Monday, November 30, 2009

"20 Pages of Nostalgia"

Putting up the Christmas Tree during the Thanksgiving Weekend has been a tradition at our house, since The Mister and I were married. Previously, Ms A and I might get it put up that weekend, or the next, but the Mister is always anxious to put up the tree. He loves everything about Christmas!

Since we were having guests the week of Thanksgiving, we put up the tree before the holiday, this year.

As I have mentioned, I have begun thinking a bit 'down the road' and have been going through some of the boxes of 'stuff' that accompanied us to the desert. On Sunday, I decided to go through a box that I had come across in the storage shed, while I was getting out the Christmas things. It was a box of craft magazines that Ms A had collected at various estate sales over the years.

Look what I pulled out!

McCall's Needlework and Crafts from '69-'70.

With 20 pages of 'Nostalgia'.

Martha at Q is for Quilter was nostalgic about this project a few weeks ago! (The Victorian house, not the dog...) You can see her original 1970's version here.

This is the 'un-creased' photo from the inside pages. (You can find the instructions here.)

The 'Nostalgia' mentioned on the cover referred to a section of projects taken from earlier McCall's publications, from the '20's through the '50's.

I have book-marked a few pages - some pin cushions, quilt patterns and some crewel designs that I think might translate well to embroidery.

One down and 20 or 30 more magazines to go!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bloggery Love!

Last week, Kate, at High Altitude Gardening honored Dearest Sister and I with a Blog award!

I know that many of you have received blog awards for various aspects of blogging or crafting, or designing and so forth. You may be jaded and used to the honor. But not me! I am thrilled! Thanks, Kate!

Dearest Sister gardens in high altitudes - the high desert, as opposed to the low desert, where I am... She found Kate's blog long before I even 'knew' about blogs. Last summer when babies were being born right and left, in our family, DS and I were in Salt Lake City to meet the newest and we met up with Kate and another blog friend, Wunx.

We had a delightful 3 hour breakfast, talking non-stop! They are both really fun and funny women and we really enjoyed the meet-up!

Since Kate honored the pair of us, DS and I decided that we would pass along the award love, jointly, as well! The award 'rules' say that we should pass it along to 15 other blogs that we have recently discovered, but we usually make up our own rules, so these are the blogs and bloggers that we would like to honor: (in no particular order...)

Miss V at Our Growing Family - because we want to encourage neophyte bloggers with content that is precious to us.

Tish at Big Well Girl - 'cause we go waaaay back to singing together in church in the '60's!

Martha at Q is for Quilter - Martha's projects are the ones I would do, if I had 20 years of quilting experience! Honestly, I think she and I have the same taste in just about everything fiber related!

Allie at Allie-oops Sweet Happy Life - Allie's posts and projects are inspiring, creative and beautiful!

Lynne at “New” Jersey Girl - She has wonderful photography and photography subjects! Dogs and Kitties and Bears, oh my!

Liz at Lizzzknits - a knitter extraordinaire!

ChaCha at Noodleroux - Turns out she lives in the old stomping grounds (that we are anxious to stomp again, in a few years!)

Mary at Snit’nKnit - a knitter blogger from The. Big. City!

C & V at Stick Horse Cowgirls - Friend/Sisters who blog together and are in the middle of mid-life adventure!

If you would like to 'play along', grab the award and nominate 15 (!) of your recent blog discoveries (or however many you want). Please don't feel compelled to participate. We just wanted pass along the love and to say that we consider you all some of the best!

And, thanks again, Kate!

(I am posting this on DS's 'scheduled' day, because if I wait until tomorrow, it would be old news! )

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Taking Care of Old Friends (& New!)

The smalls and their mom have been here for a few day's visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. L always travels with her best friend:

This is 'Meowy'.

Meowy has been her companion for seven and a half of her eight years. He started out as a 'Boyd's Bear' kitty - I don't know his original name, but it was probably something elegant. These days, he only answers to Meowy.

Meowy needed some TLC when he got here. His feet were in shocking condition! His bead stuffing was showing through and was only contained by a thin layer of plastic... something.

And, his chest was almost worn through as well.

L and I went to the stash and picked a couple of fabrics for repair.

We used blue chenille for the feet and wool felt for the chest.

Of course, when there are two smalls, both must feel the love equally, so I was pressed to add 'something to something' for H.

