Friday, January 29, 2010

Embroidered Flour Sack Towels

I just finished embroidering 5 vintage inspired flour sack dish towels, using the patterns found in Mary Jane Butter's "Stitching Room" book.


There is 5 in the set - Strawberries










I think I'll put them in the Etsy shop this weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vintage Hanky Cone Tutorial

This is my first sewing tutorial. I apologize for the mediocre photos; I can't help it.
I did a few of these and sold them from my Etsy Shop right away.
So this tutorial is for my friend Elisa who asked me about posting a tutorial for the needle case - but I can't do that, because I haven't found another such vintage linen to make one from.
This post is also for Jodi, who is getting married next year, and asked me about sewing some of these for her wedding.
I know I shouldn't give away my "secrets", but hey - it's not too hard to do these cute little baggies; I stole the idea from an old "shabby cottage decor" catalog in my stash.

So. Here we go:

You will need a 10-12 inch square vintage embroidered hanky (The one in this post I bought at the Salvation Army for $.10.) It doesn't really have to be vintage; the ones I made and sold were not vintage. It needs to have embroidery in one corner. You can find hankys like this on Etsy, eBay, thrift stores, antiques auctions; or maybe your Grandmother or Mom has some stashed away they might let you have.

You will also need an iron board, iron, spray bottle of water, needle and thread, pins, and satin ribbon.


Spread the hanky out on the iron board embroidery side down. (Never iron embroidered items right side up; you can wreck the stitches.) Give it a little spray and iron flat.


Next, turn the embroidery corner down a few inches,and pin.


Fold right sides together and pin along the long side.



Thread your needle and sew along the long, pinned side. (You can use a machine, too.)


Unpin everything, including the folded embroidery corner.


Turn right side out.


Measure out a length of ribbon for your hanging loop and bows.



Sew them on either side of your cone.


Ta Da! Ready to fill with flowers.


You don't have to do the embroidery yourself; unless you just want to. Or if you're like me, I'd want to put a monogram on mine.
These take about 1/2 hour tops; less if you use a machine. So there you go! I will do a needle case tutorial if I ever find an appropriate linen to use.

AMEN and AMEN!!!!!!!!

I LOVE this post by Aunt Ruthie from her Sugar Pie Farmhouse Blog! It is rather long, but worth the time to read!
This post reaffirms many things that have been foremost in my mind and heart lately.
After reading this post, I wanted to go bake a pie, hug my husband, sing, and dance!!
Go have a gander at it; and let me know what you think!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In The Kitchen

I am so excited!

Today, I installed my first bit of decor in my still being remodeled kitchen!

First of all, you must understand: for many years prior to my marriage and move to this farmhouse, I was a collector of vintage kitchen items and china. Working at a local Antiques store didn't help matters one bit. So, I have boxes of vintage stuff waiting for my kitchen.

Blue jars. Flow Blue. Blue Willow. Jadeite. Fiesta. W.S. George. Ironstone. Piles of Homer Laughlin from the 30's-40's. My great grandmother's egg beater and iron, given to me by my Grandpa. Chalkware roosters. My "puking cow" creamer. French white tureens and pitchers. Tins. Coffee grinder. Early electric toaster. Enamel ware. Aprons. Linens.

You get the picture.

Today we put up the plate rack my Mom bought me.....which is a lovely shade of distressed dark blue, even though in this (awful) picture, it looks black.

I think it looks great on my "Butter" walls. I played a game of Dr. Suess's "Hats" book with all my china: Pink Transferware? Too red. Flow blue? Too blue. Plates Mom gave me for a wedding gift? Too bold. So, I settled on these - with a spray of roses, daffodils, and little blue forget-me-nots, and a gilded edge, they were perfect! Even Kevin, who forbade all pink, girly things, approved. Now if I can only get him to put the cover on that wall heater fan....

In other news, I was washing up some turnips in the sink, and it occurred to me how pretty they are! What a lovely shade of purple.

So, I made a tower of them in my vintage green Fiesta bowl. For fun. If I had some herbs or berries, to stick in the spaces, it would be such a groovy arrangement. I love fruits, veggies, and berries arrangements. :)

And just a word of caution: When washing delicate vintage juice glasses, take extra care, as they break easily, and can cut your hands up pretty badly. Ouch.

Just thought I'd share my day in the kitchen! Y'all come back!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought...

Here I was, expecting the worst, and resigning myself to a few weeks free of listing things on Etsy, blogging, or anything except checking emails.

