Saturday, February 27, 2010

the kids

You know how women who have curly hair want straight hair, and women who have straight hair want curly hair? Proof it starts young -

They've been begging me to use the curlers on their hair for months. For the record, Trixie lasted about half an hour before they fell out from dancing all over the house.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

thrifty thursday

These are the last of Effie's treasures that I've photographed. There were also some damask tablecloths, but they aren't as cute as this:
The work on this purse is lovely. I can't imagine what a woman might carry in such a tiny pouch (with holes!) - a hankie? The diameter of the body of the pouch is only 4 inches across.

These are probably the oldest items that were sent. The ankle length apron has many holes in it. I think parts of it would look great in a quilt with the hankies. The cap is very stiff either from age or starch. I wonder if both items belonged to her mother, the woman who died in a prairie fire.

I cried out when I pulled this from the box. Within moments I was wearing it. I know Liz had once planned on framing it for her home, but never got to it. Instead of being art on the wall, it'll help cement my reputation on the block as the crazy apron mom.

Next Thursday it's back to junk I've stumbled upon at thrift shops and garage/estate sales.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I took a quick trip to Mitsua with a friend for lunch and some time in their bookstore a few weeks ago.
This title grabbed my attention -
It's English translation on the spine is "Let's Make School Bags & Goods!"
Okay, don't mind if I do.

Can you tell I bought the book for the pattern on the cover? Trixie needed a new thin tote to carry her piano book to lessons. She loves dogs as much as Ellie loves cats.
I loved the details in the pattern like the buckle embroidery.

All the materials were in the stash from thrifting over the years. I love the old white buttons. They had centers that were deep enough to hide the shanks on the grey buttons.
I didn't vary one bit from the pattern other than color. I've learned that when a child sees a pattern in a book, they expect it to look a lot like that picture and if I vary it, I'm accused of not making the item to which they agreed. We made one concession though - Trixie requested pink, "My new favorite color, mom. Pink, not purple. Don't forget that, it's pink now."
This was a fun little sewing reward for completing my common threads quilt top from round one! Tomorrow it's back to my common threads commitments. The quilt needs to be sandwiched and I have some block challenges that need my attention.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

little bit of liberty

Carol sent me wonderful news - Target is going to be carrying lines by Liberty of London in their stores on March 14th!! My calendar is marked.

In the meantime I have these to tide me over:

Trish sent me a yard of this for Christmas. I love having a friend who travels to London on business.

These were made around the holidays to hold back hair that I'm growing out again.

(The bobby pin blanks are from Hobby Lobby. The covered button blanks were thrifted, but are available everywhere. The Liberty scraps are from the fabulous rummage sale I went to with Poppy.)

While I was at it, I made a couple charms for myself.

(All the jewelry making supplies are from Hobby Lobby. The buttons are doll sized. I used a paper glaze, but think it needs a few more coats to look right.)

I plan to be waiting for the doors to open March 14th.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

xin nian kuai le!

Happy New Year!!

Ellie, Trixie and two of Ellie's China sisters (girls who were in her adoption group).

Getting ready for the Dragon Dance-

I know those little legs.

Good fortune to you all in the new year!
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Friday, February 12, 2010

carissa's block

One more block for common threads. Carissa challenged us to create a block that represented a bookshelf. I asked her to send a good selection of scraps for the spines because I think my stash tends to be more vintage and reproduction. She's a happy, bright colored quilter and I was very worried my block would stick out from the rest without more direction from her.
Some of my scraps made it in - a little Amy Butler, some polka dots and a few solids rounded out what I recieved in the mail. I can't wait to see how the whole thing looks with all the other shelves added on. I love the movement and explosion of color in this. It'll be in the mail soon, Carissa.
(Rebekah, I haven't forgotten you at all. I've been hanging back to see if any your blocks have been done with embroidery. Now I have my answer. I'll be finishing up soon.)
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

thrifty thursday - effie's aprons

A few more aprons that were in that wonderful box:
This one is hand stenciled:
I use this one when I'm picking up around the house. That pocket holds the phone and a vast number of tiny toys that need to go back in the girls' rooms.

This one is child-sized, though I know from Mary's letter that Effie didn't have any children.

I wonder what inspired a woman who lived in South Dakota to stitch a southwestern themed apron?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010


How on earth did this happen? I could have sworn I posted this back in November. I guess imagining I posted it and actually doing so are not the same.
It's a block for common threads that was mailed to rossie long ago. She challenged us to use a code to spell out a word we liked. I chose my favorite season, autumn.
You can read a little more about it here.
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the bangles

How fun are these bracelets? I had to share them with all my crafty friends. They came in several colors - white, cream, pink, jade green and light blue -and three widths.
I bought them at a shop in the Chicago area that doesn't have a web presence. If you're dying for one, email me and I'll send you the store name and phone number.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

mischievous gnome messenger bag

This bag has been two years in the making. I bought the pattern from Montessori by Hand - long enough ago that she now uses a different name for her business. My eye was drawn to it because I had all the fabrics shown in her photo of the completed project. However, when it came time to use them, I couldn't. I think it was a combination of the brown wool with a lighter cotton with a white background. One says fall/winter, the other spring/summer. I'd never feel comfortable carrying it. (Yes, I'm one of those people who has a problem with white shoes after Labor Day) The pile of fabrics sat month after month.

