Friday, February 28, 2014

Bear Tracks Quilt Block and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge

Bear Tracks Quilt Block Pattern Information
 
This month, I participated in the 3rd Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge as well as the Reading to Know Classic Book Club. I read the first two books in her Little House Series, Little House In the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie.  These are actually re-reads for me, having read them when I was growing up and later with my sons and my students.  I have a classroom set of 25 copies of each book from when I was teaching 3rd and 4th grades! 
 
My favorite chapter in Little House in the Big Woods is called "Two Big Bears."  Ma accidentally slaps a bear, thinking it is Sukey, the cow.  Pa is scared of a bear in the nighttime that turns out to be nothing but a stump!
 
The best part of reading Little House on the Prairie is seeing how similar my great-grandfather's experience was with that of the Ingalls family.  The Ingalls family lived near Independence, Kansas from 1869-1871.  My great-grandfather, James Lynch, moved to Kansas in 1867, two years earlier than the Ingalls family, and settled about 100 miles north of them. 
 
My grandmother (his daughter) wrote a biography about him.  Here are some excerpts:
 
"James stayed in Illinois until November 1867 when he went to Kansas after getting letters from former neighbors. . . These neighbors had written to him that he could buy cheap land in Kansas.  He took the train to Topeka and the stage to Burlingame (in Osage County, Kansas) and visited these friends.  He bid on and bought 134 acres at four dollars per acre.  He then went to live with his younger brother Thomas and worked there that winter to get money to farm with.

"The next year, he (James) used a breaking plow hitched to a pony and an oxen and worked for Mr. Condell to pay for the use of them.  He made posts and used smooth wire to fence his land.  He later bought two oxen.  The grass was shoulder high.  His land was next to Elm Creek, with running water and shade.  On week-ends, he walked to Burlingame and back to get supplies (fifteen miles one way).  He bought lumber in Burlingame to build a one-room house east of where the present house is.  Mr. Condell and Mr. Cunningham were kind to James and took care of him when he was ill with ague.  It was a form of malaria, with chills and fever.  It came on regularly each afternoon, so he could only work in the mornings.

"There was only one house between his place and Emporia.  It was the Phillips rock house.  It was a stage rest stop and inn between Emporia and Burlingame, a distance of thirty miles.  There were many Indians near his land, but they gave no trouble.  They camped in the timber south of his house and came begging.  He would dig a hole in the ground to hide his meat and other foods they wanted, so they couldn't find it.  In 1868, the government rounded up the Indians in that timber and sent them to a reservations in Oklahoma.  Some wandered back and stayed around." 
 
James and Caroline Lynch Wedding Photo
Emporia, Kansas
March 3, 1880
 
I have made a quilt to go with his complete biography.  My grandfather led a very interesting life!  Click here if you'd like to see my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Country Farm Quilt Block and Tea with Susan Branch.

Country Farm Quilt Block and Tea with Susan Branch

Country Farm Quilt Block Pattern Information

 Join me for tea with author and artist Susan Branch!  We'll read her new book, A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, that just arrived from the library.

 
My family and I exchanged homes with a family from England sixteen years ago, and reading Susan's book brings back so many memories of the 3-1/2 weeks we spent there.  It was a wonderful experience for my family, and we fell in love with England just like Susan did. 
 
 
I received two of these cups and saucers from a student.  He and his mother were in an antique store and saw them.  Knowing my love for blue and white dishes, he said, "Mom, we have to get these!" 

 
I love the blue rose pattern.
 

It's the Elizabeth pattern, made in England by Johnson Brothers.  Susan writes about the excitement around the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's ascendancy to the throne.   



 
If you have ever been to England or would just love to go, I recommend reading Susan's book.  Her hand-written and beautifully illustrated books are always wonderful.  And she is a Friend of Gladys Taber, just like me! 
 

Some photos from our own English countryside experience
 


 
 



It was a wonderful experience that we'll never forget!
 
Have you ever done a home exchange with another family?  Inquiring minds want to know!  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, courtesy of Plume Books.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  The two winners will be announced on March 1.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Farmer's Daughter Quilt Block and What's on Your Nightstand?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Farmer's Daughter Quilt Block and What's on Your Nightstand?

Farmer's Daughter Quilt Block Pattern Information

I'm participating in the monthly feature, What's on Your Nightstand?
Participants post what they've been reading the past month as well as what they're planning to read in the future.

