Wednesday, October 31, 2018

My First Book of Sewing: Learn How to Sew by Hand and Machine

When I was a girl I dearly wanted to sew. I wanted to make doll clothes, and then I wanted to make clothes for myself. In junior high, I made an apron and an A-line skirt with a zipper during Home Ec. classes but it wasn't until I was an adult that I learned how to really sew.

Had I a book like My First Book of Sewing, I would have been able to teach myself! Starting with simple projects, like a bandana or scrunchie. I would have been so excited! 

The book starts at the very beginning: the tools needed, how to stitch by hand, the basics of the sewing machine, how to prepare and work with cotton fabrics, and decorating with embroidery and embellishments. Everything is illustrated and labeled with line drawings.
Stripped Scarf project from My First Book of Sewing
The 20 projects range from the simple to the easy to learning more advanced techniques such as how to install a zipper, gather fabric, and make linings.

I shared the book with quilt group members who have worked with teaching children how to sew. Everyone thought the projects were spot-on to interest young sewers. And they thought the instructions were thorough and easily understood. One lady gave it "Five stars".

My favorite projects for young girls included scrunchies and headbands; I can imagine kids would find making them addictive, creating a whole wardrobe of hair accessories! 
photo from My First Book of Sewing
The drawstring bags could interest boys who want to cart about their toys--or gaming dice for the 'bigger boys'! My grown-up Gamemaster son has me make individualized drawstring bags for all his gaming friends to carry their dice.

Lined tote bags are so useful! Kids can carry their books in them, make them as gifts for family members, adults can use them for shopping. 
Fox Pillow from My First Book of Sewing
The tutu-style skirt would have been a girlhood favorite of mine! And our son as a child would have adored the Fox pillow.

Other projects include bandannas, triangle headscarves, and a scrappy scarf I want to make for myself. There are bookmarks, tissue pouches, a pillow cover, and fabric 'bins' for storage. A string of pennants could be made for every holiday. The lined pencil case and planner cover would be useful gifts, and also the apron.
Lucky Charms from My First Book of Sewing
Perhaps my favorite project is 'Funny Charms,' other-worldly creatures made with small scraps of fabrics, strings, and buttons: adorable little, stuffed creatures. Each can be individualized in so many ways! Small enough to be pocket pals, I would want to make a whole family.

My First Book of Sewing is an English translation from the original French book. Measurements are given in metric and English system. Illustrations are based on a mechanical sewing machine. 

The book suggests working with all cotton fabrics, noting they should be washed in hot water before use. Because some intense dyes (teal, dark red, magenta) do bleed it is good to wash fabrics before use. I use warm water myself and a Shout Color Catcher sheet to absorb the dye from the water.

My First Book of Sewing is a great resource for teaching children a love of sewing. It can be used in so many ways: in a home setting, homeschooling group, social organizations, after-school programs, and to create gifts for charities and fundraisers. 

I tried the Stipped Scarf project. It took under an hour to make it! I used fat quarters and scraps from my stash. 
Stipped scarf project from My First Book of Sewing

I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

My First Book of Sewing
Author/Editor Catherine Guidicelli
Dover Publications
ISBN 10 048682909X
ISBN 13 9780486829098

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

White Darkness by David Grann: A Story of Antarctic Obsession

My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting, the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition. As a girl, I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut. It seemed all so heroic, then. Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation.

Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership. Although Shackleton was never able to complete his expeditions, he did save his men's lives. And Worsley's own grandfather had been with Shackleton on his failed expedition to the reach the South Pole.

Henry made a career in the army, completing Special Forces training while pursuing his obsession by collecting Shackleton artifacts.

The White Darkness by David Grann tells the story of how Henry Worsley, after retirement from the army, participated in a centennial expedition retracing Shackleton's trek, along with two other descendants of the original team. The goal was to reach the South Pole, which Shackleton failed to do. They made it. Not content with this achievement, Henry afterward endeavored to complete the other journey that Shackleton had to abandon: crossing the Antarctic. Henry, though, would do it solo.

