Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sill haven't found 'em...

But I did find these eighteen envelopes of hot iron transfers at Value Village last week, mostly unopened, all uncut, and all dirt cheap.  They're new reprints of old patterns.

I'm a sucker  for dancing flatware...

And I almost bought this set at an antique store at the Sisters quilt show back in July. I was at the cash register with my cash in my hand before I thought to look in the envelope. Good thing I did, because that one had the wrong transfers inside. I wouldn't have been happy to discover that once I got home!

As soon as Hubby gets back to work, I want to go through every last box in the sewing room and find those transfers I've been looking for. I can't even tell you what's in that bag, just that I tore them out of old Workbasket magazines and put them away for safekeeping back when I had no intention of ever using them. Odd are, they'll be duplicates of what's in Mom's stash. Or things I've already found online. But it's making me crazy that I can't find them.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 17 1/2 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 48 yards
Net Added for 2014: 30 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week:  0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 5075 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 2610 yards
Net Used for 2014: 2465 yards

I'm linking up to Judy at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Vicarious Trip to the Desert

This is the first year in forever that we haven't made at least one trip down to the Southwest. I've headed down there with babies in my arms and during most if not all of my pregnancies... Even when I was having so much trouble with my knee, we went and skipped the hiking part. This year the decision was taken out of our hands, something I'm more than a little bit bitter about.

The desert scares me a bit, even when we're travelling in an air conditioned car, with water and cell phones along well traveled roads. Sometimes it scares me a lot. And sometimes you roll up the tent and find out that you've been sleeping on top of scorpions.  

Burro Bill and Me: A Memoir of Our Unusual Death Valley Love Story is the memoir of Edna Calkins Price. In 1931, she met and married her husband, Bill. Shortly after that, they decided to leave civilization behind and head for Death Valley. Over the next decade, they rid themselves of most of their gear. At one point, the only two things she owned that were hers and hers alone were a pair of pink panties and her toothbrush. Then the panties wore out and she sewed new ones out of an old cement bag. I'm picturing fabric like I used for my ironing board cover. They trade their Ford for a string of burros and without a plan for the future, they make their way throughout the Southwest, prospecting and exploring and setting up a trading post at the entrance of the newly founded national monument to earn enough to keep themselves going for the next few years. The book is filled with details of their day to day life.

I wouldn't want to actually live through Edna's experiences, but I loved reading about them. We've spent enough time in the area that I had a good feel for where they were, although I can't decide whether or not the cave filled with skeletons they found might be the Apache Death Cave...

Disclosure -- the publisher provided me with an ARC.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts {8/29/14}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's the thing that you absolutely won't buy second hand?

I think we've all got a mental list of things that we won't even consider buying used. A few things (underwear, carseats and mattresses top my list) just go without saying. Other times it depends on where the item is coming from. Hubby and I bought my favorite set of sleeping bags at an estate sale, but that was after seeing the house they came from. I don't think I'd have looked at them twice if they were at a thrift shop or on someone's lawn. I'm also a lot more flexible with things that come from friends and family.

Over the years, we've done a lot of thrift store shopping and brought home a lot of different things. Clothes get washed before wearing. Back when I was in the market for solid plastic toddler toys, they'd get a trip through the dishwasher. A few years back, I read someone's blog post about cleaning thrift store purchases, including lamp bases. Because you don 't know how many people have touched it over the years....if I think something needs that much sanitizing I'm going to need a really compelling reason to bring it into my home at all!

Some things just boggle my mind. When I was Christmas shopping last year, I stopped at Goodwill and saw a small table of random food items . There were two crushed boxes of Cheerios. Those were in such sad shape that if they'd been in my own pantry, I'd have had second thoughts about using them... And they had higher than grocery store prices on them. But at least those were still sealed. There was a package of dried fruit that had already been cut open. I don't care how high end and organic it might have been, who buys opened packages of food from Goodwill?! Again, the price was outrageous.

I Googled it when I got home -- looks like most Goodwills don't accept donations of food.

