Friday, December 31, 2010

Vintage Lovelies

I think.....

 vintage gifts are the best.

On Christmas morning I found:

a pair of sunny yellow leather heels....

a mint-green suitcase....

a blue cloth seamstress' measuring tape...

and a white chenile bedspread.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kids Can Sew Too!

One of my little sister's Christmas gifts was a basket of sewing items all her own. She has long been interested in 'helping' me to sew - but I thought it might help for her to have her own projects to work on. I had been admiring all the cute felt items on Etsy - and I thought felt would be a great material for her to begin doing small sewing projects on her own - since it doesn't ravel and it is generally very easy to work with.

In her basket were scissors, pins/cushion, measuring tape, needles, decorative beads, some pink cotton yarn and a crochet hook, and a set of colorful felt squares.


This was her first project - all done in one day. She hand and machine sewed it, and glue the decorative bead sprinkles to the donut 'icing'. She is very proud of it - and I think it turned out very cute!! I think she is planning on using it in her play kitchen.

I  included a few simple patterns (including the donut) for some felt food and a pincushion just to get her started. If you don't feel like coming up with original ideas,  there are some very inspiring ideas on  Etsy! Just search 'felt food'.
I also found this great shop that sells very affordable PDF patterns for felt food sets! I'll definately be getting some in the future...

Felt pincushions are also an easy project! They can be a simple or as decorative as desired.

If you have a young sibling or  little friend who has an interest in sewing (or whatever your particular talent might be) - encourage them to learn - get them started and help them along! It seems to me that kids are often underestimated and need a challenge to help them grown and learn.

The 'starter kit' idea would also work for cooking items if you have a youngster interested in that, or knitting/crochet, artwork....whatever their interest may be. Carolina has been having lots of fun with her sewing basket, and I can already tell she has a love and talent for sewing. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My New Room

Yesterday and today were spent reorganizing and rearraning my bedroom/sewing room/office/studio. Here is the whole story with before and after pictures...

Before pictures:

As you can see - rather crowded without alot of floor space. Double sized bed (which is really bigger than what I need), cluttered desk, and lots of wasted space.


When we were at Canton trade days the other weekend, I finally found an antique twin bed that I liked and was affordable! (I've been searching for a couple of years!) It is a cute little white iron bedstead that goes perfectly with the retro theme of my room:

Much better! Lots more floor space (even though you can't tell from the picture) for laying out fabric and patterns, plus a nice 'office' area.

The bedspread I just found on Etsy the other day - the darlingest 1930s lavendar chenile in diamonds and waves pattern. Cute! I love it - the soft color goes perfectly with the chartreuse-green accents in my room.

My art deco bookshelf where I keep my most prized books be they old, valuable, or just well loved.

The much improved desk area! I decided to add the 1930s era fold-out sewing table so I could have separate spaces for the laptop and the artwork/writing desk. It's working much (much!) better. Eventually I would like to get a better shelf for the corner, but for now these metal crates are doing the job.

The antique secretary was given to me by my great-grandmother. I've had it since I was 10 or so....

Laredo was such a wonderful help, he cut slats for the bed and put it together, as well as doing all the heavy lifting and putting screws in the right places.

Carolina testing out the new bed....

Old stoneware crock for paintbrushes, Waverley novels c. 1899, and bookshelf decorations.

Antique cobalt-blue lamp, lavendar chenile bedspread, bedside books.

Jewelry box, old-timey flanel ticking sheets, and small antique/vintage memorabelia collection.

Antique trunk I recieved last Christmas. One of (many) items that holds my every growing 'hope chest'.

Very happy with it! Next I need to reorangize my sewing area so I can share pictures of my entire room! :^)

What do you think of my 'new' room??

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Faces from the Past: My Collection

I collect old photographs. CDVs, tintypes, ambrotypes...whatever they may be, I love them all! I mainly collect them for their fashion significance, but I also like to ponder the faces, and think up names and stories for the poor unknown things.....

