Friday, January 30, 2015

Two New Handkerchiefs

First,  a mint with label Tammis Keefe hanky of Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI

And the third in the series by SwissAir I have found

Here are the others:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Reviews To Come

I have some very exciting quilt books to review! In the coming months look for reviews on:

All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon by Diane Gilleland and published by Storey Publishing covering every aspect of paper piecing from A to Z. I can't wait to try her techniques.

Quilting With Doilies: Inspiration, Techniques & Projects by Barbara Polston and published by Schiffer Publications looks so great I already pre-ordered the book! Her techniques will solve some problems I encounter. Plus, I love using doilies in quilts.

Art Quits Of The Midwest by Linzee Kull McCray and published by the University of Iowa Press is a lovely book featuring 20 Midwestern quilt artists, including three from Michigan, with a focus on how the region impacts their quilts.

Non-Fiction Books in reading list include:

  • Children of the Stone by Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree, telling the story of one boy's jorny from a Palestinian refugee camp to bring music education to children of war.
  • A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon relates the story of a WWII army nurse in a prisoner of war camp.
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by  Charlotte Gordon

Fiction books on my shelf include:

  • The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl. I have loved his books, starting with The Dante Club. This one involves Robert Louis Stevenson, one of my childhood favorite authors.
  • The Children's Crusade by Anne Packer, whose Dive From Clausen Pier I read.

Historical Fiction includes:

  • The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg, about George Sand.
  • The Rocheforts by Christian Laborie is a family saga about the ruthless French manufacturer of denim.

These are all NetGalley ebooks available for an unbiased review.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew was not remarkable. He was quite passive about life. His troll collection was made of gifts from people who thought he really liked trolls.  He had found one on the sidewalk and brought it to his cubical. His fiancée believed he could do more, be more. He was grateful to have a beautiful and successful woman take interest in him. Because they had met at the National Gallery, she assumed he liked art. They spent a lot of time walking around galleries.

Richard was to attend his fiancé's grand opening of a new exhibit when he comes across a bleeding girl on the street. He stops to help her in spite of her warnings and protests. He brings her home and his life disappears. His fiancée breaks off their engagement. His job disappears. People no longer recognize, then no longer even see him. He finds himself on the street, bewildered and uncertain. The girl, named Door, takes him along on her journey to another London where adventures and nightmares await.
"You man, understand this: there are two Londons. There's London Above--that's where you lived--and then theres London Below--the Underside--inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world. Now you're one of them."  
Richard's story is a journey quest where he becomes more than the man his fiancée ever imagined he could be. He longs to return to the London Above where things make sense. But he will never be the same person again.

London Under is vividly imagined, a hostile environment full of nightmarish creatures. It is laid out along the London Underground, where Blackfriars has Black Friars and Earl's Court has an earl. There is horror and gruesome tidbits, there is dark humor and satire, and there are people who seek answers and truth.

I loved noticing little clues about this alternate London, like when Door and Richard are going through a gallery with statues of "dead Greek Gods". Were the Greek Gods ever 'alive'? one asks. There is no question; in the alternate world Gaiman imagines the Gods were all alive once. Richard is made fun of by the London Under denizens for wanting to return home, as if he were Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. They know there is no escape. But he finds he had discovered and held the key for his return.

Reviewers mention John Milton, Monty Python Doctor Who, George Lucas, and other precursors. I see Joseph Campbell's Quest of the Hero, Jung's night sea journey, and mythology in Richard's story. The descent into an underworld, the quest, the battling of monsters, the magical helpers, the transfiguration of the's all here.

My edition of the book includes a book group guide and interview with Gaiman who says,
"I wanted to write a story about someone growing up and changing; and about someone who goes through a book wanting something, and then, when he finally gets that thing finds he isn't the person who wanted it any longer. (The price of getting what you want, I had someone say in Sandman, is getting what once you wanted.)" 
I am not a big reader of genre fiction. But I am glad my genre fiction blooger son has directed my attention to Gaiman. Sometimes I just want to read something different. And Gaiman always delivers.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shirts Into Aprons, A Patriotic Redwork Quilt, And A SwissAir Hanky

I have joined a group of quilters who meet weekly at the Senior Center. There. I admit it: I am going to the SENIOR center!