Turns out, THIS FELLOW (Phileppe) had slept on my desk, and pressed the lock button on the keyboard, and I didn't figure it out. (And the batteries were dead in the keyboard also - it's wireless. DUH)

And I blamed it all on the computer.

Just look at this mischief maker:




("Eye" is cute!)

In fact, as I type this, he is sleeping on the desk next to the mouse pad and keyboard. In know I should train my cats better, but I don't. They're spoiled. Spoiled rotten.

Anyway, we had an expert come by the house to fix our sound! It has been a month or so since we had sound on the desktop! Unfortunately, we will soon need another computer anyway, as this one does have a grody virus on it; and upgrading the memory will cost half as much (or more)as a new one.
We also had him take our laptop, which he said was an excellent laptop, and even better than our desk top, only it needed a bunch of crud dumped off of it and we need an external hard drive, etc. as well as some more memory.


I am back. I was actually looking forward to a bit of a break. I was all geared up about it; and what I would get done around the house since I wouldn't be taking pictures and editing pictures for Etsy all the time, etc.

Oh well.

Did you miss me? (Yeah, right! LOL)
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saying goodbye For a Little While

Well, my dear blog, and blogging friends, I find I must say goodbye for a while.

My main computer, my desktop with all my software and photos and EVERYTHING, crashed once and for all, I'm afraid. I am typing this on our old (like, 2007) Think Pad laptop which is a poor excuse for a laptop.....but I am grateful for it. It is the only thing I have to stay on top of my Etsy business, my eBay stuff (yes, I started dabbling in eBay, and actually sold some things this week :)Thanks for the inspiration, Jodi!) my PayPal, Kevin's farm equipment sales on Craigslist etc. And with my Etsy business clicking along as it is, I panicked when the desktop crashed. Then my amazing husband swooped in and got this thing going well enough for me to do what I have to do. "I'm not good at computers," he says. Well, he's a heck of a lot better than ME!


Ever since my little brother was here at Christmas and downloaded a bunch of JUNK on it, it's been slowly loosing it day by day.
E ven having it "de-virused" and "de-fragged" didn't make it any better. In fact, during the transport of the thing, we lost our sound card. Well, we didn't "loose" it, it kind of broke; or disappeared, or something. Anyway, we had no audio. Then this past week, the wireless keyboard started giving me problems. Then today, as I was trying to type a blog post, it quit all together. Booooo!

We're trying to get a reputable guy to come deal with it, and install some memory upgrades, but Kevin said if he didn't come by midweek, he was going to buy me an entire new system. (Even though we really can't afford it.) With so much riding on the computer business-wise, and money-wise, I can't not have one in good working order......

So I am going to check out of here for a few days while we figure out what we're going to do.

I might check in if I have some deep thoughts or something. Even though I rarely blog about my deep thoughts.....


Real quick Shop news: Some of the items I listed early on in my shop launch are going to be expiring soon; and I do not plan on re listing them any time soon, if ever. So I have moved them into the Sale section of my shop, and others will be going there in the next few weeks as well.
I am emptying out almost the whole thing to make room for my Spring and Summer lovelies!
So if you are a follower of my shop via this blog, and you had your eye on something in the shop, look out, it might be on sale for dirt cheap soon!

Well, goodbye - for a few days, or a week or so. I will still be reading your blogs; have no fear.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Progressions of Yard Birds

Spring 2009 - I get an incubator and 40 fertile eggs.
They sit on my kitchen table and I turn them twice a day for 21 days.

One morning the eggs start to chirp, and soon the little balls of fuzz enter the cruel, cruel world.

I end up with about 20 or so. They live the next few weeks in the brooder I set up in the kitchen.

They really are cute little things. I try very hard not to get sentimental about them.

It's hard.


Once the weather is warmer and they start feathering out, I set up a play pen in the yard for them, and they stay out in the afternoons.

Along the way I lost a few, as will happen with fowl. I end up with 5 hens, and 9 roos. I let them be free range; and they get all over everything.

Once they reached a good weight, the day arrives. This day looms darkly on most roo's horizon.

Kevin makes ready to do the deed.

I won't show the grodiest details; let's just say ......






A few days later, I roasted one with herbs and root veggies....


And behold, it was very good.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Linens, Linens, Linens.

How many dresser scarves can one person use in a house? Apparently, "back in the day", they used a whole lot! Dresser scarves, Vanity sets, chair sets, piano cloths; whatever the piece of furniture, they embroidered a linen for it! Large, small, tiny, all kinds of odd shapes. Often I have stood in an antiques store holding a embroidered linen, shaking my head and wondering "What the heck is this for?" I confess, I have bought many such odd linens for the embroidery on them. And because I find it hard to resist an embroidered linen for some unknown reason.
So the other night I was feeling super creative and I made this needle case out of a small 5 1/2 by 9 inch hand embroidered dresser - thingy while watching one of my favorite movies ever - "Becoming Jane".

