Friday, December 30, 2022

Friendship Friday: December 30, 2022


Happy Pre-New Year's Eve!

If you are anything like me, you will be fast asleep when the bell strikes midnight.  I'll be dreaming about having pork and sauerkraut the next day which is a tradition that Pennsylvania Germans have to ring in the new year.

If you are eating the same thing on New Year's Day, raise your hand!  Our tradition (or so I've been told since I was a young child) derived from the fact that the pig roots forward when they eat--a contrast with chickens (or turkeys) who move backwards.

There's an interesting article here on different food eaten on New Year's Day and where the traditions originated.  It apparently all has to do with luck and some superstitions.

I don't care.  I love Pork and Sauerkraut and it just wouldn't be New Year's Day without that meal.

Wishing you a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Year in Review


Usually I'm a fairly productive quilter.  I gravitate to easier patterns because I figure that I will finish more that way.  This year was different.  I'm calling it "The C'est La Vie Year."  

I can't even remember one main reason this year why I didn't get more quilts completed.  I cared for Mom as usual.  My brother was ill so I did his portion of her care too.  And then there was the hand situation.  By June I stopped embroidering so that I could finish binding other projects. I couldn't do both and move my hands.

Such is life.

I got baby quilts done though...lots of those were sent out like Remi's quilt and Katie's twin quilts and Charlotte's quilts:

I also made a lot of doll quilts for the kids:

I finished Brett's Cat quilt

And I finished Thomas' book themed quilt:

But other than that, I didn't finish a whole lot.  I have 2 quilts to bind but I take my time so as not to aggravate the hand that hasn't had surgery yet.  It will take a while.

The thing that I enjoyed most this year was using up my scraps.  I loved it more than I expected and I'm still interested in using up my small bits and bobs in quilt tops.  And I seem to be always generating more scraps as I go along.  But it is so satisfying to have some more room as I complete tops. 

Tomorrow is Friendship Friday and feel free to share anything you like!  You can email me at

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Indigo Quilts


Beth and I are great lovers of indigo quilts.  I only have one completed quilt that used indigo.  At least I think it is indigo.  

Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article on the dye being produced again in the United States.  You can read it here.

Eliza Lucas Pinckney was a woman you should be familiar with because she is credited with cultivating indigo dye in South Carolina.  A good article on her is here.

Blue is a beloved color with quilters.  I may have relayed this before but when I was taking appraisal classes, blue quilts versus others were discussed.  Apparently if you have the same quilt in two different colors, the blue will appraise higher.  Folks just love blue.

Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tuesday's This And That: December 27, 2022


How was your holiday?  
Ours was relatively quiet but we enjoyed it!

Over the holiday, I spent some time thinking about what I want to sew in 2023.  Are you a resolution person or not?  I tend to have goals more than resolutions, especially when it comes to sewing.  I'll talk more on that later.


I found some free tutorials and patterns that I liked at Jessica Dayon's website here.


Pat Sloan is holding a block of the week called "Sweet Childhood Memories" and it begins January 4.  Here is a link for you to read!


Another book recommendation is JoJo Moyes' novel, The Giver of Stars.  It's a fictional account of the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books and magazine (and learning) to folks in the Appalachians and remote regions during The Great Depression.  I'm ready to read more about these brave women in a nonfiction book now.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and warm day!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Friendship Friday: Merry Christmas!


I'm so grateful to all of you who inspire, delight, and share friendship with me.  Wishing you the best holiday this year!

Happy Holidays and see you next week!

Thursday, December 22, 2022


  Today's focus is holiday traditions.  Many holiday traditions are rooted in fun and before the pandemic, we hosted a big buffet on Christmas morn.  All were welcome.  When I look back on it now, I realize that at least for the kids, the traditions were as much fun as the presents they received.

There was a gingerbread house party for family and neighbor children shortly before the holiday.  I would cover the rug with shower liners as part of the preparation (my tip for you if you try this--it worked).

