Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Random musings!

I've been busy the last several days, not doing anything notable but rather just random stuff. Hence the title "Random Musings". First of all, last week was Victors 12th birthday, which passed uneventfully on Monday. It's hard to get excited about a Monday birthday, so he got to declare what was for dinner and dessert, which was calzone and pumpkin pie. Man, was my crust tough! Don't know why but it took an effort to cut the darn thing with the knife. Weird! I think that I didn't add enough water, or over handled it. But he liked it and that's what counted. Anyway, I promised him a birthday party, so Friday I went to crappy estate sales during the day, ran errands and went to hell, I mean Costco on a Friday. I love Costco for groceries, but the weekends are awful. When I got over that ordeal, I fed 5 boys an exotic dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches, chips and tomato soup, and then we all went to the nickel arcade. Holy cow, what a place! Epic money waster, I thought. Of course they were all blissed out. I dropped 30 dollars there. Don't you love the prizes? What crap! Cheesy, shoddy junk that hopefully is broken and can be thrown away soon to put it out of its misery. Several of the boys brought home little lasers that had safety warnings on the packages about not shining the light in eyes. Are they 12 years old? Did they care about the warnings? The lasers came with changeable picture screens to shine on the wall. How about packaging a swastika in with the happy faces? Doesn't that seem like a great idea...I know, lets take it to school. That should get me a meeting with the principal...."Oh yes, I saw it...didn't you notice that it's a backward swastika? What, you didn't know that backwards makes it a good luck symbol?" Great! Anyway, we told them to get to bed that night about 2 am. I'm sure that the angels didn't get online and mess around after we were asleep. They were up when I got up in the morning, still playing a Sims game. They all stayed until about 5pm, when I got to transition into the next party for my husbands birthday. At least it was easy. He just wanted steak and baked potatos, and apple pie. Again with the pie! The crust was excellent this time. And he chose the steaks so they were great. But expensive! On sale they were over 20 dollars. But for a special occasion it's ok.
Sunday the weather here was dry and mild, so we worked outside. Here in Oregon it's time to prune the fruit trees so Brian worked on our dwarf cherry tree and the old pear tree. Our dwarf tree was probably over 20 feet tall...I think it was mis-labeled. The crazy tree has three different kinds of cherries on it. Bing, Royal Anne, and some kind of pie cherries. It's a beautiful sight in the summer when you stand beneath it and look up at the blue sky, and see the bright red fruit hanging there. Picture worthy actually. So he worked on the trees and I tried to clear awful grass that is overtaking the yard near the house. I decided to put the chickens to work. They love to scratch the dirt looking for grubs and goodies, so I cut the grass short, and am waiting for them to wipe out the grass for me. Then all I have to do is figure out how to keep them out of the flower bed that they are creating for me. Well, I guess I'm rambling now. There's not a bit of vintage patterns in this post tonight. No redeeming value for it. But that's just the way it goes sometimes. No vintage at all.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Once a crafter always a crafter!

I'm kind of excited to try another venue outside of ebay. Or hopefully in addition to ebay. I'm still trying to decide if I'll strike in a couple of weeks. I had the dates wrong and didn't realize that it was for a full week. That's a lot of sales I'll be missing and I need the money for bills and stuff. You know, the usual. And I get to go to San Francisco for a week in March but need air fare and food, a tourist money. So the timing pretty much sucks. That's why I'm still on the fence.
Anyway, I've been exploring etsy. I like what I see, and I think I like the vibe although it's awfully hip. Maybe everyone is just so excited about making things. I've been sewing or crafting professionally off and on for (gasp!) over 30 years. I LOVE to make things. A teacher once summed it up when she described herself as a 'maker'. That pretty much sums it up. And there's nothing quite like having someone like something that you personally created, enough to spend their cash on it. It means that you get to make some more, and get paid for it! I love selling vintage patterns and fabric, or anything to do with vintage textiles on ebay. But I've been missing the creative outlet since I closed the retail store where I was selling some of my stuff, in addition to skateboards and things. I got into making hats from some of my old patterns and would like to explore them some more. I've been making pet accessories and would like to spend more time on those. And I love beading, especially using delica beads in the peyote stitch. Sounds like I'm talking myself into giving it a try. There are other sites I could try but it would be just doing the same old thing, and if I'm going to use this as an opportunity to branch out into another direction, why not try something that I'm excited about. I'll think about it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Killer Patterns I Can't Sell!!


