Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Milestone and a Giveaway!

In the greater scheme of the world of Pinterest I suppose it's a minor accomplishment at best... I've reached the milestone of 150 followers!  In a world where some are followed by thousands (and even 10s of thousands) this may not seem like a very big deal, but to me it's fantastic and unbelievable!

I've always been the shy one - the wallflower, the shrinking violet - so for 150 of anyone to pay attention to me is truly astounding... SO, to celebrate, let's have a giveaway!  Up for grabs are these fab vintage patterns, courtesy of my good friend, Adorna (I got a box of Adorna's patterns at an estate sale, which you can read about here.).

First, there's Simplicity 7512 in size women's 38 (bust 42).  It seems Adorna and her mom really loved shirt dresses. This one is from 1967, and features a special how-to guide on setting in sleeves.  There are both full skirt and a-line skirt options.

The second is Simplicity 4213, a cool vintage apron pattern, also from the 60s,  Aprons are so popular right now, and this apron could be adapted so many ways!

To enter to win these lovely patterns, simply follow my pinboard Sew Inspired, or if you prefer, my inspiration pinboard Seams Sustainable, and leave a comment below.  The winner will be chosen at random on April 28th, one week from today.  As always, thanks for coming by!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Favorite Store in the News!

I speak often about my favorite store for great estate finds in my area.  I was so pleased to see an article in out local paper about the store. Not only is this store an excellent Sunday afternoon browse, but the people behind it are some of the nicest people you will ever find in this type of business.

When my husband and I bought our new (to us) Victorian home, we were faced with a few problems in furnishing it.  First, it is much larger than our previous home, and second, we wanted to restore it to some of its previous Victorian era glory.  We turned to Chris at Tops.

This chair was found in the basement of the store!

These lovely and comfortable chairs had just come into the store the day before we made one of our nearly weekly visits!

My husband fell in love with the Victorian era armoire and the heavy four poster bed.

We found this Victorian birdcage soon after buying the house, as well as the side-by-side secretary below.

 Almost every stick of furniture in the house was obtained from Chris, all at fair and reasonable prices.  Had we gone to snootier antiques dealers, we would not have been able to afford all of the wonderful furniture we now enjoy (not to mention my two wonderful vintage Singer sewing machines!!!), not to mention the many other non-furniture decor items we purchased there.

Please visit Chris at Tops! See the link to the article for store location and hours.  What's your favorite source for new old stuff?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Isn't That Pinteresting? - 6

My pin this week is central to the very theme if this blog!  It leads to a wonderful post by Sarah at The Fuzzy Square, where the author condenses a ton of great ideas for recycling and upcycling clothing onto one easy and inspirational page.

As you know, I do not like to see clothing and textiles go into land fills.  I much prefer that they be donated to others, or, if you're of a creative bent, upcycled into another garment.  I have (literally, I think) a ton of clothing I need to get serious about refurbishing.  If I run out of ideas, this pin will jump start my creative engines, and I hope it inspires yours as well!  What are your favorite upcycle ideas?

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Day Off

A day off has such potential doesn't it?  So little time and so much to do!  I have one today because I have to go to work this weekend :-(.  I'd like to be able to tell you I've been all kinds of productive, but I'm afraid that's not really true...

I had breakfast out as a special little treat to myself, then browsed an antique shop.  I had serious sticker shock there, so I went to Target to accomplish some weekly errands.  Then I did the week's laundry and worked on another of the laundry room curtains.

Love the burlap and the lace.  Like many of my projects, this one gets a little done on it whenever I get the chance... two valences to go.  I'm undecided on whether I should make cafe curtains to go on the bottoms of the windows, or remain au naturale.  

I'm trying to do some blog work, too, as you can see.  I actually learned how to get rid of the little borders around all the pictures on the blog here (Thank you!). That had been puzzling me.  And I created a new signature without the annoying white background.  I'm sprucing up the place for spring.  You see, I'm hoping to post much more frequently... and more pithily!  The slightly crazed ramblings of the frustrated and time crunched sewist!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Old Friends

Old friends, old friends

Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settle like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today?

