Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Worked with my transfer pattern collection today for a while, sorting it out. Lots of Aunt Matha's and Workbasket's. Of course, one thing leads to another, so then I ended up in the basement trying to tidy my future studio. I think I've misplaced a box of transfers somewhere so I'm pretty motivated right now. Never did find it. It looked like a Lego delivery truck had exploded down there! There were little plastic blocks, wheels, horns, arrows and other necessities all over from Victor and his friends building down there all summer. He's moved it up to his room now, so I'm left with the fallout. Actually, it's legos and patterns all over the place. I'm trying to organize everything...it ain't easy. After I get the garbage gone and sort things a bit, I'm off to Ikea to treat myself to some good storage bins and shelving. Maybe next week after school has started. I should take Victor too...he needs Lego storage for his room too. A field trip is a good reward for hard work, don't you think?

Monday, August 27, 2007


Well, I counted pattern pieces last night until my eyes crossed. It's tedious work but worth it to be sure that the patterns are complete. It's heart breaking when one I like is missing pieces. Some aren't bad to replace like facings. If the instructions are gone I can often figure it out anyway. I wonder where all the parts do go? And why don't things get put away better? I like to imagine a lady finishing her project and having to rush off to the USO or some other worthwhile thing...not just saying "screw it, I don't feel like rounding up the facing and cuff pieces! I'll just throw those away next time I see them." I mean really! I'm not a neat freak but it's not that hard to gather up the parts and jam them into the envelope. And it's interesting to see what's in the envelopes sometimes. Usually it's stuff like newspaper clippings and receipts for the pattern and fabric . Sometimes there's fabric swatches, zippers and seam binding. It would be payback for all of the patterns with missing pieces, to someday find that a lady stashed money in the patterns. I guess I'm just a dreamer...that doesn't seem likely.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This is what a day off looks like!


Yesterday I didn't post here. I went to sales, sorted embroidery transfers and just generally puttered around the house. Today the family went out boating up the Clackamas River. We took the dogs and our son in our little aluminum row boat, packed a picnic lunch and just had a great day. Spent several hours on the water while both my husband and son took turns rowing. (We have a motor but they both like to row!) I felt like a queen in her royal barge, with my dog in my lap. The osprey were flying overhead, little bitty fish were jumping and dragonflys were buzzing around. The river can be a heavenly peaceful place. We all needed the mini getaway. Now I'm home sitting drinking a fresh pot of decaf, the cat is on my lap and I think I'll count pattern pieces. I found some really nifty ones yesterday and am refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Goodies galore!


Today was shopping Friday. I love shopping for goodies. The problem is finding just what you need and leaving the grot behind. Thats a great word, grot. It's from a British tv show in the 70s, 'the fall and rise of reginald perrin'. Great show that no one has ever heard of. Anyway, this was a so-so day for shopping. But I spent part of it with my older son and went to a farm sale with my husband, so it was pretty good anyway. I found a few vintage transfer patterns which I don't need, but I almost never leave one behind. Paid too much, though. One is an awesome Anne Orr cutwork embroidery transfer that I'd never seen before. Another was a hodge-podge of mismatched transfer sheets in a Walker envelope. Walker or Betty Burton maybe. Great stuff! Also picked up a 1933 Monarch yarn book for womens fashions, including hats. I'm a sucker for hat patterns, too. I feel a hat binge coming on again. I also got an 1888 book, in terrible condition, with embroidery patterns and fashion plates. Pretty cool embroidery patterns. I'm planning to do a website where I sell reproductions of these super hard to find embroidery and fashion patterns. As an avid vintage pattern and transfer collector and user, I have some ideas of what I'd like to see as an embroiderer. We'll see if it will work. Anyway, I may head out and shop again tomorrow, or I may stay home and can. My cucumbers are on and the pears are falling like crazy so I'd better get on it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sewing cat.


I actually worked on a sewing project today for awhile. We had some mini quilts that were finished except for the tying off so that's what I did this afternoon. Sure felt good to have a sewing needle and thread in my hands again. Have you noticed that some needles just feel good? I like working with vintage steel. Does that sound funny? Almost sounds like swordsmanship! Anyway, I don't think that they make needles as good today as the vintage ones I find while out and about looking for the stuff that I collect, sell and use. I found an old wooden cigar box that was full of needles, snaps, hook and eyes and the rest of the assorted flotsam and jetsom that gets put into boxes at estate sales by non-sewers. This nifty box-full even had a plastic Fuller Brush letter opener. I can vaguely remember my mom mentioning that the Fuller Brush guy had come by when I was very little. Anyway, there were a ton of packages of old needles in the box. There were a couple of cool paper needle packages that I'll sell, and an old wool handmade needlecase with an assortment of different size and shaped needles. Some were big honkers. There was a triangular industrial-size needle that my son thought was cool, and some fabulous 2" long ones that were perfect for dragging pearl cotton through the quilt batting and fabric that I was working with. I guess I'm a notions geek. But the right tools sure make the job go better. And you just don't find them sitting on the shelves at Walmart or even Joannes Fabric. Don't get me started about fabric stores! The state of most fabric stores makes me angry and sad at the same time! But that's a rant for a different day. Today all's good with me since the quilts are mostly done. Here's a picture of my cat "helping". Not!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Border patrol.


This is a nifty length of heavy cotton border print fabric. I think it's from the 50s, but have no proof. One of the edges has been cut off, and someone began to make it into a pleated or gathered waist skirt...there's a metal zipper and a seam. I love the colors and the garden scene. Who doesn't like scarecrows? But I have such a problem using border prints. I don't have the waistline for a gathered waist skirt. And you only need a few pillowcases. So how do you use a print like this? I guess I just hate to waste the part that doesn't have the print. My frugal side says to find the perfect solution first, so pieces like this just sit in the box. I have 6 yards of a red 36" wide length with horses, 3 yards of a juvenile dancing bear print, a square dance print (just over a yard), and more probably lurking in the cabinet. I'll probably sell this piece on ebay soon so it's someone elses project, not mine anymore!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Whoo-Hoo! We've laid an egg!

Well, not me personally. My beautiful 4 hens have got on the ball and are starting to lay. Super cool thing, to go out and find eggs in their nesting boxes. I haven't posted for ages. So you don't know that Helga the hen turned out to be Hans the rooster. Turns out that Blondie, my auracana chicken, is a rooster too. So no pretty pastel blue and green eggs for us. I found a home on a farm for Helga so as not to disturb the neighbors. But I decided that I'd wait to see if it upset the calm of suburbia to have a rooster crowing daily. So far so good, no complaints or even comments. (Sure hope I didn't just jinx us, knock on wood!) But with the freeway outside our front door, who can hear it? People say that the freeway sounds like the ocean. Bulls**t! It sounds like a freeking lot of cars and trucks, all day and all night. Never stops. Or almost never. One night I was awakened by the sound(?!) of NO cars. Turns out they were pulling cable across the freeway and they had traffic stopped both ways for a few minutes. Very strange notion that no noise can wake one up.
It's been a busy summer so I have done little sewing...I'm still complaining about how much I work with fabric and patterns and how little I get to sew. But I've got bills to pay and creditors to calm so work before pleasure. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. Working with vintage fabric, patterns, knitting and sewing books and all makes me feel connected to my grandmother, aunts and mom that all were excellent sewers. My mom made us school clothes, toys and even upholstered furniture. I bet that she'd have got a kick out of the internet and ebay. Anyway, I still feel like sewing something to wear. Maybe tomorrow I'll set aside an hour and get started on a project for fun, not work. No picture today.