Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cutting done, and it was fun

The u-pick strawberry farm nearby is down to their last berries and the picking was slim.  Storms and committments kept me from getting back there to load up the freezer.  Oh, I'll be thinking about those sweet red berries missing from my oatmeal this winter..... but I'm determined to load up on blueberries when those are ready.  I may even take an afternoon off from work to make sure I've got a supply on hand  :)

This week proved to be a bit busier than I had planned, so I JUST finished cutting the background blocks for the KQAL last night.  I had washed and ironed the white material, so I set out to cut the strips and stacked them in rows of four, as suggested.  Before I knew it, they were done!  (With interruptions for dinner and phone calls!)  Now I envy all those KQAL crafters who used store-bought fabric and zipped right through the cutting!  Trying to get the most from odd-shaped aprons set me back on time, but I'd do it again if I had to.  I'm happy with the scrappy look.

I'll be playing with the layout this weekend.  It will be a challenge to make sure no identical pieces are placed side by side.  My living room floor will be my "design wall"  ;)

I'll be blog-hoppping tonight to catch up on everyone's KQAL progress and see what all my blogging friends have been doing this summer.  Dashing to work now.  Have a great day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Good nutrition is necessary to enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer.  Eating right can keep you on the ball when that ball is heading at you over the volleyball net ;)

I love to get energy (protein) from non-animal sources because those recipes can be so inventive.  So when I saw Feasting Freds Red Lentil Daal with Peas I knew that I would have to try it.  A lentil recipe with turmeric, cumin, and chili paste.....and I have the red lentils in the cupboard.

It cooked up in less than a half hour.  I didn't have the coconut milk so I probably missed out on another layer of flavor, but there were plenty of layers.  And I don't usually keep rice on hand so I had it without.  There are a few more servings in the pot so I'll pick up some tomorrow.....after the volleyball games and the horseshoes at the picnic.  I'm ready!

Scrap Happy

Last night I cut out the template for the Kaledoscope QAL and started cutting the pieces from my apron stash.  I'm glad the pieces are fairly large.  This is what I accomplished in one evening, and I'm not even halfway done.

Trying to get the most from odd shaped pieces of fabric has slowed down my progress, but I'm loving that these aprons will get a second life.  They were ones that had stains or rips and could only be salvaged as cutters.  I have a few more to cut tonight and then I'll start on the background pieces.  Those are from store-bought fabric so it will go much faster.

Getting excited...  :)

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Seen on etsy

I love this dress pattern!

The details are so interesting!

This pattern, in a vintage size 10, is currently for sale by midvalecottage on etsy.  Oh, if it were a few sizes larger.....  :)

(Note: I have no connection to this seller.  This is for informational purposes only.)

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The thrift score

The one lesson of thrift shopping is that you never find what you're looking for on any given day.  It's certainly not like going to Macys or JCPenneys to buy a pair of black trousers for work.  Instead, you approach thrifting with an open mind and look for possibilities.

Which is why I couldn't find anything I liked that could be remade into some nice summer tops but came home with two small bags, anyway.

Along my drive to the store I told myself I would not even LOOK through the housewares and miscellaneous tables....and when I arrived I made quick work through the clothing, finding nothing.  Tables are rotated regularly, meaning that they remove a few and replace them with "fresh" ones.  They are constantly going through donations in the back room and bringing them onto the sales floor.  So, in hopes of finding something useful, I decided to wait for new goods to appear.  That's when I broke my resolution and started browsing through the miscellaneous......and stumbled upon a great stash of unused (factory-folded!) sewing patterns from the 1970s (my era!!!)

I couldn't believe that I had found so many unused patterns in one place and that no one had grabbed them before me!  But that's the second lesson in thrift may get to the goods before someone else....or vice versa.  The patterns were scattered through several bins so I worked like a reality-show contestant, flipping through them and tossing them in my basket.  Only one gentleman realized what I was doing and pointed out more near him.

I'm sure I won't keep all of them.  (I've sold bundles of patterns through Craigslist before and may do it again.)  But some of these are just too good to be true.  I still love some of those 70s styles.....

Neat stuff!

