Friday, April 28, 2023

Flower Friday: April 28, 2023


Happy Flower Friday!

We have a whole bouquet of lovely flowers for you from Libby and Sue!

From Libby in Tennessee!

Lily of the Valley:  Libby said this flower came with the house but it's the first time it bloomed!

Rhododendron:  Showing some signs of the winter freeze in the leaves but blooming away!

We always welcome our feathered and furry friends and Libby got a shot of the pretty goldfinches at the birdfeeder!

From Sue in New Jersey:

A very Georgia O'Keefe type close-up of Sue's German Iris:

Sue's Primrose:

Star of Bethlehem:

Bleeding Heart:


Ornamental Strawberry:

Wood Hyacinth:

Thank you Libby and Sue for such delightful photographs this week!  You're the best!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Needle Threaders


In my family, we joke that my mother is the queen of gadgets.  There doesn't seem to be any kind of newfangled thing that she isn't willing to try out...and the proof is littered throughout her basement and garage!

Still gadgets and tools can make our lives easier.  I was wondering what you think is the most useful tool you use for sewing.  Mine is fairly simple:  the needle threader.

Now I've written about this wonderful gadget before.  The actual tool is believed to go back centuries.  If you recall, I wrote about a Depression era craze of folks competing over threading a needle in record time...or even using two threads.  But today I wondered, who is the woman on the needle threader?  We are all so used to seeing this gadget that I bet you didn't wonder either.  Or maybe you did...

Many sources suggest that the woman on the threader is Ariadne, a character in an old Greek myth.  Ariadne was a Greek princess who apparently helped another Greek figure Theseus slay the Minotaur who was half man, half bull.

Now depending on which version you read, the Minotaur required sacrifices of young men and maidens in order to abate a plague or as retribution for a loss battle.  They had to travel into a labyrinth to the Minotaur and meet their fate.  The third sacrifice was to be Theseus, a prince who swore to slay the Minotaur.  

So how does our heroine Ariadne fit into the story?  Well, she had fallen madly in love with Theseus and offered him a ball of thread or yarn so that he could make his way out of the labyrinth.  Theseus did slay the Minotaur and made his way out of the labyrinth.  He took Ariadne with him but then abandoned her on an island (dirty rascal).  

Fortunately for Ariadne, Dionysus, the God of the Grape Harvest (hence wine), saw her sleeping on the island.  He fell in love with her and married her.

It is said he threw her crown into the heavens and it became the Corona Borealis constellation in the sky.

And out of this there is common needle threader because ultimately, thread or yarn was thought to symbolize saving one's life.

Other women are sometimes featured on older needle threaders like Minerva, the Roman goddess of handicrafts:

But if you know your ancient mythology, most of the stories that became Roman mythology originated in Greece.  I like Ariadne's story best.

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and please share your garden news by emailing me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Amanda Nye's Feathered Star Quilt


Often I am searching for something else in old newspapers and stumble upon another story that leads me down a different research hole.  I just wish today that I could tell you more about this amazing woman.

I've read about artists who had to paint with their feet/toes or even their mouths because their arms or hands are disabled.  I have never read about a person sewing, much less quilting with their feet.   In 1932, this item ran in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

In case you can't read the fine print, it says: "The above quilt was made by Amanda Nye in 1850.  It was made wither toes as she was born with dwarfed arm and learned to use her toes as we do our hands."

I did some research and found that the quilt is actually featured in The Quilt Index.  It was recorded there that Amanda Nye made the quilt top.  You can read more here.

Amanda Nye is an inspiration to us all!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Tuesday's This and That: April 25, 2023


Happy Tuesday!

Want to thank Carly who sent this link to me about a yo-yo pencil skirt that is being sold on Etsy!  

Not sure I would ever wear this, even when I was young and slim.  But it sure is an interesting concept!

Last Wednesday I gave my first and last lecture since the pandemic began.  It was bitter-sweet.  The guild was local and I enjoyed the visit so much.  The members were great and I really was regretful to close this chapter of my life.  

I've decided to run the program I gave to the guild on the blog so that is upcoming.  The program is called  "Designs STILL Worth Doing:  A Celebration of Ruby Short McKim."  I'm hoping to rephotograph some of the pieces this week so I can begin it next week.  I'll run one segment each week for as long as it takes.

This weekend my neighbor Andy will be mulching the front yard and I'm working like crazy to get the bed weeded and prepared.  Sometimes working like a mad woman out front leads to some disasters.  I didn't realize I had weeded out my Shasta Daisies until this week.  UGH!  Have you ever done this or made any other gardening mistake?  Please share with us for Flower Friday!

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, April 21, 2023

Flower Friday: April 21, 2023


Happy Flower Friday!

I haven't been working in the garden lately but am hoping to have a break in the schedule and get more work done!  The only thing I have to share:  hugging tulips.  I know they aren't really hugging.  But every time there is a storm, or a lot of wind, I see these two tulips clinging to each other.  It makes me happy to see them do this and happier that the rabbits haven't eaten them yet!

