Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bonnet Girl Quilt Top Finished

Last week I showed my vintage Bonnet Girl quilt/summer coverlet (I think of it as my Sugar Sack quilt :)...last summer I shared the tracing of the embroidery design and some blocks that I embroidered. Well, I finished the blocks over the winter and here's my interpretation of that vintage quilt.

I stayed with the bar lay out but that's about it. I used Robyn Pandolph fabrics for the bars and wide border. I embroidered with many different color flosses and I added a lot more detail to the dresses. I loved doing it-it was dressing little dolls.
Bonnet Girls have lots of different names...these could also easily be called Umbrella are some close-ups.
Check out the pantaloons above...I love doing French knots!
I couldn't resist filling two dresses with lazy daisy flowers.
I think this is one of my a delicate dotted Swiss.
I used two different background fabrics for the blocks...they're Kona cotton but I don't remember the exact shades. One is beige and the other pink. Its very subtle.
If you too would like to make a Bonnet Girl (or Umbrella Girl!) quilt, you can download the embroidery pattern here.

I think I'll post cutting and sewing instructions for the quilt and a tutorial on outline embroidery this week-end.

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 made and sewn this past week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

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.This classic English country house locked door mystery is written by A.A. Milne...did you catch that name? Yes, its the same author of Winnie the Pooh fame. This humdinger of a mystery was written in 1922-four years before Pooh was born.

The country house party is hosted by Mr. Mark Ablett-with the able assistance of a household of servants and his personal aide, Mr. Cayley. The guests include a Major, an actress, a mother and grown daughter and Bill Beverly, "a cheerful young man in white flannel trousers and a blazer." All the guests are going off to play golf...Mr. Ablett is staying home. He is expecting an unlooked for and unwanted visit from his "wastrel" brother, Robert - unexpectedly back from Australia.

There's one more person to introduce, rather an important one for the story, Mr. Antony Gillingham-a friend of Bill Beverly, who, being in the neighborhood, decides to stop by and say hello at the Red House. At his arrival he is greeted by a rather strange scene, a man is beating on a closed door and calling:

"Open the door, I say. Open the door!"
"Hallo!" says Antony in amazement.
Cayley looked round suddenly at the voice.
"Can I help?" said Antony politely.
"Something's happened," said Cayley. He was breathing quickly. "I heard a shot-it sounded like a shot-I was in the library."

Well, have you guessed it yet? No, not the solution to the mystery...the identity of our amateur detective...yes, its Tony with the help of his friend, Bill. The unraveling of the mystery is worked out by Antony in a rather Sherlock Holmes - let me think and tell you, Bill, what I think - sort of way. (In fact, there are lots of Bill is Watson to Antony's Sherlock little jokes in the book.)

While the book lags a bit in the middle ( only for a chapter or two) it picks up again. The ending is just what I like...a bit surprising and a bit oooh, I got that part right.

So if you're in the mood for a bit of a lark on an English country estate, you can download this free audio book or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format.

Friday, September 24, 2010

An embroidery needlecase or Huswif

No, this isn't a little purse...its a huswif. It's perfect for embroidery with two pockets, one for floss and the other is large enough for a 6" x 6" square ruler (perfect for helping center designs for transfer) plus a little scissor pocket and a needle holder-both from felt. The design of the case is from Kaaren at The Painted Quilt-you can find it out here. (BTW, she's having a Go Giveaway that just started today!)

I changed the embroidery designs inside...(and I made it an inch wider at 8")

I went for a vintage sewing theme...I do love this little kitty...
and how could I not use this little girl doing embroidery!!!
I finally have something a lot nicer than a zip lock bag to keep my embroidery floss in while I'm working! :) I've always wanted a huswuf-makes me feel like I'm linked to a long line of sewers!

I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry. Stop by and see this week's wonderful finishes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Dandelion Cottage by Carrol Watson Ratkin plus the real Dandelion Cottage

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.

Dandelion Cottage by Carroll Watson Ratkin

This week’s selection definitely falls into the category of young adult fiction. It’s the story of 4 girls aged 11-14 and very nice girls they are. In fact, they’re just a little too good to be true-what we used to “goody two shoes” and I just bet that this was a 1904 best seller with mothers of tomboys! Only one girl ever even gets her dress or face dirty! (Go Mabel)

The four friends, Betty, Jeanne, Marjorie and Mabel have a long summer before them when they hit on the idea of asking Mr. Black if they can use the old rector’s house, now empty and terribly run down as a play house for the summer. He agrees-once they pay the rent, they can have the key…the rent - ridding the entire front yard of all the dandelions! The girls get to work and then once they have the key, the fun of furnishing and decorating the house begins.

