The Spot I So Love

Lately, I have been reading and have put crocheting and other hobbies aside.

Last week I read, “Beyond the Garden Gate: The Life of Celia Laighton Thaxter”  


After reading this book, I became pensive and, again, started reflecting upon the past.

Age and an appetency to return to “what was” will do that! 

Below is a short biographical summary of Celia Laighton Thaxter.

Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894) was born in Portsmouth, NH, and when she was four her father became the lighthouse keeper on White Island, Isles of Shoals, NH. Eight years later he resigned his keepers job and built a large hotel on Appledore Island, ME. This would become one of the first resort hotels to be built on the New England coast, and a gathering place for the literary and artistic greats of New England in the latter half of the 19th century.

Celia Laighton Thaxter was an author, painter, gardener, and one of the most popular New England poets of the late nineteenth century. Her nonfiction works, An Island Garden and Among the Isles of Shoals, continue to engage readers; “her prose,” Smithsonian Magazine has said, “has a timeless quality that makes delightful reading today.”

Her close friends included Sarah Orne Jewett, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James and Annie Fields, and she moved in a literary circle that included such figures as (Nathaniel) Hawthorne, (Ralph Waldo) Emerson, (Henry Wadsworth) Longfellow, (Charles Dickens) and (Oliver Wendell) Holmes. Thaxter was also the hostess of a vibrant summer salon on Appledore Island where artists Childe Hassam, William Morris Hunt and musicians Julius Eichberg, (Ole Bornemann Bull) and William Mason were among the frequent visitors.

The Isles of Shoals was also made infamous by the double, ax, *murders that happened there while Celia and one of her sons were on Appledore.  That one son, Karl, suffered with physical and mental impairments caused by complications at birth.

*Stories about the Isle of Shoals murders-

The Moonlight Murders on the Isles of Shoals
Isles of Shoals Murders | Horror on Smuttynose Island
Anatomy of an Ax Murder

Being, that I was born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Isles of Shoals are familiar to me, I felt a kinship with Celia. I understood her lifelong love for the area. In a letter penned to John Greenleaf Whittier, about her love for the Island, Celia wrote,

“I wonder if it is wise or well to love any spot on this old earth as intensely as I do this…”

I was sad when the book ended as it left me, again, without the “spot” I so love.

“The Sunrise Never Failed Us Yet”

by Celia Thaxter

UPON the sadness of the sea
The sunset broods regretfully;
From the far lonely spaces, slow
Withdraws the wistful afterglow.

So out of life the splendor dies;
So darken all the happy skies;
So gathers twilight, cold and stern;
But overhead the planets burn;

And up the east another day
Shall chase the bitter dark away;
What though our eyes with tears be wet?
The sunrise never failed us yet.

The blush of dawn may yet restore
Our light and hope and joy once more.
Sad soul, take comfort, nor forget
That sunrise never failed us yet!

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Child Labor in America Lewis Hine Photography

13I came across some haunting photos the other day. They were photos of child laborers and poverty in the early 1900’s. Children were put to work to help out their family in their home (this was called homework) factories, mines, fields and other laborious jobs.  Many impoverished children worked instead of attending school.  This robbed them of an education and their childhood.

At that time, my maternal grandparent, their parents, sibling and other family members came to America (Ellis Island) from Italy. While some stayed in New York, some moved farther north to New England and other parts of the country.

I mention this only because while I was browsing those photos, I came across one that caught my eye. It was a photo of three boys with the same name as my grandfather’s surname.  I was bowled over with excitement. The names of the boys were familiar, but I can’t find any family member who can confirm how they are related to me.

The full description for the photo is here.

Title: John Pento, 14 years old, has been selling for 7 years. Daniel and Angelo, are his twin brothers. They are 7 years old and been selling one year. Sell until 8 P.M. some nights. Location: Hartford, Connecticut.- Creator(s): Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer Date Created/Published: 1909 March


Meanwhile, getting back to the story-

In 1908 the National Child Labor Committee hired Lewis Hine, a teacher and professional photographer trained in sociology, who advocated photography as an educational medium, to document child labor in American industry. Over the next ten years Hine would publish thousands of photographs designed to pull at the nation’s heartstrings. Lewis Hine became an investigative photojournalist for the National Child Labor Committee in the early 1900s.

