Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

“S” is for Scavenger Hunt!”


Easter was a big holiday for our grandchildren this year. It didn’t look like that was going to happen the week before however.  One of their grandparents became very ill and had to be hospitalized. Thank heavens he recovered  Even the kids were sick the week before, viruses sent their fevers to 103 degrees, you can tell in little Evie’s eyes above that she wasn’t feeling well even though she was enjoying her big pink ears and furry bunny!  The bigger kids were sick also, but an Easter delivery made them suddenly much better! Thank heavens they were well by the weekend and could enjoy the awesome scavenger hunt prepared by their loving Aunt Annie, as well as the Easter egg hunt and games in the neighborhood.
I think the scavenger hunt designed by their Aunt Annie, my daughter, was incredible, and I had nothing to do with its creation! I am writing a children’s book about it however.  The hunt was fairly short and simple, befitting of the players who were ages 7, 3, and 15 months.  Part of what I thought was so amazing was that Annie  not only planned a hunt to involve all three children, each at their own skill level, but made it so that they had to take turns, help each other, and all be involved–a herculean feat for that age in my opinion! The goal of the scavenger hunt was to find Easter baskets made for the grandchildren by their Aunt and Grandparents.


Liam 7, Katy 3, and Evie 15 months were so excited!  Aunt Annie told them they would find a big surprise if they followed the clues of this scavenger hunt!  They had to follow exactly, to find the treasure! Aunt Annie gave everyone else in the room a colored plastic egg to hold, all different colors. She put pieces of colored paper down on the floor, each matching an egg. Then …
“Happy Easter everybody! We’re having a scavenger hunt so that Liam, Katy, and Evie (the only children present) can find a treasure!
First we need Evie to pick up a piece of paper and bring it to Aunt Annie. Can you do that Evie? Go ahead, pick up one of those pieces of paper and give it to me? That’s right, good job!” Evie picked up a purple piece of paper and toddled right over to Aunt Annie!
Aunt Annie then announced:  “OK Evie!  Now Katy and Liam, you have to get the matching colored egg from one of the other family members in the room! What color egg matches this paper? Their silly Granddaddy yelled out “Blue”! But the kids didn’t fall for it! “Purple” yelled Katy, and she and Liam both ran to their Grandmother whom they called GiGi, to get the purple egg! Liam got there first and opened the purple egg, inside was a clue for Katy! (all the eggs held identical clues so it didn’t matter what color Evie chose, that was just her task.)
Annie had planned for the next clue to involve Katy, youngest to oldest! Liam read the clue to Katy, and was so excited, he could hardly keep from giving her the answer!  The clue read:  “Next to a popsicle, which is really quite silly, Is your next clue, in a place dark and chilly.”
You could see Katy thinking, then she took off running to the kitchen, where the freezer is on the bottom half of the refrigerator, and she had helped get popsicles from before! She was thrilled to find another egg, with another clue!  This time she opened it, but her brother Liam read the clue–which was for him!
Oh my gracious, this clue was tricky, and had two different problems to solve to find the next clue! On the piece of paper Liam held in his hand, was a picture of some bunnies hiding in the grass, and you could only see their ears! The clue read: “Look at the bunnies trying to hide! Count their ears to see how many bunnies there are. (There were six bunny ears, so there were only three bunnies! Liam figured it out!)  Now count back to the car of the train that matches the number of bunnies, and you will find a clue!”  Liam rushed over to the train, “Oh, I know, I know…one, two , three…YES!” There was another brightly colored plastic egg with another clue!

