Monday, August 30, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Jr. plus photos of historic NYC

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books. If you’ve reviewed a book recently-new or old-send me an e-mail and I will link to your post.

Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger, Jr.

I’ve always heard of Horatio Alger’s rags to riches stories but had never read any of his books and I was very curious what exactly he said that became such a part of American culture. Ragged Dick, published in 1868 was his first book in the rags to riches formula…he went on to write about 100 more!

Young Dick, orphaned since the age of 7, is 14 when we meet him…uneducated, homeless but honest and earning his own living as a book black or shoe shine boy. He gets 10 cents a shine, earns a fair amount each day and spends it all before the next morning.

Seven o'clock! I oughter've been up an hour ago. I know what 'twas made me so precious sleepy. I went to the Old Bowery [a theater] last night, and didn't turn in till past twelve.

‘You went to the Old Bowery? Where'd you get your money?’ asked the man, who was a porter in the employ of a firm doing business on Spruce Street. ‘Made it by shines, in course…’[said Dick.] "Some boys get it easier than that," said the porter significantly. "You don't catch me stealin', if that's what you mean," said Dick. "Have you got any money to buy your breakfast?’ [asked the porter]. ‘No, but I'll soon get some.”

Things may have continued like that except that Dick (called Ragged Dick as you may have guessed because of his clothes) meets a boy about his own age but Frank is from quite a different background-a young gentleman, Dick takes Frank on a tour of the city-more about that- and Frank gives Dick some new clothes and some new ideas. Frank awakens in Dick ambition-not a mean sort of ambition but the desire to better himself and we follow his adventures as he does just that.

There were several things I really liked about this book- one, the strong emphasis placed on getting an education (almost everyone who takes an interest in Dick suggests he get an education), two, how generous and kind Dick is towards his fellow boot blacks, and three the wonderful description of NYC! My only real fault is with the contrived ending.

The reading by Alys Attwater is just perfect…her clear cheerful voice totally fits this tale written by Horatio Alger with young readers in mind.

You can download this free audiobook here or the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Having lived in NY I just loved the descriptions of the mid 19th century city-the downtown area from Broadway to Wall Street and back up to Union Square and even further to Central Park.

Here's an old map of lower Manhattan with many of the streets where Ragged Dick takes place.

I never knew that a fountain had been constructed in Union Square to celebrate the opening of the Croton Aqueduct (bringing fresh water from upstate into the city.) Here's a photo of the the park is best known for its Farmer's Market.

Here's a view of Trinity surrounded by tall buildings.
A 19th century painting showing skating in Central Park.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Embroidered hearts quilt top

The embroidered hearts baby quilt top is finished!I had to change the fabrics from my first idea and so I used this sweet pink check to go with the striped pink fabric. I'm really happy with the mix of a stripe, check and floral.

This is the sixth heart...once again, these are the true colors.
I had done several hearts when I decided that I wanted to use a Disappearing 9 Patch for the setting...I liked the idea that I would get an asymmetrical quilt. I wanted all of the embroidered blocks in the left corner so I had to turn the blocks around to get what I wanted. Definitely easier to decide to use a D9P before doing the embroidery-you can see that I used a plain white square in one corner.... I could turn the block how I wanted it and then mark the embroidery.
Here's that block-just starting the embroidery with the block all sewn.
I used 3 D9P blocks-one with white squares in each corner, one with pink check and one with white squares (embroidered) in two corners and pink check in the other corners...really an easy peasy way to sew the blocks!

I hope this counts as my first quilt for the Striped Quilt Challenge at Love Laugh Quilt-it is only one striped fabric but I still had to think about how I wanted the stripe going...clearly I chose that it always went one way.

I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho. Stop by and see all the wonderful finishes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Cleek: The Man of Forty Faces by Thomas W. Hanshew

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books. If you’ve reviewed a book recently-new or old-send me an e-mail and I will link to your post.

Cleek: The Man of Forty Faces by Thomas W. Hanshew

I’ve been in the mood for a good mystery and I found a real doozy in Cleek: The Man of Forty Faces! Detective Cleek helps Scotland Yard solve those difficult and pesky cases with his brilliance-yes, this is an old time detective story.

Not only is it a ripping good tale but it is wondrously read by Ruth Golding. I was sure she was a professional actress or reader but when I went to her website, she makes it clear that she is an amateur-an amateur reader for Librivox! How lucky for us! You can be sure I’ll be listening and reporting on other books read by Ruth Golding.

The action begins immediately and never lets up! In the prologue-which is really a prequel-we find out how Cleek changes from master criminal to master detective.

