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Friday, July 21, 2017

Kalocsa Embroidery

Round doily in Kalocsa work. Collection of Patricia Cummings


Hungary is known for its Cross Stitch, Outline Stitch Embroidery with sayings, Lacemaking, and Folk Embroidery. One of the most beautiful of the types of embroidery done is Kalocsa. Its name is derived from the city in the Great Plain region where it originated. It is said that the bright colors of the buds and flowers symbolize the life and growth of a woman. I have collected a few pieces of Kalocsa and find it to be a very inspiring type of needlework. Here are some more examples.

Typical doily though some are even more elaborate. Collection of Patricia Cummings

Child's Apron. Notice the fine details of the edges! Collection of Patricia Cummings



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Musings on a Summer's Day

One of my favorite songs is "Summertime." It is from the musical "Porgy and Bess." I just know that I like the words:  "Summer time and the livin' is easy/ Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high/ Your Papa's rich and your Ma is good lookin'/ So hush little baby, don't you cry." See the Wikipedia file about the history of the musical here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Bess

Summer is here with its heat waves and threats of thunderstorms. Today, Jim picked the first Blackberry of the season and we are currently making plans for having an ice cream making party when the Raspberries are ready to pick. It looks as though we shall have an abundant Peach crop this year so perhaps we will be busy making Peach jam when those are ripe.

Yesterday I announced on Facebook that my main website will be going away forever...today! So far, it has not been removed by the host company.

I'll continue to share information on this blog re:  quilts, embroidery, and musings. At one time, our website was one of the largest on the Internet and unfortunately, we were hacked. We had to take the computer to be completely cleaned out and rid of malware, spyware, and a Trojan virus. It was a very trying time.

Colorized version of a design from the Cunnings catalog


Today I am thinking of a cartoon-like scenario that appeared in Cunnings catalog, circa 1886. I enlarged the design and colorized it and then printed it on fabric. The scene very much reminds me of "The Gossips," a 19th century (1800s) appliqu├ęd picture in silk that was documented in Florida in the 1930s and never seen again. The theme is the same (two ladies with bonnets, sitting in chairs, visiting). I love whimsical motifs and this one tickles my fancy!

The work of the past is always fun to re-visit. I even enjoy re-reading my own published articles. They contain so much information, I could never possibly commit all that to memory! I find myself referencing my own books at times. It's all fun!

Enjoy the summer! As much as we complain about the heat, it is much better than having to shovel snow! So long for now. I promise to stay in touch!

Patricia Cummings


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It's the Little Things

To enjoy life is to savor the little things. As we were driving up to Bridgton, Maine on Sunday to attend a quilt show there, we decided that we should stop at Reny's, a store in that town that has just about everything one could imagine from clothes to canned goods, stationery, and home decor items. I had just mentioned to Jim that I was in the market for a new table runner and that I had thought of stopping sometime at one of the NH League of Craftsmen shops. Well, knowing how expensive a proposition that would be, he was delighted when I found an alternative solution at Reny's. I spotted a hand-braided, hand-painted, 36" table runner with fir trees. It is perfect for my needs.

Beautiful hand-painted Piggy Bank sits on my new table runner


Once home, I placed my new Piggy Bank in the center of the runner in my den. The bank was a birthday gift and is hand-painted with owls.

The quilt show was a delight! I knew the quilters there would be friendly as I had taught a workshop for the guild years ago and really enjoyed the experience! Quilts were numerous, and vendors offered a variety of unique items. Demonstrators were on hand, there was a snack area to sit and relax, and an offering of many used books and magazines in a "rummage" area. For the fun of it, I purchased a book, How to Make an Amish Quilt, which offers 80 patterns and Amish history. I have some "Amish" solid-color fabrics left over from my trip to Amish country in 1999 and could be inspired to use it!

Jean Simoneau chose Batik fabrics for making "Sweet Ride"


On the way home, we were surprised to see two fawns leaping across the road in front of us. Good thing we were driving slowly! On the way up to Maine, a wild turkey was in the road and finished flying across it. Wild turkeys are prevalent these days. Yesterday, there were three hens and five baby chicks in our backyard, poking around.

All in all, the quilt show trip was very pleasing. The day could not have been more perfect with sunny skies and fair weather clouds. I take nothing for granted these days. On the way to the show I remarked that I realize that the days of life are like sands falling through an hourglass (Anyone who has ever watched "Days of Our Lives" would know that is the theme). At our age, there are less grains of sand available to pass through that hour glass so we might as well enjoy all the concerts and quilt shows that we can. It was a great day! It's good to enjoy the "little things!"




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Look Pleasant, Please!


We found this embroidered textile in an antiques store and although it was in a soiled condition we decided not to pass it up figuring it could be washed. I like the message:  "All the World is a Camera. Look Pleasant Please!"

It is not only important to "look pleasant," it is equally important to "be pleasant." We are not seeing many people on television looking pleasant or being pleasant these days. It seems that all we hear about are the latest crimes, drug dealers, and angry politicians.

I told Jim that I long for the days when I used to know some pleasant old people who have now passed away. No matter what ache or pain beset them, they were always "pleasant." I enjoy mellow people who do not have an ax to grind or an agenda to push. It is becoming more and more difficult to find such folks. I know they must exist. I just do not know them, personally.

We could all take a lesson from the embroidered piece above. "Look pleasant, please!"




More Flower Photos for Inspiration

The third owner of our 1821 home was quite a gardener. In fact, he supplied flowers (Peonies, Iris, and others) to the local Congregational Church which is just a stone's throw away up the street. Consequently, many of the flowers that he planted around the yard are perennials that come back year after year. The man actually had a business that he called "Fair View Gardens." In the 1930s, one could actually see the Merrimack River from the second floor of this old house (and someone took a photo from there). Meanwhile, the undergrowth and trees have obscured the "fair view."

We maintain many of the perennial plantings even though we have moved some of the plants around the yard from time to time. In addition, we plant annuals, especially in the front of the house to fill in where the perennials leave off.

I thought you might like to see a collection of photos taken around the yard yesterday by James Cummings. With all the rain we have had, the pansies are still going great guns and have not dried up like other years.

California Poppy, a plant good for beneficial insects

Daisy-like flower, name unknown

Mullen plant with a spike-y yellow blossom

Pansies with rain drops on them

Perennial Sweet Pea growing near an old railroad tie

Rugosa Rose with nicely-camouflaged insect!

Stella d' Oro Lily just opening

Tiger Lily which some people call "Road Lily" 

White Rugosa Rose, host to a Bumblebee


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Presidential Site to Celebrate July 4

This year, as in other years, the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, will celebrate the 4th of July. The president is the only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day! Their event is one that is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family. Among other features is a chicken barbecue, and a parade led by the Vermont National Guard (Color Guard) to the final resting place of the president which is nearby. There will be a birthday cake, live music and much more. Currently, there is a textile exhibit in place and possibly there will be craft demonstrators on hand. We have attended this event in the past and liked it very much.

For more information, please visit:  http://historicsites.vermont.gov/exhibits/new

4th of July Parade in Plymouth Notch, VT