Friday, February 26, 2021

Flower Friday: February 26, 2021

Happy Flower Friday!
There are 23 days until Spring!

This week Lorraine sent photos of her lovely amaryllis:

Well if these amaryllis don't cheer you up, nothing will!

This morning I woke up thinking about gardening chores.  Oh sure, there's still a foot and half of snow outside, but one can plan right?  Weed, place the new soaker hoses I ordered in January, thin layer of compost, mulch after the first rain and oh most of all, what I'm going to plant this year!

My seed order came in earlier this month.  I'm feeling nostalgic so I ordered a lot of seeds that I used to grow in my garden but faded with time or I just stopped resowing.

Two of my favorites: moonflowers and four o'clocks.  Have you ever grown them?  You need to soak the seeds before you plant them but they are well worth the effort.  They are both wonderfully fragrant!

Moonflowers open at dusk and you can literally watch them unfold in what seems to be a miraculous show.

 Moonflowers are like Four O'Clock flowers.  They both open in the evening and rely on moths and other evening bugs to pollinate them.  (Four O'Clocks open without the showiness of moonflowers).  That's why the fragrance is so important. 

It's been so long since I have grown four o'clocks that I can't even find a photo of them.  My nana loved them because they grew them in the coal regions to disguise the sulphur smell from the mines.  You can google them to see all the different colors!

Have a safe and happy day and enjoy the longer days that are happening!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tulip Lady Finger

 Some names of quilt blocks crack me up.  Like this one:

"Tulip Lady Finger" was listed in the Ladies Art Company (LAC) catalog but in 1939, Nancy Page encouraged quilters to buy their instructions for the block.  

I actually wondered if there was a tulip referred to as lady finger.  I didn't find a tulip with that name but it is the common name for okra 😏

I think this would make a cute baby quilt pattern!

If you like this block, there are plenty of free tutorials for this pattern on the internet!

Tomorrow is "Flower Friday" and if you wish to share a floral image or photo, please email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


 Last week I talked to Jane, the president of our guild and one of the things she mentioned was that many of our members had lost their sewing mojo during the pandemic.  Since then, I've talked to two members who mentioned they weren't sewing and then received an email from another friend from our guild who mentioned the same thing.  So what do you do when your Sewjo (sewing mojo) is deflated?

The first thing I did was too google this topic and there are a lot of articles on the subject.  So guess what?  You're not alone!  Many of the articles I read were even pre-pandemic.  Sometimes we all get in a rut or there are just too many extraneous things happening in our lives to focus on sewing.  And by the way, it doesn't just happen to quilters, there are a lot of craft blogs that are talking about how this or that craft is being put to the side by people who lack motivation right now.

Some of the articles had helpful tips, some I felt were not so helpful.  Here's my first tip:


1. You've made it through one year of the pandemic and are still here.  THAT is something to celebrate and a reason to continue what you are doing to keep yourself safe.

2.  Many bloggers suggest you clean out your sewing room. 

 Here's my perspective:  Clean it out not so you can start sewing again.  Whenever you do get the urge to thread your needle, you'll have a nice clean place to go.  

You'll also have a nice place to escape when life is hectic and you need a getaway.  Many of us are loving this time with our families but sometimes you just need a quiet place to read or even just "be."

Old Mother Hubbard definitely needed a sewing space!

I've noticed recently that many bloggers are taking this time to rearrange their areas, even repaint the room and make it more conducive to their work.  Beth began that task last spring.  She has been redoing her sewing room and even ordered some new furniture!

3. Another suggestion has been to organize your stash.  I think this is a great idea.  I've even studied articles on how people organize their fabric.  Some folks are cutting their scraps to specific sizes a la Bonnie Hunter.  If that works for you, great!

4.  Relax.  Think about yourself:  are you an introvert or an extrovert?  My friend Chris (the therapist) has explained the difference to me.  An introvert recharges their batteries by being alone.  An extrovert finds energy in being social situations.  Part of your sewing mojo challenge might be just that pandemic isolation has depleted your energy supplies.  

