Monday, Monday . . . Can't trust that day . . .


Monday already!

Well, it means we've almost survived the rush. Of course there have been the usual last minute disasters (glass not fitting in frames, etc.) but that's all forgotten now.

Er . . . I mean . . .
I hope I haven't forgotten anything . . .

Tree decorated? Check.
Thanksgiving weight lost? Check.
Gifts wrapped? Check.
Cleaning? Laundry? Groceries? Triple check.
Serenity returned to the home? Check.

You should know by now that I
may possibly be a compulsive liar --

If any of those things are actually true
at your house, please raise your hand.

And please take a picture and send it to me so I can dream sweet Christmas dreams while I'm hanging out in the Grinch's lair

(for one more week.)

Now . . . thank you for your patience.

Please just leave me be for one more afternoon
and I'll check in on you tomorrow
before I pack the sleigh!

Monday, Monday --
sometimes it just turns out that way . . .


The Countdown Continues . . .

Yes, preparations (and insanity) are ongoing --

Luckily there's plenty of pie and diet Coke to keep me well-hydrated and revved up on calories.

I hope someone (everyone!) within the sound of my keyboard is planning to drop in to the Merchandise Mart next week to say "hello"?

I'm bringing some of my favorite children for show-and-tell (sorry Lindsay, Chelsea and Hannah -- I mean my
other children, but please walk the dog while we're in Chicago . . .)

p.s. Just when you think you can't go on, you get a lovely infusion of
"good stuff" -- check out Salley Mavor's new blog (you'll find the link, newly added to my blog list) if your eyes are tired of bargains and just need to be soothed with a little loveliness. *sigh*

Happy Leftovers Weekend!


W.W.J.D? . . . That's "What would Jillian do?", of course.

Which is an appropriate question
to begin a Thanksgiving post.

I'm not sure what Jillian would advise for Thanksgiving, but I'm fairly certain it would in no way involve pecan pie.

And if it did involve pie, she would definitely not advocate what in our family we call a "Grandma Myrl sliver," because when you requested "just a sliver" from Grandma Myrl, you got a sliver that really had much more in common with TWO pieces.
(bless her heart . . .)

There's been a recent addition to our family motto collection:

Old -- Eat through the pain.

New -- The family that shreds together,
sheds together.

So we have decided that as part of our holiday festivities, Jillian will preside over a Thanksgiving morning exercise session for all Hinckleys

(attendance optional but there will be guilt . . . be warned)
during which she will almost surely remind us to


I was thinking about that phrase on my run the other day, because although I exercise regularly I'm afraid that, most of the time, I bring much more intention to my french fries than to my treadmill.

And when I was running along on a completely unseasonable 50 degree November morning and Michael Jackson started singing

"Let's Dance . . . Let's Shout!
Shake your body down to the ground . . ."

in my ear I noticed that my feet immediately wanted to groove down 140th street and suddenly I felt much more intention.

And I just felt happy to be alive.

Funny how just a little bit of well-placed Michael Jackson can improve even a grueling run that you really didn't want to take in the first place.

My personal favorite M.J. album

I actually felt like dancing, shouting,
and (yes) shaking my body down to the ground.

Because I can. And that's reason enough to celebrate, isn't it?

Which led me to think about Chelsea returning from seeing "This is It" (the Michael Jackson movie), the other night and recounting her experience with shining eyes and almost breathless excitement.
She was transported.

"It just makes me want to be a better person,"
she said in summary.

Which is how I always know
I'm experiencing true ART.

Doesn't matter what it is, if it's done well it just lifts me a little and makes me want to be a better person. Makes me want to bring more intention to my life, my work, my relationships, everything.

And so, because my feet were feeling so happy I decided right then and there on140th street to bring some intention to my Thanksgiving.

I don't mean eat more earnestly . . . I already fully intended to do that. But I mean feel a little more thankful. Feel so thankful that I actually want to shake my body down to the ground.

