Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Toot! Toot!

Yes, two posts in one day. But I have to toot my own horn for a minute.

Look at me! (On the craft magazine blog.)


Look at me! (on Whip up, thanks Steph, love ya.)

/end of shameless braggity stuff. (She says swooning a bit.)

Egg money, treasure 1

Last summer when Jack and I were walking in the mornings, we were picking up quite a few quarters every morning. Those quarters inspired a few milk money posts.

Last week I happened to go to the grocery store and a garage sale on the same day. After being totally horrified yet again at the price of food, I found a really nice treasure for $3. $3 happens to be what I had just paid for a dozen eggs, so, a little egg money series is born. (The quilt yesterday was also $3).
Jack and I were digging around in a totally dark building and I was trying to get him out the door when I spotted this cabinet. It was a totally hideous, mid 1970's faux antiqued green.
But this beautiful green inside the broken doors caught my eye. When I saw the $3 price tag I started digging it out of a pile. It is solid wood and heavy as all get out. Carrying it out of a dark crowded building was not easy, and Jack was so sweet about "helping" me carry it out of there.
I spent Saturday sanding and painting and putting it back together. It's the first time Jack has really helped me with a "projik" like this, and he did a lot of sanding! (I want to always remember that this cabinet was our first project like this together*...)

A coat of paint, new old knobs, fresh old contact paper on the shelf, and voila! It's so much better now.
I couldn't decide if I wanted to put some kind of paper inside the door insets or not, but after putting the same contact paper that I lined the shelf with in those holes yesterday, I love it even more.

And the total was cost was just $3, everything else was lying around the house.

I have another egg money treasure for tomorrow too!

* As I was painting it I was wondering what Jack will be like when he is older. Will our current thriftiness mean that he is driven to be the type of person who has to buy everything new? Or will he continue to love being thrifty?

Right now he loves going to garage sales, and he asks me every day if there is a garage sale today. Last week he woke up on Saturday and told me we had to get up right now and go to FIVE garage sales. Only five. No more, no less. Then after each stop he did the math to figure out how many more sales we were going to visit.

How many people really do end up like their parents though? I suspect very few.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Collecting quilts, imported or not?

Two weekends ago we went to a CrAzY garage sale. Wall to wall people, lots of noise and confusion and general insanity. I was feeling completely overwhelmed (sometimes I am just fine in those types of sales, totally on my game and on the hunt, sometimes I am like a deer in the headlights). Jack and Dave were off hunting and gathering treasures when I spotted this quilt thrown over a rack. I snatched it up, checked for the price and decided I was ready to leave.

My first instinct was that the quilt was a reproduction, imported from China. It didn't matter all that much because it was $3. I rarely find a repro I like, so I had planned to sew up the hole and use it.
I got it home, unwadded it and started to rethink the made in China thing. The fabric was too soft, the quilt too heavy, the batting was cotton not poly and the stitching was 8 stitches per inch.
I asked Dave. He said he thought not imported. I sat on it for a few days. I really could not decide whether this was old or new.

Then I asked at one of my favorite vintage textile message boards. Their votes were all for vintage, circa 1930-1960, made from a quilt kit.

Well then.

What a nice unexpected surprise.

Sometimes it is REALLY hard to tell a repro from the real deal. Even with 50 vintage quilts in this house it was hard for me with this one. Generally I am able to guess based on a combination of instinct and the printed fabrics.

So, in the absence of instinct what is a girl to do?

I see plenty of quilts at flea markets and yard sales and on Ebay that are being called vintage quilts that are actually Chinese quilts*. It pays to educate yourself a little if you are going to be investing a large sum of money. Some tips:

If you are unsure, make sure it is cheap. You don't want to pay $100+ for something that sold in Wal-Mart for $50 brand new.

If a dealer/seller has a LARGE amount of quilts, be wary. 20 or 30? Believable. 100 or more? Unlikely that they are the real deal. Do the math. Even if she hires "pickers" how likely is it that they are coming to come up with that many quilts in a month's time?

Kick the tires, so to speak. Peek inside any open seams, investigate the stitching, look at the fabric. I know this part is harder. I would never expect to see 1930s prints with polyester batting for example. But poly batting in a quilt with 1970s prints? Plausible. If the piecing or applique is well done, is the quilting equally well done? Try and look at the whole picture.

A good place to start if you want to read more is Hart Cottage and here .

* Certainly imported quilts have a place in the market. I sleep under an Arch quilt every night. (And I need to find a replacement because after 10 years it is getting ratty.) They do offer the charm of a quilt in your decor while offering some versatility since there is no worry about a 3 year old throwing up on great grandma's handiwork. And there is no guilt about "using one up" and then getting rid of it when it has fallen to pieces.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Feedsack Friday, version 2

I am pretty sure that at this point you have all seen every feedsack I have managed to scrounge up except for one. And that one is missing. (That seems to be a recurring theme this week, eh? Jack has clearly been the number one priority in a BIG way lately.)

