Thursday, May 29, 2008

A bit of Q & A

It was raining so much over the weekend that I decided I needed to make something again. I have had this shelf since I moved into my first apartment at 18, and it hasn't been painted since then. It was still wearing sponge paint even.
It is so much cuter now. Painted in Martha's picnic basket green, with some old contact paper on the back. I only did the contact paper on the top because the bottom is totally obscured.
It holds cookbooks and some learning materials for Jack to access on his own.
I fall in love with old jars every time I see them, but I cannot bring myself to give someone $10 for an old jar with a decal on it.

So, I bought this pair of old jars on the 100 mile sale, and while I had that contact paper out, I cut out some of the roses and stuck them on the front of the jars.

Voila! Cute and cheap. You could even pull jars out of the recycling bin and do this project for free. Just spray paint the lids.

And last but not least, wayyyyyyyyyyyyy back in October of '06 we did a little ask me anything around here. Maybe it's time to revisit that? If you have a burning question, about anything at all, ask away.

Maybe you have asked me something before that I forgot to answer, or haven't gotten to yet. Maybe you really need to know how to wash that apron or what Jack eats for breakfast or how many tablecloths I actually own now or the perennial favorite "where do you keep all that stuff"? LOL.

My question for all of you is, what do you come here for? Jack? Craft? Thrift? All of the above? Some of the above? Is there anything you are dying to see around here?

Summertime always feels like a free-wheeling time for blogging, and I am just looking ahead a little! I really liked doing a whole week of small make it projects and I have a few other ideas I might flesh out soon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

100 miles of silence?

The 100 mile yard sale was actually better than I expected it to be. It was blissfully quiet without Jack along and in contrast to the cool temps and non stop rain here, it was a broiling 95+ degrees down in the bootheel.

This barn was so creepy that Dave would not look in the broken out windows no matter how much I begged him to. He insisted it was filled with bats, lol. It was filled with birds and water, not bats, but it was a horror movie waiting to happen for sure.
And we did find junk too. Not a whole car full or anything, and about half was for Jack and Dave, but this year finding anything at all seems like a real surprise to me.

This is one of the cutest aprons ever. Love those flowers.
The guy who sold me this was pretty sure it was a broken half of a "something or other". It isn't broken at all. It's a paper towel holder that goes with my canister/cake carrier collection.
Lately for me dreams are made of feedsacks. I bought a small pile of them, including 2 and 1/2 sacks with this darling fruity print. Usually I cannot cut them up, but these are screaming to be kitchen curtains, aren't they?
A beautiful, vibrant canister set. (Actually bought at the gyspy caravan here in town on Memorial Day.)
And part of a quilt that kills me more than a little.

What kills me is that people usually cut out the good parts so you find the really ratty parts left over. What is left over is in nearly perfect condition. So assuming that the parts she cut off were good bits, she took the scissors to a perfectly fine, beautiful old quilt.

Kills me I tell you. Sometimes the whole "repurposing" thing really goes too far.

Anyway, enough of that. I will put more pictures up on the old Flickr account. There are tablecloths and more feedsacks and more aprons and a few other bits and bobs.

We will definitely be doing that sale again next year, assuming gas doesn't cost $18 a gallon by then. LOL

P.S. While we were there I saw two vintage quilts with bright orange borders and sashing. I have never seen orange before, at least not in quilts that look to be of the 1940's or earlier vintage. And there don't seem to be any on Ebay? They were too expensive, but they were so interesting. Do you see them with orange where you live? Or maybe you have one? I would love to see photos of it if you see them or have one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Totally random Tuesday

So how about a bunch of totally random stuff on a Tuesday?Around Earth Day I asked about the Green Bags for produce. Based on your recommendations, we bought them. I've been using them for about 3 weeks now and being the scientist that I am, I had to do a few experiments of my own. These bananas are both 14 days old. The one on the right was on the counter, the one on the left in the green bag.

Overall, I quite like them. They really have saved me money on produce. In fact, 3 weeks out I am just now starting to need produce again.

I have a few complaints though. The bags are hard to get to stay closed. You might spring for the ziploc type ones, because if they are open, they don't work. It's hard to see what produce is what in the fridge inside them. The shipping costs were outrageous, $9 or something for 20 bags that came in a padded envelope that mailed for a little over a dollar I am sure. Even the large size bags do not hold things like green onions or asparagus effectively. If you put the entire giant Costco sized box of strawberries in one bag, the weight of the berries alone will kill the ones on the bottom, so you need to split them into several bags and try to position things in the fridge so they are not piled on one another. (Which is tricky with my silly, small side by side fridge.)

