A Valentine’s Day Surprise


My oldest daughter who lives with me enjoys having a surprise gift display which I’ll see as I go into the kitchen for breakfast.  This was on the table this morning as my Valentine gift.  I hoped to have better pictures with blue skies and sunshine outside, but by the time I got the camera, the skies had darkened and two to four inches more snow are expected within the next hour or two.

The trivet has her hand-embroidered piece of Dan Patch (an old  famous trotting horse) which she designed and the stitching is tiny, tiny.  The entire piece is only 3-1/2 inches square.


She included a custard cup for my growing collection of Harker Hot Oven vintage items.  It’s filled with some of my favorite chocolates.


Everything is setting on a vintage dresser scarf which my daughter embroidered and then added a crocheted edging.


Everything just goes together to make the most charming Valentine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

An Early Mother’s Day Surprise

I came out to breakfast this morning to find this wonderful hanging my oldest daughter had made.  She lives with me and likes to surprise me with advance gifts on holidays.

She scanned a picture and then colorized it and appliqued it onto a vintage standcover.  She did all of the embroidery, hand quilting, crocheting and embellishing – she even made a hanger for the piece.

I remember the day the picture was taken very well.  It was in the summer of 1949 at the house in the country where my grandmother and aunt lived.  I would be beginning my senior year in high school in the fall and my sister (the blonde) would be in her freshman year.  My mother (center) made our dresses which were of very light voile.  We were wearing the latest fashion in shoes that summer – flat black ballet slippers and carrying matching purses.  We dressed alike very often since it was more economical and efficient for my mother to make two dresses in the same style of the same fabric.

Mother passed away in 1991 and my sister, in 2010.

I love this Mother’s Day memento.

Click on pictures for close-up views.

Vintage Doily Holder

I posted the last couple of weeks about vintage handkerchief holders here and here.  I thought I might use the idea to make a holder for two crocheted doilies that my grandmother had made back around 1945.

The funny thing at the time was that no one in the family knew that Grandma could crochet.  Then, one day, without a pattern, she picked up a crochet hook and a ball of thread and made a beautiful doily that was flat in the center and had huge ruffles that stood up all around the edge.  Of course, each daughter and granddaughter clamored for one and soon we all had a gorgeous doily or two in our homes.  The problem was that none of us knew how to starch and iron the doilies to make the ruffles stand up, so periodically, Grandma got one of our doilies back to launder and iron for us.  She was always amazed that everyone loved the doilies so much and we were amazed that she came up with this skill in her late 60s.  We figured she must have learned to do it as a child, although she didn’t remember where she might have picked up the knack for crocheting.

The two doilies I have are in such delicate condition that I’m afraid to put them on a table, much less try to starch and iron them.  Instead, I insert them in their holders and hang them safely on the wall.

I printed a vintage snapshot of Grandma on fabric along with a note about when the doily was made.  This was appliqued onto the quilted circle.  I embellished the piece with a couple of vintage buttons and I like to use drapery hooks to display my wall hangings.

A pocket holds the doily without damaging it and also hides some of the worn and unsightly places.

I especially like this small doily as a Fourth of July or patriotic decoration.

I love to look at the old photo of Grandma and her pretty doily and remember all the good times.

Mother and Grandma Helen, ca 1945

A Surprise in the Mail

A couple of weeks ago when I wasn’t feeling very well, I went to the mailbox to find an envelope which contained this wonderful hand-crocheted pot holder and a pretty card which said, “I’m sending this to you as I thought you’d like it”.  It was a complete surprise from one of my favorite bloggers, Darlene, in Columbus, Ohio.  It’s amazing how this thoughtful gift immediately brightened my spirits and made me feel 100% better.

At the time, my digital camera had gone out on me, but I got a brand-new one for Mother’s Day and wanted this to be the first picture I took.

Darlene has a warm, friendly blog with news of her crocheting, quilting, family, dog and cat here.

Christmas Handiwork


Thanks to two talented daughters, I have a lot of Christmas handiwork to enjoy.  Over the past couple of years the oldest daughter has made primitive Santas….



…an embroidered picture and a handpainted apron….




…a kitchen wreath with vintage cookie cutters and decorations.




The youngest daughter made some craft decorations when she was a teenager …..




…and later, an embroidered picture ….


…and just this year, an afghan that looks like rows of Christmas tinsel and snowflakes.


It’s so nice to look around the house and see all these beautiful things that the girls have spent so many hours making.

Halloween Around the House


Thanks to the creative efforts of my two daughters, I have Halloween decorations all around the house – on walls, shelves, chairs – just about every surface.  The oldest daughter made the wreath and the three items that are on my piano – the scottie pumpkin is new this year.  Her blog at Salmagundi Express describes exactly how she carved and painted this pumpkin.  


Some more of her work:








The youngest daughter made the little Dracula and pumpkin man along with the door handle piece when she was a teenager.  She also made the cute candle holders.



Her main handiwork now is crocheting the most gorgeous afghans and I have one for every occasion.  She also contributes a large number of these every year to the local Linus Project.


I love to look around my house and see so many beautiful things that my daughters have made for me over the years. 

Quilt-in-a-Day Forum Projects


The Quilt-in-a-Day Forum is very friendly and active.  Today, I have 4 projects ready to mail.  The first is a package to be mailed to a member in the Netherlands/Germany who asked for donations of small items for a Christmas Market booth her church is hosting.  They have adopted an Afghanistan family, bought a lot for a house and are trying to raise money for the house, furnishings, etc.  My contribution was 5 small wallets from a Lazy Girl Designs pattern.  These are nice to hold credit cards, license, cash, etc., and I keep one in each purse so I can grab it quickly and not have to haul a big purse through quilt shops, antique malls and stores.  They only measure about 3-1/4 x 4-1/2 and are easy to slip in a pocket.

My daughter, Nancy, wanted to contribute something, too, and gave me four small, delicate, exquisite doilies she had crocheted.   These are tiny 6-1/2 to 8-1/2″ pieces in very thin thread.  You can read her story about the two colorful doilies and the source of the thread on her blog, Salmagundi Express.


The second project was a call for a donation of a block or two for a family in Nashville.  The mother had a baby and the father in Iraq received the e-mail and saw the baby’s picture, then was killed by a roadside bomb.  One of the members wanted to make a quilt for the baby but after so many forum members said they would like to take part, she will be receiving enough blocks to make the baby quilt as well as a large quilt for the mother and for the soldier’s parents.


The third project is for a teacher in Iowa who wanted to include handmade pillowcases with the toiletry items her class had collected for an Iraq veterans’ hospital.  I made three cases out of flannel.


 The fourth project is not a donation, but rather a fall block swap where we were asked to use autumn fabrics and to have the block pattern be something that would relate to us or our lives.  I chose a block called “8 Hands Around” from Quilter’s Cache to represent the many years my husband I enjoyed square dancing.  We met at a singles square dance and had 24 wonderful years of a second-time-around marriage before he passed away of Alzheimers in 2004.  This square is for David.