Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Antique Deck Chair

This antique deck chair is from the 1920s. It is oak with a caned seat, back and leg rest. We purchased it in the late 1970s from an antique dealer in NYC and I don't know the name of the ocean liner it once belonged to or even if it ever saw the deck of an ocean liner!

Caned seating began in England in the 17th century and has been popular ever since. This chair is caned with the ever popular (and familiar) six way caning that forms a star like pattern. This chair is hand caned.

While researching for some photos of artifacts from the SS Titanic to add to my book review of Titantic survivor Lawrence Beesley's "Loss of the SS Titanic" (you can read the review here or just scroll down to my previous post) I found this photo of a deck chair recovered from the sea. You can see that the back and leg rest are wood slats and only the seat is rattan. The seat may have been recaned later- I have seen photos of pieces of caned seating recovered from the Titanic.Today, most caned chairs are "machine" caned-not sure how the actual caning is done but you can easily tell if your chair is hand or machine caned. All hand caned pieces have holes drilled in the wooden frame so that the caning can be individually woven through by hand with the pattern formed by which hole the caning is next woven into. Machine caned seats or seat backs are modular-there are no holes and you can see a bevel cut into the wooden frame around the edge of the caning covered by a band of caning. Both styles of caning look the same at first look closely! :)

For more vintage treasures, visit Coloradolady. She holds the linky key to all the wonderful vintagey goodness being shared today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Loss of the SS Titanic by Lawrence Beesley plus photos

Tuesdays Tomes: weekly book reviews. Read a good book lately? Blog about it and add your book review post in the Linky below.

Loss of the SS Titanic by Lawrence Beesley

Lawrence Beesley, a science teacher and journalist, was a 2nd class passenger on the SS Titanic and published this book in June 1912, just two months after the disaster. I’ve seen the movie “Titanic” and I was very interested in getting the “true story” rather than the Hollywood one.

Mr. Beesley clearly states why he thought it important to write about the disaster:

“The whole civilized world was stirred to its depths when the full extent of loss of life was learned, and it has not recovered from the shock. It should not recover from it until the possibility of it occurring again has been utterly removed from human society, whether by separate legislation in different countries or by international agreement."

Mr. Beesley goes out of his way not to sensationalize the tale of the Titanic's silking but to state in clear words what he witnessed and to report what other survivors stated. Indeed, another of his reasons for writing this book was to counteract some of the sensationalist reporting.

He begins with the start of his voyage and the people he met during the first four days of his voyage. One of the saddest things is that of some, he then writes, “I have not seen any of them since that afternoon.”

He writes of that fateful Sunday night,

“And then, as I read [in bed] in the quietness of the night,…there came what seemed to me nothing more than an extra heave of the engines and a more than usually obvious dancing motion of the mattress on which I sat. Nothing more than that-no sound of a crash or of anything else: no sense of shock, no jar that felt like one heavy body meeting another.”

To me this description of what must have been exactly the moment of impact with the iceberg is very moving and tells so much as so why the passengers were so unaware of any danger.

As a 2nd class passenger, when told to put on his life vest and go to the Boat Deck, his boat deck was for the 2nd class passengers and women and children from the 3rd class (steerage). I was so happy to hear this because so much has been written about the famous 1st class passengers and so little about the others, that I was under the impression that all the steerage passengers must have perished. He describes the calm atmosphere on deck and answers the question about why some boats were only half full.

He eloquently writes of the need for government regulations and explains why market forces are not enough…I have to say that what he says is still timely today too.

”In the last analysis, it is not the captain, not the passenger, not the builders and owners, but the governments through their experts, who are to be held responsible for the provision of lifesaving devices. Morally, of course, the owners and builders are responsible, but at present moral responsibility is too weak an incentive in human affairs--that is the miserable part of the whole wretched business--to induce owners generally to make every possible provision for the lives of those in their charge; to place human safety so far above every other consideration that no plan shall be left unconsidered, no device left untested, by which passengers can escape from a sinking ship.”

The reader, Allyson Hester, has a pleasant, cheerful voice and I look forward to hearing her read other books but I must say it was a little weird at times to hear her sunny voice read this book.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Underwater photo of the Titanic above and plaque from a lifeboat below.

