Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eat your heart out, "Robin's Egg Blue"

Just kidding, Robin's Egg Blue, I still love you.

But this chicken egg is about to give you a run for your money.

I present to you, "Americana Egg Green"...
I know what you're thinking. "That's not very green."

Just trust me on this one. They're much greener IRL, and my mother-in-law's Americanas/Araucanas don't seem to be laying as green as they were a few months back.
But these hen's eggs can get very green. Case in point, these pictures I pinned...

Eggs weren't the only thing we brought home from our trip to visit the in-laws in Mendocino County.

We also hit the thrift stores. Husband didn't find anything, but I got a wad of bias tapes for 50 cents each, and this weird elephant fabric...
I liked it, but my Grampa just gave me even more of Gramma's stash. As in another, even larger Rubbermaid tub. Did I really need to buy more fabric? Husband ended up talking me into it.

It this loosely woven, linen-like white, with blue and red elephants screen-printed onto it. I haven't checked the selvedge for info. You can see I (husband) paid 3.25 for 1.66 yards. I thought it looked 60's-ish, or like nautical elephants.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP: Thomas the Tank toddler quilt

I know what you're thinking... isn't there another quilt for my son I'm supposed to be working on? I'll get to his Space Robot Quilt soon enough, but always intended for that quilt to be twin or even full-sized. Considering his one-year-old birthday is coming up on May 7th, a toddler-bed sized quilt is more age appropriate.

And I actually hadn't planned on making him a toddler quilt. But I was at Wal-Mart and saw a Thomas the Tank fat quarter bundle on clearance for $7. It just so happened we were planning a Thomas and Friends themed birthday party, so I brought the bundle home even though I wasn't sure what I'd do with it. I'd already made Thomas Train themed bunting (I'll post pictures of that in a couple of days).

So I decided to just go ahead and make a quilt. It's a "Stack and Slash", which I knew about because it was the last kind of quilting my Gramma told me about before she died, and she had one in progress. I have her plans, which called for squares of fabric. But when I Googled "Slash Quilts" as Gramma called them, I came across one tutorial that called for hacking away at fat quarters. Works for me!

Again with the iPhone pictures... perhaps my PhotoShopping will distract you from the dismal picture quality.

This is one busy quilt. Some of my Thomas FQs were duplicates, which didn't help the busy-ness. Plus it's a lot of the same colors.

I already have one regret... can you guess what it is? All of that stripey coordinate seems to've ended up to the right of the quilt. That's the last time I ask my husband how he likes my quilt layout before I sew it.

Here's a shot after I've added some of the border. I like the contemporary look of a sans-border quilt, but I'm adding one to the quilt to both add size and in an attempt to neutralize all of the busy-ness.

Why I picked stripes to take away "the busy" I have no idea.

Oh wait, yes I do, that's another husband thing.

I was cutting this pillow ticking I had from Gramma's stash in order to use it as a muslin for a pair of shorts, and husby remarked that it looked like railroad overalls. So when it came to this quilt, it fit all of the requirements; it was free, I had tons of it (a whole bolt), and it fit with the railway theme (well, kinda).

Overall, I like this "Stack and Slash" method and may make another, more colorful, one. It looks like a lot of work, but was actually one of the fastest and easiest quilt tops I've made (this is my first return to quilting since probably middle school). I like that it doesn't waste a lot of fabric-- I was able to use the entire FQ except what I lost when I was squaring up my blocks. That said, your blocks do shrink a lot as you go along thanks to all of the seams.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On my Gramma

You know that bumper sticker, or license plate frame, that declares "She Who Dies With the Most Fabric Wins"?

My Grandma won. Sorry.

It wasn't hard for her. A near lifetime of collecting fabric, buttons, appliques, knitting needles, embroidery hoops, pattern books, ric rac and trim, thread... Well, kind of a lifetime, because she really did use it up. So when my cousin and I were clearing out her stash, we didn't come across any amazing vintage finds. We found recent stuff, because she was always crafting and using her stash. Even after she lost her home to foreclosure during the housing crunch, she was still attempting to make quilts in her cramped motor home that would become final place she lived.

In the late 70s and early 80s, I think it was, she owned a yarn and knitting shop downtown. I often wonder, as her oldest grandchild born in 1980, if I'm her only grand kid to remember it.

When I was a little girl, probably around 8 or 9, she worked at a local fabric shop. They held a sewing class for little girls, and of course Gramma had my cousin and I participate. We made pillowcases, one of the first things I ever sewed.

She was the fabric lady at our local WalMart. That was the job she held technically until she died, although she'd been on leave since the football-sized cancer next to her lungs sent her to the hospital months before.

That's one reason she comes up so often on this blog. Much of my knitting and sewing is stash-busting my Gramma's stash. And she taught me everything I know when it comes to knitting and sewing and crafting in general.

But even if I didn't inherit a large part of her stash (about three Rubbermaids of fabric, various notions, knitting needles, at least one Rubbermaid of yarn-- I even took a bunch of her clothes), and even if she'd never taught me anything, it's still her that I inherited my creativity from. She loved decorating her home with things she'd made and made over, long before DIY was a "thing" with countless mommybloggers mommyblogging about it. She toll painted, she  made cheese, she tatted, she made the BEST candy.

