A Texas Christmas
Here’s more than a grain of truth about some fine gifts this year.
1. Amazingly comfortable, this genuine Texas horn armchair and footstool were made in the late nineteenth century. The cushions are natural suede. $2,750.
2. Brighten up the holidays with a six-light chandelier made entirely of deer horn held together with copper rivets. $750. Paul Parson will custom-craft designs from any kind of horn.
3. Depending on your point of view, this thumbsucking doll is a little girl’s dream or an orthodontist’s nightmare. She’s hand-crafted in pastel solids or checks with small pink snaps attaching the mouth to the thumb. $12.50.
4. Tea is for Texans, and so is this old-fashioned children’s seven- piece tea set made in Austin from a last-of-its-kind mold. It comes in yellow or white with blue flowers. $20.
5. Rick Bauer is exploring Texas traditions in new “primitive” furniture, turning out various pieces—cupboards, chests, secretaries, cradles, and custom orders—in beautifully aged wood. This pie safe is made from pine with a linseed oil finish. $295.
6. Cactus candles cast a distinctively southwestern glow. They’re available in shades of green, orange, and brown. Large $2.95, small $1.25, miniature $.95.
7. No self-respecting Texan should be slicing chili peppers on anything else. This patriotic cutting board is made of sanitary, heat-resistant, stain-resistant Plexiglas. $8.
8. Tiiyázhí, or “Little Horse” in Navajo, is hand-carved, laminated, and wood-pegged by craftsman Dave Godfrey from antique timbers found in an old mining ghost town. The trimmings—saddle blanket, bed roll, mane and tail—are all of natural fibers; the ears and reins are leather. $500.
9. These weather vanes, hand-processed in a small Texas German settlement, are constructed of steel, colored by natural rust, and protected by a urethane coating. $55.
10. Treat an armadillo freak to an assortment of wooden armadillos hand-carved by the villagers of Xo Xo—or, as Santa would say, “Ho, Ho,”—Mexico. The large brightly colored ones are $6.50; the small black and white ones, $5.50.
11. Three new cookbooks compiled by charitable organizations, each an excellent collection of typically Texan cooking, will help you plan a New Year’s feast: Dallas Junior League Cookbook $10.15, The Collection $7.58, San Antonio Cookbook II $8.85.
12. Cleverly crafted pine needle and pinecone baskets are hand-woven and signed by the women of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in East Texas. Owl $80, armadillo $43, and tray $15.
13. The perfect Texas curio is a full-color rendition of the Alamo painted in “bluebonnet primitive” style on a pottery cup and plate. Cup $1.80, plate $2.80.
14. Step out in style with an official Texas Centennial walking cane. $12.50.
15. Deep in the heart of Texas, Austin potter Paulina Van Bavel Kearney makes hollow ceramic hearts in lustrous natural colors. $15 each.
16. Any history buff would like a steel engraving of the Galveston docks done around 1850, $37.50; an 1890 edition of the Austin Statesman, $15; Republic of Texas currency, $15 each; an early Texas land grant signed by Governor J. B. Hubbard, $20; two checks signed by Governor James Stephen Hogg, $5 each; Texas Civil War treasury warrants, $12.50 each; or old Texas postcards ranging from $1 to $5.
17. This revolver, made by the famous Dance gun shop in West Columbia, Texas, dates from the Civil War. One of only 15 or 16 Dance revolvers still in existence, it comes with an old tintype of a Southern gentleman wearing this very gun. $2,500.
18. Get started on a fascinating hobby: collecting Texas trade tokens of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An aluminum Dummy Line Saloon token from Austin, good for five cents in trade, is $20. A 25-cent paper trade token from the E. B. Kuchera Company in Old Dime Box is $3.50. A square aluminum token good for a dollar in merchandise from the Muldoon Mercantile Co. of Muldoon is $5. A rare turn-of-the-century brass token for crossing the Bastrop bridge is $10. Also available is an out-of-print journal of the Token and Medal Society, listing the trade tokens of Texas by town and firm. Other merchandising collectibles include trade cards given away by businesses around the turn of the century for advertising. Prices are $3 to $20. The 1907 hand-tooled leather folder, compliments of Scarbrough & Hicks of Austin, is priced at $25.
19. Official 1836-1936 Texas Centennial souvenirs include a ten-gallon hat, $15; an asbestos hot pad, $10; felt tapestry, $10; a full set of Texas commemorative stamps, $10; Texas-sized lucky penny, $10; Cavalcade of Texas souvenir program, $7.50; official souvenir guide, $10; fantastic but fragile souvenir paper umbrella, $45.
20. Black and white Oscars, the two least precocious, most imaginative dolls around, have a decided Edward Gorey look to them. Hand-crafted in wash-and-dry muslin and polyester, they can wear hand-me-down children’s size sevens and can be draped over the furniture in realistic poses. $30.
21. It’s Saturday all week long with comic character capes, sturdily made of wash-and-wear poplin. $4.95.
22. Now every kid can put together his own pteranodon, based on the “big bird” fossil found in Big Bend and reconstructed at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. Soft sculpture kit $8, already stitched and stuffed $35.
23. “The Story of Texas” coloring book traces the history of the state from the first Indians to the twentieth century. The text and drawings, by Martha Ingerson and Betsy Warren, are both imaginative and accurate. $3.15 each; orders of 12 or more, $1.80 each.
24. See what Galveston looked like before the flood with a map dating from about 1879, when Galveston’s Strand was “the Wall Street of Texas.” $85.