Friday, July 30, 2021

Flower Friday: July 30, 2021

 Happy Flower Friday!

Sandra reminded us that even plants not known for their flowering abilities can be enchanting!  Here is her Sweet Potato Vine and Sandra said it took over the companion plants.  That lovely burgundy leaf color...Woowsa!

Betsy sent this photo of her perennial hibiscus.  It's gorgeous!  I have wanted one of these for years and finally bought one early in the summer.  It doesn't disappoint and is a great bloomer!

Sue sent these photos Lily and Rudbeckia!

Sue said this as well: "Not a great week for the swallowtails on the Turk's Caps.  One got eaten by a praying mantis whose prayers were answered."😱

From my garden:  one lone gladiola.  I bought perennial gladiola bulbs years ago but through the years some waned, some were moved, and some got dug up by mistake.  I love the flowers so  I want to order them again.  Isn't it pretty?

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

My flower of the week

 Tomorrow is Flower Friday and already some photos have arrived!  You can email your selections at

My garden is one of many memories and most of all of my friend and gardening mentor, Molly.  Molly passed away this past January.  I found myself gravitating to some plants that we discussed and I used to have in my garden.  Here is one of my favorites and I don't know why I stopped growing it!

Balsam is in the impatien flower group.  But it has long stems and when you get the seeds, they come in a variety of flowers:

The common name is "Touch-me-nots" because they develop wonderful seed pods and when touched, explode their seeds everywhere!  The kids used to squeal with laughter every time they created a seed explosion so it's a fun plant for grandkids.

They are easily grown from seed and the best part is they self sow for the next season.

I'm hoping you will consider including this plant that is fine in part sun to shade!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Story Time Stitches: Grace Gebbie Drayton


"The Campbell Kids" are one of the most enduring illustrations and still popular over a century later.  They were the creation of Grace Gebbie Wiederseim Drayton.  She was born Grace Gebbie and daughter of a prominent Philadelphia art publisher.  The name Wiederseim came with her first marriage and Drayton with her second.  Both marriages ended in divorce.  

Grace was very diverse in her craft.  She began working in 1895.  After her marriage to Wiederseim in 1900, she entered the world of comic strips and her "Dolly Drake" and "Bobby Blake" cartoons were widely successful and even picked up for advertising:

She developed a number of comic strips and was the first woman cartoonist to be published in Hearst newspaper.  By 1904, Campbell's Soup began using her "kids" for their ads.  The Campbell Kids ads are featured in nearly every magazine I have collected and evolved with the society and current events.  There was even a Campbell Kid doll.

Her illustrations continued to be popular.  In 1916, "Dolly Dingle" paper dolls became a regular feature in Pictorial Review  (yes, not unlike Betsy McCall we loved as kids).

She also collaborated with her sister Margaret Hays.  Margaret wrote the stories and Grace  illustrated the books.  They were wildly successful:

Probably one of her most popular cartoon series occurred later in her career, "The Pussycat Princess".  Drayton died shortly after creating the strips but it continued with two other artists for over a decade.

Because of the great popularity of her creations, it is not surprising to see her images on quilts.  I've never been able to figure out if there were actual embroidery transfers but I'm sure that the characters inspired many a child to embroider:

Drayton's characters continue to be popular.  From time to time, embroidery transfers of the kids are republished:

Grace Gebbie Wiedersteim Drayton

This is my favorite photo of Grace.  It shows that she herself had a wide face like her "kids".  

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Tools of the Trade: 1

 Tools of the Trade:  

That Time That Needles Made Headlines

I've been thinking about needles lately because of a challenging binding.  The weave of the fabric is so tight that I can barely get my regular needles to work.  Not a good struggle for my hands which are already aching.  But enough of that...

Way back in 1891, sewing needles made headlines. The headlines were fueled by a recession which had begun in England when Barings Bank of London nearly folded and set-off the usual chain of panics throughout the world.  To protect the United States domestic economy, The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 was passed.  The tariff raised duties on most imported goods and was named by then Congressman William McKinley.  

Of course that caused a panic of purchasing/hoarding certain goods (think the beginning of our current pandemic and the run on toilet paper).  And that is why needles made headlines.  A syndicated article relayed this:

"A wholesale merchant in the city of Cincinnati said that a retail merchant came into his store nine days before the law went into operation and bought up every sewing needle he had in the store.  The merchant was anxious to know why he had bought a stock that would last him for fourteen years in his retail business.  He (the retailer) had done it in anticipation of the increased tariff under the new law upon sewing needles..."

Unfortunately the retailer would not listen to the wholesale merchant. Certain goods were exempt from the tariff--including sewing needles:

As it turns out, our needles were all imported from England and Germany because as many articles pointed out, it was not profitable to manufacture needles here.  One of the few times I found the tools manufactured here was during the Civil War when it was reported that a North Carolina blacksmith was manufacturing needles.  Apparently it didn't work out too well although I could never find out what was defective about the needles.

