Saturday, 16 September 2017

We May Not Want to Admit It, but it will soon be Autumn in Hampton!

Did you know Hampton has it's own tartan? It was created in 1961 by The Hampton Weavers, a group organized in 1956. It is called Autumn in Hampton and is made up of the colours of the fall hillsides . . . brown, gold, white, green and orange. Through the hard work of Hampton's David Keirstead, whose mother was one of the members of the Hampton Weavers group, we have several items that were "reproduced" using the Autumn in Hampton recipe. The colours vary slightly from the original, but are lovely regardless.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

It's the Details that Make the Difference

It's the Details that Make the Difference

This doesn't look like much . . .  just a wooden box about 11" by 6" in size.

But when you lift off the lid, you see this:

Variously known as a butter press, butter mold, butter stamp or butter print, these little wooden boxes transformed your block of butter into a work of art for presentation on your table. The "box" portion is open on both top and bottom and would be filled with butter, then "pressed" with the top, transferring the design to the top of the butter. This particular press has 8 separately carved panels held in place by brass screws: blackberry, pear, raspberry, sheaf of wheat, apples, strawberry, grapes and a leaf. Such care to even the smallest details of life!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Snowballs in May

While some days it has felt like we could still be making snowballs, these snowballs are quilted. This is one of the quilts we are featuring in this year's exhibit, celebrating Canada's 150th with the newly restored and returned Confederation Quilt. One online source stated the snowball pattern is an Amish quilt block pattern. For sure it is a pattern that fools the eye by creating an optical illusion. From a distance, a snowball block looks like a round circle, but it is actually an octagon, an eight-sided figure.Our snowball quilt is made up of 11,396 pieces, all hand-stitched into a full sized quilt by Minnie Main (Frost) Northrup, and was completed by the time she was 11 years old. Yes, eleven. She had started it as a doll bed quilt, but was encouraged to finish it as a full sized quilt. The final photo shows my hand to give a sense of the scale of the pieces used to create the blocks.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Nothing Like a Pair of Home Made Socks . . . or is there

This cool contraption caught my eye this week. The Auto Knitter Hosiery Co. Ltd. was located at 1870 Davenport Road, Toronto, Ontario. During the early 1900’s it shipped knitting machines throughout Canada. It was a way for people to discretely earn a wage cheque by producing socks and other knitted goods at home and sending them to Toronto. Prior to WW1 socks were normally handknit by family members, but the need for multiple changes of socks for the soldiers in the trenches to prevent ‘trench foot’ led to mechanization of this skill. A good hand knitter could complete a pair of socks in a week, but an experienced operator of a circular sock knitting machine could see a pair completed in less than an hour! It is complete including the shipping case, and was shipped to Mrs A Ralph Spragg of Saint John and donated to the museum by her daughter E M Dearman. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

What is That?!

Wandering through the museum collection often has me exclaiming "What IS that?" Today's post is one of those items. When I first saw it I saw what is shown in the first photo. The second photo including the mallet started to answer the identity question, and a search in our database contributed a little more information. This is actually a church bell, mounted to a wooden base and rung with a wooden mallet. It came to us in 2004 from Gagetown, but unfortunately that is all the information recorded. Funny how the inclusion of one simple additional piece of information can make sense of a mystery.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Don't Gong Me Late for Dinner

Ahhh the dinner gong.  Used to notify the ladies and gentlemen of the house that dinner is ready.  The one in our collection is about 9" high, hung with two small chains on an oak stand.

The gong itself is metal with an Eastern Sunburst design covering the front.  There is a brass shield on the base, however, there is no inscription on it.

This one came from the home of William H. Venning Esq., the first Inspector of Fisheries for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  He was appointed around the time of Confederation and wrote his first report in 1868, so this dinner gong likely dates from the mid to late 19th century.  The mallet handle is also made of matching oak and the top is soft.  When you hit the gong, it makes a sound louder than you might expect from something this small.  The sound is different depending on where you hit the gong.

I wonder if they had different tones for different types of food?  Hmmmm....I know you wouldn't have to hit the gong twice to call me for dinner!


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Found My Marbles

You know the old expression "lost my marbles"?  Well, I've often wondered what my marbles would look like if I ever did find them and I think that became a reality today!  There are about 104 marbles in this jar. They are all different colours, many of them multi-coloured and spotted.  They are made of a mixture of ceramic and clay, quite hard, and almost cold to touch.  

Most of them aren't quite round and have a few flaws, just as I thought my marbles would.  They range in size from about 1/2" to 1" across.  Marbles are mentioned as far back as Roman times, but these ones likely date from the late 19th century.  Clay marbles were made in Germany and the U.S. There have been some reports that clay marbles were used as ballast in ships sailing from Germany to America, then were sold.
Maybe that's why it's taken so long to find my marbles - they came from Europe!