Friday, May 31, 2013

Embroidery Floss Storage

Last Saturday we took a little trip over to our local Walmart, and as I wandered down the crafting aisle I spotted this COOL bead storage bag. 
Finally!  After years of looking for a bag in which to store my embroidery floss, I've found one that works!  I still love my train case and will still use it on occasion, but this will be easier and lighter to travel with when I go to crafting get-togethers.  And the best part comes with FOUR clear, divided cases for floss!  My floss fills two of the cases rather tightly, so I may expand to a third and will also be able to carry all of my variegated floss and Gutermann thread as well!
And I love that the zip-up top is clear so that I can see all of the beautiful flosses together.  The zipper is a little temperamental at times and I hope it holds (for a few years at least), but all in all it is an excellent case for the 20$ price tag.  Perfect for floss storage!
Now to get stitchin' on those squirrels!!
Until next time,
Happy Stitching!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Embroidery Floss Organization (yes, again)

In April I got the itch to, once again, re-organize my embroidery floss.  It was getting harder and harder to keep my collection of colors restricted to only one box.  And if I was using a particular color fairly heavily, I would run out so quickly because I had made the bobbins as thin as possible.  The situation was frustrating.  The only alternative I could see was to combine all of my colors (in most instances two bobbins of each color) into two boxes instead of just one.
But why stop there.  Why not put them in DMC color order?
Why???  Because it dawned on me that the "new colors" were added as part of previous color scheme groups and the only way to really "see" that was to buy the color chart.  (Clear as mud, right?)

I had studied the DMC color sample card at Hobby Lobby a couple of times, but thought they were only for more professional stitchers...but I decided that I really needed one for this project. 
At the time I purchased it, I had no idea that DMC used to have a card on the market with ACTUAL thread samples inside!  A little more pricy, but more accurate color-wise.  But I'm not a professional, or a counted cross-stitcher, so this DMC "printed color" card will do.  Besides, #1 I had a coupon and #2 I never had an actual thread sample card before, so really don't know what I'm missing.

When unfolded you are able to see six pages of all the beautiful DMC colors.
In order to know which colors I have available in my floss boxes, I decided to mark the numbers with tiny black dots.  Hmmm, looks like I might have to pick up some 3760, 517 and 3842.  They are really pretty colors and would finish off that turquoise color scheme nicely.  Maybe I'll wait until floss goes on sale.  Ah, that will be a good day....a fun day.  (Remember, it's the simple things in life...)
The pages on the other side of the card are filled with pictures and descriptions of the different kinds of threads DMC makes, so a person can know just what kind of thread they will need for each particular project.

So, with the new chart set up in front of me, I began sorting out my threads, one color-group at a time.
Here are the two boxes before.  The box on the left was for everyday use and contained one bobbin of each color I have and the box on the right held the extra "doubles" of each color.
The process moved along quite slowly.  It took around 5 hours over a few evenings to get all of the flosses marked on the card, sorted and into their boxes in number order. 
After.  Now all of the floss is still in two boxes but all together.  This arrangement makes so much more sense.
Now I'm all ready to stitch.  Maybe some cute little squirrels patterns will be next!
Until another day, Happy Stitching!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bluebird Day of the Week Towels

Hello Friend!  Another project has begun here at my house but this one doesn't involve moving rocks or digging holes *whew*.  It's a new embroidery project!!  I wanted something simple and relaxing to work on, much like my red work curtains were.  I chose these cute little bluebird DOW towels that I found on Flickr at this lovely site.  "mmaammbr's" transfer finds are adorable and I thank you kindly, "mmaammbr"!!

The patterns were printed and then transferred onto flour sack towel with my FriXion pen and light box.  For blue floss I'm using DMC 3807.  I was looking for a blue that wasn't too dark but that didn't look to "dusty" or "country" blue either.  After visiting my local craft store I found three other shades that would have worked (DMC 796, 797 or 792) but with the project already started I'll just save them for another time.  One of the expert stitchers out in Blog-land, Mom Wald, stitched her bluebirds using variegated blues and I really liked that too.

The Thursday "Going to Market" towel is my favorite, so I stitched that one first.

So that's what I've been working on these past few evenings.  One evening I even stitched outside, next to our new kidney bean shaped garden!  (That was before our three days of rain).  We had such a late start to our Spring it was nice to get back outside to just sit and stitch.