Once again, I am amazed how men can be driven to endure the unimaginable physical stress of the Antarctic, not just once, but returning again to the dangerous beauty of ice. A hundred years ago men wanted to bring honor to their country and the Antarctic and Arctic were the last unexplored places on earth. But there has always been something more, a need for men to test themselves to the ultimate, to conquer the most extreme conditions imaginable.

In this short book about Henry Worsley, Grann covers the history of Antarctic exploration and conveys a chilling exposure to the 'white darkness' of the freezing desert landscape that has lured so many men to their deaths.

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

The White Darkness
by David Grann
Doubleday Books
Pub Date 30 Oct 2018 
ISBN 9780385544573
PRICE $20.00 (USD)

Further Reading on Antarctic Expeditions:

To the Edges of the Earth by William Morrow, reviewed at

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wanamaker's Temple: The Business of Religion in an Iconic Department Store

We moved to Philadelphia from the Midwest. Exploring the city was exciting and most weekends found us walking and exploring the historical sites, museums, and department stores.

Entering John Wanamaker's atrium court stunned us. We were used to one or two story malls. Our families did not shop at Detroit's flagship Hudson's store. Entering Wanamaker's one looked up to floors of open side galleries to the massive organ, and looking about noted the marble floors and the bronze eagle that seemed to guard the space. We heard about the legendary Crystal Tea Room and lunched there.

We learned about 'meet me at the eagle' and the noontime organ concerts, the holiday displays, and that they had the best women's room in the city with couches and chairs in a lounge and some stalls that locked and had their own sink. I soon discovered where the sale racks were and frequented them for bargains.
Ad in Bicentennial Booklet; from my personal collection

During our years in Philly we watched Lit Brothers and Gimbel's close. I loved to shop at Strawbridge & Clothier and Wanamaker's and am glad they closed after we left to return to the Midwest. Shortly after our return, Detroit's iconic department store Hudson's closed and became Macy's.

I never forgot those downtown stores.

My husband had heard a little about John Wanamaker's involvement with the Sunday School movement. I knew the eagle statue and organ were from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase World's Fair. Otherwise, I knew little about the man behind the store.

Wanamaker's Temple by Nicole C. Kirk was a revelation. I was fascinated to learn how the store I loved came to be built. President Taft personally attended the grand opening. It was a mecca of art and music and culture. Maestro Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra and John Philip Sousa had performed in the Grand Court. Art installations appeared throughout the store.

The book is about far more than one man and a retail store. Wanamaker was a relentless force in a movement that drove American religious institutions and birthed numerous organizations.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, civic and faith leaders, primarily white Protestants, were concerned about the growing urban immigrant population, who often lived in poverty and in neighborhoods afflicted by gang violence. These men wanted to shape a moral Christian society. The movement grew and expanded from addressing educational concerns and temperance to creating the Salvation Army and YMCA. They believed that architecture and the arts were elevating civic forces and that good taste was a part of the Christian armor of God. They believed that by addressing the practical needs of the poor and the immigrant, along with their spiritual and civic growth, they could form better citizens. The movement was a blend, being both progressive and evangelical.

The amoral greed of business and the consumerism of ready-made goods at this time meant business and Christianity seemed to be at war with each other. I graduated from Temple University and knew it's founder Russell Conwell preached "Acres of Diamonds" but I did not understand his message connected Godliness with the pursuit and accumulation of wealth--The Prosperity Gospel is still around today. Wanamaker was pressed by the revivalist Dwight L.Moody to leave business to save his soul, but Wanamaker was determined he could blend his faith and his business.

