Category Archives: Needlecrafts

Nativity Quilt Ornament

Design by Mary Ayres

The pattern was on a page with lots of other images, which I edited out. Therefore, the original instructions to enlarge to 200% is probably wrong, unless the intent is to make a wall hanging rather than an ornament.

[Project from Crafts ‘n Things magazine, December 2007; design by Mary Ayres]

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Filed under Christmas, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Textile, Faith, Needlecrafts, Sewing

1932 Fashions

Pattern Number 3334

Patterns one could order from the 1932 Needlecraft magazine, February issue.

All patterns were 15 cents.

The Latest Fashion Book could be ordered for 10 cents, postpaid.

I’m not an accomplished seamstress (to say the least) but to me, these don’t look easy to sew.

My mother was not only accomplished at sewing, she learned the hard way.

She was 18 years old in 1932 and her parents bought her 2 new dresses each year. She sewed the rest of her wardrobe and told me that she also sewed her mother’s dresses.

This was done on a treadle sewing machine since she never lived in a house with electricity (or running water) until she moved away from home in 1937. In fact, all those clothes were scrubbed on a washboard with water drawn from the cistern, then heated (usually in an iron pot over an outdoor fire). The clothes were then hung out to dry and pressed with an iron which had been heated on the wood stove.

A far cry from our modern wash and wear cheap clothes. Clothing was a real investment in time and effort. The fabric was thicker and substantially made. It wore well and long.

Some of the clothing above in the pictures from the magazine remind me of the suit that Claudette Colbert wore on her journey with Clark Gable in “It Happened One Night”. Very nice outfit. Tasteful and practical for traveling.

(In fact, up until about 1970, there were clothes that were designed especially for traveling.)

I heartily encourage you to watch Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night”, (1934).

It won 5 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Writing, Adaptation

It is an absolute joy to watch.

Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1930s, Ephemera, Family, Fashion, Movies, Needlecrafts, Vintage Magazines

Books Read in October, 2009

Timeless Treasures Previous Review Timeless Treasures by Emilie Barnes

Dancing with Rose Dancing with Rose by Lauren Kessler

After her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Lauren Kessler took her guilt (years of ignoring her mother) and her journalism and went to work in an Alzheimer’s facility as an aide. Her goal was to learn more about the disease and get first hand experience with patients, then write about it. The resulting book is fascinating and easily readable, but troubling. Troubling not simply because it’s a tough subject and was a very tough job (she has my admiration for being willing to tackle the unpleasant physical labor).

Whether intentionally or not, she comes across as a voice of authority on approach to the disease, family vs. caregivers and the personality changes. Kessler stops just short of saying that who these people have become is really who they always were. She seems to catch before herself saying that these are people in their purest form, without all the restrictions that we put on ourselves to live in society. To me this is a ridiculous, silly and empty-headed view of Alzheimer’s. It is obviously a left-over philosophy from her hippie days. In fact, she says that she and her husband joke about nursing homes of the future: hash brownies and Black Sabbath music.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint about this book: the hidden buddhism. She doesn’t openly name her philosophy until nearly the end of the book, which I consider a cheat. Early in the book, and even without knowing her religion, I saw a pattern developing that bothered me. A more honest approach would’ve been to state it up front.

This was the second book on Alzheimer’s that I checked out from the Grapevine Library that took a buddhist approach to the disease and caregiving. The first book I didn’t even bother to read. If she had been more forthcoming , I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this one, either.

Because the other reason I resent her and her book, is that I wrongly took to heart something she said about a family member who was calling on the phone to talk to their parent. She wrote that she believed that they did it more for themselves than for the patient and that the patient would’ve been better off if they hadn’t called. I don’t know if she meant this as a general rule for everyone, but I took it to heart. We live in another state and can only get up to see my mother about every 3 weeks, so I call her on the phone in between times. With only one exception, she seems to enjoy the calls. But there was once when she was agitated and I thought maybe Kessler was right and I shouldn’t call; that it was making Mama unhappier. So, for several days I didn’t. Then I decided to call and talk to the nursing staff and get their opinion because they deal with her afterwards. I asked if she seemed worse after the phone conversations, more unsettled. Each one of them said that she enjoyed them and they considered that it was better for my mother if I did call. Then I felt like a lousy daughter for having taken Kessler’s advice. I don’t even know if she meant it generally, but that’s how I took it. She sure seems to think she’s one of the experts after her experiences.

Mrs. Miniver, Amazon listing Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther Previous review of book and movie. Related post.

