I’ve had the BEST Mother’s Day weekend! Cute cards! Thoughtful gifts! Phone calls! Dinner! Flowers! A music theater production of my favorite book, Little Women! And most of all, lots of love. As as I think about my mom, mom-in-law, and grandmothers, I fondly remember my sweet aunts, too. You’ve heard about Aunt Vitha, wearer of fun earrings . . . she always had a cookie jar full of Oreos. And my other aunts . . . what a heartfelt visit I had with them this spring. I cherish every moment with my dear nieces and nephews, and my sister Susan and seven daughters-in-law have the most amazing auntie skills I’ve ever seen. So hats off to you, dear aunts . . . thank you for being our “other” moms. ♥
I got this bright red, gently-used sweater along with a couple of other items for free at a consignment store with a Groupon gift certificate! It was too wide and too short and stretched out here and there, so I immediately knew it was going to become my next What can you make with a . . . project.
First, I made the heart mini-pillows I shared in this post. Then I made the big sweater pillow I shared in this post. After that, I made a business card/gift card/credit card/reward card case with floral pockets and a vintage earring button closure (click here for a great tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard) and three flower brooches with vintage earring centers. The neck and hem ribbing I hadn’t used up as ruffles on the big pillow will be package wraps (picture a small box wrapped in kraft paper with these pretty red buttoned bands stretched around them). Finally, I cut all the little bits into triangles and made bunting by stitching them onto the fun button-design ribbon I recently bought from Lizzie Rose Jewelry.
Another fun haul! ♥
I absolutely love to send people cards made from original art and photography reproductions, so I was very excited to find these in the Redbubble Shop of my blogging friend Rita from Australia! Rita has her own studio and gallery, teaches classes, hosts exhibitions, and has MANY creative irons in the fire including quilts, fibre and textile art, mixed media, and collectibles. Here are Rita’s links, which you can locate anytime in my Shop Love! page above:
- Gone Rustic WordPress blog
- Gone Rustic Etsy Shop
- Redbubble Shop
- Pilgrim Cottage Collectibles Etsy Shop
- Stitched Up Mama WordPress blog
- Stitched Up Mama Etsy Shop
Thank you for the beautiful cards, Rita! ♥
I can never take down ALL the Christmas decorations on December 31, can you? Instead, I like to “tweak” some of them for the winter. Here are some of this year’s gentle changes:
(1) Keep the giant winter wreath and snowflake garland, but trade the nativity on the mantel for family photos.
(2) Keep the Christmas cards nearby to enjoy again and again, but add a free New Year’s printable in a frame.
(3) Put a fun snowman on top of the kitchen cabinet by the antique milk bottles.
(5) Get out the softest, squishiest, coziest sweater pillow I’ve ever made for winter napping. ♥
One of my VERY favorite bloggers is Liz from a A Ponytail Kind of Day. Every time I saw one of her unique creations, I’d think, “I sure wish she had a shop!” Well, now she does! It’s the Sincerely Liz Boutique, where you’ll find all kinds of beautiful handmade items for your home. Since I was looking for gifts for specific people, I ordered these fabric hangers, a set of rag coasters, and this way-cool bowl made from a Christmas record album. Then, friend that she is, Liz also put in this “Keep Calm and Sew On” framed art AND an AMAZING vintage dress and lace overlay that she bought for one dollar because she knew how much I’d have fun using it for a “What Can You Make With A . . .” project! What a sweetie! Please check out Liz’s boutique from this post or from my Shop Love! page above, and THANK YOU, Liz! ♥
Since my favorite set of paintings take up a large bit of wall space in our great room, I like to gift-wrap them in December to fit our Christmas decor. This year I used some sweet vintage Santa paper I received as a gift. Click here to see last year’s! ♥
Once some of my kids and I were watching House Hunters on HGTV and EVERY time the couple saw a new room in EVERY house, they said, “Oh, wow!” It made us laugh . . . but that was the FIRST thing I said when I opened my beautiful blog giveaway gift from Hannah at Hugs & Kisses!
Besides the vintage Singer sewing machine/scissors earrings she had pictured, she sent another gorgeous pair of earrings AND the loveliest note you’ve ever seen!
Thank you, Hannah, for giving me an “Oh, wow!” that I’ll cherish forever! ♥
Knowing that I had lots of my grandmother’s embroidered pillowcases, one of my crafty friends offered to lend me her pattern for pillowcase dolls! She explained that, historically, the dresses have matching bonnets and are worn by very simple, faceless muslin dolls so I’d actually have three items to cut out and sew—a doll, a dress, and a bonnet. Although I couldn’t locate a link for a free pattern like mine online, you can find several inexpensive (under ten dollars) patterns for dolls identical to these by Googling “pillowcase doll kits,” and you can also find free patterns for different types of rag dolls and doll dresses that could be adapted to this style. Making pillowcase dolls IS detailed and time-consuming, but it’s completely worth every tender stitch you put into it. I know these little ladies will be loved forever! ♥
I was so excited to see some milk bottle carriers on RE: RETRO, because my dad had just given me the set above . . . that my grandparents actually USED!
