Thursday, October 29, 2009

so much vintage goodness

i could literally have taken a roll of glamor shots of these hankies from my swap partner, maryellen. they are heaven, and i just love them. a shot of them yesterday on the line that does not do them justice, but i can't get a better.

and there's more. a stack of autumn-y prints that i have an idea for, a big bunch of ric rac i am dying to use, all atop this sweet swedish tablecloth that reminds us of our favorite swedish diner in chicago, svea. we will have many a brunch upon it.

here is a mess of most excellent buttons, resting on hankies amid the massive piles of embroidery floss she sent (most of it is not pictured. seriously massive.).

more fabric. i'm thinking these may become bags? though i do often end up using things for their intended purpose like that tablecloth up there. and those cowboy ranch curtains are purty sweet.

i am so grateful for maryellen's outrageous generosity. i had so much fun exchanging e-mails before our actual postal exchange! you can enjoy more of maryellen at her official site as well:

it's a bit embarrassing for me to be showing off like this. really, that's more good fortune than any one person could hope for. and then i ended up at a nearby estate sale and...

a little red tea embroidery on each corner of this towel

how could i resist the knitter? in a bonnet?!

i think this may be the most phenomenal needlework i own. cross-stitched tablecloth. ah!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

dramatic entryway re-organization

i am still having camera problems, and i missed the little windows of sunshine this morning, so you'll have to keep on waiting to see my vintage swap loot. in the meantime, the low lighting edits make some dramatic shots of my latest little craftings:

i came up with the idea for this organizer when setting aside this calendar intended for some future use. i sewed up the sides and mod podged on typewritten labels, top pocket for 'filing', then 'bills', then other 'keep'ers. it will need frequent emptying to hold up. i'm wondering if i can sew it to something sturdier? or i may have to give this version over to a fabric one.

i made little picture labels for our hooks with what goes there. kinda based on the waldorf preschool look. on the left there is a bag for paper recycling from junk mail and such. this will help us take care of mail right as we come in the door! i made the little towel hanging out of the 'recycling' bag with a potato print triangle and rectangle arrow.

more typewriter labels, modge podged on this hook board, where we can now store our keys in an organized fashion. they were stored on the hooks in the previous picture, usually it varied which hook and whether or not a coat was on top.

speaking of which, our entry may need a little assistance with the hats and warmers to come. right now they are all a little toast to autumn huddled on the mantle. cute, no?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

state of crafty wonderment

i am so excited to show some things i've been up to! first up, here's my newest friend. this little guy came home with us from crafty wonderland, and truthfully, i had my eye on him at a past show. initially i was sad when i didn't see him there at chet and dot, and then when it turned out that he was there, i was so tickled. i could not leave him again! isn't he a cutie? i just love all of her things! he is at home on our autumn mantle among these chestnuts and beach rocks or being pushed around on a cart by colden.

i hope the next photo will be readable upon clicking. i didn't make it around crafty wonderland as thoroughly as last time, but below is a snippet of cards i collected at various shops. (on the wall of my up-and-coming studio!) i also purchased some marble magnets from ta dah. they were very helpful in distracting colden until one was dropped (underneath the stage we think). we still have two actually, one is without its magnet and the other on our front (metal) door. love it! for entertainment luckily there was a woman who had a display drawer full of beans later on. i didn't get her card. oops! lanz bought something at zoom baby gear, where i intend to go this week for some wool cloth diaper covers. it is ridiculously close to my house, and i can get help with sewing my own covers or putting snaps in too! hooray! lanz also bought a card somewhere, but i'm afraid i can't remember the name. i thought it was funny though, because she ended up buying something she makes (cards), while i bought something made out of a sweater. lovely! oh i think lanz also got something at moontea artwork. the fabric there is all screen or block printed by hand. so pretty.