If you are going to order them, try HSN first. They were selling 50 bags including extra large ones, for $24.95 with shipping. I paid $20 for 20 from their website.
If you want to make the belt buckle frames, here are a few tips:

*Wear safety glasses. If you turn that dremel cutting bit at an angle it will break off and nearly put your eye out.
*Keep the kids far away when doing said project.
*When you are buying all those bits in the hardware store, do yourself a favor and buy a particulate mask. Those things are so toxic and they smell SO FREAKING BAD that you will think you are going to either vomit or die before you are done.
*It's really quite hard to hold such a small thing steady and cut it apart with a dremel without fearing you are going to lose a finger. I think you need some kind of clamp on a work surface if possible to hold the buckle in while you cut.
*On the super small ones you will have to be creative with getting the middle part out without cutting the buckle. Even if you can only get a really small portion of it out, you can grind down the rest of it.
*I used Steam-A-Seam to get my fabric onto the backing. The regular stuff, not version 2. I just cut the pieces of fabric and ironed them on so they would be wrinkle free and not have glue bleed through.
*I bonded the fabric to mat board, not card stock. It makes a nicer finish and adds the needed weight to the fabric. You can buy giant sheets of mat board at Hobby Lobby for about $6. I have been using the same sheet for projects since last summer.
*I made the hangers with a jewelry finding that I just hot glued to the back of the mat board. Sorry that I don't know what to call that piece, it's a small circle on a long post, they are easy to find.
On Sunday, while we were in Hancock's fabrics, Jack had an accident that resulted in his falling head first onto the cement floor from a few feet up. His head immediately started to swell up, the eye started to swell closed, and I freaked out. Totally.

We rushed him to the pediatric urgent care, where we were assured he would likely be fine, but we had to wake him up every 3 hours Sunday night.

What a night.

The eye looks pretty good though, thanks to the wonders of Arnica Gel . That stuff really works on bruising and swelling, particularly on kids who won't use an ice pack.

We have also started a new morning routine with him, which involves actively waking him up when his father gets up, so that Dave can get him dressed, fed and out of the diaper. It means I have about 3 less of the "are these jobs ever going to end?" jobs to do with him in the morning, and he is getting up early enough to need a nap in the afternoon and still be able to sleep at night.

Plus we are totally pull-up free during the days now, even during naps!

Now, that is what I call "cosciting."

P.S. As soon as it stops raining there will be photos from the 100 mile yard sale. We are still heavily flooding here, and are 12 inches above normal for rainfall for the year so far. It really does just keep raining here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

As I grow older, my love of my country seems to expand by leaps and bounds.

I have a much deeper appreciation for what it means to be American, what it means to live in America.
We have spent time this weekend enjoying some of my favorite things, farmlands and baseball, hot dogs and vendor peanuts, garage sales and friendly folks.
But this year, more than any other year, I am acutely aware of the fragility of the world, of the impact of war on everyone. Big and little, young and old, from one corner of the world to the next, it seems that no one escapes it.
Somehow these times they are changing, and yet, they aren't.
90 years later this local soldier's grave is as poignant as ever for me.

I visited the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. in my early 20's. My dad is a Vietnam Vet and it was a life changing moment for me. I touched some of the 58,000 names on that wall and realized my own good fortune, my father came home to meet my mother, to have children and grandchildren.

But he is far from untouched by war.

And by association, even as a young child, I was touched by that war. It forever changed our lives. It forever changed my father.

According to this there are more than 33,000 causalities of the Iraq war. 16 deaths alone this month. 29,000 injured. Numbers much smaller than Vietnam, but no less significant.

I know that many of you are forever changed by the Iraq war, or wars of the past.

In my heart they are not forgotten. You are not forgotten.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Make it, day 4

A long, long, long time ago, I bought this Martha book . As soon as I done reading it, I went on Ebay and bought myself a big lot of vintage belt buckles to make one of the projects in the book.

And then they sat in a jar for something like 8 years.

But, it's make it week around here, and I wanted something fresh and new, so I pulled them out and got started. (I do feel like I should mention that this project has taken several days, unlike the other projects I have done this week, which have been in the 1-2 hour range.)
Martha has shown them as picture frames, but I didn't want the hassle of trying to find photos that were going to fit (some of the frames are very tiny) or trying to print all those photos.

Both of the small drawers on my sewing desk are filled with tiny scraps of vintage prints that I recently reorganized. When I was organizing them I fell in love with them all over again, but had no clue what to use those tiny, precious pieces for.
This is the perfect project for it. It really showcases those very small prints, requires only a tiny bit of fabric (sometimes the size of a nickel), and it makes them feel very special.
How cute are these super small see-sawing kids?
Or a jeweled buckle holding a piece of feedsack?
I hung them on the wire tree with the button flowers. There are some empty branches still, so I either need to find more buckles (I have gobs more prints I can use) or make more button flowers.

