Thursday, August 26, 2010

Great Giveaway

My dear friend Gerry K (Olderrose) is having a giveaway on her blog.   This is one giveaway that you do NOT want to miss!  Gerry is going to have a drawing on August 31 in which two lucky commenters on her blog will win one of two gorgeous prizes.

The first gift is one of her amazing Victorian Pincushions (her own unique design).    I own one of these beauties, and let me tell you, they are as opulent and well-crafted as they look.  Of course, it’s extra special because it is made by Gerry herself.

The other gift is a set of three hand-painted (by Gerry) antique mother-of-pearl buttons.  Each features a charming bluebird in a different pose.  Gerry’s buttons are meticulously prepared, painted and finished, and the results are luminescent and a cut above (far above) much of what is offered in the marketplace today.

If you haven’t visited Gerry’s blog before, you are in for a special treat.  She is a modern Renaissance woman who sews, paints and draws, embroiders and crazy quilts, creates, cooks, ran a nursery, grew a forest, builds furniture, raises sheep and makes cheese, and drives a tractor.   All while taking care of her DH and loving furkids.  She could probably rotate the tires of that tractor with one hand tied behind her back, too.   The ONLY thing in her life that I can say she seriously needs to improve is Bike Riding in Dark Tunnels.  

Visit her blog here and read back a bit to understand that one!!

I’ll be back in a day or two with posts of the Art Nouveau crazy quilt block I’m working on for Leslie.

Cathy maroon

Friday, August 20, 2010


There’s something about the end of the work week (for most people) that brings a deep sigh of relief.  I’m particularly relieved this week, and I can’t really even say why.  It’s not that it’s secret or anything, it’s just that I am so glad to get away from everything and retreat to the comfort of my homey, modest little house and the loving arms of my dear hubby.  Do you ever have weeks like that?

This has been a normal week in most respects, and as I weigh the good things and the inevitable not-so-good things, I know how blessed I truly am.  Good things included an afternoon of tending my DGD London (pictures later in the post), helping out a few friends with computer and blog issues, walking three miles on four different evenings this week and seeing a 1.8 pound loss at the scales when I weighed in today at Weight Watchers (total down is 32.2 pounds), and getting some major projects accomplished in our yard.

And the not-so-good stuff .... well, the truth is I DO know why I’m glad the week is over, but after writing a very dark and ranting paragraph (which was wonderfully cathartic), I decided to delete it and spare you.   It’s totally off-topic and beyond my control anyway, so I’ll just have to put on my Big Girl Panties and deal with it.   :-)

And now we will return to the usual, sunny programming on this channel!!  (insert six or seven smiley faces here).   Better yet, let’s see London’s cute little face.

One of her favorite toys at Grammy’s  place is this little fabric birdhouse and stuffed birds.  

London isn’t walking yet, but she did try to get up on the fireplace ledge.  She was unsuccessful... this week.  

She absolutely LOVES this stick pony.  Well, it’s a unicorn.  And it has a little red button (which you can barely see) that, when you push it, makes horse galloping sounds, then three horsey “neighs” and then a brrrrrhh sound (a horse blowing out through its mouth).   London bounces to the gallops like it’s a musical beat.  When it’s done playing, she pushes the button again.  (She can’t quite push it hard enough yet, so Grammy has to help).  The main reason I wanted to show you this picture was to show her curls in back.  I hope they stay!!

Then she discovered the Cute Little Girl in Grammy’s full-length mirror.

I’s praying wif da udder Little Girl

Now we’s gonna kiss

Ehhhh..... we’s da new FONZIES !!  

Daddy calls this my “Dick Cheney look”.  What does he know?
It’s SUPPOSED to be my Elvis sneer!!

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And if you have a moment, hop over the the Crazy Quilting International Blog.  They/We are having a Follower drive.  We reactivated the blog earlier this year and have been posting lots of wonderful eye candy.  Great pictures of all the wonderful crazy quilting being done in the group.   So, to get the word out, we are offering a giveaway prize package - or several - depending upon how many new followers sign up by September 15.  Check it out, and while you’re there, check out some of the wonderful pictures from round robins, contests and challenges in the last couple years.  There’s a lot of inspiration there!

Have a great weekend!
Cathy maroon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can You Say..... GOLD MINE??

Well, to me anyway, it felt like I’d struck gold last Saturday.  DH and I were going to go out and hit some yard sales, when I noticed an ad in the paper for an estate sale in our subdivision - about 3-4 blocks away.  We thought we’d swing by there first, not really expecting much.  And at first glance, we were right.

