Saturday, May 31, 2014

April 1965 Women's Day

When I was growing up Mom bought  magazines at the grocery store checkout lane, especially Women's Day and Family Circle. I love to look at old magazines, and last Christmas was given a big box of them.

This issue had an article on "Quilts of Pioneer America" by Roxa Wright. She concentrated on he geometric designs of patchwork. Several quilts pictured are from the Henry Ford Museum collection in Dearborn, Michigan.
Storm at Sea from the General Lewis Inn, Lewisburg, WV

Variable Star from Historical Society of York PA; Old Maid's Ramble from Wadsworth Atheneum, Harford CT; Mrs. Bushnell's Bed Cover from Wadsworth Atheneum

Pennsylvania Hex from Historical Society of York Pa; Orange owned by Lillian Howell; Greenfield Village from Henry Ford Museum; Le Moyne Star from Henry Ford Museum

Star of Bethlehem from Wadsworth Atheneum "sometimes called Heroic Star"
Speaking of Michigan, this ad promoted the wonderful beaches. Between the hundreds of inland lakes and the largest shoreline in the country there is a lot of sun and swimming going on still.

 Crafts using sun motifs were quite popular.

The current trend of painting old furniture started a long time ago and is rediscovered every few decades. Mom painted several pieces of furniture.
What was a good income in 1965? Apparently $8,500 meant you could afford this carpeting. Would Don and Betty have bought it? Or Meghan?
Moms were so busy they had to have convenience meals like Sloppy Joes. Just need a can opener and buns, perhaps some chips and the kid is happy.
For those Moms who still cooked from scratch the "Collector's Cook Book" insert offered Ham recipes. Like this one:
Ham and Potatoes Au Gratin
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
3 cups diced cooked potatoes
4 TB margarine
1 small onion minced
3 TB flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 TB fine dry bread crumbs
Place ham and potatoes in shallow 1 1/2 qt casserole baking dish. Melt 2 TB margarine, add onion and cook until golden. Blend in flour. Add milk gradually and cook, stirring, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over ham and potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and crumbs. Dot with remaining 1 TB of margarine. Bake in hot over (400%) about 20 mins. Makes 4 servings.
At the end of a busy day it was time for recreation, and of course a cigarette. Everyone smoked. I mean everyone. By 1968 everyone was quitting. They all had heart disease or cancer. But maybe that's just my family.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lifetime Address Seventeen

In January of 1972 my folks bought this house, built in 1969. This is the Realtor photo of the house.

Notice the antenna for television reception? This week we had a 'dish' installed for satellite TV. Things change, but not too much! Only one house on the street still has the original gas light in the yard.

Dad planted trees. We had to take down some. But we still have a huge silver maple in back, as well as another towering pine tree.

In June of 1972 our wedding reception was held in the back yard of this house. I only lived here for about two weeks between college and my wedding.
Our son was born and my folks loved having a grandchild. Dad had an above ground pool. Before the days of central air conditioning it kept the family cool. Mom let him play with her pots and pans, and gave him decks of old cards. She had a baby swing in the tree. Our son loved to visit his Papa and Nana at this house.

Mom passed away in 1990. Dad had Non-Hodgkin s lymphoma and after consulting with my brother left us the house. Our son has lived here since he graduated from college.
So after 42 years I will live again in the house...for more than two weeks!

I am so busy clearing out my folk's stuff, making room for us to move in, I have little energy left over. Then a storm brought water in the basement. We didn't need that. So instead of a new kitchen we will have to waterproof the basement. It has to be done, as my sewing room has to be downstairs. We have taken down Dad's workbench to make room for my workroom. He worked with wood. I prefer fabric.

It will be many weeks before life settles down again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From Riches to Poverty: St. Elizabeth Seton

Joan Barthel, with a Foreword by Maya Angelou American Saint
I was given access through NetGalley to  American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton written by Joan Barthel. Seton's story is pretty amazing, but this book is not. Barthel's style is unimpressive, and the presentation of the story is sometimes confusing. The ending is especially lackluster and distanced. The book starts narrative, jumping through time, but fizzles out to an information dump with Seton's death presented in a series of daily reports. Bathel's research is extensive and I feel I know the facts of her life, and a good amount about her social setting. But I would like to better understand Seton's inner faith life and how it sustained her through the many tragedies she endured during her brief 46 years.

Elizabeth Bayley Seton was born in New York City in 1744 to a well off  Episcopalian family. Her father Richard Bayley was an innovative physician who specialized in the treatment yellow fever and who lectured in anatomy at Columbia College. He was so well thought of that even though he was a British loyalist he was allowed to remain in New York City after the British occupation of the city ended. Her mother Catherine was from the prominent Charlton family; her father was an Episcopalian minister. Catherine died in childbirth when Elizabeth was three. After the required year of mourning her father married the 18-year-old Charlotte Barclay, a member of the Roosevelt family. Charlotte was active in charity and Elizabeth accompanied her on her visitations to the poor. It was not a happy union and after five children the marriage ended. Richard went to study in London. Elizabeth went to live with her uncle Bayley.