We came up with a McDonald's beanie baby wolf and added a car to his belly. H drew the car pattern. Thankfully, a simple one!

I think tomorrow, we may need to stitch up a jacket and pants for Meowy. I think he needs a bit of protection from the daily wear and tear, if he is to survive the elementary years.

At that point, he will probably be put on a shelf or tucked in a drawer. Still loved, I imagine, but no longer needed to be close at hand...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 'Non-traditions'

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving traditions with loved ones all around!

We do a pretty traditional t-day, turkey and all the trimmings, with whatever family that is in town. Sometimes that is more than a dozen, sometimes closer to a half dozen, but always enjoyed.

Dearest Sister used to be the traditional hostess. We only lived a few hours apart and employment obligations did not allow her family to travel on the holidays. So we traveled to her. She related a story here, of a 'tradition' that arose in that place and time that cracked us all up, every time we did it!

When she left that place, she left two of her girls behind. One to start college and the other to finish her senior year of high school. So the first year of her Colorado residency, two of her girls joined Ms A and me for the holiday!

I asked them what they wanted to have for Thanksgiving and Miss V said, "I'm sure! What else would we have but turkey?" and I, always one to take the challenge said, "We don't have to! We can have crab legs if we want to!" And so crab legs it was!

It was a lovely evening, so after our seafood supper, we went to see the drama of the Country Club Plaza Lighting Ceremony.

This photo shows the plaza from across Brush Creek. The blue light in the background is the 'light steeple' from the Community Christina Church. The church building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed the 'steeple' before the technology was developed for the light. The lights were added in 1994, 52 years after the building was dedicated. (The Luxor Casino in Las Vegas uses the same light technology...)

When Thanksgiving comes with cold weather, the crowd at the lighting ceremony might be 50 or 60 thousand. When the weather is mild, (above 40 degrees), it can be 80 to 100 thousand, and when it is warm (above 60), there are people as far as you can see in every direction.

So, it is necessary to get there early!

Which we did - about two hours early. We parked up Main street and walked several blocks and took up our space near the stage at a light pole. We had a good time talking and laughing and the time passed pretty amiably.

Then the 'ceremony' began. There was a little singing, a little 'pumping up' of the crowd by a radio personality and then the countdown began! Ten, nine, eight...well, you all know how a countdown goes... three, two, one! The switch was flipped and millions of lights came on at once!

I immediately said, "Okay, we are out of here, come on!" And we headed to the car.

They followed me, a bit confused. Did we just wait over two hours to see something for less than 10 seconds? Yes, we did, because the key to enjoying the plaza lights is to not get tied up in traffic! And also, because I knew that our parking space up the hill would give us a better view! It's all part of the 'strategy' - be in the midst of the excitement, then head up the hill for a panorama!

The next day, we did Black Friday shopping. And I posed as their mother so V could get a new piercing in her ear. (I had forgotten that part until V reminded me this summer!)

We all had a great time, and having them with us, made an easier transition of not having 'everyone' together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Farm Journal Christmas Book

This past weekend, while I was out and about, I stopped in at a thrift store, just to poke around, you know. Like all shopping establishments, they were gearing up for Black Friday and had a whole shelf of Christmas books. I picked up a few interesting ones, a couple will be xmas gifts to some small girls in the family.

This one turned out to be a treasure trove of fun ideas and vintage goodness!

The copyright date is 1970, but the content is from The Farm Journal from 1948 through 1968! It is interesting to see the differences in the older photos. I think that between '48 and '68, there were some major technology improvements in magazine color printing. Still, the older ones are very fun to look at.

Some of the projects are very agricultural, making a Christmas tree stand from an old plow disc, for instance...

...and this tumble weed centerpiece!

Some years back, I heard a radio program about a woman and her daughter, from Wyoming, I believe, who had started a mail order business, selling tumbleweeds. Tumbleweeds were apparently very intriguing to folks who do not see them regularly...

This is one of the older projects in the book. The topiary is made from... egg cartons!
I thought this project might be something that I would try. I have picked up several fat quarters of holiday fabric and of course, all the holiday prints will be on clearance in a few weeks. I am thinking this might be the perfect project to practice applique. The detailed instructions in the back of the book suggest not worrying about making the circles perfectly round, as "they are more interesting if they are not perfect"! Sounds like just the thing!

