10.31.2008

boo



Happy Halloween!

I have no big plans for the holiday. When you live out in a rural area, where houses are far apart and it gets dark really early, you don't get a lot of kids trick-or-treating. Nothing like when I was a kid and lived in a complex of garden apartments. Halloween was a huge deal. And, if we hit every apartment, we had enough candy to last until Christmas. Really.

This is a funny story. Our goodie bags would be so loaded after an hour or so of trick-or-treating that we'd stop back to our own apartment to unload. My mom always thought she was buying enough candy but would always run out. So, when we stopped home we'd quickly sort our goodies and give her the things we didn't like. And she'd give them out to the next round of kids that came to our door.

I always remember it being freezing cold on Halloween night but I usually dressed as a gypsy so I'd layer on more clothes or wear long underwear underneath it all. There were some kids who had store-bought costumes but we always made our own. I wonder if kids even do that these days.

10.30.2008

production line

The new batch of tissue cozies I've been working on this week is almost done. Yesterday I chose button combinations to match the fabrics. Today I'm sewing them on.

tissue cozies

I love this diamond feedsack fabric and, while the brown button isn't quite a perfect match, it's pretty close.

button stack

I'm doing a triple stack for this one—the tiny green button echoes the flower centers in the fabric. Not sure why it looks turquoise in the photo—it really does match.

buttons

Still freezing here so no melting of snow in spite of the sun. Perfect weather for staying indoors and working!

10.28.2008

october surprise

And no, not the political pre-election kind :)

Snow! Very early-in-the-season snow!

icy leaf
An icy leaf

I woke up early (like 4-ish) this morning because I heard something crash outside and realized that it was snowing. Still too dark to see what the crash was and, with that bear still around, I wasn't going outside to investigate. I'm not crazy. But now that it's light enough to see I figured out what it was. Half of one of the old apple trees in the yard is lying on the ground. Between the apples and the snow, the weight was just too much for it. And while I was out checking the damage I saw part of a tree go down up in the woods. I shook snow off the lilac because the branches were dragging on the ground but no real damage there. Not sure what else we'll lose today - it's the really heavy wet kind of snow.

broken apple tree
The fallen apple tree

I was trying to remember the last time we had snow this early and it was a long time ago. We do get flurries sometimes in October but not a several-inches kind of snow and we're due for 3 to 5 inches today. Good thing I did all those errands yesterday and can stay home today. I have two dozen tissue cozies on my work table that need to be done this week!

10.25.2008

new venues



I had a great meeting with Cristin Powers of GreenBeing last week and I'm going to be selling some of my things on consignment in her new shop. Open for just a few weeks, GreenBeing (334 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503) is downtown Scranton's first eco-boutique and part of the Adams Avenue renaissance that includes Eden, a new vegan cafe set to open on November 7th! It's also in the same block as my favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Rak Thai!

Cristin plans to sell a selection of environmentally-friendly clothing, accessories, and handmade items by Pennsylvania designers, including her own line of handbags crafted from recycled fabrics and burlap.


Other designers and artists featured in the shop include Nicole Erin Carey (Nicole’s Threads), Kathy DellaValle (Artwork by KD), Tomlynn Fallon (Worn), Rebecca Kinsey (Little Red), Nicole Kulp (Recycle My Dress), Chrissy Manuel (Shoplift!), and Amanda Vonson-Fernandes (Oh Sweet Josephine). Who knew there were so many crafty ladies in Scranton? And how exciting to be part of the crafty scene!

I brought Cristin a little bit of everything I make—a few pillows (that butterfly one in the picture is one of them) and lots of smaller things, including tissue cozies, sachets, tea towels, and vintage fabric-covered buttons.

I don't consciously think of my work as recycling, although 99% of my things are made from salvaged materials. With me, it's more that I'm saving something important (antique needlework) and using it in a new, more usable way. I guess that is recycling after all :)

I'll also be selling sachets and pillows at Bridge Street Marketplace (61 Bridge Street, Tunkhannock, PA 18657). This antiques/collectibles mall is a frequent stop for me when I'm out treasure hunting—I find lots of great buttons and hankies here. But it's also a craft market and owner E.J. "Sam" Casterline has stocked the front with all sorts of cottage and shabby chic items.

