Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Catch Up

I have not posted in a little bit, but we have been very, very busy with visitors, projects, food, turning doughnuts in the snow in the back field, staying up too late and sleeping too late, enjoying each other's company, and just chilling. You know, the same stuff I hope everyone else has had at least a little time for this holiday season.
It has been a little while since I last posted, and it seems to me that many, if not most of my more recent posts have been sewing related. Well, that is what I am into, so there is a good deal of that going on, but there is other stuff going on around here as well...mostly food related, which my waistline will attest. Some highlights follow:

My MIL and I made pierogis for Christmas Eve. Nearly 100 of them. Yum.

My daughter has started waving "hello" and "bye bye." It is amazing how the most commonplace things can mean all the world. 

We had a fabulous white Christmas with an 8"-10" dump of beautiful, powdery snow. 

My too-cool-for-words husband surfed a huge sled hill (on his tummy) while wearing a formal-ish London Fog overcoat. He really blew some tender country minds and got a lot of laughs. He has a great time, and doesn't care what anyone thinks about it, and that is why we love him.

We became the mountain shuttle service, as are the only ones among our visiting friends and family with an Awd Subaru. We love this car for it's dependability and hope it keeps up! She is 10 years old!

While we were snowed in I began sewing a dress from a 60s pattern using fabric my MIL sent me from Grandma's stash. I made a successful muslin from some old green curtain fabric, and I have since completed most of the bodice. I had intended to finish for Christmas, and then set my sights on New Year's Day, but maybe I should try for Valentine's Day. I can't rush the quality and care I am trying to put into my sewing, and I am still learning with every project. 

Here is a sneak peek at the pattern to give an idea of what I am attempting to sew. 

I am sewing the sleeveless version-2
Some excellent gifts were exchanged. Among them were a tea travel set that I positively love that my husband and I received from his mom and stepdad. I hope it will help me hydrate in style.

Other highlights were the pizza stone, skin, and screens we got my husband (more yum!), the toy singer sewing machine the baby got from her grandma, and the new Toshiba Portege laptop my loving husband got me. Yeah, he rocks. Yeah, I'm a little spoiled. I hope this will help me maintain my blog better, and I hope to beef up my Etsy shop and eBay selling. So, that's it for now- I have downloaded 2500 farm shots to this computer off of my iPhone, so I will be doing some catch up posting in the days to come. I'm going to try for at least twice a week in the new year.'s almost 20-freaking-11! Why does that sound like sci-fi to me? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ignore the Jammies & Stumpy Ponytail

I finished a buttercup bag! I have been obsessively working on these
for a few days now, and have made the shells for several smaller bags.
I fastened one of those with a button and loop, made one a zipper top,
and this one I am fastening with a button and buttonhole instead of
the magnetic snap the pattern calls for. In case you are not familiar
with the buttercup bag it is from the Made by Rae website, and the
pattern for the small version can be had for free. It is so cute, I
paid the $10 for the large pattern and for a license to reproduce the
bags for sale. The purse sews up better in a heavier fabric than the
light cotton pictured here, but I love this fabric- I made it into my
House Blouse and a little dress. Well, I have a few more of these to
crank out for Christmas- I am not a procrastinator by nature, but
somehow I find myself in this same place every year...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Thrifting Gods Smile Down on Me Again!

I bought this earlier this week along with a vintage Kenmore. Both
work, and they were $5 together. The Singer was made in 1914, and
though it has some crud, it is quite pretty. It has been motorized and
had a light attached, and I have been having fun playing around with
it. I have my eyes on another machine that I will surely be selling,
and I will post pics of that little confection as soon as I get my
little paws on it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Jewel

The dress is big, but not for long!
Who knows? It may fit by Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Vintage Christmas and What That Means to Me