This page of projects illustrates the transition into the '70's. Crazy 'mod' colors and motifs! The purple candle holder is papier mache over paper plates and bowls with a 'Coffemate jar' and a canning lid thrown into the mix. The turquoise 'vase' in the upper left is a barbecue sauce bottle. If you look closely, you can see the plastic forks that make the design around the base.

Lots of fun ideas! I don't really need additional holiday decor at this stage of life, but there are some edible projects and things that might be fun to do with the smalls. Or maybe I will perfect my papier mache technique and make candle holders for everyone next Christmas!

(I think Dearest Sis has been knitting all year towards holiday gifts. She and I are not alike in that way... I may have to shop at AtomicSisters, this year!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Run-ins With the Government

First, I think that the US Postal System is one of the best in the world. Aside from the annoyance of the cost of a first class stamp rising so frequently that I can't even tell you what the cost is. (The Mister always buys the forever stamps, to try to mitigate the irritation of the price increases.) Our system is usually reliable and pretty cheap, when you think about the cost to take a first class letter anywhere in the country. Compared to other country's systems, I think ours is 'first class'!


In the past year, they have been scamming me.

Actually, scamming Dearest Sis

It seems lately (in the past year, anyway) every time I send her a parcel, it is delivered postage due.

Besides the embarrassment of sending something without enough postage, it also means that the delivery is delayed. I suppose the stamping of the front of the envelope or parcel is done by a person who only works certain days?

And the most annoying thing? I used the machine at the post office to tell me how much postage to put on!

Last December, while doing some post holiday sale shopping, I found a 'bubble gum machine' that had tiny trucks and construction equipment. I bought a couple and sent them to DS to use under her tiny beaded tree. Several weeks went by and they did not arrive. Finally, after a month or two, they showed up - postage due!

In the past week or so, she and I have been discussing button choices for the Baby Surprise Jackets that she has been working on. I have a pretty reliable vintage button stash, so she asked if I had any that would be perfect for the BSJ's. I looked through the buttons and picked a couple of styles that looked likely and mailed them off in a padded envelope. I weighed the envelope, which weighed less than 2 ounces and figured the postage from the on-line postage store on the weight of 2 oz.

When they arrived - sure enough, 51 cents postage due!

And, since I had not asked her to describe the colors, just relied on the blog photo, I was looking for the wrong button colors!

So - back to the button stash!

I picked out these.... (push-pin for size comparison)
...and these and sent them to her.

But this time, I made The Mister take them to the counter and have a postal worker put the required postage on the package.

DS confirmed that they arrived today, with no ransom required.

I foiled their scam by making one of their own deal with a customer (and for some of them, that seems to be quite a cross to bear!)

The next time I send something to her, I am going to the counter to find out how much postage is required, then go to the self serve machine to purchase it. If it ends up with postage due, my theory will be proven!

And I will expose their shenanigans to the world! (or maybe just post about it here...)

(DS said she might post photos here of the BSJ's with the buttons, so we could advise her on which ones look best. Check for other de-stashing efforts here!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

It is good to dream...

This is the quilt that I will be making in my class (that starts in four days!!) It is a sampler quilt and ends up at about 40 inches square, when finished as the pattern. Since I bought the fabric in the 'kit', I won't have more to make additional blocks to increase the size.

I have seen lots of advice to beginners that recommends beginning with a small project, but to me, quilts are blankets, so this one is a baby blanket!

I know that starting out with a variety of pieced patterns is a good idea. You know, building on elementary skills, up to more complex projects...

But I really want to make a quilt like this:

I am guessing it is not rotary cut...

(Baltimore Friendship quilt was made by Gladys Shockley of Nortonville, KS in the 1960's)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

School Supplies!

It has been a long time since I enrolled in school to learn something I really wanted to know.

When I was 10 years old, I begged my mother to let me enroll in summer school to take typing! I really wanted to be able to type. I don't remember why, exactly, but I was willing to give up a month of summer weekday mornings to gain the skill. My end of the class typing speed was about 24 words per minute, if I recall correctly. I am sure I have the certificate somewhere in the vast archive of flotsam and jetsam, but you'll take my word for it, I know!

In five days, I will start my quilting class!

And I have gathered all my school supplies!

I even bought a special tote bag. I am sure I already have one that would do, (The Mister would guess that I probably have 20 that would do!) but I wanted one just for 'school'!

