Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween!


Halloween greetings!

Have a safe and happy day!

Image from the 1929 book, The Children's Picture Book, illustration by Hazel Frazee.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Friendship Friday: October 26, 2021

 Hello and welcome to Friendship Friday!

Today we continue our theme of confused gardens.  

Lorraine sent a photo of a foxglove (digitalis) that is blooming in her garden:

In my garden, the perineal hibiscus has continued to bloom.  I'm not sure if this bush is confused or not since it is the first year I've had it.  My husband is so impressed with this bush!  I don't see anymore buds so this might be the last of the flowers:

I've had roses bloom as late as December in my garden so it's not surprising to me to see this lovely this morning.
The mornings have been cooler here in eastern Pennsylvania but still no frost.  When there is a nip in the air, I always start thinking about baking.  Today or tomorrow I'll be baking this Carrot Cake which I've made before and my family loves.  I'll split it up between family members because a sheet cake is way too much for my husband and I.  

This week I tried the no-boil Barilla Lasagna pasta and used this recipe.  I have to say it turned out great and my husband and brother loved it!  Much easier than boiling the big ribbons of pasta!!!

Lastly, here is a fun late 19th century Thousand Pyramid Quilt:

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Women's Cavalry Corps

So today's post isn't about sewing.  I can't think of a better way to wrap up a month that has become horse and Western themed than with this story.  This article just happened to be adjacent to another I was reading...and well.... some articles are too delicious not to share!

Dateline: June 1942 and 7 months into the United States' entrance into World War 2.  The war effort is going strong!

Published in Grand Junction, Colorado but syndicated throughout the country. 

Powder Puff Cavalry Corps makes an entrance into the war effort!

"She'll develop plenty of muscle, learn bugle calls, dress in half an hour--and rest over weekends." the newspaper reported.

From what I could gather from some brief research, the Women's Cavalry Corps was part of the civil defense of the United States during World War 2.  As such, they were voluntary and unpaid.  The women provided additional security during the war, lest our country be invaded and in case of emergencies.  Their role was more supportive to local authorities and they were not officially trained to bear arms.  It certainly makes sense since many able bodied men enlisted and were sent overseas.

I even learned that there was a Women's Cavalry Corps during World War 1 and found photos at this website:

And another on Wikicommons:

From articles that I found, it appears that there were Women's Cavalry Corps stationed at various areas around the country during World War 2.  Many were connected or initiated at colleges where there was already an equestrian club.  It seems like any horse club (like one Polo Club I found in Massachusetts) could sign up to get trained for the cavalry.  Often there were some men as well but I mostly found articles on the Women's Cavalry Corps.   I haven't found much on the history of the group.  Certain tidbits provide an insight but not a full picture:

April 1943 blurb from a Hawaiian newspaper.

During the war, they provided support not just for security but to aid in emergencies.  During one flood, the women's cavalry patrolled the region for fires and looters.  When they spotted a looter, the women followed the perpetrator by horse until the police arrived.

The cavalry also participated in special events/fairs/etc. to raise money for the war effort and entertain locals.

After the war, when it seemed that they would have been disbanded, I found out that in fact, one cavalry corps continued to work.  The Baltimore Sun published a large article in 1951 on how the cavalry worked in conjunction with local police:

At that time, the local police were training the women "in every phase of police work.  Not only training them, but letting them do the jobs they would need to know.  They've become a regular part of my force.  During the evenings, they all but run the station house here; they book in prisoners, run the radio and teletype, and take fingerprints." reported the local police supervisor.

The women were also being taught to shoot.

"If there were an emergency tonight, we could call the college, one of the girls would blow a bugle, and the cavalry would be turned out in formation in six minutes; they're that much on the ball."

The United States wasn't the only country who had a women's cavalry.  There was apparently also one in Australia (see here).  I tried to find out if there was one in Canada but couldn't find a supporting article.


Tomorrow is Friendship Friday so if you have anything to share please email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Story Time Stitches: Just So

It is unlikely that Rudyard Kipling's works are part of school curriculums anymore.  Imperialistic and racist, Kipling is an example of  bygone perspectives that are still being eradicated.

But here's the thing that you might already realize about children's literature:  the stories endure.  Growing up, most of us knew more of Kipling's works--like the poems, "If--" or "Gunga-Din" or books like Captains Courageous.

 Did you read Rudyard Kipling as a child?  I sure did.  To be honest, Just So Stories wasn't my favorite.  I loved The Jungle Book and in particular, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi".

Children today may only know Mowgli from the Disney movies but at least they know some of the stories.

The theme of Story-Time Stitches is illustrators who inspired quilts based on children's books.  But there are a lot of other addendums we need to address.  In this installment, we are going to focus on illustrations that inspired a coverlet, although not illustrated by the original artist.

Just So Stories was originally illustrated by Kipling himself.  In 1934, two years before Kipling's death, a quilt pattern was published in Women's Home Companion magazine and featured the story "The Elephant Child" from Just So.