I suspect I don't have a lot of local blog readers but if you're in northeastern Pennsylvania any time soon, stop in to either of these shops. The holidays are coming and wouldn't it be nice to support small businesses this season by shopping locally (where ever you live)?

10.23.2008

a present

I don't buy myself presents very often but it was my birthday last week and I've been good lately (hee!). So, I bought myself a pincushion from The Daily Pincushion at Etsy. These pincushions are so gorgeous that the word pincushion doesn't seem good enough to describe it. It needs a fancier name. And I'm not sure I feel right sticking pins in it either.

pincushion

Each is made from wool felt and takes a day to make (hence the shop name Daily). Most have flower themes, although there are some very cute pumpkins listed now. All have embroidery (nicely done French knots on this one), some have beads and buttons. The detail is exquisite and the workmanship perfect!

pincushion

After much deliberation I chose the simple Red Rodeo Pincushion but I didn't see this Violet Blue Pincushion or I might have ordered it. It really is almost impossible to choose.

These would make great holiday gifts!

And, speaking of Etsy, I've been adding things to my own (long-neglected) shop. I've never done very well at Etsy but that may be because I never update it. Will try to be better at doing so. I listed some hanky sachets and a few tissue cozies. I've got two dozen new cozies on my worktable now so more will be coming very soon.

10.20.2008

coming together

I finished the embroidery on Saturday and then soaked and washed the finished blocks to remove the storage dirt and transfer lines. I also washed and ironed all the fabrics I'll be using for the quilt. On Sunday, I started cutting and sewing. So far, each block is surrounded by a strip of the green pindot (Recess by American Jane - Sandy Klop for Moda) and a corner square of the brown dots (Michael Miller Dumb Dots). The corner squares were not on my original sketch but I thought the quilt needed more brown and it solved the problem of matching dots (nearly impossible to get right) in the corners.

tiger

I love the tiger with his little coral flower. But I really love the raccoon eating the coral berries and it was a good opportunity to practice my satin stitch.

raccoon

The monkey holding a banana is also very sweet. They're all so darn cute that it's hard to pick a favorite block.

monkey

Next up is a wider strip of the coral stripe (Timeless Treasures # Daisy C) and larger brown dot corner blocks. That will tie all the embroidered blocks together, then I'll see how much room I have on the border. I may do a thin strip of alternating brown and green squares but I haven't decided yet. Lots left to do!

10.16.2008

eeeek

I was getting ready to go out this morning, ironing a blouse to wear in my studio which is right next door to my bedroom. Sienna started meowing and wouldn't shut up. She can be very vocal when she wants something and I couldn't see her from where I was standing. So, I finally tracked her down and found her on the bed. Looking up. At this—

eek

It reminds me of that silly 1970s poster of the cat hanging from his front paws that said "Hang in there, baby." This little guy was hanging on for dear life and looking at me with big sad eyes. After snapping a quick photo I went downstairs for some heavy gloves, thinking I'd try to grab him and put him outside. It can be a bit tricky but I've done that before. By the time I got back upstairs he was already gone. Both cats have been pawing at the space behind my dresser for hours but I suspect he's escaped through the radiator into one of the holes in the floorboards. Old house, lots of escape routes. Lucky mouse!

I'm just full of wild animal stories these days, aren't I? Speaking of which, it's getting dark and time to bring in the bird feeders. No sign of that bear but I'm not taking any chances.

10.15.2008

just duckie

Look at this cutie. One of a pair of vintage stamped-for-embroidery baby bibs I won on Ebay last week. They arrived yesterday and I love 'em. The crochet and pale yellow rickrack border is so sweet!

duck bib

I'll embroider these this winter, then add them to the vintage baby section on my website. They'll be super cute for someone to give as a baby gift!

duck bib motif

They even have the store tags still attached! 19 cents—can you believe it?

duck bib label

10.14.2008

...and bears, oh my!

I woke up suddenly at 2 am this morning. Amaya, one of my cats, was sitting on my bedside table looking out the open window and hissing. Then I heard things rattling outside. What the hell? I looked out to see a black bear standing up on his hind legs swatting at my bird feeders, which were swinging wildly. The moon was really bright so he was easy to see. But not so easy to chase away. We finally made enough noise to scare him part way up the hill behind the house, although he just sat there snuffling and grunting and probably considering how much trouble it would be to come back for another try. It gave us enough time to run out and grab the feeders though. And finally he continued up the hill to our neighbors house. Which started their dogs barking. For another hour. What a night!