Because life is good.
Messy and complicated, exhausting and excruciating,
full of highs and lows and credit card debt and garbage
and beauty and french fries and treadmills,

but at its very heart . . . so GOOD.

Even when Jillian Michaels is yelling at you.

That's right . . . I mean YOU.



to your




Mom! . . . Is it safe to come in the kitchen yet?

It being Thanksgiving week,
my thoughts have naturally turned to food.

(Okay, I admit my thoughts live there most of the time).

And the prospect of Veg-All Salad (previous post) has led to a Hinckleyville discussion of a question that I believe deserves further Small Works exploration:

Did people have taste buds
in the 1950's?

It could be possible that their taste buds

were heavily deadened by all the smoking.

Or it could be that they were drunk and giddy
with the post-war technological advances

that were modernizing their kitchen worlds at break-neck speed.

It reminds me of the scene from the Albert Brooks movie "Mother," in which his mother explains that she has been bagging up her green salads in lunch size portions and putting them in the freezer

and he says something like, "The freezer is a great invention, Mother, but it's not for EVERYTHING."

Which is exactly how I feel about jello.

In addition to things like tomato soup and shrimp jello,
the 1950's also seemed to specialize in canned meat products and the many thrifty and appealing dishes you could make by utilizing them.

I had no idea that, at any point in history, one could purchase HAMBURGERS IN A CAN (hiding there in the back row, above.)

I'm trying to figure out what that would be. . . would it come out in a gloppy pile that you would then mold into patty shapes? Would it come out in a solid meat-like cylinder that you would then slice into patty shapes?

Somehow each image I conjure
seems equally suggestive of Alpo.

And when you combine the variety meat products of the 1950's with the inability to make food photos look appealing, you end up with things like this:

Which, although it is made with regular ground meat, looks something like I would imagine hamburgers in a can would look.

Unfortunately, Aunt Lillie's love of canned meats extended well into the 1970's so I was regularly treated to fried Spam. And my mother went through a brief fling with "Underwood Deviled Ham," which I distinctly remember as being a key player in my worst lunches ever.

To be fair . . . our newspaper's Taste section last week had some Thanksgiving ideas that were 1950's-ick, if you ask me. There was a recipe for brussels sprouts with bacon and figs, for instance. Now I admittedly detest brussels sprouts, and bacon could probably only improve them.

Keep the figs out of my vegetable dishes
and only in my Newtons, s'il vous plait.

I prefer my Thanksgiving vegetables swimming in Cream of Mushroom soup and crunching with french-fried onions. Or mounded up into a giant gravy-stopping dam, a starchy vegetable engineering marvel that just barely manages to save the rest of my plate from disaster.

In my world, Thanksgiving is NOT the time for Nouvelle Cuisine. Or to coin a phrase from another movie oldie-but-goodie,

"The food's brown, hot,
and plenty of it."

But even though I am in no way an adventurous eater, I figured I may as well jump on the bandwagon and make a

Small Works Thanksgiving Menu Suggestion.

Because if one owns an extensive collection of vintage women's magazines, one probably has a responsibility to use them to research both homemaking and hospitality, lest a whole lot of swell recipes and hostess ideas just *poof!* disappear from our modern tables.

So I offer you "Thanksgiving Corn-o-Copias":

Just grab some bologna slices, slather them with mustard, stuff them full of corn and velveeta, pop them in the oven and garnish with the ubiquitous pimiento slice and parsley and you will have a Thanksgiving treat that is not only festive and delicious, but will remind you why you are glad to be eating Thanksgiving dinner this year instead of in 1952.

Happy Grocery Shopping!


Mom! Mom!
Where are you?

I'm bored!
There's nothing to do!

Mother's very busy, Jimmy . . .
you'll have to run along
and play with your friends.
And stop playing with that slingshot in here.
Mother's got her work for the show
spread all over the house.

Hmmm . . . Why don't you run next door
and see if Janey wants to play with you?

Awww . . . She's a girl!

And anyway, all she ever wants to do is play on
her dumb ol' swing.