I didn't really have to buy much, I have been to so many estate auctions that I have multiples of just about every sewing tool made in the past 50 years! It was fun to gather everything and check it off the list, though! I did purchase fabric. (that really puzzled The Mister!) Since the class is essentially free (the $20 reservation fee is refunded at the end of the class) I thought I should at least purchase fabric from the shop offering the class.

So these are my fabrics. They were one of several pre-cut assortments put together especially for the class. At first, I thought I would look around and pick my own, but I got paralyzed by stimulus overload! There was too much to choose from! So I went back and pick this group.

They are all washed, pressed and in the bag!

As always, I look to my sister 'Betsy' for inspiration and leadership.

I will be sure to wear clean socks and smile! (I don't think there will be room in the bag for a rug, though...)
(Yesterday she wagered that I would probably be up to no good - why does she have to be a hater? It is not even legal to gamble where she lives! Go see what she is up to here! I will be in the shop, if she gives you any trouble... )

Monday, November 16, 2009

Litter and the Litterers

On Saturday, The Mister and I took part in a 'clean-up' at Callville Bay at Lake Mead. The original Callville is under Lake Mead. It apparently was only ruins when the lake was created by Hoover Dam, being off the beaten path, as it was, and next to a river with 'difficult navigation' in the nineteenth century.

The National Park Service and the resort concessionaire that runs the marina partnered in sponsoring a project to pick up trash on land and underwater. The Mister used to be a diver, but hasn't for years, so we were on land litter patrol.

The Mister with about half of what he and I collected, brandishing his trusty litter-picker!

Some of the litter was wind-borne (I hate plastic shopping bags!) and some was trash left behind by careless picnickers and campers.

And probably under-aged drinkers. We meandered up and over a hill and came upon the 'mother lode' of litter! Beer cans with old fashioned pull tabs and new ones that hadn't been there long enough to fade.

We collected litter for two hours, along with about 80 other folks, so alot of trash was removed from the landscape and underwater. There was much head shaking a tsk-tsking about litter-bugs and careless campers.

Callville Bay is about 45 minutes from our house. Not far, but we decided to stay overnight in the 'rv park' (five spaces at the end of the year round mobile home park). We recently upgraded from our 20 year old truck camper to a 10 year old, short, fifth wheel camper and were anxious to try it out! The Mister went out early in the day, so he could get it all set up before dark (which happens at 4:45, this time of year and we are not even to the shortest days!) I came out later, after work.

After the litter pick up, we ate lunch with our group, then packed up the camper and headed out. The Mister was leading, pulling the camper with the pick up and I followed in my car.

We had gone less than a quarter of a mile, and two trash bags flew out of the bed of the pick-up. We had taken a box of bags in case there was a shortage (which had happened on a different clean-up outing) and left it in the bed of the pick-up.

Well, after picking up trash all morning, I couldn't leave big black trash bags to litter the side of the road, so I pulled over and hopped out and grabbed both. Around a bend, The Mister had pulled over to wait (and to get the box out of the truck bed, I hoped!) As soon as he saw me coming, he pulled out and headed down the road again. And another bag flew out of the truck! He had no idea why I was stopping!

So, I pulled over, hopped out and grabbed it, jumped back in the car and headed back down the road. About 300 yards down the road, a black trash bag was in the ditch and another in the middle of the road. So, I pulled over, hopped out, grabbed the bags, jumped back in the car and drove to the next bag around the next bend.

This scene repeated seven more times until I caught up with him, pulled over a couple of miles down the road. He had finally seen a bag come out of the box! He said it went out of the box, up and over the tailgate in a flash. He wasn't even sure what he had seen, but then remembered the bags. I pulled up with a huge pile of trash bags in the seat next to me, relieved to see the box in his hand!

The road we were on is about four miles from the lake shore to the main road that goes around the lake. I was praying that he would figure out what was going on, or that the box would empty before we got to the perimeter road! Luckily, there was no traffic where we were, because the road was very winding. That is why he couldn't see what I was doing, and I couldn't catch up with him to flag him down with a trash bag! If any one had been watching, though, I am sure it would have been a funny sight!

But, at least we didn't litter!

