Memories on Muslin

LKO COVERWe leave traces of our lives behind us – sometimes in the most unusual ways.

Eighty years ago, the women and young girls of Athelstan, Iowa left pieces of themselves behind, stitched on muslin squares. In 1934, women in the community formed a quilting club. Quilt blocks with Sunbonnet Sue’s and Overall Bill’s were created and signed with their signature. The blocks were traded with one another and a few quilts were made.

Nellie Morris had other plans for her squares. She signed her block ‘From Mother, To Doris’ and added the year ‘1934’ in the bonnet. A set of 30 squares, 27 signed with names, went to Doris, most probably as a Christmas present, since it was in December.

Doris grew up. She married and had children. She and her husband grew older. And, the squares sat together in a stack. For the next 70 years, never stitched into a quilt.

After Doris’ death, the squares surfaced and they mystery of where these names originated from set the author on a search with the most wonderful results. The names were traced back to Athelstan and in 2014 the squares were donated to the Taylor County Historical Museum in Bedford, just a few miles from where they’d originated from 80 years earlier.

Join us on this journey as the squares, along with history of Athelstan, a small town sitting on the Iowa-Missouri border. Tidbits of 1934, such as prices, dust storms, Bonnie & Clyde, Shirley Temple and more are included, setting the background of the time when these squares were stitched. A brief history of depression-era quilts, the colors, and patterns used is included in this tribute to these Athelstan women.

Squares in this set of squares are from: Doris & Mother (Nellie and Doris Morris), Betty Balch, John Balch, Beverly Ruth Barnett, Dorothy Barnett, Darlene Booher, Leona Booher, Charls Bownes, Evelyn Bownes, Maxine Bownes, Minnie & Josie Bownes, Mrs. E.J. Bownes, Leona Mae Byrns, Jean Marie Carroll, Lelah Clark, Kate Fidler, Katie Kemery, Norma Gean Kemery, Rex Morris, Grace Murray, Georgia Older, Deliliah Rusco, Berneice Scott, Thelma Weaver, Dean Weese, and three unnamed people, anonymous to us forever.


Available as an electronic PDF file from the author for $3.99.

A print is available from the author for $5.99 plus $3.50 shipping and handling. (Email for details)

Available as an ebook at Amazon, for $3.99.


New Name!

new name

We’re changing names.

Bread and Butter Days is now going by …. VINTAGE DAZE

The site address may still be the same. I haven’t figured out how (or if) I can change that.

We’ll still be bringing you snippets and memories from the past, just as Vintage Daze.

Have a wonderful day!


Taylor Book of Recipes, 1928

Taylor Book of Recipes, 1928

BBD_cb1It’s a tiny little thing, this small little cookbook that almost got lost in my ‘pile’.

A mere three inches across and four and a half inches tall, this cookbook from 1928 is chock full of recipes in its 88 pages.

Taylor Instrument Companies printed the cookbook to help promote its TAYLOR HOME SET, a three piece thermometer set consisting of an oven thermometer, a sugar meter for canning and preserving, and a candy thermometer for jelly and candymaking.

What I thought was interesting was that right in the middle of the ‘Hard Candies’ chapter, is a recipe for cough drops.


2 cups water
½ oz. hoarhound herb
6 cups granulated sugar
½ cup strained honey
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon oil of anise

Boil the hoarhound in 1 cup of water for five minutes. Strain. Add the sugar, cream of tartar and the other cup of water. Boil to 295 degrees; then add the strained honey and let boil up once. Remove from fire, drop oil of anise in various parts of it. Blend with as little stirring as possible. Pour onto oil tin. Mark in squares when slightly cooled. Roll in powdered sugar.

The recipes for jelly making, baking and roasting were written by Nena Wilson Badenoch. The last few pages, Recipes for Deep-Fat-Frying, were written by Mrs. C. T. Bunnell.

Nena Wilson Badenoch was the author and coauthor of several other cookbooks. She also had an article in Good housekeeping: Volume 86, Number 3 (March 1928), entitled ‘A House to Grow Up In’. In 1938, she wrote a children’s book called ‘Go Home Puppy’.

Stay tuned for next week’s post, when we’ll be back to this cookbook, sharing some of the interesting fudge recipes in it.