Sunday, July 22, 2012

Generals Wives: Fanny Chamberlain

Frances Caroline Adams (Fanny) was born in 1825 in Boston, Mass and was raised by her cousins in a strict religious household. She received a good education, and met Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain at church (in Maine) where she played organ and he led the choir.

Joshua Chamberlain graduated from Bowdoin College (Maine), where he listened to Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin). He was fluent in nine languages other than English: Greek, Latin, Spanish, German, French Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac, and taught every subject other than mathematics and science.

The Chamberlains had a long engagement while he was working on his masters degree at a theological seminary, and Fanny taught voice and piano lessons. He graduated from the seminary in June of 1855 and they were married in December 1855.

The Joshua Chamberlain house and museum in Brunswick, Maine, where Gen. Chamberlain served as president of Bowdoin College is still open to the public for tours. The home itself has a very interesting history, in that the Chamberlains and their two children lived there, renting a room for 2 years before he purchased it. It was their home for 50 years, having purchased it in 1859. It was actually moved to a different location and a new first floor was built underneath the existing home shortly after the Civil War.

In 1864, Chamberlain was thought to be mortally wounded, and false news of his death was published. Even though pregnant, Fanny came to his bedside in Maryland, and nursed him for 3 months. He had been shot through the hip and thereafter wore an early form of a catheter for the rest of his life. Although unable to ride a horse, he insisted on returning to his unit. He played an important role at Gettysburg and at the surrender at Appomatox.  

After the Civil War, he served as a 4-term governor of Maine. As there was no governor’s mansion, he and his wife were separated during this time. He wrote several books, including his Civil War memories, and served as president of Bowdoin College.

The Chamberlains had 5 children altogether, one of whom died shortly after his premature death, and two who died before their first birthday from scarlet fever.

Fanny had a disease of the eye and eventually went blind. She fell and broke her hip which led to her death in October, 1905 at 80 years of age. In 1914, Gen. Chamberlain died from lingering complications of his war wounds. They are both buried in Brunswick, Maine.

Joshua Chamberlain was prominently featured in Ken Burns' PBS Civil War series, where I honestly fell in love with the man! I think I might have to do some more reading about him.

Till next time, keep stitchin'!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Girls Night Out

Our local quilt shop has a once a month get-together on a Friday, I guess they're called "sit and stitch" at other shops. It's just so relaxing to spend some time with good friends, catching up on the latest news and accomplishing some stitching at the same time. Deanna brought her king-size appliqued quilt to show. Wow! It's about 120 inches square. Deanna will quilt it on her long arm machine.

And I'm sorry to say I don't remember whose quilt this is...Kay is this yours? The applique is incredible! All needle-turn.

And this one, I believe, belongs to Carol. I generally lean to more traditional fabrics, but this is so fun. It would be fun on a sunporch with white wicker furniture!

I picked up my next Generals Wives block, so I am itchin to stitch that up! And I also will be working on my spool challenge.

Today is Christmas in July on QVC and I've been having so much watching it today! I only spent $30.00 on a Jim Shore Christmas basket. I was tempted to buy the snowman cookie jar, but I really want one that looks like a gingerbread house ;-)

Till next time, keep stitchin!

Another Finish

We had "Girls Night Out" at our local quilt shop Friday night, and I was able to finish a Christmas gift for my grandson. Their family likes to go camping with their pop-up camper, and when I found this fabric I had to make this for Henry. The pattern was a mystery quilt pattern that Merry Mayhem offered on January 1, 2012. Here are the quilts my friends Pam and Carol made during our January Wayward Girls day.

The lap-size quilt is easily made with a Jelly Roll (about 20 strips of fabric that measure 2.5 inches x 40 inches.), some additional background fabric, and your border fabric choices.

I'm not sure if you can see the great job my long arm quilter did, but she quilted little campfires, bugs, camp lanterns, an outdoor chair, and a camper that hooks to your vehicle! The quilting is just delightful! Thank you, Joyce!

When I opened the jelly rolls, I was delighted to see that there were 3 strips with an argyle design--and it came in blue, brown and green. Henry frequently wears little argyle sweater vests in the winter, so this fabric was obviously designed with him in mind!

My binding is all stitched down, all I have to do is make a label for that back. Yea, another finish for 2012.

