Saturday, April 30, 2011

Commemorative Royal Hankies... and Snow!?!

Although I did not get up at o’dark thirty to watch the Royal Wedding (I was awake, sick with a cold, but I did not get up), I have been fascinated with the replays, pictures and stories.  William and Catherine (hey, what a nice name she has! Why isn’t she Cate instead of Kate?) are a lovely couple.

Back when Charles and Diana wed, I did not collect any commemoratives. Nor have I gotten any of Will and Kate. But I would if they made commemorative ladies hankies! Unfortunately, they didn’t. They did make a men’s handkerchief, but in my humble opinion it is butt ugly.

I checked the actual wording of Lord Chamberlain`s decree regarding Royal Wedding Commemoratives (this is the relevant part - textiles)

            Textiles.  Royal arms, emblems and titles can be used on carpets, cushions, 
            wall hangings and head scarves, but they are forbidden from being used on
            textiles. This includes articles of clothing such as T- shirts, drying up 
            cloths and aprons.

William and Kate t-shirts abound, as do all manner of tacky items designed to lighten the wallet of the casual collector. But they are not officially sanctioned. So, maybe I will just look for one of those scarves. Or not.

In the meantime, I’d like to show you the Royal Commemoratives I do have. They are from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.  At that time, hankies were quite fashionable, so there were a lot made.

Rather interesting, don’t you think?  And the following are also from the UK, although they are not commemorative. I had a friend who went to England about 8-9 years ago and bought me two Nottingham Lace hankies in London at a place called World of Lace in Covent Garden. They are the white ones on the right.

The Scotland hankie is silk and has been in my family longer than I have. I don’t know the story behind it, but I have always loved it.  Detail shot below.

Do you have any hankies from your mom or grandmother or other female relative that you love?  Are there memories and stories attached to them?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway here and help me name my new Hankie Couture doll!  The winner will receive eight lovely vintage hankies (and my thanks for helping me select a name).  

And finally, this is the sight we woke up to this morning.  

Depressing, isn’t it?   But it did melt by 6:30 or so in the evening, and unless it gets really cold tonight, everything seems to have come through unscathed.

Bruce and I went to Lowe’s and bought a new electric lawnmower so he won’t have to throw out his back starting the old one.  He assembled it and charged it.  Hopefully some time in the next couple days it will be dry enough to mow (or plow) our grass.  It’s been so wet that no one in the neighborhood has mowed, so we are not the only ones with a wild lawn. We do, however have lots of those “pretty little yellow flowers” (as Bruce calls dandelions) and are also waiting for the lawn sprayer guys (I’m sure there’s a better name for them) to show up.  I sure wish spring would get here!!

Cathy maroon

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hankie Couture - and a Contest!!

I don`t know which I love more; Hankie Couture or having the chance to give you lovely friends and readers a chance to win something in a giveaway!  Luckily, I don’t have to choose!  Let me tell you about BOTH!

When I was in Connecticut during the first half of this month, Bruce and I stopped at a Barnes & Noble (long-time readers might remember that I used to work for B&N).  We love to have regular “coffee dates” there, whether we’re here at home or on the road.  Anyway, I wandered over to the Craft/Needle Arts section, and the most glorious, colorful book was on display and caught my eye IMMEDIATELY.  It was this delightful gem, and I bought it on the spot.

All my life I have collected and adored hankies.  All my life I have had and adored (and gave birth to a daughter who had and adored) fashion-sized (“Barbie”) dolls.  I sewed clothes for the dolls as a child, as a mother, and in between as a crafter before my daughter was born. 

But never had I seen or created anything so beautiful as Marsha Greenberg’s Hankie Couture!

I was smitten!   I read the book cover to cover, visited the Hankie Couture website, watched the video and visited her Ebay Boutique.  I ordered one of Marsha’s lovely dolls that she had custom made to her specifications, and it arrived so quickly I couldn’t believe it!!  The doll is of  high quality. And look at the beautiful face!  This is no cheap-looking doll; Marsha has created quality down to the roots of the doll’s lustrous hair!

My dear doll arrived naked, of course. For modesty’s sake (not that THAT is a big issue here) I have pictured her semi-clothed in a couple of the hankies that I will be giving away.  But I am getting ahead of myself. ..


