Monday, October 30, 2006

Another Necktie Log Cabin Block

necktie log cabin
I made another mock log cabin block out of fabric from neckties. Not a great photo, but hopefully you can get an idea. This one is 19 inches square. Each of my blocks has a coordinating color scheme and some sort of theme. This one is burgundy and green (yellow green and blue green), and the focal prints are birds-and-trees oriented.

Originally I was going to make pillows, until I saw this quilt in a Japanese craft book. Wow.
Mock log cabin quilt

Now my plan is to take several blocks and stitch them together without any sashes or borders. The fabrics are stitched directly onto Warm and Natural cotton batting (a stitch and flip method). I have the 19 inch blocks, but also some 23 inch ones for the outer edge. If the completed quilt is as nice as I hope it's going to be, I'll submit it to the San Diego Quilt Show next year, since it's quite unique.

Here's some detail of the block. The tree:
detail, tree
It's funny how what were once really ugly ties make great fabrics in my projects.

And detail of the blue birds on the burgundy background. Note the splash of Pucci-like color to add a spark of lightness, and the label for fun (and also in a bird theme!)
detail, birds

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Towel Tote/Beach Bag

I love sewing with towels, so when I saw an idea in the August/September issue of Bust Magazine, I found the perfect way to utilize this cool Asian bath towel I found at a thrift store (brand new in the cellophane). My friend who speaks Japanese says the characters on the edge of this towel are Chinese. I think it's so beautiful. The pattern is a take on one of the 'Jordy' bags that are all over craftster.
Towel Tote

For the interior, I used a thrifted faux suede in a burgundy color. It was in pieces, so I patched it together (who's gonna know?). If I really were using this as a beach tote, nylon would be a better choice for wet swimsuits, etc.
For the pocket, I took a washcloth I bought at the Japanese store, and folded it in half. The top edge was already finished, so it makes a self-lined pocket that matches beautifully. I added a velcro closure.
Tote interior

I was looking around for other tote patterns using towels, and found quite a few.
here's a nice one by Martha Stewart.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Photo Friday

Shoot, I forgot the booth shots again. But I do have this fun family photo to share. Me and my mom and dad. I love my look of adoration here. And there's something magical about balloons on a stick.
(click on photo for enlarged view)
Me with mom and dad

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Toys from Towels

The one downside to Flickr is that I upload pics there and forget if I've posted them here or not. So let me know you've already seen this, because going through my archives just sounds tedious right now. I actually DO, amazingly, have new handmade items to show you, but I don't have photos yet. So, for now, this cute little booklet of making toys from towels will have to do.

Toys From Towels Booklet
McCalls craft booklet #14047 copyright 1991. Features patterns to make soft toys using washcloths and hand towels.
Toys from Towels Booklet

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ew or ummm???? That is the question

Cantaloupe Pie
I can't decide if this belongs in the gallery of regrettable food, or if it might actually be good. It calls for gelatin, lime juice, whipped cream, and cantaloupe balls (and other stuff). Basically you could recreate it with cool whip and lime jello.

I haven't gotten up the nerve to try it yet.

From the Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes cookbook, 6th printing, 1969

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another vintage bias tape pattern

Bias tape patterns
(click on pic for enlarged view)
I found another pattern using bias tape. This one includes instructions to create a house with palm trees, a country fair, windmill, ducks, boy with toy horse, and train.

I guess this idea was popular at one time. The designs are to embellish aprons, bodices, towels, etc

Detail of the stick pony:
Bias tape stick pony


I was raised in Southern California, mid-middle class, mostly white suburbia. My taste in dessert, however, ventures into the, uh, white trash zone.

My favorite dessert, you ask?
Well, it's not fancy tarts or eclairs or brulee.
It's chocolate pudding in a pastry pie shell. Yep.
Not graham crust or Oreo crust...but pastry. And not the dreaded instant pudding, but the Jello brand cook and serve. The milk chocolate standard flavor. Sans whipped cream too--it just dilutes the chocolate goodness.
(cue my friend Melinda saying, "You poor dear. Pudding?!")

But pudding in a pie shell just washes me in all kinds of warm fuzzies from childhood. It's licking the pan clean, the spoon clean, and anticipating the right temperature when the pie is deemed 'done'. And forget the instructions that say to put plastic wrap atop the pie! Oh my gosh--that skin that develops is the best part! It's like the cream top on good yogurt. I practically shake with joy just thinking about it. I even had pie for breakfast this morning.