Baby Board Books:
This month my husband and I began a Grand Book Club with our nine-month-old grandson who lives in another state.  I sent him some books and bought copies of the same books for us.  Ahead of time, his parents read the books to him several times, so he would be familiar with them.  We connected on Face Time, and I read aloud Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton to him while he followed along with his own book.  His dad sat with him, but my grandson  turned the pages.  Later, we had another book club "meeting," and I read Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton while he and his mom followed along with their own book.  It is hard living so far from our grandson, but modern technology has made it easier to have a good relationship.  I keep all of our book club books together, so we can quickly have a book club "meeting" whenever our grandson is up for one.  

 
 
Picture Books:    
With my third graders at school, we read the typical version of the fairy tale
Cinderella along with Bubba the Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman.  One boy was horrified that I was expecting him to read Cinderella but quickly got into it once he saw that we were comparing/contrasting it to Bubba the Cowboy Prince

Middle Grade/Young Adult Books:
I am currently reading Wayside School Is Falling Down by Louis Sachar with one group of 5th graders.  These are wonderful books for reluctant readers.  It makes my day when a student reads ahead of his assigned pages!  It's all they can do not to tell us what's going to happen next! 

With my other group of 5th graders, I'm reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, 1978 Newbery Medal winner. 

For the Third Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge,  I read Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  These are re-reads for me.  I love these books, but it is more fun for me to read them with children!  My family and I have visited the Little House on the Prairie site near Independence, Kansas.  I also read Little House on the Prairie as part of the Reading to Know Classics Book Club

Book Club Books:
For the free, online Quilters' Book Club, I read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  You can read all my posts about this book right here.

My local book club read The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.  To be honest, I did not get all the way through it.  I found it very confusing, as did most of the other book club members.  I wish I had read a summary of it ahead of time;  that might have made it more understandable.  I should have probably taken notes along the way.  And I didn't realize until a member pointed it out to us that there was a symbol at the beginning of each chapter to let readers know which character was narrating that chapter.  I give myself permission to not finish a book I really don't like!

Audio Books:
I listened to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother written and read by Amy Chua.  "Amy Chua explores the differences in Chinese and American parenting styles and how both cultures clash and overlap in her own life as she raises two daughters."  While I certainly don't agree with the ultra-strict, demanding way she raised her daughters, I think there are some things American parents can learn from her.  

What's on Your Nightstand?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, courtesy of Plume Books.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  The two winners will be announced on March 1.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Writer's Block Quilt Block and an Interview with Author Jennifer Chiaverini.        

Monday, February 24, 2014

Writer's Block Quilt Block and an Interview with Author Jennifer Chiaverini

Writer's Block Quilt Block Pattern Information

This month, the Quilters' Book Club is reading Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  We invite you to join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.  

Chiaverini was interviewed by Penguin Books as part of the reading guide for Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker:

How would you best describe Elizabeth Keckley? How would you describe her relationship with Mary Lincoln?
Elizabeth Keckley was a woman of remarkable strength, courage, perseverance, and dignity. She was exceptionally talented, but also very diligent and ambitious, and together those qualities enabled her to deliver herself from slavery and become a successful businesswoman. In their written reflections, people who knew her during her lifetime refer admiringly to her natural grace and dignity, her integrity, her lovely speaking voice, and her beauty. As for her relationship with Mary Lincoln, for as long as their friendship endured, it was, for the most part, mutually beneficial, strengthened by shared experiences and tragedies. Mary Lincoln provided Elizabeth Keckley with opportunities for social and economic advancement she probably had never imagined during her years as a slave, while Elizabeth offered Mary the loyal, steadfast friendship she craved but had always found so elusive.

President Lincoln is often characterized by his calm, thoughtful, and wise demeanor. The same, however, can’t be said for Mrs. Lincoln. In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, you paint a picture of a complex, yet fascinating woman with mood swings and emotional outbursts but who also possesses a strong and confident presence. Can you describe your insights on her character? Why is she such an intriguing person, not just in your book but also in history?
Despite the volumes of historical and psychological research devoted to Mary Lincoln, she remains an enigma. She was the first wife of a U. S. president to be called First Lady, and she was then and remains to this day one of the most controversial. Regrettably, descriptions of her tend to fall into the extremes of caricature: She is either portrayed as an unstable, shrill, vicious, corrupt shrew who made President Lincoln utterly miserable, or as a devoted wife and mother and a brilliant, shrewd, political partner whose reputation was savaged by biased male historians. As a friend and confidante who observed Mary Lincoln closely in moments of triumph as well as tragedy, Elizabeth Keckley knew her as a real woman, full of flaws and virtues and surprises like any other. It was this far more nuanced woman that Elizabeth Keckley depicted in the pages of her memoir, and since Elizabeth Keckley is my narrator, I shaped the character of Mary Lincoln according to her perceptions.

