Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A River Runs Through It

Last December Shannon from Oregon purchased this 
sturdy vintage cotton canvas sportsman fabric from my Etsy shop. 

She's got a big heart and wanted to surprise her dad with
something special that would spark memories of his pre-stroke,
younger days of fly fishing and elk hunting in Montana.

Look at this gorgeous messenger bag she custom made
to fit his wheelchair!

Complete with camouflage khaki lining and a deep
pocket for his latest Field and Stream magazine.

This gentleman is blessed to have such a thoughtful daughter.
Thanks for sharing, Shannon.

Monday, May 4, 2015

I Finally Got My Groove On!

I should have posted a long time ago.  I finally opened my second Etsy store.  Six months ago.  I know.  Would it have been so hard to create a little blog post about it?  I mean, afterall, this is what I've been working toward for a long time, right?

The answers to those questions are no and yes.  

In my defense, running the shop has kept me busier than I thought it would and life continues to steer me down a difficult path.  Oh, but I don't want to go back to that!  Who wants to hear it!?  Nobody.  Let's talk about my shop.

I named my shop Groove Cloth and it opened with 325 items for sale including vintage fabric, patterns, trims, buttons, notions and even some things I've created myself.  It's been very difficult to keep my inventory above 300.  Whew!  It's hard!  In fact it's dwindled to about 250 right now, but I continually try to bring that number up.  In my first six months of operation, I've had 190 sales (make that 191) and I'm very satisfied with that.  With my other shop RubyLemons, working as a teacher's aide, and family --  I don't want to be much busier!  

Anyway, I enjoy running the shop and try to include all the extra touches to give my customers great service.  It's also been good to start chipping away at my hoard even though it's not easy to tell anything's been sold at all when you peek in my sewing room.  

It's a grand feeling to reach a goal and finally get my groove on!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dumb Daisies and Rusty Gold

As the growing season comes to an end, I want to share a little garden project and thrift victory from the spring/summer. 

A couple of years ago, I found this funky mid century plant stand at my favorite thrift store, Bethesda, near my sister's place in Horicon.  It was half off day, so it was only $2.50 - my kind of deal!  You can find a few of these for sale on Etsy most of the time for anywhere from $60-$120.  I'm no Mike Wolfe, but the rusty iron doesn't scare me.  I like stuff like that in the garden.

 Here's some rusty iron that's been in my garden for many years.  Is that a treble clef?

Anyway, back to the round plant stand that sat buried in the back corner of our shed for several years.  I'm sure my husband wanted to get rid of it.  In fact, I think I remember him saying, "Let me get rid of this thing."  Oh, but I could be confused with so many other times I've heard him say that.  Ha ha.  Cleaning it with brush and suds in the basement stationary tub was the hardest part.

Some spray paint and the job was done.

Of  course it looked better when the flowers filled in... except for the darn daisies which were custom chosen for that spot because of their height.  Anyone know why they never bloomed again all summer?  There were even buds that never opened!

Good luck with all your thrift store treasures, your daisies, and
fending off the discarding desires of your significant other!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Okay. Yes, I know it has been a while since I posted. Well, it's been a bumpy year. One I never, ever, ever saw coming. But life is long and life can be very hard. My empathy grows with every passing day for anyone with struggles or loves someone with struggles. I am not exempt and hopefully, happier times are forthcoming for all. That's all I'm going to say about that. Thank you for reading.

Now let's get on with the fun stuff.  One of my favorite things is browsing the pages of an old catalog - specifically old fabric in old catalogs.  Yard goods were everywhere from JC Penney to  Montgomery Ward to Sears Roebuck to Bloomingdale's.  Looking at old catalogs gives me clues in dating patterns and fabrics that are older than I am, but what happened last week has never happened before!

I found an exact fabric that I own!
Not once.
Not twice.
And in the same catalog!  
Enter the Sears 1953 spring catalog.  