Easter 2015, Scavenger Hunt

This clue was for Katy! Inside the egg were four pieces of paper, each had a letter and part of a picture. The clue read, “Spell your name with these letters to see what to find with your next clue.” Aunt Annie asked Katy, “What’s that letter Katy? and that one? Yes! Can you spell your name with them?” Katy knew just what to do, and put KATY together very quickly!  The pieces of paper came together as Katy spelled her name, to reveal the picture of a toy school bus. Liam got so excited when he recognized the toy, and he and Katy both rushed back to the toy shelf at the end of the hall! Sitting on top of the “Little People” school bus was another egg with another exciting clue!
Easter 2015, scavenger hunt clue
“For Liam” this clue said. “Something white like you sit on all day. Sometimes you may even lay,  I’m where you watch TV, your next clue is behind me!” Liam thought and thought, and looked around the room, very unsure. He slowly pointed towards the white sofa with a questioning look on his face. Aunt Annie said, “If you think that might be it, go take a look behind it.” Liam rushed right over and looked between the couch and the wall–surely enough, he pulled up a plastic bag of Easter eggs with a clue taped to the bag.
The clue read: “You’re almost there!  Now you BOTH have to help! Katy find four yellow eggs and open them up.”  Katy dumped all the eggs out onto the floor, selecting the four yellow eggs right away!  The kids opened the eggs and found pieces of paper inside with a single word on each piece.   “Now Liam…arrange the words to make a sentence you can read.”  Liam worked to put the words in a sentence that made sense to him.  He soon had the sentence “GiGi” “hangs” “clothes”  “here” spelled out in front of him.


In  response to their perplexed looks, their Mom said, “Think about it, where does GiGi hang up her clothes?” Liam said, “Oh I know!” and took off running with Katy right behind! They went into their grandparents’ bedroom and looked around.  First, Liam went to his Granddaddy’s closet, there were none of GiGi’s clothes there!  Then Katy looked into the matching storage closet right beside it, but they could see no treasure there, or any of GiGi’s clothes.  Hmm…again, they looked around the room, finally noticing the door to the walk-in closet! They seemed to rush towards it at the same time! When they opened the door, there were three baskets of gifts for the kids!  “Ah cool!” you could hear Liam say, as he discovered a flying dragon made by Granddaddy in his basket! Katy ran from the room, carrying her basket to show Mom and Dad–pink dinosaur in tow! By now little Evie had joined the excitement, tossing Easter grass everywhere! and immediately putting the dinosaur made just for her by Granddaddy, into her mouth!
What a wonderful day, the whole family seemed to bask in the children’s excitement!

© April 22, 2015

This gallery contains 3 photos

“L” is for Liam, 7- Year- Old Grandson Has His Own Blog!




I have been blogging for a couple years now, mostly genealogical in nature. A couple weeks ago, my 7 year old, first grader, grandson Liam and his class at school started blogging! I was very surprised, and thrilled! Another writer in the family! Of couse, don’t tell him that, he’ll tell you quickly he’s going to be a State Park Ranger like his Papa!

Liam is the son of  my daughter Ali and her husband Greg Orcutt.  Liam is a nickname, named for his Great-Grandfather William Donald Brown, and his Great- Uncle  William Donald Brown II, called Bill (Greg’s mother–Kaysie Brown’s father and brother). So three in a row we have William, Bill, now Liam, all from the same name! I think that is very cool! A wonderful tribute to beloved family members as well.

Liam does so many wonderful and fun things, as you can see from above, but today, I wanted to share his blog with you. It is on a site for his school, not available to the general public. However, he was kind enough to let me repost his blog posts!

Liam concentrating so hard, has his little tongue out, just like his momma used to do when she was little! LOL   Liam’s Blog               

March 30, 2015  9:52am

Thursday night, me and my sister got new shoes. I thought mine were best!


March 30, 2015, 4:05 pm

“My Base” 

 I built a new base on “Disney Infinity.”  It has a hiding place.  I made a world for it myself.  


 April 7, 2015, 4:50pm

Walt Disney World

 My family is going to Disney World. We are so, so , SO excited.  I ‘m really excited to go to Star Tours and Animal Kingdom.  





This gallery contains 14 photos

K is for Katy! My 3 Year-Old Granddaughter




Katy at 3rd birthday party. Collage by her father's sister, her Aunt Amy Orcutt Pickering.

Katy turned 3 on January 21, 2015,  Princess cupcake cake made by Aunt Annie Holshouser was a hit!


Kathryn Marie Orcutt, called Katy, my precious granddaughter, lights up our lives with her sweetness and joy. She is the daughter of Gregory Orcutt and Alexandra Kathryn Orcutt, my daughter. 

When she is sitting calmly by herself –sometimes, you can hear her singing her current favorite song–“Everything is Awesome!”


