Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the Winner Is...

I put the names for the fabric giveaway in my handy dandy retro tea canister, gave it a shake, and let my trusty assistant/husband draw the winner...

Sarah Craig wins the 1 yard of yellow floral vintagey fabric!  

Congrats, Sarah!  I know you will put it to good use in one of your many projects.  I'm only sorry it couldn't be a GO cutter, but maybe this is just one stop on a big lucky streak for you.  I hope so! 


Everyone who expressed an interest in this fabric—Michelle, Jane, Sue, Vicki, Mrs. Pyjamas, JKP, Jenny,  Sew Here We Are, and SewLindaAnn—is also getting 1/2 yard each!  

Why?  Because I like you!  And seriously, what am I gonna do with the remaining 9 yards otherwise?  Share the joy, I say.

Please email me your mailing addresses.  You can find my email in my profile.  Congratulations to all of you lucky winners!

I should mention this fabric does not appear to have been prewashed.  I will give it a light pressing, but anything else you want to do to it before you use it is your call, of course.

And to everyone who takes a few moments out of the day to read this little blip in the blogosphere, I sincerely thank you.  Your comments are always welcome and brighten my day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 4

I can't tell you how much I look forward to doing these Sunday Sundry posts.  Well, actually, I guess I can tell you, and I just did!  We've got some ground to cover today, so let's get right to it. 

I breezed through Goodwill on Friday and happened upon a few good things.  

The domestic table was piled so high, you really had to dig to get to see what was all there.  It was king of like fishing.  Put your hand under the surface and feel for something interesting.  Imagine my delight when I came up with a black and white gingham apron with red hand-stitched embroidery on it.  Ten minutes later, I had reeled in two more similar aprons!  All three were keepers.  Once home, I laundered and line-dried them. 

Here they are on the table.  You can see the different redwork on each one.  There is black stitching over red rick-rack on the center one.  Cool, huh?

I also found some fabric and a fun book. 

I don't really need a book to tell me Wisconsin is weird, since I've lived here all my life so, believe me, I know.  And yet, I like it here! 

This is a well-done book with lots of great photos and artwork, and I figure it'd be cool to set out during the fall/Halloween.

 When I first spotted this floral fabric, I thought it was a vintage sheet, but it turned out to be yardage—lots of yardage!  Sweet!

Note the Goodwill price tag.  Incredible!  The fabric definitely has a vintage look/feel to it, but I have no idea when it dates to.  It is 44 inches wide.

*Giveaway Alert!*

So how about this:  Since it would appear that I have passed a few bloggy milestones recently, including my 100th post, a six-month blog anniversary earlier this month, and 50 followers...

I would like to give away one yard of the yellow floral fabric.  If you're interested, please specifically say so  in the comments (i.e., "count me in," or "I'd like to win the fabric," or "please include me in the giveaway," etc.).  I'll leave it open through Monday and then draw the winner Tuesday morning.  Please include your email addy in your comment if I can't figure it out from your profile.  Good luck!

Moving on...

Saturday was such a great day.  My two brothers and "a whole bunch of guys" played a benefit, which raised money for the American Heart Association. 

That's Darrell doing a guitar solo on the left, and Russ in the middle.

The musicians switched off now and then.  (Joe, you may recognize Iggy on the right.)  I think they were doing Sweet Home Alabama here.

Russ singing...I can't remember which song (he sang most of them).  It was before Mustang Sally though, because the dance area in front of the stage filled up at that point.

Here's our proud Papa.

Know what happens when you forget you're wearing sunglasses and take your own picture?  You see your own monkey arms in the reflection, that's what!  That's my sister on the right.

Good music, family, fun, sun, and a worthy cause—what more can you ask for? It was a wonderful way to end the week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Christmas Table Runner for Moi

Yes, that is a table runner, not a piano cover. The piano just happened to be sitting there doing nothing, so I employed it as a model.  Now it's asking about the benefit package and whether it needs an agent.

If the runner looks familiar, it's because I made one for my giveaway a few weeks ago.  I loved the way that one turned out, so I took what was left of the Sheri Berry 12 Joys of Christmas fabric and made one for myself this week.  This one is longer, about 60 inches.  Throw another leaf in the table, baby!