here is a nifty little thing i came up with for my sewing basket. i had tied them with yarn before so they would be inaccessible to toddler fingers, but then it turns out they were pretty inaccessible to me. so i thought a little felt (recycled sweater here) velcro handle cover would be perfect. i showed it to colden and he insisted that i remove it ('take it off!'). i have plans for more of these for laundry baskets. although, i have to say, we just got a new three-section laundry hamper so hopefully that will help distinguish which laundry is dirty (*fingers crossed*). my thought was to make a similar velcro 'handle cover' for the laundry baskets that say 'CLEAN' and 'DIRTY'. i even have an idea to make it reversible. we'll see.

i have more embroidery i want to share, but it is one of those gift things. it is coming. still! more exciting news! i have a new clothesline! i hope to display my vintage fabric-y goodies in the glorious portland sunshine (yeah, it's been raining here). ahem. (*more fingers crossed*) thanks to marc for the perfect clothesline - it can be reached from the back door. ahhhh! he also made a stunning raised bed and cold frame. would you like to see? oh! must get planting!

some exciting crafty and organizational advances to share as well. i am in a state of crafty wonderment at all to do with by hand at home. i am trying to do my homework online, via library books, and also keep up with the housework. straightening up my sewing space and my home is going to be key, i realized when going out the door the other day, colden said, "where's my phone?" in preparation to leave. i am a bit of a scatter, so i appreciate you bearing with me. thanks for reading, friends!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

hedgehog, snake, and broom

please forgive me for not posting in a while. i am no ball juggler, like my friend anne, over here. she is tempting me to try quilting - look at those beauties! in turn, i must tempt her with this link to quilting for peace. i think i found it through the book publisher's blog? looks pretty sweet.

somehow my computer, internet, and camera couldn't see to it last week. nor could i muster the courage for the battle. then when the toddler finds the power button, well, you get the idea. i did, however, make it to the last crafty wonderland (post pending) and get a lot of crafting done in the mean time! i am hoping to perfect it a bit then seriously whip out the hedgehogs and brooms. maybe snakes. (they're just so big - i think a couple house snakes is all that we need - one for our drafty door and one to play with.)

so, here are my things - all made from recycled sweaters. inspired by all of the incredible sweater recyclartists out there, but my own unique little guys. so please respect my seedling ventures a la creative commons licensure. i'll add it to the sidebar or something too. (do i need to do something else here, o you of experience?) i jumped in feet first! another reason for the blogging break, research!

and without further ado:

hedgehog - body, coat, nose, eyes, all recycled wools. it is worth having the hedgehog just to hear colden say it. hedgog, hedgehog. dog. hog. hotdog. it's a mouthful. here is the hedgehog; "sit on my lap."

above = evidence of terrible camera problems. new snake photo coming. i was trying to capture how taken sammy was all curled up in this snake with her entire body cozied up to it all splayed out. but at this point she was getting embarassed. my next shot is her stretching and leaving. felted sweater snake with button eyes and i-cord tongue, plus rattle-ish tail. he still needs stuffing and sewing.

action broom! the handle is pretty floppy, you see. i am thinking of stuffing the next one for more real-life broom-like-ness.

here is a better view, again, recycled wools - pants and various stages of felted sweaters.

i don't want to leave you hanging so before my next post, please take the opportunity to do some shopping for a worthy cause at wheels for henry. heard about this fundraiser at crafty wonderland. etsy sellers are contributing percentages (up to 100%!) of their sales thru oct. 31.

next up, proper photos, a little embroidery, vintage swaps!, and the sewing room is coming along too!

Friday, October 16, 2009

hat for hannah

this hat was originally intended for my sister-in-law, hannah, for an earlier time. only i was knitting it 3 or 4 inches too big. marc helped me figure out gauge and do the math again for what would be the right size. so i took it out and started over. it fit me okay, but would it fit hannah? and then, of course, would she like it? i left it at her house the other day while she was working, but i did hear that it does fit and the color is perfect! i am kind of hoping marc will help me color correct these pictures. it is nowhere near as chartreuse as all that. yay for another project done, and just in time for hannah's (belated) birthday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