On Christmas morning, family, friends, and whoever else who wanted to attend were welcomed at our Christmas brunch.  That's when the real merriment began.

The Christmas pickle:  A German tradition, whichever child found the pickle ornament on the tree got a special gift.

Christmas crackers are now found more easily in stores but years ago, I used to have to mail order them.  The crackers made a slight bang and contained a crown (which everyone did wear even cool teen-aged Maggie photographed here), a toy, and a joke.  The jokes were a favorite among the boys and men.  Each joke or riddle had to be read aloud, followed by a loud groan from the audience.

The final tradition was the Peppermint Pig, a Victorian tradition started by a candymaker in Saratoga Springs, NY.  At the end of the meal, the pig was placed in a bag and each person hit it with a silver hammer.  Our family always did this together and before we hit the pig, we shared what we were grateful for during the past year and what we hoped for the next.  Then we each ate a piece of peppermint for good luck in the coming year.

In Poland, they have the most special tradition.  We tried to incorporate it in our own way by setting up a buffet and lots and lots of folding chairs in this small house.

This tradition is very touching--the dining room is set up for a regular holiday feast except for one thing:  there is always an empty seat with an extra place setting.

That place setting is for any traveler or homeless person who happens to stop by.  It symbolizes what we always said about our celebrations:  there's always room for more.  

This past year, the Polish people did more than set a place for strangers at their holiday table.  They literally welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees into their homes.  There was no refugee shelters or tents set up.  Folks just brought them home.  

Remember when 9/11 happened and our planes couldn't land in the U.S.?  Instead they landed in Canada and Canadians came to the airport and took our folks home to care for them until they could travel again.  It was a kindness I have never forgotten. 

Now imagine that on a scale of MILLIONS.  The Polish cared for more than 8 million suffering and traumatized folks and looked after them until they could be relocated to a more permanent place.   The example they set was emulated by other European countries and yes, even the U.S.

What lessons we could learn by the kind Polish people who didn't just celebrate the Christmas holiday but exemplified a famous holiday quote that Scrooge stated in The Christmas Carol:

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Century of Progress Block

 I was rummaging through old clippings and found that I thought I would share:

Barbara Brackman attributes this pattern  publication to Nancy Cabot.  The Century of Progress Quilt Contest was the mother of all quilt contests.  

I've discussed the contest before here.

The grand prize winner would win $1000, a tidy sum during the Depression.  The inflation calculator I found online suggests it would be equivalent to $22,900 today.  

There are a lot of great articles on line about the contest:

SherriQuiltsalot talks about some of the problems with the contest here.

One of the big problems with the contest is that the winner of the contest, Margaret Caden, didn't actually make the quilt that won.  See here and here.

There are a lot of quilt books I have passed along to other budding quilt scholars but I refuse to let go of the book about the contest.  The story is too good to part with the book:

Now getting back to that original block up top, doesn't this look modern?

It reminds me of modern quilt patterns that use up scraps.  Here are some that are simplified but remind of this pattern:

I don't remember the title of the book that I found these patterns in but it was popular in the beginning of this century.

I just wish I could see the photo of the quilt that the pattern was based on.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see it in Depression era pastels?

Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: December 20, 2022


Over the weekend, I finished reading The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan.  It was a charming story but to be honest, I liked the Kitchen Front better.   The book is based on World War 2, British women couldn't get enough fabric or rations to buy themselves a wedding gown.  A drive began in the UK to redo old gowns (the description of a Victorian wedding gown was amusing) for new brides.

Eventually, even the Americans became involved and women sent their own bridal gowns to the Brits to be used by the British and American Servicewomen in that country.

If you decide to read it, I would recommend taking it out of the library or buying it used (copies for hardcopies are $19+ and the paperback is even more expensive).  I did buy a copy because my friends and I swap books and I know that it will be re-read by many folks.  Let me know if you read it and what you think!