The picture above is from an estate sale. Those jars are scarier than cribs with peeling lead paint and widely spaced slats....but it's not the first time I've seen jars of home-canned mystery fruit for sale, and I doubt it will be the last. Fruit is one of the safer things you can preserve, but if the family of the deceased doesn't want to eat it, who else will? (I'm thinking there must be some awesome decor project on Pinterest that these could be used for.)

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen for sale at an estate sale or thrift store?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Yarn Along} Just Enough

When I bought this skein of Patons Stretch Socks, it would have been more than enough to make a pair of socks for my daughter. These days, it was just enough for a pair of anklets.

But that works. It's another pair of socks for my kid and a little yarn used up from the stash.

I've been reading a slew of fun young adult horror novels.

Zomburbia by Adam J. Gallardo is set in Salem, Oregon, the town I grew up in. That's as good a reason as any to read a zombie novel, right?  This is a different kind of zombie book than anything I've read. The apocalypse has already happened and, while there are still shufflers wandering the streets, Courtney Hart goes to a school surrounded by security fences and armed guards and works at a fast food chain to save for college. Life is pretty normal. Except for the fact that she sells a drug made from zombie brains while she's manning the drive thru and checks the news daily, hoping that New York City will be retaken from the shufflers because she plans to move there, she's got the same concerns as teenage girls in most other young adult novels.

A couple of years ago, Teenage Daughter came home from the library with a copy of family by Micol Ostow.  I'm not sure if she ever got around to reading that book or not, but I was intrigued by the story. When I saw that the same author had taken on the Amityville Horror in the new young adult novel Amity , I knew I wanted to read it. It's been a very long time since I've seen the movie and I'm not sure if I ever did read the original book, so I can't vouch for how closely the details in Amity match the origianl story. It seems to me that she just took the idea and ran with it, and she went in a much more interesting direction than the original hoax took. Take a notorious haunted house and rework its history to literally bring the house to life, then weave that together with the stories of two disturbed teens living in the house ten years apart. It's a wonderfully creepy little book, a good choice for when you're in the mood for something quick and spooky.

Last summer, I was blown away by Contaminated by Em Garner. The sequel, Contaminated 2: Mercy Mode is out and as soon as I got my hands on it, I couldn't wait to start reading. It picks up a while after the first book left out, with the Connie outbreak mostly under control and the government controlling the news, the food supply, and the work force. The book starts slowly and, if I hadn't read the first book, I think it would've taken me a while to figure things out. Velvet and her younger sister, Opal, are still living in their own house in a neighborhood that has been officially cleared, hiding their contaminated mother.  This book deals with the threat that the government poses and didn't pull me in nearly as strongly as the first one did.

For more fun projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times and Work in Progress Wednesdays at Tami's Amis. For more finishes, check out Sew Much AdoFinish it Up FridayCan I get a Whoop Whoop?,  and Freedom FridaysWonderful at Home, and Inspired Friday.

Disclosure - the publishers provided me with ARCs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy Chores

Isn't it interesting how vintage embroidery patterns can make housework look so much more appealing than it actually is? I could almost convince myself that if I had a canister vacuum like that one I'd enjoy vacuuming up the crumbs. 

Don't worry, though. I do know better!

This set of transfers is throwing me a bit. I'm not sure how to stitch the fur, so I'm taking itty bitty stitches and trying to cover up the red transfer lines the best I can. I'm going to have to figure it out, because I think I'll wind up with the entire set in my quilt.

How could I not?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Like Swatching a Quilt

These nine blocks are just enough of a sample to convince me that the colors I've got in my stash will work for  Chocolate Covered Cherries. And that I won't mind piecing the blocks, although I could tell that much by looking at the pattern. 

I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Last month, I sent Teenage Daughter up to the sewing room to see if my hot iron transfers were in the steamer trunk. She came back with a handful of vintage Aunt Martha's envelopes that I'd swear I'd never seen before.

