Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blackwork Bookmark Completed

The Blackwork bookmark is finished!  Monday evening found me stitching the final stitch.  I have about 9-10 hours of work into it.  Once the pattern was stitched onto the top half of the bookmark, I no longer needed to follow the book's pattern and I cruised along much faster.

The diamond on the left is an example of the Holbein stitch that is suppose to be used when stitching Blackwork.  Sometimes I just couldn't make it work and did a lot of back stitching.  Therefore, the backside of the project looks a little messy, but I don't mind.

With the Holbein stitch you stitch one direction skipping every other stitch, then turn around and stitch the stitches that you skipped.  This seems like it would be fairly easy to accomplish, but I just can't seem to get the hang of it yet especially on the more "organic" and detailed patterns.  The diamond outline was easy though haha!

Here is a photo of the whole project. The thread cutter is another Christmas gift from DH.  It is so handy!  Unfortunately, I don't have a long enough chain for it yet, so I improvised with a bit of floss.

Here is the project completed! Yea!

I realize that it's a bit off-center.  I am going to cut along the left side to center it and trim the top and bottom as well.  Am thinking about finishing off the edges somehow, but will have to read-up on how to do so.

That's all for today, tune in tomorrow to see some new vintage goodies!
Until then, have a happy stitching day!

Monday, December 30, 2013

My First Attempts at Blackwork

This Christmas Darling Husband bought me the blackwork book I've been drooling over.  This book is crammed full of beautiful examples and patterns of blackwork, and a some history about the craft as well!
So I dug out my scraps of Aida cloth and chose an easy pattern to start with.

I quickly found out three things. 
The first thing I learned is that you definitely need good lighting.  I moved my flexible lamp to the side table, and directed the bright light onto my cloth.  
The second thing I learned is that blackwork is addictive.  I had a really hard time putting it down.  "What's that honey?  You made lunch?  Okay, just a few more stitches dear." 
This is a type of stitching that requires a bit of attention.  There is counting and following of a pattern.  I like to work with the radio or TV in the background, but this is not the time to watch something new....or something complicated like the Mentalist, Hawaii Five-O where if you blink you miss something.  I threw some old episodes of Frasier I'd seen a thousand times and stitched away for 5 hours!

The little project above was my first attempt at a bookmark.  unfortunately, I found a mistake and couldn't seem to fix it.  It was good practice and taught me to double check whether or not my stitches and pattern line up properly.

One of the fun things I love about blackwork is that a person can use different elements and designs and create their own pattern!

Saturday evening I started a NEW project (much like the one above) and I will show you the outcome of that very soon!  So far....no mistakes! 

Until tomorrow, have a happy stitching day!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Needlepoint Christmas Trees

Now that Christmas is over, I can post some of the gifts I worked on in November and December.  One of the gifts I gave to a few special friends was this needlepoint tree. 

The pattern for this tree can be found in the November/December Stitch-it Today magazine on pages 44 and 45.
I hadn't tried needlepoint before I found this project, but my daughter had done a little bit.  She showed me how to start and stitched a few pieces herself.  It was so easy to do, and now I love needlepoint!

The easiest way to transfer the pattern onto the plastic canvas, was to use a permanent marker, then cut out the pieces.

These are the little yarns I chose to create the ornament French knots.

After the pieces are finished I traced the pieces onto felt and trimmed the felt to fit the back of each piece (mostly to hid all of the stitching mess).  I hot glued the felt onto the back of each piece.  For a moment, I thought of gluing sheet magnet onto the backs of each piece, so that they could be put on a refrigerator, but didn't do it.  Maybe next year.

It was a fun project!
Until another day, have a happy stitching day!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cookies

Sunday afternoon the temperature was cold here...like -22 F cold.  So I decided to crank up the oven and make sugar cookies!  (Thank goodness ovens don't really have cranks...I'd never bake...ever.)
What should have been a two-hour project promptly turned into a five hour project.  Instead of just slapping some frosting on each cookie with a butter knife, I decided to get out my decorator set and frost 'em up proper.
The close-ups I took ended up blurry, but I thought I'd share them anyway. 
 I have a new found respect for bakers and people who work with frosting of any kind.  They must be a chiropractor's best friend because by the time I was done my hands hurt, my shoulders ached and my back was a bit soar.  But it sure was fun! 

Funny story....for years I've been making these cookies off of a recipe card that my Grandma Eva copied for me in her own writing (such a treasure).  But alas, Grandma forgot to include an ingredient (1 tsp salt) in the recipe!  No wonder people have been pushing my cookies away for the last 10 years!  This batch is SO MUCH BETTER!  I can't believe that one little teaspoon of salt can make such a difference!
So, a big shout-out to my mom, who caught the mistake (she gets extra cookies). 

Until another day, have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Whitman's Sampler Christmas

A couple of weekends ago Autumn and I were able to get out and do a little shopping.
We found this...

That is one GIANT-sized Whitman's Sampler, a whopping 2 Lbs 8 Oz of chocolate.  Of course she wanted one, and of course I said no.
Here is a Vintage Ad from Whitman's Sampler.
Until another day, have a happy vintage day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Victor Victrola

This 1917 advertisement for Victor Victrola caught my eye as I was browsing the Internet.  1917!  That's almost 100 years ago!  Heavenly days, look how times have changed.
Of course I love the little "Nipper" in the lower left corner.

I love Nippers
And that Victrola is stunning with it's curved edges and feet.  Then, I saw all of the people standing on the stairs.  Do they all live in that house?  No, they are the musicians that Santa will "usher into your home on Christmas morning."

