Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmastime: A Family Photo, A Holiday Quilt & A Cemetery Visit

With Christmas just around the corner I still have lots to do but I have three photos I wanted to share before the holiday arrives.

This is a c. 1905 photograph of my grandfather, Stanton Bower (upper left), my grandmother, Etta Strubbe Bower (lower left), and my great-aunt, Leila Bower (lower right), taken in the Bronx, NY.

I made North Country in 1993 when I was in my applique-phase of quilt making. The star blocks are from Elly Sienkiewicz's book, "Baltimore Beauties and Beyond."

My "feel-good" thing to do just before Christmas is to go to the cemetery and visit my family's graves. I place a grave blanket between my parents' and my aunt and uncle's gravestones and then put bouquets of greenery in front of all.  

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In The Holiday Spirit

This weekend I visited several historic homes that were decorated for the holidays and two of them had quilts on display.

 Row upon row of poinsettias at a local garden center. Aren't they gorgeous?

First stop in the rain: Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ. The mansion boasts 28 rooms and is situated on 26 acres in the middle of suburbia.

A magnificent hand-wrought-iron gate featuring birds, vines, flora and fauna.

Only three rooms were open to the public. Wallpaper made in Switzerland covered the walls in the hallway and up the stairway. 

The dining room.

Paperwhites on a table in the hallway lent a festive flair.

The Zabriskie House in Wyckoff, NJ, is a beautiful Dutch home built c. 1730.

Love the front door.

A bed with a handwoven coverlet made by David Haring for Ellen Sip in 1832 and a 9-block friendship quilt which bears the name Mary Ann Mowerson. 

This wonderful c. 1860 quilt was hanging downstairs. Signatures include Banta and Zabriskie.

The Force Home in Livingston, NJ, is maintained by the Livingston Historical Society. The small Cook House was moved to this site when the Livingston Mall was about to be built in the late 1960s.  

A portrait of Jonathan Force and a beautifully decorated mantel.

One of the upstairs bedrooms had a Log Cabin cradle quilt with ruffle, a white on white quilt folded on the chair and a woven coverlet.

This simply decorated tree greeted visitors at today's open house.

Happy shopping, everyone!

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer

Friday, November 22, 2013

10,000 Photos Plus!

I am a huge fan of I just LOVE that site. I've been a contributor for exactly six years and just reached my goal of having posted over 10,000 photos in addition to the more than 8900 memorial pages I've created over the years. I guess you could say I'm obsessed--or addicted :). There are 40 cemeteries on my list that I've contributed to plus 26 virtual cemeteries in categories I've created to keep track of certain gravestones such as Adirondack-style, Cause of Death, Humorous, Plots, Occupations, Winged Soul Effigy, etc., plus all military from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Below are some of my faves.

Rolling hills with gravestones as far as the eye can see near Lawrence, MA.

An early marker in Old Wawarsing Cemetery, Wawarsing, NY.

20 FEB

This Adirondack-style gravestone with its wilderness and wildlife scene in color is in Haselton Cemetery, Wilmington, NY.

You can read about John Tagliabue here. He is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, NY.

John (Poet)
July 1, 1923 - May 31, 2006
Grace Ten Eyck
Aug. 14, 1922

First Presbyterian Church of Hanover, E. Hanover, NJ

The Dust of Ann Dyre is an interesting epitaph, unlike the more common "Here lies the body of. . " 

Anne Dyre
Former wife of
Isaac Alling
who died
Jan'y 1st 1823
Aged 37 years 10 mo's and 23 days

 Northfield Baptist Cemetery, Livingston, NJ

A fancy gate and a simple plot.

Lewis M. Burnet
Sept. 5, 1817
Sept. 11, 1893
Catherine B. Ward
His Wife
July 15, 1826
Nov. 16, 1903
At Rest

L.M. Burnet

First Presbyterian Church of Hanover, E. Hanover, NJ

Sometimes the inscription includes the cause of death.

In Memory of
Benjamine Green
who fell a victim
To the Yellow Fever
Aug't 30th 1803
Aged 37 Y'rs 7 mo.s & 27 d'ys

Haselton Cemetery, Wilmington, NY. 

Every once in a while I'll come across a gravestone that makes me chuckle, like this one did: "There Goes My Everything."  

 Hanover Cemetery, E. Hanover, NJ

When I create a veteran's memorial page on FindAGrave I leave a note thanking him (or her) for his  service. 

Alfred Freeman Kitchell
Jan. 20, 1843
Killed at Battle of
Sept. 17, 1862
Theodore Ward Kitchell
April 13, 1840
March 6, 1898

First Presbyterian Church of Hanover, E. Hanover, NJ

A great example of a carver's artistry. 
Here lies the Body of
Hannah Wife of
Nathan Tichenor She
Departed this Life [Decr
28 1776 In the 27th 
year of her age]

The Sayre monument in Hanover Cemetery, Hanover, NJ is the tallest I've seen.

Erected 1880

Restland Memorial Park, E. Hanover, NJ

A thought-provoking marker. She was only 15 years old . . .

