Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Quilter's Dream: Seeing Stars!

Another of my fabulous finds! Vintage cotton and feedsack stars ready to be assembled into a quilt! The second photo shows how the stars go together. Note the wonderful vintage textile patterns and colors!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Vintage Quilt Blocks: Pieced Piglets!

I always look for vintage quilt blocks whenever I attend an antique fair or flea market. These I found at the semi-annual antique show in Monroe, Michigan from a vendor who had traveled to the show from Ohio. I loved the primitive look of these blocks at first sight and couldn't leave them behind. Aren't those pieced piglets just too darn cute?

Although these types of blocks are becoming harder to find and a bit more expensive all the time, keep an eye out! There are still some that can be discovered and purchased for a reasonable price. Searching is definitely a huge part of the fun of collecting!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Create A Family Memory Quilt!

Back in 1979, my parents John and Carrie Cederna celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The entire family of 42—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—participated in preparing a special gift of love, a family quilt. On the day of celebration, as we observed our parents' full measure of joy, we knew we had chosen a gift far better than any we could have purchased!

In the fall of 1978, almost a year in advance of the big day, I sent a letter to each family member describing my idea for the quilt. I explained that I would purchase some gold broadcloth, cut 11" squares from it and mail one to each person. In turn, they would decorate their squares in any way they liked: applique, embroidery, or cross stitch—adding anything about themselves they wished such as names, date, jobs or hobbies. When completed, they would return their squares to me.

By May of 1979 all of the quilt squares had been decorated and returned. Due to differences in handling their squares, they were now unequal in size so I made a 10.5" template our of posterboard, placed it over each block and cut it to size. I then stitched a 1.5" border of brightly colored calico to each side of each square (now a quilt block). Next I sewed the bordered blocks together. Added a larger border to the entire quilt top, added a polyester batting and calico backing and it was ready to quilt!

On July 1, 1979, our parents celebrated their 50 years together and we, amid the festivities, fell heir to our own sweet memories, many of them already carefully captured in the stitches of our family quilt.

The family quilt won Blue Ribbon Awards in the Iron County Fair and in the Chelsea Community Fair and now resides at the Iron County Museum in Iron River, Michigan.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Sheltie Season!

My sister, who knows how much I love shelties sent this newspaper clipping to me in her Christmas card. The photo was taken by Lori Anne Montague of Crystal Lake, Il of her shelties: Starr, Belle, Rusty, Bear & Dusty for her Christmas Card and printed in Parade's Snapshot Photo column 12/16/07. Are these shetland sheepdogs too cute for words, or what?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Memory!

Left to Right: Judy, Coralie, Nancy.

Two weeks before Christmas 1950, my pal Judy Sporer and I bundled up in our warmest coats, wound our scarves around our necks and faces, and trudged two miles in our Stadium Boots to Iron River to do our Christmas shopping. We each had a whopping $5 in our pockets.

At Newberry’s Five and Dime, for $.39, I found a deck of miniature playing cards for my sister Connie who had recently developed a mania for playing Solitaire. Then, I spotted a pink donkey planter for Mom for $.89 which I knew she would absolutely love. But I couldn’t see a thing for Dad, or my brother John.

We slipped on down the snow-covered sidewalk to Johnny’s Men Store. The place was loaded with shirts and ties, tie tacks, and—cuff links! A high school senior, my brother wore his only pair to every special event at school. Excited, I turned the little brown box over, but nearly fainted when I saw the price—$2!

Judy and I fled up the street to Schafer’s where the scents of pipes, tobacco, and shaving lotion tickled our chilly noses. Judy bought pretty bottles of cologne for her sisters and mom and some Old Spice aftershave for her brother and her dad. I was about to follow suit when I spotted something that made my heart leap—a reindeer poised in a pretty blue globe filled with water which, when turned upside down, caused “snow” to magically spin, sweep, and swirl lazily down on the winter scene. $1.50—and worth every penny.

