Wednesday, December 31, 2008
To everyone who reads my blog, I would like to send a sincere Thank You. Your friendships and comments have meant so much to me. I love being connected to so many wonderful people through blogging. Wherever you are or however you celebrate (or not) New Year's Eve, I hope it's happy, safe and warm! And may 2009 bring you only happiness, good health, and wonderful things!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I borrowed that idea for my Holiday gifts for the neighbors this year. We all (well, about a half dozen of us) exchange family gifts every year. First I cleaned the bottles thoroughly. Luckily, I've saved plenty of these all fall, because when I tried to boil the first batch (to sterilize them), they shrunk up. Oops - wrong kind of plastic for sterilizing!!! . Live and learn. So instead, I washed another batch thoroughly in very hot water and dishwashing liquid and let them dry.
The "scarves" are green wool (torn), the buttons are hot-glued on, and the faces are done with magic marker. Yes, I could've gotten fancier - vests, hat decorations, a pipe cleaner nose, even arms. But frankly this was fairly last-minute and I was "Christmas'ed out". They were filled with Stephen's Hot Cocoa Mix, and the hangtags I tied on with a silver cord gave the recipients mixing directions along with Christmas wishes.
Speaking of Wheeler Farm, I'm going over there tomorrow (we're officially off for New Year's, but this is a priority) because we had an electrical short and smoke in the furnace in the Ice House (the building where we held summer camp). The fire sprinklers came on and soaked much of the stored antique collection of the Farm in 18" of water (which was in a special storage area in the basement). Many things have been damaged beyond repair, but many of the waterlogged items are fabric - clothing, linens, dolls. I even found a soaking wet cigar box of buttons this afternoon. Yikes! We're trying to get everything sorted out and dried. Next week we hope to get a conservator in to help us with cleaning where possible. Don't want to proceed too far without an expert to guide us. However, Salt Lake County (who owns and operates the Farm) is self-insured, so with budget cuts and hiring freezes, we're not too hopeful about professional assistance. Then we'll begin the task of inventorying everything. January and February are usually deep-cleaning months for the historic farmhouse and other indoor displays, so we've got a window to work within before we have to turn our attention back to public tours, etc.
In the meantime, I've got to go through all the summer camp arts & crafts supplies (which includes lots of contemporary fabric for costumes and dress-up as well as sewing supplies) to see what is garbage and what can be salvaged. We're trying to get everything done before it begins to mold..
Sunday, December 28, 2008
This bright and HAPPY cracker from Laura contained a pieced block done in bright cotton prints. It included lots and lots of extra prints, two yummy gold metallic skeins of thread, a silver metallic trim (which the cracker was tied with) and some wonderful sew-on shiny cabochons. It is all so festive, and I'm trying to decide how to best use this in a decorative Christmas project for next year! Thanks so much, Laura. Ya done good!! ;-)
Lyn G. sent me this delightful cracker, which she pieced in my favorite colors and theme - bright, rich colors and roses. The threads are silk, plus there was ribbon and metallic gold leaf trim, a generous and varied bead soup (with all sorts of goodies in THAT), plus some mouth-watering vintage shiny bead trim (see across the top). OMG, I LOVE THAT!! To top it off, she added silk ribbon and my very favorite thing....... vintage laces!! Oh Lyn, you went overboard!! But thank you soooooooooooo much! I love it all!!
I opened them first thing on Christmas morning before the waves of family started arriving. It was the perfect start to a perfect day!! Thanks! I hope you all had heart-warming and love-filled Christmases!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
More than half of my pictures didn't turn out (the stockings hung by the chimney with care, among other things), but I can always do those next year. So, here we go - I'm just hitting a few of my favorite things.
I collect cookie jars. Most of them are vintage, but these two Santa's are not (actually, they are Father Christmas jars). They are, however, very special to me. This is a Fitz & Floyd cookie jar. In my opinion, F&F make about the finest quality cookie jars (and other pieces) today. This Woodland Santa is about 10 years old.This is a Mary Englebreit Santa cookie jar sitting atop our vitrine (china cabinet).And speaking of Santa's, the following is a vintage composite Father Christmas that I picked up at an antique store in Galena, Illinois about twelve years ago. I keep him out all year.
One of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments is this one that I have left over from my childhood. It is gold plastic with a sort of angel-hair fiber swirled inside. I have another one in silver (not pictured). Once there were at least a half a dozen of each color (decades ago). I think I inherited four, but only the two remain.