This morning I found planters on the front porch tipped over, and the garbage, which we leave out on Monday nights for early pickup on Tuesday, strewn all over the driveway. What a mess that was. And the iron pole that held the feeders was bent into a curve. Yikes!

This is probably the same bear that came around last fall, although he's much larger now. Bears power-eat in the fall to get ready for hibernation and I'm sure he's making the rounds. And since he found plenty to eat here last year (and nearly destroyed my feeders in the process), I'm sure my house was on his list. But I've been taking in the feeders every night and putting them back out in the morning so he didn't find anything out front. Now I'll be gathering up the feeders in the back, too. At least until the first snow and I'm certain he's safely tucked away for the winter. Hopefully not too close by :)

10.13.2008

kid stuff

Check out the Daily Swatch this week on True Up: All Fabric, All the Time. It's children's week and they'll be featuring photos chosen by guest curator Kimberly Niesz from her personal collection. Kim blogs at Niesz Vintage Home...and Fabric and is the top contributor to the True Up Flickr group. No matter the subject, she had fabrics to fit! I've had to skip the past few weeks because I had no psychedelics and no ships. But children's fabrics—I've got those!

girl and dog

I bought this cotton fabric on Ebay a couple of years ago—it's actually a set of two curtains. I love the little dog and the style of the artwork—cartoony, but in a 1940s kind of way. I also love how they've used gray for the shadows. Have I said already how much I'm loving the color gray lately?

kiss

I posted a few more cute children's fabrics to the group, too.

10.10.2008

vintage buttons

I've been photographing and listing buttons on my website like crazy, so many now that I've had to create another page in the plastic category! Lots of cool and colorful ones, including these cute vintage squirrel buttons:

squirrel buttons

I believe these are the same buttons as those shown here:

squirrels

I wish mine were still on their card because it's so darned cute, but it doesn't always work out that way. On my recent shopping trip I found tons of buttons (most on cards, too) so I'll be continuing to list them as I get time. FYI, I have several people who shop the buttons regularly so, if you see something you like, don't wait too long—they often sell quickly!

10.09.2008

the sketch

Here's what I'm thinking the quilt will look like (sketch done in Photoshop using swatches from the fabric store website that have been cropped to fit):

animal quilt

The back will be made from the polkadot fabric and turned to the front to make the binding/border. I wouldn't normally use two polkadots together but the dots in the green fabric are so tiny that it almost looks like a solid.

Not sure yet on the width of the strips and squares because I haven't worked out the overall quilt size yet. I'd like to not have to piece the back so the width of the brown fabric is going to determine everything else.

I worked for a couple of hours last night on the embroidery (while waiting for Project Runway to come on). Almost done!

10.07.2008

oh, deer

Another finished block:

fawn

I should be finished with the embroidery this week. All the blocks are at least halfway done with most needing just the facial details—the eyes are so small on some of the animals that they're killing my eyes! The brown polkadot fabric is on the way and I should be able to start cutting the fabric strips next week.

A quick shout out to one of my readers who mentioned the Antique Pattern Library web site in comments. This really is a great resource for vintage patterns—all scanned from public domain needlework pattern books and available as pdf downloads. Very cool. Thanks JZ!

10.01.2008

shopping trip

Well, the quilt shop didn't have the fabric I wanted, although they did have another colorway. That was enough to check on the shade of brown so I'll order it online. It was such a beautiful day that I made the rounds of the antique malls in the area. I didn't buy a lot but I found some great things, including a bunch of vintage needlework booklets and buttons that you'll find added to the website over the next couple of weeks. Some highlights of the trip:

A small (8" square) unfinished needlepoint with roses (there's a close up photo on my Flickr if you want to see more detail).

unfinished needlepoint

A vintage wire napkin holder with chippy red paint.

wire napkin holder

Two almost-perfect cards of vintage Bluebird buttons. Don't look for these on my website—they're all mine!

bluebird buttons

And I have to show you this oddity. Can you guess what it is?

rickrack collar

It's a ladies collar made from white rickrack that's been joined with crochet! I'm continually in awe of the creativity and needlework skills of our crafty women predecessors. Here's a closer up photo so you can see the details (and there are two more photos on my Flickr that are even closer).

rickrack collar closeup

Just incredible!