I love the old "Poet's" style blouses

Simplicity # 8402 would be a style wearable today :)

When they brought out more clothing bins, I found two dressy lightweight "toppers" to wear over sleeveless shells to work.  Not really what I was looking for but not half bad for a Sunday ;)

P.S.  I worked around my photo-posting problem by uploading through the Edit HTML tab with my fingers crossed.  Where there's a will, there's definitely a way  :)

No photos.....grr!

It looks like Blogger has left me unable to upload photos into my posts.  I've read from others with this problem and thanked my lucky stars that it didn't affect me.....until now.

I've got a few posts ready that rely heavily on the photos I've taken so please bear with me while I fumble through Blogger Help forums to get this resolved.

Hopefully, things will be back to normal in a day or two.  In the meantime, I've washed and ironed all my material for the Kaleidescope QAL and I'm ready for the pattern to be posted.  I also stumbled onto Hobo Quilts while in Barnes & Noble this past Sunday.  It's based on the signs left by "hobos" to designate conditions of the road ahead....meal ahead, possible work for money, sheriff's house...  The blocks are interesting, as are the quotes from folks who lived during the time, including some who travelled the roads and rails.  Something akin to the Civil War blocks that are popular now, but not as detailed.

And I have a post ready - minus pictures :(   about my purchase at the second hand store last Sunday.  Ah, technology!

It's Wednesday!  I hope yours is terrific  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Berry season

The U-pick strawberry fields were packed yesterday afternoon!  As I walked in carrying my empty berry tray, dozens of folks were carrying full trays out.  Imagine all the freezing and canning that will be going on :)

I opted to walk out to the field instead of taking the little trolley, and joined all the happy pickers.  Each person, or family group, is given a designated row to pick.  There were happy young children "helping" their parents on one side of me and a French speaking mother-daughter team on the other.  Everyone was enjoying the sunshine.

I picked less than a quarter of the tray (about one-tenth of the row!)  The day before we had torrential downpours which inevitably created very juicy berries.  They had absorbed so much water that they would not freeze well, and freezing was my primary goal of the day.

But all is well that ends well, as they say, because I gave quart to my friend who drove me on the day of my exam, I had cereal with berries for dinner, and this morning I simmered the rest into a very lightly sweetened strawberry sauce that I'll use for french toast.  I'll keep about a cup's worth in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for later this year.

I'll be going back on Friday, weather permitting, to get enough for a canning session.  I've made strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam in the past, but I'm itching to make that strawberry-balsamic-black pepper jam I heard so much about last year!

Today I'm heading out to the second-hand stores.  I need a few summer tops and I'd like to find some fabric (used clothing) to use in making them.  I hope you've got some fun plans for today!

Thank you! to all who stopped by yesterday to see my FNSI completion, and for all your very kind comments.  The one thing I've learned from the internet is that we may be so different, but we are so much alike.  Whether folks are reading this from the next US state or on the other side of the world, we all love to make beautiful things with our hands, we want to create a happier world, we want to share ideas, and we are concerned about the world that we are leaving to our children.  I'm glad to have made new acquaintences and hope to meet many more new friends out there :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Here it is! ....and more to come ;)

It was a bit humid, but with a fan blowing across the room I was able to keep cool and put the last stitches in the applique floral wreath quilt top. It's only been hanging around since....oh, mid-January.  For anyone who has not been by here before, the applique pieces are all from vintage aprons and housedresses that were not in very good condition.  My goal was to make something of beauty from the utilitarian clothing that women wore while making a happy, healthy home for their loved ones.  It will be a coverlet or lap quilt size, and I will be doing the hand-quilting this winter.  Here are photos after tonight's Friday Night Sew-In.

I've been enjoying all the wonderful quilts made by fellow bloggers, especially the lovely treasures crafted by Impera Magna.  So I followed her link to the Kaleidescope Quilt Along.  It immediately caught my attention because (1) the block is simple and straight-forward, and (2) it is perfect for calico-type scraps (ie: my vintage aprons).  So I'm officially jumping in with both feet.  I've checked the yardage requirements and will be shopping for background and backing material this weekend.  Here are the rest of my vintage aprons that I will be using.