I added the word "needles" on there.

Then I made this baggie out of a heavily starched, embroidered "hot rolls cover." It has a pink ribbon loop that is removable for hanging or carrying or whatever. I stayed up till 2:00 AM making these, as for some reason, I was stoked and far from feeling sleepy.

The next day, I bought a white and blue "hot rolls cover" at my friend's antique shop for $2.00 and made this little "baggy thingy" last evening while watching the 2 hour season premiere of "24" (Yay Jack! Whoop some terrorist butts! Yay Chloe! Hack those terrorist's computers!)

The baggy thingys are fully lined and have snap closures. My fingers are full of holes, too; as I do all the sewing by hand. Working with these old linens it too intricate to do with a machine. Besides, I don't know how to use a sewing machine - yet. I think they would make great make-up bags, lingerie bags, gift bags, little girl's purses, etc.

So they will all be up on my Etsy later this evening in case you want one or know someone who might want one.
Why leave old linens sitting around in bags, boxes, closets, drawers, attics, and the like? I say, USE 'EM.
I have a pile of throw pillows on our bed made entirely from old white linens.

So when I look at a old dresser scarf, I don't see a dresser scarf; I see what it could be with a little tweaking.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

90 Years

My Grandmother, Dorothy Rose Kelly, was born on this day in 1920.
Here she is in the 1930's, as a young teenager. Of course, this was the Depression era.

Here is my Grandma with my Mom when my mom was about three years old or so - which would have made this the late 1940's or the Early 1950's. Not to give away my Mom's age or anything.

My Grandma was a huge, big part of our lives growing up. She spent almost every afternoon with us. We did crafts, art, nature walks, tea parties, dress up, all those cool nifty Grandma things. To this day, my brother, Eli, can't take a trip to the beach without Oreo Cookies, because every time my Grandmother took them to the beach, they had Oreos and Beanie Weanies in a can. (Living in Florida, we went to the beach quite a bit, of course.)

Grandma was the first re-user, re-cycle, up-cycling person I knew. I used to think that she was a little crazy for keeping all her trash and re-using it.
One time, grandma went out with her "breakfast club" group of lady friends, and came back with a lacy green 1950's prom dress, which she then cut up and created two frilly dress-up dresses for my little sister and I. I adored that dress. I don't know what ever happened to it.
Grandmas's re-using hurt my feelings one time as well. I was about 8 or 9 and I made her a sachet for Christmas out of a piece of lace, a bar of scented soap, and a ribbon bow. I was so proud of it.
A week or so later, it was taken apart: the bar of soap I found on the sink in her bathroom, and lace and bow in her sewing pile. I went home and cried to my Mother about it. Mom said, "It was a gift. You can't stop her from doing what she wants with it. A gift is a gift."
I think growing up in the Great Depression and then the deprivation of WW2 influenced my Grandmother to be so thrifty. That, and the fact that she and my Grandpa, from whom she is divorced, were early proponents of re cycling, taking care of one's environment, creativity, thriftiness, and resources on hand. (I remember my Grandfather coming to visit and making yard benches out of logs and pieces of 2x4 laying around the Garage - the garage he built on another visit.)
I don't think me Grandparents are crazy anymore for doing this. I realize they were wise, and far ahead of their time. Now, being so "green" is "hip" and cool.

When Grandma moved back to Florida, to care for her mom, my heart was broken. I cried for an hour or more into the mane of the neighbor's gelding. But I forgave Grandma.
I was ticked off when she sold the house in Gainesville (FLA.) to move back up here. We had so many memories in good ol' "704". That's what we called the house: "704". Not "The house in Gainesville," or "The house on NW 31st St." ( I still have the address memorized.)
But I forgave Gramma for that, too.

Gramma is not in the best health or state of mind these days. It's hard to watch as her body and mind fail her.

So today I am making a huge chocolate cake - her favorite - and the whole family is going to pig out on some Italian food, and all her great grandchildern will be toddling around, and she will be in 7th heaven.