I used every last scrap I had of this fabric, including one of my favorite prints, the vintage record players.  That piece wasn't quite long enough to use as a strip in the front, so I worked it into the backing.

I really like the back, but I realize it may be a little intense.  I hope you're not running for the bottle of Excedrin Migraine right now, or the Pepto.  Maybe I should have a disclaimer:  Common side effects may include giddiness, nausea, grimacing, smiling until your face hurts, headache, vertigo, and eye rolling.  Uncommon side effects may include excessive use of exclamation points and expelling beverages through your nose.  If you experience an uncontrollable urge to send fabric that lasts more than four hours, what are you waiting for?  GO WITH IT!

There, that ought to suffice.

I'll be linking to amylouwho's Sew & Tell.  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Friday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vintage Oak Chair Redo - Who Knew?

When my dad was moving back to Wisconsin from Arkansas this spring, he said I could have the old dining room table, as it was too big to fit in his smaller home here.  The table was oak and old and had been in the family ever since Mom bought it secondhand before 1960.  It was painted black when she bought it, so she stripped it down to the beautiful wood underneath and varnished it.

I asked Dad what about the six dining chairs.*  Mom had found those at a garage or estate sale a couple years after buying the table.  They didn't match the table exactly, but were a similar oak and simple yet solid design.  They had sentimental value to me, as they were part of many memories of family meals and fun times growing up.

Dad said, "Oh, you don't want those, do you?  They're so old and falling apart.  I think I might just put them at the curb."  I said, "No, I'd like the chairs.  Maybe I can have them fixed.  Just throw them on the moving truck if you have room."  So he brought me the chairs along with the table.

Well, the chairs were indeed in poor shape.  There were, as the furniture guy later put it, "enough nails in them to make a boat anchor."  Broken stretchers on the bottom had been fixed with hardware store wooden dowels, and there were sloppy, gloppy glue jobs at the joints.  When Mom reupholstered the seats (which she did at least three times during the chairs' 45-year residence at my folks' house), Dad just drilled another set of holes right through the oak seats.  The seats had so many holes, they looked like they had been in a John Dillinger shootout.

Nevertheless, I hauled the lot over to a furniture guy in the next little town.  I told him he could cannibalize a couple chairs, if necessary, for parts, but that I'd like to end up with four decent chairs out of the six.  As I unloaded and parked the chairs on his driveway, he said, "Oh, I can fix all six of them, no problem."  Then he said, "Do you know what these are worth?"  Um, nope.  Dad was going to trash them.

"A set like this would be easily $$$$."  **


"Oh, yeah, they're a nice set," he continued.  "Quarter sawn white oak with tiger striping and sort of a pad foot in the front.  A set of six.  Yep, they're very nice chairs."

Okay then.

So he stripped them, fixed their rickety wobbliness, and plugged the holes in the seats.  A few weeks later, he called that they were ready for me.  I was going to sand, stain, and reupholster them.  Upon seeing them, the difference was already remarkable.  The years of grime and nicotine had been stripped away, leaving just beautiful, wonderfully grained white oak. 

Suddenly, however, the work I had yet to do on them seemed daunting for someone of my limited experience and ability.  I asked what he'd charge to sand them for me?  Stain them?  How about putting new upholstered seats on them?  Each response registered in my head as cha-ching, but I sure as heck didn't want to ruin them by doing a half job.  And how could I put the old plywood covered cushions back on top of those oak seats without drilling holes?  He tried to describe the technique that would have been used to secure the original padded leather seats on the chairs.  Done from the underside, it wouldn't have created any holes in the oak seat itself.  Although nice of him to try to explain, it was over my head.  Ultimately, I left the chairs there for him to finish.

 Best decision I've made all summer.

My only job was to buy the fabric I wanted for the seats.  I chose a Robert Allen upholstery fabric in two different but color-coordinating patterns, and had three chairs done in each fabric.

I picked up the finished chairs last week and could not have been happier!

There's no mistaking they're still old chairs that have had many decades of use.  (I would guess these date to the early part of the 20th century, probably sometime between 1910 and 1940.)  

I like to think of them as having character.

I'll be linking to Vintage Thingie Thursday at Colorado Lady.  Head over to see what other fun blasts the past has to offer!

