Thursday, March 31, 2011

Did you hear the one about....

How's this for Mother Nature pulling an April Fool's joke.....we're supposed to get rain mixed with snow tonight and tomorrow. No wonder why those geese I saw the other day were going in the wrong direction. They must have known, lol ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stopping by

Things have been well, although it could be a little warmer around here. The heat gets turned on when I return home from work. Unusual for this area at the end of March. But, warmer days are coming!

I just returned from having dinner with my mother. She lives a half hour away and normally I don't drive over during the week, but the threads on her sewing machine were forming clumps underneath the throat plate. If she can live nine decades plus and still hem her own pants, she deserves to have her sewing machine fixed asap. Besides, the sun was out and it was a pleasant drive listening to old rock, Eric Clapton and all.

The daffodils are still not blooming around here, but the crocuses are gorgeous! The purple striped ones have always been my favorite, but the mix of yellow, purple, and white is always such a happy sight :)

I promised a fourth giveaway, which I originally scheduled for this week. I have had to reschedule it for next week, since I'll be away Saturday and Sunday and the giveaway may have something to do with that. So please stop by on Monday to see what's coming up next!

Have a pleasant evening!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

All about you and me, or not

We go about our lives leaving a trail that a gumshoe detective could piece together easily these days. First there are those credit cards that tell everything we buy, from mega-packs of Pampers at Costco or some other buying club, to movie tickets and wine. They also show where we've been. Whether we fly across country or pay for tickets to Disneyland or just purchase petrol on a road trip two states away, we leave a trail.

We use those little tags at the grocery stores to get deals on food. The brand of coffee you use is on sale if you use that tag this week so get two packs. Do you ever wonder if they keep track of what you buy? The diet soda and ice cream.....

Our cell phone leaves an even more ominous trail. The wireless carriers routinely check the location of our phones for access to the nearest tower. Another way of looking at it is that they always know where you are. And it's on record. According to this article in the NYTimes, the wireless company used by this gentleman in Germany tracked and saved his coordinates over 35,000 times within a six month period. He had to go to court to see the information they had collected.

Like a television or a computer, it seems that we can no longer live without an electric paper shredder in every home. For a sense of security, we destroy old bills and receipts. How many of our grandmothers are shredding the junk mail because it has their name and address on it, when just a generation ago our names and addresses were listed in the public telephone book?

I confess to having a shredder. In order to use it about once every other week, I have to get it from the back of the lower cabinet, plug it in, and hover over the trash can. (The base is somewhere in the storage room. I choose not to have the unit out in the open, like a piece of furniture.)

However, the other day I came across one of these. They do not need electricity. They can do crosscut, making tiny pieces. They actually take less time than setting up my electric unit. I just grab them out of the junk drawer, where they sit with my regular scissors. Win, win, win. I'm loving this.














I've seen these for as much as $18.99, but these were at the secondhand store for a dollar.......win.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ahhhh, Spring!

Good morning, sunshine!, er, uh, ...... ???




It's Wednesday! Have a great one!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last week's thrift score

I know. I mentioned the rotary wall phone a few posts ago. I've owned a few of these over the past few years, mostly black. Although there was that deep yellow one (circa 1960s) that I wish I had kept. And someday I hope to stumble across a green one that will match my blender ;) But I sold them all in yard sales, much to my regret.

This one is white and covered with emergency stickers. The plan is to clean off the stickers, use a little Mr Clean Magic Eraser on the phone and hang it on a wall, unconnected, of course. A girl can have a little fun :)

So, what else was there besides the old papers?

There was a copy of the Newly Revised Sewing Made Easy from 1960. Along with sections on choosing material and altering patterns, I particularly like the chapter on Remodeling Your Clothes. Yes, refashioning is not new ;)










There was an undiscovered box of old Christmas ornaments. I have always regretted not taking the ones my mother was giving away! But I've been able to find a few boxes over the years.







You may have noticed that one of the latest trends on sewing blogs is the return of the old-fashioned sunbathing top. The vintage patterns are running up high prices on ebay. I just happened upon three of the "real deal"....3 original sunbathing tops. The elastic has done what elastic does with age, but these are really neat. I may end up using them to draft patterns.







The pink and white floral number has an interesting tie detail, where it feeds through the loop. It also has that wonderful shirred back, typically vintage. I had a bathing suit of shirred material like that when I was a young child.

There was also a dress which I am anxious to show you, but it is at the dry cleaners. I'll tell you about it next week ;)

It was a very good day. I hope all of yours are, too!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Spring Apron winner is...