I am COMPLETELY smitten with this project.

I will put the close up of each and every frame on Flickr. I wish I was a better photographer, they are hard to get a photo of, and it doesn't help that it is raining.

I do have a few hints that Martha doesn't offer if anyone wants them and thinks they are going to attempt this. Let me know and I will post them next week.

There will be no make it day tomorrow, as Dave and I are off to the 100 mile yard sale without Jack. I am looking forward to a gorgeous ride in the country, peace and quiet and hopefully some good junk! Junking this year has been pretty stinky around here, despite it being Memorial Day weekend already. (!?!?! Crazy.)

So make it week will extend into next week.

Have a lovely long weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Make it, day 3

Thank you for all of the kind, thoughtful comments yesterday. I've read each one of them several times, I reread as much of the parenting book as I could, I completely ignored the house, and we spent most of the day playing outside and making things.

Today is already a much better day.
Today's make it is a project I saw in the Winter '07 issue of Somerset Life. (If you don't already read that, you should. It's a bit pricey, but only published 4 times a year, and I always get good ideas from it.)

I found this old tray shoved in the back of a cabinet when I was clearing things out for a yard sale a few weeks ago. I nearly threw it away because it was really getting rusted from my foolishly having served pickles on it years ago.
So, I sanded off the rust and spray painted it pink. Voila! A sweet magnetic tray.

Then I stuck it in the middle of our fridge using those command adhesive things.
I had cleared all the usual junk off our fridge just before my ILs arrived and it was looking bare. This really sweetens it up.

I love this idea so much. If I had more of those trays I would be painting them in every color of the rainbow.

(Edit: Since several of you have asked, the paper doll is a freebie from Wee Wonderfuls . A few years ago I went through a magnetic paper doll phase. Jack loves dressing her, your kids will love it too. The directions are in that years ago link.)
On Saturday we took Jack to the local kite festival. It was his first time flying a kite (we have tried before but really struggled with finding a place to do it in our very populated little city).

He loved every minute of it, and it was a perfect day for it. Warm and windy with just enough sun.
And I really enjoyed it too, just sitting in the grass taking hundreds of pretty pictures.

He was fascinated by the more interesting kites, which were all bugs according to him, and he informed me that he wished he was a kite.

Maybe this weekend we will try put put golf...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Make it, day 2

(and a low point)
Yesterday's project was whipping up that pillow I had intended to make when I bought the pile of fabric books awhile back. I let Jack choose the book page he wanted and added it to some old ticking I had kicking around in my fabric cupboard.

It's super cute, and I wish it hadn't taken me so long to get to.

It felt so good to just be making something again, doing something that has a successful, measurable outcome.

I'm afraid I have hit a serious low point in this mothering gig. Jack has taken to saying the most lovely things. Everything is disgusting and stupid and he hates me and I am an idiot. Sigh.

Where did he even learn such things? School I suppose? We don't speak that way to each other around here.

Don't get me wrong, I was pretty sure this "phase" would come sooner or later. But right now is the worst possible time. He is 3 and 1/2 years old and not only do I still have to do as much work physically caring for him as I did when he was an infant, but now I have to spend many, many, many hours a day trying to work out how to get him to be cooperative and helpful and polite and a million other things that he very much does not want to be right now.

It's hard.

And something has to give.

And yet somehow forcing him to be more independent and do things like dress himself, clean up his messes, use the toilet, etc. is even more work?

I don't even know that work is the right word. It's emotionally exhausting.

Somehow I feel like every single moment of my life since about November or so has been sucked into an abyss of cleaning and cooking and caring for Jack and I am completely losing hold of that small part of life that was my own.

Make it week could not come at a better time I suppose.
Anyway. My apron swap from the lovely Double Winky arrived on my birthday, what perfect timing. I had admired this apron in her Flickr, and never imagined she would actually send it to me!
It has been hanging on the ladder in the living room since it arrived, where I can admire all the lovely bits and pieces of the patchwork.

It is a fantastic piece of art. I love every inch of it.

I've tried to make the rounds to see all of your aprons. If you need help or have a swap issue, let me know. Most of the aprons should have been received by now.

Ok then. Onward and upward. There is a parenting book that I need to get cracked open ASAP.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Make it, day 1

I made a button card display for my mom for Mother's Day this year. The idea was in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living, and the card is pinned to one of Martha's specimen boxes from Michaels.
I used ribbon instead of embroidery thread, which in hindsight was a big mistake. I think it makes the basket look a bit kindergartenish. LOL If you make one, use the embroidery floss.

Onto the birthday giveaway winners:

Winner from day one, the daisy tablecloth, is Kim !

Winner from day two, the plaid tablecloth, is Lisa !

Winner for day three, the ornaments, is Jessi !