A couple of weeks later, I went up and found a big Ziploc bag of transfers...but those were on a different type of paper and again, I'd never seen them before. (That alphabet set is so cute I'd remember it!)

The next time I went up there to look for something, I didn't find any transfers, but I did find what I'm pretty sure was a black widow. (It's an old farmhouse thing.)

It's starting to drive me nuts. Between Mom's stash and the online freebies, I've got all sorts of nifty stuff to embroider, but I want my stuff! I went through every drawer of the steamer trunk and every drawer of the old white dresser and all of the plastic drawers, although I was sure it wasn't in them...and the cedar chest, because I sometimes put things in there for safekeeping.

They weren't in the cedar chest. But I did find these --

The Aunt Martha's bears and chicks are unopened and from the 1950s. I really like the chicks, but I'm not sure if I should open them up or not.

The Vogart Playful Kittens are cute -- and already opened so I don't have that to obsess over. One has spilled a cup, one broke a dish...and one (second from the left in the top row) seems to have stepped on a fork and hurt himself.

These, I don't quite get. They're in color, so I guess they were for gals who want to gussy up their flour sack towels without doing much actual work?

I'm starting to run out of places to look.  But I'm not going to give up quite yet.

Weekly Stash Report 

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 17 1/2 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 48 yards
Net Added for 2014: 30 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week:  400 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 5075 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 2610 yards
Net Used for 2014: 2465 yards

I'm linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What I've Been Reading

In Confessions by Kanae Minato, a middle school teacher confronts the students who killed her four-year-old daughter.  The book opens as she speaks to her class, first telling them what "A" and "B" did to cause her daughter's death and then revealing her chosen revenge. The story then switches to other characters.  The book is set in Japan, which makes the story unfold very differently than it would here in the United States. It was those differences that kept me reading.

The Furies by Natalie Haynes is another story of a teacher with a disturbed class of students. As the book opens, it's clear that something bad has happened, but not what it was. Since the death of her fiance, Alex has worked at The Unit, an alternative high school that's the last place for the system to send its most troubled students. I think I learned more about Greek tragedies from this book than from the literature courses I took in high school, all while I was turning pages to see the mystery unfold.

Disclosure -- the publishers provided me with ARCs.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {8/22/14}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A little UFO to cross off the list...

Actually, I'm not sure this one was even on my UFO list, but it's quilted and bound now. 

Remember Jo's Quilt Square Quilt Along? I pieced this block but never got around to finishing it until earlier this week. As I've been going through the sewing room, I've unearthed all kinds of forgotten things.

For more finishes, check out  Sew Much AdoFinish it Up FridayCan I get a Whoop Whoop? and Freedom FridaysWonderful at Home, and Inspired Friday.

Barbie Used to Have MUCH Cooler Stuff!

I firmly believe that the first generation of Barbies had the absolute best stuff, but there were still some neat things coming out when I was a kid. Like the Barbie Dream Boat: 

Mine came from the thrift shop and was missing some of the original accessories, but I never cared. I was too busy loving the little details like the engine room...

And the hurricane lamps and bookshelves...

And the spice racks and pipes under the sink. Does it look to anyone else like Barbie might've had some Pyrex in there?

It makes me wonder when it was decided that absolutely everything associated with Barbie had to be pink, as opposed to actual colors found in the real world. (Except those views out the porthole....those are a bit too vivid, aren't they?) They used to make better toys. Look at how it all folds up to go on a closet shelf with room for some dolls and their clothes inside.

My most vivid memory of playing with Barbie and her boat is of playing with it down on the river and having a friend of Dad's telling me that it was a Chris Craft, so Barbie had a really good boat. I was so proud of that!

This post is linked to Vintage Thingie Thursday, Thriftasaurus, Share Your Cup, Ivy and Elephants, We Call it Olde, Savvy Southern Style, Thrifter Maker Fixer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{Yarn Along} Wrestling the Squid -- I think I'm winning!

