A Simple Life

They’re on the way!!! Woohoo!

“A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s” is available now!


To get your signed copy, you can purchase it here in my Etsy shop, or contact me if you prefer a different method, and we’ll work something out.

I also urge you to check with your local quilt shop, as I hope a lot of shops will be carrying it — buying from your LQS helps support them, and saves you shipping costs.

Here’s a couple more sneak peeks of some of the projects you’ll find in the book.

This quilt is called Happily Ever After:


And my favorite quilt in the entire book — I love this quilt so much — is called Fancy Farm Girl:


There are nine projects total included in the book. I hope you’ll love them all as much as I do!

If you order now, I’ll be shipping books on Monday, May 2nd, and Friday, May 6th. After that, I should have them in stock for immediate shipment at the time you place your order.

If you prefer to purchase from me in person, check HERE for a schedule of where I’ll be doing book signings, and visit me there!

If your group or organization would like a trunk show on “The Life of Hazel Ilene”, just give me a holler and we’ll work out the details.

Next Week

I have it on good authority . . . altho I AM from the Show-Me State . . . that “A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s” is shipping next week! Woohoo! Finally!


I thought I’d show you a few sneak peeks over the next few days, as much as I’m allowed to.

I’m gonna start with this lovely shot of all the quilts in one big stack!


I took these photos during the photo shoot we did for the book at The Vintage House.


We played around with props quite a bit, switching things in and out of the photos.


Here’s Aaron, trying to get the stack to sit just right:


I’ll let you guess which one ended up in the book!

I love this shot of all the quilts from the book together.


The book has 9 projects in it, the main one being the Block-of-the-Month quilt, Hazel’s Diary.

There are some alternate versions of the Hazel’s Diary quilt, and lots of spin-off projects, including 6 more quilts. I love quilts. Quilts are what I want to make, so my book is full of quilt projects!

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the alternate versions. This one was pieced and appliquéd by my sister, Katy. You’ll love it (I hope)!


I mentioned earlier that the next quilt-along is starting in May. I’ll have more information on it coming real soon. It’s a project that didn’t make it into the book, a wonderful scrappy quilt called Canning Season, so stay tuned for the announcement of that, as well as the official announcement that the book is out!


It should come as no surprise that I have a lot of fabric scraps. Lately, I’ve been playing in them quite a bit, trying to get them organized.

That has led to me realizing that I have too many too actually “organize”, and I need to be using them up as I go.

Which then led to me starting several new scrap quilts, which should also come as no surprise!

Funny how that works, huh?

I wrote about one of them today over on my other blog: My Tile Quilt.

But I’m also posting a mini-tutorial for another one here on this blog. If you’re looking for a way to use up little scraps, either one of these will be great for that. If you’re just wanting to get rid of your little scraps — feel free to send them on to me! (I need them! Haha!)

I’m calling this quilt MixMash. It’s a complete mess of any bright scrap I can come up with. As I’m working through my scraps, I cut them into pre-cut sizes, the smallest of which is 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ strips. This quilt, however, can use 1 1/4″ pieces, so now I can use up that size as well.

Here’s how I’m doing it . . .

Each little block measures 4 1/2″, to finish at 4″ in my quilt.
All seams are 1/4″.
You may press your seams however you like.

You’ll need the following pieces for each block:

  • One 1 1/2″ square (for the center)
  • Two 1 1/2″ x 1 1/4″ rectangles
  • Four 1 1/4″ x 3″ rectangles
  • Two 1 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles


Begin by sewing the two smallest rectangles to two opposite sides of the center square:


Then sew a 3″ rectangle to the sides of this unit:


Sew the two remaining 3″ rectangles to the sides:


Then add the 4 1/2″ rectangles to square it up:


It’s that simple! Now you just need to make 400+ of these for a big quilt!

It’s basically a small version of a Courthouse Steps block.

Here’s a few other notes about this quilt . . .

As I’ve been working on the scraps, I cut pieces for this quilt while I’m at it. Then I just store them in these labelled baggies and they’re ready when I am.


I have another bag to keep my finished blocks in. I’m not really counting how many I have right now. I’m just using up scraps for the time being, and when I get enough that I think I can do something with, I’ll see what happens from there!

When you get ready to set your blocks together, you’ll want to lay them out with the blocks rotated so that a side with seams matches up to a side without seams on the next block, as shown here:


Join them in pairs:


Then join these pairs together to make a larger section:


I’m not planning to join too many of mine together right now. I want to have a lot of blocks made, and then play around with the arrangement so that the color is evenly dispersed. I know my scraps will evolve as I’m cutting, and I don’t want all of one fabric bunched up in one area of the finished quilt.

My color choices are completely random — I’m just grabbing and sewing. I simply try not to get two fabrics alike right next to each other. That’s what helped me come up with the name!

I also plan to set these on point, so when I get ready to do that, I’ll be back with more information on my setting.

For now, I’m just happily making blocks. They make a fantastic leader/ender project, and you can have a handful of them finished in no time. If you need to use up some little scraps, I hope you’ll join me in making some of these blocks!

