explore and embellish

17 02 2011

What would you do on a warmly unwinterish day, when the sky is that perfect clear blue and the breeze feels like a kind hand skimming across your face?

If you’re Bebe, that day might involve running down the street, yearning mightily over an antique wooden train set, marveling over wind toys staked outside the museum shop, and happily munching on sweet potato fries. For two mamas, the day also included browsing through antique malls, finding a cat napping in a shop’s window display, great lunch, and hours of good conversation.

Today Bebe and I headed into the historic downtown area of Fredericksburg, VA, together with my Summer Vintage Swap partner (Nancy of summer sky: learning as I go). We have been planning a Vintage Browsing/Shopping trip for several months – it was delightful to finally meet each other in person and go exploring.

I found these pretty vintage pieces:

vintage daytrip finds

a pair of crocheted doilies; a set of sky-blue buttons and one fancy button; and a really soft, embellished table linen. Sweet!

I am sewing the doilies onto some of the bird fabric I mentioned last week. My original thought (and reason for purchasing the doilies) was to make a small embellished bag for carrying around my craft or knitting projects. I still love this idea, but it’s also occured to me that these would make lovely quilt squares – the doilies over the bird fabrics like lacy nests, with simple off-white squares interspersed between the embellished squares.

doily embellishment

However, I still have to finish the rainbow picnic blanket from last summer (eeesh), so probably I should just stick with making project bags. Ne?

For more sewing fun, check out the Sewing Bee at Adirondack Mama.


summer vintage swap

8 08 2010

Delightful package received!

bird cards

My lovely partner in the Vintage Swap sent a box chock-full with bird treats

retro birds

kitchen goodies

vintage apron

embroidered bits

tea towel embroidery

crocheted pieces

vintage swap received - summer 2010

and pretties for Bebe decor.

punch illustration

To Nancy for such wonderful gifts and to Heather for another great swap:

Thank You!!

vintage love

29 07 2010

Oh my, I’ve had so much fun with the Summer Vintage Swap. Yet I totally forgot to take pictures of the things I assembled for my swap partner, Nancy of Summer Sky: Learning As I Go. Realized it just after sealing up the package. Derf. I blame it on a sleepy Mama moment. And the excitement of getting things mailed on time (!!), which is not one of my strong skills. If you are my family and reading this, you know exactly what I mean, it’s genetic.

Instead, you can feast your eyes these lovelies:

extraneous vintage finds - summer2010

What do you see? I see a pair of knitted socks (knitting needles), a new shirt (embroidered collar), a pretty addition to Bebe’s toy basket (red bordered handkerchief), and several baby shower/Christmas presents (embroidery hoops, other handkerchiefs, pink hangers). Love.

Also, here is a very-belated picture from things received in the Winter Vintage Swap.

vintage swap received - winter 2010

Pretty, ne? My winter vintage swap partner writes from a journey to a simple happy life.  In March we were both all kinds of busy, and I left for Arizona the day after her package arrived, so I missed the opportunity to write about the wonderful gifts she found. The picture vanished into my springtime of Travel, Great Blogging Silence, & Computer Exile. Thank you again, Imene 🙂

Can you tell how much I love pretty handkerchiefs? They’ve been a happy theme in all of my vintage swaps so far. I have no idea what happened to all of the ones I brought back from Japan, where people actually use them all the time (for wiping hands or face). Probably in storage, like half our lives.

Otherwise we’d be writing Perches in the Handkerchiefs.

reveal :: following light

1 03 2010

I love this theme, it renews my appreciation of morning and attention to the touch of light throughout the day. We watched the morning from every window (several times),

watching morning

then walked from patch to patch of melting snow during our walk,


and sat on the swings at the playground for a long time, enjoying the blue skies and watching a flock of crows swoop from rooftop to treetop, over the field and away.