But then I noticed that it was being run by two elderly ladies who were very calmly and slowly bringing things out and fussing about where to put them.  In chatting with one of them, I learned that she was cleaning out her 90+ year-old mother’s things, and some of hers, too.  It was apparent they needed help, so I gently began asking questions and helping carry out things from the depths of the garage to the driveway and lawn.  

One of the ladies took a shine to Bruce (that happens alot; he’s such a sweetie) and they began talking about an old radio in the back of the garage with a bullet hole through it.    She said it was her mother’s pride and joy and was the first radio “back in the day” in Delta, Utah.  One of the men accidentally shot off a gun, it went through the window and into the radio.  Didn’t harm any of the internal workings, but she cried and cried about her lovely radio.  But they had the bullet hole reminder from then on to remind them that they were lucky it was ONLY the radio that was shot!

Then she showed us a couple old sewing machines she wanted to sell.  I took an immediate shine to this one.   It’s a very early electric portable machine.  “Portable” is a relative term, however, because it is heavy enough to pull your arm out of its socket!!  

All the attachments, the foot pedal and the manual were included “for one low price”, LOL.  Yes, it works.  The brand is a Eureka Good Housekeeper, and from the limited research I’ve been able to do, it is circa 1951-1953.  Look at the lovely workmanship on the arm, below.

When she found out I was interested in linens, she grabbed everything she had.  Together we went through them and she pulled a few things she wanted for sentimental reasons, which was fine.  The only thing I lusted for that she kept was her own sweet little baby shoes.  But who could blame her?  

The hot pink fabric in the upper right is a yard of bridal-weight satin, fresh and clean, circa the 1960’s.  The top left shows two vintage sheet sets I snatched.  They’re getting highly collectible because they coordinate so well with today’s bright prints.  I intend to begin cutting them up and selling fat quarters.  Stripes are especially coveted because they are a timeless accent for children’s clothing and crafts.

The crocheted potholders she gave to me as we were leaving.  I really didn’t want them, but thanked her profusely anyway.  After washing, they looked a bit better.  I took them apart and the flip side (that was the inside) of the rings are pristine, so I can hopefully use the crocheted rings for something.

The peacock cross-stitch dishtowel (above and below) charmed me.  I’ll eventually get it listed in either my Etsy or on Ebay.   I also loved the colors in the embroidered dishtowel, but you can barely see the center pink stitching of glasses.  I may just have to salvage the trim off this.... any ideas?? 

Stitched peacock (above) and the tin, which came from England (below)

I couldn’t resist picking up the old indoor clothes hanger.  It’ll come in handy for displaying linens as necessary, as well as drying clothes.  I don’t have an outdoor clothesline, although I covet one.  It’s on DH’s long list of honey-do’s!  But in the meantime, this will be a great place to hang hand-washed items, dyed laces, etc.    Or to show you some more treasures....

I’m no Martha when it comes to staging pictures, and the lovely tablecloths were particularly problematic.  Not to mention I should’ve ironed them first.  The striped one (underneath) is immaculate around the stripes, which were the part that hung down from the table.  The center part is stained.  The vintage strawberry print (what a beautiful, soft feel it has!) is torn and stained in too many places to fix.  I thought of cutting it up.... and the idea came to me that I should fussy-cut some of the motifs and applique them to the stains in the center of the other one.  That sounds like a fun winter project. 

A lovely hand-embroidered linen towel.  The linen is a pale yellow.

 More tea towel, hand towels and an embroidered doily.

I LOVE these bright, festive dishtowels because they remind me of the ones my Grandma Szakal (mom’s mom) used to have in her kitchen.   

 A lovely dresser scarf

An embroidered butterfly to salvage from a dishtowel

Senor Siesta here is in great shape (well, the towel is)

And then the hankies.  Several dozen of them.   This pink one is on its way to a friend.

The white one with green squares is silk.  Mmmm....  Several of these are coming with me to Colorado next month for our Crazy Quilting International Retreat.  One of our classes will be Making a Hankie Quilt, and I’m going to share with those ladies who haven’t been bitten by the HankieBug, or who can’t bear to cut up an old hankie.

When a hankie is beyond redemption because of holes or stains, often the edging is salvageable.  I also find that white hankies are great to layer behind other hankies, because they’re all so thin.  And the white edging is often a great counterpoint to a colored edging or busy hanky when piecing.

My personal favorite in the batch was the hankie on the left with the appliqued roses.  But that embroidered hankie with pansies and lilies-of-the-valley is beautiful too!

Well, that’s it for the pictures.  This morning as I loaded these pictures, I noticed that Blogger has upgraded their picture uploading process.  Wow.  All 17 of these pictures transferred from the clipboard to the blog at once.  NICE!!!!