The ladies bring machines and hand work of all kinds. There is a show-and-tell and we lunch together.

This week recent widow Joyce explained how she was turning her husband's shirts into aprons. The first one she made is going to her husband's sister. Joyce conceived the idea and worked it out herself.
Joyce wearing her shirt apron and holding an apron made with jeans

 As you can see in the photograph above, Joyce cuts the sleeves off the shirt, but leaves the collar and also the back yoke intact. She cuts along the double seams wherever possible for a finished trim.

The back of the shirt is cut out. She layered the shirt, matching the side seams, and cut the back out. For smaller sized shirts she does not cut along the side seam but adds a few inches along the side; for large shirts she can cut along the side seam. The back of the shirt makes bias binding to encase raw edges. The sleeves are turned into the tie closure.

Joyce also showed us the aprons she makes with jeans.

Theresa brought in her first Redwork project for my closer inspection. She had it at her talk at the Clawson library a few weeks ago. It is hand quilted, too.

George Washington

John Adams

James Monroe and Liberty Bell

I loved the Swiss Air hanky I bought a few months back and have been looking for the other three in the set. I now have the Japanese one!
Here is the first one I found:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Was New in Kitchen Design in 1957?

See What Your Next Kitchen Can be Like by Sally Pepper Haas appeared in the September 1957 Family Circle magazine, showing the latest in kitchen design.

The article states that one's kitchen should "be convenient, with counters and cabinets that are the right height for you. It should have enough storage space to take care of all the supplies, china, utensils, glassware, and gadgets you use. It should be arranged for easy movement with clearly defined work centers for mixing, cleaning up, cooking, and serving, and yet should have a feeling of spaciousness. It should be will lighted and ventilated and its color scheme and decoration should be harmonious."

Those rules still apply today. But few today would be satisfied with linoleum tile floors, Formica countertops found in these kitchens.

We lived in several houses with the above configuration, a 'breakfast' bar that was to have had high stools with an overhead hanging cabinet with doors that open to both sides. The dining area was situated in the right side of the room.
 The galley kitchen above has a washing center. We lived with that, too. Washing day brought piles of clothes on the floor, clean items in baskets, and there was no where to hang clean shirts. Note the slab doors with no hardware, golden yellow Formica countertops, and linoleum floor. Note the dearth of lighting.

The rest of the kitchen is pictured below. The wall oven is next to the cook top with no counter space in sight. Well, I lived with that configuration as well. Ugh. That home also had a brick fireplace with indoor grill!
Below is a photograph of the church parsonage we lived in with the fireplace, wall oven next to the range, and breakfast bar! Note the indoor grill on the left holds a birdhouse, lol.
The next kitchen shown in the magazine featured a peninsula countertop which holds the sink and dishwasher. The electric oven could be raised when used and lowered for more countertop space when not in use. Wise idea.
The white cabinets above look pale yellow in the magazine. They appear to be metal cabinets. The walls are white painted brick and the floor is a forest green linoleum tile.

The L-shaped kitchen above has electric cooking units that fold back when not in use to provide more counter space. The slab doors have knobs in this kitchen, but note once again the forest green linoleum tile floor. And yes, the fridge dishwasher, and stove are PINK, as is the backsplash and the wall paper on the soffits.

The magazine has a cute story called Love Me, Love My Pink Refrigerator. In 1980 we moved into a parsonage with a pink refrigerator!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Become What We Read. Maybe.

How to Be A Heroine, Or What I Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis just sounded like too much fun to pass up.

The author reviews the literary heroines that influenced her during different life stages. She discusses how she perceived the heroines at the time she was drawn to them, then how the 'wisdom of age" has brought new insights.

I loved reading about the books I knew well (Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre). She offers enough information about the books I had not read (Valley of the Dolls) to understand her point.

I had not expected to learn so much about the author herself. Duh. The whole point of the book was how these heroines influenced her expectations, self-image, and life choices. Sometimes for the better, and often for the worse. Catherine Earnshaw is not really a good role model after all. Nor is Sleeping Beauty--unless your life's goal is to be beautiful victim so a prince can save you and marry you!

