Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scraps and Hexes

Sorry the pics are in such poor light. Corey and I cleaned a lot today and I've been enjoying his company on his day off instead of doing what I had said I would do. So I just now took these pics -with the overhead fluorescent in my bedroom- to go with the story below. I've also been proto-typing a pincushion design, but I'll show/tell that some time later. Below is a quick snap of the progress on my hex quilt. It's shown atop another hex quilt (hope it isn't too horrible to differentiate the two) that was made by Corey's grandmother.

Hexes on hexes. Mine = 1 inch sides, Corey's Gram's = 2 inch sides

One of the things I took back home with me to work on while I was there is the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern hexagon quilt top I am hand piecing. Great-Gramma saw me stitching away in a corner of the table, talking to everyone before Christmas dinner at her house and commented that she and Gramma had once made a quilt in that same pattern, only their hexagons were a little bigger than the ones I was working. She asked if she could see it for a bit. I handed it to her and she handed it back after looking at the stitches and paper pieces left in reinforcing the edges and said "I like that pattern, the flower garden." I didn't think much of this exchange at the time; it was just like handing my work over to any other fellow crafter or stitcher for them to get a closer look. I replied that I liked it a lot, too, and that the paper piecing really doesn't feel as tedious as I had thought it would.

scrumptious scraps. some new, some old, all perfectly terrific :)

Several days later I got a call from Gramma saying that she had something for me from Great-Gramma that I would need to come over and get before I left. Now, I know Great-Gramma is getting up there in years and is around the age where people generally start to get rid of things, but Great-Gramma is not really one of those people who has a lot of stuff lying around to give away. Sure, she has some knick-knacks and a lot of older family photos on her wall, but those things are hers and they are things that she really enjoys. Imagine my surprise when I went to visit and was handed a small bag of perfectly sorted and arranged scraps just the perfect size for my hexagons. Did I forget to mention that my great-grandmother was a professional seamstress and quilter in a past life? (And was her stuff ever great; tiny stitches, perfectly turned collars and binding corners, the whole bit.) Apparently she was so impressed with what I had been doing that she decided these little fabric sweets needed to go live with me. They're leftovers from old quilt tops and clothing she'd made years ago. Call me a sap, but it was all I could do not to cry right then and there. The scraps she included are so very pretty and most of them are not things I could have gotten any other way. There was some debate before, but now I know that I will definitely be keeping this quilt for me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shop Re-Opening

Today was the official reopening of the Etsy shop. Everything posted today was vintage glassware and dishes, mostly Corelle and Pyrex. Describing things for posting takes more time than I recall. But, then again, I apparently have no realistic idea of how long most tasks should take and frequently fail to allot enough time for completion. My "To Do" lists and constant rearrangement of tasks on my Google Calendar can attest to this. Ah well, thus is life.

Here are a couple of my favorite item postings from today:

Corelle Corning Meadow design cup and saucer and sugar bowl with lid.

This cheery pattern was the first one posted today. I smile every time I look at it.

Cat-Tail design porcelain bowl by Universal Cambridge
This pre-WWII porcelain bowl is the sole survivor of a dinnerware set. It has lots of crazing to the glaze and scratches on the decorative decals, but oh, the stories it could tell. The only living person I know who would have stories to compare is my Great-Gramma on the Beech side of the family.

Speaking of Great-Gramma, I have a short story to tell about some fabric bits. I'll save it for tomorrow when I can also take some pics to go along with it. Sweet dreams and see you tomorrow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm sorry, Basia Bulat, I have a new music crush.

Her name is Adele and she's the reason I haven't been listening to you lately. I think she's sexier - hello, gorgeous, curvy and perfectly put together - and her voice makes me swoon, but in a very different way than yours. She's taken a page straight out of R&B history here with Rolling in the Deep, very Stax-esque sounding. I even like her previous, non-bluesy, works even if they are a bit moody and piano-heavy. But I'll be back; nobody can work an autoharp like you, love.

