sign of spring

I always know it's May because the lilacs are blooming. Even though I lived in an apartment complex as a kid, and you wouldn't expect nice plantings, we had pretty nice landscaping. Including a big lilac bush in the green space behind our building.

My mother's birthday was May 18 and she could always count on a bouquet for that day and usually for Mother's Day, too. The bush was huge and I could pick armfuls and never make a dent in the blooms.

When I finally bought a house of my own I was happy to find a big lilac bush growing there. And under the bedroom window. On warm nights with the window open, their spicy scent fills the room.

Later, we took down a row of very ugly pine trees along the end of our property and replaced them with lilacs of various colors, including this deep plum with white outlined petals.

I picked some this afternoon and filled a vintage glass vase I bought last year. The photo was taken on my screened porch but they'll come inside tonight. It's going to be cold again; it was 34 degrees this morning!



mystery birds

I've recently gotten interested in needlepoint again, especially designs with birds. I scored these two vintage beauties on Ebay. Both are what's called pre-worked, meaning that the design is already completed in the center of the canvas, and the buyer fills in the background with a color of their choosing. I haven't decided that part yet!

The first has two red birds. The seller called them cardinals but clearly they're not; the female is too bright and they don't have pointed heads. This is a vintage Bucilla brand, which is a very common brand for needlepoint.

vintage needlepoint - red birds

The second one is my favorite; Madincor brand, made in Madeira, Portugal. And that was a clue in my search for the identity of the bird, which has unusual coloring and a very long beak. It's not North American! Can you guess?

vintage needlepoint - European Bee-Eater

It's a European Bee-Eater and you can see him in the following photo taken in Spain. Yes, they really do eat bees; they snatch them right out of the air.


I can't wait to get started on these and they're small so they should go quickly. The bee-eater is just 8" x 8", the red birds are a little larger at 13" x 13". I haven't found a local source for tapestry wool for the background so it looks like I'll be shopping for it online.


who's got the buttons?

You may have noticed a new link in my sidebar; it's for my second Etsy shop, opened in January and selling only buttons. That (maybe?) sounds too specialized but buttons were some of the biggest sellers in my original Etsy shop and I wanted to do a major destash of that section on my website, so it makes all kinds of sense.

I have mostly vintage buttons from the 1940s to 1970s, a lot of plastic, some metal, glass, and pearl. A few newer buttons. All are perfect for sewing (of course), crafting (have you seen some of the gorgeous jewelry people are making from buttons?), and even collecting for some of the very old and valuable ones.

I started out buying buttons for my own work and use them on just about all my products—pillows, hanky sachets, mini wallets, and tissue cozies. And I love the brightly-colored plastic ones from the 1940s and 50s, especially the flower-shaped and pinwheel styles.

I find them at local flea markets, yard sales, and antique malls and also on Ebay. But the best and least-expensive way for me to buy them is in box lots. And the problem with that is I end up with too many and with ones that aren't quite right for my work. That's why I started selling them. And that's why I can offer them to you at great prices.

With every order you'll get a bonus vintage plastic button sewn to a cute business card.

So check it out when you have a few minutes to spend browsing. I try to keep about a hundred listings active and add new buttons as the current listings sell. And, if you're looking for something in particular (a size, a color, or a style), convo me and I'll see if I can help. I have, literally, hundreds of buttons on hand and I might have just what you're looking for.