Sunday, July 28, 2013

Week 48 - Fair Play

This week's block celebrates Canada, for granting women the right to vote in recognition of their service contributions to Canada's effort during the first World War.

My block in yellow and green does not relate to Canada, but I will use the reference to honor my Grandfather Fielding, who, in late July 1910, left with fourteen other young men to go to Iowa to work the wheat harvest. Fielding kept moving and working through the fall. By early August, he was in Minnesota where he got a job that paid $2.50 (Aunt Alice guessed that was per day).  All but one other young man had returned to Illinois and back home to Indiana.  Fielding worked "only" 10 hours a day stacking grain for his pay. Later that month, he worked in South Dakota, and then got a job in North Dakota in Guelph.  He stayed there from the first of September until the end of November. Guelph was named for a town in Ontario.

Aunt Alice recorded as much as we know of Grandpa's trip west using the cards and letters he sent to family. He went on to Montana and Washington, then down to San Francisco and Los Angeles by boat and rail.

I assume this photograph of Fielding was taken when he was departing from home in 1910, just 20 years old.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Week 47 - Heroine's Crown

The Hero's Crown block got a change in name to Heroine's Crown to celebrate the women who had worked for decades for women's rights.

I wanted to reuse some fabrics, but then spotted the lively green and yellow print for the background.  I think it modernizes the traditional nature of this applique block. Once that was decided I had to figure out what would show up on it. The little dotted fabric from Dorry came to the rescue, and I was able to settle on the other coordinating prints after that.

Today being late in July, I am reminded of  the very large Family Reunions we attended every year with my mother's aunts and uncles and cousins, often in Indiana where Faye and Fielding were from. My Dad took a lot of home movies so we don't have many photos from the early 1960's era when there were taken, but I have some of Alice's collection, so these were hers.  I would not recognize myself in this photo, but it makes sense I would hang around with my Grandpa (who seemed to have infinite patience with his grandchildren) among a lot of people I didn't know very well, and that Faye would be smiling close by. Hard to believe, but I was pretty shy at that age.

Aunt Alice also labeled this one from the early 1960's and it appears to be from the same reunion, but she only noted Grandpa Fielding and Dana's father, my brother Carl. Grandpa is the man,kneeling and looking away from the camera. The boy to his left looks a little like our distant cousin Tom to me, so Carl might be the boy in the boat (If some family member has a different idea please correct me!)

There aren't many cousins left from my mother's generation, but family reunions are still taking place annually in late July or August. Mom was very proud of her extended family and kept up with them through the years with what they called "the Cousin's Chain Letter."  Each participating member would write to the others and enclose the letter in a thick envelope with everyone else's letters, following a set rota.  Those envelopes managed to get around to the dozens of cousins about 3 times a year. Mom pulled out her old letters when the "chain" came back to her and saved them. They now form a sort of autobiography of her life from the 1970's until she died in 2010 that I have digitized and transcribed for future generations.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Week 46 - Barrister's Block

This week's block is an interesting one I've never considered making before, Barrister's Block, with the discussion about whether women had any ability to be lawyers.

It's a complicated looking block, just like all the legal mumbo jumbo they read at the end of ads... I started with the circles print and built the block from those colors, looking for contrast with the white and tan print background.

In our family, we have one lawyer, Roger.  Faye, holding this new born baby 60 years ago (he was born in early July 1953) probably never guessed that he would be such a brilliant guy who could have done anything, or that he would choose the law so he could serve his electorate's interests in DuPage county where he was born and raised.

Future engineer Jeff, Faye, and Baby Lawyer Roger
In any case, she certainly took care of us on occasion while we were growing up, helping our parents ensure we would be productive citizens when we entered our adult lives.  Baby Roger grew up to toil tirelessly with his mind and body to preserve green spaces and to create park and recreational facilities as the suburban sprawl paved over the former farmlands of the area. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Civil War Block of the Month - July 1863 - King's Crown/Living Off Cornbread

This block is called King's Crown and it was not clear to me how it is connected with the excerpt from Sarah Morgan's diary about shortages while she is in exile from her home in Louisiana.

