Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Serging, Serging, Serging

With some help from Pam and Linda (thank you both!), I was able to get that serger working with no problem. Which is a good thing, since the sewing machine repair guy wanted $90 to see if it worked and to clean it up.

And a new working sewing machine requires a project immediately right?
I picked up that blue strawberry fabric in Target at the dollar spot. They are actually bandannas.

I used the market tote pattern from The Crafter's Companion .
And then I set about serging my little heart out. Since I used the serger I didn't bother with a lining. And the pattern calls for piping, but I just some other vintage trim I had kicking around.

It's cute, eh? I am thinking about making it a little shorter, but I think I will see how it works first. (I totally did not follow the pattern measurements.)

I am now one bag closer to getting rid of the plastic bag habit too!

I started a Flickr group for the apron swap. I know I already saw one apron on a blog yesterday. If are having swap issues, or need help posting to the group let me know. You can find the new group here: Vintage Apron Swap .

I know some of you were crazy for that butterfly quilt, so I photographed my other one and put it in my Flickr also. It's a lot bigger than the one I posted yesterday and worth having a gander at.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crazy Lucky

The very first thing I should say here is that I feel crazy lucky to have found these. And I have no clue what is going on this year. For the past few years I have been lucky to find one or two quilts a year to add to the collection, and usually the condition is pretty bad. But I think these two quilts make maybe 5 or 6 quilts in the past 2 or 3 months, and the condition on them is pretty darn good.

So, onto the story. We went to a flea market/garage sale thing Saturday morning before Dave's parents arrived at the airport. We arrived shortly after 8, starting time, but the line to park was crazy long. I was already twitchy because of my IL's arriving, so Dave told me to just get out of the car there and he would wait in line and park. He shoved a fistful of dollars at me and off I went.
Since I had a million other things on my mind and had hardly slept in two days, I was totally not on my garage sale game. It was freezing cold and I was mostly just wandering around aimlessly. People were still pricing things. I caught a glimpse of some fabric out of the corner of my eye, shoved in a plastic bag and under a pile of things waiting to be priced.

I saw that there were quilts, but I figured I couldn't afford them and walked on. Except they called me to come back to them. LOL So, back I went. When she said the price I almost fell over. I had her show me every one in the bag to make sure I wasn't missing anything, took the two old ones, forked over a ridiculously small amount of money and ran off like a bandit. I didn't even bother to open them up to see what they looked like. They were too cheap to care.
At that point I realized that everyone was still waiting in that line to park, so I ran around as much of the sale as I could before the majority of the crowd could start spilling in.

I ended up walking the whole market twice. And it took me forever to find David, since we stupidly made no arrangements on where to meet when I got out of the van. Jack had a gigantic temper tantrum, which made Dave have a gigantic temper tantrum. Me? There was no deflating my happiness over what I was carrying around. Every woman who passed me would exclaim, "OH! She has quilts."
We had so much other stuff to do that I didn't even get to unfold them until after we had picked up Dave's parents at the airport.

But when I did, oh man. What a treasure.

The second one has the most lovely 1930's fabric print. And the butterflies! They are gorgeous.
I found a few other treasures too.

A bag stuffed with the sweetest old patterns. There are 27 pages full of them, and they have embroidery patterns, baby clothes patterns, stuffed toy patterns and more on them. The snails are so darn cute!

And 2 more old mirrors, which are impossible to find here. Most of my collection of mirrors was acquired in Florida, so finding them on top of the quilts really was icing on the cake.

I am lucky, lucky girl. :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Scenes from a weekend

We have had an absolute whirlwind of a weekend. And we are all exhausted. There were trips to the airport, meals in restaurants, a birthday for Daddy, a trip to the zoo, swimming in the hotel pool, a BBQ, train rides, stories to be read, plenty of dishes to be washed and more.
There was plenty of egg admiring;
Roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, dinosaurs (which scared Jack to death);
Some typical three year old ass showing (LOL);
And plenty of love from both directions between Jack and Grandma and Grandpa.

