Thursday, October 30, 2008

The last leg of the journey...

We are not home yet, but we are on the way!

This photo was taken at our campsite in Branson. We were right on the river near a very lovely railroad bridge and the mist on the water in the morning was ethereal. I appreciate water differently, now that I live in the desert.

This is the event that we built our adventure around. The 2008 Ford Galaxie Club of America National Meet. We didn't win any awards (not even for coming the most miles to the event, even though the winner of that honor was from Phoenix, which is NOT further from Branson than Las Vegas - but we are not bitter...)

The weather was beautiful and the people were friendly, so a good time was had by all!

Dearest Sister has bestowed an award on me! It comes with "rules", one of which is linking to things, so I will have to wait until I have time to study up on that technique before I can acknowledge the honor.

I am honored, though. Her esteem is important to me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes from The Adventure

Sometimes I forget how flat the Texas panhandle can be. Then, I have occasion to drive through it and I remember...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On the Road

In anticipation of our October Adventure to the Middle of America, (and adventures beyond!)The Mister and I purchased a very used pick-up camper. This is a sticker that we bought at the camper-ing store and put on the rear, next to the door.

It came with a sticker for each of the 50 states. The Nevada sticker went on immediately to cover a blemish on the camper and the California sticker represents our stay in Bishop a few weeks ago.
This is how it looked after the first night of The Adventure:
This is the current status:

We have big plans to fill up the map over the next five or ten years. We may take liberty with the Hawaii sticker, though. I doubt that we will be taking the camper on a visit to the islands!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adventure to the Middle of America!

We are preparing to start our vacation tomorrow morning. The Mister will be up and three and tapping his foot, waiting for my alarm to go off at five. We hope to be on the road before 6am.

Imagine going on vacation in one of these!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Adventures in the West

Taking the Galaxie and the Isetta to car shows has become a way for The Mister and I to travel and see the West! We use it as an excuse to leave Las Vegas on the weekends whenever we get the opportunity.

South Lake, Bishop, California

One car show that we have attended twice is the annual Owens Valley Cruisers' Fall Colors Car Show in Bishop, California. Bishop is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, at the back door of the Sequoia and King's Canyon National Park, south of Yosemite. It is a beautiful place with great hospitality.

It is remote, 200 miles from any town of more than a few hundred people and the people in Bishop really appreciate folks who take the time and bear the expense to come to their neck of the woods.

We belong to the Southern California Galaxie Club and one of the other members lives in Bishop. He first invited us to attend the Fall Colors Show in 2007. It was the "maiden voyage" for the Gal, so we were a little nervous about going so far and over so many mountains in a 45 year old car, but we made it and had a great time.

This year, we stayed for the Sunday morning poker run up to South Lake. We rode with the top up since it was a little chilly at 7500 feet elevation!

There were lots of beautiful cars, good friends to visit with, gorgeous scenery and great weather (despite a less than great weather forecast!)

The best thing for me though -

Next door to the car show was a swap meet/flea market where I found some vintage stamped linens, embroidered tea towels and this very cute hankie apron! All for 25 cents each!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The history of my stitches...

begins with this project:

In 1967, I was in the fifth grade. In the spring, we fifth graders began gift projects for Mother's Day. The two fifth grade classes split up with all the boys in one classroom creating some kind of wood project (a bird house, if memory serves). The girls went to the other classroom and we worked on apron projects. Made of gingham, stitched together and embellished with rudimentary chicken scratch embroidery.
My mom was very proud of any creative effort. (Even with loose knots sticking up along the top!

I don't believe she wore the apron. There are a few age spots on it, probably from my grubby little fifth grade hands as I worked on it!

After making the apron, I was inspired to do more cross stitch and started this sampler.

I don't remember exactly when I started this project, but it was shortly after the apron experience. It was finished in 1976. I was in college then (Go Jayhawks!) and in a very strange humanities program (I later came to believe it was a cult, but that is another story for another time). Anyway, the professors believed that listening is more important than taking notes and keeping your hands busy also aided...comprehension, focus.. I am not really sure, but they encouraged handiwork during lectures. So I dug out this project and finished it. The faces are pretty rough (not my cross stitch expertise, you know!)

I became a stamped cross stitch project hound, searching out projects to keep me busy as I sat through lecture every week. I had three or four dedicated hours each week to fill with stitching. Counted cross stitch was just becoming a trend (at least in my awareness) and it was mostly done on regular fabric like linen, so it took much more concentration (and skill) than I had, at that time. I was always on the lookout for project kits!