So, I plan to make my doll a dress couture fashion using one of the patterns provided in Marsha’s Hankie Couture book. But as I began fondling drooling over carefully sorting my hankie collection for THE potential dress (which I have now narrowed it down to about four possibilities), I realized that my doll doesn’t have a name. The Rules state that Every Doll Needs A Name.  This is my blog, my world, and those are my rules.  So...... will you help me?!? I will clothe her if you will name her!


To enter, just leave me a comment ON THIS POST with your suggestion(s) for a doll name.   That’s it!  Let`s limit it to 3 name suggestions per person.  Of course, while you’re at it, you can visit the links to Hankie Couture the website (or go directly to Amazon and buy the book, LOL!!) and let me know what you think about them!

Here is what I am offering to the commenter whose suggested name is chosen; eight vintage hankies from my collection, two of which have already been modeled for you by The Doll With No Name.

Let’s run this contest for a week, so please comment ON THIS POST by Friday, May 6, 2011.  The winner will be selected solely on the doll`s name I choose.  :-)   So you can tell your friends about it and it won’t affect your chances of winning, LOL!  

As far as names go, I would like something traditional or classic or old-fashioned, just not cutesy (like “Barbie” or “Tiffany”) .  

And here’s a heads-up.  Once this contest is over, there will be ANOTHER giveaway the following week. It will be a bit more involved than this one, but a SUPER prize awaits!   Marsha and I have struck up a friendship, and I have to tell you how delightful and sweet she is!  We have cooked up some fun for you! Stay tuned because you won’t want to miss it!  

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stitching and Connecticut

Stitching and Connecticut - I could have named the post “Things I Forgot”, since that describes them both.

First of all, I was getting ready to mail off Janet’s blocks in our “For the Birds Round Robin”, when I realized as I was packing them up, that we had a lady drop out.  So, we had all decided to do a full block and then a fourth of another block, so that Janet would have five full blocks when they returned home to her.  And I had forgotten to do my fourth. So, last night I whipped out a motif and a couple seam treatments on this block.

Above is the little floral motif I did with silk ribbon, gold Kreinik thread, some beads and a metal rose.

And this is a bit of lace embellished with silk threads in cast-on stitch, lazy daisies and a beaded chevron/cretan mix stitch.   I also did a feather stitch on one seam that one of the next ladies can embellish.

This is our joint-effort block for Janet.  Nicki Lee had already added the lace and top curved seam treatment.  Connie K and Cathy L will finish off this round robin.

My complete block for Janet was posted here.

Also, I FORGOT that I was going to post some pictures of Connecticut that we took while Bruce and I spent our post-Adventure week being tourists.  But lucky for you, we didn’t get many.

The Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT
He wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn here. 

Side view of home showing his 3rd story Study/Billiards Room
The front porch area

Following standard museum protocol, no pictures were allowed in the home.  But, looking across the lawn, you can see the Harriett Beecher Stowe house (below).  Her most famous work was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is often cited as the book that sparked the Civil War.

We actually visited the Harriett Beecher Stowe house on another day, but it was raining, so I didn’t get any good outside pictures.  However, the rain also kept the crowds away, and Bruce and I got a personal guided tour, including some areas where the public is not often allowed.

We were thoroughly enchanted by the homes in the area. There were the salt boxes and Dutch Colonial homes, which are common in the East but rarely seen out West.  But somehow, those with Victorian leanings or farmhouse styles really excite me.  I want to live in the farmhouse on the little farm below!!

What lovely rolling countryside, right within city limits.  Here in Utah, like much of the west, the cities and their suburbs are concrete jungles.  And then there is the rural countryside.  Either/or.  The East seems to mix it up better, and it is so charming.

It is common to see homes with historical placards on them denoting the home builder and year of construction. Some date back to the 1600’s and 1700’s.  That is “new” compared to European history, but out here in the west, most of the states don’t have much, if any, recorded history before the 1800’s.

My grade school sure didn’t look like this!

 And wouldn’t this be a fun church to attend on a snowy Christmas Eve?  You’d have to walk there or ride in a one-horse open sleigh, of course!

My final two pictures are either going to make you roll your eyes or laugh.  Now, tell the truth.  Many of the ladies (in groups I walked with or overheard) thought the patterned carpet of the Hampton Inn in Manchester, CT (where the Sharon Boggon workshops were held) was interesting.  Imagine, if you will, attending full-day classes learning about stitching: seam stitches and variations, motifs, angles, curves, embellishments..... and then walking down the hall to see this carpet.

