catfood labels

Aren't these fun? Original can labels for Kalico Kat and Fuzzy Wuzzy brand cat foods! I found these at the Olde Engine Works Market Place in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday. We woke up to a forecast of rain and figured we wouldn't get much done outdoors so we headed out for a day of antiquing.

I found a few cards of buttons, a small stack of sewing patterns, and some crocheted and embroidered hankies. And this funny appliqued towel—guess men didn't like drying dishes in the 1950s either!


Overall I found much less than I normally do. Maybe the economy is affecting the antique business, too—there were several empty booths and some of them had items that didn't seem all that old to me. David Bowie albums, for example? Maybe I'm being much pickier about what I buy. It is very early in the season and most of the outdoor flea markets haven't opened yet. That's where to find the real bargains.

We also had a nice lunch at Siamsa (I highly recommend the chicken pot pie, although you won't be eating dinner after eating it for lunch) and spent an hour or so browsing at Carroll & Carroll Books, both on Main Street. Found a lovely book—Some Flowers by Vita Sackville-West—with gorgeous watercolor illustrations accompanying short essays on her favorite flowers. For $9.98!


shop update

The new pillows have been added, except for two that I need to rephotograph. Most are birds, and I particularly like this one:

Fight Club

I named it Fight Club and the center is a vintage redwork quilt block with birds fighting over a worm; the bird in the back is cheering them on. Too funny!

Eight older pillow designs have been further reduced to 50% off. Last chance on these; if they don't sell I'm cutting them up and starting over!

This past week I've trimmed eight new tea towels and made five dozen (!) tissue cozies. I made so many that I ran out of the big buttons that I like to use, so one of those dozen still need their buttons. (Don't worry, I have some great buttons that I found on Ebay coming from England this week) They all need to be photographed—hopefully today—and then I'll be listing them. Some of the tissue cozies will be going to a local shop, some will go to my Etsy shop, and the rest to my website.

Signups for the Happily Handmade Giveaway begin next week and you can enter on my website and on the websites of the other sponsors. I haven't heard yet how many gift baskets there will be but they'll be full of great handcrafted items, including the ten tissue cozies that I donated. I'll tell you more about it next week.


spring has sprung

Happy first day of spring! And this seems like an appropriate time for my annual getting-ready-to-garden post. And it also coincides well with the news that Michelle Obama plans to turn part of the White House lawn into a vegetable garden. This will be the first vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden during World War II.

There's a group of food activists, including Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, who've been encouraging the Obamas to consider this idea and I'm glad to hear that they've decided to go ahead with it.

I am disappointed that they won't be planting beets (because Barack doesn't like them); obviously he's never tried the baby variety like the one I'm going to plant this year. Even if you don't like the root part, the greens are so good sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic. Yum!

veggie seeds

Our garden this year will be kind of basic with the usual peas, spinach, lettuce (several varieties), cucumbers, beets, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. We'll try growing corn again, although maybe not as many plants—I like corn but not every day! Herbs, of course. I always grow lots of cilantro and basil—both Italian and Thai.

And that's a point I want to make. While I have space for a big garden and the White House garden will be huge in comparison to mine, maybe you don't have much space to work with. That's OK. Just start somewhere. You'd be surprised what you can grow in just a few pots on your porch. Or even a windowsill in your kitchen. No matter how small some of the places I've lived have been, I always managed to grow something.

It will be a few weeks until we get started with planting. Peas will be first and conventional wisdom around here is that you plant them on Good Friday. That's what we'll do. And since we're still getting light frost in the mornings I'm happy to wait a few weeks.


Stitch School: Alternate Stem Stitch

Stitch School has moved to it's very own space on the web! You'll now find the Alternate Stem Stitch post here. Comments are now closed for this post; if you'd like to leave a comment please do so on the new one.


cut paper ACEOs

I don't know how many years it's been since I received my first promotion from illustrator Judith Moffatt. I know that I lived in Indiana at the time and was art director of a children's magazine there. It spent lots of time hanging from my bulletin board and then it traveled with me to my next job. Such a simple idea—a cut paper spider as Halloween card but also very clever in that it fit perfectly with her name (Muffet - Moffatt, get it?). Anyway, it wasn't long after I received it before I called to give her that first assignment. And I still have the card!

Mostly I didn't get the chance to meet the illustrators I worked with in person, but I did get to meet Judy at a function hosted by the next magazine I worked for. She's as delightful in person as she is on the phone. But the point of this post isn't to reminisce about my past life as an art director; maybe some other time.

I've been reading Judy's blog regularly but only recently got back in touch with her on Facebook. And she's just opened an Etsy shop where she's selling original hand cut paper ACEOs. In case you don't know (and I didn't) ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. These cards measure 2.5” x 3.5” and are sold as originals or limited edition prints. Each one is a mini work of art (one-of-a-kind, dated, and signed) and Judy's themes are taken from the more than 50 books she's completed during her career. I especially love her illustrations of animals and I know she uses her own cat and dog as models.

So, if you're looking for something unique and fun, check out her shop. I've seen Judy's work up close and you won't be disappointed—it really is wonderful!


shop update

I've been so busy working (getting my spring postcards to the printer, embroidering a custom project, and listing new products on my website) that I've forgotten to update my blog. It's really starting to feel like spring and there's so much to do, both work-related and around the house! It's a little early for outdoors but I'm starting to see some green down around the base of the plants in the herb garden and I couldn't resist stopping at the garden center this morning to pick up some vegetable seeds. It will be here before you know it.

I thought I'd show you some of the cool things just added to my website. I found this pair of plastic chrysanthemum curtain tiebacks somewhere in my travels this winter. I love them but they're a bit too minty green for my color scheme. Plus I have very few rooms with just one window and there are only two. Surely someone can find a use for them :)

curtain tie backs

pattern bookI've added about a dozen vintage knitting and crochet pattern books from the 40s and 50s, one of Jack Frost Two-Needle Mittens. I had one of these a few years ago—it sold quickly and someone emailed to see if I had another. I didn't, but now I do. Hopefully they read my blog. There are also a few books of baby patterns and four sets of Bucilla iron-on transfer monograms from 1921. These are so cool they probably deserve their own blog post!

vintage buttons I'm starting to list some of the buttons I purchased from the New Mexico estate and also from a few Ebay lots. A big batch of pinks. These are kind of cool—I guess they're meant to be for nurse's uniforms!

vintage violets broochThere are new aprons, lots of fabrics (some vintage and some newer), a vintage baby bib with an embroidered bunny, and two pretty vintage brooches (one with red stones, the other with violets). And I'm just getting started. One good thing about having no graphic design work is that I can totally focus on Primrose!


he likes it!

Remember the baby quilt I was working on for my friend Jenny and showed you all the stages of it's creation here on my blog? Well, I delivered it early last month but forgot to get a picture. Jenny, of course, has had plenty of things to occupy her time besides taking photos. Until yesterday. She emailed me some pictures last night and the quilt looks pretty good if I do say so myself. Thomas is pretty cute, too!

baby quilt