*I'm sorry I didn't take any "before" pictures.  Who knew there would be a story in these chairs?

**Suffice it to say this was a surprising figure, the first number of which was larger than a 1 and the second not a 0.  Regardless, I like the chairs the same as if they were worth a fraction as much.  Their value to me comes from the fact that they have been well-loved and used in our family in the past, and that they could be restored to be enjoyed well into the future.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 3

Come along with me on a meandering Sunday Sundry post, from Point A to Point P and points in between, but in no particular order.  I promise you won't need a GPS.

That is a look at the backing of the '30s inspired doll quilt.  Rest assured that quilting line makes complete sense on the front side.

Friends, as of this moment, I have 532 unread posts in Google Reader.

Houston, we have a problem.

It used to be that when I had accumulated over 50 unread posts, I would just hit the "Mark All As Read" button and carry on.  In time, however, that upper threshold crept to 100, then 200, and you see where this is going, don't you?

Five hundred and thirty-two.  How did it come to this?  Well, I just kept adding blog after fascinating blog, and pretty soon here I am, feeling like a hoarder.  You know if you'd all just quit being so awesome for a while, I might make some progress.  :)

Among the posts I did read this week was one by Dan at Piece and Press.  Have you seen the porthole pillows he made?  Amazing.

And then there's mamacjt and the beautiful, whimsical things she creates.  Oh, mama!

I've mentioned that I watch American Pickers on the History Channel.  Sometimes I don't get off my duff fast enough and get sucked into watching Pawn Stars right afterwards.  It's pretty interesting too, but Rick, the owner of the pawn shop, can be a bit annoying.  His laugh, for one thing.  If you haven't seen the show, here's a clip of the wheezer in action.


I could not put my finger on where I had heard that laugh before.  Then it dawned on me.

Muttley was Dick Dastardly's snickering sidekick in the '60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  Let's compare:

They could be twins, I tell ya.

I picked up my dining room chairs from the furniture refinisher on Tuesday.  I'm so happy with the way they turned out!  There will be a Vintage Thingie Thursday post about them, but here's a sneak peak in the meantime.

Did a little thrift shopping yesterday and found an interesting Pyrex casserole.

Stop by The Pyrex Collective for details.

I went along with my husband to his followup appointment at the rheumatologist this week.  Last year, he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.  He has come a long way since then and is currently doing very well.  During the course of organizing some photos on my computer this past week, I came across some that I had taken exactly one year ago while he was in the process of being diagnosed.  It was a sobering reminder that our health cannot be taken for granted.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association raises funds to support research, awareness, and outreach for many muscular diseases, including dermatomyositis and other inflammatory myopathies.  Something to keep in mind with the annual Labor Day Telethon coming up soon.

Jenny at Cut.Sew.Iron.Repeat swapped me some gorgeous vintage and vintage-inspired fabric for a bit of something she liked from my stash.  Look at these cute pieces she sent!  Thanks again, Jenny.  I love 'em!

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope your week ahead is filled with happy surprises!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just What I Needed

I got the backing done on the '30s repro doll quilt yesterday, got it pin-basted, and then went hmm...

Such is my typical reaction when I get to quilting something.  I lack the confidence in my FMQ skills, due primarily to lack of consistent practice.  Nevertheless, I sat down with a mini quilt sandwich (which doesn't taste very good) and tried doing a freehand daisy, and hahahahaha!  No.  How about if I draw it in pencil and practice following the lines that way?  Hahahaha!  And what is up with my bobbin thread?

So on went the walking foot, out came the blue painter's tape, and a-straight-line-quilting I did go.  However, I did decide to leave the white blank squares open for the time being.  You know, should the quilting gods endow me with the sudden ability to quilt a curve.

And then I paused to read my email, wherein Princess Pajamas, having pity upon my circumstances, provided a link that was most intriguing indeed.

Christina at A Few Scraps is having a quilt along for those of us who need to be forced want to learn/practice how to free motion quilt.

I am so there, dude.

P.S. - There's also a giveaway!

