Following along with Amy Johnson Crowe’s prompt for this week of #52ancestors, which is “unusual name,” I present a little summary of what I know of my 2nd great grandmother, Olive Greene.
Her full name was Olive Jane Greene, and she went by the nickname “Jenny.”
She was born about 100 years before I was, and lived her whole life in Cumberland County, Maine. Her father was a farmer. She was born when her father was 47 and her mother 44. Her oldest brother was 20 years older than she was. She was able to marry while her parents were still alive, so they could see their youngest child, and only daughter as far as I can see, happily situated in life.
In the first census taking after her marriage, they are listed as living with her parents. Jenny’s husband was described as a tinsmith by trade. In the next three census records, he is listed as manager of a local canning factory.
The couple were parents of two daughters who died relatively young, in their twenties (my 2nd great aunt) and thirties (my great grandmother). My grandmother (#52Ancestors 2019 pick number 1) did get to meet and know her husband’s Grandma Jenny and Grandpa Charles Herbert.
I’m not one of those demonstrator bloggers with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, who shows how to make the best use of the monthly Simon Says Stamp kit.
I’m just an obscure follower of the card-making craft, who wants to do a little bit of show and tell. Some of these, I pretty much followed the blogs of other cardmakers. But only because they were so unbelievably adorable! Hope you don’t judge me too harshly!
The one with the pom-pom streamers. The sentiment was cut out of one of the 6 x 6 card stock papers included in the kit, and positioned on top of a coordinating paper, with pom-poms threaded on 3 double strands of the thread in the kit.
2. The gift tag–a couple of pieces of the coordinating card stocks put together, to be attached with a ribbon.
3. The snowflake kisses sentiment one. Happy thoughts (not often thought of by people who live where it never snows)…
4. The hot chocolate one. Not the most elegant, but faintly reminiscent of chocolate.
5. The one with the snowmen
6. The snowflake is winter’s butterfly one. Butterfly didn’t come with the kit, but I had one lone blue one in the stash.
7. The “ease into Valentine’s” card. I guess, for people in the cold climates, wintertime after Christmas is over, is very distinct and separate from wintertime before and during Christmas. Hence, maybe even polar opposites? North vs south poles? Santa vs penguins?
8. The twirling skater one. This one I did almost exactly as the demo in Clips-n-Cuts blog except I used a navy blue card base as the background. I’ve never made a twirling motif such as this before, and I thought it was the coolest! The skater die was included in the kit.
9. Another penguin Valentine card. The coordinating blues and plaids, are so fresh.
10. The snow-covered blossom one. So this little floral sprig fell off of a spray I bought from Hobby Lobby in an attempt to brighten up the place after the Christmas stuff went down. I glued some white pom-poms onto the blossoms to imitate snow piling up on them.
The Challenging Fitch ancestor, my great-grandfather, has brought so many spine-tingling responses, whenever I found some unexpected trace of him popping up in my research.
None of the old-timers seemed to know much about him. My great-grandmother was married to him (very briefly) in 1896. Their son, my grandpa, was born in 1900. Historical records prove they were married at the time of my grandpa’s birth, and then later divorced, but he took his mother’s surname the rest of his life.
Wonder why she went to such great lengths to keep even the whisper of the name Fitch away?
Gradually I began finding snippets of information about him, or at least, someone whose name was similar to his. The biggest treasure trove of hints came from a My Heritage newspaper vault. Apparently Fitch had moved to a tiny town in Indiana which had a nosy gossip columnist, and a reporter who noted every court action from the minuscule to the mighty. From this source, I learned a lot about his marriages, job, family members, what he did on the weekends, and all kinds of events either humdrum or tragic.
He worked at a dairy plant in Chicago, and apparently serviced a sales or maintenance route to several cities in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. At one point, according to the newspaper, the plant where he worked closed, and he could have chosen to move and work at a similar plant in Wisconsin, but didn’t. Around that time, he petitioned the court to have the time and place of his birth determined.
For someone supposedly born in 1875, the child of a German immigrant and an American mother, he did not seem to be a stable representative of that demographic, in my mind . He was married to at least six different women. There were some shady newspaper accounts, either about him or someone with his same name.
The Fitches, overall, were a challenge to find, and I still cannot find Great-grandpa Fitch’s mother’s family where they are supposedly from in Erie, New York.