Why don't you watch TV?

Hey! It's Bonanza!

Awww . . . it's just ending.

Then why don't you play with the baby?
The baby loves to play with you!
You're such a nice big brother!

Naw . . . the baby's bored, too.

We want YOU to do
something with us.

I have an idea!
Why don't you run in the den and see
if Daddy wants to play?

I already asked him. . .
Daddy's busy, too.

I HATE when you're getting ready for shows.

Well, Jimmy, since you can't think
of anything to do,
and I have so much to do,
you can help me set the table for supper!

We're having a delicious
cold supper tonight, dear.
Mother doesn't have time to cook.

Veg-All Salad with Lemon Jello
and a Tartar Sauce Garnish!
It's already in the refrigerator!

Geez . . . Janey's mom NEVER makes
them eat a cold supper because
she's busy with art shows!

I'm going to Janey's house
to see if she wants to play.

There are a lot of hungry children
in the world, Jimmy, who would be delighted
with a supper of Veg-All Salad!

Not if it had TARTAR SAUCE on it!

Call me when your
dumb ol' art show is over.

Yes, Kids, Mother is a little busy . . .
but Small Works will return
just as soon as possible,
and I'll get my stuff off the kitchen counters
in time to fix a nice hot supper
(sometime before Thanksgiving).

Until then, go out and play with your friends
or I'm going to put you all to work.


And now . . . Small Works offers a few helpful hints:

Things NOT to do when you're
getting ready for a show:

1) Let your domain expire.

Had anyone else noticed that susanmhinckley.com had become an ultra sleazy and cheap hotel site? Just happened to click on my website yesterday because I hadn't visited in some time and realized it not only was no longer full of whimsical hand-stitched goods, but it had crossed over to the dark side in an alarming way.

Been that way since mid-October, apparently. Long story of how that deadline sneaked past me, but for the sake of ease let's just call it "a severe case of the stupids."

S . . .

2) Use copious amounts of spray paint
with no respiratory protection.

And I had to have the garage closed, because this is Minnesota and although it was unseasonably warm, it was still seasonably windy! At least I have stopped coughing up black.

And the new frames look awesome! But I hope I have not actually given my life for my art.

(Note: My trigger finger is still numb from Saturday's spray marathon. Today is Wednesday. Luckily it is my right hand.)

3) Overestimate the number of things
you can possibly accomplish
in any three week period.

For one thing, I have taken on a major secret project (I said secret!) that is due right after the show, only I forgot to start on it in July like I should have (see "case of the stupids," no. 1, above).

I have not yet given up the dream, but we are quickly approaching the day when I just start crossing things off the list.

4) Get on the scale.

Even Jillian has not been able to stem the tide. And I really wanted to wear those dratted black jeans at the show (good thing we've established that girdles are BACK.)

Oh well . . . has anyone seen that bag of Almond Snickers I got on Halloween clearance? I swear they were just here . . .

5) Panic.

We've all been through this before. Thanksgiving will come, the show will zip past (blockbuster or not), the Christmas tree will get decorated (eventually), and before you know it, it'll be January. In Minnesota. And we'll be praying for a little excitement.

, the new collages are fun fun fun and totally different! I love the adventure of coming up with something completely new! (It messes with my sleep and makes me stupid in all other areas, but it is exciting nonetheless.)

And remember, things could be worse . . .

At least I don't have to give birth today.

Chelsea is 23!

(Same age I was when she was born. Ouch.)

She's our gift to Veterans everywhere (and she often had a school holiday for her birthday, so her timing was perfect). Best wishes, Bug! We salute you.


Susan, I'd like to talk to you about your third piece of cake . . .

Yes, someone had occasion to say those very
(well-intentioned) words to me over the weekend.

I'll let you imagine the circumstances in which such dialogue could occur . . . and if you imagine that I was actually eating my third piece of cake, you have a good (and accurate) imagination.

I of course replied that no one is allowed to talk to me about anything that I eat during the month of November, and December ain't lookin' promising for that conversation either.

