Friday, December 11, 2015

Skippin' Billies

I finished a couple of things yesterday, and I will post pictures in a couple days after they have been gifted.  'Tis the season for stealth sewing, you know.

These brass deer were passed along to us from my in-laws many years ago.  Nothing fancy or expensive, but they're one of my favorite things to put out at Christmas.  They remind me of happy times with my husband's family as we enjoyed the holidays together.

They've still got a "vintage" Walmart sticker on their bellies.  This was long before there was a Walmart in every other city.  In fact, the first Walmart in Wisconsin opened right here in our little farm town in 1987, taking over a space in the local mall that was once the Woolco store.  My mother-in-law loved to shop, and I imagine she bought these shortly after the store opened.

While I was rummaging around in the sewing room yesterday, I came upon my mom's old embroidery transfers from the 1950s and '60s.  There were the typical things you might see embroidered on pillowcases, dish towels, and dresser scarves.  Cute animals posing in the days of the week, animated fruits and vegetables, cowboys, etc.

But I didn't remember having seen this sheet before.  What a hoot!  Make that a hootenanny!

Or is it a hoedown?  Either way, it made me smile.

Brought back memories of Ma and Pa Kettle, Willy the Hillbilly (old Mountain Dew mascot), even shades of the Smurfs, Popeye and Olive Oyl (Ma's skinny legs and clodhoppers), and Jed and Granny Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies. 

The transfer sheet says it was by Artex.  Artex was the "liquid embroidery" of the 1960s.  Does anyone remember using it?  Artex made liquid rolling paint in tubes with specialized tips that you rolled onto your fabric, outlining and filling in a design.  Kind of like coloring.

We had a big can of Artex paints, like the one pictured above.  I don't remember, was it sold like Tupperware, at home parties?  Something makes me think maybe so.  I was pretty young to know the details at the time, but I sure remember using those Artex paints.  I made pillowcases and also painted these big scenes that came printed on a weird fused material, which kind of felt like heavy interfacing.  Not my favorite material to work with.  I preferred cotton muslin.  It was like paint-by-number on fabric, and I passed many a cold winter day fiddling around with Artex.

In fact, I still have a drawstring bag I made way back when, which I decorated with Artex. Wait, let me go find that...  

Okay, here it is.

I'm guessing I was probably 11 when I made it, maybe 12?  Sometime during my experiments in Gothic lettering phase, which probably came straight out of the Lutheran catechism.

Now I had to think twice to read the words in blue.  What is "TDY"?  Oh, JOY!  

And when I looked at the back, "Gad?"  Oh, right.  I remembered being frustrated with myself for misspelling "Glad" on the first attempt, but then giving it another go. Because that's what you do when you're learning; you keep going.  Beginner's Mind, and all.

Besides, there was no erasing or un-stitching with those Artex pens.  

But what a great reminder from my younger self:  Carry on and make something anyway!


Amy said...

We had Artex paints too, in the tube. I remember painting pillowcases for my Grandparents and Great-Aunts one year, at my mother's request. Come to think of it, she bought the paints for this purpose. I'm impressed that you still have one of your projects. Ours are long gone.

Lara B. said...

LOL - I wonder if we all had a Gothic Lettering Phase. I also went through a print like your fingers are typewriter keys phase. Artex paint is something I have never seen.
Paulette, I love the reminder from your younger self!

Elizabeth said...

My mom had a set of Artex pens. It was in a big round, red case that held each pen upright. They were "special," which meant they didn't get used too much (she did a few things -- a t-shirt for my dad with a race car on it, to name one), which meant they dried out, got gummed up, quit working and went to waste. I do remember that fused material. Funny how we are about saving using those special things for just the right occasion. Life's too short!

Those Hillbillies are adorable and your little drawstring bag is awesome!Love your posts, as always! Carry on :)

xo -E