Quilting, Farming, Variety

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Past -- Christmas Morning

Charlotte awoke when she heard Daddy building the fire in the heater. She shook Wanda and crawled out of the warm bed into the cold air of the north room. She saw the new doll sticking out of her stocking before she got to the door.

"Oh, how pretty she is! Look Wanda, isn't she pretty?"

The doll didn't have glass eyes and shiny hair, and it didn't drink a bottle or wet its pants. It was just an ordinary doll with a pressed sawdust head and a stuffed cloth body. But it was new and clean and needed a little girl to love it. She hugged the doll close and took her stocking to the warmth of the heater to see what else was inside. There were some new barrettes for her hair, and rolled up inside was a book of the beautiful paper dolls. In the very bottom were dresses for her new doll.

Later in the morning Charlotte said to Mama, "I love my new doll! She's just right!"

"Someday, Santa will bring you a doll with glossy hair. I just know he will," said Mama.

There may not be time for me to post anything else until after Christmas, so I want to wish all who read my feeble attempts at writing, a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS with your families; may you be blessed with good health and happiness.

Blessings in Christ,


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do Opposites Attract?

We're all familiar with the statement that opposites attract; but do they really? I guess when you look at these pictures you can see that yes, sometimes they do, for this smiling little girl and this serious little boy have been attracted to one another for a long time now. Today is their fifty-first wedding anniversary. In case you haven't already guessed, this is Mama Charlotte and Popa; I still smile and he's still serious.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

...The Christmas Program

...The program began, and for a while Charlotte forgot that she would be singing by herself. One by one the other little boys and girls went to the front of the room and recited the poems they had learned. Dane walked to the edge of the stage; he put his hands behind his back and began:

"Christmas is bright, Christmas is gay; all of us..." He looked at his mother. "All of us love..." she said quietly. "Oh yeah! All of us love Christmas Day!" Everyone clapped and he ran back to the bench and sat down.

"And now, Charlotte is going to sing 'Up on the Housetop' for us," said Mr. Sears.
Charlotte swallowed hard and walked to the stage. She clasped her hands together tightly behind her back and opened her mouth. Only a faint "Up on the housetop, reindeer pause" came out. She cleared her throat and started again:

"Up on the housetop reindeer pause,
Out jumps good old Santa Claus;
Down thro' the chimney with lots of toys,
All for the little ones' Christmas joys.
Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go!
Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go!
Up on the housetop, click, click, click,
Down thro' the chimney with good Saint Nick."

She paused and swallowed. She looked at Mama, who gave her a smile and a nod to sing more, so she continued with the second verse. Again she paused; no one was laughing at her, but rather the people seemed to be enjoying her song, so she started the last verse with her clear little voice more confident now:

"Next comes the stocking of little Will;
Oh, just see what a glorious fill;
Here is a hammer and lots of tacks,
Also a ball and a whip that cracks!"

She brought her hands around in front and slapped them together to make a sound for the "whip that cracks!" The audience clapped loudly! She had done it! Now she could sit back and enjoy the rest of the program.

After the older children presented their play, some of them passed out the gifts. Charlotte got a present wrapped in red tissue paper and tied with a white ribbon. She opened it carefully so Mama could save the paper. Inside was a box of eight crayons and a coloring book. "Look, Mama," she said. "Real colors that aren't broken!"

Next, bags of candy and fruit were passed out to the children. There was a big red apple, an orange, English walnuts and hard candy with designs swirling through the middle, inside each bag. Humidity had made the candy sticky and smudges of sweet color were on the peelings of the apple and the orange.

Charlotte was tired when she got home. Wanda reminded her to hang her stocking, so she put it on the doorknob near the Christmas tree. After they snuggled down into the feather bed, she listened for reindeer paws on the housetop. And then she thought about the switches the boy had told Santa to bring to her.

"Wanda," she whispered, "does Santa really bring switches to little girls?"
"I don't think so; I never got any," she said.....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More on Christmas Past

Now the night for the program at church was only one day away. Mama was baking in the kitchen. Christmas music came from the radio; little boys and girls were singing Joy to the World. Charlotte pulled a chair up to the radio table, climbed up and turned the radio around to one side so she could look into the back.
"Mama! Charlotte's playing with the radio!" called Wanda. "She's about to pull it off the table!"
Mama hurried from the kitchen, wiping flour on her apron. "What are you doing?" she asked Charlotte.
"I'm trying to see the boys and girls in the radio. Do you hear them?" She leaned close to the radio and tried to look inside. Mama laughed and said they would have to be very tiny to fit in there.
The next day passed slowly for Charlotte. She snooped around under the Christmas tree that she and Wanda had decorated. It was an ordinary cedar tree, taken from a fence row, a little flat on one side, but when scooted up against the wall, it looked fine. They didn't have much to put on the tree: a few old colored glass balls, a wrinkled tinsel garland, and icicles saved from years gone by. Mama had put a piece of cotton quilt batting around the base of the tree to look like it was standing in snow. Several times during the day Wanda threatened Charlotte by reminding her of the switches the boy had told Santa to bring.
Mama fixed an early supper and they all dressed warmly before walking to the church for the program. Charlotte wore her best pair of corduroy pants to keep her warm.
She had never seen such a tall Christmas tree! It actually touched the ceiling and was covered from top to bottom with beautiful glass balls, popcorn garland, and paper chains. Every branch had new, glistening icicles, and underneath the tree were packages wrapped in pretty tissue papers and tied with crinkled ribbons....

Do you remember the anticipation you felt as a child while waiting for Christmas? Did you snoop and peek?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just a Little Touch of Christmas Memories

Another re post:

The following is an excerpt from my book, In the Shade of the White Oak ...