I was in the middle of listing this vintage dress pattern, McCall's 6278, just now, but had to stop. It's happened several times lately. Just couldn't list it...had to keep it for myself. This one is an early 60s Italian-looking dress, like something Sophia Loren would have worn in one of her movies. The dress has a dropped gathered neckline in front, and a deep U-neck in back.It's shown with two versions of skirts; a full gathered skirt, and a slender wiggle skirt. Sometimes a fashion just speaks to me, and this one sure did. I'll be a vision at the thrift stores in the area this spring if I get it made. Not that I even remotely resemble Sophia Loren. I wish!
The same thing happened with a skirt pattern last week. It was another McCall's pattern, from the late 50s this time. It's another 'wiggle' style, and it has a "mermaid" skirt, and a version with a pleated kick-pleat hemline in back. This skirt pattern even has pockets, and it's my size. Perfect. So I was going to list it too, but thought "how often do I find something like this...in my size, a style that i like...KEEP it!" Oh yeah, its factory folded too. If it sits too long I'll sell it, but I want to make it. Maybe in a denim, and a gabardine or twill.
I guess I've been in pattern paradise lately, come to think of it. That same week I found a vintage stuffed animal pattern for a poodle that I also had to keep. It will be great for displaying the dog accessories I make and sell. I've been collecting (hoarding) vintage stuffed animal patterns and hat patterns to make to sell. I was reading about the great ebay strike in a couple of weeks. Maybe that will be a good time to activate my account on etsy. I agree with the strikers and think its time for us to send ebay a message. Yes, it is ebay's business and they can and do make the rules to suit their needs. But it is a symbiotic relationship...they also need us sellers, and should consider what is not harmful to us for a change. There has been a lot of panicky talk on the discussion boards, and a lot of very thoughtful ideas about the situation lately, and it would be smart for the powers that be to listen to it. Unfortunately, I don't think the strike will yield any change in corporate policy regarding the feedback issue, the final value fee increase, or the paypal with-holding of funds. Anyway, if I decide to honor the strike, I'll put my store on vacation hold, and not schedule auctions to end, or begin during that period. Of course I'll still ship anything that is paid for in that period, but I'm also leaving town for a couple of days then too. But I'm still mulling the whole thing over. In the mean time, I'm still having auctions and adding patterns to my store, to serve other vintage pattern lovers like myself. Happy hunting everyone!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Latest Find...Egyptian Assuit Textile

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I LOVE what I get to do! I treasure hunt for a living. Well, vintage sewing patterns and fabric are usually the treasure, but it's definitely treasure hunting. Last Friday I found almost 2 1/2 pounds of silver. I was at one of my top-secret favorite hunting grounds, and I found a glittering metal and cotton mesh textile. I calmly scooped it into my shopping cart and checked out. When I got home and did my research, (I love wikipedia and the internet for research) I found that it is antique Egyptian (no, not ancient Egyptian), called tulle bi telle or Assuit. The scarf or shawl is 86" long and 36" wide, heavily stitched(?) with silver tape. Stitched isn't really accurate; the tape is wrapped by hand diagonally around the intersections of cotton netting which is twined together in a sprang technique. The border design is geometric, and I understand that it's most likely Muslim influence and not Coptic. I'm trying to find out for sure that the metal is actually silver and not silver plating, but after looking closely at it in mid-day sunlight, I'm pretty sure it's silver. So what am I going to do with it? Sell it, of course. It's a lovely ethnic treasure, which I don't happen to collect, but someone is going to love it! There is only one very small hole at one end, which could be carefully mended. As soon as I do the rest of my research I'll list it on ebay, since it will be seen internationally that way. It's either valuable as an antique ethnic textile, or as a whole lot of silver. The pictures only show a part of the scarf; I haven't figured out how to best get a photo of the entire thing. Perhaps on the deck in the daylight will work. If it's not raining. It's an amazing piece of craftsmanship! Each one of the pieces is wrapped by hand and flattened. I get bored just knitting a hat. Can you imagine how long a piece like this would take? How old is it really? What was it used for...garment or table cover? If I find out, I'll post a PS. And if anyone reads this and knows more about it, please contact me here.

PS: Well, we figured it out. Not silver but silver plated copper. Very beautiful but not of value for the metal. I've listed it on ebay now.