My Vintage Swap package for Imene went out today, here’s a glimpse:

vintage sewing card vintage sewing case

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Olympics giveaway. Congratulations to…

I’m a knitter–these would be wonderful to win. Thank you for the generous giveaway and the chance to win!
Posted by: Beth

tied up with string

26 10 2009

So many favorite things this weekend. Getting to visit wonderful friends, baking pumpkin butter cake, long drives with time for reading or knitting, getting finger puppets at Ikea. And little bundles of joy kept arriving in the mail. Friday it was a lovely rainbow of wool felt from purl soho,

purl package

perfect for upcoming sewing projects

felt rainbow

AND a package on Saturday filled with wonderful things in cranberry and pomegranate reds and lichen greens from my partner in the vintage swap:

swap received

buttons in luscious colors

lovely buttons

repurposed bottletop magnets from her etsy store

a crocheted poinsetta-pattern potholder, ivory on one side, pomegranate red on the other


a vintage handkerchief printed with broad mehndi patterns in lichen green, cranberry red, and off-white


a swatch of fabric patterned with tiny vintage navigational symbols and edged in hand-sewn french seams

cartographic fabric

a children’s book from Doubleday in 1960 with classic stories, period stories, a simple craft section, and beautiful illustrations.

vintage book

kiddy crafts


Bebe was thrilled with the Peter Rabbit story. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That package was AMAZING.

not simple

15 10 2009

Oh Mr. Postman, look and see / If there’s a letter in your bag for me…
-Marvelettes / The Beatles

It took me an hour yesterday to find the local post office. Seriously people, I’ve never been to a more obscure and practically mapless location. But then the staff were wonderfully kind and patient, and all of my packages were sent on their journeys: Halloween treats for our siblings’ kidlets; letters & pictures to many; last week’s giveaway winner in Australia; and of course my vintage swap package for the yellow door paperie.


Yesterday was one of those days – plenty of good, but just enough otherwise to make a mama frazzled. Baby with several hours of explosive diarrhea (now recovered). Washing and washing and yet the ridiculous piles of dishes and laundry never seemed to diminish. I flaked on making dinner (except for some delicious baked beans) and just bought a rotisserie chicken & pasta salad from the deli. Also my feet are still reproaching me for running around in sandals all day – one of the side effects of pregnancy was my feet outgrowing my shoes. All of my shoes. Except for sandals and a 8-yr-old pair of sneakers. Time for new shoes…

On the plenty-of-good side of things, a sale at the craft store meant that I could finally replace the cutting mat that vanished somewhere in our summer move. A smaller mat, but also affordable and a lovely shade of periwinkle. I picked up a button press to make fabric covered buttons, and spent a happy chunk of the evening figuring out how make it work. At one point, I had tops and hooks and backing flying in different directions across the room while I sat blinking, with a pair of jewelry plyers in hand, wondering what had just happened. Sometimes simple instructions elude me.

new pebble

18 09 2009

Get your domestic on, my friends.


Another baby knit hits the Finished List this week. We present you with the Pebble Vest, which still needs two more buttons attached and some ends woven in. Months and months ago, I saw the pattern on another baby and thought, I have to make that… but I don’t knit…. And here we are. Honestly, so far I’ve just copied all of her baby knits because they are ridiculously cute. Soulemama was my daily dollop of joy & inspiration during several years of stress & craziness.

pebble vest

As you can see from his expression, Bebe remains dubious of my knitlove. The design is perfect for us – buttons along one side and one shoulder mean the vest doesn’t pull over this head (which often provokes Howling Outrage). Less than one soft skein of Malabrigo worsted in a very easy (and free) pattern. It took so long to finish because I had to learn how to seam and graft. Very wonky grafting on the right shoulder, but thank goodness the yummy green color makes the mistakes less obvious. Adjusted the pattern size for 18-24m since Bebe is growing like a beanstalk.

Craft: knitting
Pattern: Pebble (Henry’s Manly Cobblestone-Inspired Baby Vest) by Nikol Lohr
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted (Sapphire Green)

More fun? My first craft swap. Heather of Shivaya Naturals is hosting a Vintage Swap. Sign-up runs through Sept 26th. Before we moved this summer, I acquired a whole craft room at an estate sale. Stunningly thrifty – the family didn’t want to keep or deal with anything, so we bought an antique sewing table & machine, drawers-and-bags full of sewing supplies, notions, books, fabric, and knitting things. I’m still sorting through everything, but just look at this sweet basket:

vintage sewing basket

Love it!

My current incarnation of happiness would probably be deeply incomprehensible to my earlier teenage or even twenty-something self. She could sort-of cook, had zero interest in most crafts, was nervous around babies & small children, loved working, and was militantly outraged when someone suggested she might want to be a full-time mom someday. She had other ambitions and defended them fiercely. Ah, me. But she would appreciate the peace and happiness of life these days – those are always qualities to cherish.

We’re off to the apple orchards tomorrow – looking forward to apple crumbles, more delicious cake (with apples instead of plums), and apple baby puree. Hope you also have a lovely weekend.

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