Please email me with your mailing address, but do not be surprised when it takes me 3 weeks to get them in the mail. :-)

My trusty assistant is a lot of work right now. I think it's a test to see how long it takes before I start sew myself a blindfold and some sort of ear plugs.

P.S. My internet connection is really dodgy these days. If it seems like I am not around, I am, I just am spending most of my internet cursing the internet for not working!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Show & Tell Sunday: Vintage linens

This week's Show & Tell Sunday is vintage linens. Anything that includes vintage linens will include me! I have a little bit of everything in our house, like the super sweet fingertip towels done with cross stitch;
pillowcases galore to lay our on heads on at night;
but for me, it is all about the tablecloths. This is a batch from that trip to Chicago that I hadn't gotten around to showing you yet.
I told you there were a lot of them!
This gigantic one is so awesome, it reminds me of living in Florida.
This one says Styled in Paris at the bottom.
Love the pink gingham center and the ruffly labels on the sugar jars.
I found a pair of these vibrant ones, which are actually labeled as Startex kitchen towels.
I am always a sucker for red, white and blue ones.
This one has sweet little birds and nests with eggs in them.
And this one has a most unusual color combination.

I have drawn the winners for the contests, I will get those names to you tomorrow. My not so trusty assistant spent the morning locking me out of the house, refusing to draw names and making all sorts of mischief.

I am feeling really pressed for time lately, in a bad way, with no time to create. So this coming week I am going to make one thing a day, no matter how small, and blog it every day. I think we could use more craft around here, right? :-)

Ok, our family is coming over for a birthday dinner, so I had better get to it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Drawings are closed!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes and playing along with us for some birthday fun.

The give aways are officially closed and my assistant and I will work on getting all of your entries together and drawing winners!

It is really lovely to see so many new faces, and I have a million new blogs to check out. (I can see my bloglines list growing already!) I hope you will stay around to see what we are up to after the give aways are over. :-)

P.S. I sent out a reminder for the apron swap yesterday. If you didn't receive email or need my assistance, shoot me an email.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's my party

Yesterday Jack sat down beside me with his Thomas brochure clutched tightly in his fists and asked me which train did I want for my birthday. They don't have Jon Bon Jovi on the Island of Sodor, do they? LOL
On another note, I am tableclothed out. Sick of looking at them, sick of taking pictures of them, blah blah. (Well, really I am so sick of the rain. It is making me crabby. We are 9 inches above normal for May. Just wrong. I need some sunshine.)

So maybe you want something else I have spilling out of every crevice? Today's winner will receive as many vintage ornaments as I can fit in whatever box I can find. There are 36 in that bowl above, so I imagine it will be roughly 3 dozen or so.

Because they are fragile and the box will be largish, U.S. entrants only please.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me you want them.

Good luck!

And Hapde number firty-free to me. :-) (Even though Jack thinks I am five.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A picnic perhaps?

Let's just ignore that this one is currently wrinkly*, okay?

While the plaid may not be as exciting as the flowers for many, it is more unusual than flowers, which seem to be plentiful.

In fact, it is the only plaid one I have ever found.

It's also a bit larger than the first one and I think it is perfect for a picnic!

The same rules apply as yesterday, although there is no need to post on your blog twice, if you have already done so, you will be in twice for any cloth you want.

Good luck to everyone!

*Vintage tablecloths seem to come in 3 versions: regular cotton, heavy sailcloth cotton and cotton rayon blend, this one has some rayon in it I think, hence the wrinkles. The sailcloth ones hardly wrinkle at all, and I never iron any of them. LOL

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's that time of year again

The very best part of the haul from the trip to Chicago were the tablecloths. I know you haven't seen them yet because the sun is really vital to getting them clean, but I bought an obscene amount of them for very little money up there.

And since last year we had fun doing a few days of giveaways leading up to my birthday, I thought this year I would give away a few tablecloths.
So, here's the deal:

I will give away a tablecloth a day until my birthday, which is Wednesday (and also your apron swap mailing deadline!).

All you need to do is leave a comment on the post saying you want in, with a way to contact you.

You are more than welcome to leave a comment each day if you want.

Mention the contest on your own blog and I will enter your name twice. (And let me know you have done that.)

I will have Jack draw names on Thursday.

My only request (and it might be a big one for some of you!) is that if you are the winner, please don't cut it up. There are plenty of cloths that are suitable for cutting, but I have specifically chosen ones that are fine for use on your tables. Besides, I have invested time in getting them clean! (But they are not perfect. I am not sure there is a single one in my huge collection that is perfect.)

Today's beauty is in lovely condition and who doesn't love a daisy?

And with that, I had better hit post before I lose my nerve. I have so many, but I want them all, all, all! :-)

Good luck everyone!