I know I was not the only one to see design possibilities for crazy quilting in these patterns.  Was I the only nerd attendee who took pictures of it?

Cathy maroon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reviewing 2011 Goals

Back in January, I set 14 stitch-related goals for myself.  (See post here). Now that the first quarter is behind us and I’m mostly unpacked from my Connecticut trip, I think it’s a good time to review my progress.

1.  Goal: Participate in 3-4 CQ round robins.
Progress:  I am currently in four and two are about to wrap up.  This will be done by mid-year!

2.  Goal:  Piece my "CQ by 2012” quilt and have half of seamwork done.
Progress:  None, except that I’ve decided on my colors and basic design idea.

3.  Goal:  Enter at least 2 CQ or quilting competitions.
Progress: I am registered for one and have info and intentions of entering #2.  I will be at 50% by mid-year.

4.  Goal:  Teach a CQ class locally.
Progress:  None yet, although I have gathered some contact info.

5.  Goal:  Attend 3 CQ retreats or gatherings.
Progress:  Have attended one (CQ Adventure in CT) and am registered for two more: the CQI Retreat in Colorado (September) and the Victorian Stitchery Retreat (Pink Bunny) in Wichita in November.

6.  Goal:  Take a class with Carole Samples.
Progress:  I am registered for a 2-day class with Carole Samples in Wichita in November!!!!

7.  Goal:  Finish (or give away) at least 3 UFO`s.
Progress:  I finished and auctioned off my Teatime Wallhanging and gave away (to CQI, who auctioned it off) a wool crazy quilt top.   So, I’m 67% done with this one already!

8.  Goal:  Finish Seascape Valance.
Progress:  None yet.  This will start when I am done with the RR’s and first contest entry.

9.  Goal:  De-stash.
Progress:  A lot of progress here.  My old storage is gone, and I have gathered two 22-gal plastic totes of fabrics and things that The Fabric Fairy I will be taking to the CQI retreat in September.  

10.  Goal:  Sew a quilt for London (DGD).
Progress:  None.

11.  Goal: Ramp up Etsy presence.
Progress:  Yeah, well I have been meaning to do that.  Now that I’m home from vending at the CQ Adventure, I can list the things (dyed lace, vintage lace and trims, and fancy fabric packs). Sometime.

12.  Goal: Begin reselling my vintage fabrics, linens and collectibles.  
Progress:  Do good intentions count?

13.  Goal:  Conduct a local sew-for-charity event.
Progress:  I have a huge bag of 50 ready-to-sew cotton pillowcases that I will donate to an appropriate charity as part of my de-stashing program and will consider this two birds killed with one stone.  (OMG, I hate that metaphor...)

14.  Goal:  Blog milestones: 400 posts, 250 followers,  3 giveaways and 2 tutorials in 2011.
Progress:  I’m at approximately 315 posts, 185 followers and have had 1 giveaway.  A second giveaway will be announced next week (watch for details!) and one tutorial is planned for May or June.

If I assign values to my progress, I show I am at about 25-30%, which is right on target for this point in the year.  But I have to admit that reading the list now makes me more tired than enthusiastic!  What was I thinking?

Now I’m off to cook dinner (what a change THAT will be!  But I am craving crab cakes...), then clean my studio and watch American Idol eliminations tonight.

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How A Crazy Quilter Does NYC

This is the 4th (??) installment of our Adventure in Crazy Quilting. Because the Adventure was preceeded by an optional 3-day stitching workshop (and then a day of rest) and then followed by a day of rest and another optional 3-day stitching workshop, not all the attendees stayed once the Adventure itself ended on Sunday the 10th.

A trip to NYC to “do” the Garment (Fashion) District had been planned for several months and many ladies expressed an interest.  When it came down to actually going, however, many had to bow out due to other commitments. Or perhaps they felt they (or their pocketbooks, LOL) needed a rest after all the wonderful offerings in the Adventure’s Vendor Boutique.  And some felt they were not up to the grueling day of travel and walking.

