Monday, April 30, 2007

That's me!

On page 42 of the May/June 2007 (issue 12) of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine...that's me!


I made a collage using a childhood photograph--I was sitting on my brother's friend's car, parked in my parents' driveway.
I was wearing my beloved granny boots, and drinking Coke from a bottle.

A second collage also includes a photograph.
I love working with memories.
This one is from the late 1970's of my friend's mom--a lady who had a dramatic influence on a second mom.

The collages pertain to an article I wrote about vinyl recipe cards.
I will tell you more about these images and this article later.
But check out the magazine if you're not already a subscriber.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vinyl Cupcake

I was experimenting with making shapes with vinyl recipe cards, thinking this might be a fun presentation in a gift basket or for a card.
Vinyl Cupcake, front

I found this pink vinyl at an upholstery shop, drew a cupcake outline freehand, then stitched the pieces together with pink rayon thread.

The strawberries are cut from an aluminum can (a Japanese strawberry soda), and glued to the front side.

The 'frosting' area is filled with Wilton 'pink sugars' sprinkles.
Sort of a toy you want to squeeze.

The base is clear, medium gauge vinyl (the type used to cover a tablecloth).
The stitching lines are intended to resemble the accordian pleats of the paper liner.
The pink striped area is cut from a readymade paper liner, and the back gives a 'recipe' for good luck.
Vinyl Cupcake, back
(click the photo to enlarge, and to see the recipe)

There are many festivities and traditions, such as Mardi Gras' King's Cake, that hide a trinket (coin, plastic baby, charm, bean, etc) inside the cake.
It is said that the person to receive the slice with the trinket is bestowed with good luck for the following year.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Photo Friday

Dancing 'round the daisy pole (cropped)
(click on image to enlarge)

I love May Poles.
The epitome of sweet innocence.

This is from a stereoview, A June Carnival – Dancing ‘Round the Daisy Pole.
Keystone View Company, Manufacturers and Publishers.
Copyright 1900 by B.L. Singley

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I spent a couple of hours today talking to an ex-boyfriend.
It was nice, really. How several years have passed yet the comfort level remains.

He and I were together for eight years, then best friends for another two.
Several of those years we also lived together, so it's pretty darn close to having had a marriage.
We still email (he lives in Washington state now, is a home-owner and married), and have remained on a friendly level.

His mom passed away recently, and he is down in Los Angeles helping his dad sort through some items.
They came across three produce crates of craft supplies, and were kind enough to think of me.
Did I want them? Uh...duh.

It was like uncovering treasure.
In these boxes, were 190 patterns. Oh yum.
Most are children's or for a much thinner woman than myself,
but one can always get ideas...
Or make gifts.

Also a few pieces of fabric, two tins of buttons, miscellaneous trims, macrame books, knitting needles, an incredible full-size paper sheet with a Marimekko apron pattern printed on it (gasp!), etc.

And it's just nice that's it from her, because I knew her well and we were on excellent terms.

Anyway, here is just a peak at the wonderfulness.

Miscellaneous goodies, but I love the heavy metal tracing wheel with the bakelite-type handle.
Notions, craft supplies

No date, but I'll guess 50's apron pattern
Girl's and Teen's Quick and Easy Apron

Dress Pattern, 1956
Dress Pattern, 1956

Dress Pattern, 1955
Dress Pattern, 1955

Vogue Cover-up (no date)
 Vogue Cover-up

A sheer organdy, and a sweet knit
More fabrics

Awesome linen(?) with an embroidered pattern (love!), and an incredible yellow rayon-type fabric that would make a lovely top

And this really cool mail order pattern for a patchwork quilt.
What a great way to use scraps.
Patchwork Pattern

Anyway, it was nice seeing him again face-to-face and talking.
I guess when you get that close to someone, that ease with one another just becomes part of who you are.
Thanks, Mark.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Sewing with Neckties

I hit the mother lode today, finding this article about different way to recycle neckties in sewing projects, from Smart Sewing Magazine, 1955.

Necktie border on a blanket
I've seen necktie quilts where the points are off the edge as 'prairie points', but never as an interior border like this.
It would be a great way to salvage a worn blanket.