Last night I took imported Droste cocoa (over $10 bucks for that box! Holy cow), an egg, semi-sweet chocolate, and milk, and I made pudding from scratch. And I poured it into pie crust I made using Crisco's classic recipe. It was delightfully decadent. It was yum. It was made using a recipe by one of my favorite cookbook authors: Susan Purdy.

And as fantastic as it was, I still prefer the Jello. Call it childhood trumping. But it's still cool to be able to say I made pudding the hard way.
Oh, and where's the pic, you ask?
Ha! Like it would have lasted long enough to take one.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


One of my favorite websites is God Bless Americana. Charles Phoenix has a collection of slides, most from the 1950's and 60's, and gives slide shows in the Los Angeles area. He also gives funky 'Disneyland' tours of downtown LA, and has several books available on vintage tiki, Southern California kitsch, etc.

Anyway, I signed up for his newsletter, so once each week he emails one of his slides. I have shared some of these here in the past, and this one was just too good too.
Charles says:
"Pebbly-patterned wallpaper. A milk glass-trimmed floor lamp shaded with red-trimmed white ruffles. Above that, hanging on the wall, a hand carved mask fresh from the exotic import shop. And proudly placed on the corner bookshelf, flanked by portable radios, is a talking picture machine. The olive-grey, gold-framed tube says look at me. The giant knobs say turn me.

This is the 1963 version of Whistler’s Mother knitting. Her hair is as ruffled as the lamp shade and harmoniously color coordinated with the shelves, TV cabinet and butterscotch boucle-covered recliner. Her blue cheese print dress goes with the wallpaper. Does she realize she can knit and watch TV at the same time? Or eat and watch TV at the same time?

In 1954 the fine folks at Swanson introduced the TV Dinner. How convenient. What a concept. Just heat and serve – in front of the TV while watching your favorite dinner time shows which, by the way, are really just filler between commercials.

Here’s to knitting, Televisions, TV dinners and YOU!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

Photo Friday

Well, the plan was to give you an old photobooth pic that I found in a photo album my dad had from high school...but I forgot to bring it with me (still no computer, so I have to use the copy center).

Instead, I give you Halloween costumes from the early 80's to the late 90's.
But first, what's Halloween without a black cat?
Terry, 4 months, 1991
Terry, here at four months. He just turned 16, and is the best cat ever.

I, for whatever reason, do not even have one measley photograph of myself wearing a costume as a child. I'm not sure if my mom didn't take any, or if she did and they were thrown away when the roof leaked right onto an old box of albums. I wish I had some from the elementary school fairs...the tossing dimes to win a little goldfish in a baggie, the not-so-scary haunted classroom, the funky hand-painted booths...

I don't even remember any of my costumes. I do remember browsing through the masks. I am sure my mom must have sewn some costumes for me. She even sewed us matching culottes, so she must have sewn costumes too. I remember being a princess because I had on one of those huge pointed hats like an upside down ice cream cone. I remember walking all over the place--those were the days when your parents didn't have to escort you, and you could fill up a big grocery sack or a pillowcase. When people who ran out of candy gave dimes or quarters, when some people still gave shiny red apples.
I love Halloween.

Click on the pics to get to my Flickr page if you want--the pics are posted individually there with more info (you'll have to click into the photostream to get to them). I didn't want to bore you guys buy posting these all in a row, so instead I just did a collage. The cave woman one is fun because of the huge bone in my hair. The Victorian Underwear one I made using a Folkwear pattern.
My creation

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Crafty meet-up

For anyone who lives in the San Diego region, The Bad Girls of Craft will be meeting on Tuesday, October 24, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Coco's in Mission Valley. If you're interested in bringing some unwanted fabric, a fabric swap will be held (participation is optional).

Meet new friends with similar interests, get inspired, get ideas, and have a few laughs. This is a new adventure for me, but everyone I have encountered in the group has been amazingly welcoming.

More info here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quilting Arts Challenge

I was fortunate enough to be one of 30 people sent challenge materials by Quilting Arts Magazine. Our assignment: do whatever your heart desires.