Recovered artifacts from the Titanic

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Vintage Jewelry: A mosaic brooch

Today I'm sharing a small mosaic brooch that I purchased at an antique store in Minneapolis while a student at the U of M...yes, even then I loved "old things".I've played a little with the lighting so you can see better the wonderful work on this 1 1/4" x 1 3/4" piece.
On the back it says "Italy" and that is all I know about this idea how old it is and I don't think the antique dealer ever told me anything (I don't think I've forgotten although it was over 30 years ago.)

Now hop on over the Suzanne at Coloradolady to see all the vintage treasures being shared today!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole-The first Gothic novel

Tuesdays Tomes: weekly book reviews. Read a good book lately? Blog about it and add your book review post in the Linky below.

Have you ever wondered about the Gothic novels referred to in Jane Austen books? Here’s a chance for you to hear one, The Castel of Otranto, regarded as the very first Gothic novel ever (1764)-and it’s a free audio book from Librivox

Young Conrad, son of Manfred, Prince of Otranto, is to be wed to the lovely Isabella when he is struck down just minutes before the wedding is to take place by a huge helmet falling on him….yes, that’s right! a huge helmet, an exact replica except for size of the helmet on the statue of the last Prince of Otranto, Alfonso.

Manfred is beside himself by the death of Conrad, not only because he loved his son but because of the prophesy that stated that his House will be Princes of Otranto only as long as there are male heirs to inherit and only until the rightful owner grows too big to be contained! Now Conrad, Manfred’s only son, has been killed by a giant helmet-surely signs that soon Manfred will lose his principality. What is he to do???

In this fast moving story, filled with just about everything you could ask for from ghosts, star crossed lovers, runaway princesses, a lost child restored, knights and chivalry-all of the action taking place in just 3 days- all of the elements of Gothic fiction is found. No wonder this book became such a sensation and indeed founded a whole new genre.

This book is amusingly read by Great Plains (!) and there are even “it is a dark and stormy night” sound effects between chapter segments! Listen to the preface after the book, not before. You’ll really enjoy it more.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here. You can also read this book here-a blog devoted solely to this book!

Not sure you want to read the book...try this quickie version..

The silk ribbon on the batik star quilt is completed! and some links!

The silk ribbon is finished! I'm really happy with the way it looks.
One of the things I love how each bud looks different.
I did two stitches for each bud...first a straight stitch and then either a straight stitch or a ribbon stitch. I mainly used 4mm ribbon but some of the buds are done with 7mm. When I used 7mm I'd do one stitch-the blue bud below is one 7mm stitch.
I've decided on a piano key border and I've cut the fabrics's pretty much used up my stash of batiks and I'm really glad. I'm going to try a microtex needle and see if the sewing goes more smoothly...batiks are so tight!

Andrea at The Train to Crazy is hosting The GREAT De-Stash Challenge...and I'm hesitatingly joining! LOL! Why hesitating...well its easy for me to join any scrap challenges but I think I've become a little afraid of some of the fabric in my closet...I've had them so long and loved them so well-do I have the courage to cut them up? What if I use them and then I see the perfect quilt to use them in-the quilt I've been saving them for-and they're all gone! I know, I know, how silly can I be--pretty silly I guess.

Beth at Love, Laugh, Quilt is hosting a striped fabric challenge and I'm joining in...I just love striped fabric and while I've used lots of homespun stripes I haven't used many bright and colorful ones and I have this wonderful pink striped fabric so that's it-the basis for my striped challenge. Now how to reconcile these two challenges will be the real challenge!

Kaaren at The Painted Quilt is starting a free Redwork BOM on June 20th. Do you love Raggety Anne and Andy? Find out all about this lovely BOM.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick and Easy Pincushions

I'm leading a Redwork Club at our LQS and wanted a small project for this month while everyone is finishing up their pre-printed Penny Squares. These are super fast, easy and sooo cute!

