Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vintage Textile Soak - Christmas Handkerchief Ornament

You can find many ideas online for making ornaments. I particularly liked some clear ornaments which held pretty handkerchiefs, both holiday and non-holiday.  Since I had two vintage Christmas handkerchiefs, I decided to give it a try. One small problem . . . one handkerchief had turned brown with age along the folds and also had a few dark spots. This is when I tried "Vintage Textile Soak" which I had previously purchased online. After letting them soak for a couple of days and then rinsing, the handkerchief went from this . . . 

to this. It really worked pretty well. Perhaps I might have used a bit more of the powder, but it turned out fine for my purposes.

As a test, I also soaked the doily below which went from being stained and aged to like new.  Since I have so many of these crochet doilies, this one may eventually end up in one of my crazy quilt pieces.

I posted this in case anyone else may have any vintage textiles that need to be cleaned. I have some some beautiful, embroidery tablecloths done by my aunts that unfortunately, have some faded, old food stains; I may eventually attempt to clean and use these pieces. There are other products also specifically meant to restore vintage textiles; if the pieces are valuable or treasured, I might suggest trying it on a napkin or small area first.

By the way, I fed the handkerchief into the ornament's tiny opening using a long skinny skewer to adjust the placement of the material. 

Now I have to go and shovel a bit of slushy snow from winter's first storm before the slush hardens as the temperature drops later tonight. Yesterday, my Italian conversation friends came for an impromptu lunch, and it had been bright and sunny enough to be out on the sunporch. I was also so happy to have warm weather on Sunday when my Aunt Joan came for lunch. My cousin Greg brought his mom who is in early nineties, and Emma was equally thrilled to see her. I have brought Emma with me a number of times when I have visited my aunt. Emma had been on the sunporch while Aunt Joan was coming in and getting settled in the living room, but when Greg opened the back door, Emma blew past him to greet Aunt Joan and in a matter of moments she was happily perched on my aunt's lap. :-) 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Santa's Helper

This photo came in a Christmas card today from Pooch Paws in Rockland where Emma was groomed on Tuesday, and I just had to share it.  They send a photo every December when she gets groomed, but this is the cutest one by far. It's hard to believe that Emma will be turning four on the 31st.

I hope you had a joyful day yesterday as I did spending the day at my Cousin Linda's house with my cousins and their children. The hit gift was without doubt a Batman Transformer Robot Batbot which captivated the boys, especially the soon to be four year old. That toy was pretty gosh darn impressive!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

On this unseasonably warm Christmas Eve, Emma and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

My holiday decor is an eclectic mix with an accent on the vintage. I pull out this beautiful Heisey glass punch bowl each year and fill it with ornaments. My father's parents had received it as a gift for their twenty-fifth anniversary which was at the turn of the last century.  Here are some other vintage pieces.

I remember ordering the kit to make this china doll from a Better Homes and Garden magazine when I was a teenager. The china body parts arrived in a tiny cardboard box along with a pattern for the clothes which I chose to make in Christmas colors. Having made this doll was good preparation for restoring my Grandmother's china doll a number of years later. 

This Santa is one of many vintage ornaments on my tree.  This sleeping Santa bank has also been around since my childhood.

When I sold my aunts' home, I brought home Frosty and Santa which had been on their fireplace mantle each year.

This is one of two vintage stocking stretchers that I found in my cellar. Quite a few years ago, I decided to turn one into a holiday decoration.  In case you haven't seen one before, in the old days they would put freshly washed stockings over the form to prevent them from shrinking.

One last thing to bring a smile . . . I just couldn't resist buying this little guy at one of the craft shows that I attended. I absolutely did not need another ornament for my trees, but the Elmer Fudd hat got me. :-)

Time now to watch the Horton family hang their Christmas ornaments on Days of Our Lives. It's amazing to think this soap opera is in its fiftieth year. The ornaments hung on today's program are replicas because in November of this year the original ornaments along with other memorabilia from the show were donated to the Smithsonian. You can read about that here.

Merry Christmas to all. . . 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Holidaze" Happenings

Isn't my new Christmas tree awesome? My neighbors gave it to me for Christmas. The husband enjoys woodworking and has been busy crafting these trees from pallets and lights. It's surprising how many tutorials and variations there are online for this project.