Think about yourself:  everything we do these days takes additional energy to insure our safety.  Not sewing can be another thing you find weighing you down during these times.  

But if you've found clever ways to spend your time or navigate through the pandemic, you've managed half the battle.  Diane mentioned in her email that she has been trying new recipes.  So she hasn't lost her creative mojo--she's just rechanneled it into different aspect of her life.

5.  Play games with yourself.  When I reorganized my stash, I realized that I had a lot of fabrics set aside for specific projects.  The problem was that I just wasn't interested in that quilt anymore.  OH THE GUILT!!!  It was absolutely freeing to just say, "well that's never going to happen" and put the fabric back in to the general stash.  

A couple years before the virus, I decided to not buy fabric unless I absolutely needed it.  It wasn't for any specific reason, I just wanted to see how I would cope. I am still holding to that resolution and have only purchased black fabric, white fabric, and a batik set that is for a cousin's wedding shower quilt.  Not buying fabric has forced me to be creative with what I have and I find that satisfying.  I support my local fabric shop with orders for thread and other necessities.

6.  Many blogs suggest forcing yourself to do an easy project.  To be honest, maybe that was a great idea before the pandemic.  But forcing yourself to do anything is not fun and sewing should be fun.  If you don't have it in you, you just don't.  Be kind to yourself.  The sewing machine isn't going anywhere.

7.  Pat yourself on the back.  These snowy covid days are a perfect time to think about all that you have accomplished with your sewing.  I look at photos or images I've saved on computers.  I often find that I'd forgotten all about a number of quilts I completed.

I live in a VERY small house.  I love to look at how people display their quilts because--well--I don't have much space to hang quilts.  This is a great time to celebrate what you've sewn and the things you love and surround yourself with them.

8.  This too shall pass.  I know that in my heart and so do many of you.  Being afraid of the pandemic or annoyed by it isn't a creative use of my energy.  Here are some last thoughts:

Turn off the tv.

Turn on your favorite music.

Imagine what color combos you enjoy or what patterns you haven't made in a while.  If you could sew right now, what would you make?

Well I have to go--hubby and I are doing our curbside grocery pick-up.  If you have more suggestions, email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Men Who Quilt #12

 The "Men Who Quilt" series is beginning to wind down.  In a few more weeks we'll be starting a new series.

At the beginning of this series, I told you that I had found that there were a surprising amount of men who quilted in our valley.  We'll be finishing the series with some of these men.

Like many of the men we've studied, they have common themes.  Harvey Gross was disabled:


Erwin Sterner was a tailor who took up quilting:

So was Charles Landis:

Many of the men competed at local fairs and competitions:

An earlier Allentown Fair winner article included 2 males:
I would have loved to see the quilt the boy made.  Maybe a redwork quilt?

We have a few men left to feature and I hope you are safe and doing well this snowy winter.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Family Tree Quilt

 Tree of Life was a popular pattern for quilts in the 19th and 20th century.  I'm sure that some are still bein made.  Here is one from my collection:

I remember a young woman telling me that she loved the "neutral tones" of this piece.  Actually, the color of the trees was what we call fugitive.  The green dye did not hold and instead the tree became this shade of tan.
In 1884, a local newspaper reported a different kind of tree quilt and predicted this particular pattern would soon replace the crazy quilt fad:

I've never found a photograph of the quilt and apparently the pattern didn't catch on.  It sounds lovely and if you ever seen on the internet, please let me know!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Flower Friday: February 19, 2021

 It's Flower Friday!!!  On Fridays we celebrate beauty and hope by sharing floral images!

29 Days Until Spring!

Diane P. sent these wonderful photos to me this week!  

Diane's Oxalis (clover).  I love this plant and so does Beth.  Beth's tip is to take your houseplant outside in warm months.  She says hummingbirds love the flowers!

Diane rooted celery!  Wow!  Isn't that neat?

Diane's lovely Amaryllis!  
I love that you can see the markings on the petals!

Thank you Diane for sharing such lovely and inspiring photos!  After yesterday's snow, we really need some happy images!

