The Elodie Downer Quilt

Hello Friends,  I had asked you about quilt you might have that were made by your ancestors in this post.  I appreciate many of you sharing about the treasured heirlooms you have in your family.

Today I am sharing with you a quilt that is as old as I am.  Pam of Oregon sent me pictures of a quilt that is treasured in her family.  I just love that elephant block [Elephants are big at my house right now because of Gumbo – that’s what Miss Baby calls “Dumbo”].

Pam wrote, “The quilt that came to mind with your question about “ancestral” quilts is one that was made for me when my first child was born 37 years ago. One of the older ladies in our congregation put together some embroidered blocks that had been done years before for a missions project. I used the quilt for all three of our boys, and now I use it for the grandchildren. Because the batting is of the older and more “lumpy” variety that has shifted a lot, I use it as extra padding in the pack-n-play.”

Pam also shared a little about the quilt maker, Elodie Downer.  “The lady who made it, Elodie Downer, died several years ago. She was a very sweet lady, and, obviously, I loved the quilt since I still have/use it almost 40 years later.”

What a sweet quilt.  I am amazed by how vivid the colors of the embroidery still look.  I love hearing about your treasured quilt, Pam!  Thanks heaps for sharing.

I have more goodies to share with you from fellow Ivor Spring readers.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, have a lovely and safe weekend!  Blessings to you all.


Quilt from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 2

I shared a little with you a couple of weeks ago I had attended the Quilts from Storage special program at the DAR Museum.  I think my favorite quilt from all the quilts being shown is the Sunburst Quilt by Elizabeth Ann Darst Bierce (1818-1901).

[Image Source:]

I shall just let the close-up pictures I took of this quilt do the talking:

I am absolutely inspired by this quilt.  Aren’t you?  You can read more about the quilt in the book Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum.  You may email the DAR Museum shop at to purchase the book by mail.

Incidentally, Elizabeth Ann’s Mom’s quilt also received a feature in the book!  It’s wonderful that both Mom and daughter were honored for their “generational” and tangible legacy  through their quilts.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a lovely day.

Addendum (6/15/2012) –  Note from Ms. Alden O’Brien, Curator of Textiles at DAR: “Elizabeth Ann Darst made the quilt for her wedding. Now many quilts are assumed to have been made as part of a trousseau or “for her wedding,” but this one did very specifically come down in the family with that tradition. Her wedding was in 1841 so she would have been working on it 1840-41.

Quilts from Storage at DAR Museum, Part 1

I would never be able to trace my ancestry to a Revolutionary era patriot (for obvious reason, haha!).  So that means I will never be able to join the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Nonetheless I have a deep fondness for the Society and and the DAR Museum.  An excerpt from the “About DAR” page on their website reads: “The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children.” I love that their mission statement has such an heirloomy feel to it.

I am still aspiring to be a good blogger — when I was there last week, I didn’t take any pictures of the buildings like a good blogger would.  I hope to go back in a few weeks.  When I do go back, I will remember that I am not only going there to learn history, I also need to live up to my responsibilities as a blog keeper. ;)

[Photo credit:]

I am always struck by the enormity of the columns and the message on the banners on my way getting to the entrance.  The banners say “Preservation, Patriotism, Education” in case the picture does not show sufficient clarity.  I thought those sentiments can just as easily transfer into the sentiments among quilters to preserve our quilting heritage, to express a love for our Country through the quilts we make, and to educate the generations to come about the art of quilting.

[Photo credit:

Onto the special event “Quilts from Storage” I attended at the Museum last week…. “Quilts from Storage” was a special program conducted by DAR’s Curator of Textiles and Costumes, Alden O’Brien, showing the attendees quilts that are not displayed to the public.  Ms. O’Brien authored the book Historic Quilts of the DAR Museum.  So, as you can imagine, she was an absolute wealth of information during the program.

We were allowed to gently touch and caress the historic quilts during the program, with gloves on.  It was just an amazing feeling for me to be able to physically connect with the beautiful quilty treasures from 150-200 years ago!!  I will show you the pictures of the quilts I touched in this post – and at some point in the future do posts on a few quilts that caught my fancy!  Feel free to click on the quilt names to see images of the quilts in full, and read about the information on those quilts.

1.  Hannah Wallis Miller Quilt

2.  Eliza McKee’s Applique Vine Quilt

3.  Full Blown Poppy

4.  Sunburst Quilt

5.  Lone Star

6.  Thomas Sykes Quilt

7.  Checkerboard

8.  Silk Log Cabin (Barn Raising) Quilt

9.  Helen Dounce Crazy Quilt

Sorry for the picture overload today — did you know that all the quilts in DAR’s permanent collection can be viewed on Quilt Index’s website?  Just a warning:  that website is absolutely addictive!

Thanks for popping in!  Have a great day!

