Category Archives: Then and Now

Pillowcase Dolls


Doll Sisters

Knowing that I had lots of my grandmother’s embroidered pillowcases, one of my crafty friends offered to lend me her pattern for pillowcase dolls! She explained that, historically,  the dresses have matching bonnets and are worn by very simple, faceless muslin dolls so I’d actually have three items to cut out and sew—a doll, a dress, and a bonnet. Although I couldn’t locate a link for a free pattern like mine online, you can find several inexpensive (under ten dollars) patterns for dolls identical to these by Googling “pillowcase doll kits,” and you can also find free patterns for different types of rag dolls and doll dresses that could be adapted to this style. Making pillowcase dolls IS detailed and time-consuming, but it’s completely worth every tender stitch you put into it. I know these little ladies will be loved forever! ♥

Antique Milk Bottles


I was so excited to see some milk bottle carriers on RE: RETRO, because my dad had just given me the set above . . . that my grandparents actually USED!

The glass bottles needed some vinegar and hot soapy water, and the metal carrier needed a good sanding and coat of spray paint, but here it is!

I had some eucalyptus branches left over from my tote bag wall hanging project, so adding those in makes the perfect autumn accent for the top of the kitchen cabinets.


P.S. My husband Dave hung the carrier in a tree to spray it. It worked perfectly and looks lovely. Thank you to you, too, Dave! ♥

Class Reunion Garland


In my spare moments this week, I’ve been standing at the kitchen island turning the scrapbook paper circles I cut out on our recent road trip into garland for my class reunion this weekend. The first string I made was plain blue and gold, but I decided to have fun with this one and add some designs. Oh, and I also found some pretty blue and gold fabrics for the tables. It seems like only yesterday that we were wearing these colors for our high school activities! But I love “now” WAY more, don’t you? ♥

“A Kind Lady Lives Here”


My sister Susan gave me this cat pin several years ago. She said it reminded her of the simple drawings she’d heard about that people left on their gates during the Depression to let the homeless know they could come to their door for food. I loved that story, but I’d never read anything about it until I saw a recent Etsy blog post called “The Secret Symbols of Travelers and Thieves.”  Interesting!

Grandma’s Diaries


My Grandma Leona recorded her life in Citizens National Bank & Trust Company calendars day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. When she passed away, my parents gave the books to me since I’d always been an avid diary-keeper and lover-of-reading-other-people’s-diaries. Grandma wrote about who came calling, weather, handiwork, baking, errands, appointments, funerals, church activities, the comings and goings of various family members, and holiday gatherings. My sons were still in elementary school when we got them, and the first thing we did was look to see what Grandma wrote on the days they were born:

  • Earl and Faye stopped. Aaron Matthew arrived.
  • To bank and store. To business meeting. Joe’s home. Bradley Nathan was born. 8 lbs. 12 oz.
  • Merle’s to Wichita. Kyle Andrew arrived 6:50 a.m. 8 lbs. 3 1/2 oz.
Grandma had to give up her journaling later in life because of poor eyesight, so I decided to find her last entry, which turned out to be 2/11/91.  It was a school day, so the Kathy who came to visit must have been her neighbor and not me, but my parents and aunt stopped by, too. People who loved her. People she loved. ♥

Musical Pillows


When I was in kindergarten, I got a toy xylophone for Christmas. I LOVED that thing and played it nonstop.  Soon, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons  . . . probably so they could take the xylophone away! 🙂

Long story short, piano grew to be a huge part of my life. I was even able to make a living accompanying, teaching piano lessons, and playing for weddings when I went to college to get a teaching degree, so THANK YOU, Dad and Mom! ♥

I made this pillow with embroidery a-la-mode in honor of the little music book that came with my xylophone, which has colored notes matched to the colors of the bars.  The finished size is 12 x 12.