If the subject interests you, you might also want to read this article about British war brides who immigrated to the U.S.


I'm doing a lot of reading because there is simply not much on tv that I want to watch.  I was watching some of the Hallmark movies at night when I wind down but even that is getting tiresome at this point.  But the one thing about the holiday Hallmark movies that resonated with me--everyone is always drinking hot chocolate.  

I prefer the hot chocolate my Nana made over the packets available these days.  She used the Hershey's baking chocolate and added sugar and milk to it.  I even have the Mirro aluminum sauce pan she used to make it in.  I made some this week and it was wonderful.  A real taste of home so to speak.

But of course, that got me wondering when was dehydrated cocoa first offered?  In 1961 as it turns out.  Swiss Miss was the first company to produce it and if you are curious about the invention, here is a great article on it published in Smithsonian Magazine.

Is there a brand of hot chocolate you prefer?


Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Happy Hanukkah!

 Happy Hanukkah!

Last night the Festival of Lights began and continues until December 26.  If you aren't familiar with this holiday, you can read an article here that relays the history.  Interestingly enough, the story isn't relayed in the Torah (because it occurred after the Torah was written) but is mentioned in the New Testament because Jesus attended a celebration (or "Feast of Dedication"). 

One of the interesting things about Hanukkah in our world...although newspapers mentioned or reported about Hanukkah during the early part of the 20th century, the articles usually appeared in the religious sections of the newspaper.  It wasn't until after World War 2, that even recipes were shared in the newspapers.  

I love Rosalind--who wrote regularly to the Boston Globe newspaper.  She would share recipes to the newspaper each time a holiday approached:

I grew up eating Kugel.  In the late 1950s/early 1960s my Mom got a recipe from a friend at the YWCA and we often make that at Christmas.  Here's the recipe, complete with my mother's misspelling of Kugel and her note that it's delicious with ham (OY VEY!):


It took until 1979 for the holiday to be recognized in the White House!  Jimmy Carter was the first president to incorporate a lighting of the menorah as part of the holiday festivities.  

This year is the first time a menorah was created especially for the White House, making it an "official" decoration.

Similarly, there weren't any quilt patterns or even fabric that celebrated the Festival of Lights...until more modern times.  I remember watching the old HGTV show "Simply Quilts" and there was a feature on Hanukkah Quilts.  One of the big pattern designers who featured Hanukkah patterns was/is Cheryl Lynch (see her webpage here) and she may have been the person on "Simply Quilts" I saw.

Anyway, as part of the season, I found some free Hanukkah patterns in case you too are interested in making something to celebrate the season:

Here's a neat table runner!

Another table runner here!

And a lovely quilt here!

5 quilt patterns here!

Chag Urim Sameach!  

Happy Festival of Lights!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Friendship Friday: December 16, 2022


It's Friendship Friday and it was so good to hear from many of you this week.  Lots of you admitted that you have a problem with wild scrap quilts and I love what Libby wrote:  "I like my fabrics to sing the same song." What an elegant way to put it.  I still haven't decided what I'm going to do but fortunately, I'm making holiday blocks right now and don't have to dwell on it too much.

Robin made me laugh when she commented on the haunted Christmas quilt.  She said her husband was watching Perry Mason and the eerie music was just perfect for reading the post!  😂

Sue shared a video on Scandinavian holidays after the St. Lucia post.  You can watch it here.  It's really neat to hear the children sing!


Sue P. also shared some holiday quilts.  Just look at her lovely quilting!

Here is her holiday hankie quilt!

Some of the hankies:

Sue's been also making these cool stars and shared where she found the tutorial.  You can watch how to make these stars here!  The stars are simply folded and not sewn.  I can't wait to make some once I can cut fabric again!  I think they make great ornaments but would also look neat on a wreath!

Thank you for sharing Sue!  
I really enjoyed what you shared!

Have a safe and happy weekend!