Friday, June 30, 2023

Flower Friday: June 30, 2023


Happy Friday!
It seems too soon for it to be the last day of June!  Are you ready for July?

Today is Flower Friday.  This year many of our gardeners have been facing challenges:  drought in some areas, excessive rain fall in others but this week both Barb and Sue reminds us that there are predators to our lovely flowers too!

Barb said that the other day she was drinking her coffee when she spied a deer only 3 feet outside her window.  They have eaten everything in her garden and nothing has deterred them this year.  Could be the drought but also I should add, Barb lives near me.  The only thing they left this year were these pretty Love in a Mist flowers:

Sue, who lives in a more rural area, shared this photo of false sunflower.  It is growing inside the fenced vegetable garden:

Also in Sue's vegetable garden is this rudbeckia.  She thinks it looks punky, perhaps because of the drought.  I agree.  I actually pulled a pretty sick looking plant from my garden yesterday.

Sue said everything outside the fenced garden has been devoured by what she refers to as "the hooved rodents."

Years ago, we had a trio of deer grazing through our gardens and we actually got photos of them.  It was 3 p.m. and they didn't seem to care about the traffic.  They were more interested in everyone's roses.

I'm not sure why we aren't seeing more here but we do have foxes in the neighborhood and that might be the deterrent.  I just wish they would go back to the woods and the city parks and eat there!

Over here in our garden, we have two lace-cap hydrangeas that seeded in the garden.  I had intended to give them to neighbors before the drought.  Now we will wait until the fall.  I call them "the twins" because one is blue and one is pink.  They are growing side by side but it illustrates how different a soil can be throughout the garden (pink is more alkaline; blue is more acidic).

The cottage garden is in full bloom now.  We frequently have people stopping by the front garden to see the flowers:

And in the back, some of the hydrangeas have bloomed and the butterfly bushes are just beginning:

Barb had written to me that she was looking forward to seeing blooms from successful gardeners.  I wouldn't call it success but just dumb luck that the deer haven't discovered us (*knock wood*).

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Southern Highland Intro


Good Morning!

I've been studying the Southern Highlands and thought I would write about it a few days, starting Sunday.  The Southern Highlands are located in a variety of southern states including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, & West Virginia.  The region is focused on the mountainous areas of the Appalachians in these states.  

A room of Southern Highland crafts.

Folks in that region often referred to them as "outlanders."  As one 1942 article cited, "they have retained the primitive ways with maximum dependence on the labor of their hands."  The population was originally of German descendant and had moved to the region from Pennsylvania.  Eventually it was settled more by people of Scottish and Irish descent.  

This particular area was already struggling when the Depression hit.  The lumber industry had declined after World War I; textile and coal plants had overproduced and wages were low (when there were jobs).  To make matters worse, agricultural advances had not been known or implemented in this region.  The land itself was, as one source put it, "exhausted."  Added to those woes was the Drought of 1930 in the region.

When relief workers went to the region during the Depression, they were shocked to find that in some areas, 80 percent of the population was unemployed.

But surprisingly, one of the aspects that saved the region was the crafts created by the locals.  

In 1925, a woman named Olive Dame Campbell and a missionary named Francis Goodrich saw the potential in the crafts that the mountain folks created.  In 1930 an exhibit of these crafts was opened and in the same year, The Southern Highland Craft Guild was created.

Even Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes supported the craft based economy during the Depression.

It's very possible that you already have seen some PBS specials on the crafts of this region.  In 1925, Olive Dame Campbell founded the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.  And then in1929, Penland School was created in Penland, N.C. by a woman named Lucy Morgan.  Both schools were specifically for arts/crafts and continue today. 

This subject has so many stories but for next week I'm going to focus on the impact of the culture during World War 2 and also what I can find out about quilt patterns.

One of the crafts this region is most known for are woven coverlets.  If you like them, you might enjoy reading this article.

Tomorrow is Flower Friday!  If you have any blooms to share, please email me at!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Designs Still Worth Doing: The Art Deco Quilts


In 1928, the McKim Studio offered a catalog, Adventures in Needlecraft.  Among the designs advertised was one that was very unusual in comparison with McKim's other designs.

This pattern was a pattern for adult bedrooms.  The pattern was marketed in the catalog (and later ones like Designs above) with this text:

"One woman said, 'Before I catch the quilt fever, I'll have to see a pattern that's entirely different and stunningly beautiful.'  The Oriental Poppy is the answer, and besides filling those requirements it is really quite simple to make.  The pieced poppy is all straight sewing, the sort that may be run up on the sewing machine, while the bottom half of the block has two leaves and a stem that whips down by hand."

A top from my collection, circa 1930.  How big is that motif?
Pretty big!

I've been asked "is this one of those new modern quilts available today?"  Well it's an old modern quilt...from the first modern quilt period of the 1920s and so Art Deco!

Despite reassurances from McKim that this was an easy pattern to piece, I found it was too difficult for my poor skills.  Also it might have been more challenging because I wanted a small wall hanging and not a big piece.  I ended up doing a paper pieced version.  

It's okay but doesn't have the same impact as the big top from the era.