This quilt is rare.  Once many years ago, a vintage quilt from the pattern was auctioned off on Ebay and the price went off the charts.  Here is the best depiction I could find online for you.

But there was another Kipling inspired piece as well.  Advertised in Home Arts--Needlecraft in 1940, this coverlet had special significance for our research.  The designer of the coverlet had received "special permission from Mrs. Kipling herself."  

Many of the illustrations appear to be inspired by Kipling's original artwork:

The coverlet above and illustration below.

Other illustrations were softened so as not to frighten children.
Smiler the Whale from the coverlet:

is quite different from the original illustration:

Rather horrifying for a children's bed cover isn't it?

The coverlet is rare and perhaps it wasn't very popular.  I've never seen a completed version of it or even the blocks.  I've often wondered if the blocks were tinted but we just can't be sure.

Have you ever seen this?

Here's an interesting article on Kipling that you might enjoy.  Interesting fact:  Kipling was actually living in the U.S. when he wrote The Jungle Book!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tuesday's This and That: October 26, 2021


Above:  a small piece of vintage western fabric I found in my stash this past weekend!

At the risk of wearing out the cowgirl theme, I had to share this comment from Libby because it is such a great story!

"When the kids were young, Roy and Dale came to our little town in the early 50s to present a bronze trophy of Trigger to our "safest school in the nation" (not sure how we earned that title).  It always had a prime location in our trophy case and when the school burned down, local boys ran into the building to save Trigger!"


For this week's Friendship Friday, how about sharing something fun about yourself?  Specifically--the first or worst cooking calamity you ever had.  
Did you know that publishers consider cookbooks to be among the hardest to publish?  A lot of great cooks and chefs can prepare food but it is harder to explain-- specifically-- what the reader needs to do.  For my money, Ina Garten still provides the most thorough instructions.  I have had a few cooking calamities and here is my kid's favorite:

 Nana Betty made the best Lemon Meringue Pie and I thought it would be nice to make one for my first husband.  I had never seen one done and this was well before the internet so I called Nana for instructions.  I was very good at following instructions so she gave me the ingredients and how to make the lemon filling.  

The meringue took the longest for her to explain because she kept reiterating, "you have to beat and beat and beat, Michele!  And then beat it some more!"

I was pretty proud of my high peaks but it still didn't look right and I worried about what I had done.  When my husband came home I showed my husband and said, "I don't know why it doesn't look like Nana's."

"Aren't you supposed to bake it?" he asked.

"She didn't say anything about baking!" I wailed.

When I called my grandmother and asked her, she laughed and laughed.   Truth is, she hadn't shared with me that aspect at all.  She assumed I knew it.

This Florida postcard has always tickled me.
Just whisper lemon filling and pile on the meringue!
Some Halloween themed pieces I've made:

A table runner for my kids in orange and black that featured cats.

A wall hanging I made for my granddaughter about 15 years ago.  It was a free online pattern but I can't remember the name of the blog.

That's it for today!
Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Madder Top

Today's feature is a quilt top of madder fabrics.  I don't have time to delve into madder dyes but will refer you to this blog post by Barbara Brackman.  I think this top (which is hand pieced) was made circa 1860.

Have a safe and happy day!


Friday, October 22, 2021

Friendship Friday


Greetings and welcome to our first Friendship Friday!

Here in the northeast, we still haven't had our first frost and have some flowers to share!

Sue P. sent this photo and wrote, "last week Alice shared a photo of a confused clematis.  I have a confused iris!"

Alice shared some lovely roses that are still blooming in her garden!  She thinks the nearby holly is protecting the roses:


We had a lot of fun reminiscing after the Roy Rogers post.  Wendy shared this amazing quilt she made celebrating "my best friend Trigger!"

 Isn't this amazing?  Wendy used predominately vintage cowboy fabrics.  The photographs she printed on muslin.  Wendy confided, "I have over 200 different vintage cowboy prints.  I know, embarrassing!"  I'm impressed with your collection Wendy but I'm really wowed by this quilt!  The detail work is amazing!


Yesterday my mom had a successful hip transplant.  She comes home today and along with other things, my sister-in-law and I have been cooking things to feed her when she comes home.  My mother used to love this Artichoke Rice Salad when I made it and I got all the fixings for it for it--and then found out she requested my sister-in-law make Orzo Salad for her (would love to share that recipe but Janet makes it by doing some of this and some of that).  Anyway, my friend who gave me the recipe recommended Goya brand chicken/rice/vermicelli but it appears to not be produced anymore.  You can use Rice-A-Roni instead:

I don't really like Halloween but I have made a few pieces in that theme through the years for family members.  This one I made this fall for our own home.  I'd like to do more embellishments on it but I don't have the time right now.  It's just a wee wall hanging but I thought I would share it:

Have a safe and happy weekend dear friends!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Urn Quilt

I picked up this quilt at a local auction.  I didn't have anything like it in my collection.  It's an urn quilt and featured an extraordinary centerpiece and border:

I need to take better photos of this one.