Katy climbing where she should not go

“Look at me! First I pulled all the videos off the shelf, then I climbed right up and leaned, fell, jumped over to the back of the chair! Now, how am I going to get down?! Help, Mommy! “

Katy is a daredevil too, however, so she keeps us  on the edge of our seats! She loves to climb and nothing is too daunting for her!  She once tried to climb  the long chain hanging  down from a stained glass lamp and pulled the treasured lamp, made by her Granddaddy, right out of the ceiling! Thank heavens, she wasn’t hurt, nor was the lamp, miraculously!


Katy the flower girl at Amy Orcutt's wedding, Oct. 11, 2014

Graceful flower girl in her Aunt Amy Orcutt Pickering’s wedding.


Katy is named after several beloved family members– first and foremost, her mother Ali, Alexandra Kathryn Holshouser Orcutt. We also have my beloved cousin Kathryn Youngblood Fuller, and my mother’s sister Katherine named after her mother–my maternal grandmother Katherine Steptoe Houchins Kearse/Kerse (called Kate) . These are some of the treasured family members her parents were thinking of when they named her Katy.

 Her middle name Marie, is just as, or even more prevalent in our family.  Max Holshouser, my husband, Ali’s father, Katy’s  granddaddy–his mother was Helen Marie Wagner Holshouser.  Helen Marie named her daughter Brenda Marie, Max’s sister. Brenda named one of her three daughters Patrice Marie, Patrice had Amanda Marie, who has Paisley Marie! That’s five generations of Marie’s in Ali’s father’s family!

I also had an Aunt Helen Marie Youngblood Webb, who had a daughter Grace Marie Webb Wingo , and a granddaughter through her son Philip named  Maria Webb.  In the South, we love family legacies, and family names, it makes genealogy harder, but it is a loving tribute.

Katy with wings and sophia gown cropped

Katy pretends she can fly as she jumps off the sofa, fairy wings held high!

Katy was a premature baby like both of her siblings. She was  6 weeks   early, and had to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for  about three weeks.  That was an extremely stressful time!  Every developmental milestone she reaches, counting, recognizing letters, talking– is duly noted by her mom, and her psychologist grandmother!  We are very aware of the concerns–possible leaning difficulties. So far she is meeting or exceeding every developmental milestone, counts and knows all her letters, and even laughs at her grandmother’s jokes! 

Katy’s current favorite joke is this one which sends her off into peals of laughter!

Knock Knock                
Who’s there
Banana                                   20140801_150129
Banana who…
Knock Knock
Who’s there
Banana who…
Knock Knock
Who’s there
Banana who…
(This bit can go on for some time!!)
Knock Knock
Who’s there
Orange who…
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana again!!

She even likes to tell it herself, dress herself, walk by herself, eat by herself, and just do everything–“by myself!” Miss Independent! I love it and her.  (Sorry if it doesn’t show, LOL)  I’d love to hear about the special kids in your own life! Thanks for sharing  with me. Helen

This gallery contains 11 photos

“C” is for Cake–Created by Father and Daughter



Red Velvet cheesecake

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, smell the aroma of hot baking chocolate, as the red velvet pound cake is brought out of the oven….mmmmmm. Now, in your mind’s eye, see and smell the moist, warm, delicious, velvety pound cake  as you cut into it and the steam rises! The white chocolate icing poured over it a minute ago just adds to the anticipation as it slowly slides down the sides. Now open your eyes, and take a bite of that heavenly tasting cake served to you by ….oh my gracious…it’s my daughter Annie! She has become a Pastry Chef!

My husband Max is also quite a good baker, and enjoys it. He learned from his mother, and Max has made decorated cakes for our children and grandchildren for the last 43 years. It should not have surprised me that one of our daughters would take after the two of them. Our daughter Annie  went to Appalachian State University here in North Carolina where she earned a degree in business management and hospitality.  Last year she went back to school, surprising us by deciding she wanted a certificate as a pastry chef! I guess we were so used to Max being the baker in our family, we hadn’t yet realized the student might surpass the teacher, or at least team-up with him! Along the way, she learned a lot of other skills, like working with knives (yikes), sanitation and safety, artisan bread making (yum), and cake baking and decorating!  I remember when she began to make fondant flowers–oh my gracious, I had no idea she had such artistic, sculpting ability inside! (parents are always the last to know, the last to believe the talents of their own children–because they are CHILDREN–even at 30!) LOL  Today I want to show you some of her and some of Max’s incredible baking creations–from wedding cakes to gingerbread houses, they are both  gold medal winners!