In an effort to clear my sewing table of projects I'd put aside, this one was finally tackled during a warm spell a couple weeks ago. (By warm, I mean close to the freezing mark.) I pulled out the Heather Ross fabric with the white background and pink/orange/brown polka dots. It still didn't seem right and then I spied the orange and red polka dots leftover from another project. Perfect.

It all fell together after that. The button and ribbon practically jumped out at me from my stash.

It's taken me ages to cut into that gnome fabric because I love it so.

The lining is a Heather Ross stripe sold as a companion to the gnomes.

The pattern is very well written and goes together easily. The zippered pocket in the lining is a great detail that can easily be used for other tote projects. I was also leery of there not being a closure under the flap to support all the junk I carry around. Other messenger bags I've made have not held together at the top very well. Because the straps are placed directly on the sides rather than on the back panel, that's not an issue with this pattern. The interfacing called for is just the right amount of support. The front of the bag has two pockets for a cell phone and keys. There's a larger pocket on the back for a quilting magazine. My embroidery pouch fits inside with room to spare.

One more project off the to-do list.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

the kids

I finally figured out how to get pictures from my phone to the computer. The first two are from August, but they make me smile-
Proof that they really can get along. And that it used to be warm here.

These make me laugh (and feel some pride that I have documentation of him being silly).

Chicken dancing with Trixie at the pumpkin farm in October.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

feedsack embroidery

What I've been doing when I haven't been posting the past few weeks:

I bought the feedsack at "the garage sale" and I'm pretty sure I photographed it for a previous thrifty thursday post. Above is where I'd gotten to a few weeks ago and was feeling like it'd never be finished. I thought I could do an "in progress" post.

Instead, the weather continued to freeze me out of the basement and I got addicted to watching Gilmore Girls in DVD. Handwork was the only answer to that dilemna. Before long I had this to show for my efforts:

All of the words are outlined in perle cotton in either the stem or backstitch. The leaves were filled in with chain stitches. Blanket stitching surrounds the oval.
The inspiration for this was a vintage quilt I spotted in a book (no idea what one it was now) that had advertising feedsacks in every block embellished with embroidery. This one is much larger than those - about 20" wide by 40" long. I'd like to feature it as the center of a wall-hanging sized quilt for my kitchen. That's a project for another day.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

hand-me-down thursday

A few weeks ago a package arrived in the mail for me. There's nothing better than a package you aren't expecting. This one was from my mother's cousins, Liz and Mary. They'd recently helped clean out the home of a dear family friend and thought I'd appreciate some things from the estate. The box was filled with so much that I can't possibly put it all in one post, so I'll share more each Thursday this month.
Included in the box was a letter with this information-
"Re: contents of the box, Use and enjoy! We could not bear to just throw these things away. Nearly everything was made by an old neighbor, Effie ____. She was the banker's wife and our maternal grandmother's close friend. Aunt Mildred and Effie were role models for us. Effie graduated from SDSU with a 4 year degree in about 1921(about the same year women were finally granted the right to vote in the US?!)- an era when women's education beyond 8th grade was thought by many to be a useless extravagance. If knowledge is power, women acquiring both was the real fear, in my entirely biased opinion. Anyhow, her mother died in a prairie fire after hiding the children under the overturned wagon, her father died several years later, it was said, of a broken heart, and Effie was raised by unmarried aunts who had the resources and vision to give her the best start they could, with a university education. I raise my glass to all of these women, salut!"
The strawberry on this is a pincusion and the tape measure is real and slips out of that pocket.

The one above likely held clothespins. The drawstrings cinch it up to keep them in place.

I love the pockets on this one.

The letter went on -
"Effie did fine hand crafts for years for the Methodist Ladies' Aid various church events. They had the classic supper and bazaar every fall, did the church suppers, hosted the kids before summer camp, you name it. I have sweet memories of women like Effie and Aunt Mildred, and the food and hospitality they offered in the the old church basement. They had a reverence for education, especially for women, and a spirit of community service (I don't care if this sounds cliche) the likes of which is rare in any age. That's the proud heritage of the treasures you are seeing. Liz and I strive to live up to the legacy of those remarkable women. Please pass on this history. Love, Mary"
I will.
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