I always wished the centerpiece was centered but it's still an amazing quilt!

Yes, some of the fabric in the flowers has shattered but it so reminds me of an autumn bouquet!

Tomorrow is our first installment of Friendship Friday?  Do you have anything to share?  Email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Story Time Stitches: Modern Illustrators

When the Golden Age of Illustration began, a lot of women illustrators got their first break into the world of illustration by designing greeting cards.  Nearly a hundred years later, two other illustrators followed the same path.  Denise Holly Hobbie Ulinskas submitted her illustrations to American Greeting Cards in the late 1960s and created a phenomenon.  There were books, dolls, and even a tv show. 

There were also fabric panels marketed and many Holly Hobbie quilts/spreads/and coverlets were fashioned:

Ulinskas was a New Englander and I've read that she fashioned the character after a "rustic New England style of a bygone era." (1).  She named the character after herself.

One of the funny things was that many of the later Holly Hobbie books had other illustrators:
This Holly Hobbie is much different than the early version, the girl is certainly appears more mature and modern than Ulinskas' original creation.   Amazon credits David Stein as illustrator.  My speculation is that Ulinskas sold the rights to her illustration when she sold her work to American Greetings.  Most of the literature I've read indicated that American Greetings made the licensing sales to a variety of companies who marketed Holly Hobbie products.  Still, Ulinskas had the last word.  

Her illustrator name was always Holly Hobbie.

Ulinskas actually became a well known children's book illustrator for her Toots and Puddle books:
The books eventually became a TV show as well.

Later, another character was featured in American Greetings Cards: 
Created by Barbi Sargent, an illustrator for American Greetings, she sold the rights to her work and the first greeting card was published in 1973.  By the late 1970s, American Greetings switched illustrators and Strawberry Shortcake evolved into a more modern brighter character, illustrated by Murial Fahron.

Like the Holly Hobbie image, the character would be franchised in a variety of tv shows, toys, and books.  Also similarly, the books would use the character but have other illustrators:

Strawberry Shortcake was beloved by little girls and there was (and possibly is) a wide variety of fabrics available for quilts:

Sargent would continue to work and illustrated children's books:

Muriel Fahrion would help illustrate the early versions of Care Bears for American Greetings with similar results:
Care Bear fabric.

Out of the all these characters, Strawberry Shortcake has had the most enduring legacy.

I know you think this is the end of our series, but wait there's more...

Have a safe and happy day!

(1) Wikipedia:


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Tuesday's This and That: October 19, 2027

 Good morning and welcome to another edition!

The first and most important thing I want to mention is that Flower Fridays will be changing...not gone, but changing.  We've been celebrating Flower Friday since the pandemic lockdown and I think it is time to switch things up a little.  

The new feature will be called Friendship Friday and I got the name from some early 20th century newspaper articles that shared what people were doing.  We'll start this week.  Here are some suggestions for our Friendship Fridays:

Of course we will continue to share our flowers!  But for most of us, the first frost will soon take a toll on our garden.

Recipes:  A lot of folks I know are hankering for new recipes to try and if you have any tried and true recipes, please share them!

Sewing:  Some of you have blogs of your own and share what you are sewing there.  But for those that don't, here is a place to share what you've been sewing, knitting, or crocheting or even request suggestions.  Is there an older project or quilt you made that you wish to share?  Is there a free tutorial you've seen or tried that you think we should know about?  We are all always looking for inspiration!

Collectibles:  Yup, we all tend to have a collection of something or other and if you want to share a few photos (like three or four) of what you collect, we would love to see them!  Yes old quilts, embroidery, etc. are welcome too!

Book recommendations would be welcome as we approach the long winter!

Miscellaneous:  Share images of your pets, funny anecdotes or sewing jokes, the door is open!  I'll also periodically request anecdotes of a certain theme as well.

Last Tuesday's This and That featured a scanned image of children reading the newspaper.  Diane P. wrote me right away and asked if anyone else noticed that it was an ad for McLaughlin's Coffee.  I collect McLaughlin's Coffee trade cards because my last name is McLaughlin and I love coffee!  

No one else caught this so Diane is the winner although there is no prize just bragging rights!  Congrats Diane!
The Handful blog post sure hit a chord with a number of you.  Probably the most fun response was from Judy who wrote about a different kind of therapy for her hands. I call it a cat-muff.  Her cat baby lays on her laps, warms her hands. and eases the pain!  I would love to try that but I don't think my lap or my 50lb poodle would enjoy it!😁
Robin completely cracked me up last week after the Roy Rogers installment of Story Time Stitches:

"I remember getting a cowgirl outfit the Christmas of 1957. I was so excited. Roy and Dale always sang 'Happy Trails to you, until we meet again' at the end of their TV show. For some reason (known only to a little girl's mind) I always said, 'Happy Jewels.'"

Happy Jewels to you all!  
Have a safe and happy day!