So sewing needles were included on the free list but despite the wholesale merchant telling the retailer this, the retailer didn't believe him.  As most newspapers pointed out:

"Now that retail merchant will never believe in the party that deceived him.  He won't sell a needle for thirteen years over his counter that he will not recall the demagogue who went about telling him that he must lay in a supply of everything in anticipation of high tariff under the new law.  He has had the truth pricked into him."  (Great pun!)

Two years later, another panic would hit the United States, caused partially by the recession and more so by the closing of the United States Reading Railroad.  But at least the needles were saved by the free list and women could continue to sew.

I'm taking tomorrow off from blogging.  I'll be back on Wednesday with another edition of Story Time Stiches.

Have a safe and happy day and stay cool!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Flower Friday: July 23, 2021


Happy Flower Friday!

Nann sent this lovely photo.  She wrote:  "A new one for me.  Culver's Root or Culver's Physic or Bowman's Root.   Veronicastrum virginicum.

Apparently Dr. Culver promoted its laxative properties.  [The plant app said he "discovered" said properties but I'm sure the Native Americans had done so long before.]"

From Lorraine:

"Eucomis, pineapple lily, new for me this year."


Agastache with bees!

Libby sent photos of her "potscaping"!  Love the coleus and the creeping jenny!

Libby's Annabelle Hydrangea flowers are turning from white to green.  It is a normal change of color for these bushes:

Kathie doesn't think she has green thumb but I beg to differ.  Just look at this lovely bed!  Those sunflowers!!  Kathie wrote that she likes to grow them for the goldfinches!  

But the photo of the week goes to Sue for getting this image:

Turk's cap lily with butterfly!

Also Sue has phlox blooming!

Thanks everyone for participating in this week's Flower Friday!  Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2021


 I told my neighbor yesterday that we are trendsetters.  For years we've done what we always referred to as "container gardening" which is a great way to fill up your borders when flowers wane and you have a gap in your garden.  Now the "hip" term is to call it "potscaping".  Here's an article on it.

Yesterday, my husband moved some container tomatoes to a different area and I need to do some potscaping in the new gap we created.

If you live in eastern Pennsylvania, then you probably know that today is a great day: low humidity and in the low 60s and I'm off to work outside.

If you happen to grab a pic of your garden, please share it for Flower Friday tomorrow!  You can email me at

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Story Time Stiches: Advertising


His Master's Voice.
Painting by Francis Barraud, 1898

Nipper the dog became quite famous not only because of this whimsical painting but because an illustration of the painting was used by companies like RCA Victor, EMI, and JVC.  Most of us in the states know this from RCA Victor ads:

As I wrote last week, quilters will take inspiration from anywhere and so will embroidery and sewing companies!

Another popular ad was for a soap:

I have seen both of these images on a variety of redwork quilts:

Above:  A horse and Nipper without the Victrola.

In the case of the Pears' Soap, I have seen this image so many times on redwork quilts that I suspect the drawing was made into a transfer or penny square.  

In the case of Nipper, I'm simply not sure.  I have seen it one or two times on quilts (have you?) but it's difficult to know if it was drawn on copying an ad or used an embroidery pattern.

We are going to relook at ads again when we discuss comic strips.

In the meantime, have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Sewing Card Advertisements


Trade cards were an favored form of advertising during the late 19th/early 20th century.  The cards were so popular that many of them survive today.  I have a number of them that I collected.

Over the weekend, a different form of advertising popped up on my Pinterest feed--sewing advertising cards!

The cards
 could be painted or embroidered; apparently the advertisements were particularly popular in Europe.  

The cards advertised a variety of products such as this Spanish one for condensed milk:

Ad for "fine edibles"

Perfume ad.

Coffee ad.

I've never seen these before and I certainly hadn't noticed them at any of the paper shows I visit.  I wonder if they were even used in the United States.  If you know anything about them, please let me know!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Flower Friday: July 16, 2021

Happy Flower Friday!

Sandra's Clematis! Wow!  She wrote that she had to move it three times before it decided to make a good show!

Sue calls this yellow flower "Fake Sunflower" and of course Bee Balm with it!

Sue also asked if anyone knew what is going on with this coneflower.  It keeps green centers and the she suspects it is just mutated.  Anyone have any idea what is going on here?

Hosta and impromptu plant stand full of sedum that I didn't plant but that showed up there (possibly by a bird?).  We joke that our garden is also a graveyard for old fountains.  We've had a number of water features and when the fountain is no longer repairable, I salvage what I can and use it in the garden like that plant stand above.

Have a safe and happy weekend!