With $2.22 left, I figured I could buy my brother’s gift and still have enough for a malted milk at Walgreen’s. I could already taste it!

We scoured the aisles at Monkey Wards, but found nothing. At Kromm’s Department Store, we poured over the men’s socks, ties, and hankies, but I knew nothing anywhere could compare to those classy cuff links at Johnny’s. I counted my money again, hoping I’d made a mistake the first time, but I hadn’t. I looked enviously at Judy, who’d made all her purchases and still had $.50 left, but I knew what I had to do.

Johnny wrapped the little brown box in tissue paper and put it and the receipt in a small brown bag, slipped my $2 into the cash register, and smiled. I knew I’d made the right decision.

At Walgreen’s, I got a little jittery watching Judy sip her malt but my 10 cent cherry coke wasn’t bad and I was happy as a lark imagining the look of disbelief in my brother’s eyes when he opened his gift on Christmas morning.

And he didn’t disappoint me. He beamed as he opened his box, complimented me on my discriminating choice of gifts, and said he’d wear the cuff links to his Hi-Y banquet coming up soon. I’d was absolutely thrilled.

I shall always remember that shopping day as one on which Judy and I discovered the true meaning of Christmas. Our joy was found in doing something special for those we loved. As we sunk our Stadium Boots back into the snowy drifts that covered the sidewalks, and set off for home in Dober Location, we smiled and hummed our favorite Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World.” We’d never felt so proud, so grown up, or so peaceful in all our eleven years. Knowing we had found presents that would surprise and please our families was the best Christmas gift of all.

In Memory of Judy 1939 - 2000

Christmas 2008

As the lights of the season sparkle and shine in celebration in and around your homes in neighborhoods near and far, I wish you all the joyous blessings of Christmas and peace for the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Snow! And More on the Way!

Ginger, one our three shelties, just loves the snow! I tried to get her to come in for her dinner yesterday afternoon, but she declined...she just couldn't bear to leave the falling snow. So here we have it: more snow yesterday, more today, and probably more tomorrow. Here's one pup who doesn't mind!

Unique Quilting Project: Simple Squares!

No matter that I've made hundreds of quilted pillows through the years, I'm still enchanted with simple squares put together in random order. They are unique and beautiful! There are no two alike! The colors blend and harmonize!

I don't know if this particular pillow was made by a beginning or an advanced quilter but, when I saw it at a recent craft fair, I had to have it! I love seeing how other quilters use their fabric scraps. It's all about the colors and patterns of the textiles, vintage or new!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Logan's Seascape!

Grandson Logan, who just turned three in September, finger-painted this beautiful seascape when he was only 17 months old! Can you hear the waves lapping against the shore? Wondrous!

Recycle Your Old Quilts!

Here's a great idea for recycling an old worn quilt. It's easy enough to do, too! Just cut away the tattered portions of the quilt and cut the rest into squares to be sewn together for pillows. Stuff and you're all set. This pretty little buttonhole stitched flower pillow is only 12" square and is as sweet as it can be. To save on friendship gifts for this year or next, why not recycle your old tattered quilts into small pillows or sachets? Your one of a kind items will be appreciated and cherished!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Food for Animals! Just Click!

Attention Animal Lovers! You can help provide free food to abused & neglected animals with no cost to yourselves! Just go to The Animal Rescue Site and click on the purple box "fund food for animals." Each click helps The Animal Rescue Site reach daily goals so that their corporate sponsors/advertisers will use the number of daily visits to donate food in exchange for advertising. PLEASE HELP!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Michigan Quilts: A Super Quilting Blog!

While out and about a few days ago, I came across a super-duper quilting blog called "Michigan Quilts" by Caron Mosey. Caron not only loves quilts but is also a published author of quilting.

She wrote her first book, America’s Pictorial Quilts, because she was frustrated at not finding books on pictorial quilts. It was the early 1980’s, and while you could find pictorial quilts in magazines, there just wasn’t a pictorial quilt book to be found.