Here’s wishing that you always get to eat incredible, mouth-watering, moist and delicious cake!

Annie’s cakes and creations:


Max’s cakes, a few:


This gallery contains 11 photos

A is for Ali and Annie, My Daughters


A to Z Blog Challenge

-from 10 Minute Novelists, Katherine Grubb

Last year I joined the 52 Ancestor Blog Posts in 52 Weeks genealogical blogging challenge and enjoyed it tremendously. Today I received a challenge to join a month-long blogging challenge to write and publish everyday! Besides that, we have to follow the alphabet! I have hemmed and hawed all day, so why at 11:15pm my time, have I decided to join the challenge and therefore am sprinting to write my first post for this group!  Oh my gracious, we shall see what we shall see! 

Ali and Annie at Josh Grobin concert, August, 204

A is for Ali and Annie, my two adult daughters whom I love with all my heart and soul.  Ali is married with three young children, my adorable grandchildren, and Annie is single and a talented retail manager, who is looking to change paths. Both of my daughters were gifted students, are gifted adults, which brings its own challenges. They both are especially talented musicians as well, both play instruments (saxophone, violin, piano, drums, belles, xylophone, marimba)  and sing beautifully, if I do say so myself. Most importantly perhaps, they are both good people, kind and caring–they make my heart sing.
I did not set out to name both daughters an “A” name, like so many parents choose to do. My husband’s name is Max Alexander Holshouser, and when I was pregnant, way before parents discovered the sex of their child before birth, we decided to name our first child Alexandra if a girl, or Alexander if a boy, and so we did.  Alexandra Kathryn, Ali became her nickname.  She was named for her Dad, a grandmother, and cousin!
Annie on the other hand, is named, Margaret Anne–Margaret for my  mother, and Anne for my sister. For two years we called her Margaret Anne. Then we realized she’d never be able to learn to write it by age 5!  So we called her Maggie. Maggie she stayed until age 14. At her age 14 we moved to a different town for my job. She was entering high school, and decided she wanted to be called Annie! I was very surprised, but she was serious! She was insistent that we remember!  I remember introducing her to our new minister, saying  Rev. __, this is my daughter Annie (very carefully), then turning to her and saying, “Maggie, this is Rev. ___.”  He looked at me like….what…is she Maggie or Annie, what’s going on here? LOL It took me about 2 years to learn to call her Annie, to think of her as Annie. Now we have moved back to our original town where she was born. We can tell our old friends from our new, by the way they address her. Our friends from long ago call her Maggie, and our friends from her high school years on, call her Annie–its kind of fun!
I feel so very blessed by these daughters in my life, so loving, so thoughtful. There is so much more I could tell, but this day will be over in 10 minutes, and I must post this. Feel free to fill me in on important “A” facts in your life! I’d love to hear, Helen

This gallery contains 2 photos

Max A. Holshouser, Designer and Builder of Decks, Stone Patios, and Other Projects Large and Small, Part 3 of 3


I have been showcasing my husband Max Holshouser’s talents for the last two installments of this well deserved tribute! Max is a quiet man who would never tout  his own horn. Therefore it is easy to overlook what an amazing talent he is! Having been married to him 43 years, and having this forum to write about ancestors, and ancestors to be, gave me the idea to record some of Max’s accomplishments for his own descendants, and current friends and family as well! He is a doer, he quietly goes about honing his crafts and artistry. 

One of the many incredible things I’ve seen Max do is make a cross for children to put flowers on to celebrate Easter. When my sister Anne Prince retired, after teaching 4th grade for 33 years at Saint Christopher’s, a private boys’ Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia,  she wanted to leave a special gift for the lower school.  She commissioned Max to make a cross that the children could “flower”. I had never seen such a cross! It had many holes drilled into  it so that the children could place the stems of their flowers in the cross. There were enough holes for all the children ages 5 to 12  to reach and use. After flowering the cross,  in a chapel service, it is rolled out to the entrance  of the school for display.   The service was one very meaningful to the whole school! The cross opened so that it could be cleaned and cared for.  A small plaque explains that it is a gift from Anne Prince, what a treasure! 

Max made this cross to flower for Easter for Anne Prince.