....comment #2





Mug!



Your Spring Apron will be mailed on Monday :)



Maybe we'll see that peanut butter cake in an upcoming post?


(I always love a good cake recipe!)




One more giveaway coming soon, to celebrate my second blogiversary. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.


9 left

If my eyes hadn't gotten tired last night, I would have stitched on the 9 more pieces that will complete the medallion motif in the center block of my quilt top. But sometimes you know when it's time to stop. So there are 191 pieces appliqued on the fabric and those 9 more will be done before the weekend is over.

For any new readers, this quilt top is appliqued with flowers made from vintage aprons and housedresses. My goal is to make something beautiful to honor the women who toiled to make happy, healthy, beautiful homes with clothing that was once theirs. (Note: only aprons and dresses that are not in good vintage condition were cut for this project.)

This is the center block after last month's FNSI......








And this morning......









I'll be starting the corner blocks this week. They each have a bouquet of appliqued flowers, much smaller than the center medallion.

A grilled cheese sandwich with a spinach and tomato salad made for a satisfying start to the evening. There was an extra bonus of being able to have the doors and windows open, letting in that fresh air to push out the staleness of winter. By the way, for anyone in the northern U.S. and Canada: there's supposed to be an extra bright and large full moon tonight. On the radio, they're calling it a "Super Moon". Watch for it tonight!

Later today I'll be blog-hopping to see what everyone was working on last night during the March Friday Night Sew-In. There are a lot of inspirational crafters out there.
Have a wonderful Saturday :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday!

Crocuses are starting to bloom! I just passed some yellow ones yesterday, with their happy sunshine glow. The daffodils are still flirting with Spring, leaves started up but no sign of buds yet. Before you know it, lovely colors will be all around us!

On the subject of color, if you've got some yarn scraps that you haven't had use for, you may want to take a look at this.

If you're still thinking about it, remember that my Spring Apron giveaway winner will be chosen this Saturday evening at 6:00 eastern time. Leave a comment on the original post to join in.

I'll be participating in tonight's Friday Night Sew-In, so look for photos tomorrow! I've got a light dinner planned so I can get started early. There are 170 folks already signed up, so there will be a LOT of really great crafts being displayed on Saturday.

Have a great Friday :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Epitaph


Have you ever wondered what your things will tell the world about you after you are no longer here? Aside from what you write on the internet, how do your possessions describe you? One hundred ten years from now if someone finds your wallet or purse, what information would they glean from it? I've often felt that once I'm gone.....well, I'm gone. Other than immediate family and family stories, there won't be much known about me.

I drove over to the secondhand store this evening for a quick look-around. Along with my usual clothing treasures and a rotary wall phone (I don't even know if it works, but it'll be one great conversation piece ;) I was digging through the mess and saw some old, small newspaper clippings. Curiosity always gets the best of me, so I started gathering them up. With them were also some pieces of paper with very old fashioned writing. My heartbeat quickened and I did not want anyone to notice that I was now grabbing these clippings faster when my eye caught a very old disintegrating wallet. Once I thought I had everything, I set in in my cart and covered it so my haul wouldn't draw attention. Only after I paid at the register and sat in the car did I open some of the papers to see what I had.


















The first papers were from Geo. H. Cooper, dealer in Choice Family Groceries, and was a tally of goods and foods purchased by a Mr. Marks, showing partial payment in 1893.







There was also a bill of goods from Eli Brockett, builder. Mr Marks was earning $3 per day for labor in 1872.







Perhaps the most interesting paper was the receipt from the tax collector in 1897. The tax due on property valued at $450 was $5.40, paid by Mrs Marks. The receipt also has lines for Poll Tax and Millitary Commutation Tax.






Mr Marks was interested in farm and animal related articles from the paper. There's a very interesting chicken coop in one clipping. The one I particularly enjoyed was the one stating: "As a rule it is the ladies who succeed best at poultry keeping. Their patience, industry and good sense carry them through successfully whenever they undertake the business. A woman is nearly as proud of a flock of little chickens or turkeys as she is of a baby."





What would my wallet say about me? I have a separate key ring with all those little plastic tags from the grocery stores and Best Buy and CVS to get special "savings". Would they think I spend all my time looking for ways to spend money? Likewise the receipts that get stuffed in there. My pocket calendar with birthdays, appointments, vacation days, hieroglyphic notes scratched everywhere....would they think I'm very organized....or dis-organized?