Happy birthday, Gramma. We love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Doing Their Part

Several months after moving to our farm here in Virginia, I discovered a large old box of magazines from the 40's - 70's in one of the barns on the property; along with many hundreds - I kid you not - perhaps even a thousand or more - canning jars; among other "vintage" items. Stored in boxes, it looked like the people who lived here crammed them in boxes and stored them away in the barns, where they were forgotten for all those years. Until I, the great Vintage Huntress, on a mission to clean out said barns, discovered them. Regular clear glass jars, as well as the old blue ones with intact, perfect zinc and porcelain lids.

Going through the magazines, I discovered the almost all contained old gems of recipes in their fragile, decayed pages. Some called for ingredients like Powdered MSG, "top milk", double acting baking powder, lots of gelatin, meat drippings, etc. They're also full of all those quaint old advertisements, silly romance short stories, old beauty products ads, all those "vintage" images we all recognize. I imagine that those short stories were an excellent way for these war time women to keep their minds off of the horrors that could be facing their loved ones overseas.

But I was also struck by the fact that we ladies today are in a similar pickle to those WW2 housewives. History seems to be repeating itself. Not in terms of wars and political climate, perhaps, but I felt a kinship with the ladies in the pages of one magazine in particular, a 1944 issue of McCall's Magazine. Am I nuts?

I don't think so. Bear with me:

In this July issue of the McCall's magazine, in the "homemaking" section, is an article on fruit preservation entitled "PUT UP FRUIT!" Listing the difficulty in finding commercially packed fruits to buy, due to the Government's shipping most canned fruit to the Armed Forces and "other types of shipments" (humanitarian) - as a very good reason to put up fruits. Basically, if you don't put it up yourself, you aren't going to have any. They were on their own.
Another reason listed to can fruits was the shrinkage of butter or "oleomargarine" supplies, thereby encouraging folks to "eat more bread for the energy we need these days." I guess they figured that bread was inexpensive and filling; and if they couldn't have oleo or butter on it, jam was just as tasty.

Of course, we now know that a lot of bread is bad for you (carbs, starch, sugar, etc.) and we also know that "oleomargarine" is really, really bad for you! But it is the "making do" aspect of the article that caught my attention.

An article entitled "Know Your Jar Lids" gave tips for canning using a 3-piece rubber ring, glass lid, and metal rim; zinc and porcelain lined caps; the lightning style with glass lid, rubber ring, and two metal bails - as well as our modern metal lid and ring style. "CAN MORE IN '44!" the article encouraged in bold lettering.

These ads stress the "war time" importance of saving soap.


This ad for Parkay margarine states in a little info box in the corner: "Keep up your Victory Garden - cultivate carefully, bring to full harvest, pick your crop. Don't waste anything you grow! Preserve fresh and perishable foods by canning, brining, (pickling?) drying, and storing......"


Paper bags were no longer available, so women went shopping with fabric shopping bags they made for themselves. This article showed three or four different ways to create a shopping bag with materials ladies would have had on hand.
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These women - women like my Grandmother, who was a WAVE in the Navy at the time - had to figure make what they had stretch, come up with an alternative, or simply go without. When they ran out of something, they didn't just run down to the local grocery for another one - they might have to wait weeks, or even months, for more.

Women today may find they have much in common with those war-time housewives from the 1940's. We find ourselves trying to save, conserve, reuse, or do without - not because of a world war going on, but because of the downturn in the American economy.
The WW2 wartime women learned to be creative with the items they did have, and were happy to give some things up for the war effort. It was a hard time for our country then, as it is a hard time now.... but as in years before, women find a way.

Women took great pride in the food they served giving an attractive presentation, being emotionally fulfilling as well as nutritious and necessary to life. They were taking on a noble task, "keeping on keeping on", "doing their part for the war effort" at home, when around them the whole world was engulfed in turmoil; not so unlike what it is again today.

So this year I plan on having my own "Victory Garden" again; and canning and preserving more than I did last season. I know there are those out there who question the healthiness of canning; but I'd rather can it than waste it; or freeze it.(Using more electricity.) Plus, it's probably healthier than buying it canned from he store. Therefore, I can. (I did about 30 plus quarts of green beans this past season.) And I will use those jars I found in my barn; and think of the woman who put them there; after she had "done her part" and "Canned more in '44".

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the luxury of being able to run down to the Food Lion and grab a can of baking powder when I run out. I'm not saying you're more of a woman if you deprive yourself. I say GO FOR IT if you run out of something and you have money to replenish and a store that can accommodate you.

But sometimes it is pretty cool to see if you can do without, or use an alternative, or simply not waste.

Well, I hope this was in the very least entertaining for you readers, and for you innocent passers by. If not - oh well. Tune in again next time to hear more ramblings from a cooped up mind. :)