There are the daisies I found in a thrift sometime this summer. I think. LOL
And the wild flowers I found last year on the 127 sale somewhere in KY.
But perhaps the most interesting one in the collection is the flour sack from a local grocery store that still has it's label intact.
The label is crepe paper and dated 1959.

I know a lot of folks think of feedsacks as a 1920/1930 phenomenon, but I am pretty sure that if you google you will find that they were still in use through the 1960s.

Other feedsack fun:
This feedsack book has been on my wish list for nearly a year. It's gorgeous eye candy if you love feedsack quilts. (I've flipped through it at a local quilt shop.) And if I had a million dollars this feedsack collector book would be on my book shelf also.

I tried once this summer to go see Kit Kittredge when it was in the theater so I could see the 1930's fabrics on the big screen, but I was thwarted. I am still waiting for it on DVD to further feed my vintage fabric addiction. LOL

And don't forget to go so see Barbara who is showing her gorgeous finds and has a link to other feedsack love for today.

As for me, I have a new treasure I need to go start cleaning up and a mystery quilt I need to get sorted out so I can share it with you before quilt month is over.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Which of these things doesn't belong?

Jack was playing with the word whammer when I was making dinner the other night. He asked me to read the list of words he had made with the toy, so I said sure, looked over and started reading.

Ummmmmmmmmm, LOLOLOLOL. Either the word whammer spells interesting words, or there was a miscommunication somewhere!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Halloween Bottle Brush Trees Tutorial

There are 2 posts today for those of you reading on a feed reader, don't miss the other post!
Since I made the pastel bottle brush trees well before I started blogging, I tried to take pictures of the process to make a better tutorial on how to do this. If you make trees, please add them to the Flickr group ! (If you need help doing that, email me.)

And if you use photos or just use the tutorial, I would appreciate links back here. :-) (If you need help making a link, let me know, I am happy to help you do that.)
Here is what my package of trees looks like. There are 21 in the bag, and I paid $12.99 for them. They will be in the section of the craft/home decor type places where the small stuff for train layouts are.
This is the first bleach soak. I used hot water and 1/4 of a 24 ounce bottle of Clorox bleach.
And the second soak, with hot water and the remainder of the 24 ounce bottle of bleach. Some trees need a lot more bleach and a lot longer to soak. Give it time. I had to let this batch soak for about 2 hours.

Some trees still required rubbing in the bleach. Do yourself a favor and use rubber gloves! (I had had to superglue some of cuticles which split after doing this since I don't own rubber gloves. Stupid of me.)
Now you have bleached trees. Rinse the bleach off them well.
Prepare the dye baths. I used pyrex bowls filled with hot water. If the dye is powdered, I poured in half the package. Add a tablespoon of salt and stir. I used Rit dyes in black, sunshine orange and golden yellow.
To get the multicolored effect you are going to have to overdye the trees. Dip the tree first in the yellow, leaving the top portion of the tree in it's natural, undyed state. You will be dying the bottom 2/3's of the tree.

Once the yellow is your desired shade, move to the orange dye and dip the bottom 1/3 of the tree. You will be dying the orange OVER the yellow on the bottom of the tree.
The overdying gives you the candy corn effect.
To get black and orange you will also overdye the tree. Drop the whole tree in the orange first. Once it is dark enough you will move onto the black. To dye the top of the tree black hold the tree upside down in the black dye so that only the top of the tree is in the dye. When it is dark enough (the black dye takes a long time, pull up a chair while you wait), let it drip for a few minutes before moving onto dying the bottom or the black dye will run down into the middle and muck up the orange.

Then dye the bottom 1/3 of the tree by holding that portion of the tree in the black dye.
Let them dry overnight.

A few more hints: the very small trees did not take very well to the black/orange method. The top of those trees does not hold the black dye well for some reason.

Paint the white stands black with simple black acrylic paint.

When adding your embellishments, use hot glue! It holds the objects in the bristles the best.

If you have problems or it seems like something is missing, let me know. Happy creating!

You can see all of the finished trees here! .

Halloween Bottle Brush Trees

If you read using a feed reader, there will be two posts, one for the show and tell type pictures and one post with a tutorial.
At some point last week I got a serious bee in my bonnet about Halloween bottle brush trees. I had to make them NOW NOW NOW. But I had other projects I had to finish first. I finally got them finished yesterday, and they are so fun! I made 21 in this batch.
There is a candy corn colored Boo tree;
there are trees with eyes (I would have preferred a different kind of eye, but I couldn't seem to find what I wanted and didn't want to spend yet more time making them, but maybe later I will);
there are ghosts hiding behind trees;
there are glittery spiders and spider webs;
these are my FAVORITE, flying bats!;
one with my only vintage Halloween cupcake topper on top;
and a big candy corn tree with vintage glass beads on it.