Or how about this braided rug?!
Braided Neckties Rug, part one
Necktie rug, part two

I love this idea of lining a coat.
Coat lining and sash from neckties

The cap is a little scary, but the patchwork is a handsome way to use small scraps.
Cap and Glasses Case from neckties


Friday, April 20, 2007

More mail from kind blogging friends

Diane surprised me with a handmade birthday card.
Since I'm not home to use my scanner I'll borrow a pic off her blog:
birds card
It's so lovely--from a linoleum block print she carved.
What is really special is that she was inspired to create this because three yellow birds come to her fountain every morning.
Wow. Yellow birds.
She placed it in an envelope in which the paper lining is matching yellow polka dots.
Thank you so much.
Now I'm inspired to make a block print!


Spending money....or wanting to anyway

Wow, I am becoming a master of killing time by cruising the web.

Ooh, love these socks

and these cards
Both from Sailor Jerry.
Really want a hoodie too....

I have to save money to have my thermostat fixed in my car though.
The dealer was really kind to me today and didn't charge me anything to check it out.
Land Rover so utterly rocks.
I love my car.

I took the dog out for a walk in the rain tonight.
It was just sunset, and the gray cast of the sky held a faint pinkish purple glow.
There was a scent of smoke in the air, from wood burning in fireplaces.
We both came home soaked, but it was nice really.
There's a small magic in being able to look into the clouds and have water fall on your face.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cruising the web

I have avoided crafting, but I still love to search for crafty (and other) stuff online.
Like this great recycling idea
Mosaic a bowling ball into a garden orb

Ooh, I have to try this Black Forest Tart.

I have an obsession with May Poles lately.
Here are some great vintage photos
(despite the dreaded background music. Background music on sites is one of my pet peeves)

Grrr...more problems with bloggers 'add image' icon.
Photos loaded this way don't seem to be up on my blog anymore, and I've noticed the same on other blogs.
The frustration continues.
Typepad is looking better all the time....

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm exhausted

Well, I got nothin'.
But other people sure have some amazing creations--like this dress made with neckties from Outsapop.
My first Fashion Show dresses - Trashion

I have been putting all my energy into my purse blog lately.
There are lots of new links, and a new post.
So please keep checking over there (or sign up with bloglines).
And make a bag too!

I will try to actually sew something soon and post it here.
I just haven't been in the sewing mood...


Monday, April 16, 2007

Creepy craft people.

I've been cruising Craftster today. This entry
made me laugh out loud.
I wish I had the wit of Susie Sunshine, Finny, or Crazy Aunt Purl, but that is not my way.
Sure is fun to read it though.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vintage Ad

One of the coolest things about using Flickr is that I find out what kind of images appeal to the most people.

I'm finding that vintage advertising and illustration inherently carries a big audience.
So I tend to look at old magazines and books with a new eye now.

This is a weird ad. Check out the baby tied to the plunger!
And what's with all the guns?--every kid has one!
I mean, it's just an ad for shoes.
Hmmm... Gun-toting space boys and girl
(click on image to enlarge)

From Smart Sewing Magazine, 1954.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Birthday Stationery

Yay, I finally found the goodies sent to me for my birthday from Mary Ann.
Turns out I had placed these with my bills, so no wonder I didn't look for them there, haha.

Mary Ann is amazingly magnanimous. This is not the first time I have received a surprise from her.
It's lovely.

Birthday card from Mary Ann
First, a collaged card in a quilt-like pattern of paper.
I think this is fun and attractive, and it gives me ideas...

Hand-stitched greeting cards
And how fun are these?
Four hand-stitched cards, with envelopes.
I think it's so cool that she used silk flowers. Hmmm...
I will have to try this myself.
This is a great example of how simple shapes and lines can deliver big results.

Thank you so much, Mary Ann.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Purses made from candy wrappers

Limited edition Luna Bar Blue bags from Ecoist.

If any of you are interested in purchasing, making, or learning more about purses woven from candy wrappers or other packages, see my new post on my purse blog (click here).


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Birthday Mail!

Ah, mail is just the best thing ever.
Jen sent me some birthday goodness.
(coincidentally, a package I sent to her as part one of our swap is up on her blog right now).

We've talked about the little looms from childhood, and making potholders.
She got me this vintage ADJUSTABLE loom with some kick ass graphics.
Vintage Loom
How To Loom
I collect old toys and games with fun graphics to display like art, so this fits into that category.
But I'm looking forward to constructing some items too!
Jen included a bag of multi-colored cotton loops to get me started.

She also sent along a potholder that she made herself, and a cool reverse-applique-type card with a purse design (quite apropos).
Gifts from Jen

Also in the package, this fun little plant kit of "message beans"
message beans
In about a week, it will sprout some sort of message.
How fun is that?!