Lewis Hine was an influential photo journalist in the years leading up to the First World War. It was during those years that the American economy was doing well, and the need for labor was at an all time high. Cheap labor was necessary, and American businesses were not only looking for immigrant workers but also child labor as well. The factory-oriented jobs were very specific, and a child was a perfect candidate for the work that was necessary. Their small hands and energy was beneficial to the assembly line –Source:  National Child Labor Committee

Lewis Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States. Hine’s work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foreman. At the time the immortality of child labour was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but posed a serious treat to the industry. In order to gain entry into these mills, mines and factories, Hines was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, post card vendor, bible salesman or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery.  Source: Lewis Hines

The face of poverty in American today is not the face in the early part of the 20th Century. Certainly, there are many reason as to why this happened.  But for now, I would like you to view the gallery, that I have assembled.  The gallery consists of some of the over 5000, on various subjects, photos taken by Lewis Hines.  The photos shown in this gallery are some of the ones on child labor and poverty found on the Library of Congress‘ site.  Each photo, in this gallery, is titled by what Hine wrote on the back of each photo.

Click Lewis Hines-Child Labor in America to view the gallery.

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Crochet Shawlette or Scarf?

When I buy yarn, that I am not familiar with, I like to touch it and see how it looks. I have never purchased yarn online that wasn’t familiar to me. However, for the longest time, I have been wanting to crochet with a cotton/acrylic blend. I found some (online) that wasn’t too expensive and had a good amount of yardage and purchase a few skeins. It wasn’t what I expected, but I did like the feel of it and knew that it would drap beautifully. The brand was ‘Premier® Cotton Fair® Solids and Multis Yarn

I envisioned a scarf of shawl. I found a cute pattern for a shawlette/scarf online and decide to crochet one.

I didn’t use the border that was suggested in the pattern, I wanted to make mine a little different.

The two photos below are before I added the floral embellishments.

Crochet shawlette


I do like this pattern. It was a simply easy pattern, which turned out beautifully.

Shawlette Crochet

You can find the pattern over at Zooty Owl’s Crafty Blog-Road Trip Scarves. Thank you Zooty Owl, for a wonderful pattern.

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Crocheted Brooches and Autumn Banner

A few weeks ago, I was inspired to crochet a couple of brooches.


I used #10 crochet thread, an old button that I had, some ribbon and some bobbles and beads.

As you can see, I was trying out ‘color schemes’.  I think the five colors go together quite well.

rose brooch

For the rose brooch, I used #3 crochet thread and some pearl beads.

I sewed felt and a hinged pin to the back of each brooch.

I think brooches look so pretty and feminine.

I have a few more designs swirling around in my head.  I am just too lazy to make these ideas a reality.

Autumn is nearly upon us, and I am looking forward to the cooler weather. Here, where I live, we won’t be feeling any cool, crisp air for a couple of months or more.  However, I still like to put little things around the house in celebration of autumn.

Last year I made a little “Happy Autumn” banner/streamer and posted the template.

autumn bannerIf you would like to make one or just to see the post click here or click on the photo.  The banner/streamer is made with light-weight card stock, ribbon and laminate.

Thank you for visiting!

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A Mélange of Frivolity

Because I haven’t felt well for the past few days, I haven’t been doing any crocheting. I am experiencing fatigue. My body and brain is so drained. I have been laying about and sleeping without feeling refreshed.

I did manage to make some homemade croutons for the tossed salad we had for dinner. I made a half recipe today with some leftover Italian bread that I had frozen. I only had a little extra virgin olive oil on hand.  You certainly can use regular olive oil, but extra virgin is sooooooooooooo good. But, it is very expensive and I don’t buy it often. It has become a luxury around here.


Cheesy Garlic Croutons

  • 2 cups of day old bread cut into 1-inch cubes (use a hearty bread such as an Italian bread, french Bread, European Peasant Bread, etc).
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (more or less according to how much garlic flavor you want)
  • Good grinding of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesano-reggiano cheese.