All of the decorations (aside from the glass beads and the cupcake topper) are things you can scavenge up from big box stores, party stores, etc. The bats, ghosts, witch hats and BOO are cut from Halloween garlands. The spiders are spider rings that I glittered with Martha glitter. The spider webs are those packaged things you string on your porch.

Cute huh?

Directions for making your own are in the next post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello Autumn.

I've been busy working on a really cute project that I am excited to share with you, but I need another day or two. So I thought I would revisit some of my favorite autumnal photos from years past.
A pumpkin full of sunflowers from Jack's number "free" burfday party decorations.
A fall tablecloth that can come back out of hiding.
A 2 year old Jack clutching his pumpkin treasure at Carl's farm.
Our big tree shows it's autumnal colors. (It was spectacular that year!)
A sweet owl table runner. (That wasn't with the Halloween decor this year and is temporarily in no man's land. I am now determined to find it.)
And a sweet three year old Jack amongst the pumpkins.

I love fall.


Welcome back.

P.S. Who is watching the new 90210? Come on, fess up, I know someone is! I read an article in Nylon before it premiered that went on and on about how lame the original was and how "edgy" the new version would be. Umm, yea. Sure. I am watching it, and I like it, but edgy? Not so much. And I KNEW they were going to make Dylan that baby's daddy. LOL

Friday, September 19, 2008

Feedsacks, Finds, Feuds & Fungi

A few days ago, Barbara asked if I could help her with some stains on an AMAZING feedsack score she recently made. I am always happy to oblige on the stain front, and she wondered if I had any feedsacks I wanted to share today. Here are a few new ones I found recently, and an old favorite. As always you can click to enlarge.
Love these geometric prints. And this one is very autumnal.
I *found* this one in my own fabric stash. I didn't even realize it was a feedsack when I picked it up. D'oh!
My most cherished sack, soft pink with a cotton print.
And another recent geometric score.

Y'all are gonna faint when you see the ones she recently found though!
This is my best thrift find this week, a HUGE picture frame for the hallway . That white window can finally go!
I just liked this photo, lol. The frame has roses on it. Love.
Remember my pumpkin ? Well, the damn squirrel ate it! This means war squirrel. Don't say I didn't warn you.

(And it's the only pumpkin we got this year on the vine again. I think it isn't sunny enough where they sprout, but the neighbor kids are sure to steal them in all the sunny spots we do have. Can't win this battle methinks.)
We have gigantic fungi explosions all over the backyard at the moment. (And they stink.) Jack comes running this morning saying, "Mama! Look at the big window in the kitchen! We have marshmallows all over the yard."

Heh, marshmallows. Love that kid.

There you have it: feedsacks, finds, feuds and fungi. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thrift store remix

Jack and I were given a pair of Babylegs when he was small, and we both love them to pieces. He likes wearing them when it snows, and I think they are just too cute. I've been wanting a Halloween pair for years, but never have managed to order a pair.
I was wandering around Goodwill last week and spotted a pair of girls tights from the Halloween line last year at Target that were still new in the package. Price? $2.00. I figured I would let him choose if he wanted socks or leg warmers since he has been asking for Halloween socks whenever we are in the store.

He chose "winter socks". Above they are in their original form, tights.
I cut the leg portion off to make the leg warmers and then sat on them for awhile trying to figure out the best way to make them. (Those are our original babylegs lying next to the tight leg.)

I was trolling flickr and came upon this DIY babylegs tutorial , which was just what I needed.
I saved the feet from the tights to make him regular socks, so I made the cuffs with the crotch part of the tights. The first cuff I made is a bit smaller than the others, which I could fix, but it's on the ankle so it fits fine. (And you all know that in my house close is often good enough! LOL)
We both love them. Why did I wait so long to do this?!?!

And $2 for leg warmers AND regular socks is unbeatable.

P.S. Yesterday Jack managed to poke himself in the eye. He was crying and I couldn't sort out what was wrong with him until he shouted out, "MOM! I POKED MY EYE OUT." Man, it makes me laugh to even type that. It was like a scene right out of A Christmas Story.

P.P.S. Martha is looking to review a blog or two, you can sign up to get your blog thrown in the hat. If you so desire. Let's just hope if they come here they don't search for minion, ok? :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Portrait of a mama

2 days ago Jack stood next to me, pen and paper in hand, and sketched a portrait of me. I love that he added my glasses and my earrings. When he added in that tongue he declared, "NO! NO! NO! Now you look like grandpa. There, you will look like grandpa when you are 100." And he scribbled the 100 below the portrait. LOL

It's my new profile picture. :-)
Jack has had another big growth spurt and with it has come a big burst of confidence. The last time we went to this particular park he was more like a toddler to me, and these bouncy things were way too scary for him. (And that was sometime early this spring I think!)

Not anymore.
The big, huge tunnel slide is no longer scary either.

The last unknown playground territory are the monkey bars. I am sure that soon enough he will be whizzing across those also.
Although he still refuses to cooperate with my photo taking craziness.

Some things never change, do they?