John Wanamaker, born on the wrong side of the tracks and educated at a mission Sunday School, had worked his way from the bottom to become a successful Philadelphia clothier. While building his retail business, Wanamaker was also building a Sunday School in his hometown of Gray's Ferry, using advertising tactics learned in business. It expanded to over 6,000 students requiring him to build a huge Gothic church that accommodated 1500. He started a bank to encourage savings and life skills coaching to teach "middle-class values." He also was active in the establishment of the YMCA.

Wanamaker had a vision of a store that would inspire awe. He embraced his store 'family' and created educational and recreational programs, even summer camps along the Jersey Shore.

John Wanamaker Sr. was an abolitionist who employed freemen in his brickyard. His son employed African Americans in his store, but as elevator operators and other behind the scene jobs, never as sales clerks. He organized separate social groups, as well, and they were excluded from his summer camp at the Jersey shore and store 'family' publicity photographs.

Kirk kept my interest throughout the book, her multilayered approach bringing an understanding of one man and his philosophy in the context of his times. It knitted together many aspects of American culture and provided me with a better understanding of society 100 years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wanamaker's Temple as biography and history.

Wanamaker's Temple: The Business of Religion in an Iconic Department Store
by Nicole C. Kirk
NYU Press
Pub Date 23 Oct 2018
Hardcover $35.00 (USD)
ISBN 9781479835935
In the 1960s textile designer Tammis Keefe created a series of souvenir handkerchiefs,. The Philadelphia themed handkerchief designs included Meet Me At The Eagle for John Wanamaker's department store. Here are some color versions from my personal collection.

Below is a nylon scarf with the same design.
Other designs in the series include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Declaration of Independence, the Betsey Ross House, and Rittenhouse Square. I have all but the Ross house in my collection.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

WWI Sheet Music: The Dead of No Man's Land

No Man's Land. You know it from countless films. The land between the armies that was cordoned off by barbed wire and filled with land mines, a blasted landscape that looked more like Hell than France. In WWI men were ordered 'over the top' of the foxholes to charge across the open land as enemy guns were shooting at them.

Most of the WWI songs like The Laddies Who Fought and Won by Harry Lauder were rousing, pro-war propaganda. Listen to a recording of Lauder singing it here.

There's a dear old lady,
Mother Britain is her name,
And she's all the world to me.
She's a dear old soul, always the same,
With a heart a big as three.
And when troubles and trials are knocking at her door, 
And the day seems dark and long,
Her sons on the land and her sons on the sea
They all march to this song,

When the fighting is over, and the war is won,
And the flags are waving free,
When the bells are ringing ,
And the boys are singing songs in ev'ry key,
When we all gather' round the old fireside,
And the old mother kisses her son,
A' the lassies will be loving all the laddies,
The laddies who fought and won.

[Verse 2]
We can all look back to the his'try of the past
That has made us what we are.
We have pledged our word we all shall hold fast,
Be the day away so far.
And till that time comes, let us fight and fight
Let us fight till vic'try's won.
We will never give in, we are out to win
To the very last man and gun.

Other songs that told a different story. Stories about the men who never came home to be kissed by the ladies. Stories of those at home who felt the loss of fathers and sons and husbands. It is believed that 20 million soldiers died in WWI, 2 in 3 from combat. In 1921 the Census of England and Wales had revealed that there were 1.72 million more women than men.

A real heartbreaker, Hello Central! Give Me No Man's Land by Samm. Lewis, Joe Young and Jean Schwartz, 1918, with a cover by Barbelle, was sung by Al. Jolson with all the wavering voice emotion he is famous for. The song is the story of a child who is secretly trying to call her daddy at the war. It can be considered an anti-war song. Listen to Jolson sing it here.
When the gray shadows creep
And the world is asleep,
In the still of the night
Baby creeps down a flight.
First she looks all around
Without making a sound;
The baby toddles up to the telephone
And whispers in a baby tone:

"Hello, Central! Give me No Man's Land,
My daddy's there, my mamma told me;
She tip-toed off to bed
After my prayers were said;
Don't ring when you get the number,
Or you'll disturb mamma's slumber.
I'm afraid to stand here at the 'phone
'Cause I'm alone.
So won't you hurry;
I want to know why mamma starts to weep
When I say, 'Now I lay me down to sleep';
Hello, Central! Give me No Man's Land."

