August 20, 2012

Going Retro

I bought a pattern back in March at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Cleveland and almost forgot about it until I happened upon the image of the egg beater on The Graphics Fairy.  It sparked the senior brain into remembering the pattern and I set to making this challenging reversible number.

The egg beater was just the start because I needed something for the reverse and the Ball jar was the right shape and then the tea kettle perfectly suited the pockets. I mistakenly cut 2 extra skirt pieces and they will end up as "topless" apron.  I don't know the terminology of aprons and that's all I could think to call it.  

August 18, 2012

Going Back to the Beginning

This is what probably started the whole thing.

When I was around 11 or 12 I was given my paternal grandmother's thimble. This seemed odd since all the sewers and quilters were on Mom's side, but it turns out that Grandma Goldie had once worked for a tailor and when she left his employ he gave her this silver and gold thimble. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't capture the gold color on the carved band.

My mother knew how I might have trouble keeping track of the thing and so brilliantly she took it to a jeweler and had him attach a loop so I could wear it on a chain. It goes without saying,  but I will say that it is my best and most worn piece of jewelry. It is marked in the top of the inside with the maker mark for Ketchum and McDougall, a thimble maker in NYC. They produced sterling thimbles from 1892 through 1932. I'm sure that some would say it was devalued by putting it on a chain but I probaly would have misplaced it if not for the "safety" chain. The value matters little to me since it is PRICELESS!

This is the first thimble cabinet that my mother had.  It is made from an old printers type drawer.  You can see the label on the handle at the bottom of the case.  My dad rigged it up with some extra cross-pieces to provided more small openings and a Plexi-glas front which slides in from the side. Clever, but nearly impossible to open and close easily.  You have to take it off the wall and then remove a side moulding and slide it out.  The thimbles dance around while you attempt this.  I grouped them by ceramic, metal and mostly wood with a few odd ones as I thought they looked better this way than a complete jumble.

August 11, 2012

A few of my favorite things

A trip to Provence

Mas du Petit Grava  B&B


A special fabric

Fabric made in Avignon

A lucky photo
The Market in Aix-en-Provence

The paintings of Van Gogh

A very long must read for everything Van Gogh

The Graphics Fairy

check out the great stuff at

 The NY Public Library

Visit the NYPL digital collection

All of these came together to help me create something to help hold these images in one place.

I always seem to return to working with fabrics and thread and now these other visual sources have allowed me to be more personally involved with the elements of mixed media. The photos and some of the graphics were transferred to fabric with Leslie Riley TAP paper.  Some were reprinted into card stock. A few ribbons, raffia and fake lavender finished it off

 I left this a wall hanging with no frame because it was totally intuitive with no preconception of the outcome. Once I saw that the name of the French fabric manufacturer was on the salvage edge of the piece I couldn't bear to cut it off.

August 6, 2012

Getting Off the Ground

The look of this blog is still in the experimental stages. My daughter helped me create the look I wanted in the banner. (She's a pro!)

I chose the name of the blog because years ago I thought of it as a business name when I was heavy into hand, none of that machine stuff back then. I am now long past that time and since retiring a few years ago felt the need to make stuff again. Anything to distract me from cooking and cleaning is good.

My mother was a seamstress who could stitch up anything from a wedding dress to upholstery to doll clothes. I had the luxury of showing her a picture in Seventeen magazine (the fashion bible of teens back then) and she could magically recreate it AND in my size. Her sewing customers started giving her thimbles as gifts and that was the start of the collection I now have.

I will be posting pictures of the collection in parts. Here is the first chapter in the collecting
story. It is not the oldest group but the only one I have a really good photo of so far since I did not have to photograph through glass.

There are a few non-thimble items here but most are sewing related. The miniature chair and Tuscan houses are not but that skull in the corner really is a thimble of the non-functioning souvenir type. I collect ALL kinds.