On Tuesday, I went to lunch with friends at a new restaurant in Pembroke, and last night I went with other friends to a restaurant in Norwell.  The highlight of the week, however, was the St. Jude Christmas show in Waltham yesterday. The music director and classroom teachers do an amazing job preparing the students. I loved the singing, choreography, and the costumes! Let me just say, there is nothing more precious than a class of four year olds in Christmas pajamas singing "Jingle Bells" unless it is a class of kindergarteners singing "When Santa Gets Your Letter." There were also angels, elves, reindeers, choir members and Irish step dancers. . . Interestingly, the fourth grade step dancers performed to "Christmas in Killarney" which I remember was the song I sang as a fourth grader a million years ago in a Christmas show at Sacred Heart School in Weymouth. :-) I've always loved this song. If you are not familiar with it, click here to hear a spirited version.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Heavenly Christmas Concert

On Friday evening I attended a wonderful Christmas concert by the Daughters of St. Paul at St. Ann by the Sea Church in Marshfield. What joyous music these singing nuns offered. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it was delightful. If that concert didn't put everyone in the church in a holiday mood, I don't know what possibly could. 

This afternoon four friends came for a holiday dinner. I thought it might be fun to have this group of non-crafters make the same DIY- No Sew Snowmen as the ones I had made with my seven and nine year old cousins when they recently came for "Ladies Lunch." There was quite a bit of laughter as I lead my friends through the steps. Just between you and me, it was a whole lot easier working with my little cousins. Children aren't worried about making mistakes and are freer and more willing to try new things. Here are the snowmen that my friends made.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sewing Shoppe Thread Holder

 Yesterday I attended the Crosstown Quilters Guild Christmas luncheon and look at the adorable thread holder that I brought home.

In the background of the first photo, you can see a portion of an old clock which has been in my kitchen for as long as I can remember. It originally belonged to my father's grandfather. Yes, it's that old, and it still keeps good time. Well, it sometimes runs about ten minutes slow, but if you were over a hundred years old, you might run a bit slow, too. :-) I wind it every Sunday morning, and it rewards me  by striking the hour and half hour all week long.  

Fourteen of the Dancing Queens got together the other night for dinner at a local restaurant. What a great turnout it was. All of these lovely women were fellow teachers. The first time we got together we were all still teaching and had gone to dinner after seeing Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia. Hence the name Dancing Queens which has stuck. The movie came out in 2008, and we have been meeting about once a month ever since.

Decorating update: the tree on the porch and the outside tree are decorated so I am making progress.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

And Then There Were Two . . . Christmas Wreaths, That Is . . .

The other day I came across a wonderful, step by step tutorial for making a DIY Ornament Wreath at Vintage, Paint, and more.  It was gorgeous, so I couldn't wait to make one for my front door. After a quick trip to the dollar store and the craft store, I gathered my supplies and trusty glue gun and began. I had measured the space between the wooden door and the storm door and thought there would be no problem. I became more and more excited as the project took shape and was thrilled with the final result. . . Now, you might have observed that this wreath isn't hanging on the door. It was a smidge too high making it impossible to tightly close the storm door. Soooooooo, it is now hanging in my dining room.

Still, I was more than a bit disappointed as I had really wanted it for my front door. After mulling it over for a day, it was off to the craft store and dollar store again for more supplies. :-) This time I used only medium and small size ornaments.

Now, I'm happy. :-)

One quick note if you try this project, when you go to the dollar store pick up a package of small jingle bells with the end caps that look like acorns as they are great for filling in gaps between the ornaments.

Happy crafting.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vintage Tree Farm Quilt

When I saw the pattern for "Vintage Tree Farm" from Buttermilk Basin, I just knew that I would have to make this wallhanging, and  I did so in record time for me. . . less than a week. Here's a closeup of the old truck. I'm not sure you will be able to see them, but I added tiny little buttons to the wreath and larger buttons for the hubcaps.

This afternoon my friend Marilyn and I went on the Laboure Christmas House Tour in South Boston. I don't know about you, but I love house tours, especially at Christmas. It's fun to pick up decorating ideas. We parked at Castle Island and a trolley or bus brought people to each of the seven houses on the tour.   What wonderful people the owners were to open their homes and to greet so many visitors.  Professional designers added holiday touches to each home, and quite a few seemed to use the palette shown in this tree. While I prefer the traditional Christmas colors in my home, these vibrant blue colors looked wonderful in the 'modern" style homes we visited.

The weather could not have been better, so we walked to some of the houses and then back to Castle Island. Let's just say,  I easily made my 10,000 steps and then some on my Fitbit today. Along the way, we passed a flock of gulls lined up enjoying this particularly warm and glorious December day.