I based my block's colors around the plaid I used in the corners.  That fabric was what I made a maternity shirt from for my sister-in-law Joanna when she was pregnant with my first nephew, Andrew who is now 30 years old. I've been incorporating plaids and/or stripes in every block for this project.

My family Civil War history for July 1863 includes a different Morgan than the diarist - John Morgan's raid made it into Indiana on the 9th. The confederates were able to destroy a section of the O&M railroad east of Billy, Shep and John's hometown of Hardenburg (modern day Hayden). They were burning the ties and heating the rails to bend them around the trees. The O&M section boss was notified and given orders to get help to make repairs to the tracks. My great great grandfather, Charles (Billy and Shep's brother), and my great great grandfather Henry Bruner (John's future father-in-law) were among the group of 7 men to head out, armed, not knowing what to expect.

As they arrived at the site, they spotted some of the Rebels riding off. One member (not Charles or Henry) wanted to shoot at them, but the others talked him out of it, not knowing how many others were around and wanting to start any fight they weren't sure they could win. 

Quoting from Rodger Ruddick's The History of Hayden and Spencer Township, "The local farmers got together and decided that some of them should get their guns and guard the covered bridges throughout the township for fear that these would be set on fire. Other hurried to get all of their horses and put them in the barns for safe keeping and then they stood watch over their homesteads.

"The following morning, it was learned that Morgan's Raiders had stayed the night in the Butler house located on Indian Creek. One of the sons of a [local] millhand told of how Mr. Butler gave John Morgan a barrel of whiskey so not to get killed or harmed.

"The Home Guards out of Indianapolis came down to Hardenburg on Friday, the 10th, in hopes of capturing these Rebels. The 500 sodleirs stayed at the Elliot haybarn for the weekend and the sight of all these blue uniformed soldiers in this small town brought out everyone with offers of food for the men. The townsfolk were trying to show their appreciation to the Home Guard for their coming and protecting them from Morgan and his men.

"While these soldiers were in Hardenburg being treated as guests of honor, the farmers out in the ountryside remained terrified. many had stayed up the entire night keeping a vigil over their possessions, and no one knew for certain where the Confederates were or what they were up to."

Three locals lost their horses to the raiders, and one of these was also robbed of his pocketwatch and $47, and his rifle was broken.

I have no letters to or from Shep or the 52nd Indiana during July.  The 82nd's participation in Rosecrans' successful Tullahoma campaign was over by the 4th of July, after which they set up camp in  Winchester and stayed there until mid-August. Billy wrote his brother Henry on the 15th, , "I expect you are having some pretty exciting times back there at home. I suppose John Morgan has been playing smash in Ind., he has been close to Hardenburg if the news is true. I would have liked very much to have been home just to see how the folks did perform. I'll bet there were a great bustle in Vernon when Old M. demanded the surrender of the town, but I say bully for Vernon for not surrendering. And I also say bully for Morgan if Indianaians are enough to set around and let him run through there and tear up particular thunder. General Thomas tells us that we will not have to go any father. I suppose our Div. is to be stationed on ths R.R., if it is, we will have fine times. In past, we have been having good times ever since we come here, plety of blackberries and apples."

Billy tells Henry he is writing while on duty, "I have to beat for the relief guard every 2 hours but it is not hard work." Billy is a musician with the regiment, so I believe he is talking about beating the drum.  When he signs the letter Billy lists how the 82nd fits in the Union Order of Battle under Major General Thomas and calls him "as good as man as ever was." He also says he is as well as he ever was in his life and never was better satisfied.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week 45 - Aunt Mary's Favorite

The name "Aunt Mary's Favorite" went with the story of Civil War diarist Mary Boykin Chestnut, who was a childless aunt many times over - a little like me.

This was a fun block. I wanted to reuse that striking dark print and the circles I bought specifically for this green and yellow quilt. The center fabric will look right when the block is set on point in the quilt.

But let's visit my Grandmother Mary at Jeff and Joanna's wedding again, and this photo of her with 14 of her 16 grandchildren.

Missing are cousins Amy and Roy, but it's obvious that Mary was happy to be photographed with the rest of us at her oldest grandchild's wedding.  Mary was an aunt many times over - my Dad had 28 first cousins.

