Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday~~~on Wednesday!

I'm pretty sure you won't be looking at your email tomorrow so I thought I'd write you today. You may not be looking today either! Most of us are working or getting ready for tomorrow. 

Here are some pictures from current classes. I'm sure you will enjoy them.

I love this and am working on mine. MaryAnn finished hers and it is beautiful.
Susan's is finished, mine not yet begun!

Isn't this cute. Susan finished this also.

Christmas Oreo's ~~yum

There are so many fun projects to choose from.

This is Judy's finished Maggie Bononami project. It is beautiful.

Nancy's little hexies

These are just a few of the examples of what is being done in Betty's Studio. You are welcome to join us at any time.


I was invited to do a trunk show and a class with the Guild in the Gorge. Saturday, Loren drove me there and we set up a lot of my treasures. It was a beautiful day and the room we used had a spectacular view. It was a fun day and I met many new friends.

The beautiful church.

Some of my treasures!


Then Sunday's class 

Cindy's pincushion designed by Reets Rags to Stitches

and one of several stockings that Cindy is making.

Can you see the turkey faces!! These cupcakes that Linda brought are so good. The frosting is very rich and yummy.


This coming Saturday is our Spargonian Day. 10-4 with lunch. 

Next Thursday is a Fall Class or Open Studio  10-4

and Friday will be our last First Friday class 10-4

New classes will be added in January so look for those coming soon.


Image result for thanksgiving quotes

When I was growing up my whole family lived in The Dalles. We all went to the same church and on Thanksgiving we would rent the PPand L building and have our meal there. Anyone else who wanted to come was welcome and I remember the tables being laden with beautiful food. 
When we had finished stuffing ourselves, my aunt and uncle would play their guitars and we would sing and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

It was fun and a sweet memory. Tomorrow we will join friends and family at Ginny and Darren's home and a share new experiences. Many people are only in our memories now and that makes it bittersweet but we still go on sharing with those we love.

Image result for thanksgiving quotes

Image result for thanksgiving quotes

Enjoy your day and thank you all for being such a blessing to me.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thoughts on this Thursday

Irons and Smoothers and Mangles...on my!!

No-one can say exactly when people started trying to press cloth smooth, but we know that the Chinese were using hot metal for ironing before anyone else. Pans filled with hot coals were pressed over stretched cloth as illustrated in the drawing to the right. A thousand years ago this method was already well-established.
Meanwhile people in Northern Europe were using stones, glass and wood for smoothing. These continued in use for "ironing" in some places into the mid-19th century, long after Western blacksmiths started to forge smoothing irons in the late Middle Ages.
Two people using pan iron on length of fabric

Linen smoothers: stones, glass, presses

Flattish hand-size stones could be rubbed over woven cloth to smooth it, polish it, or to press in pleated folds. Simple round linen smoothers made of dark glass have been found in many Viking women's graves, and are believed to have been used with smoothing boards. Archaeologists know there were plenty of these across medieval Europe, but they aren't completely sure how they were used. Water may have been used to dampen linen, but it is unlikely the smoothers were heated.
dark green glass slickstone with handleMore recent glass smoothers often had handles, like these from Wales, or the English one in the picture (left). They were also called slickers, slickstones, sleekstones, or slickenstones. Decorative 18th and 19th century glass smoothers in "inverted mushroom" shape may turn up at antiques auctions. Occasionally they are made of marble or hard wood.

Mangle boards, box mangles

mangle board with horse handle and carved decorationEven in modest homes with no presses, large items needed to be tackled with something bigger than a slickstone. They could be smoothed with a mangle board and rolling pincombination; many wonderfully carved antique Scandinavian or Dutch mangle boards have been preserved by collectors. The board, often carved by a young man for his bride-to-be, was pressed back and forth across cloth wound on the roller.