In contrast to the vintage things are the more modern pieces that I believe mix well with the antique sideboard and my few vintage pieces. Isn't that what it's all about anyway - collecting what we like and is beautiful or meaningful to us? The next three pictures show different vignettes that are grouped on our sideboard in the front entry. We recently got rid of our old '80's oak entertainment center and 25-year-old analog TV and bought a digital TV, a credenza for the TV to sit on, a recliner (for us to sit on) and a hutch-style bookcase. Here is an arrangement of florals, sprays and spikes in one of my all-year vases. It usually sits on the hearth, but we're a bit cramped this year with the new furniture and our too-big Christmas tree, LOL. So it sits in a little niche in the living room.
And finally, below is a picture that hangs in the living room. It is a pencil sketch that my son Shane did in high school - it was a copy of a picture he saw in one of our yearly almanacs of a Frenchman sniffing a truffle . A high school art assignment. I just dressed it up slightly with some pale florals.And that's it for now. Thanks for stopping by!
It's actually done in the feel and colors of some of the girls' bedrooms of the Wheeler home (built in 1898). The laces are vintage, but the fabrics, trims, etc. are all new. And the "embossed" look of the green fabric in the top right echoes the Lincrusta wallpaper in the home's living room. (Lincrusta was a heavy embossed wallpaper - almost like linoleum - popular in the late Victorian era; I believe it was originally of English manufacture, but may have later moved to the US).
Here is the (simple) back:
First of all, I don't know what the "H" I was thinking when I did the spider sideways. But she stayed, better judgment notwithstanding. The little doily under the silk ribbon arrangement was done by my great grandmother. I guess I should call it the START of a doily - she left a lot of these started pieces for us, and I've loved using them in my work here and there.
Beverly loved the needlebook.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The bottle on the left had some yukky handsoap in it (bought it at Big Lots for a song). Only the bottle appealed to me! The bottle on the right was a Worcestershire bottle....
This was an empty blue bottle I found at a thrift store. The labels are printed from vintage copyright-free images. It's decorated with metallic lace and trim, charms, organdy and feathers.... Bottle top (can't really see it) is old piece of jewelry.
The above heart bottle was a thrift store find, although I've seen them for sale in Michael's. I added the vintage image, feathers ribbon, etc. etc. DH stripped some wires down to the copper for me, and I inserted the wire into a wine cork (luckily, I've saved those, too, for who-knows-how-long) and twisted it. The top has a vintage clip-on earring added.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The back of the rectangle pillow is gold silk with lace that I dyed to match with potassium permanganate. This is my favorite one! :-)
Below are a couple totes; the first is a tourist-themed tapestry (double seamed, box-bottomed) and the second is a cotton duck print, also double seamed and box bottomed.
Then I experimented with a few different purse sizes and techniques; a denim purse, a small lace & bead-trimmed tapestry print (this was a great print of a French cafe that I used to have on my favorite chair and ottoman....) and a smallish purse of home dec fabric scraps...
And finally, below is an array of the curling iron cozies that I make. I did a tutorial for for these cozies (or "caddies") for the July 2008 issue of CQMagOnline here. The wrapped soaps were an idea that I got from Lilla; she blogged about them in November. I also had a lot of these stretch bracelets on hand, as well as miscellaneous beads, so I threw together a rainbow of bracelets.
An now a report on the Boutique. It was a disappointment, to say the least. Although there were 65 vendors and it was well advertised, we didn't have the loads of foot traffic that I've seen in Holiday Boutiques in years past. And those who did come didn't seem to be buying. Most people I saw leaving were not carrying bags or sacks.
One thing I didn't like that is was not an arts and crafts boutique per se. Rather, it was a "womens' boutique". Consequently, many of the vendors were beauty suppliers, health product vendors, importers/resellers (of junky purses, shoes and whatever), and even a vendor of sports-themed wallie-type things. Sigh.
But I did sell three of the six aprons I had on hand, some soap and some of the vintage tea towels. Made right around $100, which was disappointing. I had several pieces of CQ on hand, but not for sale. My intent was to create interest for passersby so they would stop at my table. It worked, and people in general were truly enamored with CQ.