The items Max has made are too numerous to feature all of them! However, this cradle that he made for his daughters to sleep in as infants, has held all of his grandchildren as well, and is truly special. Max designed it to function turned upside down as a cofee table, so that it is always in use!  Next to the cradle can be seen a very unique piece of furniture Max designed.  It is a porch table that we painted all one color, but it was made up of six triangle tables that fit together to make one big table, yet could be separated and used as individual tables!  We have used it for a long time, often in pieces scattered about as needed. Then there is the lovely shelf he made for Ali  our pianist and percussionist, with music notes cut into the side! Annie chose a LOVE shelf like the one featured in the first part of this series and it hangs in her home today. Liam is thrilled with his large name that hangs on the wall in his room, and the hockey stick that functions as a coat rack for him. The mantle is another extra effort that Max decided was needed so he designed and built one just for us. Beside the mantle you can see shelves covering one whole wall of the living room that Max made, using heart pine supports to match the heart pine mantle. 

Cradle made for Ali by Max in 1974, still in use  40 years later for grandchildren. Ali likes it. Mattress made by Brenda H. Goodman, Max's sister.DSCF9977 Max made, music shelf for Ali Liam sign made by Max for Liam Mantle Max is making for home in Youngsville DSCF7824DSCF0139


Before we could possibly finish a round up of the “projects by Max” exploration, we have to look at some of his large construction projects! Thankfully for the family, there have been many over the years, all of which have added pleasure, enjoyment, and beauty to our lives! Just look at this incredible craftsmanship!  

In 1974, we moved from an old Victorian to a small row house in Chesterfield County outside of Richmond, Virginia. We did that because we thought the county schools were better than the city schools and had a child getting ready to start school, Ali was 2! (planning ahead!). We chose a very modern redwood house, so different from the lovely old Victorian we had lived in for several years. There was no deck, nothing in fact, on the back of the house we had built.  Max set about to remedy that immediately, designing and building the incredible deck pictured below! Notice the detail if you will, I loved that deck! He made parquet floors, benches with backs, flower pots on the corners, and gracious steps leading down into the yard! We had many parties and family gatherings on that deck! Max’s attention to detail always amazes me! That’s Ali, age 2 sitting on the steps of the deck. 

DSCF0040 Deck on Watchsprings Ct. Deck with Ali on steps at Watch Springs Ct.


After moving to Raleigh, NC in 1980, cheering for the Wolfpack at NC State University and engaging in all of the volunteer work that a growing family gets involved in, we found ourselves at a crossroads for many reasons. In 1995, I got a new job in New Bern, North Carolina and we decided to move the family to the coast. We bought a house in the town of  Havelock, North Carolina as the mental health agency, where I was a psychotherapist, served 5 counties surrounding that area.  In Havelock, Annie started highschool and  Max took a job designing multi-million dollar bottle filling machines for a company called Aylward. At home, he decided to turn his skills from building us a custom-made breakfast nook table, to constructing from scratch, a stick-built shed. He constructed it pretty much all on his own, after designing it of course. He put in a ramp so that he could easily store the ride- on lawn mower! It’s fun to look back and see it come together in pictures! 

Home on Deerwoods Trail, havelock, NC, 1996-2000 Home in Havelock, NC DSCF0068 DSCF0072 DSCF0076 DSCF0082 DSCF0089 DSCF0092