She writes on her blog, "I was blessed to be one of the first quilter/writers to be published by the brand NEW American Quilter's Society. I participated as a teacher and exhibitor at the first AQS quilt show and contest in April of 1985, and for several years toured the country teaching what I loved: quilting."

If you, too, love quilts and quilting, check out this wonderful blog, at Michigan Quilts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our House of Hope! In 4th place!

As of this evening, Our House of Hope is in 4th place in the State of Illinois for Petfinders favorite Shelter/Rescue Contest. Sunday at midnight is the end of the contest. The Illinois State winner will receive a $1000.00 grant. Our small rescue would benefit tremendously from this opportunity. We have had several wonderful people voting feverishly on our behalf and now we need your help to make a last minute surge. Lets show them that although we may be small, we are mighty. Ive attached instructions to vote to this e-mail and we would so appreciate your help and your votes over the next few days. Vote now and vote often.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Mike and Lisa

Our House of Hope K-9 Rescue

PLEASE! Go to:

In the purple box in the middle of the page enter:

Shelter name: Our House of Hope

State: IL

City: Gurnee

=>Click on search.

It will bring you to the next page to confirm you have selected the right shelter.

=> Click VOTE

To confirm your vote it will show you a picture of an animal.

Type the animals name in the “your answer” box.

=> Click Confirm Vote


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Collecting Vintage Cotton & Feedsack Quilts!

Whenever I discover a a beautiful old hand-pieced cotton and feedsack quilt at an antique mall, I simply cannot resist adding it to my collection! I love imagining how the creators of these quilts decided on pattern and color choices and then sat down to stitch and dream. What were those quilters dreaming about way back when? Were they planning to give the quilt to someone they loved?
It's clear that a lot of love has gone into this quilt and the many others I have found and adopted! Such gorgeous fabrics and all from vintage cotton and feedsacks. Every single one is a unique piece of art designed by a creative spirit, a spirit who sees the world in living color.
In visiting an Amish home a few years ago, I was interested to see that the rooms were equipped with useful items only. One of the wooden kitchen tables held dozens of oil lamps ready to be refilled and reused. Another kitchen table & benches took center stage in that room awaiting the family gathering for food. But the rooms were devoid of color or decorations.

Except for the sewing room! From a large wooden chest in the sewing room, came the most stunning quilts I'd ever seen. The excitement in the Amish women's eyes told the whole story. It's all about the color, texture, and design. It's all about the creative spirit of art!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Know Where You Live, Mr. Squirrel!

And now I know where Mr. Squirrel lives! The board under the roof of the garage did not get replaced last summer and a hole developed. Then winter came...oh well! But what a great home for a teeny tiny squirrel to get through the winter. He pops his head out and up every so often to get a "drink" of snow from the roof. Quite a sight! And we see him now and then running lickety split through the nearby trees. Who knew that we would be the ones providing a home for Mr. Squirrel! It'll be interesting to see what happens when spring arrives!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our House of Hope!

I want to bring up OUR HOUSE OF HOPE again as I feel it's so important to our furry friends who need help! My niece Jill and her daughter Maggie help rescue animals through Our House of Hope, a shelter in Ilinois. You can help them win a grant for their animal rescue with the Animal Rescue Site $100k Challenge.

PLEASE! Go to:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Feedsacks with Borders!

Most quilters prefer feedsacks with overall patterns for their vintage projects. Yet many of the vintage feedsacks I find have beautiful borders that are perfect for making curtains, pillowcases, or even aprons.

Some of the most beautiful bordered feedsacks I've found came from a small Amish town in Indiana where I was lucky enough to find a matching pair of ribboned bouquets of posies. Aren't these the prettiest ever?

Sheltie Camera Monster Continued!

Yes, here's the resident camera monster at work again!Choosing a new family dog? If you don't like barking, do not choose a sheltie!