"Up on the house top, reindeers' paws,Out jumps good ol' Santy Claus!"Charlotte was learning the words of a song to sing at the church Christmas program.

"It's not 'reindeers' paws'!" said Wanda. "It's reindeer pause! That means the reindeer are stopping on the housetop. Now try again."
There was excitement everywhere! Today Mama and the girls were going to town with Daddy as he went to work at the cream station. Wanda said Santa Claus would be at the courthouse. Charlotte had never seen Santa Claus in person, just in pictures.

The streets of Clarksville were bustling with shoppers. There were many little children, clutching their mothers' hands, waiting for a chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Charlotte wasn't sure she wanted to talk to him. "I don't think he knows me," she said. Mama took Wanda and Charlotte inside the Ben Franklin store to wait until time for Santa to come. Charlotte was speechless when she saw so many shelves covered with dolls of all sizes. She had looked at the dolls in the Sears catalog until the pages were frayed, but somehow it was different seeing them here on the shelves. She reached out to touch the soft, silky hair on one of the dolls. "Don't touch the dolls, little girl!" She quickly pulled her hand back and looked up. A salesclerk was standing over her, looking sternly. Mama took Charlotte's hand and led her around the end of the shelves to look at something else.
At ten o'clock people started gathering in front of the courthouse. Mama took Wanda and Charlotte across the street. "Wanda, you take Charlotte by the hand and go with her."
The line moved slowly; a few children were stopping to sit in Santa's lap. Charlotte decided she wouldn't do that! Some boys and girls looked too old to sit on his lap, and some were crying babies, too young to know why they were there.
Now Charlotte was standing in front of Santa. "Well, hello there, little girl," he said. "Ho! Ho! Ho! What would you like for Christmas? Maybe a baby doll or a tricycle?"
She turned from him and put her hand across her face.
"Maybe she wants a bundle of switches!" laughed a big boy.
Wanda frowned at him and said to Santa, "She wants a doll and some paper dolls, please." She tugged at Charlotte's sleeve and started to leave.
"Wait a minute," said Santa, "here is a bag of candy for you."
They walked quickly on through the courthouse and met Mama outside. "Well, what did you think of Santa Claus?" she asked.
"She wouldn't talk to him," said Wanda. "I guess that means she won't get anything in her stocking.".......

Do you remember having a visit with Santa?

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Winter Day -- 1942

A re post:

It would have been a day like today, raw and cold, and the wind driving the cold straight to the bones. All but the necessary outside work, milking the cow, feeding and watering the chickens, was laid aside and we gathered close to the heating stove. The closed door shut out the unheated air from the north room and soon the little front room began to warm despite the wind squeezing in around the window, giving movement to the curtain.

Uncle Dewey, Aunt Leola, and Baby Dane came for dinner and then stayed to visit in the afternoon. Mama sent Daddy to the smoke house for a chunk of meat, cut off of the sugar cured ham hanging from the rafters, and then he went down into the cellar for potatoes. She also cooked dried peas, buttermilk biscuits and red eye gravy, and finished off the meal with more biscuits spread with sweet butter and blackberry jelly. While the women cleaned the kitchen, Daddy put more coal into the heating stove, and then he and Uncle Dewey took out their tobacco pouches and cigarette papers, rolled cigarettes and sat around the radio, listening for any news about the war that was raging across the ocean, a world away from this rural home.

Baby Dane, two months old, and Charlotte, twenty months old, were asleep now, so the adults pulled up their chairs around the little table and poured out pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They could have played dominoes, checkers, or Chinese checkers. They talked and laughed with one another as they put the pieces into place; the picture grew, and the warmth of their friendship pushed the cold away, and before long the sun slid lower in the west, the shadows grew long and Wanda came home from school.

Now Daddy went to the barn to do the evening chores and carried a fresh bucket of water up from the well. Wanda gathered the eggs, Mama put Charlotte in the swing hanging from the door frame while she warmed up the leftovers, and then the family settled in for another cold night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Last week I found this simple apron pattern; how perfect, one for mom and one for daughter.

Each calls for very little fabric; in fact, less than a yard.

I made this one in a child's size from a fat quarter, and used the solid blue for waistband, ties and bias trim. I really like it; makes me think of Alice in Wonderland.

Most apron patterns call for 1/4" double fold bias tape and sometimes it's hard to find the right color. Recently I got a new 1/2" bias tape maker; now I can make my own 1/4" double fold tape to match colors.

Connecting Threads, an online fabric site, has a terrific sale right now; maybe it's a good time to gift myself with supplies for making aprons since I plan to use this pattern a lot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bright Colors for a Drab Day

This is another doll quilt; bright colors to brighten this drab day.

We've had lots and lots and lots of rain since Sat. afternoon. Now I don't mean to sound like some folks in days of old, but do you ever wonder why it is things can't be evened out? It hasn't been long ago that I was posting about the drought -- well, it's broken!! Poor cattle!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


This is a good thing to remember today:
Don't worry, don't hurry, do your best; leave the rest!
I'll let this picture speak for itself:


Friday, December 2, 2011

Getting Things Ready for Another Flock

We have about two more weeks before we get a new flock of baby chickens. We're going to be out almost a month so that has given Popa a chance to make things ready for the cold weather ahead. Of course that makes a long time between pay days. Today we have a crew on the farm putting a foam material in the ridge and along the foundation of the two older houses, hoping to block cold air from coming in. Not only will that make the chickens more comfortable, but it will help to keep from using so much fuel for the heaters.

Two days ago this semi-load of propane was delivered; do the math for that, and you can see why we're trying to save fuel!

While I'm on "vacation", the spider web quilt gets a little more done on it each day. I may just forget how to raise chickens ;).