He was certainly sad to see them go.

In all honesty, I am a little sad for him, since it could be a really long time before he sees them again.

I found a few things at the flea market on Saturday morning before they arrived that are really squeal worthy. Once I recuperate I will try and get a picture of them. Well, if it warms up and stops raining. It is freezing here again.

And we are supposed to leave for Chicago on Friday morning.

Did I mention that I REALLY have the urge to sew? Like right this minute.

Maybe I should go do something about that...

P.S. Thank you for the Earth Day ideas. I started the recycling on Earth Day, and in less than a week I have filled 2 trash bags with things that can be recycled instead of going in our trash. I had no idea how much of our trash we could have been recycling, but I am feeling pretty good about making that change!

Friday, April 25, 2008

So far beyond the edge of sanity

Gah. I am in the middle of a most intense freak out about the impending visit from the in-laws, and blogger decides this is a good time to not work properly?

It figures.

While trying to take my mind off my own drama, I went to the thrift this morning. The last thing I need is another lamp, but this one is so cute.
My grandma's lilacs are blooming. I cut a few off to freshen up the house. The smell reminds me of her.
Jack has totally given up on sleeping. He is so tired he has resorted to sleeping in the car, which is very unlike him.

The extra exhaustion means that my freak out is even worse than it normally would be. And we are in the midst of trying a new parenting thing with him, which was working really, really well. Until I started to get overwhelmed and tired and have not been working it very well the past 2 days.
Our redbud tree is in bloom also. Gorgeous.
I also found a new tablecloth this morning. You would think that as many as I have I wouldn't get so excited about them, but I still do.

How's that for a random post? LOL

Is there some kind of "the in-laws are coming-the house needs cleaning-my kid won't sleep-I have no idea what to get my husband for his birthday-the phone won't stop ringing-man, I really need a nap" pill? I need it if there is.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spilling the beans

I see things on line that give me crazy ideas. I always think "gee, I could make that for $5." When I saw these bean bags that was the first thing I said to myself.

At some point around Christmas time I was in Hancock and the corduroy was on sale dirt cheap. I bought what I thought was gobs of it with that bean bag in mind.

It took me FOREVER to find a beanbag to cover. (Buying the bean bag filler separately is prohibitively expensive.) I finally found one in Target and set about the business of making a new cover for it.
As is usually the case around here, the problems only started multiply from the get go.

First, I did NOT have enough corduroy after all. And Hancocks no longer has any corduroy. After searching desperately around the store, I found a piece that had been sitting in the remnant bin since December. With a giant red stain on it. Whatever, I was desperate, and that was the only matching piece to be had. Home it came.

Then while I was cutting out the pieces, I marked the pattern wrong on one of the pieces. In yellow sharpie. On the right side of the fabric. With no more of that fabric to be had.

Ok, whatever. Must persevere.

It came together easily until it came time to fit the bottom piece with the zipper on. No matter how many times I chopped that piece smaller and smaller and smaller it was always too big.

Ok, whatever. Must persevere.

So I sewed it on with a square bottom instead.

And the beans hit the fan. Literally.

There was no way on earth to get the original bean bag into the cover, even though I had used a 21 inch zipper on the cover (and the original has an 8 inch zipper). It would not fit. So, I chopped it open, took half the beans out, shoved it into the cover and refilled it.

With beans EVERYWHERE. They are so staticky. They were all over Jack, they were all over the cats, they were all over the walls. Jack was running around screaming like a maniac, my freak cat was trying to eat them. Good times people, good times.

In fact, there are still beans under the sofa.

It's cute though, eh?

As part of Jack's room makeover* we plan to make him an enchanted forest tree .

Anyone want to take bets on how many disasters that project will involve? LOL

*It will be awhile before I get those photos up. David's parents are coming this weekend and we have not seen them since before Jack was even able to walk. I have some freaking out, errr cleaning, to do. :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth day

Does anyone want to discuss earth related matters for a moment?