I'm somewhat impressed at the collection from Mr. Marks. It says so much more about him than just being someone who kept papers......over one hundred ten years ago.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whole lot of celebrating going on!

This Thursday is St Patrick's Day and we all get to enjoy wearing green and eating cupcakes with green frosting, or something similar. Some of us may indulge in a pint of green beer. I'll be celebrating because 92 years ago this Thursday an incredible woman was born. She hasn't made any sort of history that you would hear of. But she has lived a decent life, raised a good family, and been a respectable citizen. She has split wood and kept the woodstove burning, planted gardens, pushed an old reel lawnmower, cloth-diapered her babies, cooked most meals from scratch, canned foods, painted, belonged to the PTA, chaperoned school field trips, stayed up with sick children and then packed her husband's lunchbox the next morning, voted whenever possible, reads the daily paper, watches the news, feeds the little birds, and so much more. She has limitations now, and can't do as much as she'd like. But she's sharp as a tack, and I enjoy the time we spend together. If you've noticed that my postings are brief this week, it's because I've either been visiting or on the phone with Mom.

On another note, I've been doing just a bit of sewing on my floral quilt. I've signed up for the Friday Night Sew-In for this week with the intentions of completing the center medallion. The small pieces are taking more time to applique than I expected, so these scheduled Friday nights are working out very well! Setting aside a block of time where nothing interrupts is just what I need. And I've found that hand stitching is like meditation. I don't worry about anything else, and the time just flies. If only I could burn off some extra calories at the same time ;)

If you missed my post for my Apron Giveaway, please check out this link! The drawing is Saturday, March 19th at 6:00pm eastern time.

There will be one more giveaway after this one, in celebration of my two year blogging anniversary - woohoo! Thank you to everyone for all the fun!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A suggestion

I thought that by eliminating my television it would be difficult to stay up to date on the news, but I find that I’ve been well read on the accounts of the events in Japan and the devastation that continues to unfold. I could not imagine losing my loved ones and my home in such a horrific way. How mind-numbing it would be to walk where your neighborhood once stood, seeing nothing but rubble. Life-long friends gone. Food, potable water, and shelter questionable. Sanitary conditions growing worse. The power that once warmed their homes may now be a danger to their lives. Life, as they knew it, forever changed. I pray for the people of Japan, for small miracles and large ones. For safety and health. For survivors to be found. For help from abroad. For strength.

Here is a link to many organizations offering help to Japan. If you would like to assist the aid efforts, you will find some good choices there.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Snow....





....drops!







Now, that's one kind of "snow" I can be happy about :)



(You can't see me, but I'm doin' my "Happy Dance")



Have a wonderful evening, everyone!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Free to a good home....

For my third giveaway, I've chosen this pretty and perky apron. It may have been handmade, but I can't be sure about that. It's a nicer cotton, probably from the 1960's or early 70's. And it appears not to have ever been used.





Of course, let's not forget about the bow tie!




One lucky commenter on this post will receive this apron. The winner will be chosen, at random, on Saturday , March 19th (St Joseph's Day!) at 6:00 pm here in the east.

Do I smell apple pie baking?

My goodness! The giveaway is the day after FNSI! It looks like a busy weekend....I can't wait :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring ahead.....




Pssst! Look there, under the holly bush......do you see what I see?


Don't forget to turn those clocks ahead tomorrow night.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In - March 18th!

Can you believe it? We're already more than two months into 2011! This weekend we set our clocks forward in the U.S., and I'm sure that seems odd for folks from overseas ;) Many folks are already enjoying spring blooms and even here in the northeast we're seeing the promise of bright things to come. My spring bulbs are just peeking through the thawing ground.

I'm sure it will help the flowers that the weather tonight is rain and more of it. Because of all this rain, the piles of snow are almost gone. And along with the rain, we've got a bit of wind. So it was good to come home tonight to a cup of tea.

Coming up on March 18th is the next Friday Night Sew-In hosted by Heidi and Bobbi. It's a luxurious time you can set aside for your chosen craft. Imagine, a whole evening for whatever creative thing you want to do. Don't sew? No problem. How about sharing a crafty activity with your children? Want to get your craft on at the workbench? Allow yourself an evening to indulge in art ;) As I type this, there are already 94 folks signed up. If you'd like to join in, hop over to Heidi's blog and add your name. I'm looking forward to it!

Welcome Spring! winner



Comment # 1





Good morning, Maria!