The last of this chapter/tribute to Max’s artisanship, I want to show you where we live now in 2014, and have for the last ten years. We downsized from Havelock, 2350 sq. ft. to 1250 sq. ft! I had become sick with severe and chronic heart disease, and the kids were off -married for Ali and college for Annie, so it didn’t seem we needed much. We needed a one level house for me, back near Raleigh and the hospitals and medical centers where I was spending a lot of time those days.   Max had actually had to have open heart surgery as well, but he had his aortic valve fixed, whereas I was inoperable. So after recovery, Max was back in the game! Teaching at Wakefield High School nearby, Max found this house for us and we fell in love with our neighborhood and diverse neighbors! And I lived! The docs said maybe only five to eight years, max, but its been 15 years, and the blessings continue! Max and my daughters, friends and family who love and support us are a large reason I am still here and thriving! I had gotten so weak, I had to use a wheelchair to go far. But I used my wheelchair like a four-wheeler, running from front yard to back, and sliding out to garden, crawling back in to move again!  Max deserved a medal for helping me succeed! Among other things, he built a deck and ramp in the back yard that was artistic as well as functional! It served as a privacy fence surrounding our patio, so that we could have intimate alfresco dinners with friends!  We have loved it! I watched as Max built a small deck and bench onto the existing screened porch, then gaped as he actually soaked the wood, and curved it, to make a beautifully curved, gently descending ramp! At the bottom of the ramp, Max designed a circular patio that his lifelong friend, Tommy Wagoner, son of a stone mason and a stone artisan himself,  taught him how to build, and indeed, built it right along with him! Friends, now that is one golden one! They built borders, measured and scraped, poured gravel, leveled, laid cement, leveled, laid stone, leveled, so forth and so on…you can see the stunning result! They worked so very hard, and we have enjoyed the beauty for years now! Just last week,  Tommy and his wife Mary came to visit, and very soon Tommy could be seen walking intently around the patio, checking for cracking and upkeep! LOL  We’re being careful of your baby Tommy, Max respects the hard work as well as the joy! 

DSCF9982 DSCF9984 DSCF9986 DSCF9991 DSCF9995 DSCF0001 DSCF0005 DSCF0012 DSCF0009 DSCF0012 DSCF0018 DSCF0024 DSCF0038 DSCF0058 patio garden blooming with daylilies Patio with flowers, file pic front garden with tall liles front garden with iris 2




This gallery contains 40 photos

Max A. Holshouser, Part 2 of 3, Toys, Baking, and String Art!


In the last post, I told you about my husband Max’s love of woodworking and working with stained glass. I want to continue by sharing with you some of the many toys he’s made over the years, some of the special baking he’s done, and his string art! I told you he is a man of many talents, and I wanted to be sure his grandchildren and all his descendants know what a talented man their ancestor Max was! In the next and last part of this tribute I am writing for my husband’s 65th birthday, I want to show you some of his bigger projects, like decks and stone patios! I wish I had one tenth the talent Max Holshouser has! I was smart enough to recognize genius when I saw it, and have always been happy I married this man! 

Let’s talk about toys! Max loves to make toys! His children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews have been the happy recipients of some of his talents. One of the first amazing things I remember his making was a fire engine! Not just any fire engine, but one that was like four feet long, with a rope that wound up, to be the hose, and extending and swiveling ladders! His nephews were the proud recipients of this amazing toy! Made about 1978, it is still being played with by his great-nephew today in 2014! In this picture, our daughter Ali, now grown, is showing off our gift to her cousins!  



Toys by Max, fire engine with ladders exended, plane and Ali!


And how about this six-foot long train? Made about the same time, it has always been stationed at our house for the many children who pass through to enjoy! And they have– both our children and grandchildren have played with it repeatedly! The logs in the log car, have been used for swords, for counting, and a million other things over the years! The train carries reindeer at Christmas time, but has carried army men, Barbie dolls, and a million other things over the years! Notice in one picture below, that our cat Pandora even liked the train! 

Toys by Max, train DSCF9873


This summer of 2014, brought one of Max’s greatest creations so far! He made a Noah’s Ark for his grandchildren, Liam 6, Katy 2, and Evie 8 months. He made pairs of animals and a ramp to go up onto the massive ark! Waiting to welcome the animals are Noah and his wife! The kids love it! 


Toys by Max, Noalh's Ark for Liam and Katy and EvieToys by Max, Liam and Katy play with ark

Max made several of these planes, he loved them himself,  but gave others to friends and family. The puzzles are so delightful and so much fun, we have enjoyed them with the kids and grandkids for years!  Besides the animals, bunny, squirrel, turtle and others, I love the  partridge in the pear tree! Can you tell that hanging up are some trivets? They are so cool, I love them! Then you can see the turtle with the secret drawer in its box! And last but way not least, you can see how much our baby Ali enjoyed the rocking duckie her Dad built for her! There were others,–too many to show, marionettes, and bean bag toss games for home and school! This Santa’s helper  was almost always in his workshop out in our garage! 