By the way, if you are into Crazy Quilting, stop by the Crazy Quilting International blog (a couple links on my sidebar).  They’ll soon be announcing a CQ Giveaway contest!  Also, if you’d like to learn more about CQI, check out the post here.

Cathy maroon

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last 2 African Blocks and ...

I’ll start off with the “and ...” in my title.

This weekend I really scored at an estate sale.  And it was about two blocks from my house.  I spent the day today washing and ironing linens (tablecloths, tea towels, hankies, vintage bedsheets).  Tomorrow I’ll photograph them and the other goodies I got.  I’m still on Cloud 9.   And I made friends with the two older women who were doing it - both in their seventies - trying to set up by themselves. (some of the stuff belonged to one woman’s mother who was in her nineties).  I ended up staying an extra 45 minutes to help them move things from their garage and house onto the driveway and yard.  I moved furniture, dog houses, glass tabletops for them, and helped un-bury other things from their garage.   They were asking me how to price things and how to best display them.    Tonight when DH & I go out for our evening walk, we plan to stop by and see how they did.

Anyway, I hope to post about that tomorrow.
For today, here are the final two blocks of my Images of Africa Quilt.

Block 11

I really wanted to use the tree and zebra fabric in a block, and it worked out great here.  The right and left areas on either side of it were strip pieced.  A few buttons, stitches, yadda yadda.

The real story on this block is the stumpwork lion.  I must give credit where credit is due, and the design is that of a dear friend of mine, Debra Coon.  For several years we were in a group of women (about 10 of us across the country) who did recurring round robins.  Debra had designed this lion for a purse she made.  She actually did several stunning purses, and one of them was in the first issue of Haute Handbags (page 51, I think....).  Anyway, I’ve been thinking of Debra alot lately, as she is dealing with breast cancer and the resulting treatment.  She is one of the most beautiful (inside and out) women I’ve ever known.  Sending love and hugs to you, Dear One!

Block 12

And the final block.  What is special to me about this one is that the African woman was fussy-cut from a piece of fabric that Willa Fuller gave to me at the John Campbell School back in 2006.  So, I always think of Willa when I look at this block!

Until next time,
Cathy maroon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Woo-Hoo! I’m in an Etsy Treasury

I got notice yesterday that one of my hand-dyed laces made a Treasury (treasuries are seller-curated collections) on Etsy.  The treasury is Golden Leaves and can be viewed here.

The featured item is dyed with potassium permanganate, a chemical that results in a lustrous golden sheen when used on rayons.  That’s why I call them Golden Laces and why these golden leaves were noticed.   I’m so excited!  This is my first treasury feature!

The results you get with potassium permanganate on cotton are not much different than dyeing with browns or tea/coffee.  Aged, but very ordinary.  Potassium permangante is relatively expensive and at times difficult to obtain.  As with all dyeing, there are precautions to take..... but WOW, pictures can’t capture the beauty of the lace!

One of these days, I’ll get a direct link to my store up on the sidebar.  But for now, if you’re looking for a great golden accent for your crazy quilting, fabric collage or other project, check out the laces in my shop on Etsy.....

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I’ve been hesitating to publish pictures of any of my Farmgirl Aprons, because they just don’t look good hanging on a hanger on my design board!  I realize I have to either get someone to pose while wearing one, or else put my Victorian dress form to use.  But she’s got an 18” waist and makes everything look funny.  I guess I could wrap her waist..... must experiment.....   And my grape arbor would make a great background.....  hmmmm....

But I digress.  Here are a couple of the smaller adult ones I’ve recently made.

I’ve been experimenting alot with trims (to trim or not to trim?), straps (the bib straps or other?), fabrics (double cotton or heavier home dec cottons or ?), ruffles or not, pockets or not (I believe they should all have pockets, but sometimes they don’t), etc.  But that’s part of the fun; no two alike.

Those vintage white yo-yo’s on the above apron either need some green leaves to dress them up, or they’ve gotta go.   They look better in person, but they look funny in this picture.....

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Meantime, I’m working on another Art Nouveau crazy quilting block for Leslie.  It’s in neutrals, and I should have a progress shot in the next couple days.

I’ve had so much on my plate again (why do I do that?) that I just “dropped out” of my life for a week.  I couldn’t focus and didn’t feel like interacting or even...... and this is a big one..... even eating!   And not eating while on a weight loss regimen (or lifestyle change, I should say) is NOT good.  Body goes into “starvation mode” and hoards everything.  Thus, no weight loss.  So, I’m eating as I should this week and hope to move off this d$#%  plateau I’ve been on.  

So I’m off to stitch methinks.  Ah, but lunch first......   :-)

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Images of Africa, Blocks 9 and 10

Hi!  I almost forgot about posting these, so here are the next two blocks of my Images of Africa Quilt.

