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Tag Archives: 1930s

book

One of my birthday gifts in September was a copy of The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book plus 20 fat quarters of 1930s reproduction fabric.  I had fun picking out blocks that I would like to make at random and using a couple of the pretty fat quarters along with some white fabric to make 6-½ inch unfinished blocks.  This is the first one I tried, “Addie”….

Addie

Then I tried “Mrs. Smith”

Mrs Smith

…and “Martha”.

Martha

I did all of the piecing by machine and used the CD provided with the book to print out the patterns.  I like to work with small blocks, so the 6-inch finished size was good for me.

The book includes assembly diagrams for piecing the blocks and template cutting instructions with full color pictures.  It also includes 99 letters from the 1930s depression era to the magazine, “Farmer’s Wife” with stories of how they were surviving and enjoying life in the middle of the depression.  My daughter found my book on eBay about $10 cheaper than the advertised price.

I used 22 different blocks from the book (plus two repeats) to make Christmas lap quilts for my two daughters (36 x 48 inches).  I placed the blocks on point and added white fabric to complete the quilt tops.

nslap-full

The borders were made from scraps of the fabric in each quilt.

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I pieced together scraps to make the backing for the older daughter who likes batting and a cotton backing.

nslap-back

The younger daughter prefers fleece as batting/backing and I chose a pretty pink fleece with hearts for her quilt.  For each quilt, I made a duffel bag of Christmas fabric scraps to use as a gift bag and then later to use as a storage bag.

duffle

I love the blocks because of my own memories of the 1930s and because they were made from treasured gifts.

 


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On Saturday, my daughter and I went to one of our favorite antique malls, Miller’s in Lebanon, Ohio.  I found a set of salt/pepper shakers from the era I like (late 1930s-early 1940s), marked “Japan” and a good addition to my Dutch collection.

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My daughter found the real treasure – a 1931 Lebanon High School yearbook which also included the 7th and 8th grade classes.  There on the 8th grade class roll was my mother’s name, Martha Mount.  Unfortunately, she must have been absent the day the pictures were taken since we didn’t recognize anyone who looked anything like my mother at that age.

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This was a new, modern high school at the time and I remember my mother saying how overwhelmed she was by the big campus and large classes after moving there from the little town of Morrow, Ohio, in the 7th grade.  Just think – a laboratory and a cafeteria!

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I made a copy of a snapshot of my mother in her 8th grade graduation dress – one she described as “beautiful”, probably made by her mother.

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A picture in the year book would have been nice, but just to find something from so long ago with my mother’s name is exciting.

A few years ago I wrote a blog about last-day-of-school dresses that my mother had made for me and the one dress I didn’t like that looked like her 8th grade graduation dress.

https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/last-day-of-school-dresses/


BB3 (2)

I just completed BOM #3 in Jacquelynne Steves’ Sew Sweet Simplicity series.

I’m using vintage bluebird patterns to embroider the center block for these 12-inch finished blocks.  I’m using coordinating scraps for the block itself but each one will be a little bit different.

BB3 (1)

The blocks will be turned into some kind of project for the kitchen.  The block is not difficult to piece, yet gives some very pretty results.

Click here for lots of free vintage embroidery patterns.


Bisque-bride-grrom

I  have so many wonderful collectibles acquired over the last 80+ years.  Some were gifts, some were part of my life growing up, some were inherited, some were purchased at antique malls, gift shops or thrift stores  – all are precious to me.  Some items are kept up year-around while others are brought out seasonally and on holidays.  Unfortunately, many priceless-to-me objects go undisplayed and unseen for years, so each week, I’m going to pull out an item and post a COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK.

I have a small assortment of little bisque dolls (2-3 inches tall), all gifts from my older daughter.  I love the tiny bride and groom in their late 1920s clothes.  The groom wears gold-rimmed glasses and has a wonderful coat with tails.

Bisque-groom-back

These two little girls might be standing outside the church watching the newlyweds come through the doors.
Bisque-2girls

This is a wonderful collection of Dutch figures.