Here's a happy quilt from collection.
But it's a bit of an illusion for in fact it is not petals surrounding the circle but butterflies!

Have a safe and happy day!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Men Who Quilt #11

 Charles Morris Esterly was one of our local men quilters.  He was born and raised in the Upper Saucon part of the Lehigh Valley.  Born about 1870, numerous newspaper articles were published on his interest in quilting.  He has also been mentioned in various books.  One of those books, Twentieth Century Quilts by Woodward and Greenstein spelled his name as Easterly.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any photographs of Esterly or his quilts.  The first article I found on him was published in 1898 and relays the most about his quilting:

The books that I read that mentioned him said he entered his quilts into competition and won many prizes.  He lived from 1870-1939 and was never married.  He also refused to sell his quilts but gave a few as gifts.  Numerous articles said he "believed in art for art's sake."  

When the pandemic is passed, I would like to see if any of the local museums or historical societies include Esterly quilts.

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have any images you would like to share that are floral inspired or flowers, email me them at

Scout says it is really snowy out there!
Stay safe!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Doily Quilts

 Many quilters and crafters have been making "doily quilts" the last decade.  There's a variety of them on google that you can view. Doily and crocheted items are abundant in antique stores, flea markets, and yard sales.  

In the Martha Washington book that I discussed yesterday, there was also a notation about them:

Clearly this idea meant embroidered doilies.  Doilies as many of us realize, were made using a variety of techniques.  My great-grandmother was known for her cut-work doilies and table squares.  No matter what the younger generation thinks of doiles and table squares now, these were made to protect furniture because back then, the table, chair or sideboard you bought was to last a lifetime.

Although I haven't found many references to doily quilts in books, I did find a local newspaper that referenced one:

1928 Allentown PA

In my own collection of quilts, I have a quilt that I love:

Back when I purchased it, I still had a bed in the sewing room and used it on the twin bed.  The roses featured in the center went well with my rose wallpaper and I liked the old pink color; I think the color is called "ashes of roses" and was popular during the Victorian era and the early 20th century.

The piece features cutwork roses.  

Note the embroidery also on the piece!

Actually this piece could have been one or two table squares.  When you follow the seams (difficult to see on this photo) it's a large four patch:

It's hard to know or if the maker just loved doing cutwork or--if she loved pink roses as much as I do!  I would date this quilt "first half of the 20th century" because it's difficult to know when it was made.  

Have you ever seen anything that resembled a doily quilt?  Have you made one yourself?

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Martha Washington Patchwork Designs

 Some place in my stacks of things, I think I have a copy of Martha Washington Patch Work Quilt Book.  

I have a weakness for pretty art noveau style pieces and this catalog had a few memorable pieces in it.  I love the poppy quilts like this one:

The catalog was published in 1915 or 1916.  Offered by The St. Louis Fancy Work Company, the ad said the catalog was Sophie T. LaCroix.  I've read some articles that suggested she was only the editor.

1916 newspaper ad from Missouri

My favorite poppy quilt from the catalog.

A catalog that featured the name of Martha Washington must have an homage to her famous husband:

There are a lot of cherry tree quilt patterns.  I've seen a few but not this particular one.  It certainly seems..futuristic or even cubist?

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, February 15, 2021

President's Day

Every year, Washington's Farewell Address is read on the Senate floor.  This year Washington's message seems particularly important.  I thought you might want to read the summary of the text or maybe the piece in full.  You can find an excellent source for this here.

Have a safe and happy day.


Friday, February 12, 2021

Flower Friday: February 12, 2021

 Happy Flower Friday!

There are only 36 days until spring!

Lorraine's Christmas Cactus blooms all through the winter.  Different sections bloom throughout the season.  Isn't this a stunner?

Sandra shared what she called "her overachieving amaryllis."  Just look at this beauty!

She shared a lovely photo of her orchid as well.  The orchid is lovely and really stands out with the dark background:

Thanks Lorraine and Sandra for sharing these lovely photos!

Have a safe and happy weekend!