Through the curtains of the night
Comes a beautiful light
And the sunshine that beams
Finds a baby in dreams.
Mamma look in to see
Where her darling can be
She finds her baby still in her slumber deep
A whispering while she's fast asleep:

"Hello, Central! Give me No Man's Land,
My daddy's there, my mamma told me;
She tip-toed off to bed
After my prayers were said;
Don't ring when you get the number,
Or you'll disturb mamma's slumber.
I'm afraid to stand here at the 'phone
'Cause I'm alone.
So won't you hurry;
I want to know why mamma starts to weep
When I say, 'Now I lay me down to sleep';
Hello, Central! Give me No Man's Land."
Throughout my sharing from my WWI vintage sheet music collection, I have shared both pro-war and antiwar songs. I want to share a more modern song about the war which my husband and I first heard sung by Priscilla Herdman in concert.

In 1976 Eric Bogle wrote No Man's Land, also known as The Green Fields of France and as Willie McBride. Listen to Bogle sing it here. Listen to Herdman's version here.

Well how do you do, Private William McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side?
A rest for awhile in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done
And I see by your gravestone that you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, William McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly?
Did they sound the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugle sing 'The Last Post' in chorus?
Did the pipes play 'The Flowers o' the Forest'?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart are you always 19
Or are you just a stranger without even a name
Forever enclosed behind some glass-pane
In an old photograph torn and tattered and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Well the sun it shines down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches are vanished now under the plough
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard it is still No Man's Land
And the countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation that was butchered and downed

And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end war?
But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
The killing, the dying - it was all done in vain
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Read about WWI songs as propaganda at Parlour Songs Academy here and Over There: Sheet Music and Propaganda During WWI from the NY Historical Society here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Seven years I lived in a small Michigan town in a county described as being a downstate 'Up North,' an area of wide open spaces and farmland punctuated by woods and wild. We knew a self-sufficient family who supplied all their food by hunting, fishing, and gardening. I heard stories about family feuds and wild lives.

The local library book club was led by a retired professor from Kalamazoo. The group wanted to read Bonnie Jo Campbell's book Once Upon a River because of the setting--the rural area around the Stark and Kalamazoo Rivers just a half hour away. The book was so popular that the library couldn't get enough copies of the book for the group and we read another book.

the view from my house
As I finally read Once Upon a River, sexual assault and abuse have been in the national conversation. Women everywhere are sharing their stories.

Meanwhile, reports warn against eating fish from Michigan's rivers tainted with PFAS, including the Kalamazoo River. The rivers in the book, which is set around 1980, are polluted by factories.

I had picked up another timely book. Or perhaps a timeless book.

Once Upon a River is about Margo whose hero is Annie Oakley. She is a deadly shot, can prepare game, fish and travel the river, avoiding the water contaminated by factories. Margo is a beautiful young girl who does not understand life or herself, and who is preyed upon by men. She confuses sex with safety and protection.

At fifteen Margo does not yet understand that she has been raped. The rape is witnessed, leading to a series of catastrophic events. With no mother or father, and unable to trust her remaining family, Margo takes her grandfather's boat to live alone on the river. She finds temporary shelter with a series of men. With each relationship, she grows in her understanding of what is right and wrong, who she is, and what she wants for herself.

Campbell's writing is exquisite, vividly descriptive. Margo is an unforgettable character, strong yet vulnerable, negligent of her outer beauty that lures men, capable of skinning a muskrat or shooting a man. With its beautiful writing, unique character and setting, and timeless themes, I would heartily recommend it for book clubs.