I'm going to forget these boutiques and concentrate on Etsy and our summer Farmer's Market. I can get a Sidewalk Artist permit for an annual fee of $30 and set up my entire booth at the Market every Saturday and have ten times the traffic. I also will concentrate on strictly CQ and sewing-type things (aprons and purses and pillows) and leave out the crafty part - soaps, bracelets and altered bottles - except where I've got stuff already done that I can unload. Oh, speaking of altered bottles! I've got to get pictures of the four that I made. They didn't sell, which is OK - I'll just pack 'em away and sell them at the Farmers Market next summer....... But I want to show them to you, so I'll get pictures tomorrow and post them. Again, I got the idea from Lilla, bless her creative heart!!
And now my big goal for tomorrow (Monday) is to get my studio cleaned up and re-organized. Then I can start on two CQ blocks for a Crazily Cream round robin that I've been holding up. I can't wait to get back to stitching!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
This boutique was free to get into - they'll be having 10 shows next year and wanted to get a good variety of crafters and artists and develop a mailing list. So, I thought this was a good time to dip my toes into the waters, so to speak, and see if anything I do is marketable. I can always do Etsy, but thought I couldn't lose to try this first. It will be helpful to see what items sell or not, how my prices compare to the local market (Etsy prices would necessarily be different), and what's "in" and over-done or under-represented here.
So, following is a sample of some of the things I'll be hauling off to my table (not a booth!) tomorrow, December 6. Oh, and that's another thing. This venue will cram in 60 vendors and does not aim to compete with the Expo center shows (where booth fees run in the hundreds). I am allotted one 8' table, so creating height and visual interest will be a challenge while maintaining a cohesive but not-too-cluttered look. And I need to stand out somehow. I've been "practicing" setting up with various tablecloths, display bins and baskets, and.......... you get the idea.
First, the aprons. Featuring aprons is NOT a way to stand out. Maybe it was three years ago, but it is bordering now on "overdone". Having said that, however, I realize that everyone has their own style and target group. I had hoped to make a lot of "sexy" half aprons in organdy and hankies, but ran out of time. But that's an idea I may develop for the January 24 boutique, which will be a Valentine's Day theme. So, these aprons are from vintage patterns (4 of them) or my own basic design (bib, skirt, shoulder straps, ties).
These aprons above combine vintage fabric (new old stock 36" cotton kitchen fabric) with modern fabrics for accents. The left one is an old pattern, enhanced with hot pink batik and white rickrack. The right one is my own basic design, a pink, red and olive fruit print accented with a red polka-dotted modern cotton and red rickrack. That IS red, not orange - the colors didn't photograph that well.
Next are two aprons. I call them the "I Love Lucy" aprons, because the heart bibs remind me of the heart in the opening credits of The Lucy Show. These are made from a vintage pattern I have from the 1940's (have had it for years and made myself one years ago). I change it around now and then - enlarging the bib heart and/or deleting the lower edge scallops for a more rounded skirt. These fabrics are so cool; one is yellow and blue teacups and saucers on white. The other is a retro cherry print in yellow (I also have a smaller-scale companion print in yellow and the companion print in pinks). I've sold several of these over the last couple years.
As you can see, my photography skills need to be improved! These should be posed to show off the styling better. In this photo, too much of the waist ties and back straps show and obscure the fact that the heart bib is connected to the skirt along just a few inches of the bottom of the heart in front like this: ---V---
The next apron was made from scratch. I had a piece of cotton that had this cherry teapot print (sage green and brick red on cream) on it with a triple border print around it. I kept the first border of cherries with the teapot, lined it, and used it as a bib. The second border (the checkered portion) was used as a hem accent on the skirt I made from a sage green checked homespun. The final border, more of the cherries, went into making the shoulder straps. It was rather fussy, but actually looks much cuter in person than the picture shows.
And last but not least is the "chicken apron". I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bright, cheery, French-country-kitchen-inspired print in red and orange. I used a vintage pattern with this new fabric, and I think if it doesn't sell I'll keep it for myself!!
This last picture (for this post) shows a hodgepodge of things - a couple of crocheted scarves, some clothespins wound with vintage lace, a couple small pillows (is there something more romantic or imaginative to call them other than "small pillows"??). The black fleur-de-lis wide trim (edged in metallic lace and put on black velvet) was a piece that dear Willa donated to a traveling box of goodies on a Yahoo Crazy Quilt list about 6-7 years ago. It traveled between about 20 women, and we'd all take out what we wanted and put in other goodies to replace it. I took out some of this yummy stuff and made two small pillows. The other one is the same trim on a gold background, but it's having some technical difficulties on one seam, so I don't have time to re-do the seam before this boutique.