The items were both paper and fabric, plus trim and ribbon--all dyed to match.
Quilting Arts Challenge Materials
I received a luscious sunset palette, though I know blues were sent to others (perhaps other colors too, I'm not sure). I do know that what I received couldn't have been more 'perfect-for-me' shades. Really, these were stunning.

What came to my mind was the type of bag you see in Japanese craft magazines, with a fabric drawstring and a basket for the base. My plan was just to make this one item. My plan was to utilize all my materials in one shebang.

I used the mat board to make a box, and added eilets so I could attach the bag part. I glued the coffee filter and the cheesecloth inside the box as a filler--like a lace really.
box 1

I don't have a digital camera, so I had to just scan these, and a bit is lost in translation, but hopefully you can get some sense of it. I love Flickr, but they suck with horizontal (well, maybe it's a blogger issue, I don't know) so click on the pic if you want to see it bigger.
box 2
box side and base

Okay, then onto the bag portion. I knew I wanted to use the beautiful silk, but the piece was rather small. I ended up sewing strips of the silk and the cotton together. I did not do a circle template, but a shape that echoed the size of trim I had for each side. I could have stopped and the simplicity was fine. This was, however, a challenge I embellished the fabric all over with snippets of the materials sent, metallic threads in pink, lavender, and bronze, and two types of additional ribbon.
bag untied
I had a strip of the silk left over to trim the edge plus act as a casing, and I added the ribbon inside at the same time. I opted to glue the trim on from the inside. I rarely if ever use glue, but I wanted the silk to not be marred with stitching.
bag 1

What I didn't plan on was the glue staining the silk.
So I took bronze thread and hand-stitched over the glue spots--an addition that I actually love. Go figure, sometimes mistakes bring forth your best effort.
(bag a bit mushed on the scanner here. It's really a cute round shape)
bag untied, other side
bag 3

What I forgot was the ribbon inside the casing. Oops. It was stitched through in too many places to pull closed now. Hmmmm.
Enter a thin bodkin and a fuchsia cording. Voila!
bag 2

I think I will still add a handle.

Bottom line though, the two together didn't work.
It was over the top. Too much.

Separately--I'm pleased with each of them. The irony is that my favorite material was the wallpaper, and I used it the least.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dazzling delight

I recently purchased a copy of Woman's Day magazine from 1951. The thing is just a wealth of information (the children's clothing patterns posted the other day are from the same magazine, as well as a few other posts).

Some of the most precious finds in here are the ads. Like this one for cake flour that states:
"Just watch his eyes sparkle when you bring on this posy-decked dazzler."
Boy, would it were so simple, eh?

Vintage cake flour ad
(click on the image to enlarge. Flickr uses the 'all sizes' button above the pic to show several sizes)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Computer Question

Why is it that on my computer at home, the following post looks fine, but on my client's computer, the back image of the tee crosses over into my links side?

Why is it that on some computers my banner is visible, and on others just the name of the blog shows?

Is there something I can do to guarantee my blog looks good on all computers, or do their individual settings change things?

Photobooth Friday

Kissy face
yet another kissy face--what's up with that? But it was the only one of the strip of four that I thought was worthwhile enough to post. I like that the scan shows just a hint of another they go on forever.
I was in the booth with a now ex-boyfriend, so I did a bit of editing here, since I didn't think it was fair to show him. June 1994 at the Del Mar Fair (now called the San Diego County Fair).

I've been cruising ebay, and I keep coming across art work that incorporates photobooth images (I love that idea).
Or check out this Andy Warhol (of Edie Sedgewick) tee:

Or here's a company in the UK (ebay store Scrubber Johnnie's Stencil Shirts) that is doing screen printed tees using a booth image of a couple kissing

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Children's clothing from tablecloths

From the May 1951 issue of Woman's Day magazine
Recycled tablecloths

more children's clothing


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Old family photo

Mom and me and Lobo
Well, heaven forbid I have any finished craft or sewing projects to post. I mean, this isn't a craft blog or anything!
Anyway, I figured I'd post this photo for fun. Myself and my mom, and our dog at the time, Lobo. We lived in Casper, Wyoming then. I scanned the photo at an angle, to emphasize the decolated (is that the right word?)
deckled edge (thanks Carol).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

PB & C Cookies!