(Dearest Sister and her guy don't even use plastic water bottles! I can't imagine her 'shock horror' if I hadn't been able to collect the bags! See all of our 're-use and recycling' efforts at our Etsy shop - AtomicSisters )

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Favorite That Endures

Many years ago, probably 1987, Ms A and I discovered Hello Kitty. There was a small kiosk inside a Macy's store at the mall near us, that sold a selection of tiny writing things - colored pencils, writing paper and tiny sticker books. They were an inexpensive indulgence and Ms A became a fan.

And has been a fan, ever since.

Of the original, not the 'licensed to Mattel wannabe Hello Kitty', but the real Kitty, who is so successful that she now has her own stores.

We affectionately called her 'Miss Kitty', or just 'Kitty'. Like on Gunsmoke.

(Not really, Ms A probably has never seen Gunsmoke, but I always think of Amanda Blake and her big hair...)

My frequent buyer card for Kitty's boutique!

When I first saw Martha's Simple Objects quilt, I immediately thought of Hello Kitty! A few weeks later, Martha shared a redwork Hello Kitty quilt in progress, for her daughter.

I picked up two or three HK coloring books last fall, and found this design that I thought would be perfect on an apron. My intent was for it to be a Christmas gift last year.

That did not happen.

The apron is from the 'Linen's and Things' close out and it is pretty long. Not a 'tuck in your purse' kind of project, and also lots of fabric in your lap for summer stitching. I put it in my bag and it went with me on many trips but usually languished... Finally, I finished it a few weeks ago and sent it off this week, to Ohio, for Ms A's birthday.

Happy Birthday, A!

(Many thanks to Dearest Sister for helping me fill in the blanks of my memory of 'discontinued favorites'!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Discontinued Favorites

Last weekend, we were entertaining a guest (a fellow 'car guy' freind). On our drive home from our day 'out and about', we saw a car show at the Railroad Pass Casino. We pulled into the parking lot to check it out.

It turned out to be a show of the local AMC car club. The American Motors Co made several memorable cars: The Gremlin, the Hornet, the Eagle and others that you see at various car shows. One that you do not see, is

The Pacer.

Dearest Sister owned a Pacer in the late 70's or very early 80's. She loved that car and when it was wrecked, she wanted a replacement Pacer. Alas, it was not to be. I do not even remember what car she had next. In fact, I remember very few of the cars that she has owned, only that there were a lot of vans, and now Subaru's (it's a Colorado thing, apparently). But I remember the Pacer. Apparently the rest of the world felt the Pacer was inferior. The only one at a car show featuring the AMC marque was this toy!

The Pacer was doomed to fail! Why?

It falls into the category of 'Things that we love, so they will no doubt be discontinued".

It is a pattern that has repeated many times, over the years!

Another example:

Rely tampons. Sure, they were blamed for Toxic Shock Syndrome, but the first thing we thought of when we heard they were being pulled from the shelves was,"is there a store that still has them for sale and can we stock up with a lifetime supply?" Sadly, the answer was 'no'. No other FHP* has ever become a preferred brand in the way that we relied on Rely!

Another favorite that became unavailable as soon as I declared it a favorite? Real (brand) cigarettes. I know, I know, cigarettes are bad for you and I haven't smoked in almost 30 years, but it still annoys me that when I did smoke, my favorite brand was discontinued!

Hershey's Solitaire candy bars - gone! (I know that the bags of chocolate covered almonds are still somewhat available, but the candy bar is what I want!)

We have become resigned to fact that if it is something we really, really like, we better lay in a supply, because chances are, it will not be available long!

(When I started this post, I began to think of all the examples of this phenomenon that have occurred over the years. These are the highlights that come to mind. I will await memory supplement by DS...)

*feminine hygiene product

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's Day Eve

Since tomorrow is Veteran's Day, (and Dearest Sister's turn to post, in our tag team blogging adventure) I thought I would share a bit of ephemera from the family flotsam and jetsam.

This photo is a post card that was in a stack of vintage cards that came from my Aunt Ruth's house. Most of them are correspondence addressed to her from friends, (sent with a penny stamp).

On the back of this one, it just says, "From Henry Newton Chase To Miss Ruth Kruse".

I did not recall seeing his name in her diary of 1916, so I was thinking of ways that I could research who he might be, but then I remembered the magic of Google! Crossing my fingers, I entered his name and this entry was in the first two or three that popped up. Galena, KS is a couple of hundred miles from Greensburg, but it certainly seems likely that it could be a match.

