Indian motifs. This includes elaborate metal human figures detailed with tiny rhinestone and faux pearls that can stand up of their own, as well as things like a figural elephant carrying a howdah and a snuff-bottle pendant.

 Other collected Carnegies' include the animals in her menagerie of stylized brooches, which took inspirations from the African art that influenced Paris fashion in the 1930s. These figures, produced well into the 1950s, were made of Lucite in bold colors like red-orange, emerald green, ivory, and turquoise blue, and were trimmed with rhinestones, colored beads, and gilt metal. Collectors covet the fish and long-horned goats, but the anteater is the most prized of all.

 Some of Carnegie’s top jewelry designers included Kenneth Jay Lane, her protege Norman Norell, and Nadine Effront, a French sculptor and one-time student of George Braques. Years after Carnegie’s death in 1963, Effront designed a popular Greek-themed collection for Hattie Carnegie jewelry, using atypical materials such as terra cotta, tortoise, and hammered gold.

Lane, meanwhile, served as the creative director at Hattie Carnegie jewelry before he struck out own his own in the ’60s with a wildly popular line of giant plastic earrings adorned with rhinestones. His creations were eventually worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Bush, and Nan Kempner.

 Carnegie jewelry, whether animal-inspired or abstract, is noted for its attention to detail and creativity. For example, a gilt-metal apple has a tiny slice cut out. The jewelry line also has a traditional, romantic side, with necklaces and bracelets made of double- and triple-strand crystal, glass, and rhinestone beads, graceful chokers with trailing chains, and large brooches with giant shimmering stones in rich colors.

 Carnegie died in 1956, so the Hattie Carnegie jewelry that was designed before then, under her direction and requiring her approval, is most valued by collectors. These items, usually ranked highly in costume jewelry guides, are worth collecting, even if they are damaged or are missing rhinestones.

 Hattie Carnegie's early jewelry was designed to complement her clothing line. Her jewelry is usually marked “Hattie Carnegie” or “Carnegie.” A less frequently used mark is “HC” within a diamond, inside a semi-oval. Hattie Carnegie's hair ornaments and cases are sometimes marked “Pooped Pussy Cat” or “Pooped Poodle.”

 Larry Josephs took over the Hattie Carnegie firm in the late 1960s, and in the 1976, the company was acquired by Chromology American Corporation. The Hattie Carnegie brand was still being used in the late 1970s, particularly on designer lines like Yves Saint Laurent for Carnegie (1978), Anne Klein for Carnegie (1979), and Valentino for Hattie Carnegie (1979).

 Today, Hattie Carnegie's jewelry is what has lasted, showcasing the full range of designs, from glamorous rhinestone bracelets to exotic oriental pins.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ruby, July's Birthstone

The Ruby represents love, passion, courage and emotion. For centuries, this gem has been considered the king of all gems. It was believed that wearing a fine red Ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner. Rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. To this day the Ruby is the most valued gemstone.

The color of a Ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable color of Ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red color with a slight blue hue. This color is often referred to as “pigeon blood” red, a Ruby color only associated with the Mogok Valley mines in Myanmar. The color Pigeon Blood Ruby red, of course, is not associated with the color of a pigeon’s blood, but rather the color of a white pigeon’s eye.
Recommended list for reading and discussion:

Ethan, Eric. (2011) Rubies. – Gareth Stevens Publishing. – 24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s Jewels)
Ward, Fred. (2003) Rubies & Sapphires: 4th/ed. – Gem Book Publishing. – 64 pages.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

To The Apron!

Aprons are good-old unisex accessory, and they are not any more just for butchers and cooks. Style is no longer has to be sacrificed for utilitarian functionality in the commercial and domestic kitchens. While most of the hip aprons found in the stores are designed for women, there are also frequently made aprons for men and children. Aprons bring the perfect harmony to celebrate holidays with style and joy of cooking and backing, and joy of fashion.

The culinary and style enthusiasts alike experience a high demand for aprons rebirth. This recent resurgence as fashionable and fun accessory for cooking and entertaining is bringing out the clever designs, array of colors and prints to functionality of the little bit of cloth for domestic tasks. Fashion-forward aprons making women pretty, and they are complimenting their outfits as any other fashion accessory. In retrospective, families want to live better and healthier live-styles and as a result people returning to the kitchen.