Place bread cubes into a large food type plastic bag or bowl. Drizzle olive oil all over cubes, toss the cubes and the oil, sprinkle garlic powder, pepper and cheese on top of mixture and toss/mix well. Place mixture onto a cookie sheet and toast in a 175°F oven until lightly toasted on all side for about 15-20 minutes.

I kept the oven temperature low so that the cubes would slowly toast.

And this morning, I made a batch of-what I call-tropical bran muffins. I add cubed dried mango, papaya, pineapple, dates, coconut, etc. to the bran muffins. I like cold, bran muffins right out of the refrigerator. I don’t like them warm.

Weird? I know!  

It’s only bran muffins that I like cold.  All other muffins I like warm and buttery.

In the mornings when I don’t feel like eating, but my stomach won’t stop growling, these muffins are just the thing to stop the gnawing.

Last week I bought a couple of books.  In between my sleep-fest, I have been reading. These books weren’t too expensive, and I know that times are tough and when the books came, I felt so guilty for spending the money.

enchanted april

A while back, I read, “Elizabeth and Her German Garden” by the same author as “The Enchanted April“.  On the one hand, I associated with Elizabeth’s need for solitude.  So far, on the other hand, I can associate with these women’s needs and wants in “The Enchanted April“.   

The author of those two books also wrote “Mr. Skeffington“.  Warner Brothers made it into a movie in 1944 starring Bette Davis and Claude Reins. I just watched it recently on my Amazon Fire TV.

“A woman is beautiful when she’s loved, and only then.   –Mr. Skeffington

Bette Davis was one of my favorite actresses when I was a kid.

The other book, I remorsefully purchased,  and wanted to read for the longest time is-

tabacco road


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A Little Liveliness and A Cat Nap

Every once in a while we need a little change. We need something new and different to keep our lives interesting and inspiring.  Something as simple as a colorful, crocheted pincushion can bring a little liveliness and happiness to my life.

With some cotton, #3 thread, I crocheted a new home for my yarn and common needles.


It looks like a pretty, little hat.  It makes me happy to see the vibrant colors.  It inspires me to create and surround myself with more brilliant hues in an otherwise drab life.

loose fear

I took a couple of pictures of my little buddies, Frankie (the little one) and Luna.

Luna & Frankie

I have never experienced two cats that get along so well.

Luna & Frankie

Not once, have I seen or heard any aggression from either one of them. They aren’t always this calm. When they play chase and tag, they can rock the house.


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Hanging Crochet Owls

I have a fondness for whimsical owls.  I have seem some really cute, decorative owls around the web and I wanted to crochet one to hang in the kitchen.

Having many beads, buttons, and sparkly notions, I crocheted the one below.


The owl is a combination of patterns I have seen around the web and one I crocheted two years ago (Sunflower Owl).

For this hanging owl, I used Lily’s Sugar ‘N Cream Cotton.  I attached a hanger using seed beads, jewelry wire and jump rings.  On the back, I sewed a piece of felt in the shape of the owl to give it a clean finish.

Then from “Bunny Mummy“, I crocheted this little guy using Aunt Lydia’s #3 crochet thread.

Small Owl

Using thread rather than worsted weight yarn, the little owl is smaller than a steel crochet hook.

Small crochet Owl

I promised that I would bake cookies today. Therefore, I better get away from this page and get busy in the kitchen.

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

sig summer

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Teassert and Crochet

On most day, late in the afternoon, I make a small pot or a cup of tea. One of my go-to-teas is Earl Grey. It’s one of the perfect afternoon teas.

“The aromatic bergamot adds a refined, tart citrus, taste.”

It awaken my senses and soothes my soul.

I saw a recipe, online, for Earl Grey cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream frosting and got busy baking.

Earl Grey cupcakes


The lemon buttercream is the perfect accompaniment to the fragrant, citrus bergamot flavor.

Earl Grey cupcakes

You can find the recipe at “Foodie With Family“.

I crocheted another vintage-type pot holder using Aunt Lydia’s #3 crochet thread.


I enjoy crocheting vintage-type pot holders. Although, I don’t use them as “pot holders”,  I think they would look pretty displayed on a kitchen wall.

Maybe, someday, I will do just that.


Posted in baking, crafting, crochet, dessert, fiber art, handmade, home, homemade, needlework, vintage | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments