Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Esther Howland's Valentine Cards

Esther Howland (1828-1904) is credited with creating the first Valentine's Day cards in the 1840s. Today, it is estimated that nearly one billion Valentine's cards are sent each year worldwide, and the Greeting Card Association honors her by hosting the annual Esther Howland Award.

Esther's family owned a large book and stationery store in Worcester, Massachusetts. When she was young, they sent her to the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary where she graduated in the class of 1847, as a contemporary of Emily Dickenson. While at the Seminary, she participated in annual Valentine festivities. Upon graduation, one of her father's business associates sent her an elaborate English Valentine. Made with perforated and embossed lace paper, these cards were popular in England.

Realizing that she could make these beautiful cards herself, she convinced her father to order supplies from England and New York City. She then made samples which she sent out with her brother on his sales trips. Secretly hoping for $200 in sales, she discovered upon her brother's return that he had garnered over $5,000 in advance sales. She asked her friends and family to help make them assembly line fashion, and her $100,000/year business was born.

Esther Howland Valentine
Esther is credited with introducing many innovations in Valentine design, including placing a brightly colored wafer of paper underneath the embossed lace to create more contrast. She also created the built-in shadow box that became popular in the latter part of her career.

In business for over 30 years, Esther established herself and earned a good living at a time when many women were marginalized. She never married, and during the last 15 years of her career, a knee injury forced her into a wheelchair.

Esther Howland Valentine
In 1881, Esther sold her valentine business to George Whitney, a valentine manufacturing company in business from 1866 to 1942. Whitney installed the machinery necessary to make paper lace domestically. By the time of her death in 1904, Esther had earned the accolade of "Mother of the American Valentine."

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

The Pantone Color Institute has announced that the color for the year 2018 is 18-3838 Ultra Violet. Pantone's website indicates that Ultra Violet is suggestive of the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.


Pantone's top 10 colors for Spring 2018 were created to encourage a sense of fun and playful release--a sanctuary of color ideal for unique and dramatic color mixing. They will be seen in Runway Fashions, quilts and sewing projects. For more information about these colors, click here.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Winners of the Color of Kindness Challenge

Aren't they gorgeous? These are the winning quilts from the Color of Kindness quilt challenge held at Grandma's Attic this year. This challenge is a charitable event designed to raise awareness and funds for Sable House, a local agency assisting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in Polk County, Oregon.

Earlier this year, Grandma's Attic provided applicants with entry packets consisting of five different yellow fabrics. Entrants were challenged to creatively incorporate these fabrics into a final quilt design. Proceeds benefited Sable House.

Voting began July 27th and ended August 6th. The general public was invited to vote for their favorite quilt, plus two categories: Best Use of Color and Best Interpretation of Theme. Votes were tallied and winners selected. The quilts were then displayed at the Polk County Fair held August 10-12. 

Winners are as follows:  
First Place:  "Be Kind and Shine," by Mara Johns, who won a $100 gift certificate.
Second Place: "Color of Kindness" by Cindy Graff, who won a $50 gift certificate. 
Third Place:  "Bee Kind," by Sharon Espersen, who won a $25 gift certificate.
Best Use of Color:  "Sunlight Rays of Hope," by Cheryl Winblad who won a fabric bundle
Best Interpretation of Theme: "Color of Kindness" by Cindy Graff, who won a fabric bundle.

Grandma's Attic, a Polk County business, is strongly committed to the health and safety of women and children in Polk County. The business fully supports the various local resources who share these goals and are dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault issues through the arts and crafts. 

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Color of the Year 2017 - Greenery

The Pantone Color Institute has announced that the color for the year 2017 is 15-0343 Greenery. Pantone's website indicates that that Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Its fresh yellow-green shade evokes the first days of spring when nature's greens revive, restore and renew. Calling it illustrative of the  flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, its fortifying attributes invite us to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.The color is nature's neutral and symbolic of vitality.

Pantone's top 10 colors for Spring 2017 are a mixture of vitality, relaxation and the Great Outdoors. They will be seen in Runway Fashions, quilts and sewing projects. For more information about these colors, click here.






Thursday, November 17, 2016

Grandpa's Farm Block of the Month

Grandpa's Farm
Grandpa's Farm continues to be one of our most popular block of the month programs! First created in 1981 by Roxy Burgard of Calico Hills Farm, we've revamped and retooled the program with color photographs of each block, plus crisp, clear copies of each pattern and current fabrics.

Roxy says she was inspired to create this quilt after visiting her husband's Grandpa in Kansas. Grandpa Miller farmed his entire life in Yates Center, Kansas. Dave (Roxy's husband) fondly recalled boyhood summers spent on the farm, and reminisced about the activities he did while there. Intrigued, Roxy created this quilt as a tribute to Grandpa Miller.

We've broken the quilt down into 16 monthly installments so that you can construct the quilt over time so it's not so difficult to work up all at once. The block of the month program includes fourteen 12" quilt blocks,  a center panel, and border kit. It can be created using either fusible web or traditional applique. Details on many of the blocks include simple embroidery work. Club participants receive the pattern and fabric to make each of the fourteen blocks. The center panel pattern and fabric is sent in the 15th month and the Border pattern and fabrics in the final month.

We believe you will enjoy creating your own Grandpa's Farm quilt. Finished size of the quilt is approximately 72" x 90". Join the fun by clicking this link.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Patchwork Party 2016

Secret Garden
As Patchwork Party enters its ninth year, participating shops are each presenting a unique quilt exclusive to their shop. Instead of having to purchase blocks from 12 different stores, this year all that is required is that you view the quilts available at Patchwork Party website and determine which one you wish to create.

To entice you to visit each shop's website, you can collect free patterns--one each from the seven participating shop. Instead of purchasing sampler blocks, you can pick your favorite quilt, then purchase a full quilt kit to make it.

Each shop is using prints from the Poppies fabric line designed by Rachel Shelburn for Maywood Studios. Some shops used the pink and black colorway. Other shops used the blue and green colorway.

The "secret" behind our Secret Garden quilt is that you can put it together several different ways using the same quilt block over and over again. Created by Cheryl Libby exclusively for Grandma's Attic, our quilt uses the blue, green and yellow coloration. to make it easy to participate, you can choose the option that best suits you: purchase a a complete kit, or in four month or seven month installments. You choose the option that suits you best! The finished quilt is approximately 90" x 102" which means it will fit a Queen sized bed. To see additional ways the quilt blocks can be placed, click here to view the quilt, then follow the link for additional images. Shown below are the fabrics that we used in our quilt.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fancy Pansies



Fancy Pansies

Fancy Pansies is a delightful, easy-to-make pattern filled with colorful garden flowers. It was created by Terri Massee for Grandma's Attic.

The pansies, with their wide range of colors and pretty “faces,” appear to be floating across the fabric in a three-dimensional setting. Created from a a gorgeous pansy panel, you’ll definitely want to create this sunshine-filled charmer. 

The pansy panel and pansy fabric are also available for purchase; however, you can also make this pattern using any panel with 7" squares.  Instructions for making two matching pillows are also included.