Then, a bag wrapped up from the thrift of those what-are-ya-gonna-get bags of ties. I love those.
Within, 33 polyester ties, including these:
The thin rockabilly-style ones from Stringbean are always fun.

more ties
And these funky colors are great.
The red one has a stain, but no worries!
Ties, especially polyester ones, are simple to wash.
I use both silk and poly in my quilt blocks, even side-by-side.
I like the textural variations.

Thanks so much for thinking of me, Jen.

Mary Ann
sent me goodness too, but I have misplaced my mail. Eek.
The one downside of dog-sitting is that carting my stuff house to house tends to keep me disorganized.
I am often unpacked.
So I will share the love from Mary Ann when I unpack all my stuff. (so lame, I apologize)
In the meantime, go check out her updated store. She rocks.
My favorite are these May Day Cones. They're like really special cone-shaped bird's nests.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

80's Heat

Saturday was my birthday.
My friend Brandie treated me to Thai food, then we went to the infamous Belly Up Tavern for "80's heat".
Meaning it was all about 80's music and a lot of dancing.

Initially I just thought I'd join Brandie and her two friends for a cocktail.
But I didn't expect the evening to be so much fun!

There was a DJ on stage spinning vinyl, and a dancer doing moves reminiscent of Flashdance and Footloose.
She was a maniac (sorry, couldn't help it).

THEN, the place starting getting more crowded, the crowd was a wide spectrum of ages, and more and more people started showing up dressed in 80's attire.
First there were the Madonnas, and some others who didn't quite have the decade down correctly, but we'll give them kudos for effort.

One girl showed up all Olivia Newton John physical, with a headband, side ponytail...
and leotard.

Then two guys showed up wearing big-hair wigs, those funky elastic-waisted pants that looked like they were paint splattered (I can't remember what those were called), fishnet fingerless gloves....and mini guitars to rock out on.
It was hysterical.

Later, after I left, Brandie told me a guy showed up wearing a denim skirt and leg warmers.
Ya gotta love the spirit (I'd say spunk, but I guess in the UK that carries a nasty connotation).

One girl was dancing the whole time, wearing pumps, a camisole, and sheer white boxer shorts.
The guy we were with said, "I think I've seen her on a pole somewhere."
A Kenny Loggins look-alike wouldn't leave her alone. Eewww.

Anyway, it was a fun way to celebrate.

What was also an amazing boost to my day was mail from two blogging buddies kind enough to send me goodies.
It's so late tonight, I will post the details tomorrow...


Monday, April 09, 2007

Jacket made from towels

Jamara Jacket Pattern
Really fun vintage pattern I bought on ebay.
I love sewing with towels. This jacket is constructed using bath towels.

One auction was already completed (I so wish I would have seen it earlier), it came with the pattern AND vintage chenille towels (drool....)


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Necktie Eggs!

Vintage Lilac posted about this idea from Martha Stewart last year.
Monogram Momma made some this year, and she's got a tutorial posted!

So I got together with my friend Jen, and we dyed Easter Eggs using pieces of silk neckties.
Silk Tie Eggs
It was so much fun unwrapping the fabric packages to see what magic was inside!
Definitely an oohs and aahs moment.

Look at the lily!
Eggs detail

Three of the eggs didn't color, because one tie was polyester (oops), and the other two were hand-marbled designs in swirled colors. Perhaps somehow the colors had been permanently set, so the design didn't transfer.
Pretty Eggs

We'll have to find ways to best wrap the eggs, because where the fabric folds or pleats, the egg remains white.
It was really easy though, really fun, and we'll definitely do it again next year!
More eggs detail

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Friday, April 06, 2007


I don't have access to my scanner, so any pics will have to wait for Sunday.

Please keep checking my Purse Challenge, as I am updating the site with new ideas, more links, etc on a continual basis.
I have added a link to subscribe with bloglines, if that's easier for you.

Gasoline was down a bit today at $3.09 per gallon.
I paid $3.27 the other day, and saw it as high as $3.35.
It's not even summer yet, and I admit it--I drive an SUV.

All for now....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coyotes aren't ugly

I was packing up my bags last night, preparing for a new dog-sitting job, and happened to walk by the television. The news was reporting a 'ha ha' segment, about a coyote who wandered into a Chicago area Quiznos sandwich shop.
He just sat there, not bothering anyone, as people wildly snapped camera-phone pics through the windows.
I didn't find the report so funny.

Okay, obviously I have a fondness for coyotes.

If you've fallen for anti-predator propaganda like the Big Bad Wolf, go get yourself a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's
Prodigal Summer.
But I digress.