But it you don't mind a little hullabalooing and you want the sweetest cuddler in the world, then the Shetland Sheepdog is for you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sheltie Camera Monster!

This is Bonnie Lass. See that look in her eyes? That's the look that says, "You're not going to take another picture are you? Cuz, if you are, all you're going to hear for the next ten minutes is some hair-raising barking!"

This sheltie came to us at age two and had already developed a dreadful dislike to the big "C" better known as the CAMERA! Whenever I take my photos of quilts, vintage fabrics, and feedsack items for eBay sales, I have to shoo her outdoors so she doesn't see the camera coming.

However, this dog knows me so well, she can suspect when I'm going to have a photo session. She lurks around underfoot giving me the LOOK! Still she's just a little sweetie when there's no camera equipment around. A real cuddler!Hard to believe these photos are of the same sheltie...but they are! How did my husband get her to actually pose for this picture? Well, he's the real camera-man around here. He had his camera on a tripod and held a remote control in his hand. Yep, you've got to go a long way to fool this dog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yo-Yo's Made from Feedsack Scraps!

This yo-yo pillow was made from vintage cotton and feedsack fabrics and is a lovely keepsake. Many beautiful yo-yo pillows were made over the years and I always look for them when searching for treasures at an antique mall or flea market sale.Yo-yo's are made from circles cut from scraps. The edge of each fabric circle is turned under, stitched around using a running stitch, then pulled tight and knotted. Yo-yo's can be sewn together to make quilts, pillows, or other creative items. This technique was especially popular in the 1940's and 50's and in recent years has had a resurgence. It is frequently used by quilters today!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scrap Quilts: Mixing Vintage & New Fabrics!

One of my favorite quilting projects is to mix new and old scraps together to make a unique combination of colors and patterns. This particular quilt was especially fun to work on because I already had a number of vintage cotton and feedsack scraps on hand when I also bought a small bag of fabric leftovers from someone else's quilting projects. (You never know what you might find at a garage sale!)

I sat down at my sewing machine, took whatever scrap came next and stitched it to the next piece. When I had pieces of sewn scraps that measured approximately 6" square, I used my 6" square template to cut them into 6" blocks. When I had as many blocks as I needed for the lap-size quilt I had in mind, I stitched them all together for a fun mix of old & new! Waiting to see how it all would turn out was more than half the fun! And it was nice to know I was recyling at the same time!

What kind of scrap quilts have you made?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Simple Squares Make a Stunning Quilt!

This quilt is another of my fantastic finds from our flea market shopping trips to Amish Country in Indiana. This Trip Around the World quilt was made from simple squares but it is a stunning display of color & pattern. A quilt made from squares can be just as exciting as a more complicated design. The beauty is all in the selection of fabrics and placement of pieces. The vintage fabrics mixed with feedsack pieces add a nostalgic touch that turns this quilt into a true treasure.

Vintage Cotton & Feedsack Pinwheel Quilt!

This quilt top was a wonderful find at our annual neighborhood yard sale a few summers ago. The smell of moth balls was so strong I didn't even want to touch this piece but I could see, when the owner held it up, that it had been lovingly hand stitched a long time ago.

"How much?" I asked.

"Oh, 5 bucks I guess; it's not worth anything really."

"Can you put it in a bag for me?" For 5 bucks I could stand to clean the quilt top but I still didn't want to have to smell it while I shopped the rest of the neighborhood sales.

Once cleaned, the fabrics—as I suspected—were pristine and lovely. Once again I reminded myself, don't judge a quilt by it's odor. Get it home, give it a good soaking and it'll be good to go! Even if it's only a partial quilt top, you can always make pillows or purses or other wonderful quilted projects from it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vintage Aprons Quilt!

This quilt top was made entirely from 1940's & 50's aprons that were no longer wearable. It seemed a shame to discard these aprons as there were fabric portions that were still colorful, bright and cheerful as when new. Much better to recycle the pretty floral fabrics into a one-of-a-kind quilt.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yo-Yo Pillows from Feedsack Scraps!

