Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #11--War memorial

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #10

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Four flower cards

I’m lucky to have a few very good magazine shops nearby (if you consider constant temptation to go broke lucky) and lately, as part of my Year of Living Differently, I’ve been making a point of looking for ones that I haven’t read before. Good for my creative spirit; bad for my budget and clutter-control efforts.

The idea for these cards came from a British craft magazine, Woman’s Weekly Craft Special (oh, how I love British craft magazines!). I made them using card stock, scrapbooking paper, and buttons I had on hand. One will be going in the mail tomorrow to one of my very favorite people, who has been quite sick. As usual, I had some help with the photo-taking process.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #9

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Monday, April 14, 2008

My baby is a star

Last month I wrote about Child Two's first finished embroidery project (note that I say "first finished project. It's not her first started project. She takes after her dad both her parents in having numerous projects on the go at once). Kristin Nicholas, the author of Kids' Embroidery, the book the pattern came from, saw my post and asked if she could use a picture of Child Two's kitty on her blog. Well, not only did she use the picture, she wrote a very touching post about writing craft books and passing on skills and knowledge.

We found Kristin's book at the library. Looking through it at home, Child Two found several projects she'd like to make, I found several I'd like to do (even though I'm not officially a kid), and we found more that we'd like to do together, so we ordered our own copy. If you or a kid you know are interested in embroidery, this book is full of projects that are appealing, quick, and completely achievable for beginners.

It wasn't until after Kristin contacted me and I looked at her website that I realized I own two of her other books, Colorful Stichery and Kids Knitting. Isn't the Internet wonderful? I wrote a little piece just because I was proud of my daughter and I ended up hearing from someone so talented and inspiring!

I'm very happy to be able to share my interest in crafts with my kids. When I was learning to embroider at Child Two's age, all I had to choose from were stamped dishtowels and bibs bought at the variety store and Sunset kits. Now, thanks to writers like Kristin, kids can easily find projects that are achievable, fun, and designed for them.

Kristin, I'm glad that writing these books fits into your life as a mom, because it's made my life as a mom that much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #8

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Monday, April 7, 2008

The grandmother of all rummage sales

On Saturday, Child Two and I went to the annual rummage sale held by the seniors’ center. It’s so big that it can’t be held at the seniors’ center itself, so they have it at a nearby hockey rink. It’s so busy it’s crazy. We got there about 10 or 15 minutes before it opened and found the end of the line about two blocks away. By the time we started moving, there were as many people behind us as there were in front of us. As we stood at the top of the ramp into the arena, we couldn’t even see the tables. It was just a sea of heads.

We go to this sale every year and we’ve learned a few things:
  1. Don’t bring a purse. It’s just something for people to bump into. Bring only what you can carry in your pocket.

  2. No matter how far away you have to park and no matter how bad the weather, don’t wear a big coat or bring an umbrella.

  3. Have a set meeting spot in case we get separated by those crazed bargain hunters.
  4. If you’re interested in something, pick it up while you’re thinking about it or it might disappear right from under your nose.

  5. People tend to lose all sense of perspective and etiquette in these situations. Expect to be stepped on, bumped into, walked in front of, and pushed out of the way.

Last year we didn’t buy much, but this year we had to take a trip to the car to unload halfway through. We were looking for tapestry yarn, but the two ragged bags they had were priced at $5 and $10, and since we couldn’t really see what was in them—they looked like tangled messes from the outside—we passed.

We did find some treasures, though: lots of old sewing and knitting patterns, a few books and fancy needlework magazines, a paper-making set, hand-appliqued linens, nice glass bottles and jars, some knickknacks for the garden, a ribbon embroidery kit, a big bag of seed beads, some wool sweaters for felting, and a couple of grab bags of notions and trims. Using an idea from Cloth, Paper, Scissors Studio, I wrapped the partially used trims around old-fashioned clothespins which were left over when I put together doll-making kits for Child Two and her friends years ago. They crack me up—they look like little lace- and rickrack-wrapped mummies:
I also found a hardanger needlebook for a nickel (a nickel!).
This was serendipity, as I’ve been wanting to make some needlebooks lately.

And there were these odd boxes, containing samples of thick yarn and little fabric swatches. The only thing we can think they might be is some kind of sales display. I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but they were too odd to leave behind.

As we passed the table of small appliances, we saw this case:
We opened it up
and found this:
An old manual typewriter. A blue old manual typewriter! A blue old manual typewriter for $2! We were so thrilled about it that I didn’t even mind schlepping it four blocks to the car, two of them uphill.

My mom worked at the sale, and after Child Two and I went home for lunch, I decided to go back in case she was tired and/or frazzled and needed a ride home. My good deed was rewarded. Getting there five minutes before they closed, I went for a last look at the craft tables and discovered some last-minute deals. The ladies sold me a bag for $1 and told me to stuff it with as much fabric as I could. They were so excited to be almost done that they helped me, and I wasn’t sure just what fabric was in there until I got home.

And remember the bags of tapestry yarn? Well, they gave them both to me for $5. When I got home I found a rainbow in those bags—some of it cut into working lengths, many partially used skeins, several untouched skeins, and all of it wool. As I sorted it out, it was clear that both bags had belonged to the same person, and I wondered about her. Maybe she was a woman like my oma or my great-aunt. Maybe, like Oma, she got Alzheimer’s and could no longer do her crafts. Or maybe, like Tante Bep, she passed away, leaving behind this treasure in wool. In any case, it’s gone to a good home.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Old sewing magazines

I’m writing this post as part of the Apron Queen’s Vintage Thingies Thursdays. You can check out her blog for links to other posts about vintage thingies.

The Apron Queen posted some very cute vintage kitchen towels today. My kitchen towels might be old, but they’re definitely not vintage or in any condition for the world to see. So instead I’m going to share some sewing magazines that I recently found in my mom’s house, which used to be her parents’ house.

My grandmother (or oma, because she was Dutch) kept her yarn stash in a funny little seat attached to a built-in bookcase. The back and seat cushions can be lifted off, revealing a storage area underneath. I found these patterns intermingled with some old knitting books under the seat. They’re all in Dutch, so my oma must have brought them back from a trip home to the Netherlands, or maybe one of her sisters sent them over.

This was apparently a monthly magazine, and these issues are from March to June 1959. I especially like these two covers:

The magazines each contain dozens of patterns for women,

for men,

and for children.

What’s most amazing is that all the patterns in each issue are presented on two sides of a single large piece of paper. To use them, you had to trace all the pieces for the particular garment you were making. Can you imagine? It looks like a nightmare road map.

My great-grandfather was a tailor and my great-grandmother had a shop in which she sold handmade clothing (I think mainly children’s clothes). Eight of her ten children were girls and I know that at least two of them, my grandmother and my great-aunt Bep (who both came to Canada), were master craftswomen. I’m sure that at least some of their sisters (who stayed in the Netherlands) had similar talents. My grandmother, at least in the time I knew her, was mainly a knitter and crocheter, so finding these patterns was a big surprise for me. Her sister was a professional dressmaker and could do just about anything involving yarn or fabric. They both had a big influence on me and I plan to write more about them in future posts.

For now, though, here’s one more picture. This lady is obviously very pleased with her new suit:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #7

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