Sunday, January 31, 2010

Advice Fail

Squint Shot 013110

After my imagination settled down from yesterday's squint shot, I descended the steps to the showroom on the first floor of The Decorating Center . . . but that was after one more squint shot. At one time, this was a door or a very large window, at ground level, out the back of the building. As with so many of the windows and doors upstairs, this one was also boarded up.Over the next few days, there will be a few more indoor shots of The Decorating Center taken a couple of months ago. With Ron Daly's announcing at the end of 2009 that he would be closing the store after 28 years in business, I feel very fortunate I was able to get pictures of his showroom as well as the outside of the building. Check back for a few more squint shots of his store, then we will be onto a new subject for my zoom camera.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Squint Shot 013010

As I moved around the upstairs of The Decorating Center, the old Bell Opera House, I headed in the direction of the common wall to Olden Days Cafe. There are remnants of a worn-down, but sturdy stage where the imagination begins to run wild of what may have been performed at one time. Plays, musical concerts, oratories, debates . . . celebrations, balls . . . the list could go on. Above the stage, a series of hooks, as shown in this picture, run the length of the front of the stage. Did these hooks hold a curtain? Was scenery somehow attached?The wood in which these hooks are solidly secured is worn smooth and stained with age. As I ponder what the Bell Opera House may have been like, I would love to hear from anyone checking out these squint shots to give their thoughts. It may be something told down through the ages, maybe pictures, whatever can be offered up would be valuable to pass along.

Snack-urday 151

Every Saturday, I like to offer up an interesting and yummy desert, either here on the site or a link to another site. Today's post is a link to Mrs. Humble Pie for a twist on fried mozzarella sticks. Hurry, go, check out these luscious looking snacks, and then make them. You will be amazed!

Not So Humble Crispy Mozzarella Sticks:

1 large block mozzarella
1 package egg roll wrappers
1-2 cups marinara (optional)
oil for frying

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2 thick sticks (length will depend on the size of your egg roll wrappers). Place the mozzarella onto a wonton wrapper and add two tablespoons marinara (if using) and fold in the sides and then roll up. Secure with a dab of water to hold the wrapper closed. Repeat with the remaining cheese. In a frying pan, heat a half inch of oil over medium/medium-high heat. Fry the sticks for roughly a minute on each side until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Squint Shot 012910

On the east wall of the old Bell Opera House, upstairs from The Decorating Center (soon to be the location for Maria's Dance School), this window, or at one time it may have been a door, shows some of the brickwork that is matched on the outside. This building has a few "doorways to nowhere" that can be seen from the outside, and this just might be one of them.
Over the course of a year, I have photographed the outside walls of this building as well as Harmon's and the old Ruth's Resale building, finding numerous doorways that have been bricked in and what I like to call "doorways to nowhere." If you check back through the squint shots, you will come across quite a few.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Squint Shot 012810

Now this is a mystery to me. I shot this picture in the old Bell Opera House. This mysterious hole, maybe for a stove pipe at one time, is up close to the ceiling on an east wall, and is now closed off. If anyone has some thoughts on this, please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Squint Shot 012710

Here is another shot in the old Bell Opera House, upstairs from The Decorating Center. Was this some original wallpaper, dating back to the early 1900s? Or has someone used this room since that time?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Squint Shot 012610

This is a stepped-back picture of yesterday's wallpaper squint shot. A combination of wood-panelled walls and ceiling meet wallpaper -- -- interesting combination in the second floor storage room of The Decorating Center.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Squint Shot 012510

A number of the walls in the second floor of The Decorating Center building have layers of wallpaper showing, most of it stained and peeling. It would have been gorgeous at one time, but unfortunately age has eaten away its beauty.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Are we about due for a January thaw?

Squint Shot 012410

Wood lath can be seen behind plaster and drywall -- original walls when the opera house was being used? Richard Hutchins did a great deal of research and wrote a book on the Bell Opera House. The Fowlerville Library could direct you toward that book if you are interested in learning more about this historic building.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Squint Shot 012310

The squint shots are still upstairs of The Decorating Center in what is now used as storage, but at one time it was the location of the Bell Opera House. This cantilevered window is above one of the many doors found when wandering from room to room.

Snack-urday 150

Instead of a recipe today, here is a bit of food trivia . . .