If you'd like to make a quilt block to represent Mary Todd Lincoln, here are some ideas to get you started:

Kentucky Chain Quilt Block

Lincoln Quilt Block (an Eleanor Burns video) - you have to go about halfway in to hear the instructions.  Before that, she shows many Tales from First Ladies completed quilts.

Lincoln's Hat Quilt Block (a video)

Lincoln's Platform Quilt Block

After reading the book, did your opinion of Mary Todd Lincoln change?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1.

In March, the Quilters' Book Club will be reading and discussing A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue.  It's a mystery set in New York and is second in her Someday Quilts Mysteries Series.  Get the book from your library or local bookstore now and be ready to join us! 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Birthday Cake Quilt Block and Texas Sheet Cake.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Birthday Cake Quilt Block and Texas Sheet Cake

Birthday Cake Quilt Block Pattern Information

At school, we celebrate staff birthdays one day each month.  The Reading Interventionists and the 4th grade teachers were responsible for hosting the party this month.  We decided to celebrate the February birthdays by having a Salad and Dessert luncheon.  We coordinated our plans so that we had a variety of salads and desserts, along with homemade rolls.  Here's what I brought:

Texas Sheet Cake
1 cup butter
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Combine butter, cocoa, and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Set aside.
3.  Sift together dry ingredients; stir in chocolate mixture, then sour cream and eggs. 
4.  Pour into a greased jelly-roll pan.  Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick tests clean.*
5.  Top with Chocolate Frosting while still hot.  Serves 24.

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup baking cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
16-ounce package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa, and milk and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.  Beat well.  Pour on hot cake. 

*Because I live at high altitude, I use an 11" x 15" x 2" pan that has taller sides than a jelly roll pan. 

Cranberry Pineapple Salad
1-3/4 cup water
1 (6 ounce) package raspberry-flavored jello
1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
¾ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped celery

1.  Bring water to a boil and remove from heat.  Add jello and stir until dissolved.
2.  Break up cranberry sauce and stir into jello until the cranberry sauce has dissolved.  Add pineapple, orange juice, lemon juice, walnuts, and celery. 
3.  Pour into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Chill until firm. 

You might also enjoy my previous blog post Stitcher's Square Quilt Block and the Main Character Elizabeth Keckley in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

Stitcher's Square Quilt Block and Main Character Elizabeth Keckley in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

10" Stitcher's Square Quilt Block Pattern Information

Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.  To join, become a follower of my blog so you won't miss any blog post.  To make it super convenient, you can also sign up for my posts to be delivered right to you via email.  If you love to quilt and read, please join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.  
 
Our book to read and discuss during February 2014 is Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Get the book from your local library or bookstore and join us!  If you want to read it on your Kindle, you can get it here.


Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker was Elizabeth Keckley.  Here is some additional background information on her from American National Biography Online:

"Keckley, Elizabeth Hobbs (1820?-26 May 1907), White House dressmaker during the Lincoln administration and author, was born in Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia, the daughter of George Pleasant and Agnes Hobbs, slaves. Her birth date is variously given from 1818 to 1824 based on different documents that report her age. The identity of her father is also uncertain; in later life Keckley reportedly claimed that her father was her master, Colonel A. Burwell. George Pleasant, who was owned by a different master, was allowed to visit only twice a year and was eventually taken west.

"Elizabeth's life as a slave included harsh, arbitrary beatings 'to subdue her stubborn pride,' frequent moves to work for often poor family members, and being 'persecuted for four years' by Alexander Kirkland, a white man, by whom she had a son. Her life improved when she was loaned to a Burwell daughter, Anne Garland, with whose family Keckley moved to St. Louis. There, her labor as a dressmaker was the sole support of the Garland household of seventeen members for more than two years. Because of her skill, engaging personality, and capacity for hard work, she developed a devoted clientele among the city's elite women. She persuaded the Garlands to set a price, $1,200, for her freedom and that of her son. In St. Louis (probably in 1852) she married James Keckley, a man who had told her he was free but was actually a "dissipated" slave. Because of the strain of supporting both her husband and the Garlands, she could not save the money needed to purchase her freedom. Her customers raised it among themselves, however, and the Deed of Emancipation was registered in 1855. With her labor now her own, she was soon able to repay the loan. In 1860 she separated from her husband and moved to Washington, D.C., where she set up a dressmaking establishment that trained dozens of young women over the years."  Continue to read more at American National Biography Online.