Hillbilly fabric + PB & C Cookies
I bought these tiny little peanut butter cups at Trader Joes yesterday. One of the employees said I could make chocolate chip cookies and substitute the little cups for the chips. Oh my gosh, soooooo yummy. I assume you could probably chop up Reeses too if you don't have a Trader Joes near you. I heard Reeses are only available in America. Is that true?

I think my baking soda was out of date, hence the flat as a pancake look...
but boy, these were tasty! My co-workers were stoked.

The hillbilly-chewin'-on-a-straw fabric that you can barely see behind is a fun thrift find that screamed Amanda to me. So I kept a couple of inches and sent her the remaining 4 yards. I think she can do a lot with this--even as a border on a dress for her little girl would be cute. Or a quilt. Or....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Kid's Craft Book

Make-It Book:   Cooking
When I was a kid, my favorite books included Betty Crocker's Children's cookbook, a series of science and information books called Tell Me Why, and The McCall's Make-It Book.

I can't even tell you how many hours of my childhood were devoted to perusing the Make-it book, begging my brother Rog to make stuff (like the wooden cat cradle that I cannot believe I allowed myself to throw away in one of my dreaded de-clutter phases last year).

This book is now held together with little pieces of tape, but I love it dearly still. Here's a sampling (click on the photos for more detail).
McCall's Make-It Book, 1964

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Festival Fun

Pacific Island Festival
You can find fabric in the most unexpected places. Here, rolls of luscious Hawaiian fabrics at one of the booths at the Pacific Island Festival. I loooove me some street fairs, that's for sure.

This annual event celebrates places like Guam, Samoa, etc and includes their yummy food (lumpia, banana fritters....ummmmm), exhibitions of their traditional songs and dancing, and of course plenty of good trinkety stuff to buy. This year I only came home with a wooden turtle magnet and a dishtowel, but usually I buy jewelry, decals, and fabric. I was seriously eyeing that white-on-white print, but in the end decided against it. Without a definite project in mind, I wasn't sure how much I needed to buy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Like I need another apron!

Apron on the surf bus!
I've been having fun lately photographing stuff in unusual places, or on unusual objects--like here on my friends' old surf bus (a funky green so they call it 'the pickle'). This is an apron I purchased on ebay. It's a lovely sheer organdy (I love sheer aprons with lots of pockets).
Click on the pic for more enlarged detail.

apron detail
The pocket section includes all these yummy images. Note the bees on the far left. I love bees, I suppose because it's my initial.

more apron detail
The signature feature is a rooster, which is very collectible, but the seller misspelled the word, so I got this for a steal!

Cue the Dead's "Playin' in the Band"

Last night, among other things, I dreamed I was in an arena, playing with a band.
My instruments?
A metal rake and a straw broom.

I was really good.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Freebie Fun and live music...and meeting my first fellow blogger!

There's not too much better than some good live music AND a bunch of vendors to buy junk from.
Especially when it's free to get in the place. In this case, several street blocks.
Yep, kettle corn, funnel cakes, and a rotation of four stages every hour.
I went to the annual Adams Avenue Street Fair at the end of last month. This event is billed as the largest free two-day music event in Southern California.
I treated myself to viewing an amazing kick-ass local band called Get Back Loretta.
Get Back Loretta

And a Johnny Cash tribute band who was also rocking, called Cash'd Out.
Cash'd Out
(yeah, I know it's a crappy pic of the band, but isn't that elbow tat fun?!)

It was fun stepping in and out of stores along the street route also, including a discount fabric store housed in an old movie theatre! I even found colored but still see-thru vinyl there (very exciting for me!).

Even though I have three brothers, they are so much older that I basically consider myself an only child. So I'm used to going to events by myself. I gotta tell ya though--not dating is getting old. I am really ready to find my soulmate. More than ready.

In the meantime, however, I aim to keep busy, and that includes meeting new friends. The pics didn't turn out, but I hooked up with Sue of Sue's Joy, a fellow music lover, to see Jose Gonzalez at the Casbah last Wednesday. It was as if I'd known her forever! Unfortunately, she and her husband and daughter head back to Taiwan in February. Maybe it will give me an excuse to visit a new place in the world!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Photobooth Friday

Well, there is only a half an hour to go until Friday, and it's already Friday in lots of parts of the I'm going to post this now.
Aunt Mary and Uncle Ben
This is a photobooth of sorts. Lots of vintage photos seem to have been taken in front of a plethora of facades.