CHASE, HENRY NEWTON, seaman, second class, United States Navy.
Enlisted: St. Louis, Mo., June 5, 1917.
Died: U. S. S. Mercy, October 9, 1918.
Cause: Influenza.
Next of kin: Father, Elmer Chase, 115 Short Street, Galena, Kans.

He apparently enlisted soon after the US entered the war and died from the flu a month before the armistice was signed.

Aunt Ruth kept his photo for a long time. Maybe he was just an acquaintance, or maybe a special acquaintance. Of course, it is too late to ask her.

On Veteran's Day, this year, we remember him and the many thousands of other young men and women who have served their country.

Those that came home, and those that didn't.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday on the town...

We have been entertaining guests this week. Two friends of the Mister came to town, to go to the SEMA show with him. The SEMA show ended Friday and our last guest left this morning, so Saturday was filled with our version of Las Vegas 'amusements'.

We went to two car shows and a car parts swap meet, then we went to Hoover Dam to see the progress of the bridge over Black Canyon (a bypass alternate to driving over the dam).

The bridge is 'below' the dam ( down river), but very high up in the air. I don't really like bridges and I cannot imagine driving across this one when it is complete.

It will be a short-cut compared to going the current alternate route, which goes through Needles, Searchlight and miles and miles of nothing, on the way to Arizona. That route avoids the tourist traffic across the dam and the security search that is inevitable, if you are pulling a trailer or camper, (which we often are) but it is longer.

The water level at Lake Mead just keeps getting lower and lower! The 'bathtub ring' is about twice as high as it was when we came here, three years ago.

This marina was moved about a year ago. It would have been high and dry by now, if it hadn't been moved.

We saw a big horned sheep, grazing by the side of the rode as we drove through Boulder City, but did not get a photo. (Dearest Sister and I always track our 'fauna' sightings. She was visiting Alpacas, yesterday, but they are not 'free range' so I don't think they really count... She might disagree...)

After our tour of the "Wonders of the Modern World, Nevada Edition", we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Afterwards, I caught The Mister and his buddies watching Lawrence Welk!

That is how much excitement you can find at our house, on a Saturday night!

Friday, November 6, 2009

From Small Town, to Uptown!

It is Automotive Industry Week in the city! Last year, my car was an 'attention getter' at AAPEX, the 'Automotive Aftermarket Parts Exhibit'. That is where repair shops find replacement parts. like windshield wipers, air conditioners, etc. Not exciting, but necessary.

The Isetta sat prettily in the Clean Tools booth and we received what is surely a lifetime supply of their products. Most of the family (except the babies) got some form of car cleaning supplies for Christmas, and we still have a lifetime supply!

Several months ago, the agency that handled the arrangement said that they would not need the car. They had decided to bring one of their own. A couple of weeks ago, though, they emailed to ask if it would be available again, and apologised for the last minute request.

The Mister in his usual photo mode -not smiling!

This year, the Isetta is at SEMA! The Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association exhibit! SEMA is the Big Show!

It is where you find all the 'stuff' that they use to make custom cars, fast cars and showy cars.

It is where you find the big stars, the race car drivers and the legends! And this week, my Isetta!

Five days ago, my cutie car was in a small town parade. This week, she is under the bright lights!

I am so proud of her shiny cuteness!

(Dearest Sister shared a video here, last week. I think it was the most fun that I have ever had in the Isetta!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Taste of Bullion

Remember the bullion snail that I found in the Inspirations magazine? Well look what else I found, in a different issue!

I whole little sampler of the cutest bullion knot designs! I am envisioning them on all kinds of things, but first I have to master the process.

This is my first attempt. It is a lopsided kitty. (It wasn't designed lopsided, it just turned out that way...)

The instructions called for 8 knots (or grubs as they are affectionately known) for the body, but I did five, since I saw that they were going to turn out lopsided. And, I did not allow enough distance between the top of the stitch and the bottom, for the number of 'wraps' in each one. If there was a little more room, the knots would lay flatter.

But, I kind of got the hang of it!

The pattern suggests putting the designs in a sampler format, but I had this set of four napkins from an auction lot, so I decided to use them for my practice 'canvas'. I think the trick is in the tension of the wraps around the needle. I poked my fingers about twenty times, trying to pull the needle through, until I loosened the thread a bit. I didn't bleed on my work, though!

Its a good thing no one is running a tally on the number of things I start before any one of them gets finished.