I'll be sending your "new" vintage Welcome Spring! banner :)


Email me with the shipping address and watch for it in your mailbox!


I hope it brightens these last few rainy days of Winter :)



Thank You! to all who left sweet comments :)


Reminder to all: Please stop by on Sunday, March 13th to sign up for my 3rd blogiversary giveaway
(I need some sunshine this weekend to take photos :)


Happy Thursday, everyone!



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just in case....

...you would like to enter the drawing for the Welcome Spring! banner, a name will be picked tomorrow morning at 6:00am EST :)

Enter a comment on the original post to be entered!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Transitions

First, you'll see that I haven't disappeared! My mother had an appointment today, which I attended, and I took time this past weekend to relax. You know.....relax.....coffee, late breakfast, radio, deep clean the bedroom, sew, iron, bake cookies, do laundry. That kind of relax.

It's still a bit on the chilly side, here. Our snow is almost gone, and what's left is small, very dirty mounds. It's been in the 40's, but the wind makes it feel colder. I'm not acually complaining....I'm just wishing out loud ;)

The daffodils are just peeking through the ground about one to two inches. And if we get more sunshine this week, the grass will start greening up :) I can even say there's that orange glow to the willow trees, if you look at them in the right light. Before you know it, the farmers' markets will be setting up!

I've already told my bike buddy that I'm ready to carry mine up from the basement and take a spin. I'm anxious to get some miles on it already!

Funny how time speeds up at certain points in the year. Winter drags on and all of a sudden, it's a pleasant, sunny spring-ish day! I hope you're enjoying all the changes this time of year. Whether you are only enjoying an occasional sunny day, or you're watching those lilac buds swelling. No matter where you are, have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

(your name here) vs. the computer

With all the talk about the Jeopardy match against a computer, I liked this in today's NYTimes online. I chose the "novice" selection. At first it was fun but the more rounds played, the computer looks for patterns in your moves....so it gets harder. I won 30 rounds against the computer's 21 wins and decided to quit while I was ahead ;)

Just a peek at what I found

The bags from Thursday evening's splurge have been emptied and sorted. A few things have been laundered and more are waiting for their dip in the suds. Here are a few photos of my treasures for your viewing pleasure.




Knits, doubleknits, and self-fabric belts


Bold and Geographic prints











Peter Pan collars and cuffed short sleeves


(The print on this cotton blouse has sweet clover!)







Shaping built into the design







Details, like a collar that splits and overlaps in the back:










Feminine, functional style in seersucker


(Can you see a mother housecleaning and getting dinner started?)






(I love the overlapped back :)








A plain straight skirt, made special with dart details












And a handful of brand new old panties, with the tags still attached.

Some of these are from W.T. Grants, which was one of my favorite stores when I was a child.

It sold everything that a family could need.







Imagine a pretty full slip for one dollar.....













These next few things I may keep for myself.



This one just says "It's summer!" to me :)








I've REALLY fallen for this light sweater.....(sigh)

I can see it over a straight skirt.











Those are pearls and rhinestones on the collar, with fabric covered buttons.



Like I always say....details.





Oh, there is sooo much more. I'll start posting them in my etsy shop tonight. It may take a while to get them all in there.



Vintage should be fun, educational, and entertaining. What I've learned is an admiration for the skills that went into sewing fashions in the 50's and 60's. They used the darts as shaping and as part of the design. Clothing was designed to enhance the feminine form, whereas today's styles seem a bit more relaxed and casual, or simply expose the form (lack of fabric and style.) I'd love to see a renaissance* and appreciation for fashion that manipulated fabric to create beautiful styles. Some very talented folks are doing this by sewing their own styles, sometimes using older patterns. That could be a lot of fun, but for now I'll just enjoy admiring what they produce and finding some vintage clothing now and then.

Please stop by my earlier post to enter my Welcome Spring! giveaway. Add a comment for a chance to win my banner made from vintage aprons. Drawing on March 10th!



* Renaissance, per Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary: a situation or period of time when there is a new interest in something that has not been popular in a long time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

It's been a very hectic week at work and, as Murphy would insist, what can go wrong....will. The "wrong" was everyone falling ill, one by one, from those germs that spread around at this time of year. Ah, well. It happens. And....the weekend is here :)

The sunshine is quite a tease, beaming at me all day through the window at work. It beckons, asking me to come out and play, but one step out the door brings a reality check. At 5:00pm it's a windy 36 degrees and dropping quickly. Tomorrow may hit 50 but will be overcast with possible rain. I'll take a chance and go to the shore for a walk and some photos. I WILL replace the winter header this weekend! There aren't any flowers peeking out around here but I'll find something to photograph. Perhaps that flock of robins will be around. I've seen them twice this week, about 10 birds enjoying the sunshine on a patch of grass near work.