I don't have any later pictures of Grandmother Faye with all her grandchildren - but here's a family photo with a lot of us in about 1971 I guess, by the glasses I was wearing.  The photo is from Aunt Alice's collection. Uncle Ed must be behind the camera.

Dana's Dad is in the foreground on the right, with Jeff , Dad, Mom and Roger behind him. Joyce and I are flanking our grandparents.

A more recent photo is this one of Faye with her four daughters probably taken in the late 1970's at Aunt Alice's house during one of Aunt Loris' visits from Texas.

May, Alice, Myra and Loris with Faye about 90 years old

Faye was clearly a devoted mother, and in case we might have forgotten, we are lucky that Mom saved the weekly letters she wrote to my mother while she was a freshman in college that illustrate it over and over.  Faye wrote to Loris and May every week as well, since they were both in distant places.  Oldest daughter Alice lived nearby, but frequent visits with her and son Buddy are also documented in the letters.
This week, I decided to show a few pictures of my mother, Dana's grandmother, since this coming Tuesday would have been her 86th birthday.

This is the earliest photo of her I know of  - Aunt Alice has noted on the back that it is from 1930. Alice is in the back row on the left. May is in front of her and three-year-old Myra is in the middle of the front row. (the other girls are friends)

This one of Myra and her father, Fielding standing on the hay wagon against the light sky reminds me of the  iconic images of farmers from the era.

Looking at her arms, I'm guessing she was 13-15, so this was around 1940.  Mom documented her hours helping her Dad on the farm in her 4-H project books.  Later, she would brag she could throw a baseball farther than anyone in her high school - that included the boys.  Her strength came from hand milking cows and doing the same labor as the hired men in the fields.

Joyce just scanned this one  to go with the story of building the house in Glen Ellyn.  Mom and Dad are standing on the porch at the back door, where by the time I was born a few years later, there would be a breezeway and garage addition.

The notation on the bottom of this photo indicates March, 1954, a couple of months after Mom, Dad, Jeff, and baby Roger moved in.  Dana's Dad Carl was born a little over a year later.

And here are some more recent photos - Here she is in probably the late 1970's with my little shelter dog, Scamp.  Mom was always good with dogs.

This photo is from the family gathering in 1981 before I moved to Germany- so she was just 54.

Mom always watched her weight - it was not easy for her to stay slim. She didn't believe in exercise for fitness, she believed in hard work like she did with her father when she was a teenager.  That didn't quite fit into her suburban-Mom lifestyle, but she did work hard!

This last image is a family favorite.  It was taken at Mom's 70th birthday party.

All her grandchildren were there - including Dana resting her chin on her hands in the front row.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Surprise Win!!

Back in April, I showed a small quilt I worked on with five other quilters, Time for Tea. You can see my post at this link  with photos taken prior to completion of the binding.  On Wednesday, I got a call from Alice from the group who went to the reception for participants at the Quilt Alliance offices in Asheville - our little quilt took the grand prize in the contest! Here's the little quilt, photographed by the Alliance:

19. “Time for Tea”
Time for Tea

You can see all 90 quilts in the competition on the Flickr page with some detail shots here - 
When you get to the five-sided (house-shaped) quilts, those are from a prior contest.  All the quilts also currently show up on the Quilt Alliance website here -

The three judges for this contest are very well-known in the current quilting world: Mark Lipinski, Paula Nadelstern and Marianne Fons.  Mark Lipinski has a radio podcast, and called Alice to talk with her about the quilt.  He proclaimed using the Hot Cross Buns to portray the 20 theme was brilliant, and that the quilt was amazing. They were impressed that we did a slice quilt at this scale (20x20 inches).

For our grand prize, we won a HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen, which is a mid-sized machine designed for quilting. With my full-size longarm (23 compared to 16 inches), I don't need the machine, and some of the other quilters have been moving and downsizing, so they won't want to keep it at their homes. We have not yet decided what to do with the prize, but winning a prize was not the point anyway.  The quilts will be shown and eventually will wind up for auction on Ebay as a fund raiser for the Quilt Alliance.

Alice also mentioned that the photo of our winner will be printed on tote bags, and I'll get one of them.  Now that's a cool prize!