At least I hope no one is!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Adventures in Tatting

My goodness, after a month of build up and our shop opening yesterday, I was wishing that I had asked Dearest Sister to switch and take the even days in November! Even with an extra hour, yesterday was not long enough!

But since I had already called dibs on even days, I decided I would show you my latest work in progress!

Tatting is an art that I have long admired, but I have never seen it done. My mother didn't tat, although I think she knew how. I know that she preferred knitting over crochet and I think that was the case with tatting, as well.

When Ms. A went off to college, her roommate taught her to tat and there were some tatting elements in some of her artwork. She agreed to teach me, but we have never set aside the time when she has visited.

I have been reading my thrift store Inspiration magazines over the last week and I took a few with me this weekend. In the back of the magazines, there are step by step instructions for the techniques used in each of the projects.

In issue number 26 (2000) there were instructions for tatting. Two pages, twelve steps on each page - it looked pretty simple, really. So, I decided to teach myself.

I wound a shuttle, and set about following the instructions, exactly. After all, I can read and there was a photo illustration for each step. I might just have to re-read a few steps to be sure I got them right.

After awhile, I decided to search for a tutorial (I love the internet!) I watched a series of three videos about a hundred times each and finally got the hang of it!

This is the result:

See the loops? Those are called picots. Most people prefer them to be uniform, but I think wonky is kind of edgy know...hip.

That's my story anyway. It sounds better than "it took me two hours to get this far and I am calling it good enough!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Winner! The Parade! And More!

First things first! The winner of (my half) of the 'End of Blogtober Giveaway' is.....

Martha! She wins the bundle of feedsack fabric that was offered here. Be sure to check with Dearest Sister if you entered her giveaway. She will be announcing soon, (or maybe she already has!)
Next - The Parade Update!

This is the last minute Halloween costume that I made for the Isetta. We did not win, in that category, or any other, but we had a good time!
Here is the Beatty High School marching band marching to their place at the head of the line-up. They won the best "Walker" award.
We were one of the first cars, lined up behind the quad-runners and later some three wheeled motor bikes joined the line just ahead of us.

We were one of the first ones at the registration table, but I told the lady that I did not want to be first, so she gave me number 28. It turned out that numbers 1-27 were the walkers, the motorcycles and the public service vehicles. So, we were the first car! The Mister wanted to get to the line up spot early, to be sure that we could make it and that traffic would be light.

The Isetta is a bit 'cold blooded' and it took quite awhile for it to warm up enough to run smoothly. He told the folks in the big mid-century muscle car behind us to just go around, if we stopped.

We made it 12 of the 14 blocks of the parade without incident. The Mister was having a great time throwing candy to all the kids from the sun roof. (I was leery of children running into the street, but everyone was throwing candy and we didn't want to look like Las Vegas cheapskates come to crash the parade, so the candy was thrown...)

When we went past the judges stand (the intersection of two state highways, which were closed for the occasion) they announced us and we did our 'parade wave'. We made it past most of the crowds lining the route and the engine died. And would not re-start. I was afraid that I had 'warmed up' the engine too much in the three hours before the parade started!

We hopped out and pushed it to the side and the rest of the parade went past. The Mister grabbed a stick to check the gas in the tank (we don't need no stinking gas gauge!) and there was plenty of gas, so we tried again and it started! We cut down a side street and cut back in the parade line just in time to pull into the car show!

I can now say I have driven in a parade!

Now, And More!

Dearest Sister and I have decided to continue our collaboration! We enjoyed the tag-team Blogtoberfest so much that we are marching forward into November with the same plan.

Also, we have another project reveal. The Super Secret Sister Project!

We have opened an Etsy shop! You can check it out here! We have dubbed ourselves 'AtomicSisters'. Why? Well, why not? We are both mid-century and thoroughly modern, in our own minds, at least!

About 15 years ago, Dearest Sister and I expected that we would probably spend our twilight years together. We envisioned ourselves as a later version of the Baldwin Sisters from 'The Walton's' television show. The Baldwin sisters lived together, supporting themselves by selling their grandfather's 'recipe'. Since we do not have a 'recipe' (our great-grandfather was nefarious in many ways, but moonshine has never been attributed to him!) we decided that perhaps we should cultivate some other way to provide income.

This may not be it, but it is in the spirit of the recipe!

And now you know the secret!