Monday, November 21, 2011

SusieQT Collects: Quilts!

Hey all, what better way to warm up in this cool weather than snuggling up under a vintage handmade quilt! I am fortunate in that I have quite a few, all family heirlooms. I think most of these are 1890s-1930s. It seems my great grandmas were busy quilting bees, and since they lived in Michigan, I suppose they needed to make lots of them!

So a few weeks back, I took off my summertime chenille bedspreads and swapped them out with a few of these beauties:

This one is mostly embroidered; the green and purple sections are pieced.  I suppose this is technically a "coverlet" because there is no batting in between, although it is still quilted. It's in my daughter's room because of the purple. 

I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, but it gives a good shot of the pattern. I like the mostly green background and this is one of the larger quilts- fits over a full/queen bed. I believe this one is from the 1920s/30s.

I just love the handmade, rustic appeal of vintage quilts and I also really dig trying to guess the era of the fabric pieces. I think most of these are 1890s-1930s. This one is a nice close up of some Art Deco fabric. I believe the pieces are feedsack.

This one has a blue and brown theme- very masculine- but then again there is quite a bit of pink. But I think the pink might have been originally red.

I love the edging. This quilt (actually another coverlet) is pieced primarily of indigo calico, probably from about 1900.

I like the triangle pattern on this one, even though it's not in great shape anymore. I actually rescued this one from my mom- she had relegated it to outdoor duty. She has more of these than I do, even- all made by the same ancestors.

This is my favorite- a turkey red album quilt. The squares are all embroidered nature scenes or childhood scenes. It's a twin size quilt. I don't have any twin beds here, or I would use it. 

I need to figure out a better way to display them. I'm not big on hanging them on the wall- that's a little too country for me. Some of them are too small for laying across a bed, and with small kids they are too fragile to drape over a sofa. So for now, they're put away in a blanket chest.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Little R-n-R part 2- the goodies!

Okay, now that I got that last post off my chest it's back to the fun and frivolity! On our 10th anniversary get- away post last month, I mentioned all the great antiques stores we stopped at in Adamstown, PA. Since I am so cheap, most of the time when I go into an "antiques store", it is purely a research project. As in, how much can I get for my stuff if I put it in my Etsy Store, and laughing at the prices some folks will pay.

But there are always a few bargains to be found, I guess, and particularly when you are faced with So Much Stuff! Don't get me wrong, there were things in there I wanted to buy, but I just don't have the money to spend $1200 on an amazing lithographed tin toy from the turn of the century.
My outift for our 2nd day out- wide legged sailor jeans, saddle shoes and  my 49er.

So what did I buy? Well, since selling vintage clothing has become my business, I naturally looked those racks over pretty carefully. And those of you of like mind and taste will probably agree when I tell you that most of the older stuff I saw was either in poor condition or had a sky high price tag. There were plenty of newer items from the 60s and 70s to be had more reasonably, but those just aren't my style. And on a trip like this, I buy for myself- I can't make enough money re-selling things that are on the high side to start with.

So I found this gem of a handmade day dress:

It's never been worn, has the original belt and I loved the cute cotton print fabric. But at $15, it did have one flaw: all the buttons melted when it was pressed! They aren't melted onto the dress, thankfully, just into flat disks that are no longer functional or pretty. Eventually I will find some nice vintage buttons and replace them all before I wear it next spring.

My next find was blue and white also. I recently became an official Pyrex collector, and besides the primary color set, I have been working on a Butterprint mixing bowl set. I had bought the large 444 last fall at a Goodwill ($2.99) and hadn't really found anything else cheap and in great condition (my two priorities, in that order!) But at one of the antique malls I found a little booth of only Pyrex and Fire King, and they had the 441 there for only $4. (There were actually quite a few booths with glassware and kitchen items; some were so spectacularly staged I could have lived there- wish I had my camera to share them with you.)

The 442 was at the booth as well, but not in as great shape, and for $6, I think I can do better eventually. The thrill of the hunt is really why I'm in it, anyway. 

And my final purchase was totally one of those splurge deals, for something that I would normally laugh at my own stupidity for paying the price, if it weren't so gosh-darn perfect:

I bought a set of rabbit ears for my TV-quarium. Late 40s/early 50s RCA antenna, with bakelite base and red tips on the antenna. It is so perfect, that for $18 I didn't think twice. (The other item on top of the set is not a radio, it's a UHF tuner which came with the original TV for $1. I have a couple TV lamps that I'm playing around with as well; still haven't settled on the perfect 'look'. But the rabbit ears are definitely staying!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am Penn State

I'm sure many of you have been following the Penn State scandal with a heavy heart, as I have. I am a Penn State alumnus, class of 1997. My father went there (class of 1954) as did my grandfather (class of 1928). I have numerous friends and relatives attending there now. 