The round pink thing is a small purchased bandbox covered in pink wallpaper around the sides and topped with the a garden of vintage button-centered yo-yo's. To the very right is a small silk ribbon embroidered picture framed in a vintage-looking frame. The back yellow and pink cushion is just bits of home dec fabrics and trimmed with ribbon.
I'll post more later, as time allows. Thanks for looking!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
And all the while I've been working like crazy at the bookstore as Holiday sales are picking up, working at the Farm (bookkeeping), sewing things and getting ready for a December 6 boutique, and in between..... SLEEPING. That's been my life for the last week. I hope to get some pictures of some of the cute (I think) aprons and things I'm accumulating for the boutique so I can share them here.
In the meantime, here is a picture of one of the two identical Christmas Crackers I made for the Crazy Quilting International 2008 Christmas Cracker swap. The fabric is a home dec taffeta I purchased at a local Home Fabric store. Inside is a 7" tube (recycled paper towel roll) filled with "goodies" for my two recipients. The "goodies" include fabric, laces and trims, and the like (don't want to give too much away here in case Hideko or Donna read this blog!). They have to wait until Christmas to open them!
Also, I had a request from a CQI friend to show the fabric I used to make the "dahlia" on my Harvest pillow (posted here). This was a piece of fabric given to me by my friend Gerry (olderrose). I should've included something to show scale, but since I didn't, the piece you see is maybe 6-8" across.
Must get back to sewing. Will post some pictures in a couple days.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Anyway, I've waited for a week now, and I'm dying to know the results. However, I had an epiphany this morning and decided I don't mind not knowing..... no matter how my piece does, I'm very happy with it. It was one of the most rewarding projects I've ever worked on.
I started it before my DH got really sick in September, and worked on it in the ER, his hospital room, when he got home and was asleep, while in the waiting room at the doctor's office, and when he was home, recovered and in fine form enough to tease me that I should add some "bluetonium" to it (his terms for blue plastic beads, ggggggggggg) !!
One of my very favorite features was this large motif that I fussy-cut from the black print fabric that was provided. The motif was not whole, so I placed it along the left side where it would line up with the edge of the pillow. Once it was appliqued on, I began beading it. Each leaf is outlined in gold seed and then black hex beads. There are spots beaded here and there on the interior of the design as well. I also added the requisite spider web (with no inhabitant!) in that area.
The spider web is connected to vines that sort of "grow" out of the leafy green fabric. This fabric was one that I added to the mix and is a favorite of mine for autumn blocks (I used it in my November 2002 block that was in the Quilting Arts 2002 calendar). I used silk ribbon to embroider more leaves and sort of carry the pattern over the lower seam line.
This central area contains a mass of flowers in different shapes and colors. The yellow crocheted one is a vintage motif cut from a doiley. The red "dahlia" I explained about in an earlier post here. Other flowers are ribbon roses, folded flowers, yo-yos. Leaves are various ribbon and SRE treatments, as well as more beaded leaf motifs from the provided print fabric.
This is a close-up of the lower right quadrant. The fibers and beads and ribbon were required elements. The lace and buttons on it are vintage from my collection. I don't know if you can see, but I did make some stumpwork "berries" to embellish another piece of that gorgeous black print fabric.
Finally, here is the lower left quadrant. I blogged about the squirrel and wheat in the link above, and the felted pumpkin here. I learned several new things in working on this pillow, which I guess is always part of the fun and challenge. Hope you enjoy it!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Check out Dana's blog at http://uniquechristeninggowns.blogspot.com/
She is having a christening gown giveaway. The winner will pay shipping charges, which is only fair, but it is noteworthy. The gowns, however, are to die for, so WHAT A DEAL!. The picture above (posted with permission) shows one of her many lovely creations. Go check it out!
Monday, November 10, 2008
I was ready to entertain the kids, and we made snowmen from empty (and clean) creamer bottles. There were markers, sequins and buttons, fabrics (for scarves) and a few other things for them to use as decorations. This was a good activity last summer when I was the arts & crafts counselor at Wheeler Farm's summer camp (we studied holidays one week and did this for our Christmas craft).
