Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Works in Progress and What's New

1857 Album blocks
Sentimental Stitches has released the last patterns for the 1857 Album Quilt. I've been catching up with June blocks. And finding alternative blocks for some that I did not relate to or were too difficult for my talents. I have also been adding the embroidery to the completed blocks.
The broderie perse block in the lower right corner in the photo above is one of my additions.

I also added the upper left block with the bird, which is from the John Hewson reproduction fabric line that was available a while back.
I added the presidents who served in 1857, cut from a printed fabric of presidents. There is an applique border to be added as well! I may turn it into two quilts! It is already huge, as you can see in the photo below.

Last week a huge box of books arrived won from The Quivering Pen blog by author David Abrams! He has a giveaway every Friday. Included is an ARC of Abram's upcoming book, Brave Deeds.
There were some books I wanted to read, some I had not heard of but look interesting, and others that my son or husband will read.
 I have quite a pile of Goodreads giveaways and ARC wins, too. And my Blogging for Books choice, The Heirs, is also waiting.

The cheerful cover on Hello, Sunshine was welcomed, as it arrived on a rainy day. 
I am enjoying working on this new project from A Batch of Quilt Soup.
It is the antithesis of my 1857's controlled palette with lots of clashing prints and colors that somehow go together just right.
 The original quilt is shown below.
 My bottom panel looks like this:

One of my friends from the weekly quilt group made this fairy quilt. Margaret used a fairy coloring book illustration, embroidered and crayon tinted it and covered the quilt with sparkly sheer fabric with a floral print.

I also added two handkerchiefs to my collection. They were part of a stash of supplies and linens donated to my weekly group. Both are designer hankies from the 1960s. The first by Monique and the second by Shelly.

My home office floor was refinished and we are ready to put the rug back in. I am enjoying my new work space. I found a great table, which as you can see is being well used! I have lots of space to spread out while researching and writing my memoirs, blog, and quilt projects. We will add a comfy chair. I will be able to use the table for quilt related work as well.
 One of my mother's oil paintings is above my computer desk.
Two more of her paintings are also hanging my my office.
The one above Mom painted for her living room which was decorated in beige and burnt orange in the 1970s. The painting in the photo below was painted for me. It hangs above a bookcase that belonged to my in-laws. The Anniversary clock also belonged to my in-laws.
The bookcase holds my Jane Austen set, books by Rumer Godden and Barbara Pym, Samuel Pepys Diary, a set of Mark Twain's book owned by Gary's grandmother, a Sinclair Lewis set, a complete antique set of 1001 Arabian Nights by Sir Richard Burton, and some vintage volumes of Lady Godey's and Graham's magazines.

I have lots of bookshelves available. Right now this one holds my poetry books, hardbound copies of books I've reviewed--some signed by the author, more books from my giveaway pile, and CDs.
The oak barrister bookcase belonged to my Grandpa Ramer. He bought it while at Susquehanna University, and Mom gave it to me and Gary when we married. So, this bookcase has been to seminary twice! It holds complete sets of Dickens and Balzac and my piano music books.

Last of all, since we lost our dear Suki early we have only our Kamikaze. She misses her best friend, especially since they were both blind and did everything together. We cherish her and enjoy her company.
Kamikaze has the big bed all to herself now.
We are pleased that Kaze is doing great on her new heart medicine, The last medication left her dizzy and loopy. She couldn't walk a straight line and stumbled and fell. Now she is eating well and loves her walks.

What are you working on? What's new with you?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hook's Tale: The Real Captain Hook, Demythologized?

I fell in love with Peter Pan as a girl watching the 1953 televised version starring Mary Martin as Peter Pan and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook. In Sixth Grade I found out that before the Broadway musical and the Disney cartoon, Peter Pan had been a book!

I read Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie and then set to read all of Barrie, including The Little White Bird and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

I felt the book was very 'grown up' in its understanding. I loved how Wendy's heart cried, 'Woman, woman, let go of me," as she wished she could return to Neverland with Peter. I understood; I did not want to grow up and pitied her womanhood. And I loved Peter facing the rising water on Marooner's Rock, thinking "To die will be an awfully big adventure." What a paragon of bravery!
illustration from Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie
In Hook's Tale, author John Leonard Pielmeier views the wicked pirate character of Captain Hook as a legend and warped history. He offers instead James Cook, a teenager pressed into service. James has his father's treasure map and the ship's captain follows it to Neverland where they become trapped. Things turn ugly for James, but at the last minute, he is rescued by Peter, and he becomes Peter's first and best friend.

Tiger Lily tells James she knows he is new to Neverland, for "too many people here...forget that there is more to life than the Now." Peter and the bear wrestle and kill each other daily, only to be resurrected the next day. Their actions have no consequences. Peter hates change, so he is very able to forget the past.

There is a crocodile, but one named Daisy, and a pocket watch. James does lose his hand. We meet Starkey and Smee and the pirates. Tiger Lily and the mermaids appear, and James meets Wendy Darling. Tinker Bell is one of the last living fairies, and there is a cache of magic sand.