Having lost two mothers, and abandoned by her father, Elizabeth turned to journaling, music, nature, poetry and religious contemplation for solace.

Elizabeth Seton
Elizabeth Bayley at age 19

At age 19 she met the love of her life, William Seton. He was the son of a successful importer. Their marriage was joyful, and she loved her father-in-law. The couple had five children together. Then William's father died. He was the real genius behind the business. The War of 1812 brought an embargo on shipping and the business failed. Plus, William had tuberculosis.

The Italian partner of the importing business offered to host William and Elizabeth in hopes that the climate would improve his illness. But upon arriving in Italy the authorities sent William to a virtual prison for thirty days out of fear he had yellow fever. William died there.

Elizabeth stayed with the business partner, visiting Roman Catholic churches and learning about the Catholic faith. Upon returning to America she pursued her interest in Catholicism, to the dismay of her friends and family.

Roman Catholicism had been illegal in America until a few years before Elizabeth's return. Protestantism prided itself on allowing believers to read and interpret the Bible for themselves, whereas in Catholicism the priest instructed believers on what to believe. The belief in the host actually becoming the body and blood of Jesus Christ was seen as superstition and the veneration of the Virgin Mary was also rejected. But Elizabeth was attracted to the beauty of the churches and worship.

Elizabeth was a mother. She had been involved in starting a charity group that raised money at a time when women didn't do business. She was friends with early feminists. She was educated, sophisticated, and worldly. She was also without an income, relying on the financial help of relatives and friends. And she desperately needed the  comfort of her faith.

She did convert to Roman Catholicism. In 1808 she became a Sister of Charity, taking  yearly renewed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and was sent to start a school for girls in Maryland. The hardships the Sisters suffered, the many deaths from tuberculosis, the difficulty of accepting obedience to the priest in charge did not divert Seton from her chosen faith. Seton died of tuberculosis at age 41. She was canonized in 1975.

American Saint: The life of Elizabeth Seton
by Joan Barthel
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN: 9780312571627
ISBN10: 0312571623

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crumbs and Scraps

What do you do with little pieces of fabric?

Some years ago I took my scrap box and played. I did a series of small quilts I called Crumb Quilts. I don't have pics of all that I made, but here are several:

I sewed scraps together and then trimmed them into rectangles or squares. Then I sewed the 'blocks' of scraps together. The deep border creates a frame that contains the crazy scraps, and offers a restful place for the eye. The quilts ranged from 12" to 16" in size.

The center quilt was made of 1 1/2" fabric samples.

The last quilt has a vintage fabric with mice running in a line so I appliqu├ęd a cat and used a cityscape border. I call it Manhattan Melodrama!

Scraps have always been used in Patchwork. Like this 1960s era Grandmother's Flower Garden I shared last year.

 Or the one-patch quilt I wrote about several years ago.

And the Double Wedding Ring quilt I rescued a few months ago. I use my feedsack and vintage scraps to repair it, appliqueing over the worn patches.

And last year's East Side Detroit quilt I found at the flea market.

My mother-in-law developed 'Arthur-ritis' in her thumb and had to curtail her quilting. She wanted to use up her scraps. A favorite pattern was Aunt Suki's Choice. Each block has a four-patch unit of scraps.


A few years ago I started cutting my scraps into squares. I have squares of all sizes, from 1" to 20". I pull out these scraps for use in projects like Love Entwined. The background fabric was newly bought. Every other fabric is from my stash, yardage, fat quarters, and various sized squares.

I also have a small box of scraps with fusible backing, one of vintage fabric scraps, and a box of shirting fabrics. Another box has triangles, and one more applique shapes that were not used.

And they are all moving with me!

What do you do with your scraps?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Michigan 101:Ludington's Historic White Pine Village

I took a last trip to our nearest city, Ludington, MI to visit again the Historic White Pine Village and environs. The Village is a collection of vintage buildings that educate about the late 19th c when Ludington, along with Pentwater, Montague and Whitehall, were part of the lumbering boom. The woods across the state were cleared in short order. The lumber went to build, and after the great fire, rebuild Chicago. When the trees were gone entrepreneurs turned to growing sugar beets and beet sugar became a major industry in the state, farming on the land that had been covered by virgin timber. Some of the farmers were Ukrainian German refugees.

In the recreated period house were several quilts on beds. They are not all period pieces.

 There was a sewing and mending room with a nice pincushion.

The church is very picturesque. There is even a small cemetery.


There is a whole building commemorating the locally popular Scottville Clown Band. The members dress clownishly. Included is a quilt commemorating the band players over 100 years.

I saw a Fourth Order Fresnel Lens! This is the lens that would go with the brass oil lamp I have written about in my article about Girl and the Shipwreck Coast.

There was a recreated fur trappers cabin along with several other log houses.