As I looked at the names, I realized I hardly recognized any of them.  Feeling that I should remedy that I did a bit of research on a few of the names.
These musical artists of my Great-grandparents' day-n-age were like the Celine Dions and Andrea Bocellis of our present time.

Some of the names include...
Harry Lauder
Hempel (Frieda Hempel Soprano who lived from 1885-1955)
McCormack (John McCormack a Tenor who lived from 1884-1945)
Melba (Nellie Melba, 1861-1931 a soprano) HERE is a link to her song "Goodbye".
Sousa (as in John Philip Sousa?  Must be)
and Terrazzini (for whom I can not find anything about)

One of the names is Frances Alda.  Click HERE for a sample of her work as a soprano.  She had a beautiful voice!

Another name include Victor Herbert who had an orchestra and played cello.  According to Wikipedia, he and his orchestra recorded works for The Victor Talking Machine company from 1911 to 1923.  Here is his photo...
Victor Herbert

Another musician mentioned in the advertisement above is Enrico Caruso who sang tenor.  Click HERE for a link to a page containing some samples of his work.  I'm not a fan of Opera, but he was really good!
Enrico Caruso
For some reason this advertisement sucked me in (that's what ads are suppose to do I suppose).  I think the staircase is what caught my eye.   And once I started researching the musicians and found their music on Internet Archives (which is an amazing site, by-the-way), I spent at least an hour listening and searching for many different musicians and songs.  The search for one musician often leads to the discovery of another.  I really get sidetracked when it involves music from the 40's (and there's hours of it on Internet Archives!)

Until tomorrow, keep humming along and have a great day!

PS...to my parents, who loyally read my blog.  This is in NO WAY shape or form a hint that I want the Victrola for Christmas....not even a little bit.  I'm serious.  I'm glad you have it and I believe it is happy and content living in your house.  Someday I would eventually like to "take it off your hands", but for right now it will not fit anywhere inside our cracker jack box size of a house.  Love to you both.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Umm....No Thanks

"What the heck?"

That's exactly what I whispered as I came across this ad from the 70's, for something called Pillsbury Food Sticks.  That, and, "You've got to be kidding me....Eeeww"  

I can just hear a mother from the 1970s saying, "Sorry Billy, I just don't have time to make you a snack today.  Mommy has to get ready to go to the movies, Daddy's taking me to see Smokey and the Bandit.  Have a food stick instead, then go run and play with your Sit-n-Spin and pretend to be Han Solo."

I'm not sure why I was so surprised (more like creeped out) by the fact that these once existed.  I mean, we have power bars today that are pretty much the same basic idea. 
But these....
These just seem weird.
But, I suppose they are no worse than eating a Toosie Roll.
After a bit of research, (because I had nothing else to do on a Tuesday night) I found that these were made as space food for our brave astronauts heading out into space.  Apparently, they are still made and are sold at Space Museum gift shops (although I'm not sure if Pillsbury still produces them).

Space Food Sticks by Pillsbury TV spot.

A big thanks to "Stopping By Memory Lane" on Facebook for introducing me to these.

Have a happy vintage day!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Life Savers Candy Christmas Memory

This advertisement from a  December 1941 magazine reminded me of a Christmas memory from my childhood.

One of my Sunday School teachers used to give each of us kids one of these nifty little gift books of Lifesavers Candy, and I think one or two showed up in our stocking as kids, throughout the years.

I recently came across these at the local discount store and they sell for between $1.50 and $3.00 depending upon where you find them.  But they aren't quite the same as they used to be.  Instead of 12 rolls of savers, as in years past, they now have only 6.  I suppose because of price increases, the company had to scale back on the amount of candy in each box to keep them affordable.  It's a form of raising the price of their product without having to RAISE the actual price on the price tag.  So, they are still affordable, and a great idea for stocking-stuffers, you just get less product.

And check these out!  How cool were these little Life Savers, apparently from the 1950's, and back when a roll cost only a nickel.  (Well, I shouldn't say ONLY a nickel.  A nickel back then was nothing to sneeze at, I suppose.)

I'll bet they were like Christmas crack for kids!  I'd have trouble not eating the whole roll in one sitting.  Then I'd check the toe of my stocking for more...then the kitchen drawers, then inside the big jar in the cupboard where mommy hides all of her treats, then under my pillow, then the......
You get the picture.

That's all for today, until tomorrow, have a happy vintage day!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Some Vintage Ads To Start the Week

Here are a couple of Vintage Ads I found while browsing around the Internet.
I get such a chuckle out of this one from the 50s or 60s.

Here are a couple of catalog pages of Christmas Ornaments from Penny Candy's Blog.
This first one is from the 1947 Sears Catalog.
And then there are these, below, from the 1956 Sears Catalog.
The folks over at Penny Candy blog have many more pages of wonderful Christmas Ornaments!  Check it out HERE.
That's all for today!  Until another time, have a happy, vintage day!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

One of the Best Christmas Commercials I've Ever Seen

Advertisements done by a store called John Lewis of England are probably the best Christmas Ads I've ever seen.  John Lewis is apparently a store much like our Macy's or JC Penneys here in the states.  Their amazing commercials (can be found on You Tube) rank right up there with the Hallmark Card commercials I grew up with as a kid and the Folgers coffee Christmas commercial of  1988. 
Here is my favorite from 2011.  Grab a Kleenex...you will probably need one.

That's all for today!
Have a happy snowy day!