My next project is to make the same quilt for my granddaughter using some pink fabrics.

I've lost track of how many of these my friend Pam has's 2 or 3 now. She even machine quilts them herself. Good job, Pam!

Till next time, keep stitchin'!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Little Women -June and July meetings

We had a little bit of show and tell at our June and July Little Women meetings. Seems like summer vacations are interfering with our sewing time. The quilt above is called "Raspberry Swirl" from Jo Morton's Group 11.

Pam made a hot mat with hers, and Carol decided to make hers in Halloween colors.

Transferware, above version is by Pam, the one below is by Karen.

 Transferware, version above by Becky and version below, downsized by Carol.

 I always forget to take a photo of my quilts! I guess that's a post for another day.

Some of us are working on Yankee Doodle. Charlotte's is incredible! The center star is made up of yo-yos that finish at 3/8 inch. She is also hand appliquing her circle/star blocks. Celestia is doing hers the same way.

We had an all-day sewing day scheduled for June 30, but a terrible storm whipped through Richmond and thousands of us--including the quilt shop--lost power. We were all SO disappointed that we had to cancel it. We have another all-day sewing day  scheduled in September over the Labor Day weekend. It's so fun to be away from home and responsibilites for awhile to play with friends and fabric!

This month we are working on our Spool block challenge. It will be due at our August meeting. In September, Autumn Splendor will be featured. It's made with 1.5 inch finished 9-patches. It is stickin' cute!

Stay cool wherever you are, and till next time, keep stitchin'!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Wayward Girls

The Wayward Girls met Saturday, July 7, and had a great time as usual. My sewing room is on the 2nd floor, it's been having a very hard time staying cool in the 100-105 degrees days we've been having. So we sewed in the dining room on the 1st floor, which I think worked out very well. 

Pam worked on several projects, and since she couldn't operate her sewing machine (she fell and broke several toes on her right foot this week), she brought along some hand work. First up was to finish the binding on the summer Thimbleberries quilt, Little Garden (above). Pam substituted different fabrics as part of the pinwheel blocks in the center of the quilt.

Then she worked on a baby quilt that will have little smocked dresses on it (sorry, no photo). Pam is teaching herself to smock--I haven't smocked in over 40 years, so I wasn't any help. She is also making a baby quilt with these darling bears, Ben and Emma is it's name; the pattern is from a 2000 Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine. How cute is that!

Carol brought several projects, first off was a table runner using fabrics from a collection called "Downtown." Very New York or Chicago, don't you think!

Her second project was from Jo Morton's Little Women Group 11. It's called Raspberry Swirl, but we named it Licorice and Orange. The block is called "Turkey Tracks" and Carol beautifully paper-pieced them. I can just see this in a Halloween display with a cute pumpkin or black cat, can't you!

My first project was to finish setting the 4 quadrants of Blue Ridge Beauty together. It went together faster than I expected--I was finished with it before the girls even got here! It's 80x80 inches and I think it's done--no borders. This is a Bonnie Hunter pattern, made with mostly scraps.

Here is a photo of Pam's Red Ridge Beauty. After I saw her quilt, I took my blue and white quilt totally apart (it was set differently) and put it together like hers since I liked it so much. Pam is such a sweetie--she's already sent her quilt off to her sister-in-law.

Then I had to get caught up with my Thimbleberries Little Garden. I substituted a different fabric for the light floral backround in the pinwheel blocks, not wanting to use the pink rosebuds fabric.


I pressed on and finished the top! That's always a good feeling. I really do like the little picket fence border. I'm going to send this to my favorite longarm quilter, Joyce and get it done! (That's me peeking out from behind the quilt.)

I also cut borders for my granddaughter's quilt and will post a photo of that shortly. The borders are a bright pink print with birds and hearts in the design.

It was kind of comical when the girls arrived about 9:15 a.m. The crew was here to powerwash the house and deck and their vehicle and hoses took up the entire driveway. Then because of the 4th of July holiday the garbage collector showed up just as Pam and Carol drove into the circle. There isn't really much parking space on our circle! So we played musical cars and got that issue resolved.