From a member profile in My Heritage, and from some DNA matches in Ancestry, I found some likely relatives who were descended from Voitzsch ancestors in Prussia. The original US immigrants of this line were supposedly buried in a graveyard in Erie County, New York, according to a source. I found the roster of burials for that cemetery, and one name very remotely like Fitch or Voitzsch came up: Gaubeloupe Freitztsch Folilztson (compared to the name listed on historical records Johann Gottlob Fitch or Voitzsch) and wife were buried there, and their markers possessed the only possible dates that could have worked out to be the immigrants. Not exactly proof positive, but some DNA matches to me have these ancestors listed on their pedigrees, so it may be a good tree to bark up!
Recently I was contacted by someone whose ancestor bought the farm where Nina lived at the time of her death. Having already posted several salient newspaper articles about the life and times of Nina and her subsequent husbands, he says he may have a photo somewhere of the elusive Mr. Fitch!
Skip wanted me to just do a makeover on this sign, or have some element that can be added and removed, to make the sign suitable for other times of the year.
Like one of those all-purpose calendars with a theme or motif rather than months and days.
Turns out, those holographic vinyl letters were very easy to pick off. And the boards themselves took quite readily to a new coat of milk paint and sanding and clear-lacquer spraying.
And the vinyl lettering took not much effort.
I’m thinking of re-doing it with the font a little bigger. But as is, it sort of implies that love is more humble than a flamboyant flourish, just a simple statement that you might have to pay more attention to, to find it. Anyway, it’s been fun to experiment with!
Crafting in the 21st Century is an eclectic sort of venture: we’ve documented mostly arts and crafts and practical projects, but writing is also a craft. We end up giving many of our posts a “family history” tag anyway, because they build up stories about who we are and what we like to do, and maybe why. One of the founding purposes of creating the blog is to record the stories of our life and times. For us, “creating 19th century crafts using 21st century technology” was supposed to be one of our tag lines, although we’ve strayed a lot!
With that intro, I want to opt into Amy Johnson Crow’s#52 ancestor challenge for 2019, and plan to steal a little bit of space from this craft blog to write about our gene pool.
If you’d like to sign up for the challenge, you’ll be sent a prompt once a week over the coming year, to jump start your work at this venture. Who knows what dimension will be added to your life, as you draw on the memories of your ancestors? They don’t want to be forgotten. The first prompt for this year is…”first.” So this is my grandmother, the first grandmother I ever met. She was born at the beginning of the 20th century, in the first week of January, in a log cabin in Germany Valley, Pendleton County, West Virginia.
The family moved to Oklahoma with her Uncle Baxter, who had bought a farm, when my grandmother was four years old. All the kids had to work hard. Her mother succumbed in the flu epidemic around 1918. Her dad became depressed, sold the farm equipment, and moved the family back to West Virginia where they stayed at the hotel in town, owned by other family members.
She wrote in her memoir: “Then our Dad became very unhappy with our situation and took us back to Oklahoma…again in June 1921…We were there one day when Dad killed himself by shooting himself in the head with a shot gun. I remember seeing him at the funeral and his head was so swollen it was twice the size it should have been. Grandpa sent a telegram to the aunts in W. Va….So they started dividing us up among the relatives—Martha went to Aunt Lola, Anne stayed with Grandma, Alice and Pete got married in St. Louis, Mo. on June 17, 1921 on our way back. Hattie went to Aunt Sallie, Bill to the hotel and Aunt Meade, and I went with Aunt Lillie and Uncle Baxter and Harry was already there. So we were scattered all over creation and another phase of our lives starts from there.”
First Gran took the train to Washington, DC, when she got a little older and became a nurse. She liked to sew, quilt, do all sorts of needlework, paint (by number mostly), garden, cook, and keep the house spotless.
“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” [Matthew 8:20]
Speaking of places in which to lay your head, this project is finally done:
I looked in the fabric stash, and of course I had a suitable remnant just the ideal size to make two of these for our recliners in the TV room. Bright red, already quilted cotton and a green plaid little piece of cotton with a coordinating red stripe. Instead of trying to machine embroider the quilted fabric, I decided to stitch the Santa motif onto a thin piece of red fabric I found, that had slits all over it from something. Maybe it was involved in a knife fight? Or someone at the fabric store opened a box of bolts with a razor blade and slashed it? Or the fabric has been in the stash so long it just shredded from age?
It is a pretty close color match to the quilted cotton, so I just appliquéd it on with a satin stitch. And, I was able to use the mirroring function on the Viking to make two opposite-facing images of the Santa motif, which I bought from Embroidery Library.