Football team, 1927. From my grandfather's scrapbook.
If you said that I should "bleed blue and white" well, you'd be wrong. I bleed like every other human being and this scandal has cut me to the core. I have cried for those boys every day, and I am doing it again right now...

I can't stop thinking about those poor children and how they must have gone home, got into their beds and cried. And nobody did anything to help them. They were so vulnerable and had no one to go to.

If there is any comfort to be gained from all of this, it is that so many of us in the Penn State community are outraged and hopefully would have done the right thing if we saw that little boy getting raped. Going forward I think the best way to heal is to do whatever we can do to give children a save place to go and a responsible adult to talk to. If only these kids had had someone to confide in, I want to believe that this abuse would have been stopped long ago.

My grandparents near center of campus. Caption reads, "Still love each other, April '27"
We also need to reevaluate our priorities when it comes to college athletics. I love sports, and football is at the top of the list. I played in the Blue Band; I was on that field in front of 100,000 rabid fans. I participated in that game day spectacle that will occur again tomorrow. I received all expenses-paid trips to the Rose Bowl and other privileges. But if this situation is what comes out of blind allegiance to sports at the expense of humanity, then count me out. Modern college athletics have become a different beast entirely than for what they were originally intended. 

When money and prestige drive a program and a school instead of the well-being of its people we have gone down the wrong path. What ever happened to the days when "student athlete" meant something- that you were a student first, not just auditioning for TV ratings and the NFL? At Penn State, we always paid lip service to that ideal, that Joe Paterno made sure his players did well in class and graduated. But they were always football players first and foremost, and that is what has led to his downfall.

We need to return to that notion of athletics as a secondary facet of a well-rounded education. We need to stop treating kids as money-makers and start valuing them as individuals. We need to stop rewarding mediocre classroom performance with athletic scholarships at all levels. Don't give me the argument that Joe Schmo would never have gotten into Penn State except for his athletic prowess- we should be investing that athletic budget into helping him get good grades on his homework instead of excusing him to go to high school football practice. 

Look at the way the service academies do it- no one gets in purely on athletics. They have to be accepted on their academic merit first. Somehow they manage to produce a decent, competitive football team and at the same time don't lose focus on the "student" part of the "student-athlete". I'm not saying that everyone can or should adopt the rest of the service academy standards, but it seems to me that they do keep the focus off the field, where it should be. 

Student Pep rally, 1927. Near West Hall dorms. From my grandfather's scrapbook.
Way back in my grandfather's day, this was the case at Penn State. Football was just one part of the overall academic experience. Sure, students played and went to the games, but no one expected the football team to subsidize the rest of the school and no one was using college football as a springboard to the NFL. Back when "the New Beaver Field" was built (in 1909, near Rec Hall) it held 30,000 people. It was central to the campus and not isolated. Football players were definitely BMOCs, but were still expected to show up to class and graduate on time, with an education they could use. 
1925 football tickets for the "New Beaver Field". Unused, as they all should be tomorrow.

We need to get back to those days of small-time athletics, where the emphasis is placed on building a strong mind and a strong body, and a strong school. We need to return to college football as a pastime, not a means to an end. Strip Penn State of all its NCAA scholarships, put the football team back on par with the girls' tennis team and let the academics be first and foremost. Cancel the rest of the season and the next one as well. Let's get some perspective on who we are as Penn Staters and what we should be doing to be the best people we can be. Let those 10 year old boys that will live in our memories forever have the justice they deserve and a lasting legacy of humanity at Penn State instead of just going about "business as usual".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Halloween 2011


You might have heard about the freak snowstorm we had on October 29th. I think we probably got about 6-8 inches of snow, obviously not a normal occurrence for this time of year. I can remember seeing flurries in late October but nothing like this:

Yes, my kids went sledding on Saturday and trick-or-treating on Monday.

Sunday we went to a kids' pumpkin carving event .

 It was held at my sister-in-law's club, which featured this cool original 1940s dartboard.

Then it was on to Grandma's for more pumpkin carving. Jayson grew these pumpkins in his garden all by himslef, so it was special to turn it into a jack-o-lantern.

Tinkerbelle and Davy Crockett ready to go out trick-or-treating. The Davy Crockett costume is deadstock 1950s, picked up for a few bucks at a thrift store. It's still plenty big for my son, but in a few years it will make its way to my Etsy store. He was a big hit with all the older neighbors- they both cleaned up on the candy!

And looking forward to the next holiday on the calendar, yours truly bagged a wild turkey last week. I love the idea of providing Thanksgiving dinner for my family. It kind of makes me laugh when I hear all this talk about "heritage birds" vs. supermarket birds. Really, wild turkeys (and venison) are what the Pilgrims ate at the original Thanksgiving. That is our real "heritage", and wild turkeys should be more celebrated than they are.