If you'd like to make a quilt block to represent Elizabeth Keckley, here are some ideas to get you started:

Calico Spools Quilt Block shown below

Miniature Spools Quilt Block

Notions Quilt Blocks paper-pieced patterns for a pin cushion and a button jar

Star of Virginia Quilt Block


Calico Spools Quilt Block

Do you also make clothing, or do you only make quilts?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1. 

In March, the Quilters' Book Club will be reading and discussing A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue.  It's a mystery set in New York and is second in her Someday Quilts Mysteries Series.  Get the book from your library or local bookstore now and be ready to join us! 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Hairpin Catcher Quilt Block and a Bad Hair Day.
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hairpin Catcher Quilt Block and a Bad Hair Day

Hairpin Catcher Quilt Block Pattern Information

Yesterday at school, one of my third grade boys asked me if I was having a personal Crazy Hair Day!  (Once or twice a year, our student council sponsors a Crazy Hair Day just for fun.)  I asked him if my hair looked crazy.  "Your hair is sticking out all over the place!" he replied.  I had been outside for parking lot duty before school began, but STILL!  If you truly want an honest opinion about your hair, just ask a child.  They will be completely honest with you!  I stopped at the grocery store after school to look for something to help prevent static electricity from making my hair go crazy!  

Bad Hair Day

I can't do a thing with my hair-do.
I've tried but it's simply no use.
I can't make it stay where I put it today
with styling gel, hair spray or mousse.

No bobby pin, brush or bandana,
can get my hair under control.
I've tried every comb, every clip in my home,
but still I resemble a troll.

I've tried using forks in frustration.
I've tried using pokers and picks.
I've tried using straps; I've tried headbands and caps.
I've even tried shoestrings and sticks.

Regardless of how I attack it,
with rolling pins, wrenches or rakes,
it's simply no use, I'm the Gorgon Medusa;
my hair is a bundle of snakes.

By Kenn Nesbitt

What do you do when you have a bad hair day?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1.  

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block and the Theme of Sorrow and Tribulation in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block and the Theme of Sorrow and Tribulation in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block

Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.  To join, become a follower of my blog so you won't miss any blog post.  To make it super convenient, you can also sign up for my posts to be delivered right to you via email.  If you love to quilt and read, please join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.  
 
Our book to read and discuss during February 2014 is Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Get the book from your local library or bookstore and join us!  If you want to read it on your Kindle, you can get it here.


If you'd like to make a quilt block to represent the theme of sorrow and tribulation in this book, here are some ideas to get you started:

Theme of Sorrow and Tribulation:

Broken Heart Quilt Block

Dark and Light Star Quilt Block

Job's Tears Quilt Block shown below

Mother's Dream Quilt Block

Stings and Arrows Quilt Block

Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block shown above

Job's Tears Quilt Block

Mrs. Lincoln and Elizabeth both suffer terrible tragedies.  How do they respond differently to the trials that life throws at them?   Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1.  

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Friendship Scrap Block Quilt Block and the Theme of Friendship in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Friendship Scrap Quilt Block and the Theme of Friendship in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

Friendship Scrap Block Quilt Block
 
Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.  To join, become a follower of my blog so you won't miss any blog post.  To make it super convenient, you can also sign up for my posts to be delivered right to you via email.  If you love to quilt and read, please join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.  
 
Our book to read and discuss during February 2014 is Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Get the book from your local library or bookstore and join us!  If you want to read it on your Kindle, you can get it here.


If you'd like to make a quilt block to represent the theme of friendship in this book, here are some ideas to get you started:

Theme of Female Friendships:

Best Friends Quilt Block

Friendly Hand Quilt Block

Friendship Block Quilt Block

Friendship Circle Quilt Block

Friendship Scrap Block Quilt Block shown above

Friendship Star Quilt Block

Friendship Star Variation Quilt Block

Friend's Star Quilt Block

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Lincoln tells Elizabeth, “You are the only good, kind friend I have anymore, and I don’t know how I shall get along without you” p. 259.  Is the friendship one-sided or do you think that Mrs. Lincoln is also a friend to Elizabeth?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1.  