You know how you sit and chat with your best girlfriends and someone says something that just tickles you? We had a dear friend from our quilting group move--quite suddenly--out of state. Houses are selling very slowly around here, but Marla's sold in 3 weeks. The joke was, Marla moved so quickly, you'd think she was in the Witness Protection Program.  I think we've all been watching too many NCIS episodes ;-)

We had lunch at Mexico Restaurant. Last month we had gone to Crazy Greek's. So it's been 2 months since I've eaten at Mexico Restaurant--everthing really tasted so very good. Blackened Tilapia, Chicken Fajitas, Sopapillas, and Fresh Guacamole. Always ask for fresh-made guacamole--it is fabulous! And we order our sopapillas with honey, ice cream and chocolate sauce drizzled on them. So yummy!

Till next time, keep stitchin'!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

General's Wives Block of the Month

This is our June block-of-the-month, dedicated to the memory of Maria Louisa  (Garland) Longstreet. You can't tell her story without telling about her husband, Gen. James Longstreet. Raised on a farm in South Carolina, he dreamed of being a soldier. His parents sent him to Augusta, Georgia to live with his uncle, a lawyer, to prepare him for West Point. Upon entering West Point, James Longstreet befriended Ulysses S. Grant. They remained good friends throughout their lives. After graduating from West Point, Longstreet and Grant were stationed at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Missouri. Longstreet introduced Grant to his cousin, Julia Dent and Grant and Julia soon married. Longstreet fell in love with Maria Louisa Garland, the daughter of the regiment's colonel, and they were married in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1848. Babies soon began arriving!

The ambitious Longstreet was stationed in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Mexico and Pennsylvania. When the Civil War broke out, Longstreet felt the pull to Georgia, resigned his commision with the US Army and joined the Confederate States of America. He was appointed a brigadeer general and was assigned to Manassas, Virginia. His wive and children lived with friends in Richmond, Virginia. It was here in Richmond early in 1862, during a scarlet fever epidemic that three of the four Longstreet children (Mary Anne, James, and Augustus Baldwin) died within eight days. The blow was almost too much for Longstreet; he hurriedly went to Richmond. It was some days before he could leave his wife and 13-year-old son Garland, who were devastated by the tragedy.

The loss affected the general greatly. An aide noted that his "grief was very deep," while others commented on his change in personality. Because the Longstreets were too grief-stricken, General George Pickett and his fiancée LaSalle Corbett made the burial arrangements.

Longstreet became a trusted advisor and friend to Robert E. Lee, and was involved in the battles at Gettysburg.  Decisions he made there haunted him the rest of his life. Longstreet was also in attendance at Appomattax Courthouse for the surrender, where it is said Gen. Grant greeted him warmly.

Longstreet eventually moved to Gainesville, Georgia and became their postmaster. Maria Louisa gave birth to ten children in all, five of whom lived to adulthood. In January 1890, Maria Louise Longstreet died at the age of sixty-two at Gainesville, Georgia.

When I read such life stories as the Longstreets, I cannot help but wonder what her life was like. Who attended her as she gave birth to her babies? How did she cope with a husband who was gone for long stretches of time? Did she constantly worry about his safety? What was it like to move half way across the USA in the 1800's? I think about these things, and say a pray of thanks for all the blessings God has showered on my life.

Till next time, keep stitchin'.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you'e all having a great 4th of July. It is beastly hot here in Virginia AGAIN so my activities consisted of sewing on my Blue Ridge Beauty, reading some of Laura Childs's "The Silver Needle Murder", making birthday cards for 2 friends, napping, and watching (with the hubs) another NCIS marathon. Actually, I don't do a lot of watching--I mostly just listen ;-)

So here's a little red/white/blue eye candy for you to enjoy.

We're ready for bratwurst and burgers on the grill. I also cut up a watermelon and we're adding sweet corn and tossed salad--keeping the menu simple in this heat! For dessert we had ice cream--I had half vanilla ice cream and half orange sherbet--remember those "orange push-ups" we had when we were kids.  I still enjoy that combination!

I'm getting closer to being finished with Blue Ridge Beauty. I have 3/4 of the quilt together. Tomorrow should be the day I finish most of the top. My goal is to have a photo posted of the pieced top tomorrow, as I am taking a vacation day.

I hope you and yours have/had a great 4th of July.
We're watching the Macy's fireworks, they are wonderful! We can hear the ones in the next subdivision over going off at the same time, kinda fun!

Till next time, keep stitchin'.