New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: A Toast with St. Nicholas

I have not seen many Victorian trade cards that feature Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas) and sewing machines.  There may be a few cards or postcards with pictures of Santa and toy sewing machines, but I just haven't seen any cards with the Jolly Old Elf and a regular machine.  Santa does show up in late 20th century ads for sewing machines - I guess we can thank Madison Avenue for convincing our loved ones we'd like appliances as Christmas gifts!

Sewing and blogging time will be almost non-existent for me over the next several days, so I'll leave you with my Christmas greeting - St. Nicholas and my namesake sharing a moment of repose over a glass of bubbly.

The card is framed, and I can't remember if there is actual advertising copy on the reverse, but I love the image!  My DH collects Santa Claus figures and images, so this card speaks to us on several levels.  If you look closely at the angel, you'll see he is holding a scythe (an image often associated with Father Time) and an hourglass is near his feet.  Perhaps the image is meant to symbolize the week of good cheer between Christmas and New Year's.  

Wishing everyone a Joyous Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Domestic Sewing Machines Vol. I

The Domestic Sewing Machine Company was a fairly early entrant in the sewing machine manufacturing game.  The company started in 1864 in Ohio.  Their original machines used the vibrating shuttle mechanism, which was newer technology than Singer's transverse shuttle.  This new technology was the basis for Domestic's advertising for many years.

This card is actually a small booklet.  The outside sends greetings to all lovers of Antiquities.  The inside contains the illustration above.  On the left, the sharp-dressed man exclaims, "Yes, my father was a great antiquarian."  The caption on the right reads, "Where he studied antiquity."  

The card can be interpreted two ways.  One is the obvious - many early sewing machines were of poor quality and didn't hold up to the rigors of every day sewing.  It wasn't long before they were worn out antiquities.  Domestic machines however, would not succumb to that fate!

The second interpretation is a sly reference to the thought held by many that Elias Howe did not dream up his sewing machine on his own, but heavily borrowed (stole!) ideas from an earlier inventor named Walter Hunt.  Hunt invented a sewing machine in 1834 but failed to patent it.  Howe's machine was very similar to Hunt's, including the same features that made Hunt's machine impractical for serious sewing.  BTW, Walter Hunt also invented that gadget indispensable to modern machine-quilters:  the safety pin.

Here's a variation on a puzzle card - there are hidden faces in the different continents on the globe.

When opened, one learns the Domestic is The Star That Leads Them All.

The characters on this card may seem a little strange to our eyes, but in their time they were some of the most popular and beloved fictional characters around.  These little guys are inspired by Palmer Cox's Brownies, cartoon characters from the last century. The Brownies had all kinds of adventures which were shared in popular books and later became pitchmen for all kinds of products.  In keeping with Domestic's assertion their machines lasted longer than any others - check out the sewing machine cemetery in the background!

Three women engaged in sewing with a Domestic machine.  Is the tea-tray carrying maid in the background meant to be a pun on the name Domestic?  The sewing patterns in use here were also created and sold by Domestic; the pattern numbers are listed on the reverse of the card.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Slow Sunday with a Finish!

It was a disappointing afternoon for New Orleans Saints football fans, but I managed to Keep Calm and Carry On with my hand stitching despite my team's embarrassing loss.  The binding on the Exotic Star quilt is now finished.  I guess I can call this my first "blended" quilt.  I still love the fabric despite my aggravation with piecing the pattern.  

Next up, another memory quilt is in the binding queue.  The quilt needs to be squared up and the binding still needs to be made, but maybe I can make time for that this week.  We'll see - I have a lot on my plate work-wise and family-wise this week, so my next hand-stitching project may get delayed for awhile.

I hope everyone is having a piece-ful Sunday.  Do stop by Kathy's blog to see what other Slow Sunday hand-stitchers are up to!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Little Progress

My "Sew Sixty" inspiration did not help me accomplish much sewing this week.  Too much time was taken up with work, family events and social activities.  I enjoyed the family events and social activities, so all was not lost! <g>

Some progress has been made on sashing the Granny Squares and here's a quick and sloppy iPad photo to prove it.  I am debating machine quilting this myself or sending it to my local longarm quilter.  I'm strictly a straight-line gal when it comes to machine quilting - utilitarian and fairly quick.  On the other hand, I do think this design would look good with a swirly type design, which would mean longarm quilting.  We'll see what the quilt tells me when it's finished.

I'm off to share this with the Rainbow Scrap quilters at Soscrappy's blog and then I think I need a bit of a nap to recover from my Geocaching adventures this morning!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grandmother's Choice: Universal Suffrage & Bride's Knot

Exercising my Sew Sixty strategy for the past week has helped me catch up on Grandmother's Choice blocks from Barbara Brackman's BOW project.

My version of block #13:  Universal Suffrage

And #14 Bride's Knot

These were relatively simple blocks, unlike Block #4 - Kansas Sunflower - the block I'm still procrastinating over!  I'm going to join up with Deb from VT Quilter and challenge myself to finish that ol' sunflower by Christmas.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sew Sixty

Thanks to my Dear Husband and Dear Sons we watch a lot of American football at our house.  In self-defense, I became a football fan too.  To be honest, it's hard not to be at least a casual football fan in New Orleans, because it's almost a sin to not be a New Orleans Saints fan!

As a result of watching all this football, I've developed my new personal motivational strategy for quilting.  I call it Sew Sixty.  I stole the name from the National Football League's fitness campaign aimed at kids (and adults).  Called Play 60, the program aims to get kids playing for at least 60 minutes a day, promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.

My program is aimed at getting me to sew at least 60 minutes a day.  We all know how difficult it can be at times to get motivated to sew: we're tired, we're stressed, we're distracted, we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves.  You name the excuse - we've all been there!  But it's so simple to just go sit down and start sewing.  Whether sewing by hand or stitching at the machine, it just takes that simple step of getting started.  Before you know it, you've accomplished one step in a project and are ready for another.  And the satisfaction of making that effort and having something concrete to show for it makes it all worthwhile.

So now in the evening (sometimes even in the morning before work) I head for my sewing room mentally chanting my new mantra: "Sew Sixty!  Sew Sixty!"

I finished my multi-colored Granny Square blocks this week.  These round out my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Granny Square quilt.

All the squares waiting for sashing.

Sashing and cornerstones for the Granny Square quilt.

A few more leader-ender spools in black.  I love that reproduction fabric with the mauve flowers.  Wish I had more - those were the last scraps!

And some seasonal green and red leader-enders.

A few other projects also got attention this week, but I'll hold off on sharing until there's a little more pizzaz to show.  I'm looking forward to another week of challenging myself to Sew Sixty - won't you join me?!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Grandmother's Choice: Boy's Breeches

I'm supposed to be menu-planning and making a grocery list, but I thought I'd do some hand-stitching while I enjoy my weekly cup of coffee.

Due to the dreaded Y-seams, I decided to hand-piece the week 12 block of Barbara Brackman's BOW Grandmother's Choice.  The block is known as boy's breeches and Barbara chose it as a reference to how women's clothing has evolved over the past century.  My color interpretation is rather literal, as I chose "washday" (scroll to the bottom to read about washday clothing) indigo for the breeches.  

Once I finish the breeches, it's on to hand-stitching the binding on the Exotic Star quilt.  IF I can get Moxie to give up her new favorite spot!

Linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching today - check out what other hand-stitchers are creating this week.  BTW, check out Kathy's clever interpretation of Boy's Breeches!