And here's the exciting part....I will be machine quilting this one.  Yes, the old die-hard hand-quilting traditionalist may give in and have at it with my old Bernina.  So, keep watch here for more silk purses made from sow's ears ;)

Take a quick hop over to Heidi's blog and visit all the great folks who were crafting during this month's Friday Night Sew-In.  You're sure to see some beautiful creations!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 17, 2011

All's well

I napped on and off yesterday from the anesthesia.  And contrary to how I felt at 6:00am, after the exam I really wasn't hungry.  I made it through the day on tea, juice, and a scrambled egg with toast.  I'm glad I went and I don't have to go back for 7 - 10 years, according to this paper they gave me.

I'm looking forward to finishing my applique wreath quilt top tonight during Friday Night Sew-In.  It will be folded and put away to be quilted this winter.  Stop by tomorrow to see the photos!  And news about how I'm signing up for a quilt along that starts next week.  I'm kinda excited about this one ;)

It's a rainy Friday here, and that feels pretty good.  I hope you're having a great day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Important stuff

I may not be online Wednesday evening or most of Thursday.  My doctor has persuaded me that it is time for an exam.  The one where you have to drink gallons of icky stuff to clear out your insides.  So, you know where I'll be.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I took a few well-earned vacation days last week and drove north (naturally ;) to visit my grandchildren.  After a semi-rainy drive I had two beautiful days of excellent weather, not too hot and not too cool.  And two evenings of Little League baseball games.  My grandson (grandchild #3) got a hit in each game.  This grandma was up and cheering   :)

I also had the privilege of joining my granddaughter for the end of school barbeque lunch.  There's nothing like a hundred or so young folks sitting on the grassy hill with hot dogs and watermelon on a sunny lunchtime to make you feel good about the world.  Happy faces, laughter, and silly little jokes should be a mainstay in our daily lives.

Each of my grandchildren has their own skills and character traits.  It is amazing that three brothers and a sister can be so different in some aspects.  But so much alike in others.  Watching them grow is fascinating.  I get to see the little things that I overlooked as I was busy raising my own boys.

Anyway, as I was on my way, I stopped at an old friend's store where I had not been in almost 15 years.  I did not expect to see the owner there, as she travels between there and another state on the West Coast.  But she was there and recognized me instantly.  She excused herself from a customer and came over to catch up.  She asked if I was still interested in doing work on consignment.  I have always enjoyed working for this sweet woman and would love to do so again for as long as my eyes will see the stitches :)

In all my moves, my life's ups and downs, my situations, I have carried around this package.  It is her own design, made for me.  It's time for me to finish it.  I think you'll be seeing a lot of it in this next year.  And hopefully, it will be entered in a juried show next summer.

I'll treasure it always.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm in

I've signed up for the next Friday Night Sew-In.  After missing the May event, I've been doing a little "quiet time" stitching on my floral medallion quilt top.  The nine sections have been sew together and the bias trim "ribbon" is being appliqued.  Saturday morning I will have the big "reveal" photo of the commpleted quilt top!

A few months ago I found this vintage bias trim, and was immediately taken to it.  The informality of it begs to be applied to a young girl's playsuit or schooldress.

It was the inspiration for the bias trim "ribbon" on my quilt top.  Since all the applique is from vintage aprons and housedresses, I used a checkered housedress to cut bias strips.

Be sure to stop by Crafty Vegas Mom's blog to sign up for this month's Sew-In.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Retro bonus points

Airlines give bonus miles.  Credit cards give points for every purchase.  Some give cash back.  But rewarding shopper loyalty can be traced back for quite a while.  I remember being 8 years old and arranging little green or blue stamps in booklets, received for grocery purchases.  After our weekly grocery shopping, we came home with a few bags of food and some stamps.

There was a catalog of products and their "point value" (how many filled booklets you would need) and a redemption outlet somewhere nearby where you could make your trade.  I remember electric percolators and other basic kitchenware but I think there were folding lawn chairs among the choices.  And these were quality goods....Sunbeam, GE, Black & Decker....when things were made to last  ;)

During a thrifting trip this spring I found a stack of S&H Green Stamp booklets and couldn't resist looking through them.  I was amazed that someone held onto them all these years.  The operation has been gone for about 40 years and most likely won't be back.  But they kept these in a box or drawer.