Looking at some printed percales,
I spied the bright chevron in the middle and couldn't believe it.
I had it upstairs in my sewing room!

It was 36" wide and I thought perhaps it was from the late 60s.
WRONG!  1953!

Next I saw this barkcloth drapery fabric and I gasped, "I got that!"

Here's the proof in "Sunshine Yellow."

The last match was nothing short of a revelation and an education!   I had these two pieces of a very weird fabric that were buried in a box of vintage yardage that I bought at an estate sale.  In all my experience, I had never seen such a fabric.  Ever.  

It looked like a sheer seersucker or plissé, but felt like paper.

After burning a bit of it and watching it sizzle and drip,
I knew it was synthetic.

Truthfully, I considered it an abomination,
thinking the only possible use for it would be some kind
of artistic expression with it's papery, synthetic weird crispness.
Like bunch it up into a gigantic strange flower - it would hold the shape.

I thought surely it was an invention of the 70s.
One that failed and disappeared quickly.
I was right, but off by two decades!
Re-enter the 1953 Sears Catalog.

 Puckered nylon.  What?

And as you can see by the next year's catalog,
it was marked down and already heading
for the obsolescence graveyard.

There's always more to learn,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just Being Childish!

Maybe it has something to do with me becoming a new grandma,
but my last four vintage fabric finds have been juvenile prints!

I think this first one is the oldest - the look, the feel, the faded fold.
For some reason, I want to say 1930s.  Could it be?

 Cupid bear is holding a 30's-green bow and arrow.
The girl's eyes seem Betty Boopish to me.
Look at the stockings and shoes.
36" width - four yards - cotton

Next is the kitty, sheep, goats, bunnies, ducks...

...but mostly kitties print.  I'd say early 70s on this one.
36" wide - 5 1/2 yards - cotton

This one is the mystical Marco Polo fabric!
How do I know it's the great Italian explorer of China - Marco Polo?

 Not because the drawings look like Marco sporting his favorite Tartar outfit...

It's all because of the wonderful information found on the selvage!
And you know how I love selvage information!
There are about nine yards of this 36" Little Golden Book Fabric.
Love the robin's egg blue.  

Maybe my Mandarin-speaking,
China-dwelling son would like this fabric for my new grand-daughter's nursery...

And if you're as curious as me, you would google the selvage-mentioned 
Marco Polo Little Golden Book and find out it was published in 1954.
So this fabric is from 1954 and the book is for sale on the internet.

And finally, we have this sweet yarn ball playing kitty,
hat-wearing, butterfly eating, ducky marching print. 
Seems kind of 40s-50s to me.  Maybe I'm wrong.
I have only a couple yards of this 36" width cotton.

 Lots of room for imagination in these sweet prints.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What Moms Do

We moms have radar when it comes to our kids. A friend recently gave me an old newspaper she found stuffed between some basement walls. This small article was on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal dated April 22, 1956.  FRONT page!

 My mom holding me along with my brothers and sister.

 Mom and me - 1975

Happy Mother's Day
to my beautiful mom and moms everywhere!
Put THAT on the front page!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Roses, Wreaths and Burlap Leaves

A few weeks back, it really was time for Frosty to go home.  Even though the weather was anything but April-like, I needed a spring decoration for my front entry and these 25 yards of burlap ribbon rescued from my local Goodwill store for 99¢ needed to be used... and burlap is in, right? The green seemed to match the lime green of my front door, so I made a wreath.

I followed an easy tutorial here to make the burlap roses.

Not 100% sure how much I love the new wreath.  I question the proportions... a little small I think.  It works for now, however I better hurry on my next entry decoration anyway.  With the help of the sunshine, the burlap ribbon is quickly fading to it's natural jute color!  Thankfully, it was all very easy and inexpensive!  Anyone need some inch and 3/8ths spring green burlap ribbon?  I must still have 15 yards of it!

Happy creating!
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