Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kansas City, WWI & Princess Diana

I am sure you would have no idea what these three things could possibly have in common, unless you were to visit Kansas City this spring.  We had the opportunity to do that for a few days during hubby's spring break from school.  My dear husband found out there was a Princess Diana exhibit that just opened recently at the Union Station in Kansas City and he was sure I would want to see it.....and I certainly did.

As would be expected you are not allowed to take pictures inside the gallery and unfortunately there is no show book or catalog of the items either, which I thought would have been a nice touch.  Oh, but for someone like me who loves textiles of every shape and was wonderful to see her wedding dress, tiara, shoes and several designer gowns from Chanel, Valentino and others.  And the jewelry....a crown, several necklaces and pins....were breath-taking.  And probably my favorite thing and the one thing I really wanted to photograph most of all was a diary entry for August 27, 1979, my birthday and she was having tea with Princess Margaret.  Which I though was just lovely.  :)

Then we went to the near by WWI museum, which in all honesty I had very little knowledge about.  That was wonderful and I would highly recommend it to any one who loves American history.  I believe it is only a few years old and was built under the WWI  Monument that was already there.  We spent part of  two days to really see it all.  And we both came away knowing and understanding the climate of that time and sobered again by the sacrifice of so many.  I am always drawn to the textiles that tell the story from a woman's point of view and here are the highlights from that display.

A crazy quilt type piece made from WWI uniforms and shown on the right is a closer view.

A gold star piece that is crocheted, that would have hung in your home's window when your military son/husband had died in service.

A WWI signature quilt....typically these were made from a church, school, family or town, some kind of community that they would have all had in common.  Sometimes they were used as fund would pay to have your family members name included.  This piece would make a great history study project.

Gorgeous lace that was used as a bandage roll.

This was a German memorial piece done on perforated paper like we can get today.  The 8-pointed stars are stitched and the rest are paper type shapes that have been cut out & glued.

The US was credited with saving thousands of lives in Belgium from starvation, so in gratitude for the American food Belgians embroidered flour sacks they had received and returned them to the US.

Just a glimpse of some of the items you would enjoy if you get that direction.  Enjoy!!! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hoppy Easter Quilt

Hoppy Easter Quilt

I have gotten this stack of fabric out every spring to do a fun Easter quilt and until this year always ended up putting it back in my cupboard because I didn't get to it.  So I was so excited to cut it out a couple weeks ago and then be able to hang it up totally finished  two weeks later.  It all started with the border fabric.  I am a sucker for vintage looking prints and pictorial fabrics.  Then getting them home and what to do with them is always the struggle.  Also having the right yardage when I finally do come up with an idea is either a stroke of luck or providence.  I found this pattern in a magazine and thought it might work, but really didn't have enough fabric to do the small square border, so instead of strip piecing that section.  I did it by cutting out squares and rectangles...... because I was hoarding fabric so I would be able to complete it.  Not exactly the easy way, but it worked.

Close up of the border fabric.....also showing the rick-rack in the binding.

I got to the binding and decided to add some vintage rick-rack within the binding seam.  I didn't have enough of one color to go all the way around, so I used orange, yellow and green.....blended well with the border fabric and the vintage colors are just unique hues, I can always pick them out vs. current shades.  So it was a good place to use some of my grandma's stash of trims.

A closer view of the center section. 
This was a very fun project and I am enjoying seeing it hang in my hallway.

When I was looking for rick-rack to use in the Easter quilt, I ran across this package of  "Prudence" green rick-rack.  I love this label.  I didn't have the heart to open it, so I tucked in a basket with some commercial patterns from the 40's.  I did think I should do a quality scan of it, so I could use it as a piece of sewing clip art.  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easter Tree

Welcome to spring on this very rainy day in Iowa.  Unlike most, I enjoy cloudy days.....probably because I seem to be very light sensitive and have frequent migraine seems to be slighly less problematic on cloudy days.  Another reason I like cloudy days, I have several small lights and lamps through out my house that are on all the time and the house has a magical atmosphere during those days that are more gloomy.  It makes me happy. 

I have also been referred to on one of my quilting lists as "Our Lady of Perpetual Tree,"  in reference to a christmas tree that I have up year round and decorate seasonally.  I have done this pretty consistantly since the girls were in school.  The white twinkle lights look just as wonderful with easter and patriotic as they do with christmas.  I remember several times when the girls would bring their friends home with them who had never been to our house before and the tree always got a stop in their tracks and then a closer look before resuming their play and activities.  I am sure their parents heard about that.  Now the "grands" check out the toys, books, etc. that I have under the tree each time they come as I change that all the time.