The glass bottles needed some vinegar and hot soapy water, and the metal carrier needed a good sanding and coat of spray paint, but here it is!
I had some eucalyptus branches left over from my tote bag wall hanging project, so adding those in makes the perfect autumn accent for the top of the kitchen cabinets.
P.S. My husband Dave hung the carrier in a tree to spray it. It worked perfectly and looks lovely. Thank you to you, too, Dave! ♥
For my one year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world whom you would like to have as next-door neighbors . . . and to tell why. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came in from all around the world! The blogger with the MOST nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?,” “What can you make with a lace tank?,” and “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. The winner was Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! Kelly said, “After the shock wore off I ran to my closet to decide what I was going to send. I chose a little sundress that has a lot of happy memories attached to it, but now that I’m a mama seems a little, well…SHORT. I know that I will never wear it again, so I am very excited to send it off!” So . . .today is the big reveal! In addition, this project will have a permanent home on the “What Can You Make With A . . .” page on my header.
- I couldn’t resist using the bottom of the sundress with its lacy underskirt for another dress . . . this time for Kelly’s adorable daughter Annabelle! A bright pink T-shirt from Target made the perfect top. (Click here and here for more little girl’s T-shirt dress ideas.)
- The zippered back of the sundress was perfect for the back of a pillow cover, and I added the pretty label and butterfly that I snipped from the inside neckline. The pillow front is a combination of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, a vintage hanky, pale pink lace, and lime-green embroidery.
- The bodice of the sundress is now a jewelry pouch! The ribbons form the casings, and the dress straps are the strings. The lining of the pouch is made from the dress lining for a soft, shiny finish.
- With seven circles of fabric, three stacked buttons, and a bit more of the lace from the bottom of the sundress, I made a fabric flower to pin onto a jacket, hat, or headband.
- A small rectangle of dress fabric and T-shirt fabric along with a bit of green dotted fabric and some buttons and ribbon were just the right ingredients for a Christmas mini-pillow ornament.
- While pondering Kelly’s blog name, I thought of embroidering three C’s onto a bit of fabric and framing it. Suddenly I thought, “Hmm . . . if the Scrabble letter C is worth 3 points, I could use that instead.” I ran to look it up, and . . . it is! I KNOW Kelly didn’t choose “Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons” based on this fact . . . but I was excited! After several experiments, I ended up with a collage of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, and a paper Scrabble tile in a hot pink frame. (The back of the frame is also magnetized for a frig or file cabinet.)
- Finally, I was down to a small pile of random scraps. Not ready to give up quite yet, I decoupaged them onto a plastic bangle bracelet.
Done! Kelly . . . your package is in the mail! ♥
Have you checked out the crafting ideas on the Country Living web site? I want to try them ALL! But I started with an easy one . . . frig magnets made from vintage jewels. I don’t have the brooches they suggest, but I have LOTS of clip-on earrings. Simply remove the backings and glue on a magnet . . . easy peasy and SO pretty! P.S. You can also click the blue dot on the CL home page to vote for the Reader’s Choice 2012 Blue Ribbon Blogger Award. It was really fun to check out all the finalists! ♥
Thank you for all the WONDERFUL ideas I’ve received so far for my vintage bow ties! With a super-busy week ahead (in a good way! ) sewing isn’t on the agenda, but as soon as I get back to my machine I’ll be trying them out! In the meantime, I thought I’d share the other goodies Dad gave me this weekend. My mom won these ribbons for her paintings at county and state fair competitions . . . she was so amazing! I have a bunch of these stashed away from my 4-H days, too. I also have a class reunion coming up during fair weekend in August, and I offered to make the decorations, and wouldn’t the ribbons make a festive bunting??? My other newest treasures include (1) a “VOTE!” necktie from a 1972 election, (2) some hand-embroidered and crocheted linens, (3) a hand-sewn and crocheted baby dress, cap, sweater, and booties, and (4) a colorful nylon kite that no longer flies. I’m going to have so much fun with these! And if you have suggestions for projects for any of them, please feel free to share here, too. I never cease to be amazed at all the creativity out there! ♥
Remember when my dad gave me a huge stash of vintage earrings to use for my fabric flowers awhile back? Well, he’s done it again, but this time it’s (drum roll!) . . . bow ties! How cool is that! I have all sorts of ideas popping into my head for ways to use them, but I’d LOVE to hear yours, too! In fact, if your suggestion is one of the first three I get a chance to try, I’ll mail you one of the black ties to use in a project of your own! THANK YOU! ♥
Since my “lost earring necklace” worked out, I got brave enough to try one of the cute button necklaces I’ve been seeing everywhere! I decided to go with black buttons, so first I went through my stash and put these in a pile. Next, I made a new pile with the ones that were ½ to ¾ inches in diameter. Finally, I sorted out the ones that had the most interesting designs, and I was ready to go.
Here’s the tutorial for my version of this fun craft:
- Cut three strands of cord 48 inches long. I used hemp cord from Michaels, where I also purchased a package of bracelet closures and crimp beads.