Flat irons, sad irons

1 flatiron with a heavy base, 2 smallerBlacksmiths started forging simple flat irons in the late Middle Ages. Plain metal irons were heated by a fire or on a stove. Some were made of stone, like these soapstone irons from Italy. Earthenware and terracotta were also used, from the Middle East to France and the Netherlands.
Flat irons were also called sad irons or smoothing irons. Metal handles had to be gripped in a pad or thick rag. Some irons had cool wooden handles and in 1870 a detachable handle was patented in the US. This stayed cool while the metal bases were heated and the idea was widely imitated. (See these irons from Central Europe.) Cool handles stayed even cooler in "asbestos sad irons". The sad in sad iron (or sadiron) is an old word for solid, and in some contexts this name suggests something bigger and heavier than a flat iron. Goose or tailor's goose was another iron name, and this came from the goose-neck curve in some handles. In Scotland people spoke of gusing (goosing) irons.
You'd need at least two irons on the go together for an effective system: one in use, and one re-heating. Large households with servants had a special ironing-stove for this purpose. Some were fitted with slots for several irons, and a water-jug on top.
More information at
vintage electric sad iron

Early electric irons

Electrical self-heating flat-irons, electric sad-irons

Better than three irons ilustrated adThe search for a foolproof "self-heating flat iron" was under way by the mid-19th century. In 1852 a patent was issued in the US for a new, improved charcoal-burning iron which would make "practicable the permanent heating of smoothing irons". By 1860 there were gas irons available in several countries, with rubber tubing to connect them to gas light fittings or to canisters, and then there were numerous designs for irons with internal burners and little piggyback tanks of liquid fuel.

The Hotpoint iron, designed by Earl H. Richardson of Ontario, California, was launched in 1905, and was the first electric iron to have any commercial success. By the 1920s enough people had homes wired for electricity for electric clothes irons to spread fast across the US. They were also selling well in some parts of Europe.
MANGLE. A domestic machine of great utility, employed in smoothening linen, as a substitute for the heated irons extensively used for the same purpose. In the common mangle, as most of our readers well know, the linen or other articles to be mangled, are wrapped round wooden rollers, which are upon a solid level bed or floor, and upon the rollers is placed a large oblong box which is filled with stones, or other heavy substances, in order that they may press with great force upon the rollers, while the box is moved backwards and forwards upon them, by means of a handle attached to an upper roller or windlass, to which straps from each end of the moving box are attached. By this machine, the operation of mangling is very well done, but the labour is excessive on account of the necessity of frequently arresting and changing the motion of the heavy box.The Engineer's and Mechanic's Encyclopaedia, London 1838

Box mangle with wheel, gears and handle

My grandmother, the one who also made soap, had a mangle. Not like the one above but useful in managing her rooming house. She ironed sheets and pillowcases and anything else that would go through. I was not allowed near it and I can't say that I wanted to be near it.
I'm so glad that we live now when there are so many kinds of irons to choose from. I love learning about the old days but I'm glad I live now.
Wishing you much success in planning for your day of Thanksgiving next week. We will celebrate with part of our family and eat well, I'm sure.
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Classes this week include Open Sew on Sunday from 11-4
No Doll quilt class this month.
Today we are sewing Maggie B projects.
After Thanksgiving   Saturday November 28 is our Celebrate Spargo Day!
10-4. You are welcome to come and sew on anything.

Enjoy your day.
Image result for wisdom images quotes
Thanks, Betty
Etsy Store

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

Woman in long skirts using dash churn

The thoughts today are about Butter Churns

Image result for antique butter churn images

Image result for antique butter churn images

My husband collects these in different sizes.
Home butter-making took time and energy, but only needed simple equipment. Low-tech methods were still well-known in rural parts of developed countries like the USA in the mid-20th century. In the UK it became less common for ordinary families to make their own butter in the course of the 19th century, but the old ways were still used on small farms and in the dairies belonging to grand houses.
After the cow(s) were milked, the milk was left to settle in a cool place, in shallow dishes, also called setting dishes or pancheons, so the cream would rise to the top. (Unless the butter was to be made from whole milk: less common than making it from cream.) Brass and earthenware dishes were used in the UK in the 17th and 18th centuries, with earthenware becoming gradually more popular, as brass sometimes tainted the flavour.

