Tag Archives: history

Movie Review: Go For Broke! (1951)

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Go For Broke! is a movie about the U.S. 442nd Regimental Combat Team, formed in 1943 by Presidential permission with Japanese-American volunteers. The film stars Van Johnson as Lt. Grayson, the commanding officer of a platoon of Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans, who have volunteered to fight for the United States.  Grayson is displeased with his assignment because of his distrust and dislike for the men he’s commanding.  The movie follows the unit as they fight through Italy and France.

Van Johnson & Henry Nakamura

I’ve watched Go For Broke! twice now and love it.  The movie was made only eight years after the events it portrays, and a six of the main characters are actual veterans.  The variety of personalities and backgrounds is wonderful and avoids stereotypes very well.  Grayson’s attitude toward the Nisei is gradually transformed by his mens’ competence and integrity.

I give this movie a thumbs up (and say it’s Tiggerty-Boo*).  It is in the public domain and you can find it on Youtube or Archive.org

(If you want to watch another great Van Johnson war movie, try Thirty Seconds over Tokyo)

*Name that song!

Images from Dave’s World of War Movies

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Update on my Demorest Treadle Machine

Last year I wrote about my Demorest treadle sewing machine and today I finally sewed with it!  The thread guide is missing so my Dad rigged up a wire thread guide for me.

The thread guide my Dad made.

Isn’t it clever?

The poor machine bereft of its thread guide.

I hope you all had a great Independence Day!

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Filed under Historical, Life, Sewing, Uncategorized

8 Benefits of Hand Sewing

Lately I’ve been doing more hand sewing and really liking it.  There are a lot of benefits for stitching your stuff by hand.  Here are eight of them:

1.  No danger of sewing over a pin.  This messes up a sewing machine’s feed dogs.

2.  More portable.  No need for electricity or extension cords.

3.  Damages delicate fabrics less.  My Granny told me about a skirt suit she made for an officer’s wife out of silk that the officer had brought home from Thailand (I think).  One of the lapel points wasn’t coming out right and, having taken out the machine stitching a time or two, the silk was shredding.  There wasn’t enough material to cut a new lapel so Granny sewed that pesky point by hand.  It turned out perfectly and the lady never knew.  She adored the ensemble and wore it all the time.

Colorful Threads by Petr Kratochvil

4.  Less expensive.  Compare the price of a machine with the price of a packet of needles.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  More control.  I dislike overshooting the mark and sewing over something that’s not supposed to be sewn over.  And going reallyfast then r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w then reallyfast then r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w holds no appeal.  (But that can be fixed if your machine has speed control.)

6.  Quiet.  No buzzing.  It’s like…ninja sewing.  Until you stab yourself.

7.  Uses less space.  If you don’t have a machine you can fit more fabric on the shelf!  A bigger stash is a good thing, right?

8.  You can squish more fabric into a smaller area.  Generically speaking, a machine can gather about 3″ into 1″ whereas by hand you can get up to 10″ in 1″!  And it’s less bunchy.  See #5.

Do you do more hand sewing or machine sewing?  Which do you prefer?  Leave a comment and tell me about it!

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Skinflints & Penny-Pinchers: Miser’s Purses Revisited

A simple miser's purse.

A popular fashion accessory from the late 1700s until the early 1900s, miser’s purses are an ingenious answer to the necessity of keeping coins in place.  In order to insert or remove coins from a miser’s purse, the metal rings must first be slipped out of the way like this.

As these bags were used by ladies, embellishments prevail.  Steel beads, color work, and elaborate tassels make these tiny coin purses works of art in their own right.

A faded red cotton miser's purse decorated with beads, tassels and two rings. Black Country Museum's photo via Getty Images.

Miser’s purses were most commonly made via crochet and knitting.  (There are currently some patterns on Ravelry.  Just search “miser’s purses” in the patterns.)

Some lovely beaded miser's purses from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

If you’d like to take the plunge and make a miser’s purse of your own, here are some patterns for you:

1859 Purse in Crochet Beadwork

1882 Two Crochet Miser Purse Patterns

1888 Beaded Miser’s Purse Crochet Pattern

More Pictures & Information:

Peggy McClard Antiques Original Miser’s Purse

Costume Gallery of the Pitti Palace in Florence Miser’s Purse Collection

German Miser Bags

Short History of the Miser Bag

Highly In-Depth Treatise The Ubiquitous Miser’s Purse (.pdf, 137 pages)

And if you’d rather not make a miser’s purse but still want one, Backward Glances has a lovely Reproduction Crochet and Bead Miser Bag.  (She also takes custom orders.)

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Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata K13 in G major

My alarm clock is always set to a classical music station, and this morning my rather groggy brain absorbed a lovely sonata by Scarlatti.  On the radio it was played on piano, but it sounds equally well, if not better, on harpsichord.

Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was born in Naples, 1685.  He played for royalty and composed 555 keyboard sonatas.  He also composed many operas, cantatas, symphonias, and church music.  You can read more about Scarlatti here.  There are sources for sheet music at the bottom of the Wikipedia article, and Mutopia has some Scarlatti sheet music as well.

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Fit For A Scrooge: Miser’s Purses

As I was looking on Etsy for tatting shuttles, I stumbled upon some vintage coin purses.  They’re called miser’s purses because the opening is so small you must “pinch your pennies” to get them out of the bag.

Black Country Museums' photos via Getty Images

Made in knitting, netting, and crochet, they were often elaborately beaded, and can range in size from 4″ to 36″ long.

Here are some I found, Purse #1 and Purse #2 and Purse #3.  I like #2 and #3 best, how about you?

There certainly seems to be a lot of variety in these purses.  A search for “miser’s purse” yields quite a few pictures.

French miser's purses, early 19thC, beaded and netted. - The Book of Costume, Vol. II

I am trying to resist the urge to make a miser’s purse until I have finished some other projects.

In the news:  I received my copy of The Dressmaker’s Guide: 1840-1865 2nd Edition!  I love it!  I was looking out the window about every five minutes until it came on Saturday.

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The Nation Gives Thanks…

…for five kernels of corn.  That’s a line from a historically based poem by Hezekiah Butterworth about the first Thanksgiving.  According to the poem, the Pilgrim’s rations were so low, since the supply ships hadn’t arrived, that five kernels of corn was the only food each person had daily.

One Thanksgiving, we all came to the table and only five kernels of corn were on each plate.  My Mom read us the poem before bringing out our meal.  Dad cooked and mashed his corn to see how much it would be and it was barely a spoonful.  It amazes me that a holiday associated with plenty originated with want.

I’m very glad to say that no matter what, God has provided for me and my family.  We have never gone without food, shelter, or any of life’s necessities.  He has always been with us and always will be.  That’s what I’m thankful for.

FIVE KERNELS OF CORN

by Hezekiah Butterworth

‘Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o’er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

“Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!”
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
“Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!”

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
The west winds are blowing o’er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners’ Hill!
“Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

“The raven’s gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!”
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the “Five Kernels of Corn.”
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!

To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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