In 1856, Gail Borden received a United States and British patent for condensed milk. At that time, milk did not last for more than a few days before spoiling. By using a vacuum to remove the water from cow's milk and then adding sugar, Borden was able to create a product that had a shelf life of years. Under the "Eagle Brand" name, condensed milk achieved great popularity during and after the American Civil War. Borden wore many hats throughout his life; as owner of a newspaper in Texas in 1836, he is credited with penning the headline, "Remember the Alamo!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Squint Shot 012210

This squint shot is a bit of a repeat of yesterday's shot, except for the fact I took a couple steps backs and took the picture. This is now a sealed door to nowhere. Makes me wonder where it went to when the opera house was in active use.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Squint Shot 012110

Yesterday's squint shot showed a door with painted framework. Of interest were the corners at the tops of the frame. This close-up shot shows a different doorway of a similar square with circles carved in the center. Could the wallpaper shown have been part of the Bell Opera House, in all of its glory?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Squint Shot 012010

In the old opera house, a doorway can be found with a window above. At one time it may have been a cantilevered window but now it appears to be a solid pane. The wood is painted a dark steel grey. The corners have what appears to be a very common square with a circle carved in the center. These squares can still be found in many of the old storefronts in Fowlerville.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Squint Shot 011910

If walls could talk . . . the wooden ceiling of the old opera house might just have a lot to say. This ceiling is on the second floor of The Decorating Center and is patterned with age, old paint, and shadows.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Squint Shot 011810

For the next few days, the squint shots will show the inside of the old Bell Opera House. It was located on the second floor of the building at the northeast quadrant. Gormley & Johnson are at the very corner, with The Decorating Center having entrances at Grand River Avenue and North Grand. This shot shows the building above the North Grand entrance. The original entrance of the Bell Opera House was off of North Grand, with the stairway most probably between the two bumped-out brick columns. But that was long ago and the stairway entrance no longer exists. The only access is a staircase located at the back of The Decorating Center showroom. So, check back tomorrow and we'll mount these stairs and discover what is left upstairs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Red?

Have you ever wondered why red is the popular color for barns? Well, from one of my favorite trivia sites . . .

In the 1800s, the most popular color for barns in the United States was red. The tradition began in Europe and migrated with European farmers to America. Farmers painted their barns red because red paint was easy and inexpensive to make, dried quickly, and protected the wood. By combining milk, linseed, oil, lime, and ferrous oxide or rust, farmers were able to create a paint that hid dirt well and protected the wood by killing fungus, mold, and moss. The tradition continued after commercial paints became readily available because red paint was inexpensive to manufacture. White paint, also inexpensive to make, is another popular color for barns.

Squint Shot 011710

One more angle of the Wedding Chapel tower . . . the architecture is as interesting on the outside as all of the previous indoor squint shots (starting January 2). Check them out!

Tomorrow, a new series of squint shots will begin showing the second floor of The Decorating Center. The Decorating Center, as we know it, will be closed as of the first of April. Plans are already being made by the owners of Maria's Dance to move into this storefront, giving their students easier access to class and a safer way for parents to pick them up at the end of their sessions.

Ron Daly, owner of The Decorating Center, has future plans in place. In the near future, I will be sitting down with him and discussing some of his past successes with the store and where he is heading next.

But, before changes are made to 112 North Grand River, take a look at the upcoming squint shots.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Snack-urday 149

Time to warm up during this cold weather month. With soup.

Nacho Corn Chowder


1 1/2 cups frozen hash browns (not shredded)
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 (4-oz) can green chilies, drained
1 can (14-oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth (not condensed)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups (low-fat) milk, divided
1 8-oz package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups nacho-flavored corn chips, coarsely crushed

In a medium saucepan, combine the frozen potatoes, frozen sweet corn, chilies, chicken broth, spices and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. While vegetable mixture is heating, combine flour and 1 cup of the milk in a shaker jar or plastic container with cover. Shake vigorously until no lumps of flour remain. When the vegetable mixture comes to a boil, stir in the flour mixture, the rest of the milk, and the chilies. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is slightly thickened and the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Add the cheese; stir until melted. Serve hot. Garnish each serving with corn chips.