Were it my sandwich shop, and were the location remote (did he come out of the nearby hill or???), I would have just clapped my hands (made noise) and basically thereby asked him to go home. I do this all the time when the coyotes get too close to the house and outside kitties that my mom feeds or that live near houses where I work. I would not have called animal control.

Yeah, I know he's a wild animal. I know better than to even approach domesticated dogs in situations where they might react in an aggressive manner (guarding a car, for example). I would not, however, ever assault the poor animal with a freakin' neck noose.
I just find that appalling.
The reaction just really really bothers me.

I assumed they killed him, because I was told that is the course of action here, but the news reports say if he is healthy he may possibly be released.
I really hope that for him.

People really need to understand that nature is a beautiful balance.
We need to better learn to coexist with all creatures, not run and hide, or react with fear and paranoia, or cringe in our 'refined' city shells.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Why do I keep singing "and the stars fell on Alabama...last night..."?

The stars seem to be strangely aligned, or there is some odd phenomenon occuring...
because in the last couple of weeks, I have encountered several connections with old friends.

First an email from a classmate of elementary school through high school, who happened upon an archived post of mine where I mentioned her name.
She wrote to tell me she got a kick out it.
I got a kick out of hearing from her.

An email from another friend from high school.

I was shopping in a thriftstore last week, heard "hi auntie Barbie", and turned around to see my nephew's ex-wife.
I haven't spoken with her nor have I seen her in several years.
It was nice seeing her, catching up, getting reacquainted.
Divorce can bring bad feelings and disrepair to relationships in families, but I was always grateful to her for being so kind to my parents.
Of all the people in the family, she was the only one to ever call on a whim or randomly drop by.
I really appreciated her efforts, and always will.

I called a friend (not even knowing if the number would still be valid) I have known since the 4th grade, but she moved when we were in high school.
I kept in contact with her sporadically, but the last time we spoke was in 1999.
I doubt any time will separate us again.

I reunited with a friend I have known since 7th grade. We have remained friends but day to day life had gotten in the way and I finally saw her again after two years.
Time has stood still.
I watched her dog last week. Her home is an image from my dreams--built in 1927, with redwood beams, built-in details, an interior courtyard, and a bay view. Sigh....

There is some special magic that connects people who have grown up together.
I have been so fortunate in my life to have had some long-term, battery-charging, friendships that offered so many memorable moments.
That still do.
I want to surround myself with the salt of the earth.
It's soul-warming.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Work in Progress: Little Girl's Dress

I'm back in college again.
For several years, I have been wanting to learn flat-pattern making.
Part of me thinks I might one day fulfill an old boyfriend's phophetic vision that I'd be making and selling board shorts.
The other part of me just wants to learn tips and techniques for my own use.
And fun.

So I finally signed up for a Saturday class at a local community college.
I was initially nervous that I'd be the oldest person in the class, but was relieved to find a class body spanning several decades, and a couple people older than me.
And four guys even!

I signed up for the prerequisite class: apparel construction.
I figured I'd pick up some new tips, regardless of the fact that I already sew.
What I didn't know when I signed up was how excellent the instruction was going to be.
My teacher is an old skool couturier.

What I also didn't know is that several of the instructors also teach at a fancy fashion school where tuition carries a $20,000 per year price tag.

I pay $20 per unit.

This also applies to the interior design program (I wish I had known that before I went to interior design school). I don't know if the instructors in that program teach at both locations, but I do know the community college's program is well respected.
Go figure.

For our first project, each person in the class is making a girl's dress.
It is designed to fit a child around four years of age.
We all have to use the same pattern, but we are allowed to add details like trim, piping, buttons, pockets, etc.

Why a child's dress? My teacher says everything we'll ever need to learn about sewing is in that dress:
clean finish, Hong Kong finish, blind hem...
The aim is for the inside of the dress to be as beautiful as the outside.

Here is my sleeve detail. I still have to gather it (you can see my temporary ink marks that is my sewing guideline for a channel for elastic).
Sleeve detail
The inside is completely finished.
Most of the class placed their facings to the inside, but I turned mine to the exterior as a detail element.

My teacher calls me 'manic' because I load myself up with so many extra details that I get frustrated. But the dress will be beautiful when it is completed.
She even helped me by cutting out the two back pieces so the design matches.
She jokes about my perfectionism, but I think she actually finds it refreshing.

I have to have this finished by Thursday (not easy for me), so I'll post pics of the completed project soon.