My mother, a city lady, always used an apron in the kitchen. She was sewing and used her old Zinger till her old age. She used two sets of aprons – one for domestic and kitchen work, and another to host the guests. She was making beautiful aprons for all three-generation females in our family. At one time, my mother, my daughter, and I worked in the kitchen with matching aprons. My earliest memory runs to my little Indian Dance in mom’s apron, towel turban on the head, and mom’s high heels on a hot summer August day at the family gathering outdoors. In the fifties, Zelda was a champion of table settings and cooking for family and friends in a cocktail apron around her waist when she entertained guests. She was a working woman, and we all had our own responsibilities to help my mother. She knew how to make something from nothing. I can say that I was raised with aprons. My mother was sewing the everyday aprons from old cloth to salvage or from fabric scraps and the fine aprons from new fabric specifically selected to match the tablecloth or outfits, to serve and sit down to dinner. Despite their humble beginnings, the aprons turned out to be real showcases of great sewing skills, and ability to be creative, frugal and artistic.
Fragment from the book entitled "Aprons: Tale of Traditions" written by popular Florida Author, Ida Tomshinsky.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beer Bread

Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
1 can or bottle beer
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix flour, sugar and beer together. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 375 degree F for forty minutes.

Serve with a simple tossed salad.

Tip: Enhance browning on top, spray loaf with butter-flavored cooking spray before baking.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Structure: A Short Essay

What is structure? In the business company, the future depends on teamwork and structure.
In personal life, each family has settlement structure.
Personal structure comes from the heart, structural tone; from one atom, to two atoms and more, to shape and design something that last, very complex, very hearty and warm - building a perfect family-like structure. Every brick has design forms, follows the structure and future-perfect architecture digest.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alexandrite & Pearl, June Birthstones

Alexandrite is the fusion of Garnet, and, by extension, Ruby and Sapphire, Amethyst, and Pearl. If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love Alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem with a warm raspberry tone. People say, “emerald by day, ruby by night.” It flicks back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. The value of the gemstone increases as the color change becomes more distinct. It is truly spellbinding to see the spectacular changing colors in this wonderful gemstone; someone might feel some of the mysterious magic and lore ascribed to it such as to strengthen intuition, aid in creativity, and inspire the imagination.

Originally, Alexandrite discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s. Those first gems were of very fine quality and displayed vivid hues and dramatic color change. The gem was named after the young Alexander II, heir apparent to the throne. It caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the national military colors of imperial Russia. It’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil; but this gem is exceptionally rare and valuable. Most cut gems weigh less than one carat. Larger, higher-quality gems rise in price dramatically.

“Green in sunlight.
Red in lamplight.
Color-changing Alexandrite
is nature’s magic trick.”

Pearls are also the June birthstone. In all of human history, mankind has admired, even worshipped, pearls. Persian mythology called them “the tears of the gods.”

 Ancient Chinese legend claims the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery. Pearls are unique because they are the only gemstone formed within a living creature. Since natural pearls are rare and difficult to recover from the ocean’s depths, man invented the technique of culturing salt and freshwater pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced by nature. Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colors, from pale cream and white to rose, lilac, green, gold, gray, and black. There are four main types of cultured pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and freshwater each having unique qualities.

Today, pearls are both classic and contemporary; a strand of white pearls can be timeless, but a bracelet of chocolate pearls is more modern. One thing to keep in mind with pearls, no matter the color or size, they can be worn every day or they can complement the most formal attire.


Monday, May 16, 2016

The Voice of the Grass

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere;
By the dusty roadside,
On the sunny hillside,
Close to the noisy brook
In every shady nook,
I come creeping, creeping everywhere.

Here I come creeping, smiling everywhere;
All around the open door,
Where sit the aged poor;
Here where the children play,
In the bright and merry May,
I come creeping, creeping everywhere.

(Sarah Roberts)

Monday, May 9, 2016


Photographer: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016
Radish and Dill 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

From the Pantry: 5 Minute Prep

Photographer: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Rigatoni: Serves 4
Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil, rosemary and cheese in a blender and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a large pan, heat the vegetable broth. Add the pesto and stir on medium heat. Add the rigatoni or any other pasta and 1/4 cup cheese and continue cooking on medium-low for 5 minutes until hot. Garnish with cheese and fresh tomatoes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Vines Wrapped around a Tree

Photographer: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016
Triptych Photography Art: Tradiscantia out of the pot in an open outdoor environment

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Iconic Handbag Triplet Images

Photography: Ida Tomshinsky, 2016
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain Baroness Margaret Thatcher's handbag in style that will be always remembered: from suits to iconic handbag in a pin format.
Too cute!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pick Into the New Book: "Bags & Purses: The Story of Chic and Practicality" by Ida Tomshinsky

The modern woman goes out of her home and carries a handbag. The purses and handbags are essential fashion accessories; a little home for storing private attributes. Purses and handbags are these fashion items that people do not ware, but carry on a daily base. Look around, today women cannot live without their purses, weather carried for utility or as a status symbol, representing chic and practicality.