I’m also making a black and white version, in which I’ll alternate the blocks. This one is going to look very “op art” when I’m done. I’m excited to see it come together. A two-color version requires you to be a bit more deliberate in your cutting, but it’s still easy to figure out.


If you have any questions about any of this, please let me know, and I’ll try to answer them in a future updated post on this quilt. You’ll be seeing these two quilts again as they grow!

And FYI: There’s a new Quilt-Along coming in May to go along with the book, which, after too long a time coming, will be here soon, so stay tuned!

Donald Cox

On the very first page of Hazel’s first scrapbook, she pasted two newspaper clippings about Donald Cox.


Donald Eugene Cox lived in Macon, Missouri, and was four years older than Hazel. He served in the Navy for 21 years as an electrician. He served during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

On September 4, 1951, Hazel mentions him:

Went to school a half day. Donald Cox is home from the Navy. I hope I get to see him. Moma, Josephine, Ruth Jones went to a cooking school at Macon. Peg was here.

And again on March 7, 1952, when he’s home again on leave:

A man took picture of us at school today. I think Ann is mad at me – I don’t know why. Donald Cox is home on a 30 day furlough. Hope I get to see him. Donald W. got pneumonia.

Hazel obviously had a crush on Donald for quite awhile throughout high school.

On March 23, 1952, she admits her crush for him in the memorandum section at the back of her diary:

I like Dale Pagliai better than any other boy I’ve ever known. I used to like _______ Cox an awful lot, but he probably doesn’t know I’m even alive. I know that Dale ________.

He must have been something, because he’s enough to make you faint when he walks into the room, as Hazel says on December 1, 1953:

Wowee – I’m tired today. Last nite while we were at Melody Inn Donald Cox came in & Judy & I were dancing & I felt like fainting. Waldo was there with Sue & I think he was mad. Me & Buck stayed home tonite & Mom, Dad & Puz went to Grandma’s.

Donald married Mary Pinkerman on February 6, 1955, and upon retiring from the Navy, he worked in Macon as an electrician. They had four children, two boys and two girls.

Donald passed away on August 31, 2007, at the age of 75. I do not have any pictures of him that I know of.

The first newspaper clipping is from March, 1952, and reads:

Donald E. Cox Is Home From Korea

Donald E. Cox, EM 3 of the U.S. Navy, arrived in Macon Tuesday, March 4, on a 30-day leave and is visiting his father, George Cox, 212 Hudson street, and other relatives and friends. 
He arrived in San Diego, Calif., on March 1 from Korea where he had served the past six months.

The second clipping is not dated, but must be from around the same time. It reads:

Donald E. Cox Serves On Aircraft Carrier

Donald E. Cox, fireman, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Cox of 212 Hudson St., Macon, Mo., recently reported for duty aboard the escort aircraft carrier USS Badoeng Strait.
The Badoeng Strait, a unit of Carrier Division 15 under the command of Rear Admiral Richard W. Ruble, USN, is operating in the Far East supporting United Nations forces in the Korean War.

There is a web site dedicated to the Badoeng Strait, which you can visit HERE. The ship, just before being scrapped in 1972, was supposedly used in filming the final scenes of the 1973 Clint Eastwood movie, Magnum Force, which makes me want to watch this movie again, just to see if I can catch glimpses of it! I wonder if Donald knew this and watched the movie?

Chet and Imogene

If you’ve been reading the diary along, you may have noticed that Hazel mentions a certain couple several times throughout the diary, and usually always mentions them together: Chet and Imogene.

Chet May graduated from Callao High School in 1951. Hazel mentions it in her diary on May 11, 1951:

Today was last day of school for Seniors. They are Marie Day Johnson, Chet May, Joann Ford, & Lois Jean Hayes. Soph’s had a party tonite. Delpha and Bill Burk invited me but I didn’t go. Stayed home.

Notice there were only four in their class, and Chet is the only boy!

Bertha Imogene St. Clair graduated from Callao High School in 1952, just a little over one month after she and Chet became engaged. Hazel’s diary entry from April 2, 1952, 64 years ago today, reads:

Went to show at Bevier tonite “As young as you feel.” I didn’t care much for it. Everybody has just about wrote in my annual. Imogene St. Clair & Chet May are engaged. I don’t have the measles, thank goodness. Saw Shirley J. at show.

On November 8th, 1952, Chet and Imogene were married. Hazel wrote, on November 12, 1952:

Went to show tonite “My Six Convicts”. Was really good. Saw Imogene & Chet there. Congradulated them. They were married a few days ago. Lois Jean Hayes & Bob Montgomery were married with them. too. Bye

Lois Jean Hayes was one of Chet’s classmates, and she was also his niece (figure that one out!), and he says Bob’s last name was Holman, so Hazel must not have that part right, for whatever reason. Imogene said that they had planned a double wedding with Lois Jean and Bob, but it didn’t happen that way. Chet says that the two couples were married on the same day, but not together!

Chester (Chet) was the youngest of 8 children. Their father’s name was Ollie, and Chet’s 7 older siblings were Kenneth, Bill, Delbert, Beulah, Isabel, Irma, and Grace. Irma married a man named Buck Hayes, and Lois Jean was their child, the same age as Chet! Not surprising in large families back in the day.