Read an excerpt from NPR here:
Read an interview with Campbell here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Antique American Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronningen

Antique American Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronningen is the culmination of a lifetime's fascination with all forms of needlecraft and the tools women used to make their needlework masterpieces.

The book is encyclopedic in coverage, starting with the basic tools that date back many thousands of years--needles and thread.
from the chapter on sewing needles in Antique American Needlework Tools
Women created decorative storage for her tools. So, along with the history of pins from the earliest bone to industrialized manufacturing, Dawn covers pin storage including papers, boxes,  poppets, folders, discs, cushions, and rolls.
examples of sewing rolls and box storage

Chapters cover thimbles and thimble holders; scissors and cutting; bodkins, awls, and stilettos; sewing rolls, reticules, bags, and waist pockets; sewing sets including chatelains, baskets, and boxes; clamps; threadwork; hoops and darning; closures and fasteners; measuring, marking, patterns and templates.
crochet and crochet tools

Readers can learn the history of each tool in her chapter essay. The book is richly illustrated with 750 color photographs from Dawn's collection and from personal and institutional collections.

Some storage items were manufactured, like the thread holders in the page below. But I was most interested in the storage items made by women, often as fundraisers or gifts.

Textile storage cases were easy to make out of scraps. But women also used embellished perforated paper, ring needle books, wool and felt folders, cases made out of sea shells and nuts, and hollow bone or wood cylinder cases. Not only were storage cases made for needles and pins but for thimbles and scissors too. Portable sewing containers for multiple items included bags and pockets and baskets and chatelaines (a collection of tools worn on the body). 
examples of thread storage boxes

I asked Dawn to talk about her passion.

Nancy: How did you begin your collection?

Dawn: My collection began as a young girl with my first sewing basket. I have always been fascinated by what can be created with a needle and thread. Add some colorful fabric and the opportunities are endless.

From the simple to the complex the needlework tools themselves are also works of art. Be it folk art or fine art.   

Nancy: I found myself very interested in the handmade storage for sewing tools, such as needle cases, sewing rolls, and tool storage. Women could show off their creativity in making them, and I imagine that many were made for gifts and fundraisers. Can you talk about how today’s sewers can recreate these objects?

Dawn: Makers can recreate many of the items themselves with patterns we've created to compliment the book. They can be done by traditional hand methods or contemporary machine techniques. All stitchers have their roots in early stitching tools.                 

Nancy: I know you are a reproduction quiltmaker. How do you use these tools in your own projects? Why do you make reproduction quilts?

Dawn: My personal choice is handwork. I enjoy "setting a pretty table" near my work chair with antiques. Some[of the tools] I use, others I enjoy seeing. 

Nancy: What advice can you give to people who want to start their own collection of needlework tools?              

Dawn: I would encourage a new collector to start with pieces they can use and build their collection with pieces they love.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about antique American needlework tools! Learn more about Dawn, her blog Collector with a Needle, and her patterns at these websites:

Dawn has antique quilt patterns and more at her blog Collector with a Needle at

Visit Dawn's Etsy shop for reproduction quilt patterns and supplies, sewing pockets, and pin-holders:

I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Antique American Needlework Tools
Dawn Cook Ronningen
Schiffer Publishing
$34.99 softcover
Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″ | 750 color & b/w images | 240 pp
ISBN13: 9780764355493

from the publisher:
Featuring exquisite examples from museums and private collections, including many rare items, this treasure trove explains and illustrates the history and beauty of American sewing tools. Exhaustively researched, it is the first publication to focus on the topic and shares the story of the American industries, innovations, and uses related to hand sewing and embroidery tools. Insights spring from well-documented primary sources like eighteenth-century American newspaper advertisements or a twentieth-century thimble patent. The book offers historical background, detailed descriptions, and photographs of needles and threads, bodkins and awls, chatelaines, hoops, lucets, and more. The strong link between women’s history and needlework tools is captured as well. Many one-of-a-kind handmade examples represent American subcultures and regional tastes. With more than 750 color photographs, this is an invaluable resource for historians, scholars, collectors, and embroidery and sewing enthusiasts.