The term “purse” is used in reference to a small bag for holding coins. In British English language, it is still used to refer to a small-size coin bag. For example, the expressions such as control the purse strings” or “hold the purse strings” are common remarks to point out who is in charge of the money in the business and in the household.

A “handbag” is a larger fashion accessory that holds items beyond currency, such as items of personal belongings and emergency items to survive on. As usual, in United States and Canada, people use both terms “purse” and “handbag” interchangeably. The term “pouch” comes from Medieval Latin and associates with words: “skin” and “hide.” The term “handbag” began to appear in written documents around the early 1900s.

Since both men and women have something precious to carry around with them, handbags have been indispensable to the history of fashion and to the history of fashion accessories, specifically. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics display people with pouches carried around the waist, perhaps for the safety reasons. The ancient Greek’s and ancient Roman’s art objects exhibit men and women with small pouches in which they carried coins. The pouches were attached to the belt at the waist area and were called byrasa in Greece and bursa in Rome.

We always search for confirmations in the bible’s text. The bible specifically identifies Judas Iscariot as a purse carrier.

The earliest handbags that have been verified historically were small sacks carried by gentlemen containing pomanders [scented spices and oranges], flint and money. They were called ‘pockets’ and were hung by thongs from the back of the girdle. Pockets were often cut and stolen from behind by thieves and were soon nicknamed as ‘cut purse.’

Peasants in early rural societies used small bags to keep and transport seeds, religion items, and medicine. During the days of King Arthur, the legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries; and according to the medieval histories and romances, the housewives carried the various daily life’s necessities with them in bag or in a pouch. In this time in history, the bag was more as an item of a practical enterprise, and was not an item of vivid fun and chic fashion accessory. The woman needed supplies to accompany her in constant daily journeys without running back to the cottage for medicine or religious artifacts.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bracelets of African Origins

 African origins

Manillas, were a traditional African exchange medium, and in the same time were originally metal bracelets or armlets. Later forms were made of copper, bronze, or brass open rings, almost ring-like, and often horseshoe shaped. The term is derived from the Spanish for bracelet, or manella, or the Portuguese for hand-ring (Rees, 2000). The origin is from the Latin manus or hand meaning monilia, or monile the plural for necklace. (

The universal name for manillas is an ancient term for money, brass or exchange coinage. During the 1470s, Portuguese explorers became aware that cooper bracelets and leg-bands were means of exchange at all along the west coast of Africa. Usually, they were worn by women to display their husband's wealth. Copper, regarded as the ‘red gold’ of Africa, was mined and then traded across the Sahara by merchants from Italy and Arabia. These early Portuguese traders bought tusks of ivory, peppers, and slaves by exchanging currency “manillas bracelets” acceptable to the Africans (Rees, 2000). Eventually manillas became known as slave trade money after they were used by Europeans to acquire slaves. A slave cost about 12 to 15 brass manillas in the 1490s, but consistently less, if they were of copper (Rees, 2000). With inflation a female slave aged 16 in Benin cost about 50 manillas in 1522.

The Nigerian manillas in the African manilla trade have been described as “… an open bracelet in the form of a horseshoe with lozenge shaped ends, measuring about 2 ¼ inches across and weighing about 3 ounces.” (Herbert, 1984) British established an important role in African commerce after 1807 in the palm oil trade. Manillas of various types were traded for oil instead of slaves. (

On the left: Coiled Copper Bracelet. Represented as a sign of wealth and used as currency. Copper calaber rod of thick gauge with bulbous ends that is generally attributed in Nigeria, whose word for money is Mondua. This is the oldest African trade money. Location: West Africa/ Nigeria | Dimensions: 9" x 3.75" x 4.5" | \With Stand 9.25" x 6.25" x 6.25. (