When I was a teenager I was very passionate about all things "green". At the time, I took a lot of heat for being "mother earth" or a "hippie". It wasn't "cool" then. As I aged, it somehow lost importance to me until Jack was born. With a new baby to care for, the world seemed like a much scarier place, and I started to rediscover the urge to be a little more earth friendly.

However, what I discovered is that it wasn't easy. I wanted things like organic food, which were nowhere to be found around here just 3 years ago. But times are changing, and suddenly I am able to find a lot of good options for us, and they are everywhere, even at the local grocery across the street from the house.
A few of the green things we are working on, or have done in the past three years:

*Shortly after Jack was born, I made my own baby wipes . That one pile of wipes has lasted 3+ years.
*We gave up all plastic food storage containers for longer lasting, no chemical leaching glass ones
*We used glass baby bottles the minute I got wind of the bisphenol-A controversy, which is really gaining speed right now, with Toys R Us saying this week they will no longer sell those baby bottles that contain bp-A
*We stopped microwaving in plastic
*We have always bought our milk from Oberweis , which is not certified organic, but they have hormone free milk
*When there is an organic food choice, I choose it
*We compost our yard waste
*If I had to guess, I would say 70-80% of the things we own are bought secondhand. We buy everything from toys to furniture to clothing on the secondhand market. When we are done with things, I freecycle everything possible
*I love recycling fabric/curtains/garments into other useful things for us. Old t-shirts into pants for Jack, curtains into tote bags, etc. And 90% of my craft and sewing supplies are purchased secondhand. Plus, I am generally very good about using what I have when I want to craft.
*I have long been searching for a Teflon alternative. Finally! A good solution - Green Pans . We have nothing but good things to say about them. (Ours came from HSN.)
*I have been trying for years to get our trash company to offer us a recycling option. Last month a flyer came in the mail for a trash company that will do recycling. Our new bins arrive this week. We can recycle everything from tin foil to paperback books now.
*I recently made the switch to non-toxic household cleaners. I like the Mrs Meyers geranium scented line. Mmmmm, roses. I tried the Clorox Green Works stuff first, because it was easier to find. But the smell really puts me off. And I don't think it was working very well, my toilets were mildewy within a few days.
So, up until now, my choices have mostly been related to two things: thrift (the cheaper way to live) or Jack (a desire to have him be a healthy kid).

This year I am going to try and kick it up a notch and move forward in things that are truly better for the environment. On my list to work towards this year:

*Use the clothesline more often, and run the dryer less. And not just for tablecloths.
*Start walking or riding our bikes more for short errands. (This is also thrift driven though, with the price of gas at $3.50 a gallon.)
*Be consistent about using reusable tote bags! I sew, I should be all over this. Why am I not?
*Use green bags to cut down on food waste
*Make a reusable pad for the swiffer
*Be better about keeping a list of things we need around the house so they can be bought secondhand.
*Start paying attention to packaging. Less is more.
*Try and cut down our dangerous paper towel addiction.
*Find a good green blog that has easy to live with green ideas. I loved when Jen at the The Felt Mouse did her environmental posts because they were ideas I could easily implement*.

Now it's your turn!

Have any green goals this year?
Any easy to implement green ideas?
Know of a good green blog?
Want to make a green post of your own?

*I do not want to take care of chickens, and I don't think the neighbors would appreciate them!
*I tried cloth diapers, Jack's skin was too sensitive.
*I wish we had easy access to a CSA, but we don't.
*Essentially, we live in a very middle America type place, I see plenty of cool things, but not everything is really do-able for this lifestyle. Does that make sense?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flea Market Sundays

By the time Friday night rolled around, I was feeling completely burned out on life and swore I was going to spend this entire weekend doing positively nothing. Hahaha. I crack myself up. Me do nothing in the springtime on the weekend? Probably never going to happen.

I did let myself sleep until 8 30 on Saturday though. Then we trotted off to a city wide garage sale out in the country. It wasn't as full of good junk as I had hoped, but it was late in the morning, cold and raining. It didn't matter though, the drive was gorgeous and I love it out there.