Until another day,
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Garage Sale Weekend Finds

This past weekend was our city wide garage sale weekend.  Because the weather was misty and chilly, we only visited a few sales.
We did find a few treasures though....some books, a game and a tube of rubber sea creatures for the daycare kids.  I also found some flowery, fat quarter fabrics, and a strainer (great for sandboxes).

Here is one of my favorite finds and all because of the very first page!  The cover is gone, but the title page is so cute I just might have to put it into a small frame.
Also found was this vintage coloring book of nursery rhymes!  Many of the adorable pictures inside are un-colored and I think they would make cute embroidery images.  We'll see :)
Those were just a couple of my favorites.
It's been raining here now for a couple of days and is not scheduled to let up until tomorrow.
It seems like the snow just melted not more than three weeks ago and we were able to get out for some fresh air, but now, we are kept in once again.  Autumn and I have plants and flowers all over the house waiting to be planted outside.  Hopefully we'll be able to get them into the ground soon.
I do like the coziness of rain though, especially if I don't have to go out into it.  Tomorrow will be a good day to break out the play-doh, some good storybooks, and build a tent for the kids.  For now, a nice quiet evening of embroidering.

Until tomorrow, stay dry and have a happy vintage day!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Springtime Projects

We have some Springtime projects going on at our house and we've been busy busy busy!

The first project is a landscaping one that my husband decided to tackle this year.  Over this past winter we had several of our paving blocks crumble, and they must be replaced.  So, we have decided to do other small landscaping projects as well in order to make the whole yard a more inviting space.
Walk way and "rock garden" BEFORE
AFTER or "Middle Stage" we should call it.  We moved all of the rocks using a shovel, wheelbarrow and our hands.  This space will be filled with flowers, shrubs and some larger rocks.  It will also have a pathway running down the center.
We planted another tree and moved the rocks to this kidney bean shaped bed.  For some odd reason we kept calling it the "kidney stone".  There is a pavement block in the center (behind the small plant pots).  A new birdbath will sit upon that pavement block!  I've always wanted to be able to look out my kitchen window at a lovely bird bath.
Along with our outside project I also have an embroidery project started, have been catching up on letter writing, AND have new garage sale finds to share with you.  But all of that tomorrow!  Until then, have a happy vintage day!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Last Flea of the Season

A few weekends ago Autumn and I attended the last Magic City Flea of the season.  Because it was the last of the season, there were vendors galore, the most I've ever seen.  And we managed to get our butts out of bed in order to get there at opening time.  I did my best "Kevin Bruno move" and scanned the first few rows to see who was new, who had the "same old, same old" and to separate the vintage booths from the booths selling Avon and Scentsy  (No hate towards the Avon or Scentsy dealers...I love their products, it's just not what I'm looking for straight out of the gates at the Flea).  Walk and scan....walk and scan.

We came out of there with some pretty good finds.
The first item I bought was from a booth and dealer I had never seen before.  It's an Anchor Hocking Ivy bowl, and I call it #3 because it is the 3rd largest in my set.
Now I have a set of three!  And to think they all came together from different sales and antique stores.  And if you really want to make your brain think...each most likely came from a different kitchen.  Who knows where these babies spent their formative years.  One was maybe used in a farmhouse kitchen, maybe one in a parsonage long ago, and one in an apartment.  Maybe one was part of a set that was given as a wedding gift or a Christmas gift.  Now, these little orphans are in my kitchen cupboard waiting to help me serve up some peas or corn (they make perfect little serving bowls).

Found this very LONG Christmas themed table runner at the same booth.  For about the same price as a Whopper Jr. I just couldn't pass it up, even though I have NO IDEA what I will use it for.  It's one of those, "well maybe someday I'll have a real, vintage table" kind of purchases.  I do that a lot with vintage linens. 
I have yet to find a vintage table cloth that REALLY speaks to me, but when I do I think the conversation with myself will go something like this...
"But you don't have a vintage table."
"Well, I don't have a vintage table right now...but someday I might so I'd better be prepared and buy this precious fruit motif table cloth AND the matching napkins before someone else snatches them up."
"Where will you store them?"
"Oh, I'll take another dresser drawer full of clothes to Goodwill and they can live in there.  You only wear 10% of what you own anyways...right?"
"If that were true I'd be wearing the same shirt every 3 days".
But it's true, almost half of my dresser is filled with vintage linens and other items...I wonder if it is weird that I'd rather store vintage treasures than clothes.
So, of course I bought the table runner.