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Emerald, May Birthstone

Emeralds are part of the mineral family known as beryl. Remember, diamonds are not the world’s most valuable gems. There is another gemstone, which is even more rare and cost more than a fine diamond of the same size: the emerald. The emerald proved to be a protagonist that faceted and bewitching as any human character from Cleopatra to Angelina Jolie and Elizabeth Taylor. The most beautiful pieces of emerald jewelry could be found in at the Victoria and Albert Museum in England, at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Emeralds were very popular during the Art DECO period of the 1920s and 1930s. A stunning bracelet made by Cartier and purchased by Edwina, the Countess of Mountbatten in 1928, one of the best dressed women of the world. Today, the Colombian mines continue to be the premier source of the best emeralds of the world; the largest amounts of emerald production come from Brazil and Zambia. Smaller deposits delivered from Zimbabwe, Pakistan and also from Hiddenite, North Carolina, in the United States, a small limited scale. About 1830 emeralds were discovered in the Ural, northwest of Sverdlovsk. Emeralds have been found in Austria, Norway, and near Emmaville, N.S.W., Australia. (Moore, 2014) It looks like the world’s 4,000-year love affair with emerald has only just begun.
The word emerald delivered from a Persian word that means “green gem.” During the history, it changed from Greek to Latin as ‘smaragdus’ to ‘esmaurde’ and ‘esmralde, and later, in 16th century to ‘esmeralde.’ Green is the color of Spring and has long symbolized love and rebirth. As the gem of Venus, it was also considered to aid in fertility and ease of childbirth. Emerald was once believed to cure diseases such as cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker. The legends endowed the wearer with ability to foresee the future when emerald was placed under the tongue.

Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous female monarch was as famous for wearing Emeralds in her time as Liz Taylor is for wearing diamonds in our time. Emeralds have been associated long time with royalty and status as centerpieces of Russian crown jewels, part of the collection of the Iranian State Treasure and favorite of Indian Shahs. Shah Jahan of India is famous for building the Taj Mahal building inscribed his collection with sacred texts and used them as talismans. The color green is secret in Islam, which is why an emerald made such as perfect surface on which to inscribe a religious text.

Emeralds are ancient gemstones. According to the oldest book of the world, the Papyrus Prisse, “but good words are more difficult to find than the emerald, for it is by slaves that it is discovered among the rocks.” This book is 4,500 years old, but the passage was copied from a writing 1,000 years prior. The book was probably referring to the Egyptian mines. The Cleopatra Mines were lost for thousand years, only rediscovered in 1818.

Ancient Egyptian mummies were often buried with an Emerald carved with the symbol of verdure, flourishing greenness, on their necks to symbolize eternal youth. In Rome, the Roman Emperor Niro would watch gladiator games through the flat emerald crystals. The Roman scholar and historian, Pliny recorded: “Indeed, no stone has a color that is more delightful to the eye, for, whereas the sight fixes itself with avidity upon the green grass and foliage of the trees, we have all the more pleasure in looking upon the emerald, there being no gem in existence more intense than this.” The wonderful green color of the gem was believed to lift depression, reduce stress, promoted mental clarity, and warding off evil spirits. Green was the color of the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus. In astrology, Venus is the ruling force over the sun sign of Taurus, April 21 to May 21, perhaps it is why the emerald is designed as the birthstone of Spring, for May.


When discovered in Colombia, emeralds were prized by Incas and Aztecs. The emeralds of Incas were described as being large as egg of an ostrich. Sixteenth century violence became part of the history, when Spanish looted thousands of emeralds in the mines in South America. The explorer Pizarro, in his conquest of Mexico, found plentiful emeralds of surpassing beauty. The contemporary writer d’Acosta states that many stones were ruined by the Spanish soldiers who followed by the priest advise to test stones on their genuineness, and smashed them with hammers. The Spanish, who treasured gold and silver far more than gems, traded emeralds for precious metals. Their trades opened the eyes of European and Asian royalty to emerald’s majesty. Once discovered, South America is on the gemstone map to supply the green beautiful emerald stones to adore bracelets, necklaces, rings, and crowns.

The deeper and more vivid the color of green, the more valuable the gemstone. The most valuable and beautiful Emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their basic bold green color. Emeralds, among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with birthmarks, known as inclusions. Some inclusions are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones.

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

Ethan, Eric. (2011) Emeralds. – Gareth Stevens Publishers. – 24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s Jewels)

Hardy, Joanna and Jonathan Self, Franca Sozzani, Hettie Judah. (2014) Emerald: Twenty-One Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power. – Thames and Hudson. – 272 pages.

Moore, Paul B. (2014) Emerald. In AccessScience. -  McGraw-Hill Education.

Ward, Fred and Charlotte Ward. (2010) Emeralds. – Gem Book Publishers. – 64 pages.

 (Fred Ward Gem Books)