A spoonful of poison

A Spoonful of Poison

A Spoonful of Poison, by M.C. Beaton

Published in 2008, this is the 19th Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton. Publisher’s Weekly referred to it as ‘saucy’, which I found perplexing. Surely I’m not more liberal than Publisher’s Weekly! Obviously that’s not so, therefore I really don’t know what they meant. There’s no hard language, descriptive sex or gruesome details.

Cozy mysteries are my favorites and I certainly think that M.C. Beaton is probably the best at this genre, after Agatha Christie. Of course, Christie was the best by far, but both the Agatha Raisin and the Hamish MacBeth stories and light, diverting and easy reads. One of the things I appreciate most about her books is the unexpected humor.

Sooner Cinema, Amazon listing Sooner Cinema – Oklahoma Goes to the Movies, Edited by Larry A. Van Meter

Being a native Oklahoman and a movie buff, I was very interested in reading this book. Van Meter is the editor, rather than the author, because the book is a compilation of 19 chapters by different writers, each focusing on either a film which was set in Oklahoma, or someone who was a native (i.e. Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory).

To be expected some of the chapters are better than others, but one that I found absolutely outrageous was the one by David Charlson called “Oklahoma Values in One Hour or Less: Gary Rhodes’ Banned in Oklahoma and Bradley Beesley’s Okie Noodling” .

Charlson is an instructor in English and Documentary Film at Oklahoma City Community College, which is really a shame. He is not a native and has nothing but disdain for the conservative atmosphere in the state. He is appalled that John McCain carried every single county in Oklahoma in the 2008 election (the only state in which this was true). He punishes conservative students who won’t watch one of his assigned films by giving them another choice: gruesomeness instead of child pornography.

Other chapters are about Cimmarron, True Grit, Silkwood,The Outsiders, Far and Away, Oklahoma Crude and The Grapes of Wrath, among others. The rest of the book is interesting, but Charlson’s chapter is so snide and irksome, it was a waste of time and money.

Handmade Home Handmade Home – Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule

Speaking of a waste of money brings me to Amanda Soule’s book. I bought this one while traveling home from Oklahoma and we stopped at a book store to stretch our legs. I should’ve known better than to stretch them in a book store because books are my biggest weakness. I usually buy used ones. Rarely do I pay full price and I have kicked myself repeatedly for doing it this time.

It is craft book, a sewing book, which is what I wanted. What I did not want was a new age/green/hippie book. But that’s what I got.

In the store, I briefly looked at the introduction (she talks about the family history of practicality, which I appreciate) and some of the projects like pot holders, wall pockets, and computer mouse pads. What I didn’t see until I got home was the publisher’s leaflet advertising their zen/new age books on family. Had I seen this, it would’ve been the Red Warning Flag: Carla, you will hate this book. And I do. I don’t even like the smell of it. They probably used strange ink.

Sewing books should be just that. I’m not interested in her personal beliefs. I don’t believe that I should have to carefully look through a SEWING book to see if I’m going to be offended. As I was for the “Women’s Cloth”. Gross. Just plain gross. Besides which Soule doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She wrongly opines “Disposable menstrual pads have become the norm only in the past 30 years or so …” (emphasis mine). I am almost 50 years old and disposables have been the norm and around a lot longer than me. How do I know? Because one of the things I collect is old magazines. Frankly I was surprised that these products and some of the ones I considered more modern were available as far back as they were.

So, there were happy experiences with books in October, and some which set my teeth on edge. And I didn’t even list the ones I started and gave up on.

My November reading is off to a good start. Kind of gets some of the bad taste out of my mouth.

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Filed under 1940s, Alzheimer's, Books, Cozy, Faith, Fiction, Movies, Needlecrafts, Oklahoma, Tea

Two Acts of Generosity

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Scarves by Fran

My very generous sister knitted these 2 pink scarves for us to give to the daughters of one of my husband’s co-workers.

They are a lovely family.  Came here from China about 15 years ago.  Had never even heard of Jesus, then an apartment neighbor shared the gospel and the whole family became Christians.  Solid, dedicated Christians.  This summer we were all at a company function and were delighted to get to know them better.

And since my sister is like a knitting machine (does she even knit in her sleep?), scarves, purses, shawls, prayer shawls, sweaters, etc. , I asked if she would make me one for the little girl and she surprised me with one for the older sister as well.  I don’t know if the photo shows it, but they are very soft.

Then yesterday, after lunch and the park with our son and grandsons, Joe said we were going to get a new hard drive for our computer.  The lament around here is that we’re out of space. They were  on sale and he got the last one in stock – in fact it was a return – at a good price.  I won’t show a photo of the hard drive because I (unlike all the men in our family) think the inner workings of a computer are boring and unattractive.

So, lovely things from lovely people.  Thanks to both of them.

 

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Filed under Faith, Family, Knitting, Needlecrafts