Also in 1928, Better Homes and Garden offered McKim a position as Home Arts Editor.  Many of her quilt patters were featured in the magazine.  Her feature was called "Adventures in Home Beautifying" and featured a different in the house each month.  She also included a variety of needlework that women could include in their home.

Additional Art Deco patterns were introduced via Better Homes including the Rose, the Iris, the Pansy, and the Tulip:

I have the tulip quilt in my collection, circa 1930:

The question always is:  Are these designs still worth doing?  Well Eleanor Burns certainly thought so, her pattern is slightly different but certainly an homage to McKim's original pattern:

Would you consider making any of these quilts?

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Tuesday's This and That: June 27, 2023


Happy Tuesday!

 Kudos to Sue!

Well you just can't keep a good woman down.  Despite Sue's broken femur, she continues to sew.  YOU GO GIRL!  Years ago I took some tops to our quilt study meeting for anyone who wanted a project.  Sue was up to the challenge!  The tops were a flimsy muslin so she added two borders to them.  I think they really set the quilt off!

Sue finished quilting these while she recovers.  I am in awe!


Here's a video that Sue shared that I think many of you will appreciate.  Claudia Pfeil was the woman in Germany who collected blue and yellow blocks to make quilts for Ukrainian refugees.  She collected (according to the video) over 22,000 blocks!  And she also received blocks and finished quilts.  This is a wonderful way to spend some time.  See it here.


Some sunbonnets from Baxter and McDowell!

Applique Crib Cover:  left and right side, 1920.

Party handkerchief design, 1925:

Knitting bag, 1919:

Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, June 26, 2023

Harriet Powers Revisited


Happy Monday!

Well I received some input about the Harriet Powers post last week and thought I would share them today.

Sue highly recommends these books about Harriet Powers and her quilts:

And a children's book for ages 8-11:

Louise shared a stereograph from 1895.  The quilt was featured in the Negro Building at the Atlanta Exposition that year.

The Inter Ocean newspaper in Chicago, featured some images from the Bible Quilt in December of 1895.  Part of the headline was "Sight at Atlanta Show.  A Unique Quilt by an Illiterate Mammy.  Shows the Garden of Eden and a Good Part of its Diversified Population."

Thanks Sue and Louise!

Have a safe and happy day!

Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Sunday Garden: June 25, 2023


Happy Sunday!

It's a rainy weekend in the Lehigh Valley and we are welcoming it with open arms!  I'm still trying to entertain Sue as she recovers.  It will be a while.  Fortunately, there is always a lot going on in the garden!

Both front and back gardens are all mulched.  Thank you Andy!  He's not only a sweet young man but he keeps telling me I'm paying him too much.  He mulched all the beds in the back in a record 45 minutes.  Oh to be young and strong and in my twenties again!  The mulching couldn't have come at a better time.  We had just gotten rain and it's always best to mulch at that time.  But it's been unusually breezy throughout the season this year.  The mulch is a nice blanket and keeps the garden from drying out too quickly.

On Monday, I was standing in the garden when Andy came over.  "Look!" I pointed to the lace cap hydrangea.  The rain had prompted a huge amount of blooms.  "Wow!" Andy said and we both stood a few moments and stared at the bush.  The blooms were covered in bees, it seemed like hundreds of them; there were honey bees and a variety of bumble bees. The lace cap flowers literally trembled with all the activity.  "That," Andy said.  "Is so AWESOME!"  I love that Andy appreciated the importance of the bees.  I think Andy is pretty awesome.

More things are blooming in the garden.  Including the lilies, cone flowers, shasta daisies and the stella d'oro lilies (complete with a bee).

The Oakleaf Hydrangea is in full bloom and also full of bee activity.  The little honey bees get in so deep that you often can't see them except for the petals moving.

The front yard needs weeding, thinning, and pruning but I'm just letting things go right now.  I don't want to disturb the wildlife there and my hands and knee need a break.  

I think that most of you know that I write my blog posts days ahead of time.  For a few weeks, I've been checking out the garden in the evening when it gets dark.  I've been reading many articles that suggest that fireflies may become endangered.  Pesticides and development of the habitat appear to be a big factor in the declining population.  There are just some things that children should see and appreciate and lightning bugs (as we call them around here) are high on that list.

My husband would ask me after I was out at night:  "See any?"  All too often my answer was "no" and a rare, "just one..."

Last weekend the city celebrated Juneteenth and Saturday night (to our surprise) fireworks were ignited at the stadium.  Our house is nestled on a hill and we always get a good view of the fireworks so my husband and I went out to watch.  I looked down at the garden and grabbed my husband's arm, "LOOK!"  The flower beds were full of lightning bugs, they gleamed and flickered; we stopped counting after 25.  Each flower bed was full.  There didn't appear to be any at my neighbors.

There are times when the hard work and obsession with the garden comes to fruition.  It's a moment of transcendence; suddenly things like the sore hands and knees are meaningless in the big scheme of the world.  The fireflies glimmered unaware of the impact on us.  It was a great show, much better than the fireworks in the sky above.

Have a safe and happy day!