Bisque-Dutchgroup

Dutch items always go up in my kitchen in January when I’ve taken down the Christmas decorations and the other little cuties are in other spots in the house throughout the year.


 

Dicky-brush-top

I  have so many wonderful collectibles acquired over the last 80+ years.  Some were gifts, some were part of my life growing up, some were inherited, some were purchased at antique malls, gift shops or thrift stores  – all are precious to me.  Some items are kept up year-around while others are brought out seasonally and on holidays.  Unfortunately, many priceless-to-me objects go undisplayed and unseen for years, so each week, I’m going to pull out an item and post a COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK.

These are two collectibles that I remember seeing over 80 years ago.  The parrot wall pocket (marked “Made in Czechoslovakia” hung on the wall of our one-room flat in downtown Cincinnati.  Mother had very few “collectibles”, barely getting by on my father’s WPA salary in the midst of the Great Depression.  I wish I had asked her where the wall pocket came from originally – probably one of her better-situated-financially aunts gave it to her.  I can remember when I was a toddler, Mother would take the wall pocket down and give it to me to hold while I fell asleep – kind of a security blanket.  She used to play a hand game with my little sister and me that involved a song about “Dicky-Bird, Dicky-Bird, fly away” and we called the wall pocket “Dicky-Bird”.  Mother would say, “Now, take Dicky-Bird and go to sleep”, while she sat nearby rocking my sister and singing one of her well-loved ballads like “Barbara Allen”.
Dicky

Somewhere along the line the parrot was dropped and broken.  I don’t recall ever taking anything else to bed with me.

Mother was very proud to have owned a brush just for me and my curly dark hair, and kept it at hand to also brush my little sister’s straight blonde hair.

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It’s made of metal and  the back shows a lot of brushing went on at our place.

brush-back

What amazes me is that Mother managed to hang onto these two items through many moves, three devastating floods and for almost 60 years.  They were passed on to me when she died in 1991.

Lillian and Mother - 1933

Lillian and Mother – 1933


TextLillian1936

By the time I was born in 1932, radio was available, but not to people like my family who had no money for frivolous things, sometimes barely enough for necessities like food.  My father was always fascinated with radio and by the time we had moved to a one room flat in 1935 and he had a job with the WPA, making enough to feed his family, he started building crystal sets.  As he progressed in the WPA, going from the lowliest laborer to time-keeper, we came up in the world and moved to a two-room flat and had a pretty nice radio.  I can remember one playing while we sat at the kitchen table in the morning.  I liked the jingle that four young guys sang (lyrics the way I remember them):

    Shine your shoes and you’ll wear a smile
    Shine your shoes and you’ll be in style
    The sun shines east and the sun shines west
    But Griffin polish shines the best.
    Some folks are not particular
    How they look around their feet,
    But if they wore shoes upon their heads,
    They’d make sure their shoes looked neat.
    So, keep your shoes shining all the time,
    All the time, it’s the time to shine
    When you hear this familiar chime (ding, dong, ding)
    It’s time to shine.

Forty years later, I found out it was the young Williams brothers singing the jingle, including the youngest, Andy Williams, who would become one of my favorite singers in the 1960s.

We listened to the Farm Hour, with reports on grain futures and cattle sales, along with weather reports.  The broadcast came from a model-farm type operation and they always talked to the farmer about what he was going to do that day on the farm and sometimes to his wife about her cooking and housekeeping tips.

My parents - 1940

My parents – 1940

Mother kept the radio on all day while she did her housework, favoring the country music of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family, Cowboy Copas, and Mac Wiseman, learning songs that she later sang to us.  The sadder the ballad, the better, as far as Mother was concerned.  She never complained, never cried, always had a pleasant smile on her face, but she loved the most doleful, tragic ballads where people died and roses twined around their tombstones.

Mother - 1945

Mother – 1945

My father liked sports broadcasts – baseball, football and the boxing matches.  I can still hear the tinny sound of the announcer from Madison Square Gardens in New York, announcing the name of Joe Louis and his unlucky opponent.  We all listened to the news broadcasts and shows like Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, and Lux Radio Theater.