I found this one:

(I found anther one of these kits in a box of things that I got at an auction some years ago. I have kept it, but I am not sure why. Since I haven't done anything with this one in 30 years, I don't think that I will need another! )

I really enjoyed the project below! More colors than the others and separate elements that were little "milestones" that made the project go quickly.

The vegetable were fun. This might have been the forerunner of anthropomorphic fruit on dish towels!

This patriotic effort was not so fun. Just a couple of colors and applique that was out of my skill set!

I did a few others that I gave as gifts, but after all, how many framed samplers does one mother need? (Just kidding, I gave them to others, too)

I left college after a few semesters and didn't pick up an embroidery needle for more than 20 years.

When The Mister finished working on the Galaxie and we began to take it to car shows, I started thinking about hand work again. Since most shows have about 4 or 5 hours of sitting in lawn chairs, visiting with other exhibitors and friends it is the perfect opportunity to pick up a project!

At least I learned something useful in college!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time Machine

I spent part of today in a time machine.

This time machine:

This is my mother's sewing box. It was custom made for her, I believe by my father. I am not sure when it was made, but from the beginning of my memory, my mother used this box to store her sewing things.

My mother really didn't sew much in the last years of her life, so the contents of the sewing box have been frozen in time. It has been stored at my house, but it was always known that the sewing box would belong to Wisest Sister after Mother passed away. It moved with us to the desert two years ago, but I am delivering it to WS next week, when I visit her during our vacation.

I got it out today and took a trip back in time!

The lid opens with a piano hinge and there is a place for her sewing shears as well as pinking shears in the lid. The smaller compartments were meant to hold bias tape, hem tape and other trim as well as other notions as well as zippers that came in the little circular plastic boxes.

It also held her machine grease and manual. My mother was very diligent in maintaining her sewing machine!

The front has a door with two shelves behind it and two drawers.

The shelves held mother's supplies for making covered buttons and belt buckles,

and extra custom buttons as well as store bought.

The top drawer held miscellany, but the bottom drawer was custom made to hold patterns.

My mother was a very skilled seamstress and used those skills to support her five children, after my father died in 1959 at age 43.

She made covered belt buckles and buttons for the Mennonite ladies in town whose faith required them to wear dresses with no ornamentation. (Self covered buttons and belts met that requirement.)

She also made custom garments, often for folks who could not buy ready made due to physical challenges, or size issues.

When Dearest Sister and I took dance lessons, Mother made the recital costumes for our fellow dancer (wanna-bes) whose mother's did not sew.

Lets look at some of her projects:

She used the Butterick pattern on the top to make house dresses to wear around the house, or in the garden.

I think the bridal pattern was used to make Deeply Missed Sister's wedding dress in 1967.

The ever popular "reversible tie and ascot" is uncut. I imagine that it was probably intended to make gifts for the men-folk sometime in the 70's.

The choir robe pattern was used to make baptismal gowns for church, I believe.

I don't remember the hat patterns, but our family is notorious for our large noggins. We are rarely able to buy a hat ready made. The hat patterns are by Mr. John. Who is that you ask?

A prominent designer, of course!

While discussing the various places that the sewing box could be stowed for travel, The Mister had many ideas of emptying the contents so it could lay on it's back, removing the wheels so that it wouldn't roll around, etc.

I told him firmly that it is not to be modified! It will be delivered to WS in the same condition as it came to me!

Nowadays, there are many caddies, containers and boxes made for storing sewing supplies, but you can't buy a time machine!

Friday, October 17, 2008

His and Hers - Classic Cars

One of the things that the mister and I do for fun, is take our classic cars to car shows. In fact, a vacation we are starting next week has been developed around a car show in Branson, MO. (the irony of traveling from Las Vegas to Branson has been killing me!)

We will take this car:

This car is The Mister's. I ride in it, of course, but it is his. It is a 1963 Ford Galaxie Convertible - "Tucson Yellow" with a black top. It is a lovely car that always turns heads when we take if for a drive. The Mister did the restoration, one of his first retirement projects. It is not perfect, but we like it very much. Sometimes he wins a trophy with this car. (not best of show, but sometimes a people's choice top whatever percent)

Sometimes we take this car to car shows -

This car is mine. It is a 1958 BMW Isetta. It is painted with DuPont Chromalusion. The color is "Pure Fire". Sometimes we win a trophy with this car (as high as "tied for second" out of four entries!)The Isetta also turns heads, and in fact, gets so much attention, that The Mister does not like to park near my car at car shows.