Hannah Wallis Miller Mosaic Quilt, DAR

Hello Friends,

Life has been full and absolutely exciting these last couple of days.  One of the highlights was being able to physically see and touch some of the quilts that are not displayed to the public at the Daughters of American Revolution Museum (DAR).  I will tell you more about it in later post(s).  But for now, I shall leave you with a picture of the Hannah Wallis Miller Mosaic Quilt, with sweet sweet thoughts for my “Hexies” quilting friends!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  I have got to run – bank, grocery store, post office etc — you know how that goes, don’t you?

Happy Birthday, General Washington!

Happy Washington’s Birthday!  The General’s birthday is actually February 22, but the federal government remembers his birthday on the third Monday of February.  This would have been his 280th birthday!

I remember learning about Washington and the cherry tree story (though unsubstantiated) in my Civics textbook in first grade in southeast Asia.  That really made an impression on me.  Years later when I came to America, I took advantage of the opportunities available to me to learn and read about the man who left such a defining mark in human and America’s history.

I have yet to decide my favorite Washington quote, but the following always touches when I read it.

“By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho’ death was levelling my companions on every side.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to John A. Washington, Jul. 18, 1755

What is one thing memorable about General Washington to you?  Curious mind wants to know.  Do you have a favorite quote of his?

Free Pattern Download: WINTER FUN!

I don’t wish winter to come just yet (NO!), but I do have a fun Winter-theme quilt design available for free download on Quilting Treasures’ website. Just click here:

This 45″ square quilt uses fabrics from Quilting Treasures‘ Norman Rockwell Winter Fun collection – newly released. The fabrics are definitely very Rockwell-ish! Check them out at your local quilt shops.

The Art Detective written by Philip Mould has a fascinating story related to Rockwell’s art. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you are into fun historical reading related to fine arts, check out The Art Detective. I enjoyed it!

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Tuesday!

Eiffel Tower Pillow Ornament

I finished my Eiffel Tower pillow hanging ornament for my friend! Here it is!

Free chart from Blackbird Designs

I am a sucker for useless information. I love working on projects that send me on a goose chase for trivial information. Working on this Eiffel tower stitchery was just the excuse I needed to read up a bit on the history. The tower, once derided as a hideous blot by Parisians, is now one of the most recognized structures and visited monument in the world.

The tallest structure in Paris was completed in 1889 as the entrance archway to World’s Fair held in Paris to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution.

It is named after Gustave Eiffel, a specialist in structural engineering. Eiffel has quite an impressive repertoire of structures he had built in his lifetime, many of them are scattered all over the globe!


Photo from Wikipedia

Here are some nerdy facts about the Eiffel Tower that I found to be absolutely fascinating:

1. The top of the tower may shift up to 7.1 inches due to thermal expansion of the metals from facing the sun.

2. The tower sways 2-3 inches in the wind.

3. 50-60 tonnes of paint are used every seven years to protect the structure from rust.

I am a happy girl now that I have actually completed one cross-stitch project for this year (isn’t that pathetic?), and my head is a wee bit fuller with some trivial information.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a marvelous weekend.

Giveaway: Quilter’s World (August 2010) – Please scroll down for latest posts!

Guess what? Ivory Spring (my little plot in blogland) is mentioned in the latest issue of Quilter’s World’s Editor’s web connection section:

I am walking in clouds!! Indeed, working with Elisa Albury of Quilter’s World has definitely made me a better quilter. In reality, I enjoy wonderful relationships with all the editors with whom I work, and for that, I am extremely thankful!

If you are a new visitor, and have come to visit me at Elisa’s recommendation, A WARM WELCOME TO YOU! I hope you enjoy your visit, and will come back again. If you are a regular here, please know that I always enjoy your visits and comments – you are always WELCOME at Ivory Spring. When I started my little blog a while back, I had not imagined I would make so many friends that have come to mean a lot to me.

This is the project Elisa talked about that’s on p.50 – I will post about the quilt once it is returned to me, hopefully very soon! :) I need a few more photos for the post.

I am giving away three copies of the latest issue of Quilter’s World (courtesy of Quilter’s World) – great issue with many great articles! To enter in the giveaway, just leave in the comment section between now and 7pm of July 8th about (1) why you quilt if you are a quilter, or (2) what you like about quilts if you aren’t a quilter. No right or wrong answers here — I am just curious! :) The lucky duckies will be announced on July 9th! Please make sure you leave your email address so that I know how to get in touch with you.

Meanwhile, I wish you a meaningful Independence weekend! Till next week.