“All my life I’ve fought against the law-now let me switch over and fight with it. I’m tired of being Cleek the thief; Cleek the burglar. Make me Cleek, the detective, and let us work together, hand in hand, for a common cause and the public good. Will you Mr. Narkum? Will you?”

“Will I? Won’t I!” said Narkam, springing forward and gripping his hand. “Jove! what a detective you will make. Bully boy! Bully boy!”

The main characters are all interesting and likeable: Cleek with his amazing ability to change both his looks and mannerisms, his young Cockney assistant, Dollops, the heavenly Miss Ailsa Lome, and that kind old gent, Superintendent Maverick Narkom.

Published in 1913 this book has everything… from London to the sewers of Paris, from horse racing (Oh, how I hooted with glee when I got to that tale!) to romance. The cases are all interesting and best of all to me, the clues to the riddles are all there so while I didn’t actually solve them all, I did hit on the guilty party or at least the motive several times. (One of the annoying things with Agatha Christie is that you can never solve them because there’s always critical information known only to Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot and only revealed at the final denouement. It always felt like cheating to me!)

You can download this free audio book here or the free e-book in pdf or kindle format here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Punch needle project and an award

I've started a project that I've been thinking about for a while...remember my punch needle pillow? Well, I've decided to do a punch needle quilt! I think with straight line machine quilting this will be quite interesting.

This is the first block finished...well, not quite finished-its untrimmed and unblocked! What do you think of the variegated pearl cotton...I'm not sure myself but DH really likes it.Here's the second block I'm working on...these don't really take very long and are fun to do. I'm using crochet cotton and/or pearl cotton. This is the can just see the pencil drawn pattern.
Here's the front.
I'm taking the patterns from this book...its the pattern book for a York County, Pennsylvania applique quilt that is believed to have been made in 1854.
I was given an award!

I'm so fortunate to have met so many lovely bloggers and two of them have given me the Versatile Bloggers award: LV from Thoughts from Meme's Corner ,an eighty year old wonder blogger and P from The Way I Sew It, a wonderful quilter! Do visit their blogs.

Here are the rules of the award: say thank you and link back...thank you ladies!, tell 7 things about myself and I'm to pass it on to 15 bloggers. I've decided to use this opportunity to introduce you to bloggers I've never linked to before.

First though 7 things about myself...hmm, well at least it doesn't say 7 interesting things.

1. My newest have-to-watch re-runs (we get a lot of old shows here!) are Stargate Atlantis.
2. I love the Dixie Chicks.
3. I can't sing for beans but that doesn't stop me from Karaoke.
4. What I love about quilting is there's always something new to try and something new to learn.
5. I can't knit and I've given up trying.
6. I'm a great procrastinator so I give myself due dates...and join challenges.
7. I'm only competitive when it comes to board games.

And now for the blog list: enjoy visiting!

1. For a hilarious look at baking, visit Cake Wrecks.
2. Visit an on-line embroidery community at the Embroidery Blog.
3. For a look at mid-century houses, furnishings, etc. visit No Pattern Required.
4. If VTT once a week isn't enough for you, visit Oodles and oodles.
6. Taryn at Repro Quilt Lover
10.Wenche at Pieces of Time
14.Andi at Patch Andi

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Vintage quilt book

Today I'm sharing a sort of "double vintage" treasure...this 1977 State Capitals Quilt Blocks book from Dover is composed of patterns collected by the editors from the 1916 Hearth and Homes Magazine series.

Hearth and Home was published from 1868 until 1933 and ran several quilt block series...their first and most famous was the State Block series that ran from 1907 until 1912. They simply asked readers to submit sewn blocks that they thought would be fitting representatives of their state. The editors then chose 48 blocks-one for each state. It was such a success that the magazine continued with an Outlying Possessions series followed by the State Capitals series.

This book is totally 1977...check out the little calicos used in the blocks on the cover...

now this is much better...bright colors for the illustrated blocks on the front inside cover...
and the back inside cover!
Some of the blocks have the original statements made by the women who sent in the blocks to the magazine...I particularly like the story that Mrs. L.W. Mathewson tells, "This design, pieced of blue and white, made a very attractive album quilt for a ladies'aid society, and sold for many dollars-everybody taking a share. The names of those who contributed were written on the white diagonal strip through the center, and outlined with blue marking cotton..." (Blue marking cotton would be blue embroidery floss or pearl cotton used to mark sheets with the owners names or initials).
Now remember these blocks are from 1916 and the templates given are all for hand seam allowances are included. This was also very often true in 1977 quilt books! :) All of the blocks are said to finish 12" and these were not simple blocks!
I just love this Tallahassee can see it above in bright pink, orange and yellow...and it is not an easy block at all. C.H. sent in the block and recommends sewing the quilt with all pieced blocks...yes, it would be lovely-you can see from the drawing but oh, my not easy!Hope you enjoyed the State Capitals Quilt Blocks and are maybe even a little inspired...anyone up for trying their state capital block, send me an e-mail and I'll send you the scan of your state's page.
For more vintage treasures, hop on over to Coloradolady...VTT's lovely hostess, Suzanne holds the key to all the wonderful vintage goodiness being shared this week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books. If you’ve reviewed a book recently, send me an e-mail and I will link to your post.