I just drew a heart on a 4 1/2" square, angled on the square, and then drew crazy quilt lines on the heart. I drew an outline 1/4" around both the top and back squares of the pincushion. This is very important as this is how you sew the two pieces together.
Next I completed the embroidery using an outline stitch and decided to decorate the heart with French knots. For the outline of the square, I used the outline stitch on the two big pin cushions and back stitch on the small one-I didn't see that it made any difference when sewing them together.
Before starting to sew the top and bottom together, I folded each in quarters, making a guide line crease. Next I laid the top on the bottom just like in the photo.
I came up through the bottom and the top right at the crease (bottom) and the corner on the top. Then I tool the needle under the outline stitches on both pieces and moved to the next stitch...its like doing a whip stitch but I didn't go into the fabric at all.
I just kept going-even at the corner. Here you can see exactly how the needle is just under the two outline stitches as I'm approaching the next corner (and the guide crease is clearly visible too).
I just kept on until only one side from corner to crease was left. I just stuck the needle in-out of the way-and stuffed the whole thing and then continued to finish and close just as before. (LOL! I'm not the best stuffer!) I added buttons so I could pull through and kind of squish the center a little...I have to think about that step.)
I've had so much fun making these...I'm thinking of trying all sorts of things-how about if I machine sew the outline-that would make it even faster...stuff with beans or rice and forget the button for a super easy bean bag toy?...such potential-such fun!

Update on the T-shirt Bags: they're wonderful! The only thing I will do differently on the next set is I will use fabric iron-on interfacing and not paper.

Remember the bag with all the cereal boxes-4 Cheerios and 2 Captain Crunch-well, that was packed for taking to our college student son. He called just before we were leaving and asked for a few more things...I stuck in that bag a pair of jeans, two shirts, 2 books, a large bath towel...I'm telling you it was like a Harry Potter Magic Bag. It was also quite heavy and when I lifted it up I heard a faint SCRKKK-I looked- the bag was fine but I think the paper back interfacing tore a bit and the handles did stretch just a little. (He liked the bag so much-he wouldn't let me take it back.)

I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: A Vintage Romance: To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston

Tuesdays Tomes: weekly book reviews. Read a good book lately? Blog about it and add your book review post in the Linky below. The Linky will now stay open for a week so join in anytime.

Set in Jamestown, Virginia in 1621 this best selling novel of 1900 tells a rollicking good story- the tale of Mistress Jocelyn Leigh and Captain Ralph Percy. They meet on the day that a ship has brought –for the purpose of marriage -a load of women to Jamestown. Here’s how they meet:

“As I neared…there came to my ears the sound of a man’s voice, and then a woman’s angry “Begone, sir!’

‘Kiss and be friends,’ said the man.

…I was not surprised on parting the bushes, to find the man nursing his cheek and the maid her hand.

‘You shall pay well for that, you sweet vixen!’ he cried, and caught her by both wrists.

She struggled fiercely, bending her head this way and that, but his hot lips had touched her face before I could come between.

When I knocked him down he lay where he fell, dazed by the blow…I knew him to be one Edward Sharpless and I knew no good of him…

Her dark eyes, glancing here and there like those of a hunted creature, met my own.

‘Madam,’ I said, ‘will you marry me?’

Upon arriving at his homestead, she quickly informs him that she has no intention of actually acting like a wife…she expects to be treated as an honored guest! But don’t think that this is a rehash of Taming of the Shrew-it isn’t. It’s a ripping good adventure story with one exciting adventure after another. And it is a lovely romance!

This contemporary review sums it up well: from the March 3, 1900 New York Times’ Notes and News; Books and their Makers, “Things happen, important things, stirring things and many of them in rapid succession.”

There are several historical characters thrown into the story, including John Rolfe (husband of Pocahontas), and Opechancaoungh (Powhatan chief after Pocahontas’ father).

Fascinated by Jamestown since childhood, I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance. I got so into the story that I didn’t just listen to it while sewing or working out…I listened just to listen. I don’t think that if I had picked this book up to read, I would have ever given it a chance. I think that I would have been put off by the faux archaic language and the multiple descriptions of tall pine forests , but it was exceedingly pleasant to listen to. (The same thing happened to me with Bleak House-I could never read Bleak House but I did enjoy listening to it.)

Tom Weiss is a delightful reader. He has a very pleasant voice and he has his own website - - with several audio books for free download. Best of all, you can also listen to one of his audiobooks straight from his website without downloading. It’s the perfect way to try out a book or listen to a short story. All of the books are also available through Librivox.

You can download this free audiobook here or you can download this free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Black and White Log Cabin Quilt Finished

It's done! I finished my black and white log cabin quilt!I really enjoyed quilting this quilt...I found several interesting patterns as I loopty-looped my way across the quilt.