We ate dinner, and then the kids drew and colored pictures, then played dress-up with the big box of fabrics and costumes I've accumulated over the last year. Kim brought me a large plastic bag (the zippered kind that beadspreads come in) full of fabric samples that her employer was going to throw away. She works as a decorator/display designer for R.C. Willey Co., where my son Ryan is an electronics salesman (that's how they met). WOW. Most of these are gorgeous and good weights for crazy quilting or pillow backs. It was like an early Christmas!
Monday, November 3, 2008
I am not (and have never been) a fan of chili. My most vivid chili memory is the time I was 7 years old and Mom served chili for dinner. I hated it and could not eat it. But Mom was determined that I would, so a battle of wills ensued. I was not allowed to leave the table until my bowl of chili was done. I tried. I gagged. I sat there until bedtime without eating it. I WON!! I went to bed hungry, but Mom never tried to get me to eat it again.
Unfortunately, there are other poor souls in my life (DH comes to mind), who enjoy chili. Not wanting to deprive them of their somewhat questionable choice of food, I have come up with a tried-and-true chili recipe for those of us who live with Chili People. It’s worth every step.
“I DON’T THINK SO” CHILI
(an original recipe by Cathy Kizerian)
- Put shoes on.
- Grab purse and keys.
- Trip over cat as you head for the door.
- Get in car and carefully back out of the driveway.
- Head toward main thoroughfare a block away. Stop at corner and signal for left turn.
- Wait while everyone south of the Canadian border decides they need to get home via this street, blocking your left turn.
- When a reasonable clearing appears, shoot the gap!
- Refrain from flipping the bird to the guy on the cell phone who just honked at you.
- Drive to Del Taco.
- Get in drive-through and order 3 Chicken Soft Tacos.
- Retrieve necessary change from wallet. And console. And under the seat.
- Grab tacos, pay and leave, grateful they won’t remember you tomorrow.
- Return home by retracing your route.
- Park car and grab tacos and purse.
- In the house, watch out for cats underfoot.
- Trip on shoelaces.
- Open cupboard and grab a can of Hormel Chili.
- Slop it into bowl and nuke it for 2 minutes.
- Call DH in for dinner and set bowl of chili in front of him.
- Enjoy your own Chicken Soft Tacos!
Leslie has done a marvelous job of coordinating volunteers this year to make these blocks. She is putting together a large center block, and will take the donated blocks (probably totaling over 3 dozen by now) and join them into a large quilt. These blocks have all been made from bridal fabrics. The quilt will have a hearts theme, and once completed will be donated in order to be auctioned off. The proceeds will go to breast cancer research. A great cause!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Every year for three Saturdays in October, we hold our Scarecrow Masquerade. Although the farm is open year-round from dawn to dusk, the fall season and farm events are always favorites for crowds, especially families with young children.
Here are some pictures of our pumpkin patch. The vegetation has been cleared away and only the pumpkins are left so that kids can go out and pick whichever one they want. The corn stalks were saved for adult crafting (picture later in post).
One of the attractions to the farm this fall, besides the pumpkins, is the new baby piglets. Momma had 13 piglets originally, but (and this is not uncommon in nature), laid on and smothered three of them not long after birth (unaware she was doing so).
There are 10 piglets now, and they're about two weeks old. You can't see all of them in these pictures. Aren't they cute???
Below is the Activity Barn (built only about 20 years ago) that houses the Farm office. It's also used for, well, Activities, such as wedding receptions, boutiques, and other groups that we rent out to.There are several barns on the property. One of them is the Machinery Barn, where we house a collection of antique farm machinery dating back over 125 years. This particular tractor is outside the barn and is a favorite photo op for kids.
Part of the Scarecrow Masquerade is making scarecrows. Families are urged to bring a shirt, pants and pillowcase (for the head) and we provide the straw stuffing and stick cross to build their scarecrow on.
Here is a scarecrow family (note mother and baby on the right) that some of the farm workers made in early October:
We have lots of Canadian geese on the farm, in addition to the American varieties and ducks. For some reason, the Canadian geese like to hang out sometimes with the cows in the pasture.
And here are those harvested corn stalks, stacked up neatly in a corner of the machinery barn. During the Scarecrow Masquerade, parents could come in here and make nice outdoor decorations (for porches or whatever) of corn stalks, Indian corn and cattails.
There are so many things I haven't gotten pictures of on the farm this fall. Like the changing colors..... will be taking more pictures this week. Enjoy your Autumn!!