Sue on the other hand, has been working on her garden.  She told me earlier she was doing some transplanting.  The rest of these photos are from her!  Thank you Sue!

Don't you love when your flowers remind you of a friend?  Sue wrote, "My  chilhood girlfriends'  father was a chauffeur on an estate.  Years, and years and more years ago,  their mother gave me some of these violets that grew there.  I think of her every time I see them."

Pure white violets and below:
Violet among the violets!

Double Daffodil:

Virginia Bluebells which are now fading...


Lunaria or Money Plant:

Thank you Sue for these wonderful photos!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Tulip Time!

Today we are celebrating spring with a look at tulip textiles!

Here's a sweet coverlet made for a youngster's crib!

A colorful piece offered at Etsy!

A tulip border on an antique quilt top!

Mountain Mist Bowl of Tulips!

What's happening in your garden?  Please share with us by emailing me at

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023



How are you doing today?  Today's post is more of a Public Service Announcement as well as some history.

I had N-95 masks before the pandemic.  The reason is simple.  I learned years ago that the reason I was always getting sick in the spring was because I was allergic to tree pollen.  Really allergic.  It brought on seasonal allergies and I struggled to get my gardening done.  It wasn't until I saw an allergist that I found out that tree pollen (particularly red bud maples) were among my worse allergies.  Of course my neighborhood is full of those trees.

The doctor said:  "During tree pollen season here is what you do:  Keep your windows closed.  Use an air purifier in your house.  STAY INSIDE!"

"But I'm a gardener," I argued.

"Then wear a mask," he answered.

So my husband brought home a box of industrial N-95s that he used for his work as an engineer in big cement and lime plants.  When the pandemic broke out, we kept two for ourselves and donated the rest of the box to his niece who was a visiting nurse.

But this article is about the other piece of advice the allergist gave:  air purifiers.

This time of year, we always have air purifiers running in the house to abate the pollen.  But in my sewing room, I use an air purifier all year long.  The reason is simple:  Beth suggested it for those weeks when I am doing a lot of sewing.  Her reason was historic: she told me about the dreaded Fluff.

Fluff was a term used for cotton dust that caused lung diseases in workers at cotton mills and textile factories.  Two great articles about it are here and here.

Although none of us generate the kind of dust that a factory does, it is recommended for sewing and craft rooms (see here and here).

It's also why I vacuum my room 2x a week and use the long nozzle to collect dust in weird nooks and crannies.  But the air filter probably does the most work and I make sure to change the filters regularly and keep it in the center of the room where it does the most good.

That doesn't mean my sewing room is spotless.  There's a difference in organizing and cleaning.  I reorganize every few months (and then can't find anything) but I try to be fastidious about the dust.

Do you use an air purifier in your sewing space?  Would you consider it?

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Tuesday's This and That: April 18, 2023


How is your week going?  Today I have some articles that you might find interesting!


Back to babies!  Yes I've written about colors used for babies before but this article is fascinating!


This article focuses on the impact of government regulation and the woman's place in the home.  It's worth a read!

Wishing you a safe and happy day!

Monday, April 17, 2023

More Yo Yos!


Happy Monday!  

Louise and Sue sent wonderful things about yo-yo textiles so I decided to do Yo-Yo, part deux today.

Louise first wrote and sent a lot of information!  She had participated in a Yo-yo doll challenge and came in second place.  You can see all the dolls, including Louise's here.

She also made a yo-yo garland with buttons:

She reminded me of the yo-yo clowns that were made mid-century.  It was an aspect that I had intended to write about and then forgot.  When I was  about 6, my Nana Elsie made one for me and I loved it.  Somewhere along the line, it got lost (mom probably tossed it) but I did love the clown.  Did you have one?

What I didn't know was that there was a child's book featuring a yo-yo clown called Jingle Bell Jack and was published in the mid 1950s:

Louise also sent some articles from 1876-1888  that featured yo-yo making and projects:

Then Sue emailed me with some more treasures!  I think this pattern was from the 1970s:

And how about this yo-yo pillow.  It has 414 yo-yos! Check out the scale of the yo-yos--smaller than a penny.  Isn't this lovely?  I love how the backing really sets off the yo-yos:

Another Yo-yo pillow from Sue's collection:

Then there was this lovely coverlet that Sue found at a local flea market.  It was just hanging from a fence and she got it for a whopping $20 (great find Sue!).  It did require some maintenance but so well worth it!

Some of the yo-yos were created with as many as 3 pieces of scrap fabric!  WOW!

Here's the back of the coverlet and you can see how thrifty this maker was.  She wasn't letting any scraps go to the bin!

Thank you Sue and Louise for sharing your knowledge, photos, and examples!

Have a safe and happy day!