This evening I decorated my  living room Christmas tree with lots more decorating still to do. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Crafting Fun with Auntie Janice

My cousin/godchild Kristin and her girls came for a visit the other day. When they have a scheduled early school dismissal, we have a "Ladies Lunch" which beside lunch includes some kind of fun activity. In warmer weather, it might mean time at the playground or at the beach searching for sea glass and shells. The other day it meant a trip to select this year's ornament at The Christmas Place in Abington, which is said to be the largest Christmas store in New England. We particularly like the swinging penguin band. :-)

When we returned home, I had a craft project ready for the girls based on a tutorial I had found at No-Sew-Sock-Snowman. The step by step tutorial is accompanied by excellent photos which allowed the girls, ages seven and nine, with a bit of guidance and help from me to create these two adorable snowmen. This project was a big thumbs up!!!

Just a couple of notes about the tutorial: we used pins for the eyes and noses and to anchor the buttons which had been glued on with tacky glue, but with younger children for safety sake, it would be better to just use pieces of felt. Before beginning, be sure you have enough rice to give the snowmen stability.

I also found a number of other tutorials for sock snowmen; here's another good one for inspiration DIY - No-Sew-Sock-Snowmen.

The youngest one suggested that we could make the socks into a pumpkin shape. We'll have to keep our eyes out for some solid orange socks for next Halloween!

Happy crafting! Give it a try and see where your imagination leads you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"Ewe and Me and The Button Tree"

I finished this little piece last week. The pattern is Wee Woolies "Ewe and Me and the Button Tree"  from The Teacher's Pet. I like how the pattern combined cotton and wool. 

Here's a close up of the stitching.

I don't know about "ewe," but I think he's pretty cute. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Decking the Halls

This morning I met friends for Italian conversation practice at a cafe in Hingham Square and while  parlando italiano I glanced up to see a man outside atop a tall ladder hanging holiday decorations. I quickly grabbed my iPhone to capture this image.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's Almost Human!!!

In kitchens all across the country, preparations are being made for tomorrow's big Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought I would write a cooking related post today. A few weeks ago, I did some cleaning out of my attic and brought down a box containing my aunt's original Sunbeam Mixmaster mixer. Why I had brought it home and stored it in the attic I don't know. Her "newer" mixer from the 70s had been sold when the house was sold. Anyway, I opened the box and found the instruction manual, the two white glass bowls, and the beaters. I tried it, it worked, it was far quieter than my mixer, and it takes up less space. The base and revolving plate were in rough shape no doubt due to the heat sometimes up in the attic, so I painted them with flat black enamel paint. The body had yellowed in areas, but it isn't bad. There are many tutorials available online explaining how you can paint the mixer itself, but for now, I'll just put a cover over it.

The date on the inside cover is 1948. Here's the fun part. The back of the manual is filled with all kinds of wondrous attachments you could acquire for this machine. I have enlarged a few so you can enjoy how the descriptions were written.

Check out the first paragraph . . . 

My personal favorite . . . the Potato Peeler . . . It's almost human!!!

One more thing . . . the body is not too heavy and may be easily uncoupled for use as a hand mixer. If you have a vintage mixer or want to learn more about them, visit Sunbeam ID.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Pink Chairs Are Put Away

Well, it's sad to say, but today, I finally admitted that winter might really be on its way and put away the pink lawn chairs. After church this morning, I emptied flower pots, put away the solar water fountain, curled up the hose, and gathered up garden ornaments. I wish I could tell you that Emma was a big help, but all she did was bark at the squirrels and look pretty darn cute in her new $3.00 sweater. (No warmth, but tons of style!)

Yesterday, I went to an excellent craft fair at the Dedham Middle School where I purchased this sweet little Irish cottage painted slate.

This adorable reindeer also came home with me.

Who could resist these handmade angel ornaments?  I purchased one for each of my four little girl cousins. Ssshhhh, don't tell.

Finally, I wanted to show this little embroidered tablecloth that was made by one of my aunts probably in the forties or fifties. It was in their attic when I cleared out their home in the eighties. I came across it the other day while looking for something else and thought that it might look cute on my kitchen table.

Here' s a close up of the stitching. 

By the way, those  Gurley Thanksgiving candles which are probably the same vintage as the tablecloth still have their original .10 price stickers underneath. :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Adorable Snowlady

 On Sunday, I went to a craft show at Hanover High where I purchased this adorable snowlady.  It was the hat that drew me in.  Two clever ladies make a number of different types of snowmen. One creates the bodies and the other does the costuming. I'll pack this lady away until January when my snowmen decorations replace the Christmas decorations.

Speaking of adorable, here's Emma after returning from the groomer on Tuesday afternoon.  If only her beard and furnishings would remain clean and white, but she loves dashing around the yard and investigating the piles of leaves, etc. I don't mind; after all, she is a dog and a very inquisitive, happy one at that. :-0