I cut the plaid fabric into 5-inch-wide strips, sewed all the pieces into one long strip, then folded the strip in half and pressed it. The idea was to make it like bias binding, except I didn’t cut it on the bias, but rather, the straight grain. I knew better: bias would have been ideal, but I’m too lazy to want to try to cut fabric at the perfect 45 degree angle. Too many opportunities for it to get screwed up, and I’m done when it comes to dealing with more holiday stress! Then I folded each loooooong end of the binding strip under about 1/2″ and pressed them under.
Next step, after binding, was sewing on some Velcro strips to attach the headrests to the backs of the chairs. The sticky-back strip will go on the chairs.
Meanwhile, although it’s chilly outside, gorgeous flowers are blooming in the yard.
Feeling very thankful for this time, this season, this holiday! What is it like in your winter wonderland? What is making you happy?
We like to have our family Christmas party the Saturday before Christmas if possible, that way it won’t interfere with the grandkids’ celebrations at their homes.
By way of decorations, we went with a Buffalo-plaid red-and-black check theme, which seems to be a component of the “farmhouse-style” ubiquitous scheme of holiday decorating this year. Our contribution of craft to the decor was pseudo-barn panel painted and embellished with a holiday sentiment.
Skip put together three boards that were lying around in the shop. I white-washed them with some white milk paint.
After they dried completely, I painted over the boards with red milk paint.
Once the red paint was dry, I “sanded” the boards with Abranet to make some of the white and bare board show through and thus give it a weathered appearance.
Then I painted a rough image of pine boughs, pine cones, and gold ribbon, nothing very specific, using acrylic paint.
We painted the whole surface with clear Danish oil mixed with a little bit of walnut Danish oil to seal it and make it look old. Then, after that dried, which took a really long time because it was cold — I actually blew the hair dryer at it for a short while and that did speed up the drying — we sprayed it with clear acrylic.
Finally, we added a Cricut sentiment out of adhesive-backed shiny holographic vinyl.
There it was, hanging on the wall in the foyer, directing our party guests to the living room where the fun was about to begin!
So far, almost every day since the beginning of October, the temperature has gone up to at least 80° F. But the nights are cooler. Which means I want to have enough blankets on hand.
Blankets are passive accessories until late at night when one is freezing in bed–then they turn into proactive warriors, intent on guarding and protecting you from the enemy.
This is my latest theme quilt for a grandkid who plays music:
The center panel features a big appliqué of a cello (eyeballed and cut) and some musical note appliqués cut using Accuquilt templates, ironed on to the fabric using Pellon Wonder-Under, then machine-sewn around the edges with a satin stitch. I chose colors for the note appliqués, from some American Made brand cotton fat quarters, that matched up with the colorful musical notes on a black background in the fabric I planned to use as the nearest border.
I used a solid black cotton fabric backing, the kind you can buy at Joann’s that is already 108″ wide so you won’t have to piece it for a large-size quilt. And I bound the edges with black Wright’s satin blanket binding, because I accidentally ordered WAY MORE than I needed for a previous project:
Buffalo-check plaid is very popular this year. I made one of these in blue also, both with matching satiny-fabric backings because–they love it, it is ideal woobie-fabric.
Last step was washing before using, with this:
Best as a precaution to keep those fabric dyes from bleeding onto each other. I’m not worried about the American Made Cotton bleeding, but some other fabrics–you don’t know.
Apart from the obvious holidays this month (Veteran’s Day, Election Day, Thanksgiving) we also have a few lesser known national celebrations that have been growing in popularity. I’ll list the ones in which I may be inclined to invest some interest:
NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing month. Although we’re already 5 days into November, which means we’re grossly behind on the deadline to write 50 K words by the end of the month, Skip has already started by writing the first chapter in a mystery tale. It’s in the point of view of “first person,” which made me laugh out loud picturing him as a private detective pulling out his gun in a parking garage…and he wants us to alternate writing chapters. Maybe we can incorporate a character who knits and dabbles in the creative arts while dodging bullets, so I can write about what I know?
Postings of what my Facebook friends are thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving: Thirty Days of Thankfulness. I always enjoy this, because it helps to count one’s blessings, and having visual images of them is a plus. I’m going to alter that concept slightly by making a “Thank You” card every day of the month. I’ve already made a couple, so as not to get too far behind on this deadline.
3. November is the time of year that men stop shaving for some reason. A carryover from caveman times, to add insulation against the cold weather? We’ve got Movember, which puts emphasis on mustaches, and/or No Shave November, in which guys don’t shave at all. If you want some clarification on this, here’s a link to a comprehensive blog post about it. Personally, I’m like Olive Oyl and I like a Clean Shaven Man, but it is somewhat interesting to see the beards and mustaches sallying forth among all the other activities this month!