And what I did pick up I really love.

The flea market was good to me this morning too. Look at that quilt!!! God it is gorgeous. I am going to need another projik pie safe soon. (I don't think I can fit this one in there.)
I picked up another 2 sets of old canisters too. Not in the greatest shape, but they are useful. And they were crazy cheap.

Does anyone know an easy way to clean them? They are always dirty, but the paint seems to come off so easy. And just soap doesn't seem to cut the dirt.
Of course, I bought a piece of pottery. Or two.
And a tablecloth. Or two. They haven't been washed yet, so ignore those stains. I'll get to it.
And the most awesome find, an old flour sack with the label still on it. They label is made of crepe paper, and has a 1959 copyright on it.

I can't decide if I should wash it or leave it be...

It's good to have junking season back in swing, even if there is no place to park. And even if there is a lot less stuff than usual. (I know it probably doesn't seem like it here, but there is less stuff out there.)

There are gobs and gobs more photos on Flickr. Photos of gorgeous old buildings out in the country with beautiful blue lead paint, close ups of the quilt fabrics, some of the other stuff I bought, pictures taken by Jack, and more. You know you want to look at them. :-)

I am off to sneak a 2 minute nap in. Bliss.

P.S. All apron swap partners have been assigned. If you didn't get a few swap emails this weekend, look in your spam folder or give me a shout.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What next, locusts?

4 am

What a night.

Jack woke us up at 4 am because he couldn't find the dandy. Dave gives him the dandy, comes back to bed and goes back to snoring. I have a hard time falling asleep after Jack wakes me up in the middle of the night, so I lay awake tossing and turning.

I realize the birds are making a lot of noise, but can't make heads or tails of it in my zombie state.

4:37 am

In between sleep and awake, the bed starts shaking like crazy. I hear pottery clanging and the pictures on the walls rattling. It takes me a minute to get my head together and ask Dave what is happening.

"Earthquake," is his reply.

Earthquake? Crap. It's scary and seemingly going on forever and I cannot for the life of me remember what we are supposed to do.

It stops.

Turn on the tv and wait for news. The last earthquake I can remember was when I was a small girl. I know this one was bigger than that, the shaking was pretty intense, and we have one of those latex mattresses, where Dave could jump and down on his side and my side wouldn't move.

5.2 on the Richter scale.

Pretty big, as I expected.

Spend the next 2 hours trying in vain to fall back asleep. Hope there are no aftershocks.

Make note to teach Jack earthquake safety, not just tornado safety.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Perfect in pink

When I was on the painting kick last week I painted that glass door knob shelf pink. I was totally going to paint it green, you saw all those green paint chips. But at the last minute I went with pink. (Martha Stewart Silk Kimono Pink to be exact.)

It was meant to be pink. Love it.
I wasn't sure where I was going to put it, or what to put on it. Last weekend at the garage sale I picked up these three pieces of needlework at the very last minute (we were paying when I spied them!).

They ended up being the perfect thing to hang from the door knobs.
I haven't taken the backs off to see if they were handmade or not, I don't want to tear the paper. But if they were, her work is perfect and very fine. The stitches are oh so tiny.
I don't know which is my favorite!

Tomorrow we are redoing Jack's room, and I made a cute project for his new room yesterday. I am not looking forward to all that painting though. Thank goodness there is some kind of spa party I am committed to tomorrow night! LOL
Sorry the photos aren't very light, it is still dark in our room this morning, and Jack and I are spending all day outside right now, so I knew I had to get the photos this morning. (And there is something wierd happening where the wall looks dirty there? I keep inspecting that spot on the wall and it looks fine in real life. I have no clue what that is about.)

We'll be out back playing hopscotch if you need us.

P.S. Apron swappers should have received an email from me yesterday. If you didn't and you think you should have, email me asap. I am finishing matching the partners up today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garage sales, with snow

Sometimes I am way too stubborn for my own good. I set out Saturday morning to do the garage sale scene even though it was 30 something degrees and we were having snow flurries. Why? Because it is mid April and it is time! After several stops and that sinking "why I am wasting time" feeling, I went home to get Jack and Dave to go with me to one last sale.