(You will notice that the Isetta is two cars away from the Gal.)

At this car show, I parked the Isetta next to a very lovely and expensively restored Ford from the early part of the last century. The best thing about it to me, though -

is that it was a perfect mirror for admiring my car!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I was always drawn to coloring books...

but I was never good at coloring. I usually just colored over the outlines of the picture, which did not accomplish anything remotely artistic. Embroidery is a medium that gives me much more satisfaction, although it feels similar. One of the best parts is that when I am done, I wash the "outlines" away!

My current project is a set of dish towels. Seven, but without the days of the week. I am making this set for Dearest Sister to gift to her MIL for a holiday gift.

These are the first two, which I mailed to DS for quality review. The lily-of-the-valley one has a small repair. I was almost done and pulled the fabric tight in the hoop and the fabric pulled apart.

These towel blanks were a set that I had in my stash, (from who knows what estate sale!) so more are not available.
I told DS that I would be glad to re-do, but she would have to hem the flour sacks that were the secondary option (staying with stash availability). She said that they would pass muster, so I am on number three, instead of re-doing one and two!

The pattern is from Aunt Martha, I am not sure of the name and can't locate the envelope just this minute. I love the vintage Aunt Martha transfers, (and the newer ones with a vintage vibe) but I also love Sublime Stitching designs.

I am in awe of the stitchers out there that put depth and texture into their projects with color and variety of stitches. I am more of a crafter than an artist, and my projects are generally utilitarian. I am trying to vary my stitches in this project, since it is to be a gift and minimizing the loose tailed knots.

DS assures me that the shortcomings that I see are not so obvious to others, but I want her to be proud to give them to her MIL.

Five more dish towels and 10 weeks until Christmas!

Sushi on cotton

One thing about living in Las Vegas that I have had to get used to, is that the thrift stores very rarely have vintage-y goodness. Mostly, they are stocked with used clothing (the ordinary kind, not vintage-y), and "next step beyond final clearance" merchandise from the department store with the red bull's eye.

This was a major disappointment to me when we moved here two and a half years ago. Thrift stores are one of my favorite things, after estate sales (which do not exist here, at all). Since I am nothing, if not compulsive about thrift stores, I continue to go and hope for the rare find.

About a year ago, I started thinking outside the box (my box, at least) and began to see potential in some of the inexpensive, unused linens. On one visit I found a plain white tablecloth in a lovely cotton fabric and on another 6 plain white napkins, also white cotton.

When Dearest Sister's first daughter moved into a new home, I decided to stitch them up as a house warming gift. I already had the Sublime Stitching Sushi transfer, and she and her SO are two of the few in my circle that eat sushi, so that was a natural choice of theme. I enlarged the designs on a copier - four larger motifs for the corners of the table cloth and smaller ones for the napkins. (I have not found a good light in my house for photographing white fabric, so the pictures are not great, but the project turned out pretty well, I think).

Since I really was not familiar with sushi, I went to the grocery store and photographed the fresh sushi to get ideas for the colors. In the end, I improvised a little, but after all, artistic license never has to be re-newed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Hello Internet!

I am relatively new to the Blogosphere. As is true with many interesting things in my life, my sister turned me on to Blogs. I have been reading and discovering so many interesting people and things that I decided to de-lurk and start a two-way conversation. I think that I may have things to say, I know that I have things to show and I definitely want to join the dialogue!

The name of my blog is taken from the name of a club that my mom belonged to when I was little. It was the Just-a-mere Club and the purpose was mostly social, but also crafty, as I recall. Every meeting had cutey little nut cups which Mother would bring home to show us.

My sister and I would get to attend the Christmas Holiday party at which time we would usually be pressed into performing an amateur rendition of a holiday song in voice, or on the piano. Santa would come and although I knew that Santa was a "tradition" at Christmas, it always surprised me that there would be a gift with my name on it and one for sister, too! I guess we didn't give our Mother credit for being able to keep a secret from two clueless little girls. (She probably hid them in plain sight before the event!)

We lived in a small town in South Central Kansas, at the time. My Great Aunt Ruth (my mother's aunt) also attended as well as my mother's many cousins and all the neighbor ladies, from in town and from farms. Many of the women were rural and I am sure they looked forward to the opportunity to meet for friendship and fellowship. I think they also did service projects and possibly had quilting bees in earlier years.

Nowadays, although I live in a major metropolitan area, I often feel disconnected from that type of community and I would enjoy looking forward to going to "Club" once a month. So this is my effort to join the club!