Sharing a park bench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

Time it was and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you

I’ve been quiet for the past week.  I’ve been attempting to come  to terms with a profound loss.

The friend with whom I have had the longest continuous bond in my life passed through the veil last week.  Her death was quite unexpected though she’d had end-stage renal disease for years.  She was on home hemodialysis, and waited hopefully for a transplant that never came.  Kathe was a well-respected member of the renal patient advocacy community, working most recently for the Northeast Kidney Foundation.  In the course of her work, and of her disease, she met hundreds of other kidney patients, spoke before the FDA, CMS, and many community and professional organizations, met with legislators, and travelled over the entire country in the service of others.  

When her disease started to get her down, she took a course in clowning, and Kismet the clown was born – Kismet brought joy and laughter to ill and well alike at children’s hospitals, nursing homes, and fundraising events.  In an article published (May 6th, 2013) in the national magazine Woman’s World about her clowning activities, Kathe was quoted as saying “Life is absolutely what we make of it.”  She made a whole lot out of it!  Here she is, as Kismet, with her friend, Sidney the Kidney.

Kathe and I met well over 40 years ago in Junior High School.  As teens, we were inseparable much of the time.  We walked to school together every day, slept over at one another’s homes, stayed up all night laughing and talking, dyed one another’s hair (hideously I’m afraid), made homemade tanning oil, read the same books, swooned over the same boys… the list goes on.  Upon graduation from high school, we headed off to the same college, albeit with different majors, and graduated the same year.  Even when our paths diverged, whenever we managed to get together, it was as though we had never been apart.  She was a bridesmaid at my first wedding, Godmother to my daughter, and there for the second wedding as well.  To say that I loved her would be an understatement.

She’s been mentioned indirectly on this blog a couple of times.  I once bought an antique bottle for her which had held a patent medicine “kidney cure”, and I had intended to give one of my little house quilts to her.   I will miss her so very much, as will her wonderful husband and her many, many other friends and acquaintances. 

If you are reading these words, please consider becoming an organ donor, and, if you are in a position to do so, donate to the kidney cause of your choice.  Many thanks, and if you knew Kathe, please feel free to post a memory in the comments.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Isn't that Pinteresting? - 5

As you've probably noticed by now, I pin a lot of vintage patterns to my Sew Inspired board.  Today's pin comes from the Etsy shop of CloesCloset - a very nifty shop filled with lovely patterns.

This one caught my eye for a number of reasons.  First, it just screams "mod" sixties!  While I think the maxi is probably a little much for today, I think a longer version of the mini would be great.  Also, the pattern would look nice on the body I have now (see my previous Pinteresting post here) as opposed to some fantasy version thereof.  Third, I know just the fabric I'd like to use for this! 

I'd love to see what you're pinning - post a link to your boards in the comments!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Puzzle Me This

Since acquiring my two wonderful vintage Singer sewing machines, I've been on a quest for accessories.  While trolling eBay, I came across a listing for two Singer puzzle boxes.
A Singer puzzle box is a neatly crafted box of feet and other accessories produced by the Singer Manufacturing Company during the 19th and 20th centuries. The box was invented in 1888 by John M. Griest, a Singer employee who was awarded US patent 397980 on February 19, 1889 for the design. 
The accessories stash into a fold out rectangular wooden box which is lined in velvet or felt (if the lining is still intact).  An alternate name for these is a "style box".  The boxes include attachments for hemming, braiding, underbraiding, tucking, shirring, binding, quilting and ruffling, along with screwdrivers and spare needles.  Mine are not in the most pristine condition, but I will continue to look for more of these fascinating treasures!

Now I just have to clean them up and learn how to use them!  Any tips?