Squint Shot 011610

Look straight up while standing on the corner of South Second Street and Church Street and this is the towering corner of the Wedding Chapel overhead. The small window was shown in earlier squint shots, with the sun shining through.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Squint Shot 011510

As I stood on Church Street and looked up, the back of the cross at the front of the church caught my eye. This Wedding Chapel, formerly St. Agnes Catholic Church, built in 1909, has something interesting in every direction, each nook and cranny.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Squint Shot 011410

As I wandered toward the front of the Wedding Chapel from the back door, this small window caught my eye. The stained glass is protected by additional glass on the outside.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Squint Shot 011310

This squint shot was taken at the back of the Wedding Chapel on a bright, sunny day about a month ago. I continue to be intrigued with the beautiful brickwork down around the windows of buildings dated back 100 years ago. I might just have to start checking out newer buildings to see the progression of brickwork.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Squint Shot 011210

One more indoor squint shot before heading outdoors for pictures of the Wedding Chapel's exterior. This chandelier hangs in the sanctuary, a throwback to the many ornate light fixtures of the early 1900s.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Squint Shot 011110

Woodwork inside churches is sometimes the most elaborate, showy workmanship around -- especially in the older churches. Above the altar inside the Wedding chapel, curved wood, crosses, and swirls can be found. All polished to warm, soft, inviting smoothiness.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cookie Batter Puppy

Squint Shot 011010

Yesterday's squint shot showed woodwork around and part of a door. The pews are today's focus for their show of exquisite woodwork. The Wedding Chapel is a real treasure here in Fowlerville.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snack-urday 148

Time for more cookies, even if you have made all those wonderful resolutions for the new year. Go ahead, enjoy a couple bites . . .


4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 pound butter (you have to use butter)

Knead together and spread into jelly roll pan. Prick all over with fork tines. Bake 300ยบ for one hour until golden all over.

These may be iced with colored icing. Cut into squares or triangle wedges.

Squint Shot 010910

Woodwork in older building, such as the Wedding Chapel, is always interesting to check out. The carpentry involved must have taken a lot of time and patience.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Squint Shot 010810

The Wedding Chapel has some colorful stained glass windows preserved for anyone stepping inside the sanctuary. The play of lights on the floor can be amazing when the sun is shining.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Squint Shot 010710

Yesterday's squint shot showed this same window from another angle. Surprising how changing position brings more light into the little room off the sanctuary of the Wedding Chapel on the corners of South Second and Collins streets. Since January 2, a number of interesting pictures have been taken of the chapel -- check them out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Squint Shot 010610

In a small room off to the southwest corner of the Wedding Chapel, the sun shines through a small window to illuminate the entire room. There are wonderful nooks and crannies to check out in old buildings and this church has quite a few.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Squint Shot 010510

Still inside the Wedding Chapel at South Second and Collins streets, this beautiful stained-glass window emulates the organ pipes on the opposite wall.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Squint Shot 010410

My zoom lens catches details such as this gold-painting on the pillars inside the chapel . . . something I had never noticed before. Makes one wonder how much a bride or groom might notice once they step into the Wedding Chapel.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ills of Drinking

A professor of chemistry wanted to teach his 5th grade class a lesson about the evils of liquor, so he produced an experiment that involved a glass of water, a glass of whiskey, and two worms.

"Now, class. Observe closely the worms," said the professor first putting a worm into the water.

The worm in the water writhed about, happy as a worm in water could be. The second worm, he put into the whiskey. It writhed painfully, and it quickly sank to the bottom, dead as a doornail.

"Now, what lesson can we derive from this experiment?" the professor asked.

Little Johnny raised his hand and wisely responded, "Drink whiskey and you won't get worms!"

Squint Shot 010310

Hand-painted wainscotting surrounds the chapel at the old St. Agnes Catholic Church on Second Street. Quite a few years back, St. Agnes members sold this building to a Dr. Summer, a Brighton orthodontist, who eventually redecorated the church and used a portion as his living quarters.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snack-urday 147

Okay, you've done all sorts of celebrating and eating . . . and now you have loads of leftovers. Including leftover mashed potatoes, maybe? Well, here's a delicious way to use them for tomorrow's Sunday brunch. This recipe came from Cooks.


1 egg

2 c. leftover mashed potatoes
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. seasoned salt

Beat egg slightly. Stir potatoes and egg together. Melt butter in heavy skillet until hot, but not smoking. For each pancake, drop tablespoon of batter into hot skillet. Sprinkle with seasoning. Turn when brown and firm. Serves 4.

Squint Shot 010210

A guardian angel stands over the chapel room in the Wedding Chapel. This sanctuary is more than just a place for weddings. It has been used for concerts and meetings, even a gathering spot for Dashing Through the Snow -- Fowlerville's 5k Walk/Run held in December during the Christmas in the Ville celebrations.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Squint Shot 010110

For the next few months, maybe longer, most of my squint shots will be of inside various buildings around town. Of course, a picture or two will finally show a few shots outside. Today and then for the next few days, pictures will show parts of the Wedding Chapel on South Second Street. The building is owned by Karen Ryan.