After work yesterday I drove up to the large secondhand store about a half hour away, just on a lark. Well, it was doubleknit heaven! Someone must have cleaned out an attic, and everything was from the 1960's and 70's. I haven't seen that many pull-on knit pants since I was a teenager. They were in very good condition, too. There was another gal there who filled two shopping carts with good quality items, and a few folks who took merely a handfull apiece. I found just over half a cart of treasures. I could have taken more but a lot were questionable in their appeal or where the fabric had faded along fold lines, the kind of damage that occurs in storage. It looks like I'll be doing lots of laundry this weekend. I will post photos so you can share the trip down memory lane with me ;)

Have you stopped by my earlier post to enter your name in the Welcome Spring! giveaway? The winner will be announced on Thursday, March 10th. Enter a comment on that post for a chance :)

Tonight is for resting, some cooking, maybe a little sewing, and lots of good music. I'll be back tomorrow with lots of pictures. See you then!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome Spring! giveaway


A present from my hands to you ..... a Welcome Spring! banner crafted from the same vintage aprons that I am currently using in my floral wreath quilt.









I have edged it with a dainty lace and seafoam green rickrack from my fabulous stash of vintage trims accumulated over the years.










It is wide enough to top a kitchen window, edge a shelf or mantel, or just set on a window sill.










I've created this banner to honor our grandmothers who worked from sun up to sun down to make their homes clean, healthy, nourishing, and beautiful. It's my gift to you, if your name is picked from the comments on this post on Thursday morning, March 10th at 6:00 am EST.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Score!

My mother is an excellent cook and has made some awesome desserts over the years. She always made batches of cookies for Christmas and wonderful cakes and a blueberry cobbler that never seemed to last more than a day for our family of six. But if she didn't have time to bake, we might end up with a bag of store-bought chocolate chip cookies.

I continued this tradition when my children were young, baking zucchini, pumpkin, or cranberry-orange breads, pies, cakes, cookies, whoopie pies, even granola bars. Whatever I thought they would enjoy, I'd make.

From all this, I have this weakness for quality baked goods. And since I don't have anyone else in the house to help eat the goodies, I usually buy a single serving at the bakery. I've enjoyed tiramisu and fancy chocolate cakes without the mess or the leftovers. And whenever I go to Whole Foods I sometimes usually buy one of their "Breakfast cookies", with almonds and dried cranberries and good wheat flour. It's rectangular shaped, thick, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. They're addicting. They're also expensive at $1.79 each. So I've been looking for a cookie recipe that will satisfy my sweet tooth with that wholegrain goodness.

I happened on this cookie recipe the other day at Get Natured/Live Nurtured blog. At first I thought that there were too many ingredients, too much fuss and bother. But the more I read, the more I liked what I saw. It's got some good flours, nuts, and natural sweeteners. I decided to try it.

Of course, I didn't have all the ingredients suggested. But I decided that if the recipe didn't work with what what on hand, at least I could figure out what needed to be adjusted on the next try. I forgot about the spelt flour in the cabinet and only used whole wheat flour. I only had about a quarter cup of walnuts so I left them out altogether. I did add poppy seeds and caraway seeds, just because I like them. I had molasses. I ground some oatmeal to make oat flour. The dough did not look promising. It was thick, which was good, but I still didn't anticipate good results.






But, oh! what a really nice cookie came out of the oven. It was semi-soft and not too sweet, like a healthy muffin, only smaller.




I found that I didn't need the non-dairy milk, the nut butter, or the additional flour (kamut was suggested.) I just used more of the whole wheat that I have on hand. This cookie stands good on it's own, mid-morning at work, or with a cuppa tea in the evening.


And while my quest for a cookie to replace those at Whole Foods is still ongoing, these may help wean me off those pricey nuggets.

Party like it's 1972,

And the winner is ....




Sandy!









As chosen randomly, Sandy will be receiving this vintage pattern for some really neat cool pants!
Please send shipping info to me at greenvtr[at]yahoo[dot]com.

I'll have this out in the mail asap!




Please stop by tomorrow for giveaway #2!

Something from my hands to you...
to say "Thank You".
Have a wonderful Tuesday!