Walk and scan...walk and scan.

These little chalk ware fruits were practically jumping up and down screaming my name as I came around the corner, towards them.  They were a little grungy from being on someone's kitchen wall the past 4 decades, but for less than a dollar a piece I figured they'd be worth the work (nothing a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser couldn't tackle).  They now live happily, one on each side of my apple pear bowl.  (I photographed them in the front for easier viewing).  They came with a grape friend, but he still needs a bit of cleaning and a home....maybe a dresser drawer for now.

This beautiful hanky (bluebird charm bracelet not included) came from one of my favorite booths.  There is another in our collection quite similar, so now Autumn and I have two.  I looked them up on the computer when I got home and found they are most commonly known as "wedding hankies".  They are much fancier than regular hankies and usually have a "lacy" look to them with very fancy embroidery or pulled thread work.

The bluebird charm bracelet in the center was actually a purchase I made at the Chelsea Flea Market Garage in NYC.  But I'll talk about that another day.

Other items purchased were a Farmers Union Creamery Minot ND milk carton featuring "Betsy" the cow, and a Louis L'Amour book, Where the Long Grass Blows
How badly do I want to fold this puppy into true milk carton form?  Pretty bad!!  But I won't.  I will take good care of it and leave it flattened.  I'm really getting into learning about Dairies and Creameries that existed back in the day.  I hope to stumble upon more great creamery finds such as ice cream and milk containers.
That was quite a day for us and we were happy with our finds.  Now, it's garage sale season and we are hoping to hit a few of those this summer if time allows.
Until another day.
Have a Happy Vintage Day!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Children's Book Week 2013

It's National Children's Book Week!!  If you are interested, here is a link to the official NCBW website

And just in time for this special week....
This past Mother's Day, my loving husband and daughter surprised me with copies of Thunderstorm by Arthur Geisert and The Dark by Lemony Snicket Illustrated by Jon Klassen. 
Being a huge fan of Arthur Geisert's illustrations, this wordless picture book has been on my wish-list for a few weeks and it  doesn't disappoint.  The illustrations are full of detail and emotion as a family travels from farm to farm and through the countryside with their load of hay....all the while they are keeping an eye on the thunder clouds forming above.  I hope I do not spoil the ending too much by saying that I enjoyed last few pages where many neighbors gathered to make light work of a big job. 

Even though it is only May, and there are many more new books coming off of the presses, The Dark is my pick (so far) for then next Caldecott.  There is just something about the way it is illustrated that is mysterious, and thoughtful.
Two excellent books to add to our collection.
Until another day, happy reading!    

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New York City-Highlights

We are back from our New York City trip and we had such a good time! NYC is amazing city with so much to see and do.  There is no way I will be able to talk about it all in a single post, but I will start and see where we end up.
While there, I took over 1200 pictures. Having just gotten back on Monday, I haven't had time to go through all of them.
To be honest, trying to talk about all of the things we did would take a very long time and as I look through the photos it all seems very overwhelming.  Like taking on a HUGE scrapbook project and not really knowing where to start.  Do I put it together chronologically, or just show the "main sights"? 
So today I will pick out a few of my favorites to share with you.  They are in no particular order but I just wanted to give everyone a glimpse at the city.

This is what a typical side-street neighborhood or residential street looked like near our Hotel Beacon.  The brick houses and apartments had much character with stone carvings and wrought iron fencing and stairways.

I think this was Washington Square Park.  It felt like a very "artsy" park where street musicians played.  Some people were dancing, or reading.  Some were just mingling with friends. 

One of my favorite photos!  This one was taken by my husband.  He only took about 10 pictures and wouldn't you know, the best photo of the whole vacation was one he took!  Haha.  It's a little wavy because it was taken through a bus window, but it's a great example of a busy NYC street.
This is Rockefeller Center where we went all the way up to the very tippy-top..."Top of the Rock".

The view from the Top of the Rock
Beautiful jewels from Tiffany and Co.  This headband is from the movie The Great Gatsby.

The view from the Staten Island Ferry

There were flowers blooming everywhere!

That will have to be all for today.  A few more to come!!  Until then, have a great day!