Random House first published the book in Britain in January of this year, with the American printing coming in February, 2015.

I received a free ebook in exchange for a fair and inbiased review.

How To Be A Heroine, Or What I Learned from Reading Too Much
by Samantha Ellis
Random House
ISBN 9781101872093
$14.95 paperback

Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking Pretty in 1957

"What Makes A Pretty Face" by makeup artist Eddie Senz in the September 1957 issue of Family Circle looked at actresses including Jayne Meadows and June Lockhart as examples of  beauty.

Judy Holliday knows her eyes are her best feature
Julie Wilson's 'animal magnetism' and June Lockhart with natural good looks

Jayne Meadows's 'flaring hair style' and Rita Gam with her generous full mouth and casual hair
"These are unaffected girls who have learned to present themselves confidently to the public," Eddie Senz wrote about his chosen beauties.  "It is always interesting to me to see people...present themselves frankly and do not try to correct what might seem in others to be unfortunate features. These persons have a gift for knowing that certain features are trade-marks."
Other examples of 1957 'beauty' can be found in ads and fashion articles. "Fashions You Need For The Life You Lead" was geared towards the 'suburban' lifestyle. 

Going antiquing in 1957? You would want one of these two-piece dresses. The left fashion is made of tweed-like fabric with a slim skirt, bloused jacket top, and detachable collar. 

The right is a wool two-piece dress with a fitted top, wide collar and bow, and a zippered front closing and a knife-pleated skirt. Both dresses by McArthur cost $25 and came in red, royal blue, brown and black.
An outing in this new convertible required a fleece car coat with roomy pockets. $70 by Handmacher, and available in red, gray, navy and camel.
The little girl on the left is wearing a Bates plaid dress and a matching rain cape and tam. $13 bought the complete outfit. Th older girl's "beruffled sissy top" and plaid skirt was under $6. Both girls outfits were by Mary Jane. Their "babysitter" wears a Ship 'n Shore blouse with button on tie, $3.
Add caption
Fashion patterns were available mail-order from Old Chelsea Station. "Mix-mates" of a princess jumper and jacket for the girls, and a blouse jerkin and skirt in a "novelty fabric" for the woman.
Casual wear in a Pepsi Ad
These teens wear scarfs and sport the heavy brows and red lips of the era
A trip to the fair meant a 'casual' white sports coat for the man

A pretty flower-like apron
I never got these ads. Ladies so proud and comfortable with their brassieres they wore them publicly? That is a nightmare. Not a 'dream.' But hey wait, perhaps it was fashion-forward?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Eat Like Ike

The September 1957 issue of Family Circle Magazine ran the article "When the Eisenhowers Cook". It included 13 recipes including some touted as Ike's favorites.

According to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, his favorite foods included Beef Stew, Vegetable Soup, Mint Delight, Deep Dish Apple Pie, and Million Dollar Fudge-- all of which are included in this magazine!

Of course, Mamie herself did not cook while in the White House--the staff did it. She and Ike ate dinner on TV trays while watching I Love Lucy, just like millions of other Americans.

Ike dips each fish in olive oil then corn meal before wrapping in foil for fast grilling
 "A friend has called the President a 'walking recipe book who is as vain about his dishes as any fussy cook.'" 
Ike's mother taught him to cook on an old two-burner stove. He and his brothers made bread for the family--kneading it by tossing the dough ball back and forth! He was to have told GI chiefs to add butter to the pancake batter and sorghum in the baked beans.
"Food is part of a soldier's pay, and it's my determination to see that none of his pay is going counterfeit."
Here are some of Ike's favorite dishes, straight from 1957. You, too, can Eat Like Ike.

Ike's Vegetable Soup
Makes about 4 quarts
8 cups beef stock and meat
1 can tomatoes
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced white turnips
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup barley
1 cup coarsely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
2 teaspoons gravy seasoning
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat stock and meat to boiling in a large kettle, then add tomatoes, potatoes, turnips, celery, carrots, onion and barley; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cabbage, peas, and corn; return to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes longer. Stir in gravy seasoning, celery salt, and pepper. If you cannot watch and stir the soup, Ike says to cook the barley first.