{Heald & Bro., PHOTOGRAPHISTS, Lynn, Mass.}
Bought off Ebay for 4.00
c. 1860s
Name: Margaret
Things to notice: shortended skirt length for a teenage girl, almost invisible hairnet, straw hat, little white ruffled collar peeking out above jacket,

Why  are there two buttons undone on the jacket?? Is that significant, or just a random mistake??
The trim used on the jacket is quite pretty and graphic, a series of 'dots' between solid lines. 

{Finsihed March, 14. 89, Frey's Studio}
This lovely 1880s wedding photograph I bough for $1.00 at an estate sale. The amazing thing was - I bought it from the descendants of the couple in the picture! They sold a picture of their known ancestors for a dollar! Very strange...

....but I'm glad to have it anyway. I think she shall be called Elinor.
Don't ask me what his name is. I couldn't think of one that seemed suitable. 

The bride's dress is so beautifully intricate. I wish the white wasn't so bright so more details would be visible. Notice how small her waist is! I wonder what type of flower blossoms are decorating her headpiece and collar? Weren't orange blossoms supposed to be popular?

I think the hem of the skirt may be trimmed with self-fabric pleating or fluting. There also seems to be some type of sash or train panels going from waist to hem at the back of the skirt.
She looks so sweet and content. I wonder if she was happy in her marriage?

These next two are my most recent aquistions. $1.00/peice at Canton trade days.

Mid 1860s.
This looks like a rather wealthy young lady, don't you think? Her name is Mildred. She sports and elaborate braided hairstyle, metal bracelet and ring, cameo earrings, a ribbon choker, large buttons, and a prominent silk bow-tie. Lots of detail!

There is the tiniest bit of rosy coloring on her cheeks. I love how clear and bright her eyes are.

I didn't have to make up a name for this sweet girl - her name is Ella. Penciled on the back in a very elegant hand is {Compliments of Ella K. Young}

So tiny - the photo is only about the size of a penny.
Again - lots of fashion detail. Bold, striped bowtie and pin, lace collar, uniquely pleated self-fabric bodice trim, dangle teardrop earrings, and some type of studded headband. She also has rosy tinted cheeks, but it's not visible unless looking at the original.

{Photographisches Atelier, von Otto Muecke, OELS}
This is Lucy - first of my collection. She came all the way from Germany.

I love her sweet little baby face, surrounded by hair pulled back too tight and enormous ribbons!
Either there is lots of tucks, or the fabric has some type of faint stripe pattern. I love the latice-like trim, and the darling little shoes topped by sagging stockings. Such a serious little one, she is!

She wishes she could go play outside, but she mustn't. Her strict aunt (the same one that pulled her hair too tight) says she will dirty her new dress.

Which is your favorite? Do any of them tell a story to you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

- Lemon Scones -

I love bringing scones to a holiday gathering. They are always somehow impressive. 'Scones' just sound so very dignified and British.  "Yes, I just had tea and scones with Lady So-and-so..."

Anyway. This is my very favorite scone recipe. It came from the recipe section of Sense and Sensibility forums, from British costumier Suzi Clarke.

Later I'll be sharing a recipe for savory scones, but for now.....

Lemon-Poppyseed Scones

3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 Tb. sugar
3 Tb. poppy seeds
1 Tb. baking powder
2 t. grated lemon rind
1 t. salt
10 Tb. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. whole milk

Preheat oven to 375. Mix flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, lemon peel, and salt. Add the pieces of butter and combine until mixture resembles coarse meal. I usually end up having to work the butter in with my hands.  
Whisk egg and lemon juice together and add to flour mixture. Mix until moist clumps form. Add milk and mix until dough just comes together, adding more milk if dough seems dry.
Using floured hands, gather part of the dough into a ball. Flatten into 8" round.
Have a small bowl of sugar and a small bowl of milk and a pastry brush handy.
Brush the round of dough lightly with milk...
...then sprinkle with sugar.

Cut into 8 wedges.
Transfer scones to a large baking sheet. Bake until scones are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean. Anywhere from 10-25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
I've taken lemon scones everywhere, to many reenactments especially. They are so elegant, have such a nice texture, and aren't too sweet.
Also, lemon curd makes a great topping! I'll try to make some of that soon, so I can post a tutorial. 


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