Friday, August 28, 2009

Flashback Friday – Mabel Edna Tracy Creech

Mabel was my mother’s mother. She graduated from the Training School for Nurses at the Methodist Episcopal Hospital in Brooklyn, NY in 1903.

Mabel is the second from the left in the top row. I still have her nursing cap.
Mabel was born in 1879. Her mother died when she was only 11 years old in 1890. Mabel was taken under the wing of my granddad Fremont Chapin and his wife Ella. Mabel was married to Clarence Creech from the Chapin’s house. Mabel and Clarence moved to Denver, Colorado. My mother, Frances, was born in 1910. Mabel died when Frances was only five years old in 1916.
Here is where the story gets interesting. Fremont and Ella Chapin rushed to Denver to take care of Frances. Her father, Clarence, was unable to cope with raising a young girl. Fremont and Ella took Frances back to New York to raise her as they had raised her mother. The Chapins adopted Frances.
So, in a way, Frances was her mother’s “sister.” That would make Mabel my aunt as well as my grandmother because Fremont Chapin was always my granddad. I wrote about Fremont’s memories of Abraham Lincoln in January.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Julia Child in our kitchen

Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, has been in our kitchen* for a long time. Our friend Nanci Burton gave us (lent us?) the book in 1969. Julia has communed with Robert more than with me. He is the one that is always looking up recipes and techniques in her book.

We saw the movie Julie & Julia this weekend. I loved it, every minute of it. I want to see it again and find all the details that flashed by on the screen too fast to comprehend. I think I’ll have to find a girlfriend to go with. Robert liked the movie very much, but he does not want to go again.

*Picture of Julia Child from Wikipedia superimposed on our kitchen. Portrait of Child taken with large-format Polaroid camera by Elsa Dorfman, October 12, 1988. Used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Flashback Friday – where we hung out

Robert and I met in 1964. It was love at first sight (for me). But we had lived parallel lives when we were children in the early 1950s.
We both loved to go to Holmes Books at 274 14th Street in Oakland, California. I used to walk over to Holmes from my father’s business at 18th and Jefferson. I’d settle down on the floor in the children's section and read Bobbsey Twins books. Robert used to take the bus to downtown Oakland from his home on East 33rd. He would hunker down on the floor on the boy’s side of the section and read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and Mars books.

We both remember the marvelous smell of Holmes Books and the wooden floors. We had money to buy books, but we would read a complete book while sitting on the floor before we made our purchases. We compared memories years later.

We took classes and workshops at the Snow Museum by Lake Merritt and we both knew the names of the resident skunks – Rose and Petunia. Of course back in day he was one of those “boys” and I wasn’t at all interested.

This memory came back to me strongly when I read Warty Mammal’s blog about books yesterday. I think we have just as many books as she does only ours are not arranged so neatly.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garden soup

Robert has made this nice summer soup a couple of times to sustain me whilst I sew my calendar blocks together.
He sautéed fresh picked vegetables from the garden in a tablespoon of olive oil. The vegetables were: baby carrots (sliced thin), small beets (sliced thin), beet tops (chopped), a baby zucchini (sliced thin), fresh dill (1-1/2 teaspoons), and one large ripe tomato (chopped). He added a tablespoon of flour to the sautéed vegetables, and then added two cups of chicken broth and simmered the soup until the vegetables were tender. He adds a pinch and a half of sea salt, but you can salt to your taste.
He served the soup with dollops of sour cream. His fresh bread accompanied the garden soup.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

My favorite picture

This is the picture I have on my computer screen. I really like it. The old bridge will not be here in a few months so I am glad I captured the photo on a perfect day. I love living here. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here is the scoop

Actually, the scoops. This is a two-scoop ice cream cone block. Perhaps strawberry ice cream or maybe raspberry sherbet.
I made this cone block for my July calendar quilt project. I needed a substitute block for the popsicle block. I love the popsicle block, but I ran into a potential problem when I decided I might enter the calendar quilt in a show. The entry form asks the question, “Original design?”

All of the blocks, except two, were my own original designs and the overall design of the quilt is my original idea. The 5-pointed star which I used for the 4th of July is a reduction of an 8-inch pattern I found on Marcia Hohn’s Quilter’s Cache site. She states her terms and conditions on her site, and specifically says, “You may show your quilts made from my Original patterns or Traditional patterns in quilt shows, giving pattern credit to The Quilter's Cache/Marcia Hohn.” I wrote to Marcia just to double check and she wrote back giving me specific permission to use this block. That takes care of that.

The popsicle block was a free 6-inch block from Quiltmaker magazine for Project Linus. It was designed by Lisa Schafer for this charitable purpose. I reduced the size of the block when I was making my block-a-days. I gave a reference to the free pattern on line when I posted it on my blog (July 14). Because the block was designed for a specific purpose it would not be right for me to use it in a show quilt entry. The hassles of getting permission seemed like a lot of work for this one little block. That’s why I designed my new ice cream cone block for the calendar quilt.