The arms are joined and the underside is done. Now I'm working on the head.

Do you figure out in advance how much a project is going to cost? This one has crept up on me. I bought yarn...then more yarn....then the big bag of stuffing.... I didn't keep  track of the actual numbers, but I'm thinking that if I'd realized how much this project was going to cost, I might've thought twice before buying those first skeins of yarn.

If I'd read the pattern in advance, I definitely would have been scared off! But it's been kind of fun, and it's been keeping my mind occupied and if I ever had the right time to tackle a project like this one, it was now.

In Mean Streak by Sandra Brown a pediatrician training for a marathon disappears from an isolated mountain trail. Her husband waits a little longer than he should before calling the authorities, which makes him a suspect. When she awakens with a concussion, she's being held in the cabin of a man who will tell her nothing about himself, not even his name, and refuses to drive her down off of the mountain.  This sounds a lot like some of the other suspense novels I've been reading lately, but it's romantic suspense and playing by a different set of rules. There were some bits that just bugged me -- the heroine takes "analgesic tablets" instead of anything specific, and there are some awkward twists to avoid brand names, but I had a hard time putting the book down because I really wanted to know where the  characters would all end up.

For more fun projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times and

Work in Progress Wednesdays at Tami's Amis

Disclosure - the publisher provided me with an ARC.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Which Day is for Shopping?

I've been wondering about these day-of-the-week sets. Aside from church on Sunday, were certain days traditional for certain chores? This little girl was a hot iron transfer from Mom's stash, but I found the whole set of little girl days of the week patterns available to download for free from French Knots.

I'm not crazy about my color selections for this one. When I pictured the blue jacket and red dress, I didn't think about how the white space would make it look. She's a little more patriotic than I was going for. And I have no idea what that pointy thing in the center of her shopping bag is. Any guesses?    

While I was looking for some skeins of brown DMC for the next square, I saw these: 

Has Joann's always had these tubes of ballpoint embroidery paint and they just weren't on my radar? Great-Grandma left behind a huge selection of these in a tin designed to hold them (a lot like this one that I found on Pinterest) By the time I was old enough to try them out, the tips were pretty gummed up. 

She'd painted a huge set of little girls in different national costumes. I'm sure they were hot iron transfers, but I can't seem to find them in any of my Google or Pinterest searches. Anyone have any idea what they might've been? I'll know them if I see them, but I can't remember enough specifics to come up with useful search terms. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Halloween Parlor Quilt Tutorial

Got a bunch of 1 1/2" strips of blacks and neutrals and an urge for a fun new Halloween quilt? I love the way the intricately pieced borders of this one suggest an ornate frame.  For this year, I want to make myself another one with a scalloped black outer border.  

From neutral 1 1/2" strips, cut eight 8 1/2 strips and sew them long sides together to form the background for the center square. Press.

Print the bird silhouette and enlarge or reduce it so that it fits neatly into the center square. Using fusible web, applique the bird into the center square. I zigzagged around the outer edges of mine with black thread.

For the hourglass units, use the Companion Angle to cut quarter square triangles from 1 1/2" strips.  (Not sure how to use the Companion Angle? I've got pictures in the tutorial for Strawberry Stars.) Sew them into pairs to make half square triangles, then sew the half square triangles to make a total of sixty-four 2 1/2" hourglass square units.

For the pieced border, you'll be making panels from the hourglass squares. Make two panels each two squares wide by four squares high. and sew them on the left and right sides of the center square. Make two panels each three squares wide by eight squares wide and sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt.

This is the clip art silhouette I used for my quilt --

I made this quilt last year and meant to do a tutorial then, but a series of last minute changes in the layout meant that the pictures I took while assembling it didn't match the finished project.

Be sure to check out  my other free Halloween Tutorials -- Halloween Parlor Quilt Haunted House PotholderPotion Bottle Mug RugPumpkin Carving Wall Quilt To be notified when new tutorials are added, follow my blog or like Michelle's Romantic Tangle on Facebook.


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