This may seem like an unusual choice for me but I really loved this book. Growing up with the Tarzan movies (anyone else remember Million Dollar Movies on TV?) I thought I knew the Tarzan story…boy was I wrong.

The original story is so much more fascinating than the movie depicted Tarzan and begins by telling the story of Lord and Lady Greystoke, how they were put ashore on a deserted coast of African, how they struggled to build a home and family while waiting to be rescued and how they never were…dying in the log cabin home they had built and leaving behind their baby son.

The tale of how the baby Greystoke is raised by the Great Apes, finds his parents’ old log cabin, and yes, eventually meets Jane is simply spellbinding. I loved how Burrough’s doesn’t just provide adventures but explores Tarzan’s moral and intellectual growth.

I don’t want to give too much away but I will tell you that Tarzan never says, “Me Tarzan, you Jane!”

Delightfully read by Mark F. Smith, I thoroughly enjoyed Tarzan of the Apes-first published in 1912.

I went on to listen to all of the Tarzan books but no, I’m not recommending them-while I enjoyed them, they are not up to the standard of Tarzan of the Apes and are much more in the dime novel style.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Here are some interesting facts about Edgar Rice Burroughs and his family.

He was descended from Edgar Rice, a settler of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who arrived in the colony in 1637 or 1638-about 18 years after the founding of the colony.

His daughter Joan married James Pierce, the actor who played Tarzan in the 1927 movie “Tarzan and the Golden Lion” in 1928 and they were married for 44 years until her death in 1972. They were the voices of Jane and Tarzan on the Tarzan radio program from 1932-34.

Tarzana, California grew up around his ranch named Tarzana and was founded around 1927. (I actually have a cousin who lives in Tarzana-I never even associated the name with Tarzan!)

And of course any discussion of Tarzan would be incomplete without Johnny Weissmuller.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More embroidered hearts

I've finished 3 more embroidered hearts...I really like this one with the sunflowers...but I think this one is my favorite! It is so sweet with the little light pink x's in the background.
This one has a really pretty lace like flouncy border.
All of these hearts are from a 2007 free BOM from Crabapple Hills Studio. There are actually 11 designs available (May doesn't seem to work-its empty). I'm planning on using 6.

I've had to rework the fabrics I'll be using...the cute 30s kids fabrics are not working out. I wanted to alternate the embroidered hearts with cut-outs from the kids fabrics but the size of the repeats just didn't work baby quilt I'll start with the kids fabrics and plan from the repeat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Botanical Print

I purchased this beautiful print in a shop in Pennsylvania...
and had it framed about twenty years ago.

It has been on the wall in our bedroom ever since ( and that's through three moves!).

This is a simple print of an engraving by Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840). He was a wonderful botanical painter and illustrator and his patrons included Marie Antoinette and later Josephine (wife of Napolean). He worked at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (the Natural History Museum) in Paris and also traveled to England to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to study. It was in England that he learned the color stipple engraving technique that he later perfected.

His botanical drawings are still loved today. In fact, you can even get a cross stitch chart for the Cumberland Rose here.

To see more vintage treasures, visit Coloradolady. I know you'll just love what everyone is sharing today.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London plus photographs

Tuesdays Tomes: a weekly book review. No one seems to be using the Linky so I’m leaving it off…if you have reviewed a book recently and would like to share, just send me an e-mail and I will add a link to your post.

I must confess that the name Jack London reminds me of slogging through White Fang in high school and thinking “How mean can an English teacher be”. But while browsing the Librivox catalogue, I came across the “The Scarlet Plague” and thought,.. hmm. I’m happy to report I enjoyed this book.

The Scarlet Plague is a novella first published in 1912 in the London Magazine and tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world. A terrible plague-the Scarlet Plague- has killed almost all the people of the world…we meet one of the survivors called Grandser and his grandsons sixty years after the disaster.