This link is my favorite version of Rolling in the Deep from the ones I've found. It's live, which I generally find more interesting than other videos, but she's not sitting in a chair and you can see how she portrays the music both physically as well as vocally. I've said a bit before about how physical music is for some people and, according to the videos I've seen, Adele is one of those people. This version is not available foe embedding here in the US, however, so you'll have to click it or go to her MySpace page to see it. My peeve with the version that I am able to embed, below, is that the director has her seated through the entire video, which detracts attention from her figure and dampens a bit of her physicality in singing, leaving her with primarily her hands alone for expression. Not that she's failed in that realm at all - even seated - but, come on, seriously, she's gorgeous! There is no need to be hiding her figure by setting her in a chair. Although she is also wearing a shapeless poncho-type garment in the live video so maybe she's a bit self-conscious about her figure also. Or maybe it was just cold there. At any rate, I've made it clear I'm smitten. Also, she writes her own songs. *love*

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oh, the Dishes!

Mikasa Sachets pattern tea set, in use.

Care for a spot of tea?

Mush is what my head feels like right now. I took a two hour World of Warcraft break from photographing dishware (for close to five hours today) and my head still feels like it's full of syrup. I thought I had gotten absolutely all of the dishes photoed, but I forgot a few on my desk near where I normally photograph things. All of today's pics were taken atop my brother's gorgeous oak table in the kitchen. A dark, vintage tabletop seemed like a great backdrop for all of this bright and shiny vintage glass and ceramic. I'll have to get the last few finished up tomorrow morning before I start in on the scheduled bias tape making and polyclay creating for the day.

Corning Snowflake Blue patterned tea set including two hook-handle cups, hook-handle creamer and sugar bowl (without lid).

Y'all, I drank so much coffee today that I feel like I can almost see forever. Seriously. I'd say probably 2/3-3/4 of what I have are teacups, saucers, tea sets, or coffee cups and, really, what's the good in photographing those without tea or coffee occupying them. Hm? I think they look even more beautiful and appealing in use and filled with caffeinated bliss than they do just by their lonesome. I am a sucker for functional ware, though. I'd rather use it and take the chance that it may get damaged or broken than have it sitting on a shelf somewhere just for looks; that's what museums are for. I know there are many more people collecting these things who disagree, but that's how I feel.

Autumn Bands - Turquoise by Pyrex

Look at that pretty, translucent milk glass. Oh, I just love it. This was taken in a cloudy moment when it looked like it would really pour down this afternoon or else this plate would be even more ethereal looking. Despite the brain mush feeling, I enjoyed myself very much today taking all these photos. Vintage dishware like this Pyrex plate really does gain a lot of character over its years of use and spending a few minutes with each piece today felt like meeting new people. There was a lone Pyrex mug in the mix that didn't match anything else; same turquoise color as above but in stripes around the top. Mom handed it to me, along with a few other Corning cups and Pyrex mugs, at the last minute while I was packing up all the dishes for the trip back. I think I may keep it and, quite possibly, name it as well. Alright, so, I'm weird. I know. It's ok.

Flower Dance by Royal (USA)

As far as thrifting goes, I also have an affinity for 60s-style floral designs like the dinner plates above. They're so delightfully graphic and block-y in nature. I had a holy $#!^ moment, though, when I finally found a reference to the pattern name and manufacturer. These dinner plates sell for $8-17 each at depending upon condition. One of mine appears to be in superior condition with the second and third having minor cracking/crazing of the glaze on the underside or small chip out of glaze on the surface from use. I had originally purchased these as replacements for larger plates of Corey's that have been dropped and broken over the last few years. I will definitely see if I can sell them, but I'm going to be contacting a china replacement specialist company or two before they're listed in the shop to see if I can get a definite sale on them instead of possibly having them sit in the shop for weeks.

Mikasa Sachets pattern tea set: 4 cups, 4 saucers, creamer, sugar bowl with lid; only minor chipping of glaze in a couple of places on cup rims, no major damage.

Speaking of lovely 60s-style floral patterns, isn't this set just the bees' knees? The sugar bowl was the first piece I spotted and I actually did not get it on the first trip to this particular thrift store as it looked really stained and grubby; the kind of dirt that doesn't just wash off. However, the second trip yielded the matching cups and then I set about looking for the rest of the matches. A little bit of Barkeeper's Friend (that stuff is seriously awesome and useful) on a soft cloth took care of the grubbiness straight away and they look good as new. I ended up with 2 more saucers than I have cups for and I'm debating what to do with the extra pair. Do I include them as part of the set and make the total 4 cups, 6 saucers, creamer and sugar bowl? Do I keep them for myself? List them separately? Turn them into freaking amazing pincushion trays? The drilling in the last option there does make my eyes go all buggy out of my head, though, truth be told. I don't think I could do that to these saucers, they seem like they're way too special to take a drill to. I haven't done any research yet on this pattern and so I have no idea how rare it is or what price a set like this could fetch. Mikasa in general has great resale value and, even without the name Mikasa being attached to them, this pattern is very attractive in and of itself.