“May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

~George Washington (First President and Father of Country), 1790

Personalization ideas for signature blocks

I think whoever came up with the idea of signature quilt blocks is a genius. The idea of signature blocks makes a quilt (which is already a very personal creation) even more personal and meaningful. These are pictures of some signature quilt blocks. Pictures are from Quilter’s Cache with free patterns on the site:

Some ideas for personalizing these blocks:

1. Names of family members for a quilt to commemorate a reunion or important family event

2. Birth particulars of a baby on a birth quilt

3. Names of guests on a wedding or wedding shower quilt

4. Names of important and famous people – Adeline Harris of mid-1800’s managed to collect signatures of important and famous people of her time, and thereby memorialized her era in this amazing quilt! The famous people comprised of politicians, poets, clergymen etc (pictures from “Quilts and Coverlets of America):

5. Names of countries on a travel quilt

6. Favorite verses on a Bible or Poetry or Famous Quotes quilt

7. Things prayed for on a Prayer quilt

8. Addresses lived at for a military family quilt

9. Love in different languages for a “I heart you” quilt

10. Titles of songs for a music quilt

11. Accomplishments in an achievement quilt

For my signature quilts, I actually stitch the words by hand onto the blocks instead of signing it with a fabric safe pen. Alternatively, one can also machine embroider the personalization on the blocks – just be sure to use the right amount of stabilizer to prevent the dense stitching from puckering the block.

I am using my Autumn into Winter quilt to record the favorite food items in the Ivory Spring household during the colder months of the year:

What interesting ideas have you used the signature blocks? Even if you aren’t a quilter, I would love to hear if you have any other neat ideas to personalize these quilt blocks.

Thank you for stopping by – I hope you have a lovely day!

A Bronte Treat

I admit I am a fair-weather reader. My philosophy on reading is that if a book is not too captivating for me, I would just move on to the next book — there are just too many good books out there to be uncovered!

I found “Romancing Miss Bronte” by Juliet Gael a couple of weeks ago at the library. Even though I am not particularly a Bronte fan, I have enjoyed reading the story of her life. I am currently about 1/3 through the book, and am expecting more exciting things to come in Charlotte’s life. I imagine this book would be quite a treat for those who are Eyre/Bronte fans. :)


“In this masterful novel of historical fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters–and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectantly found Charlotte Brontë.”…

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy your summer reading, no matter what you are reading at the moment. This curious mind would like to know what you are reading right at the moment… :)

Happy Birthday, Lady Washington!

Today marks the 279th birthday of the beloved Mrs. Washington.  I continue to find her life an inspiration.  The following is my post from last year commemorating her birthday:


Today marks the 278th birthday of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, America’s first First Lady.


As the lady of a number of plantations, she was responsible in overseeing the spinning and weaving, and clothing of those who worked and lived on the plantations.

Lady Washington, as she was called upon her husband’s rise in stature during the Revolutionary War and eventual Presidency, secured her own place in history as the supportive and exemplary wife of the Father of the New Nation by her sewing and needlework skills, in addition to her unmatched hospitality. Besides visiting the soldiers while she visited the Beloved General on camp site, she was famous for setting up sewing circles involving wives of other officers during the war to make socks and shirts for soldiers:


Over a period of 36 years and being a skilled needleworker, Mrs. Washington produced her famous “shell” patterned cushions for the chairs at Mount Vernon. The picture below, from Mount Vernon’s shop, shows a cross-stitch kit inspired by her cushions:


One of my favorite quilt blocks is the Martha Washington Star Block. A quilt with this block is on my list of quilts to make. The following image is from


Another quilt block attributed to Mrs. Washington, the Martha Washington Wreath Block:


You may read more about Mrs. Washington’s millinery legacy here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Lady Washington. Thanks for being my inspiration!


I am adding this little tidbit from about the first First Lady’s needlework pursuits:

“Martha… spent some time almost every day engaged in fine needlework. Her sewing, mending, knitting, and embroidering involved a high level of attention to detail and high-level of expertise. Many objects at Mount Vernon, ranging from button bags to chair cushions to footstools, reflect her handiwork.

Martha enjoyed sewing with other women and teaching them new stitches. She often did her needlework with her daughter, granddaughters, friends, and female slaves. She could, however, be highly critical of those whose precision with the needle did not meet her own exacting standards. Although a warm and loving person, she had strong opinions about certain things.”

Thank you, Mrs. Washington, for setting the high standard for your fans, and of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Green and red!

The red and green combination was a widely used color scheme for quilts made in the mid-1800’s. Many speculated the reason being the fabrics dyed with red became more color fast, and thus quilters found the irresistibility of the new stride in fabric manufacturing. Here are a few antique red/green quilts:

I received these fabrics from RJR. They are from the Fancy Hill Farm Collection. I am using these fabrics for a special project, about which I will tell you at a later day! I am happy to be able to work on a more contemporary interpretation of the green/red combination! :)

By the way, RJR has fun giveaways! Follow them on Twitter, and get the details first-hand!!!

Oh, before I go, I simply have to show you my “presents” with the buttonhole stitches added. I thought the stitches really added to the applique:

That’s all for now. I hope you have a beautiful day!