Grandser is a very old man now and is the last link between the world before and the new world of his grandsons. They ask him to tell them the story of the Red Death and as he tells the story we see the gulf between them and him and learn what this new world is.

What I liked about this story was the open-endedness…not everything is all worked out and there’s a lot to think about after finishing. For one, Grandser was an English professor…so why hasn’t he taught the children to read?

The original book had illustrations…you can see them in the scanned edition at Google Books.
The Librivox audiobook was pleasantly read by Christopher James.
You can download this free audiobook here or the free e-book in pdf or Kindle format here.

We once took the kids to Jack London’s Beauty Ranch, now a part of the Jack London Historic State Park in Sonoma County, California and only a few miles from Santa Rosa. If you are ever in the area, you may want to visit too.

Here are some photos of Jack London and the Beauty Ranch.Wasn't he handsome?
In his study at the ranch.

Jack London's own bookplate designed by E.J. Gross.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Batik Star Quilt Top with Silk Ribbon is Finished

Its done! The batik star quilt top is finished! After sitting around for years until I thought of using silk ribbon flowers to create the trail between the pieced stars and the hand appliqued rosettes, I am very happy. I am planning on not letting sit around long until it's quilted...this fall I will quilt it!

I'm very happy with the piano key border. I had to add a lot of new batiks because the original ones were mostly finished but I think it looks good. The silk ribbon has helped tie the border batiks and the star/rosettes fabrics together too...the silk ribbon picks up a lot of the brighter colors in the border.
Here are some close-ups of the silk ribbon vine and you can see that the background is a white on white...
I was lucky to find a dark purple silk ribbon that exactly matched one of the original batiks.
Here's part of the border with one original fabric and several new ones...
and here again, there are just two of the originals.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho. Be sure to stop by both and see the wonderful things finished this week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Jewelry box and jewelry

I received this little jewelry box in 1971-it was a bridesmaid's present! Let's look inside...An assorted collection of "jewels"...

from the beginning of the 1960s to the very end-a name bracelet and my high school ring ...
from the 1970s-these little plastic pins...oh how I loved that purple fish pin. I usually wore them on little knit hats...
still 1970s...a gift from friends in Japan...
and finally 1980s earrings...oh how I loved those titanium ones-closest I ever got to owning anything in the Memphis style. ( I can't wear either anymore...only gold or I get an infection.)
Hope you enjoyed this peek into my 1970s jewelry box. To see lots of interesting vintage treasures, hop on over to Coloradolady and check out this week's goodies.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Something a little different this week -BBC Radio

I’ve had a bad audio-book week…first I couldn’t find the charging cable for my iPod and my battery was dead…then after I finally found it and charged my iPod, I lost the iPod! (Well, not really lost…more misplaced.) Finally found it (under the telephone book!-I ask you!) and started to listen to “32 caliber” only to discover it was awful…truly awful.

While I was iPod-less I discovered the BBC radio dramas. They’re all free and you don’t need to download-you can just listen using the BBC iPlayer-which means you just clink on the Listen Now button. You can find the full listing for the dramas now available herethe only thing is the recordings stay on for only 1 week and since it’s a chapter a day you need to make a choice that still has episode 1 available. I’m now listening to Daphne Du Maurier’s “The House on the Strand” but episode 1 is no longer available so it doesn’t help that I’m finding it very enjoyable.

Here are some of the dramas that have just started or still have episode 1 available for the next few days:

A Taste for Death-featuring that favorite detective Adam Dalgliesh

The Wind in the Willows, a childhood favorite

The Fever Ruth Rendall

There's some true vintage fun on Radio 4-a radio soap opera. The perennial favorite, "The Archers" is available by daily or weekly podcast subscription right to iTunes. I chose the weekly omnibus subscription which means that I get about 70 minutes of English countryside goodness every week. I've heard of the "The Archers" but I'm a new listener so I'm just getting the characters straight...there is lots of help with this on the website including episode synopses and even a family tree. Now when I quilt or embroider and listen to my radio soap opera...why it could be the 1930s!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Embroidered hearts

I'm working on some sweet heart are two of them. The colors in the top are true-the hearts are done in hot pink, not red like it looks in the second photo.I've used outline stitch in the hearts and stems and backstitch for the flowers and the ribbon plus French knots, Lazy Daisy and straight stitches. I'm doing these for a baby quilt and love the idea of adding the baby's name in the ribbon.
I have two more hearts almost finished. These are the fabrics I'm thinking of using with the embroideries but I'll have to see if I like the repro 30s kiddy figurine fabrics once I start sewing things together.
I finished the piano border for the batik star quilt but I'm not sure about the corner squares so I'm still working on it.