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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — January 2010

Shops to Love: Momma Made It – Fabrics with a 19th Century Flair for 21st Century Quilters

What would a pioneer woman think if she traveled through time to Momma Made It of Longview? She would, of course, be shocked at the autos, the asphalt, the development, but not the bolts of cloth.

Women on the Oregon Trail brought quilts that reminded them of loved ones left behind. Momma Made It is filled with 100% cotton fabrics with earthy warm colors and prints that would have looked at home in covered wagons and one-room cabins.

Momma Made It in Longview

Momma Made It in Longview

Owner Sharon Pennel started quilting while expecting the arrival of her daughter. Forty-two years later, she still loves the craft, opening Momma Made It in 1996 in a downtown Longview house. She recently moved the store to a larger space where she, and her staff of three, can host classes and quilting clubs.

The shop is neatly stocked with 2500 bolts of ever-changing fabric, featuring reproductions of traditional, homespun fabric of the 1800s plus quilting books, patterns and kits, some of which are Sharon’s own design and distributed nationally. Her own patterns are “inspired by antique quilts were have seen or imagined,” she reports. Her top quality fabric collection attracts quilters from around the region and advice is always available. “We have no aversions to giving a lesson on the spur of the moment,” Sharon says. “We’re in it for the fun.”

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Open every day but Sunday, Momma Made It is located at 2121 8th Avenue in downtown Longview, 360.636.5631,

January 28, 2010   10 Comments

A Northwest Winter Night: Who Killed Hal Coppone?

The year was 1928. Harold “Hal” Coppone was murdered. Someone was a murderer. Everyone had a motive and an opportunity. Who did it?

The suspects. Who murdered Hal Coppone?

The suspects. Who murdered Hal Coppone?

We gathered in the backroom of a speakeasy. I, Malissa F. “Scoop” Orrthot, a newspaper reporter, wanted to get there first to observe the other guests but four invitees beat me to the scene. I arrived with Eddie “Socks” R. Gyle still wearing his plus fours knickerbockers and pink plaid socks from the golf course. I’ve always been attracted to a man in argyles.

Scanning the room, I checked out a suspicious group, all drinking liquor in teacups – S. Treighton Harrow, that straight but sleazy D.A., Billy “The Kid” Thrower, a baseball player who knew how to throw a game in more ways than one, Molly M. Awbsterr, a flapper and so-called “socialite,” and Silky M. Adam, whom we knew (and her girls) from the Everlay Club. Windy City blues singer, Anna Maria Carlotta “Torchy” Sassine arrived with Ernie G. Ambler, a bigtime gambler, a few minutes later.

We had all been a little on edge since Hal was released from prison. We all knew him and were shocked, some more than others, when he was found murdered in his own vault. Oh, the blood and bullets! But WHO did it? I had my own motives but wanted to dig to the bottom of these suspicious Chicagoans to get the real scoop.

One of us was well-trained with knives and tommy guns, in spite of her feminine wiles. One got kickbacks from mobsters, who then avoided the legal system. Hal, mobster that he was, had done a number on all of us in some way.

There were a LOT of clues to examine. I scribbled notes in my reporter’s pad but it was hard to keep the facts straight. Some of those yokels even thought that I might have done it. I confess. It’s true that I had my reasons to bump off Hal.

The “iced tea” flowed freely as we interrogated each other through a Shrimps de Jonghe (a Chicago-specialty) dinner. We sorted through way too many clues but finally, one-by-one, each accused a suspect.

I admit it. I got it wrong. (Or did I do it? I’m not saying…) Who did it? You’ll have to do your own mystery dinner party, maybe on a cold, rainy evening like us, to find out…

January 18, 2010   2 Comments

The 10 Minute Conversation: Leah Jackson

Leah Jackson is the owner of Angst Gallery, which she opened in 2008 in downtown Vancouver. She curated the award-winning Baby Boomers exhibit at the Clark County Historical Museum and is one of the founding members of the Mosaic Arts Alliance and the Sixth Street Gallery. As an artist, she works with steel and welded art, jewelry, painting and glass. She is also a founding member of Bike Me! Vancouver, a bicycle advocacy group interested in cycling education and fun on the streets of Vancouver.

Leah Jackson, Owner, Angst Gallery

Leah Jackson, Owner, Angst Gallery

What brought you to SW Washington?

I moved here in 1993. I was born in Portland but moved back to this area from Southern California in 1993.

What do you love about SW Washington?

That there is access to all of the camping and hiking and water. There are lots of arts and good food. There is access to a LOT of good stuff!

What is the best-kept secret about SW Washington?

The abundance of artists here. There are so many artists that there aren’t even enough places to show their work.

What is your favorite place to relax or play in SW Washington?

I like to play in downtown Vancouver. There is a lot to do down here. There is good food. It’s easy to walk around. Easy to find parking. It’s all easy.

If you didn’t live here, where would you live?


What’s coming up that you are excited about?

I’m really excited about a new art conversations group that has formed in Vancouver. We meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. to talk about art issues including visual arts, music, dance, theater, any kind of art. We meet at a different venue each month so anyone interested in attending should email

What would surprise people to know about you?

The fact that I ride motorcycles and snowmobiles. It’s not just about my bicycle advocacy!

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January 6, 2010   2 Comments