Lillian and Shirley - 1940

Lillian and Shirley – 1940

Just before World War II, we could afford to move to a four-room apartment and my father managed to get a wonderful radio that had a green eye that vibrated and pulsed with each sound coming out of it.  The radio was glorious and my little sister and I loved to watch the magic eye do its gyrations.  It was on this radio that we heard the news on a wintry Sunday that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and we were now in the middle of World War II.  Throughout the war and for several years afterwards, the radio continued to be the major form of information and entertainment in American homes.  Our family gathered in the living room around the radio, everybody doing something besides just listening – my parents reading, my sister and I lying on the floor with puzzles or coloring books or paper dolls.

On Saturday nights, we usually listened to a barn dance show, probably the precursor of Grand Ole Opry, and heard someone “calling Rattler from the barn – Huyh, Rattler, Huyh, Huyh” and some guy saying, “I’m going back to the wagon, folks – these shoes is killing me”.

Shirley and Lillian - 1943

Shirley and Lillian – 1943

I can remember sitting in the kitchen with the radio playing Fred Allen while we ate a supper of leftovers from a big Sunday dinner – fried chicken, potato pancakes made from the mashed potatoes, the remaining meringue-covered chocolate or coconut cream pie.

Of course, we loved The Shadow –  “Who knows what evil lurks in the thoughts of man — The Shadow knows!”; Bull Drummond; Your Hit Parade and the latest song by Frank Sinatra (a young, skinny kid at that time);  The Lone Ranger and Tonto; Little Orphan Annie and Jack Armstrong and so many others.  We always wound up each New Year’s Eve listening to Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.

Radio was so important to us until one day in 1946 when figures appeared on a tiny screen in my father’s workshop as he built our first television set and radio was never a very big deal again.


Mary D-1
In 1938, my parents, my little sister, Shirley, and I were living in a rented flat on Elm Street in downtown Cincinnati.  The building is still standing and I posed for a picture back in 2002.

The door stoop of our two-room apartment on Elm Street (2002)

The door stoop of our two-room apartment on Elm Street (2002)

My father worked for the WPA as a timekeeper and we were finally coming out of the depths of the depression.  The living room of the flat had huge sliding wooden doors and on Christmas Eve, my sister and I (3-1/2 years and 6 years) sat with our eyes glued on that door and imagining what Santa might be bringing us.  As we sat huddled together in the kitchen, I heard a tinkling of sleigh bells.  My father argued a little bit with me, but I swore I heard sleigh bells so Santa must have arrived.  Finally, he pulled open the doors and it was like walking into the toy department of a big store (like the Fair Store or Rollman’s or Shillito’s).  My parents didn’t wrap any of the gifts but rather had them set up all around the room, ready for fun.  The first thing Shirley and I spied were beautiful baby dolls for each of us in little metal strollers.  The dolls were dressed identically in white dresses and white flannel coats with bonnets.  We were able to tell them apart because my doll had dark brown eyes (as I had) and Shirley’s doll had her shade of blue eyes.  They were the most beautiful dolls we had ever seen.

Mary D-2
I named my doll Mary Dorothy after two of my classmates at old Raschig School – Mary Louise McFarland and Dorothy Sutton.  Shirley just called her doll Baby until later on when we had a new cousin named Carol Ann and then the doll became Carol Ann, too.

Twenty-five years passed and Shirley asked for Mary Dorothy to add to her doll collection.  I knew in Shirley’s care, Mary Dorothy would be dressed impeccably and would be in elite company in my sister‘s collection.  She stayed there for over 40 years until 2004 when she was given to my youngest granddaughter, but I had to promise to sew the clothes to dress her as she looked on that first Christmas Eve.

Mary Dorothy and my granddaughter - 2004

Mary Dorothy and my granddaughter – 2004

Before Shirley passed away in 2010, she gave my granddaughter her doll, Carol Ann, as well as the rest of the collection.

My granddaughter, age 10, and Mary Dorothy, age 75 - 2013

My granddaughter, age 10, and Mary Dorothy, age 75 – 2013