Dawn Cook Ronningen is a historian, needle worker, and long-time collector of sewing and embroidery tools as well as antique textiles. She uses her needlework tool collection in her own stitching projects, focusing on historic techniques and designs. She lectures on her collections in the US and abroad, meeting and sharing information with embroiderers, quilters, sewers, and antiques enthusiasts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay: A Family Drama Unfolds In Flooding Paris

"Why did "just the four of us" sound both so cozy and ominous?" from The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay.

On the surface, it was a celebratory family gathering. The patriarch of the Malegarde family, Paul, was turning seventy; he and his wife Lauren had achieved 40 years of marriage. Their children Linden and Tilia were joining them in Paris, France.

Except...heavy continual rains caused the Seine to rise to a record flood stage. Paul, a world famous arborist, suffers a stroke while his wife falls ill. Their daughter Tilia still struggles with PTSD from a horrendous accident that killed her best friends and left her with a limp after reconstructive surgery. She is in a failed marriage to a drunk. Her daughter Mistral is her one bright happiness. And Linden, a world famous photographer, had left home at age sixteen and can't tell his father he is engaged to another man.

Each character has their secret pain which they must face during this devastating reunion, and which is revealed to each other by the end of the story, showing their growth and resilience.

Linden has to keep the family afloat, visiting his father in the hospital while Tilia tends to their mother. He explores the flooded streets with his professional peer Oriel, camera in hand. As he revisits places from his past, all the pain and regret returns to overwhelm him in a flood of memories. The apartment where he lived with his beloved aunt. Places where he spent happy hours with his first lover before they were brutally torn apart.

Nature's destructive force is a constant presence in the novel. People who flee Paris and those who stay in cold and lightless apartments are all impotent to stop the advancing water. And the Malegarde family cannot stop the inevitable crisis that may break them apart

And yet it was also nature, in the form of a lime tree, that saved the child Paul, informing all his choices and activities throughout his life, and giving his children their names.

The novel is a love song to Paris, and for those who know the city will feel agony as the floods overwhelm. The city has faced recent flooding, the worse in fifty years.

For all the emotional and natural chaos going on in the novel, the events did not affect me as strongly as I would have thought. I would have liked more scenes played out in action and dialogue. Still--readers are told a story, a quite good story, much of which takes place in the internal lives of the characters. I liked the characters very much.

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

The author's previous books include the bestselling Sarah's Key and an excellent biography on Daphne Du Maurier, Manderley Forever.

The Rain Watcher
by Tatiana De Rosnay
St. Martin's Press
Publication October 23, 2018
ISBN 9781250200013
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lessons From Lucy by Dave Barry: Finding Happiness in One's Golden Years

What could be better than combing Dave Barry's humor and the love of a dog? Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog was a perfect read to refresh my mental health and adjust my attitude. I laughed out loud and I felt warm and squishy inside. 

Barry admits he's always been a 'dog person,' as have I. My childhood mutt Pepper and I loved each other. She followed me to school, sometimes even got into the school to show up at my classroom door. I would lay on the floor to color and Pepper would place her chin on the small of my back. I loved to stroke her long, soft, floppy ears.  For Barry, his childhood dog surpassed Lassie in heroism, for Mistral would eat the Brussels Sprouts Barry slipped to him during dinner!

Barry shares his dog stories and stories from his family life to illustrate the lessons Lucy has taught him about how to live.

I cracked up over so many things. He takes on Facebook and electronic devices, the horror of shellfish as "Phlegms of the Sea," white lies, hurricane preparation, teenage angst over appearance, and the difference between dogs and cats. Dogs feel guilt, even if they haven't done anything wrong; cats "have the morals of Hannibal Lecter."

