Friday, June 22, 2018

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Quilt Block Patterns

For years I’ve visited the Laura and Almanzo Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm site in Mansfield MO, sometimes twice a year. When my children were young, we took them to visit and learn about Laura and her family. At that time, we visited the old museum and toured the farmhouse.

A new museum was built in 2016, a short distance from the farmhouse, but I still have fond memories of the old and tiny museum.

The farmhouse is wonderful. Almanzo Wilder built the kitchen countertops to accommodate Laura's short stature even though he wasn't that tall either.  

I made this pillow from an applique pattern purchased 
at the bookstore. The pillow is about 12x12 inches.
The lace you see is another pillow behind it. For 
the appliqué, I used the zig zag stitch on my sewing
machine. The stem and leaf detail I hand embroidered.
In the Little House books, Laura talks about not liking to sew when she had to make clothing, sheets for the beds, underwear, quilts and just about anything they needed.

I've sewn "stuff" since my junior high school years. Laura's creations have always interested me. (Some are shown in the Mansfield Museum.)Of course, I've used sewing machines to sew, but back then Laura sewed by hand. Later her pa gave her ma a sewing machine, but they were experts in sewing things by hand. Each time I leave the Wilder farm, I leave inspired to create.

Through the years, I decided to buy a couple of Laura's quilt block patterns from the bookstore. I continue to dream of producing quilts on a regular basis because they are useful and it's a useful skill. 

The first pattern I purchased was the bear's paw pattern either in the late 1990s or early 2000s for $1.00 from the bookstore. I must confess that I have not made anything from this one. 

Another time, I purchased a flower appliqué pattern that I've made a couple of pillows from (pictured above). One I gave to my sister and the other to my daughter. It’s a simple design and not much work, but I still think it’s pretty. I still have that pattern, just not sure where it is.

Last weekend, I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder homes and gravesite again in Mansfield, MO. I bought another quilt block pattern, this time a nine patch for $2.50. 

If you're interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder, I will be posting more on that trip in the weeks to come. 


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Indian Creek

Indian Creek
March 2018
Creeks and rivers were (and are) a source of entertainment, in the Ruralhood. Actually, “city folk” borrow our waterways all the time for swimming, fishing, skiing, boating and canoeing. 

Both sets of my grandparents lived near creeks. The Powell farm was located near Douisenberry Creek. The Dugan farm was near Indian Creek.

The only time that I ever swam, for real, was in a deeper part (maybe 3-4 foot depth) of Indian Creek and most of my so-called swimming was underwater.

One memory I have of Indian Creek was a summer when I had been given a (hand-me-down) one piece swimsuit. I think I would have been around ten or eleven and if so we might have been living in Illinois and visiting.

The creek on the side where we usually played. 
That day, my brother, my cousins (that lived with my Grandma Sadie) and me walked from my Grandma’s house down the gravel road to the creek. My sister was there, too, but toddlerish. The adults going along  were my mom and my aunt (married to my mom’s brother) who lived with my grandma. In the back of my mind, I also see my Grandma, but that one I’m not sure about because I don’t remember her saying anything. I may have mentioned before that on any given weekend there were always cousins, from out of town, to play or hang out with so there could have been additional aunts and cousins, at the creek, on this day. I do remember a creek full of kids.

That day, we splashed and play, laughed and swam. At one point my Aunt Glenda did her whistle thing that (trust me) always got our attention. She told us to get out of the water, that there was a snake swimming towards us. I remember looking at my mom who was standing on the bridge with my aunt, but said nothing. There was no panic or squeals, but an orderly (splashing) exit from the water. Then we stood on the gravel bar to watch and giggle as the water moccasin swam with the current under the bridge. Once the snake had passed our area, with no sign of returning, my aunt gave the all clear to jump back in, and we did.

I had seen many snakes in my young life but this was the first time seeing a cool but venomous snake swimming in the water. 

In the creek and river alike there were  critters to see and some to dodge. Frogs and toads were always jumping in the water around us, sometimes with no provocation and sometimes because we scared them. There were crawdads doing their own thing under the water where our bare feet touched the bottom and navigated the rock. If we taunted them, they’d charge out from under a rock and try to pinch our bare feet. Although Missouri houses some 35 species of the crayfish (Missouri Department of Conservation), my family never cooked a crayfish or offered it to me to eat that I can recall. Frog legs, yes, crawdads, no.

In the streams and rivers, there were also minnows that nibbled on our legs and water striders (looks like spiders) that skimmed the water doing their thing, too. Being spider phobic, I felt threatened by the spidery water striders, but those creepy creatures eat mosquito larvae and are not spiders at all.  

Recently, my mom and I visited the burial site of my dad and on the way back to her house traveled the road past her ‘old home place’ and over Indian Creek Bridge. After I crossed it, I stopped my car and told Mom that I was going to snap a picture of the creek. The bridge has been replaced, but the creek is primarily still in the same place. That day was misty with rain. I heard the flow of the water and its splashing over rocks, but except for a bit of nature noise, it was eerily quiet. At one point, I looked out over the shallow water. It was then I heard the voices of children laughing and people talking. 

There was no one in sight. I got a little creeped out. Then I hurried back to my SUV and told my mom what I’d heard. She had heard nothing. 

I do have a vivid imagination, but just in case it was voices from the past, I left Indian Creek behind.