I especially like this pattern that I did in this black area-it reminds me of the 19th century embroidery pattern I used in a corner of my Crazy Quilt.

This quilt was started last year for the Black and White Challenge. You can click on the button on my side bar to go to the B & W Challenge blog and see all the wonderful quilts, bags and more made for this challenge. (I even made an apron.)

I'm linking today to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Advertisements from 1931

I thought I'd share today some advertisements from 1931. I had no idea that Baker's Chocolate has been around since 1780.

Today we can say that Baker's Chocolate is the Choice of Good Cooks for two centuries and thirty years! And why is it called Baker's Chocolate...not as I always assumed because it's used by bakers-but because Dr. James Baker imported the beans and made the chocolate and named the company for himself!

Only unsweetened chocolate was made by the Baker's Chocolate Company until 1852 when an employee, Samuel German created a new sweetened chocolate...leading to German Chocolate Cake. Got me on that one too...I always assumed the recipe had come from Germany!

If chocolate desserts aren't your about some Junket. Lots of recipes here...brought to you by the Junket Folks and there's Little Miss Junket on the box! Junket has been around since 1874.
And what would you make your chocolate dessert or Junket dessert in...Pyrex of course! Plain glass Pyrex-since its 1931-but you could get the whole 10 piece set for $5.15!
Click on the pictures to enlarge and you can read all the advertising copy! Hope you enjoyed these ads and if anyone makes one of the Junket desserts-please let me know!

For more vintage treasures, hop on over to'll just love what everyone is sharing today! I'm also linking to Saturday's Week-end Cooking at Beth Fish Reads

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Card by Arnold Bennett, a free vintage book

This comic novel of 1911, subtitled A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns, is a humorous, light, rather silly book that I thoroughly enjoyed. We follow the adventures of young Denry Machin-from the first time he’s acknowledged a “card”(someone to keep an eye on, who does the unexpected, who will be talked of) by the town through his rising success, broken engagement, new house, and more.

I got delightfully lost in the English Five Towns of Bennett’s imagination (Bursley, Turnhill, Hanbridge, Knype, and Longshaw-towns corresponding to the real towns of Stokes-on-Trent of Burslem, Tunstall, Hanley, Stoke, and Longton-the area called The Potteries. The pottery/china manufacturers from this area are the most famous in England, including Royal Doulton, Spode, Wedgwood and Minton).

A favorite passage: Denry’s mother earned her living as a seamstress “…making up ‘ladies own materials’ in ladies own houses. Mrs. Machin, however, had a specialty apart from her vocation:…she could wash lace without ruining it; thus often she came to sew and stayed to wash.”

Denry’s relationship with his widowed mother is delightful. When Mrs. Machin gets the flu but refuses to go to call the doctor or go to bed, Denry pretends that he is ill…his mother calls the doctor who immediately puts her to bed for a week!

Adding to the pleasure of this book- each chapter is an adventure and divided into segments…in other words, the actual chapters are long. If you’ve listened to a book from librivox then you’ll know that at the beginning of each chapter, the reader first identifies the book and states that it is from librivox before getting on with reading the story. I don’t know why they do this…I’ve learned to simply ignore it…but it is nice when the chapters are long and the story flows without interruption. I guess it’s the librivox equivalent of commercials, as the old saying goes: “there’s no free lunch.”

The Card is delightfully read by Andy Minter-his English accent is just perfect for this very British tale.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Denry Machin didn't go into the Potteries because he got a scholarship to the Endowed School (really the first of his adventures!) but fortunately for us, Clarice Cliff did and here are some examples of this renowed artist's work.

Here's a plate with one of her famous houses and you can see in the photo the marking from the back-after the success of her first line of hand painted ceramics, all her work was called Bizarre.

Here's an early original Bizarre pitcher....
A teapot in the wonderful Crocus pattern...
Two more examples of the vibrant colors associated with Clarice Cliff.
None of these are mine...I wish! I first saw and heard about Clarice Cliff pottery on the BBC auction show "Flog It!" For more information about her and her pottery, visit the Clarice Cliff Collectors Club.

Reviewed a book recently? Share it with us. Just add your book review post here in the Linky. Be sure to visit everyone and leave a comment. Link back to this post so your readers can read more reviews. I think the best recommendations come from friends.