It turns out I should have started and ended with that sale. (Dave is my lucky penny.) We had a pretty big pile of stuff when we were done. I was so excited to find these old fabric books. Many moons ago I saw an idea in a magazine to use the fabric book pages to make throw pillows. We are redoing Jack's room over the next two weeks, and I see a fabric book pillow in his future.
I picked up 6 of these Carnation milk bottles. I have no clue what they are, and googling was no help. They are plastic and they have screws on the bottoms to take that bottom part off. I think they are insulated. But I can't tell if they were actual milk bottles or just a fantasy decorator item? I thought they would look good grouped together in the kitchen somewhere, or maybe I will use them to store things like beans that are easily poured in and out.
This is one cute tablecloth. It has that farm thing going on again, but this time it has an americana theme, complete with eagles. Tablecloths were so bountiful last year and not so much this year. So when I do find one I could jump up and down with joy. This one is already on the table for the week.
And what I hope is the really big jump up and down woooooooofreakinghoooooooooo of the day, a serger. For $10. She didn't have the book, and Singer wants more than I paid for the machine to sell me the book, but there is no way I can even attempt to work this thing without the book. So I am not entirely sure it doesn't need a tune up or something, but if it works, what a score. I never see them used for less than a $100.

Of course, that means I should actually, you know, sew something again, eh?

(I have lots of projects in the works, but I cannot seem to get anything finished right now. I have issues. LOL)

P.S. Jack and I took a freezing cold walk yesterday and photographed all the lovely spring flowers. They are in my Flickr and will be appearing as new headers here for the next few months. There are a lot of gorgeous flowers right now! The current one has not been retouched. Look at how blue the sky was...

Monday, April 14, 2008

U says yew

(I had a totally different post ready to go up today, but this mama is so excited about what just happened here that there is a brief change in programming plans.)
The sun was shining here for a full 10 minutes, so I was trying to rush Jack along with cleaning up the lincoln logs so we could go for a walk. I heard him sitting there sounding out letters and sounds, and asking me what sound does e make and what do the letters on the can spell and looked down to see he had made letters out of the timbers. A u, a t, and an e.
He noticed that the writing on the can is done with logs, so he decided to try and spell out the name of the toy, tumble tree timbers.

How freaking cool is that?

My little baby, who is not so babyish anymore, is *this* close to reading and spelling. And he really wants to do it. He is spending hours and hours and hours every day practicing it.
It's a little hard to see his pencil marks on that paper, but last Friday he asked me how to spell cat. I spelled it for him and he wrote it down. All by himself. See it there? T-c-A-.

I swear this has happened almost overnight. Last week I was worrying that he couldn't draw a stick figure, much less a letter. This week he wants to write words!

I think I might swoon with the joy of it all.
On Friday he discovered that his little portable radio was no longer working. I remembered seeing something on a message board about an MP3 player on clearance at Target, and after reading the reviews for the only MP3 player actually made for kids, the fisher price one, we decided to just let him have this real one. (It has spongebob on it.)

He is in love with this thing. We like that we can put all kinds of music on it for him and he can control it himself (go, go, go for g). Added bonus points for it giving me the first quiet shopping trip in nearly a year. There was no screaming or crying or begging or trying to run around like a wild thing. He sat in the cart, pushed the buttons and listened to his music. Well, after we learned all about how they tint paint. (I needed pink this time, I will show you that later this week.)

Total mothering bliss I tell you.

Ok, we better get started on that walk. I see a lamp teetering very close to the edge of disaster. LOL

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Swap business

Hello all!

I am trying to get the swap stuff together. I will leave the sign ups open through midnight tonight. It's not too late to play along if you are on the fence.

I need email addresses from a few people still*, so please email me at (Include "apron swap" in the subject.)

Once I have all the email addresses together, I will assign partners and email you with your partners blog and/or email address and further instructions.