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Four Winds Quilt Block and February Weather.
 

Four Winds Quilt Block and February Weather

Four Winds Quilt Block Pattern Information

Windy Nights
 
Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
   A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
   And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
   By at the gallop goes he;
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.

by Robert Louis Stevenson
 
We certainly have been having windy weather in Colorado.  Perfect for quilting and reading and sitting by the fire!  What has your February weather been like?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  Winner will be announced March 1. 
 
You might also enjoy my previous blog post Rosebud Quilt Block and Tea Time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rosebud Quilt Block and Tea Time

Rosebud Quilt Block Pattern Information

Come enjoy a Rose and Raspberry tea with me!

 
Valentine Roses from My Husband
 
Raspberry Tea Pot from My Mother
Depression Glass Creamer and Sugar from a Friend
 
Winter Inside
Winter is cold.
Winter is ice.
But winter inside
Is cozy and nice.
Winter is snow.
Winter is sleet.
But winter inside
Is fireplace feet.
Winter is bitter.
Winter is biting.
But winter inside
Is very inviting.
by Douglas Florian

 
Here is Louisa May Alcott's mother's recipe for making tea:
 
"The proper way to make a cup of good tea, is a matter of some importance.  The teapot is at once filled up with boiling water; then the tea is put into the pot, and is allowed to stand five minutes before it is used.  The leaves gradually absorb the water; and as gradually sink to the bottom.  The result is, that the tea leaves are not scalded, as they are when boiling water is poured over them, and you get all the true flavor of the tea.  In truth, much less is required in this way than under the old and common practice." - from her small leather-covered receipt (recipe) book, 1856
 
When you make tea, what do you put into the teapot first - the boiling water or the tea?  Inquiring minds want to know!   Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Eight Hands Round Quilt Block and Quilt Confession Bingo.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eight Hands Round Quilt Block and Quilt Confession Bingo



Eight Hands Around Quilt Block Pattern Information

My guild celebrated it's third birthday on Saturday with a party.  One of the games we played was Quilt Confession Bingo.  We had to find a different person to sign each box of our Bingo card.  Whoever got all 24 boxes signed first was the winner.  I thought you might enjoy reading what was in each Bingo box in case you'd like to play this in your guild:
 
B
My spouse buys fabric for me.
I made my own nametag.
My quilt has been in a show!
My seam ripper is my most used tool.
Thimbles, who needs them!  I've bled on a quilt.
 
I
I own more than 2 sewing machines.
I (heart) yellow (the most commonly disliked color).
I'm a member of another guild!
In the last year, I made a quilt for me.
I met Anna Marie Horner, Latifah Saafir AND Jacquie Gering.
 
N
I thoroughly enjoy stippling.
I have a HUGE stash!
FREE SPACE
I have so many UFO's my house is a spaceship.
I (heart) paper piecing.
 
G
I label everything!
My husband IS my seam ripper.
I own a Juki.
I've made a guild baby block!
I have 2 show-and-tells today.
 
O
I have a tiny stash.
I have a long arm, and I know how to use it.
I've gone to a guild retreat.
2014 is my first year in the guild.
I collect strange fabric.
 
Are you a member of a guild?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Civil War Housewife in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.
 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Civil War Housewife in Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

My Housewife with Stork Scissors Attached

Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.  To join, become a follower of my blog so you won't miss any blog post.  To make it super convenient, you can also sign up for my posts to be delivered right to you via email.  If you love to quilt and read, please join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.  
 
Our book to read and discuss during February 2014 is Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Get the book from your local library or bookstore and join us!  If you want to read it on your Kindle, you can get it here.


In the book, Elizabeth Keckley, Mrs. Lincoln's modiste or dressmaker, receives a letter from the captain of Company D, First Missouri Volunteers, informing her that her son has been killed at the Battle of Wilson's Creek.  When she receives George's personal effects the next week, included was a housewife - a sewing kit that could be rolled up and tied.  

This housewife was essential for Civil War soldiers, who needed to be able to repair their uniforms.  It's also a very useful kit for modern quilters today.  Here are some photos of my housewife that I made with my Persian Pickle Club quilting group.

The Outside of My Housewife

 
My Housewife Starting to Be Rolled Up


My Housewife Almost Rolled Up
 
My Housewife Completely Rolled Up and Tied
 
What do you use as a sewing kit?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  Plume Books is generously offering two copies of the book.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Job's Tears Quilt Block and Abraham Lincoln's Birthday.