I discovered this vintage yo-yo-pillow in an Amish town in Indiana a few years ago. Known for their resourcefulness, Amish quilters use every bit of fabric available to make their quilts. Leftover scraps from larger projects are never thrown away but rather made into items to sell or use in the household.

This yo-yo pillow was made from vintage cotton and feedsack fabrics and is a lovely keepsake. Many beautiful yo-yo pillows were made over the years and I always look for them when searching for treasures at an antique mall or flea market sale.

Yo-yo's are made from circles cut from scraps. The edge of each fabric circle is turned under, stitched around using a running stitch, then pulled tight and knotted. Yo-yo's can be sewn together to make quilts, pillows, or other creative items. This technique was especially popular in the 1940's and 50's and in recent years has had a resurgence. It is frequently used by quilters today!

Making yo-yo's is a wonderful sewing craft for any age. Children can easily accomplish the steps! When I was a young girl in Brownie Scouts, our leader taught us to make yo-yo's which we turned into flowers by adding pipe cleaners for stems. Our leader poured wax into tiny pots and placed the "stems" into the wax until it set up. These "plants" were given to our mothers for Mothers Day. We were so proud to be able to make such beautiful gifts at age eight years old!

Ojibwa Burial Grounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A few weeks ago I received a postcard from my dear friend Jeanne whom I've known since Kindergarten. We shared the same homerooms throughout our years in grade and high school in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, attended the same church and were active Thespians throughout high school. We attended each others birthday parties when we were kids and corresponded through the years as adults.

The post card I received said to watch for a surprise in the mail and have a camera on hand to take photos. So that is what I did. And what a wonderful & exciting surprise it was to discover a beautiful original oil painting of the Pentoga Park Ojibwa Burial Grounds (located a few miles from where we grew up) by my friend Jeanne. Her note said, "There is only one place this could go...It isn't the exact shot as the picture in your book A Tree Grows in Trout Creek but it's the same spot."

I was deeply touched and thrilled to be the recipient of this memorable oil painting by Jeanne. It's lovely to see every day this wonderful tribute to the area in which we came of age. But more important, it is the friendship of the many years our lives have been entwined that I cherish.

Go to: for more information on my books which include cultural information on the Ojibwa/Chippewa Indians: The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek, both collections of stories of growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I See You, Mr. Squirrel!

Since my last post about Mr. Squirrel, I have been catching sight of him almost daily. He's been so fast though that I've continued to have a hard time identifying him.

However, this past week, I discovered that every day at 4 p.m. he takes a stand at the tippy-top point on our garage roof. There he suns himself for a second before darting away. Now that I know he'll be there at 4 p.m. I don't let the dogs out at that time.

But I do watch and I'm just about positive now that he is a tiny red squirrel, about a quarter the size of the normal squirrels in our neighborhood. Now, if only I could get a picture of him! So, the question remains: where did he come from? There are no others like him around. What do you think?’

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Sheltie for the White House?

So what kind of puppy will the Obama family choose? I keep thinking about it and wondering what breed the new puppy will be. Other presidents and their families have chosen the following:

George W. Bush: Miss Beasley & Barney, Scottish Terriers.

Bill Clinton: Buddy, a Chocolate Lab.

George Bush: Millie & Ranger, Springer Spaniels.

Ronald Reagan: Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres who was too big & was replaced by Rex, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.

Jimmy Carter: Grits a dog given to little Amy by her teacher & had to be returned.

Gerald Ford: Liberty, a Golden Retriever.

Richard Nixon: Vicky, a Poodle & King Timahoe, an Irish Setter.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Him & Her, two Beagles. Blanco, a white Collie & Yuki, a Mongrel Dog.

John F. Kennedy: Charlie, a Welsh Terrier & dogs: Pushinka, Shannon, Wolf, & Clipper.

