Sunday, December 23, 2007

Felt Sweetness

Little felt bears made for a two-year-old. Aren't they sweet? Easy pattern, except for the bitty pieces (oh, my eyes aren't what they used to be!). From this book:

Much more sweetness inside -- including the cutest kitties. Love this book.

Happy holidays to all! I wish you goodness and peace in the new year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Corners of My Home

A new corner of my home. This is in the kitchen: an old pine chest of drawers just purchased at the consignment shop, immediately bedecked with some sewing stuff. The pipecleaner-button tree I made a few years back. . . . The short green tree is surrounded by red buttons; the green bobbins are a birthday gift (thanks, N!). The cones of white thread look like snow-covered trees to me. A new sewie corner. I love it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chai Days

Crazy-busy these days. To get through, I drink Chai tea. At least one a day.

Thanks to The Spice House, I can now make a decent, fast cup of chai at home. I use an Irish Breakfast Tea bag from Trader Joe's, a good scoop of the chai spices from The Spice House, a little warmed milk, a little honey, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. Mmmmmmm.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What I like

Oakleaf hydrangea, in glorious color . . .

Golden creeping jenny, dressed in her new fall wardrobe . . .

Buffalo china custard cups, sweetly waiting for me at the thrift shop.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orange Books on the Classroom Shelf

My first four years of school were at Beeline School, a two-room country schoolhouse. We walked most days down the gravel road, running the last few yards if the bell started ringing (one of the boys was assigned the task of pulling the heavy rope to ring the large bell atop the school).

One of my clearest memories of the schoolroom is of the little library -- long, low shelves of books, really -- especially I remember the long row of books on the lowest shelf, the biographies with orange covers.

I remember reading so many of them and learning odd 'facts' about various famous Americans. The book about Thomas Edison told the story of how he lost his hearing -- he was running to jump onto a moving train and stumbled; the train conductor grabbed him by the ears and pulled him aboard, thus damaging his hearing for the rest of his life. Well, that doesn't even make sense, does it? But I sure was fascinated by the story.

All this rushed back over me when I found 'Jane Adams: Little Lame Girl' at the thrift shop. It's pictured open above, showing the silhouette illustrations. How fun to find it! Copyright 1944, published by Bobbs-Merrill Company, part of the "Childhood of Famous Americans Series."

'Bird Girl: Sacagawea' soon found me, too, via Ebay. And listed in the series is 'Tom Edison: Boy Inventor.' I also remember 'Clara Barton: Girl Nurse.'

'Twould be fun to find more of these books -- but not the more recently published of the series -- I want the orange books of my childhood.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Two more bags . . .

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Found this pattern online -- Tiny Happy blog -- and decided to try it out, using a thrifted pillowcase and a piece of green calico for the lining. Because I thought it needed a little more body, I added a flannel interfacing. The front has a cellphone pocket.
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And the back has an interesting pattern. Seams are up the middle (front and back) and at the top of the handles. Easy pattern -- size is good for a little library trip -- check out the tutorial here.

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Second recently finished purse. I love this one! It's quilted on the outside and has a magnetic snap inside; the lining is blue and red floral, and the inside pocket is of the same fabric as the handles. The tutorial is on Creative Little Daisy blog -- patchwork purse here.

I do think this purse needs a little more -- either a few red buttons or a flower pin. I'm thinking a pin, made before next summer, when I'll want to use the purse to dress up my usual jeans and a teeshirt outfit.

More purses to come. CK, your tote is next. Then it's time for the custom purse for NL (you know who you are)!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Old Sewing Machine ----> Inspiration!

Isn't she a beauty? This is my new old Singer sewing machine -- a 301 Singer, circa 1954. The model is the 'big sister' of the famous Singer Featherweight.

I purchased it from a dear friend, who is an experienced Singer sewer and who had this 'extra' machine. No, really! She has two Featherweights, bought this one, and then found another 301 with cabinet. So now this one is mine.

I have named her Ginette. That name is in an old French textbook I thrifted the same week that the machine came to live here.

The gold detailing on the machine is so beautiful.

And so is Daisy, my pretty black cat, who just had to have her picture taken with Ginette.