This is a delightfully light listen, pleasantly read by Betsy Bush.

Sorry, e-book readers but this book is only available for download as a free audio book.

You can purchase a copy of Dandelion Cottage from the Marquette Historical Society.

Here’s something fun to know: Dandelion Cottage really exists. Its located in Maquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula and is now owned by Kathy Pohl and her husband. You can read what she has to say about living in a fictional and historic home here.

And here's a photo of the real Dandelion Cottage as it looks today! Isn't it just the perfect color!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Punch needle progress

We've been really busy around here...with end of summer guests, the Jewish holidays (still more to come) and some outside work on the house-so busy in fact that I haven't been blogging much. I have to apologize too for not visiting as much as usual but besides the general busyness, our cable company cancelled ESPN so DH got a subscription to and we hook up my little netbook to the TV so he can watch sitting comfortably on the sofa. Now I used to visit blogs while he watched baseball (companions on the sofa :)...see my problem.

I haven't done much sewing either but I did manage to finish the second punch needle block-you can see how wrinkled it is from the hoop...
and a third block!
I've just started a fourth block but I'm going to run out of the green so its off to the store...I'll probably just punch needle the colors in and then get to the store!

Its cooled off a lot here (only in the 90s!) so I'm hoping to get into my sewing room this week...lots of ideas backing up!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Embroidered Bonnet Girl Coverlet

I'm reposting this from September 2009-Bonnet Girls are just grown up Sunbonnet Sues. I'm sure CC would have liked this coverlet.
I purchased this outline embroidered Bonnet Girl summer coverlet on E-bay a few years ago…yes, it was a bargain-it cost me all of $10.00! I’m not sure when its from but I would guess the 1960s, mainly because of the brown fabric…course the orange could mean the 1970s. Its technically not a quilt as there is no batting-a summer coverlet.

Bonnet Girl quilts became very popular in the 1920s and have lots of different names...there's Umbrella Girl (my girl has both an umbrella and a bonnet!), Southern Belle , and Crinoline Lady !

I wish I could have photographed it better but here's a close-up of one of the blocks from the center row. The center row of blocks are the lightest and were done with orange to yellow graduated floss. This row also shows the most wear and there is even one block with half the umbrella/parasol missing.

The outer rows are partially done with the graduated floss and then finished with brown.

( Wondering about what's peaking through? I'll get to that soon.)

This coverlet is tied-another one of the reasons that I love owning it! The ties were done with 100% wool so when the "quilt" was washed the yarn shrank up and formed these balls. The only quilty memory I have from childhood is sleeping at my Aunt Anne's and she had covers with these wonderful little balls on them!

This entire coverlet is made from sugar sacks! She used the best parts-with no printing-for the front.
The back is made up with sugar sacks turned so that the writing is inside the coverlet but it is still noticeable. Since there is no batting, it is quite easy to read. All of the sacks were 10 lbs. and were from two companies: The Amalgamated Sugar Company and the Utah Idaho Company.
With a little time spent with Google I discovered some fascinating things. These were both sugar beet companies. The Ogden, Utah plant was founded in 1898 and merged with other plants to become the Amalgamated Sugar Co. in 1915. A sugar beet processing plant was built in Garland in 1903 by the LDS Church and was merged with others from Idaho to form the Utah Idaho Sugar Company in 1907.

One of the bags says Chinook, Montana…a little research here informed me that there had been a large sugar beet processing plant serving the area, a large sugar beet growing center until “business collapsed among manipulations of the commodities market back in the early 1950’s”!
You can read here about sugar hoarding (over 5 million pounds!) in this NY Times article from 1919… I’m telling you the sugar business was not sweet!

I really love the back of this quilt-I love these sugar sacks! I love that they say “ A Product of American Farms” and “Pure Granulated” and “Fine Granulated Table and Preserving Sugar”.

I love this quilt…I love the woman who made it! She took sugar sacks and a bit of floss and made a summer spread-I like to think- to dress up her daughter’s bedroom.

