Monday, July 27, 2009

Life in the desert...

We live in a very eclectic neighborhood.
I call this house and example of "old desert". I imagine that it was built 40 or 50 years ago and was 'out in the county' at the time. It has an Airstream travel trailer and an old VW bug parked out back. We are just down the street, in the middle of 'Lego-land' - stucco houses with tile roofs and palm trees, that look so much alike that I had to count the houses from the corner to be sure that I didn't walk into the neighbor's house on my walk home from work when we first moved here.

It reminds me that we live in the desert, no matter how much we have air conditioned it.

This reminds me that we live in Desert Crazy Town:
This house is a few blocks away from us (note the stucco and tile roof!). It has a full size trapeze in the back yard. Circus people live there. Three generations. I wish they were our neighbors!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

Its only half-way through summer and I have finished my "Spring Cleaning"!

This was a fun combination of redwork (no thinking about what color next...) and variety. The pattern was a freebie from Hillary Lang at Wee Wonderfuls, originally published in "Sew Hip" magazine. She doesn't have it listed in her freebies, but the link above will take you to the posting where it is available.

I put it on a tea towel (what else...).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christmas in July - (1957)

This is another bit of ephemera that has sifted to the top of one of the many piles of interesting things in my 'craft room'.

Similar to the Splenda drink recipe book in my kitchen cabinet, the Reynolds Aluminum Company produce this little book of "holiday know how" so that folks would have more reason to buy their product.

I don't know when aluminum foil became a staple of kitchens, but I know the only foil that my mother would have let us 'craft' with would have been saved from a stick of margarine! Reynolds Wrap was considered very expensive in our house and never used only once!

Come to think of it, using foil for decor might have been seen as an economical use, since it could be used year after year! (We saved the tinsel from the tree to re-use. My mother was a adherent of the "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" school)

I thought this page was interesting - it is instructions for how to crush foil. I think instructions on how to use it without crushing would be more useful...

The top project is pretty straightforward - a wreath form made from wire hangars covered with layers of foil with holiday beads wired in for accent. I am sure it would be lovely with an aluminum tree with a colored light rotating between red, blue and green!

The second project is for a foil 'cave creche' for your nativity scene. It suggests spraying with snow spray for the 'hillside cave effect'. Not sure it would be a very soothing environment for baby Jesus, but maybe so....

This page has instructions for making that timeless motif, the holiday foil fish. It is referred to as a mobile, so I suppose you could hang it from...something and admire it from all sides!

This book was distributed by the Benner Food Stores, not a name that I recall, so this probably came from an estate sale or auction. It has a recipe for baking a ham in foil and the lyrics for some carols and lots more suggestions on how to make your holiday festive with Reynolds Aluminum Foil!

So, if you are stumped for table decor ideas, just get out the foil, glitter and glue and welcome your guests with this lovely place mat!

And after dinner, you can re-cycle them!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More 'Lost Arts'

I found this clipping while sorting through some collected patterns and paper debris in my 'craft room'. No crafts occur in this room, but I don't have a better name for it. I am sure that The Mister secretly refers to it as "the room that has so much stuff, no one knows what is there". There is only a tiny bit of truth to his opinion...

This photo illustrates another lost art form. It is an example from the "bottles glued together and painted with frosted crackle glaze" movement.

I believe the original idea was to create lovely candle holders to accent the decor of any room, but I don't think anyone would think these tall...results... would be safe with a lighted flame!

I recall my mother and one or two of her friends practicing this 'art' in about 1969 or 1970. Bottles were collected, along with baby food jars for the candle holding tops. Of course, a variety of different shaped bottles were more effective than stacked mayonnaise jars and ketchup bottles, so friends were pressed to finish up that last bit of Worcestershire or soy sauce and donate the bottles to the project.

I think that Mother had someone use a glass cutting tool to cut off the threads that originally secured the lids to create a smoother effect.

I don't recall any of the finished projects in our house, so I think that the project may have been to create centerpieces for an event. I am assuming if there was any fire 'incident', I would remember hearing about it, but I can't be sure.

I don't think that I have ever seen an example of this craft at an estate sale, thrift store or antique mall. Have you?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Travel & Souvenir Quilts

We are finally home again! I feel like I have been silent for such a long time that it is hard to know where to start to catch up! We have traveled so much the first half of this year, the trips are beginning to run together. This trip was again to the Kansas City area and it had a two-fold purpose.

