Four Posts

jenjoycedesign© four-poster4

Now that the posts & beams of the house are going up, I am in a creative mood about what will go inside the rooms.  A couple of days ago I found  this  old oak double bed frame, and I’m really enjoying fixing it up.  It is very solid,  relatively inexpensive and worth every bit of work I put into it.

jenjoycedesign© four-poster1

It will go in the Loft Room, replacing an old tarnished brass bed I had forever, but I have convinced myself that I love this much better than the old one, for I love the feel of wood, so sensual and natural.
jenjoycedesign© 4 post 1

I spent several hours scrubbing every surface with #0000 (finest) steel wool and a beeswax citrus cleaner, scrubbing off a layer of dirt & old lacquer,  resulting in a satin finish with golden oak highlights! Although it could use another scrubbing, I am reticent for I don’t want to lose the depth of patina in the grain & crevasses.

jenjoycedesign© four-poster5

A few cracks in the posts and flakes lifted from the veneer of the side boards, but I am absolutely totally in love with it.  I will be looking for old quilts now to dress it with, perhaps making another someday, but for now I am envisioning blocking out lace stoles the whole length of it!

Another really nice shirt.

jenjoycedesign©003

Okay, I’m on a roll, I fall asleep dreaming about taking scissors to over-sized and hardly worn shirts, and refashioning them into one-of-a-kind personalized shirts.   The original, a Talbots brand women’s tunic, in gorgeous jet black in lightweight Irish linen, found at a thrift shop somewhere for a few dollars.

jenjoycedesign© before Talbots Irish Linen Tunic

Refashioned into what is becoming my signature look, a boxy throw-over style inspired by my favorite brand FLAX,   with practical as well as flirty finishes…

007 (2)

This style collar is hand-sewn inside of the edge of plain neckline hem, then folded over to make a very nice look.  However, after I added the decorative length to the bottom, I felt that the sleeves were too short and I wanted to use those rectangular pieces in the end for cuffs, so I undid the collar and reworked the pieces into wide faced cuffs able to be folded up, with a single wide  pleat into the sleeve.

jenjoycedesign©008

jenjoycedesign©004

I had a lot of length to work with , cut it in half widthwise, and from those  I made;   1. the insert down the middle, having taken out the button placket,  and  2. with left over pieces I sewed together into one piece , then worked to fit shirt body  with narrow little pleats spaced out and pinned around 16 times around circumference (intentionally not too neat) to fit the bottom hem. Result is a slight charming skirty edging…I suppose this is officially called a ‘peplum’ finish.

jenjoycedesign©006

 Having decided not to cut off the existing narrow hem of the neckline, after cutting off the button bands, I just made a hemmed piece over the insert.

05

A very funky little bit, but that sort of detail is what makes each shirt one-of-a-kind, in that I must improvise with what little sleeve and body length I cut off. You will find this to be true also,  when you begin to take scissors to old shirts to make new shirts.

More thoughts  on the collar…

008

The really nifty thing is that collars are like shirt accessories, as are buttons, a separate collar piece hand-stitched to the inside makes a dashing old-fashioned finish, in white, blue plaid, or whatever, ( especially including some old lace ones I have ~~thanks Sorcha!) .  Just switch them out like they did in the bygone era, for both women’s dress and men’s shirt collars in those days were meant to be replaced per occasion or just when worn out. Collars and cuffs took the beating of the wear, and were often replaced (as I learned from Morrie ~ thanks!)


Anyway, there was no shaping involved in this type of collar, nor was there a collar stand, I just whip-stitched two rectangular pieces and they folded over making their own stand. (I actually moved them around, and tried on basted before stitching them on secure.

Its always a bit of a gamble and some shirts just are ruined, but after doing it a few times, you’ll be surprised to find how easy it is. Much easier than sewing a whole garment from cut yardage, and far less spendy in many cases.  By the way, if & when I make or find the perfect collar for this shirt, I will post it.   If you can find this book by Odhams Press (dated 1930’s)  there’s a chapter called ‘New Collars for Old Dresses’ and I highly recommend learning this old-fashioned skill of refashioning.

There was some discussion in the last post  about making big brother/sisters outgrown shirts into refashioned ones for little brother/sister. I don’t have any kids clothes around, but would love to hear from any of you out there who are keen to try.

That about wraps it up for refashioning of  Shirt Two, and now I ought to be knitting Autumn Sweaters.

See all posts New From Old , including my tips on what I have done ~~ HERE

 

Linen Shirt Make-over

jenjoycedesign©linen shirt makeoverMy love of linen has grown deeper with time. Its rustic wholesome weave holds my appreciation like no other textile. The warm shades of grey form layers in the seams, and when held in front of angled light from the late or early sun, it is simply beautiful. Just to see it that way I am able to almost smell its fragrance, as if the presence remains of that field of flax from which it was born, and it my skin longs to be against it.