i think it was nearly a year ago that i promised to make these pants in exchange for those hooks. actually, there's another sweater. and more hooks, but i finally got part of my end of the bargain finished. here's hoping these little sweater pants fit shanoah. we love love love these hooks her papa keith made, and the rest of that sweater is bound for hot pads for mama tanyia. (check out their band, omiza river). the other sweater? we'll just have to see about that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


a while back (in august!?), i had the great pleasure of celebrating lanz's birthday at her home. she hosted a natural dyeing party. i have always wanted to do more natural dyeing and even took a class at the oregon college of art and craft way back when i was newly pregnant with colden. this time i had a whole slew of stuff to try dyeing, but i didn't want to take up all the room in the communal pots. (plus, lanz and i have some future plans for more natural dyeing dates!) so i chose these onesies that needed the transformation the most - one stained with mud, the other with watermelon. mud went into the onion skin pot and watermelon into the madder.

the onion skin one (left) was actually a brilliant gold shade until i washed it in hot water, and next time i will try a vinegar soak to see if i can get more of the gold to stick around. i soaked the madder in vinegar before washing and i think it helped. i just love them and i'm excited to do more! you should have seen the silks coming out of these pots! oh so lovely! and i fully intend to get my own indigo pot a-brewing. maybe this weekend?

i did use an alum mordant for the onesies, but there are some dyestuffs that do not require any. one is walnut. i've read most places to use crushed walnut hulls, but one of my books said you could do it with leaves in a sealed pot left for one week. i did it, after a neighborhood stroll, and now my week is almost up! i put lots of different bits of wool and such in to see what happens! i am in search of a giant pot for doing larger pieces and batches. i plan on pretty-ing up some grey and tan sweaters from the bins with some lichen (also needs no mordant). this will require more hiking in my future. oh yeah.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

sweet alpaca stockings

marc made another trip to the bins (aka goodwill outlet), and scored big time! tons of beautiful wool sweaters for me to craft into, and some other fun finds too. including these gorgeous slipper/socks that fit him perfectly. lucky man, heh? they also look really cute, especially in favorite warm thermals cozied up in the evening. probably even better fireside, or log cabin-side! aww! but i digress. they had some mending in order:

please forgive the photo quality around here. we've lost our camera battery again and our other one does weird things with color. or we just haven't figured out how it works.

now, i've tried to mend socks before, but i don't actually know how it is done. surely i will learn someday, but here's what i did in the mean time. after picking up all of the stitches i could, there was really only one row with breakage. huzzah! i remember overhearing someone say you must sew around the hole to ensure no further unraveling, so i secured the loose ends and knitted a row, then sewed all the way around. it doesn't look as neat as it could, i'm sure. but it is certainly serviceable, and on the inside of the leg so not noticeable either. marc says it is just as comfy as the rest of the sock. and yes, it was done with a bit of that gorgeous knittn' kitten alpaca yarn from an earlier post, doubled up.

that's leather stitched on the bottom too. tag says made in bolivia. 100% alpaca wool. so sweet slipper socks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

check out my sidebar

i've taken the plunge. i keep telling myself i can always change it to make it better (that perfectionism preventing me from sallying forth), but really, there's little to risk! oh, and i'm open to feedback, as long as it is positive.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


i brought a big bunch of yarn with me on our trip last week, so that i could really get a whole bunch of mitts ready to sell on etsy. (as soon as i get that all tidied up!) i actually asked marc to give me a goal that i could meet; how many pairs? he said 20, but i talked him down to 12. i'm supposed to make up the difference though, before the end of the month. should be well within my means. though the driving from chicago to iowa and back did help me out with this bundle.

this is also dependent on me not giving them away before then. whoops. this pair went to venessa, whom we were fortunate enough to get to spend a few hours with in chicago. i'm sure she'll be drawing tons of business my way though.

and this one went to julie, when i learned that it was her birthday yesterday (via h2m's blog!)! only one button here (i'm going for two usually), but it was an irresistible one.

the rest are awaiting sewing ends in, buttons, photos, and all that. or maybe you'd like them?