First, we delivered the Galaxie to its new owner. The Galaxie was the first car that The Mister restored. As with any project, he learned much in the process and always saw the things that he would do differently, if he were doing it again. So, he decided to let someone else enjoy it for what it is and change the 'flaws' if they were inclined to. It was a sad moment when we drove away, though. The new owners are people we are acquainted with through one of our car clubs and we know they will give it a good home. They already had it registered for the county fair parade next month!

The second purpose of the trip was to complete the purchase of a house that will someday be our retirement home.

When I was in KC last month after my brother-in-law passed away, I spent a day or so with a realtor. The Mister and I had been looking at real estate on-line and had identified a couple of bank owned properties that we thought might fill the bill for us down the road. We decided to think about buying now, while the interest rates are low and it is a bit of a 'buyer's market'. With only a tiny amount of last minute uncertainty, we closed on the house last Wednesday. Wisest Sister is going to live in it until I retire (most likely in three or four years). One of the features that was a priority for us was living area on one floor. That also appeals to WS, so it will be a good fit for her in the meantime and us down the road a bit!

While we were there, I went to three estate sales!! One was a very large 60's ranch home in a very upscale area. Not a lot of vintage treasure, but I did get a large zip-lock bag full of embroidery floss and some lovely wool gabardine fabric.

The next sale was a small sale, family run in a very modest neighborhood. The mother had passed away several years earlier and the father recently. I got the idea that the two sisters had cleaned out 'the good stuff' when their mother passed. But I found this:

The quilt, not the cat...

It is hand pieced and hand quilted. It has a few age spots, but no damage to the fabric.

It was not marked, so I asked the price. When she said 'five dollars', I tucked it under my arm! I also picked up some flour sacks and vintage greeting cards and The Mister bought two oil filters for the Fairlane. I think perhaps this one will be my 'trial' quilt before I try to get the spots out of the tragic quilt.

I found this at the third sale!

It is also hand pieced and hand quilted! It is in very good condition. The fabric seems very sturdy and most of the colors are very bright.

It was not a 'steal' like the purple quilt, but I thought it was a very good buy at $75!

The last leg of our trip included a stop at Dearest Sister's house for an evening and overnight.

We also had the pleasure of visiting with the Grandbebe girl and her mama! Her mama has a new hair cut which makes her look very chic and modern. Here, she shows it off with her wonderful smile!

DS and Grandbebe Girl's mama

One of the last highlights of the trip was going to one of the last places that sell a chocolate and vanilla twist cone - accompanied by a two year old for entertainment!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The last seasonal food...

This is what I had for lunch, today! Not with my lunch, it was my lunch -
Rainier Cherries!

When I met The Mister, he was ‘in the produce business’. Not in the grocery store; he ran the operations in the warehouse that received truck loads of produce from the fields of Colorado (corn and peaches), Arkansas (peaches), Texas (watermelon, grapefruit), California (crops too numerous to mention) and other places, depending on the season.

He introduced me to Rainier Cherries. He discovered them when he worked in produce houses in the beautiful state of Washington. I discovered them the first summer we knew each other, when he brought home a case of ‘Rainiers’ from work one July day. A case holds 16 pounds. I think we ate the whole case in about a week.

The next week, we ate another case…

Rainier cherries are the last seasonal food (in my world, anyway...). Of course, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables are better if purchased locally 'in season', but I do not know of any other food that is available for such a short time. I have had them from Chile in May (for Mother’s day?) and once for a week in June, we had California grown 'Raniers'. Neither region produces the huge sweet yellow and pink cherries like the ones grown in Washington.

The Mister and I honeymooned the first week of August in 1999. We ate the last of that season’s Raniers while boating around the Lake of the Ozarks. Every year as soon as the first cherries come into the grocery store, I start eating them by the handful. Even though the price often ‘shocks’ the checker at the grocery stores, (at first, the newer ones always ask, “you know these are more than the red ones, right?”), I buy them two or three pounds at a time.

My only hope is to eat until I am sick of them so that I can make it through the next 10 ½ months until the next Rainier cherry season!

It is a sad dependency, but I have no choice…