So, as it ended up, there were five of us die-hards who made the pilgrimage; Allie, Helen, Susan, Linda H and myself. We met at 6:15 a.m. and, fortified with coffee or tea, hopped into Susan’s SUV and headed south to New Haven to catch the train. One hour car ride. Two hour train ride.

Allie, Linda, Helen waiting for the train

Susan hams it up.  Don’t you think the Smoothie people would love her funny teeth?

Yep, this is New York City alright....
First stop: M&S Schmalberg Flowers.  Allie poses with the sign she made for the friendly proprietors of this AWESOME shop.  Read the back story on Allie’s blog here and continuing on March 30-31.

Another angle.... my favorite flower is the Big Blue One!!  :-)
Linda and Helen cheer Allie on, while Susan gets her camera ready for some REAL photography!

I will save some time here, and label the following seven pictures the same: Showroom Eye Candy.  Please have your drool cloths handy... (be sure to click to “embiggen” them and see the detail!)

Now.... I will give you a moment here to recover from your swooning....



OK, are you ready?  Let’s move on into the back rooms of the shop, which gracious owners Warren and Adam Brand (why not Schalberg, you ask? Long story, not relevant...) kindly allowed us to wander, cameras in hand.  We got to see flowers being pressed, assembled and packed.

Allie with Adam and his dad Warren

Cutting machines, decades old, cut many layers of fabrics into flowers or leaves
Molds like these (top and bottom) are loaded into a machine and the veins or shaping marks are pressed onto the petals

...and there are racks and racks of these molds throughout the workshop
Workers assemble the layers of petals
... stitching or glueing as necessary
They work, order by order, to fashion just what a customer has ordered
Flowers hang in preparation for their next step
OK, now that we understand the basic process, it’s time to SHOP for those pieces we cannot live without.  Easter is coming.... and let’s think ahead to our summer dresses.... and Christmas is coming - what great gift ideas!  Ready, set, .... SHOP!!

These are some leather blooms
 AHA!  Not so easy to select, is it???  We were on Overload!!  But after spending almost two hours there, we made our selections.  Susan was the most, um, PROLIFIC shopper, but we all scored some great blooms and vintage goodies.  This is what my “take” looked like:

Look at how large this bloom is!  And I have the perfect summer dress for it!

The leaves and birds are pressed velvet.
My daughter also requested a “tacky NYC gift, like a snow globe”, so I bought one for her.  But I also surprised her with this lovely pink organza flower (it was a hit!).

Second stop:  a short stop at Mood, the store where the Project Runway contestants shop.  

We were there. We went, we saw, we left. No purchases made.
Next up was Tinsel Trading.  I was so excited, I didn’t get any pictures of the shop.  (Hopefully Susan did, and will share, but she was so busy being Miss Super Shopper again that maybe she didn’t, LOL).
My finds:
This is all vintage stuff except the white trim. 
After fortifying ourselves with delicious salads for lunch, we stopped into a random bead shop (one of dozens we saw).  I was able to leave some cash there in exchange for some bead-type stash. The stuff on the right was from the NYC bead store; the greater pile on the left was what I got when Maureen took us to Beads East during our 3-day stitching workshop.

It was like a treasure hunt trying to find the giant button and needle, but find it we did!

Allie poses by the giant statue dedicated to the garment workers.

And Linda snapped a picture of me by it, too.  It was rather poignant for me, as my grandfather owned a sweater knitting factory in NYC back in the day.  And my grandmother was a seamstress in a different NYC women’s clothing factory.

Next stop:  Sposabella, a lace store.

Heaven..... I’m in Heaven....
Vintage laces I purchased
Other laces I purchased.

Fabric store stop. Allie checks out the goods.

This was SOME of their dupioni silk.  Every color imaginable!

We made a brief stop in a chocolate shop, then enjoyed our hike back to Grand Central Station.  It had turned into a glorious, sunny day, and everyone was basking in the sun. We joined the commuters on the two-hour train ride back to New Haven. The warm sunshine and gentle, rhythmic rocking of the train put some of us to sleep.....  Our final stop was at Miso, a Japanese restaurant in New Haven, where the warm, moist towels they brought us felt as good on our faces as the delicious food did in our tummies!

Thank you, Linda, Susan, Helen and Allie for being such delightful companions and helping to make our Girls Day Out in NYC a lovely experience I will never forget!!

Cathy maroon