embroidered bird quilt

Nancy emailed me some photos of a quilt she finished recently and I wanted to share it with you. Made for her fifth grandchild who is due in about a month, and named "Sweetie Tweeties for Abigail", it features five embroidered blocks using my Lil' Birdies vintage embroidery pattern. She embroidered the birds in blue, then framed each block with a pretty pink floral print and surrounded them with alternating white and print squares. So pretty, and I'm sure Abigail will treasure it always.

I'm so glad that people are rediscovering the value of handcrafted baby gifts. They're so much more personal than mass-produced ones, especially if you make them yourself. But, even if you don't have the skills to do that, a handcrafted gift made with love and care by someone else is almost as special.

Thanks, Nancy, for sharing! And just so you know, I'm always happy to showcase the work of my readers and customers. It's inspiring for those of you who are new to embroidery to see where you can go with your new-found skills.


put down the camera

Mom, we're trying to sleep here...
Said in a whining teenage girl voice: Mo-o-o-m, can't you see we're trying to sleep here. Put down the camera and leave us alo-o-o-ne.

Posted because who can resist a cute cat picture :)


Ebay goodies

I'm having so much trouble writing lately—not much is happening that's exciting enough to talk about. Maybe it's the time of year—it's cold and I don't do much antique hunting in the winter. Or maybe it's the aftermath of being sick—all that lying around didn't help with keeping me motivated. So bear with me—my "voice" will be back.

I can show you some of my recent Ebay purchases. I'm always looking for feedsacks to add to my stash—they're perfect for pillows and the scraps work very well for tissue cozies and sachet stacks. Here are a couple I found this week:
floral feedsack
diamond feedsack
I'm always amazed at how bright and clean these look even though they're sometimes 50 and 60 years old. And I love the set of vintage embroidered baby bibs I won yesterday. Here's one of them:
little puppy bib
There are three and they need just a little embroidery to finish them up. That shouldn't take more than an hour or so. Then I'll trace the designs before selling the bibs on my website. This year I'm going to try to expand my baby section a little. I'm working on some bib and burp cloth ideas—with cute embroidery, of course.



It's not often that I get to see how my customers use their purchases. When their packages leave my hands that's usually the end of it. Unless I sell to friends with blogs, that is.

Carrie, whose work you can see here, has been doing some clothing refashioning lately and bought some lovely red and cream vintage crocheted trim from me before the holidays. And she did a blog post about her latest creation—a sweater trimmed with that crochet and the buttons replaced with some matching red ones.

I'm sure I've talked before about how easy it is to update some of the old or boring things in your closet, or articles of clothing you've found in your travels. As someone mentioned in the comments of Carrie's post, manufacturers really do skimp on buttons. They either don't match all that well or they match too well and disappear visually. Sometimes they fall apart too easily—those shell buttons are the worst. And it's so easy to replace them. It could be with modern buttons but vintage buttons are unique and somehow more special. How cool would rhinestone buttons look on a plain black sweater?

I think it's especially easy if you only need a few buttons —like for a sweater—because vintage buttons often come in small quantities. I have a gray silk tunic blouse with plain shell buttons that I've wanted to replace for years. The problem is that I need twelve of them, they're an odd size, and I haven't yet found enough of them in a color that matches. Who knew that gray would be so hard to match? So the search continues.

But do consider swapping out buttons and trying other embellishments. Like Carrie's crochet trim. And if you've been practicing the embroidery stitches I frequently post about, you can try adding some embroidery, too. A couple of years ago, Anthropologie had the cutest sweaters for little girls with appliqued and embroidered flowers across the bottom. You can do that yourself and for a lot less money! Work with all six strands of embroidery floss and a needle with a larger eye, or try brightly colored wool yarns for a chunkier look.


belated new years wishes

After my last post I started to feel better and actually made it to a few holiday social occasions. I wasn't the life of the party—mugs of hot tea aren't quite as much fun as eggnog or mixed drinks—but I managed. Then, bam, it turned into a sinus infection. Which knocked me out. Basically I've been moping around the house for the past week, popping antibiotics, and working on things that didn't involve moving from the sofa. Like paperwork.

Everyone thinks having your own business would be so much fun. And it is. But there are so many not-fun things that you don't consider when you're dreaming of how creative you're going to be. I processed close to 200 orders last year (and a huge thank you to those of you who became customers!). Each one of those orders has an invoice and each item has a backup sheet on file. For crafted items I have to keep track of how much the materials cost to make it. And for every vintage item I need to track what it originally cost. There's really no way to do your taxes without this info. The IRS doesn't take kindly to guesswork :)

When I first started out I didn't have a clue how to track all this stuff but over time I've developed a system that seems to work. And every year about this time I start pulling all the parts of the system together. It's mostly mindless work and that turned out to be the perfect thing for my condition.

I tried to write blog posts several times last week but they either made no sense or were too boring. So excuse my lack of posting. Come to think of it, this isn't the most exciting post I've ever written. Hopefully I'll be back to my old self soon.

Happy new years—six days late!