It was such a beautiful day. The trees are just in flower.

After our visit we went down the road further to see Ludington from the other side of the lake that leads into Lake Michigan. This lake is fed by the Pere Marquette River, named for the Jesuit missionary who founded the state's first European settlement, and who died in Ludington in 1676. On the horizon you can see the newly built wind mill park that is nestled in the farmland.

A memorial stands where Pere Marquette was said to have died.

Father Marquette Memorial

And we stopped at a nice park to see the sand dunes. The lake was still iced over in April, and the water temperature is still in the low 50s.

But back home in Pentwater the village is overrun with tourists, and cool weather did not stop them from going to the beach and even from dipping in the water! We saw sunburnt faces. Then, we had a long cold winter in Michigan and people are so happy to see sunshine and feel the warm sun! We had dinner at a restaurant that overlooks the Pentwater Lake.

It was a nice interlude between packing and our 'vacation' to clear out space in our retirement home. At this point it is filled with my folk's stuff and there is no room for anything of ours!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When the Yankees Realized They Had Declared Independence

Nathaniel Philbrick's latest book Bunker Hill:a City, a Siege, a Revolution begins  with an seven-year-old John Quincy Adams standing with his mother Abigail on a hill near their home in Braintree. They were looking down at Boston where the British army and American militia were in battle. Boston was almost an island, with only a slender isthmus connecting to the mainland. The bay around the city was filled with British ships, their cannons bombarding the the hills where the militia had made their stand.

John Adams was in Philadelphia representing Massachusetts a the Continental Congress. His family were unprotected and feared the British would  reach their hamlet. But the worst memory for John Quincy was when he learned that their family friend and physician, John Warren, was killed in that battle.

The battle of Bunker Hill predated General Washington's command of the militia, before he made the local militias into an American army. New England was supported by other colonies,sending food and supplies, but the idea of a United States separate from Britain was not yet formulated. The leaders who opposed the Stamp Act and tea tax still believed that King George III was an okay guy. It was just his governors and bureaucracy that was at fault.

Philbrick does not present British rule as unduly harsh. They had sent armies to defend the colonies during the French and Indian War. They needed to pay off a war debt of over $800,000. Plus they had this little thing going on with Napoleon. They really needed the cash. That tea that was dumped into the big saltwater teapot? They had a surplus and were selling it at a deep discount, and thought, wrongly, that a few pence tax on the tea would not be objectionable seeing it was being sold so cheaply.

Those Yankees were headstrong and independent from the get-go. Philbrick's earlier book Mayflower was about the Puritan settlers in Massachusetts. They wanted religious freedom. The colonists felt they had bought their freedom with their own sweat, toil, and blood. They didn't like anyone telling them what to do.

Almost a comedy of errors, misunderstandings, chance and bad decisions, the outcome of the battle of Bunker Hill changed the world when the British troops, and loyalist citizens, sailed out of Boston harbor.

The hero of Philbrick's story is the almost unknown John Warren. He had saved John Quincy Adam's forefinger when it was badly fractured. At that time the usual practice would have been amputation. John Quincy never forgot how Dr. Warren saved his finger. Warren was as important as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and other leaders of his time. But Warren could not resist joining the fray, and lost his life at Bunker Hill.

Philbrick ends the book in 1843 with John Quincy Adams refusing to attend celebratory remembrances of Bunker Hill. He was seventy-five years old and serving in congress where he fought for abolition. The Adams family revered Warren so much that when Abigail first saw John Trumbull's painting Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill she wrote " looking at it, my whole frame contracted, my blood shivered, and I felt a faintness in my heart." She felt the painting would "transmit to posterity characters and actions which will command the admiration of future ages and prevent the period which gave birth to them from ever passing away into the dark abyss of time..."

The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill
John Trumbull's Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill

Previously I have read Phlbrick's Mayflower, In the Heart of the Sea, and have Sea of Glory on my to read shelf. I have enjoyed his books. This book, being about a battle, was not as engrossing for me but his portrayal of the personages involved kept my interest.

Bunker Hill
Nathaniel Philbrick

Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for providing the -ebook for my review.

Neighborhood Sights

We don't have a fenced yard and walk our dogs three times a day. That has allowed us to become very familiar with our part of the village. Here is what we saw tonight.

Just around the corner is a house with a natural yard. This week it is full of wild Trillium.

 The same yard has white violets.

 The village is full of ancient trees, many with hollow holes and dead limbs.

 Across the street is a blasted tree that has a pine growing in it's rotten crotch.

These huge trees have interesting bark landscapes.

The street signs all look like this:

We have Flicker, Red Headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, and deer. We have not seen them, but a block away is a woods with fox, and the local cemetery has had black bear visit it.

Next month we will be in  an urban area. But there are raccoon, opossum, roof rates squirrel, chipmunks,hawk, song birds,  and small children at the elementary school across the street. Still plenty of interesting sights to see!