Friday, August 20, 2010

'30s Inspired Doll Quilt

It was great to ease back into sewing this week with a couple small but fun projects.  First, I made some desperately needed potholders, which I blogged about here.  I have used those babies every day since then, not just for pulling pans out of the oven but also as hot pads, as well as something to set my hot cereal bowl on...so I can hold it in my lap...while I sit and eat it in front of the computer.  And yes, I eat hot cereal every morning for breakfast, even in 90-degree weather.  You can do that when your AC is set at the "Igloo" setting all summer because you married a polar bear.  And now you know a little too much about our quirky household.

I made a little doll quilt (or table runner?) out of the '30s reproduction fabrics I won in Kristen's giveaway a couple weeks ago.  She had an unfortunate coffee-spilling incident and could no longer use the affected and now prewashed squares in her project, so she generously gave them away.  She even tucked in a couple pieces of bonus fabric as well!  Thanks again, Kristen!
I sewed all the little squares into eight 9-patches and set them together with a white square in between. Then I used some of the extra fabric for a border. 
The backing...well, I rooted through my fabrics and came up with this vintage feed/flour sack I found at the thrift store earlier this year.  I know, it's pretty funky with the purple and blue dots.  Kind of looks like two Slurpees collided on the sidewalk.  But look at that, it works with what's left of the '30s fabric.  I should be able to cobble together an interesting backing from these three.  They're actually brighter and not as dusty looking as they appear here.
I'm toying with the idea of hand-quilting or maybe tying it.  Unless I decide to make it a table runner, in which case I'll probably just machine quilt it. 

I'll be linking to Sew and Tell Friday.  Swing on over and see what other fabulous creations are listed at amylouwhoThanks so much for visiting! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vintage Summertime Photos

It's still quite warm here, but the days are getting shorter.  Summer is winding down.  I can hear the prep school football team practicing in the athletic field nearby.  Labor Day is just around the corner, but school has already started for some.

I remember when it wasn't just a cliche—we actually did have to write about "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" in grade school.  The assignment was especially fun for me when I had a long family road trip to describe.

How did you spend your summer?

Did you do any boating?

Catch any fish?

Picnic in the park?

While I was putting my sewing room back in order this week, I found these old photos of summertime activities from the early 1900s through the early 1940s. Unfortunately, I don't know most of the people in these pictures, only a few who were distant relatives (the ones in the photo above).

Maybe you took a trip to see the falls?

Showed your prize steer?  No?  Me either.

Farmers generally didn't get to enjoy a summer vacation, but there were still social occasions, like this barn raising.

And a lot of hay to cut and stack.  This rig was called a hay derrick, according to the handwriting on the back.  This was undoubtedly a labor-saving contraption 100 years ago, but it still just looks like hot, hard work to me.

You know what they say:  If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Looks like this unknown man's pet crow is ready for a bike ride.

That reminds me of a story.  My dad and his brother had a pet crow.  They found the bird when he was young and named him Pete.  Pete the crow followed the two boys everywhere.  When they'd walk "uptown" (that's old Wisconsinese for the vicinity of Main Street), Pete would follow them, flying from light pole to light pole all the way.  He'd sit on Dad's arm as he strolled down to the pond to go fishing.  They hand fed Pete and played fetch with him, and he was a good retriever, especially of shiny or sparkly objects.  Unfortunately, the boys momentarily forgot about that when on the 4th of July, they lit a firecracker and threw it.  Pete swooped down to retrieve it...and met his sad demise.

I hope your summer goes out with a bang, just not the incendiary kind.  Enjoy these waning days of August.  Watch for shooting stars, chase a few more fireflies, and take a dip in the water while it's still warm.  

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the other Vintage Thingie Thursday links at Colorado Lady.

Quilt Story

Hey, guess what?  My double pinwheel string quilt is being featured today on Quilt Story.  I'm pretty excited about it!  You can check it out here.

I have enjoyed reading about so many amazing quilters on Quilt Story over the past few months.  It is an honor to be among them.

I went for the scrappy look on this quilt, but I think it would look great in any number of other ways—all modern fabrics, a softer palette, etc.  There's a tutorial if you're inclined to make one:

Part 1 - Making the Template
Part 2 - Making the Blue and Red Units
Part 3 - Making the String-Pieced Squares
Part 4 - Putting in All Together

Thanks so much, Heather and Megan!  Keep the wonderful quilt stories coming!