Toys by max, plane from front Toys by Max , plane from back Toys by Max, Puzzles , puzzles Toys by max, A partridge in a  pare tree Trivets by MaxTurtle Box made by Max HolshouserTurtle Box with drawer openToys, Rocking Ducky made by Max

How many talents can one man have! Thank you God, many! Besides woodworking , making toys, and being a stained glass artist, Max is a baker and a cook! His mother loved to decorate cakes, and Max must have inherited the genes from her!  Furthermore, one of our daughters, Annie Holshouser, has become a pastry chef! She has just recently gone back to school to earn this certificate, after graduating from Appalachian State University with a business degree some years ago! Do I see a bakery in her future? While Annie has finished her first wedding cakes and won awards lately, her Dad must have inspired her as he produced special cakes year after year for their birthdays! Below I’ve showcased just some of his cakes.  Remember that Annie is really Margaret Anne, and was called Maggie until she decided she wanted to be Annie in highschool! The wedding cake is by Annie, the flowers are made of fondant!  I just had to show you! 

Baker Max makes Winnie the Pooh Cake for Ali's 2nd birthday Baker Max and cake with Snoopy for 3 y o Ali Baker Max, 3 year old Ali loved having Ernie at her party! Baker Max,  Annie was always in love with the mice! Baker Max, birthday cake spelling Maggie Baker Max, agift for Maggie Baker Max , map of NC  for Ali's fourth grade classAnnie's first wedding cake wins a bronze medal!  March 31, 2014

We can’t stop thinking about the baking and creating Max has done over the years without discussing his gingerbread creations! Many, many Christmases our home has been decorated and scented by Max’s incredible gingerbread creations! Before we even had children, Max would begin making something from gingerbread just before Christmas!  We have pictures of many, but i cannot find a picture of one I remember especially well, because it was three feet high! It was a big doll house built of gingerbread, and our only daughter at that time, six-year-old Ali, loved it! (Annie was born two years later.) I cannot believe I cannot find a picture of that incredible house! The first small house shown below was the very first that Max made for us in 1972! He made an enchanting village, trees, snow and all out of gingerbread! I was hooked for life! Look closely at the tower thingy, oh gracious, that was amazing. Unfortunately, the top wouldn’t stay on, so it sat beside the tower for the season, looking stunning! But the piece de resistance was the carousel! Oh how I remember the beauty of that thing! He made reindeer for the horses, and  it was  just a beautiful creation! Using his stained glass skills, he made colored panels for the top of the carousel, out of melted lifesavers! I have a soft spot for carousels, and for my husband Max! LOL Once again I’m sharing one of our pastry chef daughter Annie’s creations with you as well –notice she won a blue ribbon for the gingerbread house she created this past year! 

Baker Max, decorating gingerbread house DSCF9891 Baker Max gingerbread tower Baker Max Baker Max, carousel, gingerbread Annie Holshouser's first gingerbread house wins the blue ribbon, Dec. 2013



Do you remember ever seeing string art ?  It was very popular in the 1970’s, and appealed to Max and me strongly! He loved making it, and I loved seeing it! He ended up making several pieces for us, and several for gifts for others.  String art was made by covering a board with a cloth, or staining it, then placing nails into the wood to form the pattern of the shape you are trying to create! Next you would take your string, yarn, whatever fiber you might choose, and wind it around the nails in specific order so that you would end up with a beautiful pattern, words or shapes! One of the first things Max did was the huge suspension bridge in red on a stained wooden background. That was much lovelier than this picture shows, and we enjoyed it on our walls for many years!  One of our cousins was president of his Civitan club, and liked his design immensely. I hope you will enjoy seeing these and let me know what you think and what is your favorite! 


String art by max, suspension bridge String Art by Max, sailing ship tring art by  Max blue and red circle String Art by Max, Civitan String Art by Max, star like String Art by max DSCF9908String art by Max, owl

Before we leave, let me show you a couple more types of fiber art, string art–in this case cross stitch done by Max! He went to North Carolina State University so  of course he had to do their symbols! They were done years ago but remain on our walls today. He did other crossstitched items meaningful to me especially, but these will take us out of this chapter in the reviewing of Max’s artistic talents. In the next part, I can hardly wait to show you what Max has done as far as bigger construction projects! Less you think I am bragging  mightily, remember that I am trying to detail Max’s legacy and abilities for his descendants so that they might know him! I encourage you all to do something similar, so that following generations will know you and your loved ones also!

Needle Craft by Max, NCSU symbols


This gallery contains 40 photos