But this tale is very different from the one 'that over imaginative Scotsman' left us. James rescues a marooned sailor, Arthur Raleigh, whose identity will greatly impact his life.

James wants us to know his 'true' story, as opposed to the popular image of him set in literature and on the stage.

"Why, dear reader, do you always insist on believing that sad little Scotsman, who only heard the story third-hand, instead of believing one who lived it? "
Barrie's words, characters, and scenes crop up, but altered. "To die will be an awfully big adventure," James remarks, "was becoming something of an annoying cliche."

The story is told in the first person and has the feel of a 19th c tale. Readers who enjoy the fractured fairy tale versions of Once Upon A Time and Wicked will enjoy Hook's Tale.
"And for some inexplicable reason, possibly having to do with the unbearably pompous actor who first portrayed me professionally, I will always be depicted as bearing an unfortunate likeness to King Charles II."
Mary Martin as Peter Pan and
Cyril Ritchard as Capt. Hook

In the Acknowledgements, Pielmeier admits his lifelong love of Peter and J. M. Barrie. He believes that Peter is misunderstood: "He was not a boy who refused to grow up he was a boy who grew up too quickly."

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

John Pielmeier is a three-time Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated playwright and screenwriter. His successful plays, television movies, and miniseries include Agnes of God, Gifted Hands, Choices of the Heart, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and successful screen adaption of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. He has received the Humanitas Award (plus two nominations), five Writers’ Guild Award nominations, a Gemini nomination, an Edgar Award, the Camie Award, and a Christopher Award. He is married to writer Irene O’Garden and lives in upstate New York. Hook’s Tale is his first novel.
Hook's Tale, Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself. By John Leonard Pielmeier
Simon & Schuster
Publication July 18, 2017
Hardcover $34.00
ISBN: 9781501161056

Monday, July 17, 2017

Vintage Dresden Plates and an Antique Fabrics Mystery

My weekly quilt group had fun learning about early 20th c fabrics by studying vintage Dresden Plates quilt pieces and a set of cut fabrics circa 1905.

 Cathy had Dresden Plates made by her grandmother.
The blocks inlcuded a marvelous selection of 1920s and 1930s fabrics. Each plate included two solids across from each other. Don't you love the orange in the block below?
The black and white fabrics struck as less usual in Depression era quilts.
The prints included abstracts and florals.
The black on white ground with yellow flowers struck everyone.

This pink is more fuschia than the Bubble Gum pink I connect to 1930s quilts. Note the yellow fabric.

The second quilt we looked at was also a Dresden Plate. Karen had an antique quilt top that she took apart to make her Dresden Plate. She had a photo of the original top and an original block.

The original quilt top
She was in the process of hand quilting the completed top. She used yellow sashing to match a vintage quilt she had liked. We noted how alike the yellow was to the color in Cathy's Dreden Plate blocks made by her grandmother!

Karen showed us how she made paper templates to cut the old fabrics. She left the templates on until the Dresden Plates were appliqued, then pulled them out.
Karen showing the templates 
The templates and extra fabrics are shown below.
Dresden Plate templates
Karen's antique fabrics were very interesting. I was sure they dated to the first fifteen years of the 20th c with some from the late 19thc. But how to 'prove' it?

The fabrics included indigo, double pink, black, and madder browns in checks, stripes, and various prints.
 This pink print has a wonderful optical design.
Some of the fabrics were very thin.
Turkey Red!

This print had a puce ground with light brown stripes and white spots.

There were a number of checks, some with light grounds. And black and white prints.
 I noticed one paper template among the fabrics.
 There was part of an illustration on one side and writing on the other.
I saw the name Delacroix, the famous French painter, that appeared to be under an illustration. And an article by Alice Viola, with her last name only partially left. She wrote that Mr. Fournier had returned to Paris to work. Was the paper from a magazine about art?

I shared photos of these fabrics and the template on the Facebook group Quilts-Vintage and Antique. I heard from Eileen Fry who commented that the article was written by Alice Viola Guysi, born in 1863 and died in 1940. Guysi was a native of Cincinnati who taught art in Detroit schools and the Detroit Museum of Art. She was a contemporary of Alexis Jean Fournier and they both painted in the American Barbizon style.

Fournier was from Minneapolis. He made trips to Paris in 1893, 1895, and 1901.
That indicated that the template paper was printed after one of Fournier's later trips to Paris. We can conjecture that the fabric pieces are from the same time frame, dating them from the late 19th to first few years of the 20th c.

I was interested to discover  Fournier's association with Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft arts community of East Aurora, NY. Fournier was one of the most prolific Arts and Crafts painters. His murals grace the Roycroft Inn.  He moved to East Aurora late in life.

I found that Guysi exhibited in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Alice Violet Guysi's painting exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair
Read an article by Guy from School Arts at

Read more about Elbert Hubbard and his death on the Lusitania at