  As you may or may not know, I am and always have been a lover of old things. When my husband, daughter and I take country drives, I can't help but squeal in delight when we pass an old farmhouse. Maybe it is because, being originally a New Englander, I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. My mother and father furnished our home in antique auction and flea market finds, and even as a child I could see and appreciate the difference between the quality and detail seen in relics of the past and the disposable and cheap nature of the "goods" of the present.
  This rant has a point.
  When I began to think about putting up our family Christmas tree this year, of course I longed for the ornaments that donned the trees of my childhood- lovely and delicate antique glass orbs, most of which had belonged to my father's grandparents. I loved them as much for their flaws as anything else. The crackling paint and age spots only made them unique in my eyes. As I began to peruse shops in search of tree trimmings, what I saw stood in stark contrast to my memory. First, ALL of the Christmas bulbs I saw were made in China, and as you may know, new goods from China are avoided in our household. Second, the bulbs I saw were mostly cheap, tacky, and too perfect- they lacked character and interest. I couldn't see myself buying these to hang on our tree, even secondhand. 
  Now, imagine my absolute delight when B and I went into a thrift store we stop in frequently, and there in the Christmas section were several boxes of vintage bulbs- shining and glorious in their faded, mottled, and crackled appearances. I bought four boxes of them for $4.50. I couldn't have outfitted my tree in some cookie cutter Chinese junk for that much. And the bonus? I checked the boxes, and all of these beauties were made in the good old U.S. of A., back when all sorts of things were made in America. One box was even manufactured near my old hometown in Lewiston, ME. That made me happy. Behold:

I especially like the striped ones- we had some like this when I was a child!

  I began thinking about this when I entered Denise of The Blue Gardenia blog's giveaway (it is over now); to enter you had to comment on why you like vintage sewing patterns. I carried this question further. I wondered, why do I like all of this old stuff? Why do I like old clothes and patterns, Christmas bulbs and furniture, books and jewelry, linens and odds and ends. And as our family decorated our first tree as a trio, I came to a proper answer. I think I feel respect for these items almost as one does for an old man or woman. They have lived lives, they have been read, worn, used, and admired from before I was even born, and surely some of the vintage and antique goods I have now will outlast me. I thought, as I hung each bulb on the tree, of the family before ours that hugged and smiled in the reflected light of these glass bulbs. Maybe they hung for their baby's first Christmas, as they will for ours. They are remnants of a time when Christmas was not as commercialized as it is now- when it was not a season of greed and good deals, but giving and goodwill. Well, at least in our little farmhouse, we are bringing it back this year. We will not be swept up in the mania that has come to represent the modern Christmas, and instead we will relish the soft glow of family and love, quality and charity, simple lives and simpler pleasures. It is all that was good of times past that we seek to keep alive when we embrace these little physical reminders and put them to use.   

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Girl's 10 Cent Christmas Dress

We have had a ton of stuff going on- a flurry of visitors, a Thanksgiving to be thankful for, and a serious amount of food.
My third bird! 
We have been recuperating with lots of fluids and a vegetarian diet this past week- I can see my feet...for now. We spent the holiday up at our parents' cabin, and therefore I was limited to sewing only yo-yos for a few days. Back at the farmhouse now, I picked up a project I had cut a couple of weeks ago and began sewing last night. Today I finished my little love's Christmas dress, and I am very pleased with the festive results:

Even more pleasing is the fact that this dress cost me ten cents to make. Yup- the only part I actually paid for was the vintage pattern, which I bought at the thrift store. 

I borrowed this photo [:)] Mine cost ten cents too!
I made view 3, but as I used fabric from a bag of quilting scraps my neighbor gave me, I didn't have enough to cut a full back panel. I improvised, making a back yoke to match the front yoke, and it worked out perfectly.

So, in addition to the free fabric, I used buttons, hem tape, and lace from my late Grandma Carey's stash, and I think she would be very pleased to know that her pretty trimmings were used to make her Great Grand-doll a Christmas frock. 

This hem tape has silver "tinsel" woven in. Perfect!

When I finished the dress, it was missing something. Thank goodness all of the trim at Wal-Mart is made in China!
I passed on all of that, and I found the perfect touch right in a bag of Grandma's beautiful vintage lace.

This pattern went together so easily, and I plan to make my girl several more of these little dresses before I am finished with it. I bought some bias tape thrifting today, and it just happened to be in Gator colors, so she will probably get a team spirit dress next, (her Da and Grand Da are both Gators). Yeah, they aren't doing that well this year, but she can only bring them good luck, right? 

Pictures of my little sweetie will follow soon in her new dress, as we are planning on putting a tree up this weekend and still need to get Christmas cards out. Christmas has been a source of stress and frustration to me in the past, but with our girl here now, Da and I are just basking in the glow of the holiday season, and we are doing our best to be right here now and enjoy all of the good things we have got. I hope you all are just as happy and healthy! I will post those pics as soon as I get 'em!