I'm linking to VTT at sure to stop by and see all the wonderful vintage treasures.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: American Cookery, 1796 by Amelia Simmons

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.

“American Cookery”, 1796 by Amelia Simmons

This is an absolutely wonderful book and a peek into American life- and not just what they were eating- right after the Revolutionary War. It was the first cookbook ever to include such American foods as Johnny cakes, Indian Pudding and Pumpkin pie.

The first chapter, like many old cookbooks, is “Directions for …the procuring of viands.” There are 7 different kinds of peas listed and 9 different kinds of beans including six week beans, lazy bean and frost bean (makes you wonder doesn’t it.) But this isn’t just a list of what’s in the garden or the larder…here’s what she says about apples.

“There is not a single family but might set a tree in some otherwise useless spot, which might serve the two use of shade and fruit; on which 12 or 14 kinds of fruit trees might easily be engrafted, and essentially preserve the orchard from the intrusion of boys, etc. which is too common in America. If the boy who thus planted a tree, and guarded and protected it in a useless corner, and carefully engrafted different fruits, was to be indulged free access into orchards, whilst the neglectful boy was prohibited-how many million of fruit trees would spring into growth-and what a saving to the union. The net saving would in time extinguish the public debt, and enrich our cookery.”

When was the last time you read a cookbook that had a suggestion on how to extinguish the public debt! and make boys behave!

When you do get to the recipe section, Amelia Simmons gives the recipes that Americans wanted and that weren’t available in any other cookbook. She gives 4 different stuffing recipes for turkey.

I don’t think there’s any easier recipe anywhere than her potato stuffing. “Boil and mash 3 pints of potatoes (I’d guess about 6 cups), wet them with butter, add sweet herbs, pepper, salt, fill and roast as above.”

There are 3 different recipes for A Nice Indian Pudding and two for pumpkin that are baked in a crust…sounds like pumpkin pie to me.

“ Pompkin-One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste…and bake in dishes three quarters of an hour.”

Besides these first-time-in-a-cookbook recipes for pumpkin and corn meal, there are 5 recipes for gingerbread, and even a recipe for Spruce Beer.

So if you like to read cookbooks, this is really a very special one. I’m not sure you could make much from it-unless you know what a gill is and you’re prepared to make emptins-for which there is a recipe- and which seems to be the key to many cakes.

If you’d like to take a peak at this wonderful bit of Americana, it’s available as a free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here. A facsimile edition published in 1958 and called the First American Cookbook is available at Dover Books.

I’m linking to Weekend Cooking-a weekly Saturday party at Beth Fish if you like cooking and cookbooks, hop on over-there will be lots of interesting posts and reviews of new cookbooks (but yes, you have to wait to Saturday! :)

I also want to tell you about a book give away at Books and Quilts. No, its not a cookbook...maybe even better-its Rock and Roll! Yes, Heather is giving away a copy of Why AC/DC Matters by Anthony Bozza so hop on over and check it out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tuesday Tomes: Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire plus a Lone Star Quilt

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.
Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire

This is a humorous short science fiction novel…now I know that science fiction isn’t for everyone (I personally love it!) but this little book is really more silly than scientific. First published in Fantastic Universe in 1957, in 1958 it was published as a book with the title "A Planet for Texans" but when it was published as a part of a double book with Four Day Planet in 1979, it was once again under the title "Lone Star Planet".
You may have guessed already by the title that this planet was settled by Texans. When it became possible for human beings to leave earth the State of Texas decided to move lock, stock and barrel to this planet…yes, even including taking the Alamo with them.

Now it's generations later and a new ambassador from the Solar League has come-mainly to warn the New Texans of an imminent attack by the s'Scrauff-a canine descended group of space villains and to try to find out what really happened to the previous ambassador-was he murdered and by whom? Will he be able to convince the New Texans of the danger and the need to return to the earth fold?

Well read by Mark Nelson, be warned this may have you either chuckling or groaning out loud.
You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

This Lone Star quilt hangs on our living room! yes, behind the TV!
The corner design is a Rose of Sharon, the border design is a tight cable and the star itself is outline quilted. This quilt is hand quilted and is one of the last quilts I did using a polyester batt. It has been on the wall for years and still looks pretty good.