Cream Setting Pan, deep, iron with tinplate, made by J. T. M

After half a day or so, the cream was skimmed off and put ready for the churn. Small home producers would want to collect a few days of milking to have enough cream to be worth churning, and a little fermentation would "ripen" the flavour. But the cream couldn't be left waiting too long in summer-time.
Cream-skimmers were used to lift off the cream. These worked well if they were shallow with a thin, almost sharp, edge. Skimmers from the last couple of centuries were often saucer-shaped with perforations to catch the cream while letting milk drip back into the pan, just like those used to remove surface "scum" from stock. Brass cream-skimmers on long or short handles are decorative antiques now, but some were much simpler. Anything the right shape would serve the purpose, like this wooden skimmer made to an older design. Other names for these were fleeter, scummer, skimming spoon, skimming ladle.

Cream Skimmer


Moving the cream constantly is the churning that actually produces butter by separating out the yellow fat from the buttermilk. Simply shaking it in a closed jamjar for an hour or so will work, or you can swing unseparated milk in an animal skin hung on sticks, an ancient method still used in some parts of the world.
Dash churn 1939
A stick called a dasher or churn dash was moved up and down by hand in an upright container, usually made of wood or earthenware, as in the first two pictures on this page. A churn lid from 1400 years ago, with a hole for the stick, shows that this method has a long history. The stick might be perforated, or it could have a wooden circle, or crossed boards attached, but even with those to help beat the cream, this method took longer than using the more complex kinds of churn which were introduced in the 18th century, and became popular in the 19th.
Postcard of Churn lid.
Churn Lid

The long job had its own rhyme. This was sometimes thought of as a charm to make the cream turn into butter, and sometimes as a song which went with the rhythm of the work. It was widely known on both sides of the Atlantic, with many variations, and was probably already old when mentioned in print in 1685. Many cultures had their own churning songs. Some had other charms and superstitions too. Both in Europe and North America metal objects - like needles, knives or horseshoes - were used to drive away evil influences which might prevent cream from turning to butter.
Image result for antique butter churn images
Image result for antique butter churn images
Most of this information came from old and interesting things and more info is found here

I made butter in a jar with whipping cream when I was teaching Sunday School. We would often make honey cakes and eat them with the butter we made. Yum!
Image result for antique butter churn images

Image result for butter churn wisdom
Image result for butter churn wisdom
We have record of its use as early as 2,000 years before Christ. The Bible is interspersed with references to butter, the product of milk from the cow. Not only has it been regarded from time immemorial as a food fit for the gods, but its use appears to have been divinely recommended and its users promised certain immunities against evil. Butter was the only food ever defined by an Act of the U.S. Congress prior to the enactment of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938.
The word butter comes from bou-tyron, which seems to mean "cowcheese" in Greek. Some scholars think, however, that the word was borrowed from the language of the northern and butterophagous Scythians, who herded cattle; Greeks lived mostly from sheep and goats whose milk, which they consumed mainly as cheese, was relatively low in butter (or butyric) fat.

For more on this story

Just a reminder that I now have many things listed in my Etsy Store at'

This Friday is Open Studio (formerly Retts day) 10-4
and next week on Thursday the 19th is our Maggie B class  10-4

Wisdom for today
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Thanks for stopping by. Betty

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Before thoughts on a Thursday

I have been adding things back into my Etsy shop all afternoon and I just wanted to let you know! 

I have refreshed my typing skills and they needed refreshing.

I hope this is the right address for you to click on.

I also have class projects to show you. There are so many beautiful things being made, I'm sure they will encourage you to pick something new to do.


First here is some hand dyed Osnaburg that I have been doing. They are on the Etsy shop.

I've been dyeing wool and some will be in the Etsy shop tomorrow or they are here at my studio.

Some of the little scissors are there also


Judy is a carver as well as an accomplished quilter

Also Judy's

Renee at work.....Maggie B

Linda's beauty....I Have to make this

A couple of people are making this. This one belongs to Susan.

 And again Linda!!

Thanks for sharing. You are all so inspiring.

I hadn't show any of our work for a while so I thought I'd give you some eye candy.


Classes for the next couple of weeks include:

This Friday November 13 is Open Studio...formerly known as Reets day
Next Thursday November 19 is Maggie B Day
No doll class this month
Open Sew Sunday is November 22    11-4
and I will be here for the Spargonians Class on Sat. November 28

That's it for November. I will include all of December in Thursday's blog.

Thanks, Betty

Wisdom Words

Image result for wisdom images quotes

Image result for wisdom images quotes