Here is my Aunt Mary and My Uncle Ben, sometime during WWII.
My aunt is still living--she lives in Mexico, and is in her late 80's. She was an artist and a teacher.

More photo goodness here.


this is one amazing dog
Check out this video about him.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

(drool....) another Japanese Craft Book: Machine Made Patchworks

Well, the plan was to scan a bunch of images while I was house-sitting, but their internet connection has disconnected! Argh! So much for that idea. So for now I'll show you some images that I had previously uploaded, of this to-die-for craft book I got at the Japanese market. Seriously, I think I was shaking when I finally got it in my hands!
the cover: (ISBN 4-579-11020-X)
Japanese Craft Book

Flour sack bag:
Flour sack bag

Strips bag: (ooh, this would work with neckties!)
strips bag

Newsprint bag:
Newsprint Bag

More and more I see things like this collage of newsprint made into fabric. Now that one can use their home computer to print on fabric sheets, the possibility of personal fabric design is endless.

This book has more in it than bag designs, but I will post those at a later date.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Melting into a pool of butter water

I just got my first facial.
Wow, what a concept.
It included a full face (lymphathic) massage, and a hand massage.
(drool) there is nothing quite like a hand massage.

I got this after a body massage, which included a foot massage.
Foot massage is right up there with hand massage.
Just sayin'.
Guys--are you listening?

It is the beginning of a new month--have you checked out the galleries of the challenges? I about fainted over the Pincushion Challenge Gallery for all its goodness. My God.
Tie One On, at this writing, is not yet posted, but soon will be. There are always amazing entries there.
And don't forget about Hot Mitt Monthly either--Oziahz deserves more kuddos for that one (ssshhhh, she gives killer awards if you win).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Living in the country (this week)

I am dog-sitting in Ramona right now, for an adorable lab named Baxter.

Ramona is one of San Diego county's 'country' towns. That's what's great about San Diego--whatever your heart desires, it's probably within driving distance. And if you want country, we've got country.
There are horse owners here, boot shops with country music blaring, feed lots, and dirt roads.
Main Street, Ramona
(uh, this one is plastic)
You can click on the pics to get enlarged details. Flickr falls short in this regard--their horizontals just aren't quite right. Anyway...

Once upon a time, I even kept my own horse here.
Lil Cowboy's Pony
No, it wasn't this one, but the silliness of this little southwest pony in front of Stater Brothers grocery just slays me.

One of my brothers lives in Ramona, and I never much liked the place, though it seems to be growing on me this week.

I like the rock-laden hills on the drive up here. I like the down-home friendliness. It has taken me a long time to learn that there is a far cry between country folk and white trash. White trash is the lady next to me at Walmart today, with missing teeth and a mouthful of ice cream sandwich, saying derogatory things about her ex-husband in front of his kid. But that's another story...
Country is buttered biscuits and a friendly waitress, cowboy boots with a brush of dust, and 'thems good people'. At least a lot of the time.
But I digress.

Main Street, Ramona (2)
For example, I visited a thrift store here, and I asked a lady who worked at this shop if she had any fabric. She walked me out and showed me the two areas where they kept remnants. She said, (with an Oklahoma twang) "have I been helpful?"
Yes, I said.
"My daddy used to say that I was as helpful as a pocket on a shirt. I was his favorite."

It was just so darn cute. She went on to tell me how her dad had been in the navy, and her mom was a nurse, and she was one of six was charming. I love that open, talkative, trusting nature that you find too rarely these days.

But back to San Diego diversity...
We have other country towns too, most in the east county. Names like Pine Valley, Descanso, Valley Center...
towns with hay rides in the Fall, and sleigh rides in Winter.
but you can basically find any niche your heart desires here.
If you like the desert, we've got that in San Diego too--great flowers after spring rains.
Urban area? Check.
Snow in the mountains at Christmas? Got that.
Beach sand? Duh.
Lake areas? Check.
It pleases most everyone.

I apologize for my lack of crafting posts lately. I have been plagued with headaches again, but can't get into the doctor until November. In the meantime, crafting just isn't getting done. Bear with me.