The seven lessons are not profound or unexpected, but essential and wise. Barry even scores himself on how he has been progressing in trying to put the lessons into practice!

It's worth a try. I sure envy the happiness of old dogs. Our Shibas in their golden years impressed me with the smiles on their faces just enjoying the comfort of a thick foam bed.

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

Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog
by Dave Barry
Simon & Schuster
Pub Date 23 Oct 2018 
PRICE $26.00 (USD)
ISBN 9781501161155

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Vintage WWI Sheet Music: America to the Rescue

Many WWI songs roused American pride to rally support for the war. 

Liberty Bell It's Time to Ring Again by Joe Goodwin and Halsey K. Mohr, 1917, with illustration by Barbelle, was a call to arms. Listen to Arthur Field's recording here, which reached No. 5 in the hit song charts.

You have rested, Lib-er-ty Bell, for a hundred years and more,
End your slum-ber Lib-er-ty Bell, ring as you did before,
It's time to wake 'em up, it's time to shake 'em up,
It's a cause worth ringing for:

Lib-er-ty Bell, it's time to ring again,
Lib-er-ty Bell, it's time to swing again,
We're in the same sort of fix, we were in seventy-six,
And we are ready to mix and rally 'round you like we did before, oh!
Lib-er-ty Bell, your voice is needed now,
Lib-er-ty Bell, we'll hear your call, one and all,
Though you're old and there's a crack in you
Don't forget Old Glor-y's back-in' you,
Oh! Lib-er-ty Bell, it's time to ring again.

Once you rang out, Lib-er-ty Bell, as we watched Old Glory wave,
You have made us, Lib-er-ty Bell, Land of the Free and Brave,
It's time to sing again, it's time to ring again,
For the cause you've got to save:
When Yankee Doodle Marches Through Berlin There'll Be a Hot Time in the U.S.A. by Andrew B. Sterling and Arthur Lange, 1917, illustrated by Stammer, is another example of American surety of victory. 

The whole population of the big French nation 
Were lined up on the street one day. 
Ev’ry flag was flying, ev’ry heart was sighing, 
For the Yankee boys were coming down that way. 
When suddenly a Yankee voice cried out. 
They could tell it was a Yankee when they heard the shout. 

Refrain: Here they come, here they come, 
And the drums are beating there’ll be no retreating 
They’ll be there, they’ll be there. 
For there’s a victr’y in the air. 
And they’ll win, yes they’ll win. 
Then they’ll flash the news to old Broadway, 
And when Yankee Doodle marches thro’ Berlin 
There’ll be a hot time in the U.S.A. 

Just picture them dashing, 
when the news comes flashing, 
“We’ve hauled the Kaisers ‘Black Flag’ down.”
To set bonfires burning for the boy returning 
From the trenches to his little old hometown. 
“Just take a look,” they heard that Yankee cry, 
“Then go tell the Kaiser he can kiss himself goodbye.”

Just Like Washington Crossed the Delaware General Pershing Will Cross the Rhine by Howard Johnson and Geo. W. Meyer, 1917, contends that America will "tell the world it simply has to be" that they will preserve Democracy. Listen to a recording here.

Looking backward through the ages, 
We can read on hist’ry’s pages, 
Deeds that famous men have done, 
We are told of great commanders 
Wellington and Alexanders, 
And the battles they have won. 

Take our own great Revolution 
That began our evolution, 
Washington then won his fame, 
Today across the sea, 
They’re making history, 
The Yankee spirit still remains the same. 

Just like Washington crossed the Delaware, 
So will Pershing cross the Rhine, 
As they followed after George, 
At dear old Valley Forge, 
Our boys will break that line. 
It’s for your land and my land 
And the sake of Auld Lang Syne, 
Just like Washington crossed the Delaware, 
Gen’ral Pershing will cross the Rhine. 