Another of Chet’s classmates, Joann Ford, went on to become Imogene’s sister-in-law — she married Imogene’s brother, Bob. Oh, life in a small town!

Some of the graduates from Callao High School recently had a reunion, and here is Chet with Lois Jean (center) and Joann!


On October 13, 1953, Chet entered the Air Force. He started out with Basic Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.


He then went to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS, and studied electronics.

Chet’s flight simulation training was done at Chanute AFB in Rantoul, IL, and he learned instrument repair a bit later at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, TX.

While stationed at Brooks, Chet and Imogene’s first child arrived on the scene on March 17, 1955 — a little boy they named Steve.

When Steve was 10 months old, Chet was sent to Thule Air Base in Greenland. While Chet was in Greenland, Imogene took Steve and moved back to Callao to stay with her parents.

When Chet returned, he was stationed at Reese AFB in Lubbock, TX, for a time, and finally discharged on September 4, 1957. Imogene has his scrapbook full of clippings and all sorts of mementos.


The couple settled back in Callao, and in 1960, their second child made his appearance — another boy they named Michael.

Here’s a good shot of “the boys” — from left, Mike, Mike’s son Tyler, Chet, and Steve:


I have known Chet and Imogene my entire life. I can’t remember not knowing them. My brothers and I went to the same school as Steve and Mike. Mike was in my older brother’s class and they graduated together in 1978. I recently got to meet Steve’s son and grandson, both wonderful young gentlemen.

Chet and Imogene have lived in the exact same spot the entire time I’ve known them. I can’t imagine anyone else living there.


Chet loves gardening in the summer time, and enjoys hunting with his sons, grandsons, and great-grandson. Imogene has always been active within the Callao community, and she’s a quilter! Aren’t they just so cute? This is Chet and Imogene with their grandson, Joel, on the left, and their son, Steve, on the right:


In Hazel’s diary entry for April 26, 1952, she wrote:

Went to Bevier this afternoon & I saw Dales folks & his little sister, Patti, go through. I feel so funny inside. Dave & Ruth is up here tonite. I’ve started making a scrap book.

At the time I posted the entry back in 2011, I said I had no idea what happened to the scrapbook.

Well, look at what has appeared since that time!!!
TWO scrapbooks put together by Hazel herself!
Found in a box of things that Daddy unearthed from somewhere.


The fronts of the books say “Photographs”, but Hazel has filled the books with newspaper clippings and all sorts of other little mementos from high school.

It’s amusing some of the things she found worthy of keeping, and over the next few weeks, I’ll show you some pages from the scrapbooks, and talk about some of the events she mentioned.

So stay tuned . . .

I’ll also soon have an announcement about the next Quilt-Along!

March 11, 1954

On this day, 62 years ago, an article appeared in the local paper about the PTA Carnival that the Callao School held on March 5, 1954.

On the day of the carnival, Hazel wrote in her little red diary:

Carnival tonite. We girls (t.v. girls) gave two hula shows & sang Aloha in the Jr. side show. They made over $400. Dale was there & he brought me home. Patty C & Gary Miller were crowned. It was all real good.

This was the first carnival held in the new school gymnasium, which had just been finished and dedicated a few months earlier. Hazel served on the committee, and attended several meetings for the planning of the carnival, so I’m sure she was glad that it all went well and made them some money. And evidently, they hadn’t counted all the money just yet!

Here’s what the paper had to say:



PTA Carnival Nets $1,341

According to reports from Mrs. Henry Sampsel, president of the Callao PTA, Miss Fannie Randall, chairman of the carnival, and Perle Clarkson, finance chairman, the first school carnival to be held in Callao was a great success from more than one point. As well as being a financial triumph, Mr. Clarkson states, he believes it was also one of the finest examples of co-operation shown in any project attempted here in many years.

The committee in charge of the affair opened their drive by sending out letters announcing the carnival and it’s pupose to all alumnae of Callao High. To these letters came many responses, including cash donations and merchandise for use and sale in the various concessions. They also brought several to the carnival who might not have known of it otherwise. 

The good neighbor policy also was evident in that talent of exceptional quality was contributed by New Cambria PTA, Oak Grove PTA and Charitan PTA. These numbers were all enjoyed by the audiences and the Callao PTA appreciates their kindness in coming to their aid.

Other shows and acts were presented by the different grade children and the high school classes. These were all well given, with many people expressing regret that they could not see everything. The evening was just too short.

The total amount, at this date, that was realized from both the contributions and the receipts of the carnival amount to $1,341.55. This is the net amount as it is understood all expenses have been taken out. It is expected, however, that the amount may change, since there is a probability that further cash donations will be received. 

The evening’s activities were climaxed by the crowning of the carnival King and Queen, Gary Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Miller, and Patty Christy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Christy, Bernice Ford, H. S. King of 1953-54 and Della Houpt, H. S. Queen presented the young king and queen of the carnival with their crowns, a boutonniere and corsage of roses.

The people in charge have expressed their gratitude to all, who in any way contributed to the success of the affair.


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