Here's Daisy again, in my spring tote bag:

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I've already finished two projects with the new machine: a quilted summer bag that was nearly done for a while (stalled after putting in the magnetic snap on that one), and a 'Tiny Happy' bag, made from an old pillowcase with a pattern from Tiny Happy blog. Will post pics of the bags tomorrow.

So pleased to have a substantial machine -- one that does not stall when confronted with a bulky seam. The motor just purrs. It's my new love. (Don't tell Daisy.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Finished Project

Why, yes, I can finish a sewing project -- just not often!

This is a Frenchy Bag, an Amy Butler pattern. The floral fabric is thrifted this summer; the stripey top is from my stash -- got it at a quilt shop a couple of years ago and it has a flannel-y softness to it.

I had to piece the inner portion of the handles because I had very little left of the floral -- kinda like the pieced look of it.

The pattern sewed up very quickly, until I had to install the dreaded magnetic snap. No, they are not hard to do. I just worry myself crazy about messing up the project at such an almost-done point. So it hung here for a good month or more. Finally I realized that if I totally muffed the snap installation, I could just resew the lining.

And the snap install went easy, as did the sewing of the lining and the outer bag.

Then, of course, I had to wait another day until I could muster up the courage to topstitch. What's with that??

Here's the inside of the bag -- the fabric is new and reminds me of Minnie Mouse. The two inner pockets are big and deep, each going the entire width of the bag. I thought they would just gap open all the time, so I added a topstitch seam down the center of each, making four pockets. Works for me.

Time for a new bag/purse project. I bought some great fall fabrics from Superbuzzy and it's almost too late to sew them up for this year. May have to move on to the 'winter line.'

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Sometimes my thrifted 'finds' find me! This is a quilt top that came to me as a tied quilt with the inner batting all bunched up. Someone washed & dried the quilt, apparently, and it looked like this:

I took off the backing, the little ties, and the batting and now I have a pretty quilt top. The fabrics are an interesting combination of wool (the gray), cotton, and an occasional rayon. The top has some 'issues,' with a few worn spots, but now it can begin a sweet new life as a table covering. Check out that blue fabric with the circles -- love!

The quilt came to me along with these two:

All three came by way of a local senior center, where they were headed for the dustbin, and are considered, at best, 'cutter' quilts. But the lavendar 'Flying Geese' could end up in our bedroom, with a little mending.

And this quilt, which I had temporarily set down on the floor, immediately became our grouchy old cat's favorite snoozing spot. The entire back is that beautiful flowered print on the right -- makes me swoon -- love! This one is a true 'cutter'. If I do cut it up, at least part of it will become kitty's winter-nap throne pillow. It makes him as happy as it makes me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fall crocus

Amazing color for fall -- rosy hues of colchicum -- a bulb that blooms like a giant crocus in the fall. Some years these are blooming as the colored leaves fall around them.

This is the 'Waterlily' colchicum.

The bulb sends up large leaves in the spring, which die back for the summer. Then in the fall these leaf-less blossoms show up -- always surprising me.

Time to plant more bulbs for some spring surprises. (It's fun to be an absent-minded gardener!)

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Walk of Yo-yos

Learning how to do yo-yos this week . . . and I'm also learning that there is no spot in my house with good natural light! So out onto the sidewalk with my favorite stools and my new yo-yos.

These large yo-yos are made using the Clover large-size yo-yo maker.

The small and wee yo-yos on this stool I did the old-fashioned way. I love sewing them up this way, 'all by myself'. Can you see the beginnings of my red-white Christmas garland? and a blue + light blue winter garland?

And see the two flower-shaped yo-yos above? Those are made with the Clover flower-yo-yo maker. I need more practice on those, I think. But I can see the possibilities for yo-yo flower bouquets . . . yo-yo adorned cards . . .

Autumn comes soon . . . perfect time for making more yo-yos, and for finally sewing with these batik pieces that I purchased last year. Here they seem like laundry-day prayer flags.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

When there were no blogs

Found this old photograph at a garage sale yesterday. Can you imagine the set-up for this? (Be sure to click on it for a closer view.) The woman wants to display all of her needlework pillows, the girl wants her dolly and buggy in the picture, oh, and put down the rug and the new table, pick some phlox from the garden, put it in a vase and hold a sprig of it, and get the dog in, too!

This is like her blog -- a way show friends and family her projects, her house, her life. That's what we're doing, isn't it? Look, see, I want you to know what I'm doing, where I am. I want you to know that I'm smiling.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

. . . and I'm back!