7,454,335 Minutes
5,438 Days 17 Hours 40 Minutes
And Holding
Not One Bad Minute
Start: 5:38 P.M. 10-16-66 End: 11:20 P.M. 9-6-81

My friend Rachel sent me this link. Hope you enjoy:

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring A Veteran

Of the few aunts and uncles who were part of my life when I was growing up, I was closest to my mother's youngest sister, Marjorie Bower, and her husband, Warren Degel, a veteran of World War II. As I was looking through some of the info my aunt had saved of Uncle Warren's service in the U.S. Navy, I realized that I am so much like her--documenting and recording important events!

Aunt Midge kept track of Warren's military experiences in His Service Record where she filled in pages titled Reported for Training, He Came Home on Leave, Friends He Made in the Service, Visited Him, Ships or Stations Assigned to, His First Cruise, Places He Visited and Personal Notes and Photographs. Below are some of the pages from this journal.

Last month after reading about Quilts of Valor in the Quilt History List, I decided to do my part and make a patriotic quilt for a veteran :) There's a sneak peek at the end of this post.

Warren Clifford Degel received his orders to report for duty on December 22, 1942. "You are advised to bring with you only toilet articles and not over $6.00 in cash. Bring no clothing with you other than what you will wear. . . "

The cover page from His Service Record kept by Marjorie Bower from December 22, 1942 to December 12, 1945.

Photographs of Warren Before Entering Service and His First Picture in Uniform

Reported for Training:  December 24, 1942 at Camp Green Bay, Great Lakes, Illinois

Friends He Made in the Service: "Warren's buddy in the Navy went through all the tough times until end of war. Richard J. Clarkson from the mid-west."

Interesting and Prominent People He Met or Saw: "Rear Admiral Downs visited Great Lakes Naval Training School. . . Celebration of Henry Ford's 81st birthday, Dearborn, Mich. Passed in review."

Three I.D. cards--Notice of Classification, U.S. Navy ID, Certificate of Satisfactory Service.

Visited Him: Norfolk, Va. October 14-17, 1943

Ships or Stations Assigned to:
December 24, 1942 Ford Plant, Dearborn, Mich.
March 27, 1943 Naval Landing Force Equip. Depot, Norfolk, Va. 
August 25, 1943 Solomons, Maryland
August 1944 Pearl Harbor, Marshall Islands
January 1945 Luzon, Manila, Leyte, Philippines

Promoted to:
Fireman 3/C on March 11, 1943
Fireman 1/C on August 17, 1943
MOMM 2/C (motor machinist's mate, second class) on October 27, 1943

Newspaper Clippings and Mementos: (left) Naval Training School, Dearborn, Michigan, Welcoming Dinner for the Incoming Draft, Saturday, March 27, 1943. (right) Naval Training School, Dearborn, Michigan, Graduation Dinner Saturday August 14, 1943. (lower) U.S.S. McCracken Chow Pass.

Aunt Midge and Uncle Warren were engaged March 8, 1943 and married the following year in Leonia, NJ. 

Warren was honorably discharged from the USN Personnel Separation Center, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY on December 12, 1945. 

I am so excited about making this quilt for Quilts of Valor! I'm now on the 4th border. I have a bit more designing to do to get it to the recommended size 60" x 80."

Thank you, Uncle Warren, for your service. 

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sunburst, Simple Star & Mini-Tumbler

Sometimes I'm in the right place at the right time. Just two weeks ago at our guild meeting someone was looking for a home for a Sunburst quilt top and as I was listening to her story she asked me if I was interested. Was I ever!

Several years ago I was dropping off some flea market items for our local historical society fair and inquired about an "early quilt" that was folded on a chair ready to be inventoried and priced. The president said if I wanted it I could have it for $5. A day or two later I was feeling really guilty at how much I paid and sent the historical society a donation.

Thank you, Rachel, for that cute little Mini-Tumbler kit :)  

This is the wonderful Sunburst quilt top that was given to me :) It measures 95-1/2" x 95-1/2" but in order to photograph it I had to drape it over the sofa as it's way too large to hang on any wall in my house. There is a solid white backing which is visible in the row of deteriorating light brown prints. 


The center star. 

The prints aren't anything like those found in early (c. 1840) quilts which makes me think this top was made later--perhaps between 1875-1925? Any thoughts?

The gold-colored fabric has a definite weave unlike the others which are your typical cottons. 

All in all, it's a great fabric study. Would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts as to its age.

This is my $5 Simple Star quilt. It's 64" x 82" with cut-out corners, straight line quilting in concentric squares, and knife edge finish.

The alternate block fabric is really interesting. In between the blue stripes are tone on tone swirls which are hardly visible. The back of the quilt is homespun. Quilting thread is dark blue and natural.   

A limited number of fabrics in large scale prints, plaids, and stripes were used for the stars.

I've been wanting to make a Tumbler quilt for quite some time so my good friend, Rachel, gave me a Mini-Tumbler kit. This was my first attempt at paper-piecing and I just might be hooked. The tumblers are only 1" and the entire piece is 12" x 14."

Here is the back. I machine quilted it in 1" x 2" rectangles which is nearly another first for me as I rarely do any machine quilting.  Thanks, Rachel, it was loads of fun!

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer