Friday, October 30, 2009

Blogtober 30 - Hep Cats & Super Hep Cats

Today is my last 'official' Blogtoberfest post, so I will wish everyone a Happy Halloween, or, as we say in Nevada, Happy Nevada Day! Officially, Nevada Day is the last Friday in October, but Nevada Day Parade Day is the Saturday following. Are you following? No? Well then, lets move on...

The Mister and I will be traveling to tiny Beatty, NV for the Beatty Nevada Day celebration, which does include a Halloween element, in that there will be re-enactments of gun fights and old west carryings on (dressing up!).

We have entered the Isetta in the parade, so I hope it will start and that I am not too nervous to drive it in front of a bunch of strangers! There will also be a car show (we are entered in that, as well) and the children of the town have been encouraged to come to the car show and 'trunk or treat' (candy!) I hope I have only good things to report about it, next week, and no driving mis-haps or embarrassments!

But back to today...

I thought I should post something Halloween related, or October related, but I couldn't think of anything.

So, I bring you the Hep Cat Collection from Aunt Martha!

Group A - Hep Cat Designs
I found these at an estate sale some years ago. The owner of the estate had collected many, many transfers and many were unused, but the sale manager had priced them at $3 each, so I had to be a little choosy.

Group B - Hep Cat Designs
Most times, when I come across vintage transfers, I usually have either seen the transfer, before, or, see something embellished with the motif.

Super Hep Cat Designs!
But I had never seen these designs before, and I haven't since. The transfers in the packages are unused, so maybe it wasn't very 'hep' even when they were issued! Some of the slogans seem pretty ... well, awful! I can't imagine anyone wearing a jacket that says "Short, fat and funny", or "Worm lets squirm".

Groups A & B are older, they are marked "The Colonial Company" on the back. The 'Super' designs are marked "Aunt Martha". I think the red, white and blue packaging was used during WWII, (the V for Victory Kitties usually are in the those colors)

And, I guess, in 70 years, some of the designs that seem very 'fun' today might seem pretty lame!

Dearest Sister will be wrapping up our tag-team Blogtoberfest tomorrow, but check back on Sunday to see if you are a winner in the giveaway!

And More!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blogtober 28- Inspiration from "Inspirations"

Last weekend, I made a new discovery at one of the local thrift stores. I always look for books on crafting, knitting, design, etc and I found some magazines that had previously escaped my awareness.

“Inspirations” is published in Australia and is dedicated to embroidery! I never knew there was such a thing!

Of course, I don’t browse the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble, or even at JoAnn for that matter. Magazines are usually deceptively expensive. For the price of two or three, I can buy a book (especially, with a half-off coupon!) that has far more lasting appeal.

And, of course, there is the ‘I am sure someone would enjoy these, I hate to throw them away’ dilemma. That same dilemma resulted in many, many National Geographic Magazines from twenty years previous living in my basement. When we moved to the desert, I finally disposed of them through Freecycle. It took awhile to find someone who was willing to take them, though…

But, back to my discovery –

These magazines are beautiful! The cover price (2001 issues) is about $10 AU, so I would not even have been tempted at full price, but my, they are full of pretty things. And full sized patterns on very heavy paper in the ‘centre’. And, step by step directions for the most interesting looking stitches! I love the ‘drizzle stitch’ just for the name alone.

This cutey-pie little snail shell is done in the drizzle stitch. The body is one long bullion knot - another new term for me, but a very cool looking stitch!

These daffodils around the cuff of a white cotton sweater are amazing! The petals are stitched in thin air! Magic!

There are several projects that are just too much ‘project’ for me. ‘Painting with thread’ is one technique that is probably better suited to those who can paint with ‘paint’. Plus, silk embroidery thread is recommended and I do not need to move on to another medium while I still have many hundreds of skeins of cotton floss! But so beautiful!

These lilacs (one of my favorite spring flowers!) are on a footstool that took three years to complete. Not continuously stitching for three years, (and I have, myself, taken three years on a couple of dish towels that I laid down ‘in progress’), but I think I would get tired of a project that … impressive!

There are even full sized patterns for making garments to embellish with embroidery!

I can hardly wait to try that snail on a onesie, or maybe a hankie, or a tablecloth, or... something!

(If you haven't already, be sure to hop over to Needles of Iron and get in on Dearest Sister's fab giveaway. Put your name in the hat here, for a bundle of feedsack fabric!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blogtober 26 - The Homestretch & Giveaway!

One week from today, marks the beginning of the "Christmas Season", after which, all planning, shopping, baking, crafting and creating focuses on the end of the year holiday.

This week, though, we come down the homestretch of Halloween! And Blogtoberfest! And I have a banner photo!

This house was a few blocks away from us when we lived in Kansas. Every year the artists that lived there created dozens of carved pumpkins. Giant pumpkins! They began working on them in the week before Halloween and if the weather was cooperative, they would last part of a week beyond Halloween. A lot of work for such a short-lived (and ultimately messy), result!

The pumpkins lined the driveway, the front of the house and were strategically placed around the large corner yard. One year, there was an article in the paper that told the story of how they started with just a few from a friend's pumpkin patch, and it grew each year.

Elaborate Christmas displays are not uncommon, of course, but this is the only Halloween display that I have seen that so many people enjoyed. I don't know if they have kept it up since we have moved, but it will always be one of my best Halloween memories! (the banner photo is more pumpkins from the same yard, as I am sure you guessed...)

This week, Dearest Sister shared some of her historical costume history, as well as our practice of making sure we 'get our money's worth' from specialty garments.

Here is Ms. A (in the reenactor costume), as Jessie Benton Fremont, in a fifth or sixth grade 'Heroes' program. Ms Fremont was the daughter of Thomas Hart Benton and wife of John C. Fremont the explorer. Along with her husband she had many adventures in The West.

Luckily, Jessie lived in the 'Civil War Era' and DS lived in the 'Civil War Area', so the costume was perfect! Ms. A had to practice sitting, though, so as not to be embarrassed by the hoop popping up!

And the hoop was not just an undergarment ... also serves nicely as a hiding place for small girls!


By now, and especially after DS's buildup (did she say glory?), you are expecting a reveal of great importance and excitement, I am sure.

Well, I cannot lift the veil completely - but, as promised, DS and I have put together a little End of Blogtober Giveaway! (And more buildup and hinting at something more to come...)

Okay, here is the deal, or my part of the deal, anyway. To commemorate this co-blogging adventure, we are having a giveaway. I am giving away this little bundle of feedsack fabric. It is four 'fat eighths' (9"x18" pieces), one each of the four prints in the photo. She is giving away...something fabulous! Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing for the fabric. Leave a comment on her post, tomorrow, to be entered to win...something.

Comments close at midnight (cue eerie music) on Halloween! Winners 'and more' will be announced on November 1st.

Check in with DS tomorrow for more information! And Glory!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blogtober 24 - Take a trip through time and fashion

The guest blogger strikes again! I will now refer to myself as a serial blogger. A blogger without a blog.

I am not certain what I am referred to on either site (moms blog: ironneedles, or aunt’s: this blog) but I am pretty sure it is ‘favorite’ daughter/niece. And I am NOT the one in the picture recently posted on ironneedles, posted without the permission of the subject. But I digress.

A couple of years ago, an exhibit of the dresses of the 1st ladies came through my area and I was so pumped. I think mostly they display dresses worn to the inaugural events for their husbands. Alas, I could not convince anyone to go with me, even my man-friend. So it came and went. A little while later I get a package in the mail. My aunt-just-a-mere had found pictures from a similar exhibit passing through Kansas City some years ago. This exhibit displayed 4ft mannequins wearing hand-sewn versions of the 1st lady fashion. My grandmother worked at the host site and she took so many great pictures of these replicas. I do not know whom she went with or if it was her idea to go. Once I was old enough to hang with her, her hobby was pulling weeds so this was really a cool thing to see something from her view that didn’t involve heat stroke. :)

On the back of each picture is a number and a name of the original ‘wear-ee’ of the dress in the photo, number and name different ink. I imagine she took the picture, wrote the number down on a paper along with the name on the display, and then - when the pictures were developed - she sat down and wrote the numbers first, then went back to write the names. Here are some of my favorites.

Since then I have practiced my skill of talking the man-friend into going places with me that are less than ‘manly’.
Evidence: Flower Show 2009

He is desperately hoping momma-ironneedles and aunt-just-a-mere will come out for Flower Show 2010!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blogtober 22 - Costume Redux Update

Dearest Sister sent this photo to me today. It is the first version of the formal.

This is Sister V ready for 'Prom in Texas' (according to the note on the back of the photo). She wore the formal off the shoulder and had room for an additional rosette in the center front of the neckline. And, she accessorized with a tulle wrap, instead of a parasol.

The more I think about it, it kind of makes sense to re-cut the dress. At least it got lots of use. Consider all the prom and bride's maid dresses in the world that just get one wearing. This dress was worn 'regularly' for 40 years. And I think it has another Halloween or two in it, yet!

Announcement! I am excited that DS's blog hi-jacker has graciously offered to guest blog for me on Saturday. She is a crafty girl with lots of good ideas, so I can't wait to see what she has to share! I will not be loafing, though. I am working on our super secret sister project (reveal date - TBA!)

Blogtober 22 - Costume Redux

I think I have mentioned (and Dearest Sister has, more than once...) that my mother was an extraordinary seamstress. She could make anything from nothing. She could duplicate a garment by making brown paper sack patterns that she could alter for a perfect fit. She made all the 'special occasion' dresses (and the ordinary occasion ones) when DS and I were little, and for my older sisters until they could sew for themselves.

She made this dress...

...but not for me, originally.

It was a formal for sister V when she was in high school. Later, Mama reduced it for me to wear when I was five or six. It is not a dress made from the fabric of the previous garment. It is the same dress, altered from a misses size 8 or so, to fit a five year old! The exact same dress, down to the details of the rosettes in the net skirt!

It wasn't strictly a Halloween costume, but it was for dress up. (I really didn't have any formal occasions at age five!) I never asked her about what made her decide to do it. I believe DS had a similar 'formal'. I guess Mama just thought it would be fun for little girls to have a really cool dress up dresses!

This is Ms A in the dress, 25 years later, age four. Of course, it is all about the accessories with Ms A! The hat and wand are from the renaissance festival and the gloves and jewelry were from my early days of vintage collecting.

Halloween the year that she wore the dress, was a very cold and misty evening, temps were probably in the 40's. She went out wrapped in a warm shawl, but just before ringing the bell and announcing 'trick or treat', the shawl would be handed over for me to hold, so that no one would be denied seeing the effect of the whole ensemble!

When I was in elementary school, I always wanted (and never got) a store bought costume from the dime store. They always 'looked like' something. I wanted a plastic face mask - (the see-thru kind that looked so creepy!) I always envied the kids who got to trick or treat as the latest 'character'. But I doubt that many of those costumes survived for future generations!

(of course, if they had, they would be worth a lot of money on eBay...)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogtober 20 - Vintage WIPs (and whining!)

Well! If you saw Dearest Sister's Blog, then I don't have to tell you she is a clever girl! (...cheater!)

Instead of settling on a topic for today, I spent all day, yesterday, trying to figure out how I could get a 'guest blogger' to spell me for a day. Yes, I know she had a long weekend and that is a challenge. I know, because I had a long weekend at the beginning of Blogtober. And I had to keep my part of the plan by my self!

Okay, I am just jealous.

And, since I wasted all day thinking ,"no fair, no fair!" I had a bad case of blog-block!

I decided that I would spend some time in my 'room where no sewing occurs', to see if I could find some inspiration. ( I have decided to call this room 'my studio'. Ms A told me that 'studio' means 'always in progress' and it definitely is 'a work in progress')

I spent some time admiring some fabric bargains that I picked up at Joann's Moonlight Madness sale (half off of red-tag clearance. I got some lovely fabrics for $2 and $3 a yard!) And I re-discovered some vintage fabrics that I had forgotten about.

I came across the 1921 Kansas Driving Laws booklet, and thought of sharing some fun facts from it, but it turned out to be 20 pages of license, fees and fines for not paying your license and fees, and 3 pages of 'rules'. (1.Speed Limit 40 mph, 2. Automobile operators must assist travelers with horses, if requested and 3. When two cars are going the same way, the car in front must pull to the right and the car in the rear should pass by pulling around to the left)

Then I came across a small basket with some vintage works-in-progress and decided to share them instead!

This lovely girl and her Airedale are an unfinished pillow front. It is number 7233 Pillow from "Idleart". It is also marked "Molter-Reinhard Co." It is on yellow organza, which has the disadvantage of showing the 'tails' of the floss through the sheer fabric. It is 'in progress' both because it has not been sewn into a pillow, and because the stitching is not complete. I love the seams on the stockings!

I think the face is very expressive, but the tails are a problem. Maybe that it why it was never finished... I am guessing it is from the 20's or the 30's.

I think this piece is interesting because it has a motif printed on the flour sack, but you have to do the stitching before washing the sack, or the stamping will be removed!

The 'net' and one flower is as far as the stitcher got. I am thinking it is because she (or he) was using rayon floss for the flower. I tried rayon floss once and I found it to be the most frustrating material invented!

The 'tea towel' suggests that it is a project 'to occupy little fingers'. It is hard to believe that the bright colors of ink would wash away from feed and flour sacks! It is a very fine, smooth cotton, more of a percale that what I think of as flour sacking. It is labeled 'cambric cloth' on the front of the bag.

I am sure that Dearest Sister will have lots to share, tomorrow, after she rests up from her vacation! (I must go try to wash the snarkiness from my mouth, now...)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blogtober 18 - Halloween Flashbacks

The Mister has very fond memories of Halloween. When Lovely C was very small, The Mister and his best friend Bill would take C and Bill's kids around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. It was a grand tradition, and both men missed it greatly when the children were too old to have dads tagging along.

Years later, when his second daughter 'Feather' had children, The Mister seized the opportunity to revive the tradition.

When L was three and H was 6 months, he invited Feather to bring the kids to our house to celebrate. At the time they lived about an hour and a half away, so they came for the weekend. We all set out at dusk, L was in her Sheriff Barbie get-up and H was in the stroller, dressed as a dinosaur or caterpillar or 'something green.'

It was a bit misty out, and Feather and The Mister were rigging up some way to keep the rain out of the stroller, so L and I went up the walk to the first house. We ran the bell and when the door opened, I prompted L to say, "trick-or-treat" as had been practiced. What had not been practiced was the getting candy part. The neighbor lady admired the costume and put two fun size candy bars in L's bag, said "Happy Halloween" and closed the door. As we turned to leave the porch, L looked up at me with big round eyes and proclaimed, "I love you, Grandma!"

And without shame, I let her keep the impression that somehow, I was responsible for Halloween!

(Happy Birthday, L!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winners! We have winners!

Selected impartially by my dear friend, the Random Integer Generator, the winners of the Blogaversary Giveaway are as follows:

Kate, you win the Stitch-it Kit. There are some great designs to get you started!

Allie, you win the stamped towel cross stitch kit, and Lynne, the Sesame Street kit is yours!

Thanks again to everyone for reading, commenting, and encouraging over the past 12 months and 140 posts!

And, don’t forget the fabulous, as yet undisclosed, giveaway at the end of Blogtober!

Blogtober 16 - Sometimes I get greedy...

The Mister does not understand my love of textiles. For a long time, he thought that having a ‘fabric stash’ was some sort of personality disorder, benign for the most part, and rare.

Little by little, though, he has come to accept that it is not particular to just me and a few other ‘eccentrics’. And, though he doesn’t understand the attraction, he knows that it brings me joy when I find a great bargain on fabrics. So, he keeps an eye open for opportunities.

The other day, he saw a classified ad in the paper and clipped it out for me. The ad began “Quilting, complete supplies, Singer Sewing machine, best fabrics. $2600 worth, All must go...$600 cash” I thought to myself that was a lot of money, but…what if it was a Featherweight and a fabulous stash! I put the advert in my pocket intending to call a bit later in the morning, and promptly forgot all about it, until he asked about it when I got home from work. By then, the tiny clipping was long lost, so I looked it up in the on-line classifieds and called both numbers and left a message, assuming that someone else probably had already snapped up the prize.

To my delight, I received a return call from ‘Estelle’ a bit later. After exchanging pleasantries, the call went something like this:

Me: Can you tell me about the sewing machine?

Estelle (in an Elaine Stritch voice): No


Me: Is it a newer machine?

Estelle: Honey, I don’t know old from new!

(kind of odd... but maybe that means there is vintage fabric!)

Me: The ad mentioned fabric, can you tell me about how much fabric you have?

Estelle: Oh honey, you can’t imagine! A closet full, and it is all top shelf stuff!

(ooooh, my heart skipped a beat!)

Me: It sounds like something I might be interested in, would it be convenient for me to come and look at it?

Estelle: Oh no – I’m not home.

(silent pause)

Me: What might be a good time?

Estelle: How about Saturday?

(Saturday! I can’t wait for Saturday! The suspense would kill me!)

Me: We might be going out of town on Saturday. (which is really true) Is there another time that would be convenient?

Estelle: Well, I am pretty busy!


Me: Is there any day this week that might work?

Estelle: I am busy all day Thursday and I bowl on Friday.

Me: Would tomorrow work?

Estelle: Maybe. I am busy from 10 to noon.

Me: Would the afternoon work for you?

Estelle: Maybe give me a call tomorrow and I’ll let you know!

Anyway, after all that, I played hooky from work for a couple of hours (now I probably will have a filling fall out!) and met her at her house.

Estelle, who wears her hair bright red, and her eye shadow bright blue told me she is 80 years old and has moved to an apartment. She is selling her lovely home (it really was!) and planned to move to a one story home in a very upscale ‘over 55’ development. (Trust me, she needs to live somewhere with no stairs!) She met me at the door and after introductions, she asked me if I wanted to buy any furniture. I told her that I really didn't need, or have room for any furniture.

She led me from room to room in the house.

As we entered each room (slowly, as Estelle does not walk with any urgency or spring to her step) I thought to myself “this must be the sewing room”. But, no.

We would walk in the room and Estelle would say, “You don’t want to buy any antique chairs? Expensive wall art? China figurines? Day bed linens? Curtains?”

Until the eighth room. A small bedroom upstairs, with a 20 year old sewing machine and a small fiberboard door chest with maybe 20 or 30 yards of fabric, a few fat quarter packs and some small packages of batting scattered about.


I told her that I really didn’t need the machine and would she consider a separate price for just the fabric? She said $500? I said would you consider $400 for the fabric and the machine? (I was thinking that maybe the machine might be worth $100 and maybe there was more fabric in the cabinet than my estimation, and it wouldn’t be the first time that I had overpaid for something and it all comes out in the wash, after all, right?)

Estelle’s reply – “I would rather give it to the trash man!”

Well, then!

I told her that I certainly didn’t mean to insult her and that I understood that the fabric had undoubtedly cost $10 a yard (probably in the early 90's) and that she would like to get that much out of it, but it wasn't something that I felt I could pay that much for. I wished her a good day, scampered down the stairs and out to my car.

Disappointed, I drove back to work.

The upside? I went home with the money that I had taken with me, in case it was a fabric jackpot.

And, as Dearest Sister pointed out, she wasn’t an axe murderer!

I should know by now, most things in Las Vegas turn out to be too good to be true!

(I will announce the winners of the Blogaversary give-away later today! Thanks to everyone for playing along!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blogtober 14 - Wake Up and Color!

Now, that is not a phrase that I ever heard, growing up. I generally heard "wake up and get a move on", but that is because I was (am) a very hard to wake up, sleepy-head.

Dearest Sister often got the job of getting me out of bed, especially as we got older. I remember insisting that I needed a warm washcloth to wipe the sleep out of my eyes in order to awaken properly. It is a wonder she tolerated my ridiculousness...

This little coloring book is one of twelve(!) that I bought on ebay some time back. The auction was for six of the 12 page books and the price was low. I paid at auction's end and waited. And waited.

After a couple of weeks, I contacted the seller to see when the books had been shipped and the seller was embarrassed to find that they hadn't been. So, to make up for the delay, she sent me 12 (!) instead of six. I didn't really need six, and I sure didn't need 12, but they are fun little books! I think they must have been promotional give-aways. They are just five inches wide by seven inches tall.

This is the cover which, as usual, has nothing to do with the pictures inside the pages.

Some of the pictures are delightfully odd pairings of animals with....stuff!

This is one of my favorites, but the scale fascinates me. Can you imagine an old fashioned telephone AS BIG AS AN ELEPHANTS HEAD!?! I know, I know, it is artistic license, but still... and that ribbon on her trunk and flower behind the ear and coquettish point of the toes...I am thinking she is talking to her boyfriend! Should children be coloring that?

This one I call "Pig with Tambourine" (and looooong curly tail!) Very light on her (?) feet, though!

My favorite, "Cat with Violin". Who doesn't love a cat at a hoe-down? Or he could be playing classical, it's all good...

Anyway, you can see the rest of the pages in my flikr set here.

I reduced the originals by about half and I think I might try one or two of them as embroidery designs on a larger sized onesie - maybe a twelve or eighteen month size.

But, I have other projects that are in line already and xmas is around the corner. I have just two months for gifts that need to be shipped!


(Tomorrow is the official one year mark for me! If you haven't yet, go here to leave a comment to be entered in the celebratory give-away! Winners will be announced on Friday!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blogtober 12 - PADD (Project Attention Deficit Disorder)

I appreciate all the nice comments about my one year blogaversary! If you haven't yet, go here to leave a comment to be entered in the celebratory give-away!

This is a project that I finished up this weekend. The pattern is from Andrea Zuill at Badbird I really like her designs, kind of quirky and very fun. She offers lots of free embroidery patterns and has an Etsy shop full of goodies.

I used an "Aunt Martha's" towel and some vintage variegated floss. I used two strands, because I only had one skein of the floss and I wanted to be sure I had enough to finish. The stripes on the towel don't quite match the reds in the floss, but they are closer than the photo appears.

I tried to make it symmetrical (mostly) which required a bit more planning with the variegated floss, but I like how it turned out.

I realized when I was gathering up projects to take with me to California last weekend that I had a lot of things started! I had three dishcloths started - two were the same color - and one nylon scrubbie (finished on the road). I was working on this project and the bib project, and three different onesies!

And, I have three new books of projects that I am itching to start on for some holiday gifts (no details on those, natch!)

It helps when I go back through my photos to see that I have gotten some things finished, because it sure seems like I have a lot of irons in the fire, and not much to show!

I have seen some lovely photos posted in the last few days as folks are enjoying the fall weather. Dearest Sister had snow today. I hung some laundry in the back yard and just brought in the last of it. Without wearing shoes. (Not to gloat, you understand, but this time of year is really lovely in the desert!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogtober 10 - Fabulous Blogtober-versary Giveaway!

(Not to be confused with the Super Special Tag-Team Marathon Blogtober Give-away at the end of the month! This is just a warm-up!)

I can't believe that it has been almost one year since I started this blog! (And day 10 of Blogtober!) I think my first motivation to blog was just to participate. I felt like I was looking in the window at a great party and I wanted to join the fun and the conversations. I have really enjoyed becoming a part of the community!

Over the months, I have met some wonderful people who have been very generous with their knowledge and encouragement, and I hope that I have been able to help someone along the way, as well.

I have learned so much and gotten so many ideas from other blogs. I have also sharpened skills that I already had by working on projects that have been inspired by what I have seen.

I wanted to commemorate the milestone appropriately and have given it much thought over the past weeks - (especially since I intended to mark my 100th post and didn't get it done!)
I think that I have come up with some things that you will enjoy!

To be entered in the 'drawing' just leave a comment on this post between now and October 15th (the one year mark!) I love discovering new blogs that inspire me, so in your comment, tell me one or two blogs that inspire you.

If you want to.

If you don't want to, you don't have to. You can still be entered to win!

I will draw names to select three winners.

The first winner will receive a fabulous Stitch-it Kit by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I discovered Jenny's designs while shopping with Ms A at a tiny shop in Kansas City called "Spool" many years ago. Those designs were the impetus for me to pick up a needle and hoop after a break of about 20 years!

This kit has everything you need to get started doing embroidery. If you are an experienced stitcher, you will enjoy the 35 original Jenny Hart design transfers that are included, along with 7 skeins of floss and two tea towels to embroider. The tea towels are a smooth weave, sort of like percale, so they would also be great as a dresser scarf or small table topper.

There is also an adjustable hoop and a book of instructions. There is even a needle included in the kit! If you already have all these things you can re-gift it to someone else!

The second winner will receive a pair of stamped tea towels with green border stripes with floss to embroider cookies and milk for Santa. If you don't have little ones, or don't celebrate Christmas, you can wash out the stamping and use the towels for any design.
Or none - just use them as towels or wash the car with them!

The third winner will receive a vintage Vogart Sesame Street sampler kit from 1980. Featuring the Muppets in costumes from the Renaissance!
The design suggests birth announcement statistics, but the banner is blank, so any occasion could be recognized, or just add a name! I will include 12 skeins of floss from my stash in the colors listed on the package, as well.
So, again, you can stitch the sampler, or use the floss for whatever you want!
Leave a comment on this post to be a contenda'. (I challenge you to de-lurk, if you have never commented - you have a pretty good chance at winning, you know!) I will announce the winners on Friday, the 16th! - Because the 16th is an even number Blogtober day!

I really appreciate your comments and encouragement and I thank you for your love and friendship!

And thank you, Dearest Sister, for mentoring me in this adventure! (And for sharing all your mad skilz with me!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blogtober 8 - Fabric Souvenirs ('cause you can never have too much fabric!)

Besides my vintage 'souvenirs', I also bought some fabric while we were in California last weekend. Bishop has a Ben Franklin and I love the vintage-y displays and the different colors and varieties of goods. They carry Sublime Stitching embroidery transfers and their floss is displayed on a big round freestanding rack that spins. I love shopping in stores that do not have a 'corporate' feel!

Upstairs at Ben Franklin, they have a warren of about 5 small rooms with quilting supplies and fabric. My plan was to buy a small stack of fat quarters, or a charm pack. Well, there were a few quarter yard remnants (why do quilt shops get to sell remnants at full price?), but no fat quarter assortments.

So, I had to make my own assortment.

I decided on these bright prints. I think these are the base prints and the main design prints involved roosters, which I am not so crazy about. I decided on half yard cuts, so I had to stop at four, so as not to get carried away and spend more than I should!

After we got home, I had some errands to run and stopped in at a Goodwill store for a quick look-see.
I found these in the kitchen linens section.

They are brand new and 17" square, so close to the equivalent of a yard of 36" fabric for 99 cents! A few weeks ago, I read a post (don't remember where - sorry!) about sources of 'free' fabric. The idea is to look around and find fabric to re-purpose from clothes, linens etc. I have often bought blank cloth napkins for embellishing, but I never really thought about napkins as fabric. And, of course, they weren't free, but pretty close to free!

I am sure, by now, someone is saying to themselves, but does she do anything with all that fabric? The answer, sadly, is no. But she will -someday!

Or as Ms A says, it will be one hell of an estate sale when I am gone!

P.S. Dearest Sister, perhaps I will make some clothes for your Barbie! I think she needs something lighter for summer!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blogtober 6 - 'New' Vintage Embroidery

One day this past week, my Dearest Sister at Iron Needles mentioned buying books at the used book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Library. She indulged herself as her reward for getting through a tough week. (but she would have gone to celebrate an easy week, if the circumstance was different!) She reads voraciously, as evidenced by the list on her side bar.

Sometimes I buy books, but I don't read as much as I have in the past. I just don't have the discipline to put down a good book! I stay up too late, and read when I should be doing other things, until I am finished!

So, my 'reward' is to browse thrift stores!

This past weekend, The Mister and I made our third annual trip to Bishop, California for the "Fall Colors" car show. It is a lovely place and we enjoy getting together with friends from southern California as well as northern California. This year, we met the group from So-Cal in Mohave, CA and traveled together the rest of the way.

The Mr and I were up and on the road earlier than planned, so we got to Mohave with about 45 minutes to spare. Mohave is one of those places that has withered after the interstate bypassed, so there is not much to 'amuse', but as we drove in, I saw a little thrift store that looked a little 'dodgy' from the outside, but I found some wonderful treasures on the inside!

This piece is about twelve inches across at the widest part. The base fabric is sheer and creamy white colored. It is unfinished, but I believe it was probably meant to be the front of a boudoir pillow.

I think the face is just beautiful!

The skirt is made of layers of lace edging, that I think was 're-purposed'. I didn't have an iron with me to press the bow, so it is still creased from years of being folded.

The butterfly wings are tinted, as well as the girl's hair and blouse.

I am thinking she is from the thirties, maybe, from the style and the colors.

I got several other pieces by the same stitcher, I am sure. All are unfinished, except for the embroidery. And they are all beautiful. And a little sad, too, I think.

All that beautiful work folded away to eventually wind up as a donation to a thrift store. But I was thrilled to get it, so my regrets on behalf of the woman who stitched them so many years ago, is brief!

Along with the car show, the Railroad Museum in Bishop hosts their annual 'swap meet', also at the fair grounds.

I picked up a few things that were fun, but this was the coup de grace!

I have mentioned more than once, that I already have enough floss to last several lifetimes. This is probably enough for part of another!

I just hope that if any of my embroidery work ends up at a thrift store in 60 or 70 years, someone like me will come along and give it a good home!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blogtober 4 - Eyes On The Prize

The other day, when I mentioned DS's 'prize closet', I was reminded of the halcyon days when we lived in towns a few hours apart and could get together every weekend all summer long, if we planned it right.

At that time, she worked in various laboratorial positions, the details of which I have a flimsy grasp. It seemed like they always involved 'testing' of some sort. With 'instruments' - not 'machines'.

Sometimes the testing required 'products' of which there was no further use, after the testing was done. And the products sometimes were available for a second life - after the role as test subject was finished- as whatever it was manufactured for.

