Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Praise of Selvages

A selvage, the "self-finished edge" of a fabric, more often than not,
has no writing on it... at least when it comes to vintage fabric. 

Contemporary fabrics such as the two above (about 10 years old), often
list the maker, or the copyright and the collection or the pattern name. 

Vintage selvages sometimes tell us something about the fabric
just as this 60-80 year old cotton tells us it never "misbehaves."

 Some old selvages from the 50s use quaint words like "shrunketized."

 Other old selvages give us leads where to look for more information...

 ...or give us the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

 Some selvages tell us the kitchy names certain fabrics used to have...

But the point of this post and the campaign I would like to start is for all selvages to contain a DATE!!!  Why is that so hard?  It would certainly help us vintage fabric collectors.  I mean, I have fabric history books, I worked in fabric stores, I know when certain fabric widths and fibers were manufactured, I studied Interior Design and can tell one design era from the next - some better than others... but I still need help.  For example, this earth tone geometric above?  It was screaming mid-70s.

But without the selvage on this Klopman fabric, I would never have been sure it was 1965 or 2005.  Really.  Maybe I need to study more... but wouldn't it just have been easier for ALL fabric mills to include the date of manufacture?  

Is that too much to ask?  
Is it just me?  
Does anybody else really care?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Potato Soup

It's a snowy day - not a snow day.  Those of us involved in education must make the distinction.   School is out today anyway - for the mid-year teacher inservice and for Martin Luther King Day.  I spoke to the teachers at 7:30 this morning and returned home in the midst of lots of snowflakes.  We're supposed to get about five inches, but it sure seems like we'll get more by the look of things.  Anyway, lines are softening, sounds are muffled, and the world is white. 

Time to make soup!

On our last trip out west,
we stayed in a hotel that served some kind of sausage in their breakfast buffet.
I'm not much of a sausage connoisseur, but it was very good.  

I asked the hostess what it was and found out it was some sort of a kielbasa.  Now that's really out of my vocabulary, but I know it's popular up here in the Milwaukee area with all the German and Polish heritage we have.  So, I looked up recipes using kielbasa on and found a potato soup recipe submitted by "Deirdre Dee" that eventually turned into this one... which I absolutely love, love, love!

2 red onions, diced
3/4 cup butter
8 cups diced potatos
12 oz. package of baby carrots, chopped
14-16 oz. Beef Polska Kielbasa
4 1/2 cups water
5 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups dry potato flakes

Using a large sauce pan or soup pot...

sauté your chopped onion in butter.

 Chop potatoes.

 Chop carrots.

 Chop the kielbasa.

 Add all three to your translucent onions.

Add water, salt and pepper.

 Cook on low for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are creamy.

 Add milk and cook until heated through.

 Add instant potato flakes.
Cook and stir for 5-10 minutes to let flakes thicken.

 OMG!!!  So yummy!  Perfect for a snowy day!
(Not to be confused with a snow day... 
but it would be great on a snow day, too)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

There's a Pattern Here!

The new year's a great time for setting goals and getting organized, right?  I started the ambitious project of organizing my mod sewing patterns last fall - not all my patterns, mind you, just the ones considered candidates for my current sewing interests for RubyLemons (my Etsy shop that I am trying to get serious about!  Another resolution!).  I am really stuck in between 1967-1974 right now.  I am totally into that era... but I digress... organizing patterns.

Even though we're not talking about all my patterns, still, it's about 175 of them and what a drag it is to dig through all those patterns every time I'm looking for this dress or that skirt.

A while back I noticed that one of the system updates for our computer allowed files to be shown in a different way.  Pictures of the files appeared and could be shuffled through as each file was highlighted... just like the iTunes music artwork... if you know what I'm talking about... maybe it's just a Mac thing, but it's cool.  Files or photos can be organized like this:

As you click through the files, the picture of the file swings to the forefront of the screen... which I think is very cool and makes it very easy to locate a pattern.  So, I took photos of all my patterns - cropped them and organized the jpgs into files like this:

Now I can easily search through all my patterns in seconds!  Need a jacket or coat?  Click click and voila!  There it is!

Then I just have to go to my pattern bins in my sewing room and grab the pattern where it is filed in numerical order.  I love it.  It makes everything so much EASIER!  Hooray for efficiency!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let the Festivities End...

Ok, ok, I know... the holidays are over.  Here's hoping yours were light hearted and cheerful.  I guess I'll have to keep this blog going at least one more year since I didn't come close to writing all the Christmas posts yet in my head.  But for now, the cookies and chocolate have almost run out (not soon enough!), the kids are back in school (too soon!) and it's time to take down all those warm and cozy lights and decorations...  sigh...

But before we close the last rubbermaid tub on the ribbons, boughs and bells of 2010, I'd like to share one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  It's a poster found at an antique shop a few years back and decorates my 60s modern porch.

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