As I looked through them, another woman told me she remembered them.  We talked about sticking all those stamps for our parents.  She asked if they were now valuable.  No, not monetarily.  But they'd make fun labels or stickers on holiday gifts this year to my siblings who would get a smile at seeing them again.  So I picked up a few.  So did she.

A few weeks later I was surprised when a friend told me about a service station which still sported a large S&H sign on their storefront.  I just had to get that picture.

Like the booklet says, "for life's extra pleasures"   :)

How about you?  Do you remember S&H green stamps?  Or Triple S blue stamps?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Is it real?

This was purchased at a tag sale yesterday, held at a local church.  It was the first tag sale I have stopped at this year!  My weekends have been that busy!

There were folks selling very nice clothing (used) at reasonable prices, children's toys, some furniture, and one gentleman who was setting up a booth of old bottles.  (Read that as "Bright, shiny objects" ;)  The booth was entirely old bottles, mostly small, medicinal bottles.  He had a few old milk bottles from the home-delivery era.  But this cereal milk bottle was placed in a spot that caught my eye and wouldn't let go.  It almost jumped into my hand, try as I did to walk away from it.  The vendor did not know where this one originated but it was in a cellar that was cleaned out, as were many of the other bottles on display.  At the small price of $2, I caved.

So my question this real?  Or is this a recent creation, made to look like a vintage item?  It is about 5 inches tall.  (The imperfect glass and the dirt are a great touch....)  I couldn't find it on a quick internet search.  Have you seen these before?  I'd appreciate any information.

And if it is fake (a modern decorative item), my $2 bottle will be a good "penny jar"  :)

Friday, June 3, 2011


There are a few older dresses which have turned up in my travels that I have no desire to part with.  They're too delicate to wear, and surely no museum would want them.  They just bring a smile to my heart to see them, to inspect small details, to re-fold them, or to see them hanging in the closet.

This one I have often called the "Ultimate Lucy Dress", with it's flowing skirt, bold check, and perky appliqued bow. It's just begging for a redhead in flats to enter the living room from stage left.

This brings visions of a young girl in a black and white movie from the 40's, perhaps on a ranch. She has a crush on the handsome (and naive) cowhand, but can't get him to notice that she's growing up. He still thinks of her as a tomboy in bobby socks. Later in the movie she will be wearing a flattering debutante-style gown that brings him to his senses ;)

I can't quite put a date on this dress, but I think it's from the 1940's. It's a simple shirtwaist, and the color fascinates me. (Isn't that an incredible collar?) The fabric is so light, it feels like it would float away on a breeze. And there are tiny outlines of houses hidden in the print!

This gown is a recent find. The material is similar in feel to vintage dotted Swiss. It's so simple and feminine. I imagine it was worn with a heavy, long slip. (The slip in the photo is sheer and short.) I also think it was handmade.

The whole lot of them aren't worth the cost of a good dinner out, but their hidden "histories" are priceless :)

Hey, it's Friday!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

You'll have to take my word for it :)

It's that time of year when all these good foods are starting to show up in the market.  Fresh food from the Earth.  From fiddleheads and sorrel to ramps and rhubarb, there are lots of good eats out there.

This week I decided to stew up a few stalks of rhubarb, adding a little water and a pinch of sugar.  After it had boiled a while but still had plenty of liquid remaining, I decided to separate the liquid from the solid.  The pretty pink "juice" was intended for a Rhubarb lemonade and the solids were a test for a rhubarb smoothie.

The lemonade is very satisfying.  Great for a hot, sticky day.  And pretty, too :)

For breakfast, I made a smoothie with a half banana, approximately a half cup of Greek-style yogurt, and another half-cup of rhubarb "pulp".  It was delicious!  I need to thin it out next time, because it was really too thick to drink (I choose to use a spoon).  But I didn't take any pictures because of a color issue.  It wasn't an "appealing" shade of pinkish-tan-grey.

The taste, however, more than made up for the lack of rosy pink color  :)