Arighty, I am off to sort through the fabric collection for yardages that would make great bias tapes and then getting my polyclay station set up on the kitchen table again now that it is no longer full of dishes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's The New Year Now

Happy belated new year to you. My New Year's Eve involved Friday afternoon thrifting (show and tell later), Koegel's pickled bologna and gov'ment cheese with some of Mom's gluten-free pretzels for dinner, some book reading while researching Corelle dinnerwear patterns on farmhouse dial-up (not recommended as it's dreadfully dull) and falling asleep by 10pm after having forgotten there was an entire cabinet of alcoholic deliciousness at my disposal. Oops. I made up for it the next evening with a green tea, strawberry daiquiri sorbet and peach schnapps concoction for dessert ans it was equally as spectacularly delicious and awesome as the previous evening was uneventful.

I don't have photos of the gifts I finished up while I was home, but Derek got 8 pair of boxers in various fabric types, colors and designs and Dez got a sweet sundress-turned-apron with completely adjustable ties that will fit her throughout the remainder of her pregnancy. I did get a quick pic of a baby shower gift Mom and I collaborated on. She made the blanket and burp cloths; I decided on the colors and painted the designs on from iron-on transfers and Artex paints.

gender unknown baby shower gift

I've been back for a couple of days now and I would like to publicly state how awesome my mother is for spending an entire day with me here creating a new, functional organization system for my sewing/creating space. The rest of the house was awesomely clean and organized, but neither Corey nor I had any clue how to tackle that area. If you're reading this, Mom: Thank you! Since then I have been purging and reorganizing certain areas of the house to fit in all the dishes, fabrics, metal shavings, deer antlers and bones and other sundries I stuffed the car with on the return journey. Currently I am listening to some Iron and Wine and taking a break from photographing all of this:

Corelle, Pyrex and Mikasa dishes

I've been considering trying out re-saleing for a while and wanted to make sure whatever I decided to try it out with would be something I would be delighted to own myself if I couldn't move it and decided on Corning/Corelle and Pyrex. There's some Mikasa stuff in there, too, as I loved the designs and colors when I saw them. I've been partial to Pyrex since childhood. Something about the weight and feel of Pyrex makes it wonderfully tactile and the translucency is a treat in itself, not to mention the supreme durability of it. Everything you see in that photo cost me less than $30, I kid you not. Our thrift store is incredible. And I love every piece. Not so very much that I can't part with it mind you, but enough so that I would still be happy were it to go unsold. They'll all be added to the shop over the next few days along with some new jewelry, notions and handmade toys. I have taken the shop out of vacation mode in order to start listing new items and everything that was there before the holidays has been put on sale, but the official reopening date is still Tuesday the 18th.

I even have a few pretty hook handled cups and saucers; they stack together like nobody's business.  One design even has the matching creamer and sugar bowl!

The deer antlers and bones mentioned previously are for making buttons and beads (also have a necklace idea but not sure how it'll work out) once we get a soldering iron and repair the Dremel as Zombie chewed the cord off at the butt end of it before we found out she was a big time chewer. I also have a shopping bag chock full of oyster and clam shells and crab claws and shells that have been awaiting similar treatment since before Halloween so this Dremel fixing business needs to happen soon. There's half a ribcage, some vertebrae, a couple of skulls and 4-5 separate antlers sitting in an extremely rusted steel bucket in my shower right now. It was in the kitchen, but it had to be moved to make room for the new chest freezer that can be seen in the background of the photo above.

I spent a hefty chunk of time surfing around the net (after I got back, dial-up is the pits for research) trying to figure out what size freezer would be best for us and what the best deal was. It's a frustrating process when internal measurements aren't given in anything but cubic feet. I have no experience with this type of measurement to be able to estimate how large something is, but one reviewer on the Home Depot site put everything into perspective for me about the 7.0 cubic foot freezer when she stated "It held the whole elk plus more!!" Elk-sized. Sweet! That's a measurement I can relate to. 

I have some earrings to make and mail ASAP and now that the freezer has arrived and everything else is pretty much where is goes again it's time to "make some hay" as Gramma might say. Time for me to go back to photographing dishes so I can clear the table and have some work space. Huzzah!
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