There upon the roll of honor, 
Ev’ry one the soul of honor, 
We find heroes of the past, 
Like the ones who’ve gone before them 
To our native land that bore them, 
They were faithful to the last. 
As they fought for Independence,
You and I and our descendants
Must preserve Democracy,
In God above we'll trust.
Our sword shall never rust,
We'll tell the world it simply has to be.
Not all the songs were rallies and calls to arms. A real heartbreaker, War Babies by Ballard McDonald, Edward Madden, and James F. Hanley, 1916 has a cover photograph of children in front of a destroyed village. Al Jolson sang it at the Winter Garden. It amounts to an anti-war song.
Forsaken, alone, amid tumbled down stone, ‎
In the dust of what once was a home, ‎
Two little tots lay, as the close of the day ‎
Cast its shadow o'er Heaven's blue dome, ‎
From afar in the gloom came the cannon's dull boom, ‎
The roar of its shells filled the air, ‎
And it lulled them to rest tightly held ‎
to the breast of the mother who died for them there 

Little war babies, our hearts ache for you,‎
Where will you go to, and what will you do?‎
Into a world full of sorrow you came,‎
Homeless and helpless, no one knows your name.‎
Gone is the mother love tender and true,‎
Gone is your dead daddy, too;‎
But you’ll share in the joys
Of our own girls and boys,‎
War babies, we’ll take care of you

While sitting some night by your fireside bright, ‎
With the children you love and adore, ‎
Just let your thoughts roam to that tumbled down home ‎
That once stood in the pathway of war, ‎
As the vision appears, you can see thru your tears ‎
The two little tots all alone, ‎
Will you wait till they plead for the things that they need? ‎
Just suppose those two babes were your own 

Little war babies, our hearts ache for you,‎
Where will you go to, and what will you do?‎
Into a world full of sorrow you came,‎
Homeless and helpless, no one knows your name.‎
Gone is the mother love tender and true,‎
Gone is your dead daddy, too;‎
But you’ll share in the joys
Of our own girls and boys,‎
War babies, we’ll take care of you

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Fabric Challenge!

My weekly quilt group held a fabric challenge. Two of us choose a challenging fabric at a local quilt shop. People had to use the fabric in any kind of project. The variety of projects will amaze you!
Bev O saw rock houses in the design and embroidered faces and doors on the fabric

When our member Joanne proposed the fabric challenge the group was willing to give it a try. Joanne and I went to a local quilt shop to select a fabric. We worked with the shop owner to find a fabric with lots of color and something most would not have chosen. When the group saw the fabric many were perplexed about what to do with it! But as you will see, they figured it out!

Shirley W. made multiple projects including a purse, a candle mat, a rug mug
Shirley W. used every bit of her fabric in these projects!

Lucy L. made a placemat 

Shirley L. made a color wheel

Linda W. made a pillow case

Linda P. made notebook covers

Karen C. made a baby quilt

Joanne B. made an original applique design. Note the use of the doily!

Sue S. made a sewing machine organizer; it goes under the machine and had pockets for tools

Theresa N. made a small quilt

Theresa N. also made a table runner

Verna's table runner

Madeline made a steering wheel cover for her car!

Cheryl's purse

Betty C. saw gumdrops in the fabric and found this Gumdrop quilt pattern

Sharon made a mug rug to match her favorite mug

Jan used the fabric in a Christmas ornament

Lucy made several projects including this fabric pin

Shirley K's wreath shows how the fabric against white becomes light and airy

Shirley K. transformed a Christmas wreath pattern into a spring-like wreath
Ladies saw turtles, houses,or gumdrops in the print; I saw mushrooms. I searched for vintage illustrations of wee folk painting mushrooms for my design.
I made an applique based on the illustration. I used fusible and hand applique, machine quilting, and also used colored pencil.
Quilt by Nancy Bekofske
The ladies look forward to doing this again! What will be next year's fabric challenge?
Almost everyone in the group participated!