The above block is my least favorite of the twelve, mainly because of that hodgepodge of orange in the middle.  I should’ve just covered it up and started over.  But there are some redeeming features, like some seam stitching, beads added (I like the red “sword”).   If you click on the picture, you can see more detail.   See that brown trim that spans across near the top?  That was given to me years ago by Marilyn, my friend I told you about in the previous post.

In Block 10, above, the focus in the Ndebele woman (pronounced like “in da belly”).  I further embellished the fabric by adding real “jewels” for her.  Also, the block is outlined on two sides by some real African trade beads.  Again, click for better detail.

Today I spent the afternoon tending my DGD London, which was a delight.  She is 11 months now, and says “dada” and “bye”.  She mimics sounds, knows how to give a kiss (a big wet open mouth pressed on your cheek) and loves to bounce to music - or any rhythm.  She’s not walking yet, but stands and moves around by holding onto things.  It won’t be long now.  I’ve got to see what her mom and dad want to do about a 1-year birthday party.  I’m in a celebrating frame of mind!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hammer Time!

No, “Hammer Time” has absolutely nothing to do with my post today.  It just popped into my mind when I was about to write “Apron Time”.  It was a flashback to the ’80’s and the MC Hammer videos my kids used to watch on MTV.

And I used to sew my son Shane his “Hammer Pants” - remember those wide-legged genie-in-a-bottle-type pants??
He thought he was sooooo cool.  He was, like, ten years old....
Where were the Fashion Police when we needed them???

But I digress......  I had the most wonderful surprise in the mail the other day and I wanted to share it with you.

Many years ago (like ten or so),  I used to travel for my job with relative regularity (once or twice a year) back to our division’s HQ in Morristown, NJ.   Once I asked on the Quiltropolis CQ list if anybody lived out in NJ and could recommend some shopping.  Marilyn L answered, and we ended up meeting.  We had dinner and went shopping that first time, and had alot of fun.  Then we kept in regular touch, gifting each other with treasures from our yard- and thrift-saleing.  Marilyn even brought me back some incredibly beautiful hankies from Italy one year.   Another time when I was back East, Marilyn invited me to stay over one night.  I got to meet her dear hubby Jimmy and her mom.  I marveled at her lovely home and hospitality.  We always had fun!  A couple years ago, Jimmy’s job took them to Rhode Island.  For now they’re sort of biding their time for a handful of years until retirement, when they can return to their New Jersey home.

And over the last two or three years, we’ve corresponded very little, which is primarily my fault.  However, Marilyn does pop in to my blog now and then to say hello, so I know she’s out there!  Imagine my surprise when a package arrived from Marilyn, filled with.... VINTAGE APRONS.  

Apparently she SCORED at an estate sale, and though of me.  They’re lovely, as you can see.  And I got off my ample posterior, tried her email, and wrote a thank you note.  Now we’re back to corresponding again!  I didn’t realize that the email I’d saved for her was her actual, live, current one!

So aren’t these GREAT???   Lots of plaids, checks, vintage florals, rick rack.  Yum!!  

And the best news is that Marilyn will be attending the Crazy Quilting Adventure in Connecticut next April like me, so we’ll get to see each other again!    Thank you, Marilyn, for all the pretties!!

Such a wealth of ideas these aprons are!  The one below is one I found last week at a thrift store for $1.00.  Usually I never see ANY vintage aprons.  But this thrift store was off my beaten path (mental note:  beat a new path, Cathy),  and I was glad I stopped!

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I really don’t enjoy cooking too much.  I used to, but now I’d rather be stitching, sewing, reading, gardening, having a root canal, doing Sudoku, or whatever.   But somehow, some sort of nesting instinct has kicked in over the last week or two.  Must have something to do with the fact that we’ve got apricots and squash coming out our ears!!!  :-)

The yellow crooknecks and zucchini above (2 of each) were cooked up in 2 Tblsp.  balsamic vinegar and 1 Tblsp. butter.   Cathy doesn’t like balsamic vinegar.  Ha!  I LOVED the way this turned out.  Garnished it with a touch of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.  We ate the whole thing!   Now I plan to experiment instead with olive oil,  adding onions and red peppers, garlic and ground pepper.....

And one of my many batches of apricot jam.  The tiny jars were left over from my lemon curd-making days.  These will make nice little neighbor gifties during the Holidays.    I bought a pressure cooker and am waiting now for green beans (not from MY garden; THAT’S a disaster this year) and whatever else strikes my fancy at the Farmers Market.

Well, now that I’ve gotten myself hungry, I think I’d better run and get something healthy to snack on before dinner.  I have a peach just calling my name.......

Cathy maroon