I’ve seen quilts made from my patterns hanging in quilt shows with no credit to the designer (me). That’s why this is important. I remember paging through a magazine and seeing a photo of a wall hanging made up of various sewing themed objects. One prominent part of the quilt was my Featherweight sewing machine block. I called the magazine and asked about it. They checked the form the quilter had submitted where she stated that the entire quilt was her original design. The magazine gave credit to my block in a later edition.

If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced two-scoop ice cream cone block, click on the small graphic below. You will go to full size foundations which you can print out for your own personal use. (If you ever enter the block in a quilt show, just give me credit. Thanks.)

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Right around this day in 1966

…our youngest son was born. He was a dear baby and his father took good care of him.

Davis inherited his dad’s caring and cooking genes. He is a marvelous cook and takes good care of his family. I am proud of him.
I made him a piece of cake for his birthday. It isn’t his favorite kind, but I didn’t have the ingredients for that one. Anyway, my cakes always taste a bit like cotton. It is a good thing he didn’t inherit my cooking gene.
If you want to make a 4-inch paper pieced slice of cake, click on the image below and you will find a foundation to print out for your own personal use.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

July was a good month

I’m going to sew my block-a-days for July in a calendar format like this:
I think I’ll use muslin for sashing. It might be fun to make a large picture (quilt) to go above all the 4-inch blocks. That would be calendar art. I’m pondering various scenes such as Mt. Diablo, or a garden with tomatoes. It might make a fun wall quilt.

August has already gone too far for me to start a new block-a-day program. Maybe I’ll do it again in September.

I added one new block to substitute for my “down the river road” block for the 28th. The new block is a sport shoe to pat myself on the back for keeping going on my walking program this year.

You can make a 4-inch shoe block (or a pair of them) by clicking on the small graphic below. You will find foundations to print out for your own personal use.

I made the July 1 block quite a while ago. It is called "Economy block." the foundation for this block is here.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Poor neglected thing

It was in a dim room. Its light was not on. It did not have thread on the spindle. If you looked carefully you could see cobwebs and dust bunnies gathering to attack it.

Poor thing.

All it needed was attention. It was ready to go into action and show off its skills. Suddenly, this July, the machine worked every day and loved it. It will never be neglected again.

I glued quilt batting fluff to the neglected machine block. Perhaps you can see it in the top photo. The machine didn’t really get dusty because the cleaning ladies take care of the sewing room regularly, but it was lonely until I started doing the block-a-day project.

Below you will find foundations for the 4-inch paper pieced sewing machine blocks. One block has two foundations to accommodate the spool pin. The other foundation is a one piece block (without the spool on top). Click on the small graphics below to find foundations to print out for your own personal use.

And, don’t ever neglect your machine for weeks at a time. Feelings can be hurt.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Block-a-day project

Whew, I finally finished my 31 block-a-days for the month of July. I have five finished blocks to post, but that would be too many for one day.

The harvest has been abundant around here. Our little ziggurat-style garden began by giving us one tomato a day, and now is producing four or five a day. We also have bought some delicious Brentwood corn at Dwelley Farms nearby. You probably already know how to make half-square triangles so I won’t bother with a template for the corn-tomato block.

We are having our tomatoes with every meal.

This is just a 4.5-inch square of some marvelous tomato fabric. You don’t need a foundation to make the block, just some of this luscious fabric called “Farmer’s Market” by RJR Fabrics.
I had to make some early July blocks to fill in the three days before I started doing a block-a-day on July 4. This block is called “Watching the Grass Grow” and symbolizes how bored I was before I started the project. It is a single attic window block.
Here is a 4-inch paper pieced foundation set if you want to make attic window blocks. Click on the small graphic below so you can print out your own foundations for your personal use.

I’ll show you the last of the 31 blocks tomorrow. I think the last two are kind of cute.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Two special days

Last month, there were two anniversary days. I am still getting caught up with my block-a-day project for the month of July so here are blocks celebrating these days.

First, a piece of “cake” for Toni.

It may look like a slice of pie, but it is a piece of cheesecake.

My daughter-in-law’s favorite cake is burnt almond, but I’ve never seen what it looks like (or tasted it). This birthday on July 25 she had to make do with a cheesecake. Toni is a wonderful daughter-in-law. She is tall and lovely, plus she is a quilter. What more could any mother-in-law want?

If you would like to make a 4-inch paper pieced cheesecake block, click HERE for the foundation pattern to print out for your own personal use. It’s called “pie” on the foundation, but you can “bake” a cheese cake, too.
We celebrated our 45th anniversary on July 26. The traditional symbol for this milestone is the gemstone Sapphire. We had a nice quiet day at home.
So here is the block for our anniversary:
You might want to make your own 4-inch paper pieced gemstone – say a ruby, emerald, or diamond. If you do, click on the small graphic below and you will find two foundations for putting together this block.

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