Beef Stock
Makes about 2 quarts
2 pounds shin of beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 beef knucklebone, cracked
4 marrowbones 2" long
1 large sliced onion
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 quarts water

Place in large kettle and heat to boiling; skim top; cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Remove bones, cool, and chill over night (stock will jell and fat will rise to top and harden). Remove fat.

Ike's Old Fashioned Beef Stew
Makes 8 to 12 servings
4 pounds stewing beef cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 quart beef stock
12 potatoes, pared and quartered
12 carrots, scraped and quartered
1 pound white onions, peeled
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp monosodium glutamate
2 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic
1/4 coup flour
1/2 cup cold water

Simmer meat in beef stock in large kettle for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Add vegetables and seasonings. Simmer 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Blend flour with cold water in a cup to make a smooth paste. Slowing stir into beef stew. Cook, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes, or until gravy is slightly thickened.

Mrs. Eisenhower smilingly admit her husband is the better cook.
Mamie's Frosted Mint Party Delight
Makes 12 servings
1 can crushed pineapple
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 coup mint jelly
Few drops of green food coloring
1 pint whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar

Drain syrup from pineapple into a small saucepan; put fruit into a large bowl. Soften gelatin in pineapple syrup and add mint jelly. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and jelly has melted. Stir into pineapple; tint a deeper green with food coloring if you wish. Chill for 20 minutes. Whip cream and sugar until stiff. Fold into pineapple and pour into 2 ice cube trays. Freeze until firm.

Mamie's Deep Dish Apple Pie
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes
10 to 12 tart cooking apples, about 8 cups cut up
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Pare apples and cut into small pieces. Stir in sugar and lemon juice to coat well. Spoon into buttered 9-inch shallow baking dish. Combine flour and brown sugar, cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives. Sprinkle over apples. Bake in moderate oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with whip cream, ice cream, or snappy cheese.

Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge
Makes 5 pounds
2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
3 packages sweet cooking chocolate
1 jar marshmallow cream
2 cups broken walnuts
4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tall can evaporated milk

Combine semisweet and sweet chocolates, marshmallow cream, and walnuts in large bowl. Combine sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk in heave saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 6 minutes. Pour at once over chocolate mixture, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until creamy. Pour into buttered shallow pan 13x9x2 and let stand for a few hours. Cut into squares and store in tightly covered metal box.

Fittingly, the cover of the magazine was in pink: Mamie Pink!
See her pink bedroom at
See some of her pink dresses at

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reverse Applique Jane

Here is how I did the Jane Austen silhouette in reverse applique.

I printed Jane's silhouette in different sizes and decided what size I wanted to use. Then I cut her out, right at the edge of her silhouette. (I loved paper dolls when I was a girl, so I had lots of practice.)

I cut the light and the red stripe fabric the same size and layered them with the light on top. I basted the layers together along the outer edges. (You could pin them. You could also iron the fabric. I didn't have my pins, or iron, at the time I did this.)

Silhouette placement on layered fabrics
I placed Jane on my white fabric and using a pencil traced around the edges of the silhouette. This line became my edge for the applique. I then basted around the silhouette, leaving a seam allowance between the basting line and the outline.

Using a sharp pair of small scissors I cut into the fabric inside the outline. I cut it little at a time, about 1/4 inch from the line. I cut small cuts into the seam allowance, down to the line, to help the fabric fold under better. (Like I learned when sewing curved seams when making clothing.)

I hand stitched the light fabric to the red stripe, folding the seam allowance inside just like in needle-turn applique. I actually used a red thread to match the silhouette fabric. I used the same stitch as in applique.

After the applique was completed I took out all the basting threads. I flipped the block over and using small sharp scissors trimmed the red stripe fabric, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Then I pressed the block.
Jane's signature
I added Jane's name by finding her signature and enlarging it, tracing it onto the light fabric. I embroidering it using three strands of dark brown embroidery floss.

It was really easy!