After all, when a bank robber robs a bank he is perfectly cognizant that his actions are against the law, but that doesn't stop him. Of course I know that no responsible adult should indulge in 3 (three) pieces of cake in one 24 hour period.

But I'm happy to report that the third piece was every bit as tasty as the first and second had been earlier in the day.

Perhaps if I didn't turn to baked goods during times of stress I wouldn't have to be such good friends with my personal video trainer:

The Evil (but effective) Jillian Michaels

But on the other hand there are worse things I could be addicted to, right? (I'd also like to add, in my defense, that the cake had oatmeal in it. Oatmeal. Isn't that a mitigating circumstance?)

When I was at Target with my daughter perusing the underwear aisle last week I came upon a development that had me completely nonplussed*:

*Nonplussed, adj: usually refers to loss of orientation (ability to place oneself correctly in the world by time, location, and personal identity); at a loss, unfazed, unaffected or unimpressed.

Foundations are back.

That's right, Baby, you've come a long way

but please make sure you keep yourself laced into that hourglass shape we've all come to expect and love.

I'm not sure who is responsible for this or why women are buying into it -- but I'm dismayed by it.

On the other hand, perhaps it means I could eat all the November cake I want and with a little spandex magic, no one would think worse of me for it at the December show.

But Aunt Lillie had no use for such things, and her foundational disdain must be genetic because I definitely inherited it.

I am indebted, however, to all the underwear models who populate the pages of my vintage magazine collection. Without them, my blog stats would be . . . well . . . much saggier.

(yes, it's true -- the hits continue for one particular vintage foundation ad that seems to have inspired legions of devoted fans around the globe)

So because it's probably time for a shot of new readers (albeit creepy ones), and in honor of women who both love cake and want to look great eating it, I am going to present a few goodies I've come across since the last time I took a blog walk through vintage lingerie-ville.

These two were particularly interesting because they were in "Calling All Girls", which is what seems to be a tween/young teen magazine from the 40's (yes, I'm aware we were neither LOL-ing nor calling girls "tweens" in the 1940's) and I found it curious that they were warning girls that although they are thin NOW, they need to plan for the future when they will be less than desirable.

And did I really want my tween looking for "more uplift than a Marine's whistle?"

I love the two round "cupcake" looking things in the mural on the wall. Oh, the beautiful subtleties of the advertising arts.

Maidenform ran a whole series of "I Dreamed" ads in the early 50's and I'd like to meet the ad wizard who came up with them. I think they are positively ridiculous (not to mention ridiculously cone-like -- you may have to click on the images to get the point).

One of my best motherhood memories is the day one of my daughters told me she felt best about herself when she was wearing her swimsuit because when she was in her swimsuit it was about what she could DO, not how she LOOKED.

Ah . . . youth.

But somehow in these ads the bra is the thing that allows the women to dream big. Hmmm.

Now this one might not look like much, but I loved the line from the ad promising that this comfy contraption would
"Make Spreading Hiplines Conform to Firm Beauty."

(I must admit that at this juncture in my life, my hiplines seem to be less concerned with firmness and beauty every day. But judging from the appearance of my middle-aged peers, this seems to be a design flaw Mother Nature had a hand in.)

And all I have to say about this ad is that SOMETHING happened to this woman between the before and after photo that every girl of "slim teen size" can only dream of. That is some bra!

I was delighted to see Dr. Maya Angelou

on the news this morning, having received an award of recognition for inspiring women from Glamour magazine (although I felt it was a little ironic that a fashion magazine was behind it).

The interviewer asked her to recite a few lines from "Phenomenal Woman" and it was inspiring to hear the familiar lines coming directly from the mouth of the phenomenal poet.

Without hesitation, she said:

" . . . It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,
That's me. . . "

but I wish she'd continued --

" . . . It's in the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet . . .

. . . It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style . . .

. . . It's in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

The palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

'Cause I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,
That's me."

all of us,

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