- Thread the strands through a bracelet bar closure and pull it to the middle. (Click on the red collage for a larger view.) Clamp the cords 4 inches from the bar closure. This is where you will start adding buttons.
- Separate the first of the six strands of cording. Slide on the first button and tie it at the back with a simple slip knot. Keep adding buttons, evenly spaced, until you get to within five inches of the end. Repeat with the other five strands.
- Stretch the strands back out and knot the ends. Then add a crimp bead at each end and attach these to the circle closure.
- You’re done . . . enjoy! Oh, and please check out this adorable button necklace (with earrings!) at The Bead Den. I discovered it right after I made mine, and I LOVE it! ♥
I have such a fun job (writing books and classroom resources for K-5 students and teachers!) and I’m lucky to have a small but cozy home office to work in. It has a large black desk, a black rolling chair, and black metal shelves filled with my curriculum and reference books. It also has a matching black metal shelf for my fabric and sewing/craft supplies and a very small black desk for my sewing machine. My favorite piece of furniture is a dressing table bench that belonged to my Aunt Vitha. We painted it black and recovered the seat in zebra print, using a bedsheet I found at Target. I also made a black and white alphabet print cover for my sewing machine (from a fun book called Simply Irresistible Bags, but I’ve since seen lots of tutorials on sewing blogs and Pinterest) and black and white floral curtains (basic hemmed sides and bottom and casing on top) for the window. So, when I needed to leave my ironing board set up for my after-hours sewing projects, its stained, worn, pink and green cover looked badly out of place. This weekend I remedied the problem by making a new cover from the zebra bedsheet! I simply used the old cover for a pattern, leaving a little extra around the edges to stitch a casing for elastic. Oh yes, and the old cover had two velcro straps that fastened under the ironing board to help keep it in place, so I snipped those off to reuse, too. It fits, and I love it! ♥
I just finished six new necktie wristlets . . . so easy and fun! The only thing I changed from the original tutorial was to sew the decorative button on the front flap and use a snap closure rather a button/buttonhole. Now I can’t wait to give them to some special girls in the family! ♥
You know how some of our lovely blogging friends give things away? Well, I just received this BEAUTIFUL polka-dotted apron from Moosewood Vintage Wearables & Sundries, specializing in vintage clothing & accessories, gently used formal dresses, and goat milk soaps. I LOVE it! Please visit Ruth’s WordPress blog, her FB page, and her Etsy shop. Thank you, Ruth! ♥ While I was photographing my new apron, I also pulled out my three other favorites. My mother made the one with the quilted top and pocket, and my grandmother made the tangerine print (which has a fancy cross-over back; it’s sort of like putting a puzzle together to get into it!). And the little half-apron was my VERY FIRST sewing venture when I was around eight years old, so if you’re looking for a beginning project, here’s the scoop: Grandma had me use tiny gingham so I could just follow the lines, and the “pattern” consists of a big rectangle with a casing at the top and a hem at the bottom and a self-fabric drawstring. It’s definitely one-size-fits-all, because I can still wear it today! Someday I’d like to a-la-mode it a bit with a pocket and some embroidery. . . so many ideas, so little time . . . ♥
This project looked SO cute and easy that I just had to try it! Visit Dreampatch for my original inspiration (via Pinterest, of course!). I made all of these in an hour or so . . . but most of that time was spent enjoying sorting through my grandmother’s vintage buttons. We have LOTS of girls in our family now, so it will be fun giving them away! ♥
My dad called from a garage sale yesterday and asked if I would like some clip-on earrings for my sewing/crafting projects. “Yes, please!” Here they are . . . I love all these new additions to my collection! And here are a few more fabric flowers I made on a (much shorter!) road trip this weekend with vintage earrings and buttons for centers. Click here for a supply list and link to a tutorial and here to see more flowers. ♥
As much as I enjoy crafting, I’ve never made jewelry . . . but I LOVE to wear it, especially colorful pieces like this beautiful bracelet and lovely earrings I received for my birthday. (Thank you T&J and B&D!) I looked up the word “colorful” in the dictionary and found just the definitions I needed for the rest of this post: interesting or exciting; unusual; unconventional. These synonyms describe the woman who REALLY knew how to wear colorful jewelry–my Aunt Vitha. In honor of Kansas Day this month, I thought I’d share her sunflower earrings (our state flower!), along with my other two favorites, the fruit and the solar system. Who knows . . . someday you may see me wearing one of them out to lunch with my girlfriends! ♥
When we were kids, our mom often bought us books published by the Whitman Company of Racine, WI. Some were classics, like Fifty Famous Fairy Tales or Little Women (which I read over and over again, wanting to be Jo when I grew up and secretly hoping that maybe . . . this time . . . Beth wouldn’t die). Others were based on popular fictional characters or real-life singers and actors. I still have a few of them, and now I have a treasure from my sister Susan, who found this journal made from the cover of a Donna Parker book that we used to have and filled with blank paper. I LOVE it! ♥