Here are some trinkets on my easter tree, including a smocked egg far left and several cross stitched pieces.

I love the glass carrots and knitted chick vest.

Under the tree I usually have some puzzles and the Little People Easter Set by Fisher Price, books and stuffed bunnies.....all the things that the Grands can play with.

This is an Easter play book that includes a puzzle, matching game, an easter egg hunt and learning to tie a bow.  This are machine embroidered and I have done these for several holidays, very popular with the Grands.  The pages are put together with binder rings and LOTS of ribbon scraps tied around them.  I purchased these from My Fair Lady....

A cute chick....a Mill Hill beaded kit and a couple other fun items some boughten, some made.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pillowcase Tutorial

I have been making pillowcases for people that I know that are going through serious health issues the last couple years.  They are so simple to is my favorite method.  I use my 4 thread serger and can probably whip one out in 15 minutes.  But if you don't have a serger, your sewing machine will work fine using a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch if you have it, or if you machine does not do a zig-zag stitch, then pink the edges with some pinking shears.
To make one pillow case you need 3/4 yard of one fabric and 1/4 yard of a coordinating fabric.  I always pre-wash my fabrics prior to using them as well.  I have my fabric trimmed so the cut edges are even and I laid both fabrics out as shown on top of one another because I need to trim the width of both pieces, they need to be identical.  When you add the band to the top of the case you will see this is very important.  I trim off the least amount of fabric to make it even usually cutting off most of the selvage edge.

Sew across one short side and one long side of the body of the pillowcase with right sides together.  Sew the band across the short side, also with right sides together.  If you are using a sewing machine, use 1/4" seam allowance and treat them as written above.  They are shown like it will be finished only wrong sides out.
Take the pillow case band fabric to the ironing board and press the seam to one side, then take it fold it half wrong sides together matching the raw edges together, this will make a circle.  Press the folded edge.

Place the folded band inside the pillowcase body right sides together and all the raw edges even.  You should have 3 layers of fabric.  Pin matching the seams and folds, it should fit perfectly if you trimmed both pieces to be the same width at the beginning.  :)  Sew this seam to attach the band.
I secure serger tails with fray check or tack them down in the seam allowance.  This shows the pillowcase all sewed together, take to the ironing board and press the seam allowance of the band toward the body of the pillowcase.  Then turn it right side out using a bodkin or point turner for the corners, do not use scissors.  Press the outside edges so it lays nice and flat.  It is ready to give away.
Folded and ready to mail.  I tied a matching ribbon around it too.
I  hope you enjoy making these.  They can also be made from flannel and polar fleece too, if you want cozy ones.  They make great gifts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Beginnings

I must say as I begin this blog, I am some what intimidated by it.  I did start a family blog several years ago and really didn't do that much with it.  I find myself needing a challenge and hopefully I want to develop some online friends through this means.  I need a new beginning, but after seeing the devastating pictures from Japan, my losses that I have endured last year seem small and insignificant in comparison.

Just to give a little explanation of the title of my blog 4 & Fifteen.  It comes from my four beautiful, grown daughters, who are in the trenches of motherhood and raising our 15 grandchildren.....hence the 15.  I consider them my treasures.  If you remember the movie Sarah, Plain & Tall, she referred to her spinster aunts in Maine as the "unclaimed treasures."  I always loved that, so my 4 & Fifteen are MY claimed treasures.

What better time to talk about new beginnings, than March in Iowa and the end of winter.  I always enjoy my Easter decorations so much.  I thought I would share with you some of my fav Easter decorations.

I finished a couple towels last week from two pieces of vintage huck toweling that I had from my Grandma T's stash.  I found this darling machine embroidery design and have the towel draped over an old scale with a vintage child's chick bowl.  In the bowl is a egg toy that you push a button with your thumb and the egg spins around and opens and exposes the chick inside.  A fav with the little kids.

Here is the green towel, I used it to line a napkin basket.
Here is my serving basket on my dining room table in my kitchen.  You can see some of the plastic eggs that have cross stitch little bands around them with simple designs.  In the background is a tablecloth I bought on a trip to Germany.  On the far left corner you can see one of the salt and pepper shakers that has a beautiful pink flower on the top.  They are so sweet.  The basket is lined with a 60 degree star quilt made out of 30's reproduction fabric and it was English paper pieced by a friend.