Don't get me wrong; she wasn't all about sewing, knitting, cooking, homemaking, and crafting. She'd mastered all of the things a woman of her era was expected to master, but was far from old fashioned. She loved to travel and did so independently. She loved books and even worked at a bookstore or two-- mysteries were her favorite, and again it's her I inherited my love of Science Fiction from. She wrote stories, and even full books that were never published. She was entrepreneurial and an excellent businesswoman. She'd even gone to school for accounting. And she did it all while wearing red lipstick. (I even created a pinboard with all of her interests.)

Of course, lots of people have Grammas or Nannas or Nonnies or Grams whom they love and cherish. But I especially miss mine, and can only hope she would like what I'm creating from her stash.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WIP: Thomas the Tank toddler quilt

The Thomas and Friends Toddler Quilt is chuffing along nicely.

Incidentally, I'd never heard the word "chuffing" until watching Thomas the Tank Engine. Not even sure if I'm spelling it correctly.

Must be a Brit thing.

Onto the quilt progress.

I've finished the back (yes, I know it needs pressing, it's that obnoxious pillow ticking)...
...and made some continuous bias tape from the polka dots used on the back. I'll bind the quilt with that.
I've never binded bound made a quilt with binding before. Gramma always had me sew the quilt right-sides together, like a duvet cover, then flip it right-side-out and insert the batting, before tying it and stitching the opening closed.

And speaking of tying quilts, I'l do a combo of tying and machine quilting here. First time machine quilting too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project: DIY Retro Bread Box

Please excuse the blurry iPhone photos, I promise better photography in the near future.

I've already shown you the inspiration for this and told you all about how I've wanted a vintage enamel bread bin but can't quite seem to afford one. (And lest you cry out "but I always see them in my thrift stores," here's where I complain that my neck of the woods just does NOT have good thrift shops).

I racked my brain for a while on how to paint letters onto a readily available metal bread box. What kind of food-safe enamel paint would go on neatly? And how do I get it to not look so much like a stencil, just like my inspiration?

But first, the box. I found this cute retro bread box on Amazon, and for the longest time, that was the one I planned on buying... until I saw the one above at Target for about $15 cheaper. The garage-door-style one above isn't exactly the style I wanted, but I couldn't pass it up for the price. I may still buy the Amazon one at some point. Sorry, they longer have this one at Target for me to link to.

And now, the solution to retro-fy it... vinyl stick-on letters. They're a true black and a good font for the look I was going for. They're just permanent enough, but not too permanent that I couldn't preposition them. Yes, they're crooked in the picture below. That's the beauty of it; after this picture was taken, I straightened them out. And then was too lazy to re-take the picture.

These basic black ones I found at Wal-Mart in the poster section for I think about $3.99, maybe even $2.99. But I saw similar ones at Office Depot in different colors and fonts, which might be fun to try also! It looks like Amazon has some too.

DIY Retro Bread Box
Materials: bread box ($17.99 - Target), vinyl letters (~ $3.99 - WalMart)
Total cost: Under $25

This project is linked at:
The Frugal GirlsI Heart NaptimeUnder the Table and DreamingSew Many WaysPetite HermineNifty Thrifty ThingsLamb AroundHomemaker on a DimeRaising MemoriesMy 1929 CharmerFlamingo Toes, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Making the World Cuter, Craft-O-Maniac, Sew Can Do, Delicate Construction, Mad in Crafts, Creating my Way to Success, KDBuggie Boutique, Tip Junkie, Today's Creative Blog, Vintage WannaBee, Creative Itch, Ladybug Blessings, Funky Polka-Dot Giraffe, Ginger Snap Crafts, Polka Dots on Parade, Lil Luna, Someday Crafts, Southern Lovely

Monday, April 16, 2012

Missing out on fabric: Can You Picture That?

Argh! Can I just say how much I hate fleece fabric?

It doesn't breathe... it pills... it stretches weird... it's hot... it's a turd to sew-- so I hear, I've never gotten that far because up until now I've refused to work with it because...

... if everyone wore fleece for a day we could harvest  the static electricity and use it to solve the world's energy crisis.

I hate static electricity.

But then I was in my local Jo-Ann on December 16th and saw this:
Now, THIS fleece I could make an exception for! I bought an on-sale pattern for fleece (that's going to be a surprise, keep reading) and intended to come back for this "Muppets Packed" when I had a coupon.

And then between Christmas, moving, and everything else, I forgot to go back and buy it.

And this stuff went fast. It was gone when I finally went back for it in early March. Which wouldn't seem that weird, but come on! Jo-Ann's had some of those calicoes in there for years!

So, I went back and forth between ditching this project altogether or picking something else. I'd already bought the pattern, so I went ahead and chose to move forward with a decidedly less cool Kermit fabric. Stay tuned for the project!
Source: via Elisha on Pinterest

Monday, April 2, 2012

Where to buy a hobnail jadeite cake stand?

Doesn't the Meadowbrook Farm have the most gorgeous kitchen? Check out her Jadeite collection if you haven't already...

Thanks to this post, I am getting tons of hits from people looking for places to buy a hobnail jadeite cake stand.

The answer is... I don't know. Which is why I wrote the post in the first place.

The obvious choices are eBay, which will have both vintage and reproduction jadeite cake stands from time to time, as well as Etsy and your local antique stores and dealers.

If you're willing to do without the hobnail, Amazon has repro jadeite stands.

My choice is still, as I mentioned in my previous post, Fishs Eddy, which doesn't just have new jadeite... it also has new stuff that looks like vaseline glass, cobalt depression glass, and blue milk glass cake stands.
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