Monday, March 11, 2013

I Spy Box

Last Spring I came across this darling knife box, buried in a garage of an estate sale I attended. It was the perfect thing to display some of the little bits and pieces I've aquired, picking my way through western PA. I hung the box in my kitchen near our table. The kids and I love to play of game of "I Spy" as we sit together at the table.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Treasure Jar

When I was a kid, most Sunday nights were spent at my Great Grandma Luke's house. As all the adults sat visiting in the living room, us kids snuck quietly away to the best part of the house; the basement. What fun I had there with my cousins! At the top of the stairs sat " The Treasure Jar", the most coveted possession my grandma owned. I'm not sure when or why she made it, but it contained bits and pieces of her life, all perfectly pressed onto a paper mache covered vase. After exploring the depths of the cellar, us cousins resurfaced to the top of the stairs. I was filled with awe as we sat looking at all the unique treasures contained both outside and within the jar. Each piece of broken jewelry or other memento had a story to tell.  As we sat listening to our parents talking and laughing, I gazed at the intriguing, magical jar. I would imagine amazing stories about all the bits and pieces as we took turns reaching in and pulling out each treasure one by one, laying them down carefully beside it. When I became an adult, I discovered that we were not the first generation to have such a great adoration for the jar. When my sweet Grandma Luke left this world in 1999, the treasure jar was by far the most desired item to be inherited. There wasn't a single person who didn't think the jar should be theirs. A drawing was finally held between the first generation of grandchildren. My uncle Val was elated to receive the jar that had become, in our eyes, the most valuable treasure in all the world.

In the late 80's, the treasure jar had inspired my mom to make an heirloom of her own. Collecting bits and pieces she had tucked away from my childhood, along with other artifacts from years past, she created a magical jar for future generations to marvel over. I've begged and pleaded these past few years to be it's guardian and protector, but she has yet to relinquish her treasure jar. Maybe someday... 

...meanwhile; I gather, collect, and stash my children's memorabilia and gems of bygone eras to adhere to a jar of  my own, in hopes that a future mind will be filled with wonder and awe.  A family tradition is born!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Project

I know the last thing I should be doing right now is starting another project. I haven't even finished writing my bias tape tutorial that I was planning to post last week. My house is a wreck, and I have at least 10 unfinished projects that I promised John I would finish before diving in to anything new.

But I have two good excuses for starting this project. Wait, now that I think about it, there are three. First, my son, Little john is having same day surgery Wednesday, at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I will be sitting in a waiting room all day, and there is no way I can sit still that long with idle hands! I have to have something to work on to pass the time.  Second, this project will be a gift for my mom's birthday (December 5th). It will take a while, so I need to get started soon. And third, I found the perfect thing to use to make it, today at Target. And it was on clearance for $4.74.

Here's a sneak peak. Bet you can't guess what it will be...

... stay tuned... (it's nothing earth shattering...but still fun to guess)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kooky, Spooky, Sock Bats

Two nights ago, Aidan stayed up late watching me finish making this bat sock doll for him. I have never seen him so excited! He designed  the face and picked out the fabric for the legs. Then he helped me by stuffing the legs (and decided to do the wings too). When it was finished he was literally giddy, clapping and hooting. Who would have thought? I should have been making him sock animals all along, instead of buying him "boy" toys. He slept with it tucked under his arm all night. Then he insisted on taking it to school yesterday to show it off to all his friends. 

Last night I finished Eliza's bat doll for her. She was excited and slept with it too. But I have to say, her enthusiasm was not quite as extreme as Adain's! This was a fun little project to get us all in the Fall spirit. Can you believe Halloween is just around the corner? Heather Bailey (my idol) has a free pattern for this little Betty Boo Sock Doll. You can download it here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bias Tape 101: What is it? What is it good for?

What is it?
Bias tape is your best friend, if you don't like finishing edges. Bias tape, also known as bias binding; is a narrow strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias of the fabric. In other words, it is cut at a 45 degree angle from the selvedge edge of the fabric. It is then folded in to the center, so there are no raw edges. There are two types of bias tape, single fold and double fold. Double fold bias tape is simply bias tape that has been folded in half. This is the most popular type of bias tape, and what I like to use on most everything I sew.
Bias tape has been gaining in popularity lately, but it is not a new notion. It has been around for a long, long, time.  At least as far back as the late 1800's. Bias tape has been available to purchase commercial since 1917, when it was first marketed by Wm. E. Wright & Sons, the same company that carries this wonderful invention to sewers everywhere today.

What is it good for?
What isn't it good for, might be a better question! It is good for EVERYTHING! I first started using bias tape to bind quilts. Then I really came to love and appreciate it when I started sewing aprons a few years. A good apron always uses plenty of bias tape! It can be used on dresses, skirts, just about any clothing item, as well as tablecloths, hot pads, and other hand made items.

One thing that makes it so useful, is that it can curve and move easily around the fabric, because of the way it is cut. Not only is it great for hemming and edging, but it is very decorative as well. A nice contrasting bias tape gives a great vintage feel to anything you sew. It can be used to hide raw edges or it can be used purely as decoration. It's like ribbon or rick rack, only better!

Where do I get it?
Are you convinced yet that you must try bias tape? You now have two options; run down to your local fabric store and purchase a couple of packages. Or, make your own. It's really not that hard, but it is a bit time consuming, especially if this is your first time. If you are making an apron for your best friend's birthday tomorrow, you should probably just go buy some for now, and try making your own later.

If you choose to buy it, you can starting playing with it right away. However, the selection will be limited. Also, commercial bias tape usually has a high polyester content, so it's a bit stiffer, and just doesn't have as much of a vintage look and feel. The biggest advantage to making your own is that you can make it from any fabric, cotton, silk, rayon, linen, anything. It will match perfectly with all your sewing projects. And you can make it in a variety of sizes. Now you all want to go make some, right?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dresser that Broke the Husband's Back

Have you ever had a dream about someone and woke up so angry because of something they did in a unconscious realm? I do it all the time. I wake up glaring at my innocent husband. When he asks what he's done to upset me so much, I reply, "Oh, you know what you've done!" 

This morning, John called me from work, to let me know that he has never, in our entire marriage, been so angry at me, as he was when he woke from an early morning dream. "Wow! What did I do?" I asked. In my mind I'm thinking did it involve infidelity? Criminal activity? He's not one to get angry easily, so I knew it must be something really bad. He answered, "You just kept bringing more, and more furniture in the house! I told you I didn't want any more furniture, and you wouldn't listen. You just kept hauling in dresser after dresser! Then you got all kinds of people to help you bring them in! It was so awful!"

Hmmm... What a weird dream! I wonder what it could possibly mean? ...Well, I guess we'll never know! 

By the way, anyone need a dresser? I picked up the cutest one last weekend. It's in my garage and I just don't know where to put it!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Ooh, La, La Spa Party

I promise, this is the last post I'll write about Eliza's 6th birthday party! I just wanted to post of few pictures of how the party all came together and some of the party action itself. Although the idea was pampering and relaxation, I have to say this was the least relaxing spa that I've ever been to!

* Quick tip: If you are thinking of having a party similar to this, keep the number of guests to a minimum and make sure you invite all the moms to stay. Painting 6 girls nails by yourself could really turn into a nightmare!