Thank you!

*I think that list includes: Shelley and Sara .

** If anyone wanted to play along and you don't see your name, my apologies. I have a ton of email from that van business, so just let me know again please.

(I added links for those whose addresses are missing to avoid confusion. Updated my needed address list.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So many choices

Oh my, I hadn't intended to be away from the blog for so long. It's cold here, so cold we had snow flurries today. Trying to sell the old car is a lot of work. I am making nothing right now. And Jack is totally turning into a wild thing. I wish I could throw my arms up and gnash my terrible teeth and roar my terrible roar. It's all just making me so crabby.

Being creative usually brings me out of the funk, so I thought I would paint that flea market table I bought last week. I had a dream a few months ago that we were living in our forever house (this house is just a rental), and when you came in the front door there was a gorgeous robin's egg blue table in front of a huge old mirror. Sitting on it was a piece of pottery filled with pink peonies.

When I saw this table at the flea last weekend I didn't think I would ever be able to afford it. It's a nice old piece of furniture, but, it was *the* table, right down to the scalloped design on the top. The forever house foyer table, except it wasn't yet blue. The price was right, so home it came. Everyone at the flea was commenting on it when I was waiting for Dave to come pick us up, "oh, now that's a nice table!"
I am sure they would die if they knew I painted it. In fact, even I wasn't sure I was going to paint it. But after a week of it sitting here, I knew it was going to be painted. There are so many darn paint color choices I go into overload. And none of them ever seem to be just right. Most of our painted stuff is old painted stuff, and new paint just doesn't have that same tone as the old paint*.
I ended up having them custom mix a color, which was perfect in the can, and on the can lid, but it is lighter than I wanted on the table.

It's ok though. I still think it's gorgeous.

That vase is only there for the photo. It has been replaced with a nifty plastic jug I found this morning. Something fragile would never survive Jack and the cats in that spot. My mirrors could use rehanging now too. It's always something! LOL
If you are an apron swap participant, feel free to add the button above to your blog. I think you will have to click it to enlarge it first, then right click it to save it. And thank you to Julie at Jane's Apron for making it for us!

The apron swap is at an uneven number, so if you are on the fence, please join in the fun!

*Yes, they have been tested for lead. I know which pieces are lead paint and which aren't. I varnished all but one of them. Jack is not allowed to touch that one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"You can never have too many aprons..."

I love aprons, I really do. They are a terrific way to find the most beautiful bits of fabrics of the past and they fit the ever important rule - "cheap and cheerful". When I didn't win one of the aprons in the give away at Oodles and Oodles , I was pleased as punch when she copied the pattern for everyone. Except I have made and remade this apron several times now, and I cannot manage to get it to where I like it! This time the embroidery is off center. Ah well, as soon as it gets warm enough it will be put into service.
When I was thinking of what to put in this post, I realized I had totally forgotten about the new Apron book, Apronisms , which I will be picking up at the bookstore this afternoon now that I have remembered it.

You have seen most of these aprons before if you have been hanging out here awhile, but they are some of my favorites.
I know that a lot of you are apron lovers too, so how about an easy swap?

Aprons are easily found everywhere: thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, even at antique malls where the prices are still pretty reasonable. Or maybe like me you already have a huge stash of them in the drawer. And they are so cheap to mail.
All you have to do is leave a comment specifying that you want to swap on this post before Sunday, April 13th and I will pair you up with another apron lover.
You will send just one vintage apron to your partner (vintage only please!) by May 14th. Vintage aprons still leave you a lot of choices: printed fabric aprons, dish towel aprons, chicken scratch aprons, bib aprons, half aprons, children's aprons (a personal favorite!), sheer nylon aprons, etc.

In order to relieve any swap anxiety, please only send an apron. Nothing extra is necessary and it eliminates a lot of worries for your partner.

Feel free to post a note on your own blog to help draw more swappers. (If anyone out there is able to create those blog button things and would be willing to make one, it would be much appreciated. Just shoot me an email.)

Ok, then. Are you in? :-)