It's been a while since I've posted; all awkward and tongue-tied again, writing for whomever to see. I'll just jump right back in and show you a couple of thrifted finds. This woman is a salt shaker -- her head removes and is the shaker part. The vintage French textbook is from Salvation Army -- I had two days of wonderful book finds.

Salt-shaker woman is holding vintage spools, found at my favorite Evanston shop.

And this old iron wheelbarrow (from a flea market years ago) is holding my first yo-yos. Aren't they cute?

These are cards I made. In a resale shop, I found a set of tally cards, each with a hand-crafted Sunbonnet Sue cover. Can you see the details? Felt bonnet with tiny flowers; real fabric calico dress; lace pantaloons; hand-inked hair, feet; a wash of watercolor grass.

I glued paper gingham or calico onto a ready-made card, glued the tally cover atop, and added a vintage button to cover the hole at the top of the tally cover. And there -- handcrafted cards! All the detail work not done by me.

I've been selling them individually, occasionally, at our historical society's consignment shop. These are the last ones, perfect for fall.

Now I feel better; a new blog post completed. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Yo yo!

Some yo-yo pillows, found this summer.

This favorite star pillow is from a favorite cousin.

Well-worn old yo-yos of a pillowcover. Found two of these probably 10 years ago at an estate sale.

I wonder about the women who made these. Taking little scraps of fabric, cut into rounds, hemming them up and then pulling each one into a yo-yo. These days some of us use CDs as templates. They probably used a plate or a tin can. Wonder if they treasured these pillows as much as I do?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July Farewell

Just in time for the last post in July, I finally took a picture of this amazing flower with the most evocative name: 'love-lies-bleeding'.

I've always wanted this plant in the garden, and have several seed packets in my stash as witness to my intention. Finally picked up a little 4-cell pack of the plant in mid-June and used it in this purple and rose container combo. I pinched back the top of the plants and have been multi-rewarded -- the plants are just so beautiful and soft -- like ropes of chenille. (There's a green-blooming love-lies-bleeding, too -- must plant that one next year.)

So, with love-chenille blooms in the garden, it's goodbye to July. I can see autumn on the horizon. But first August, that last wonderful month of summer.

Back on the farm growing up, the entire summer was long long long days of hollyhock, wild strawberries, swims in Dumont Lake, 'spook-tag' around the house in the darkness of the country night. We'd lie in bed sweating through July and especially August. No air conditioning; just one giant exhaust fan mounted on a home-made stand that was supposed to cool off the upstairs of the farm house. (It didn't; the noise kept me awake and aware of the sweat running down my face.) Mid-August we found the long long days of summer suddenly fewer -- back to Beeline School come September. August is half-summerwonderful, half-sad.

Goodbye July. Here comes August and the knowledge that the beautiful garden of summer will soon be gone. Love-lies-bleeding.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Summer spot

We don't have a front porch. So in the summer, we have this little spot, positioned between the entry garden (below the birch tree) and the big perennial bed in the middle of the front yard. My favorite place to eat breakfast (usually solo; spoon-size shredded wheat with bananas and cinnamon) and for the two of us to sit at the end of the day. Love the summer spot.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Balloons in the garden . . . . and WIP

Balloonflower -- the buds are balloons!

'Annabelle' hydrangea and 'Prom Puff' somniferum poppy. Don't the seedpods look like balloons?

This is globe thistle. A fuzzy garden balloon!

Beginning a purse, using Creative Little Daisy's tutorial. Pleased so far. . .

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Just what I need . . . finding a garage sale with tables of fabric for sale. Nice sized pieces, these are all new fabric. (The one on the top left is a finished needlepoint square. Thinking of making a purse with this on the front. . . . )

And these are vintage pieces:

The top one is a little rayon piece; second from the top is barkcloth; all the others are cotton (I think barkcloth is cotton, too, isn't it?) Much fun! P.S. Did you know if you double-click on the picture, it becomes much larger?? Check out that vintage stash close up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Seeing Spots

Tiger lilies in the garden

Tiger lily petals fell to the table . . . next to the spotty bananas.

I love the extreme curves of the petals. And the intensity of the yellow. But if I assigned a flavor to the petals, I'd say lemon rather than banana.