Dwight d. Eisenhower: Heidi, a Weimaraner.
So what will the Obama family choose? Of course, if I were choosing, it would be a shetland sheep dog (sheltie) but that would certainly mean a lot of barking in the White House. I wonder...I wonder?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our House of Hope!

My niece Jill and her daughter Maggie help rescue animals through Our House of Hope, a shelter in Ilinois. You can help them win a grant for their animal rescue with the Animal Rescue Site $100k Challenge.

PLEASE! Go to:

In the purple box in the middle of the page enter:

Shelter name: Our House of Hope

State: IL

City: Gurnee

=>Click on search.

It will bring you to the next page to confirm you have selected the right shelter.

=> Click VOTE

To confirm your vote it will show you a picture of an animal.

Type the animals name in the “your answer” box.

=> Click Confirm Vote

THANK YOU for helping the animals at OUR HOUSE OF HOPE!

Civil War Quilting with Feedsacks!

During the civil war between the states, women rather than government provided soldiers with clothing and bedding. They made quilts for the men on the lines as well as quilts to sell. The quilts they sold provided money to buy more fabric for badly needed quilts.

But quilt fabric, mainly calico, was expensive and had become harder and harder to find. So, in addition to purchased fabric, all kinds of cloth was used for quilt tops. Men’s clothing, old blankets, carpets, drapes and linings from women's dresses were all put to use. Often, even the wardrobes of men who had died in the war were gathered and reused.

The backing for quilt tops was most often made from sturdy grain and feedsacks. Batting was nearly non-existent so old mattresses were taken apart and used for fillers but more often quilts were stuffed with newspaper. When there was no filler batting to be had, the woolen and heavier clothing making up the quilt tops had to provide the warmth needed for the men in action.Civil War Quilt Blocks:
Basic fabrics and simple block patterns were used for the soldiers’ quilts. The faster a quilt could be produced the better as time was of the essence. Sometimes a quilter would stitch words of encouragement on a quilt block to give a soldier hope and inspiration while he was at war.

Frequently soldiers were buried in their quilts and as a result very few original civil war quilts have survived. Since many of the quilts were made in a hurry and not constructed as well as they could have been, many did not survive the war. It is estimated that women created over 250,000 quilts for the soldiers during the civil war.

(I received comments from two different quilters who told me that though the quilt blocks pictured are very old, they may not be civil war era.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Civil War Quilt Blocks Discovered!

These amazing civil war quilt blocks were discovered at a Quilt Museum in Goshen, Indiana on one of our trips to Amish country. Note the handpiecing stitches on the backside of the quilt blocks.(Although the curator of the museum had documented that these were from the civil war era, I received comments from two different quilters who told me that though the quilt blocks pictured are very old, they may not be civil war era.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No Cash & Carry For Them!

Back in the good old days, Mom and Dad paid for everything in cold cash money. No credit for them, or as it was known in our town, "cash and carry". "Don't ever buy anything unless you can afford it," Mom and Dad used to say. "And affording it means you can and will pay cash. You've got to learn to save!"

My first job was playing the organ in our church for which I was paid a dollar a day. With those dollars a day paid monthly, it was easy to set aside some money for special things. I saved and then bought my first "straight kick-pleat" skirt and sweater to match. I saved some more and then came a brand new shiny Getzen trumpet for band class and practice. I saved even more and—best of all—came the day I had enough money to buy my own portable Smith-Corona typewriter (which by the way I still have) for Miss Swanson's typing class!

I can still hear Mom and Dad saying, "Don't buy anything unless you can afford it! Save your money! Pay cash!" And that was one of the things my parents told me to do that I actually listened to!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween Therapy Dogs!

These sweet family pets are also working dogs! They are therapy dogs who help heal and entertain! These wonderful therapy dogs, along with their owners, a pumpkin girl and a happy clown, visited an assisted living home to entertain the residents. Everyone had a Happy Halloween time! No wonder! Aren't these dogs and their friends just too cute?