And that, my friends, is how everyone in the family had, what seemed then, a lifetime supply of VICL!

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion - always with numbers and dates written on them with sharpie marker, but oh so emollient!

Then, in a later assignment, I recall pre-cooked bacon...

Unfortunately, those days are long gone - well, fortunately in some ways - but the days of her well-stocked guest room closet of skin care products are behind us. Now we have to pay retail!

But I digress.

This is a little sneak peak of my bib replica. I decided to start with the hard part and get it out of the way! I have never been very successful at satin stitch, but after reading instructions in some of my dozens of needlecraft books (also a staple at most estate sales that I can't leave behind) It was not so hard! Wow, instructions! Who would have thunk it?

I have to get busy and finish the rest, because everytime I look at it, that awful synthesizer tune from the GEICO commercial gets stuck in my head!

Somebody's watching yooooou!

(Dearest Sister, I am sorry you don't remember the prize closet! It took years before I could buy toothpaste without pining for the days of that kind with the two compartments, whose name I can't recall...)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blogtober 2 - Vintage Embroidery

I am first at bat for Blogtober! My job is posting on the even numbered days, at least until we get to the end and reveal our triple fantastic giveaway. There, now I have committed us to thinking up something fabulous... DS, if you are reading, (and you'd better be!) do you have anything good in the prize closet?

And now back to our regular programming -

Some months back, Martha at Q is for Quilter shared some images from a 1948 pattern book. One of those patterns reminded me of this -

I got this bib, along with this one... a garage sale. I had asked (as I always do), “do you have any hankies or linens?” And the lady said that she did, but hadn’t brought them out, yet. She went inside and brought out a beautiful vintage Xmas table cloth, the bibs…

I put the clothes pin in the pocket for scale. ( I tried to get one of the kitties to model it for proportion, but they couldn't be bothered. In fact, they seemed insulted!) I love how the waistband is contoured!

...and this teeny apron!

I asked her what she was asking and she said “how about two dollars?” I agreed to her price (of course!) and took the lot.

The bibs and apron were put in a special place. I say special, because I couldn’t find them for a couple of years! I did find them a few evenings ago, under a group of napkins and place mats in the buffet drawers.

The embroidery work on the bibs is really amazing!

Look at the satin stitch on this face!

And this one!

The bibs are in relatively good condition, although the camera highlighted a bit of staining that I hadn't noticed (The flash never lies!), so I am going to make a copy!

I am using a dishtowel from a partial set that came to me in an auction. They were painted with the Aunt Martha 'Jungle Babies' days of the week -(which I think is awful - I know, from another time, but still...)

I had already cut off the painted part, but I saved the rest of the toweling for a future project - which is now! I will line it with some very soft flannel, I think.

I hope I can find a drooly baby (or two) that needs a bib!

Tune in tomorrow at Iron Needles for Blogtober 3rd!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


At this time last year, I was on the brink of having a blog of my own. I had thought and thought about it and had just about gotten up the nerve to do it!

My fear was that no one would be interested in what I have to say. It wouldn’t be so bad if no one read what I wrote. The worst thing would be to have visitors, but no repeat visitors!

So, during the weeks leading up to ‘taking the plunge’, I kept thinking about what I would write if I had a blog. Many of the bloggers that I was reading regularly, participated in “Blogtoberfest” – writing everyday for a month. At the time, it didn’t seem all that difficult, what with my pent up posting mojo fermenting in my brain, but now, I see that it is quite a challenge!

This October, I find myself with almost a year of blogging behind me, a record of posting with less frequency than some, and not really concerned about it! I post when I have something to contribute that I think might be interesting and sometimes that is not so often!

In the spirit of Blogtoberfest, though, I am teaming up with Dearest Sister at Iron Needles to do a ‘tag-team blogtoberfest’. That is to say that between us, we are going to accept the challenge to post everyday.

It won’t be such a stretch for her. She often posts every other day (or more often!) but lately, she has been distracted by other events and has fallen to, oh, say, three times a week. Me, I think my average is about every third day (or fourth!) The benefit to me will be a bit of emphasis on organization and planning, as well as procrastination avoidance. The benefit to DS is that she will likely look like a superstar compared to my efforts.

And the benefit to anyone that ‘plays along’ (that is, reads from time to time) will be a giant, fantastic, fabulous tag team giveaway at the end of the month! So come along and see what happens!

It’s Blogtoberfest! (cue: oom-pah-pah!)