So, I made another shirt for myself, new out of old.
jenjoycedesign©linen shirt make-over1
Making new clothes out of old is one of those things which I absolutely love to do but takes a bit of skill.  Pardon the wrinkly shirt photo, but that is actually the way I prefer it, not ironed too much, just a little, for linen has such personality with a little texture showing.  Months ago I bought a linen shirt from the thrift shop and I was wearing it around like a tent recently, and yesterday I finally cut into it.  Now it is more of my style, it has personality, it is natural, totally unique, and has a feminine classic charm. There was plenty needle threading and hand-sewing, which I adore actually, and the machine work was plenty too.

Here’s what I did:  I first ripped off the breast pocket, then cut out the big bulky button bands and collar. Then I cut off some off of the length which gave me enough fabric to sew in a ‘gusset’ to bridge the two fronts in the absence of the button band.  I cut off the cuffs and cuff button placket, completely, which left sleeves a little short.
jenjoycedesign©linen shirt makeover 2

From two sleeves I had cut before off of another linen shirt in my pile of linen scraps, I made simple wide folded faced bands to extend into a sort of cuff, and pleated the excess sleeve material to fit… a fast & easy way to go… and looks great rolled up. Usually I just hem the neck opening without a collar, but this time I had envisioned a peter-pan collar, so I set into making a collar custom to the cut-out neck, with the other linen sleeve in the scrap pile, and with the help of this book, published 1930’s….


Finished, and excited to get involved in a very summertime project for the hot weather, and that is making new out of old, re-making every possible tent-like mens’ linen shirt I possibly can get a hold of , and immerse myself in the metamorphosis of them into artful beautiful shirts for *moi*. My wardrobe is anorexic, but is on the mend, and I’m absolutely loving my needlework, on a quiet mountain, punctuated by very little else, which suits me just fine.

I’m ready to go at it with another!

Finding Fair Isle

jenjoycedesign©

My sister-in-law Patricia and I met for our usual cheery birthdays date at the coffee roastery in the tiny north Napa Valley town of  St Helena. We enjoyed delicious cafe cremes (lattes) in a bowl with pastries, then a short stroll down the old town road to our favorite tiny thrift shop behind the Catholic church. I usually do not find a single thing, yet when I look back, some of the best finds I’ve made were there. Today was one of those rare days when I did, and as I was doing my fast size-up of the racks, expecting nothing, something shyly captured my eye, as a busy patterned woolly thing was in the vests. With a closer look I found ~~ it was hand-made!

jenjoycedesign©033

It has that particular thickness, a substantial feel in one’s hands which can not be mistaken for anything but long-labored handwork of some expert knitter. Need I even mention (no, I shouldn’t have to) there are no labels nor store bought sort of tags saying ‘made in Shetland’ anywhere on it. It is completely hand-made, and slowly and surely realized this but not until I inspected it quite closely. There was never any doubt really, that there probably exists in St Helena a genuine and maybe even extreme Fair Isle knitter (perhaps the same knitter who donated the two skeins of Harrisville Designs Shetland yarn I got for $1 each months ago, another rare great find.)  I suspected, but I am certain now such a knitter exists in St Helena!

jenjoycedesign©025

I felt the fabric, and it seemed a little too soft & smooth to be Shetland wool, yet, after examining for quite a while I realized in all of it’s years of being worn, it very likely is Shetland wool,  though met the dreary fate of becoming washed in the washer and dried in the dryer, shrunk hopelessly, and thus it became of no use to the owner, or why else would such a prize be donated to this little thrift shop?  Even if not Shetland wool, and though only barely felted, and that would explain for the unusually soft feel.,  very fuzzy & ‘pilly’ and worn a lot (hopefully). I knew that I must must SIMPLY MUST take it home, even if just to have it.  One single dim thought occurred to me, that there was a glaring possibility that it would NOT fit me.

jenjoycedesign©026

Just look at the classic “OXO” border and little “oxo” peerie motifs, and very artful colorway of a charcoal grey background with rich blues and a signature center round of bright bright green.  And, of course,  the very signature steek work….

012

However, when I got home I measured the bust and thought I couldn’t wear it, I thought no way.  But miracle of miracles, I did manage to slip it on!   Only barely. Perhaps after a time of calorie deprivation or since that is not likely,  extreme hiking (a little more likely), that after a few pounds lost, I could indeed wear this Fair Isle Vest with a little room to breath. Even so, tight or eventually looser, I’ve thought wouldn’t it be nifty for this vest to be my ‘cold days hiking vest’ accompanying me as Emma and I haul over hill & dale, bringing Fair Isle beauty along the many steps from my door to the peak & beyond.

Even if I don’t,  I am happy just to have it~~~  and only cost  three dollars!  It made my day!

Braided Rug

jenjoycedesign©braided-rug
I think I’ve met my match.  Another braided rug has lumbered into my life and I’m not talking about a small thing.  I am nearly helpless when face-to-face with a deal when I see one, at my favorite thrift shop, you know, and it happens to me so often I’m beginning to worry.  Well, just yesterday I was there looking about and I saw this massive roll on the floor, in front of the frames and pictures and folks were nearly tripping over it. I made a bee-line to it and with a quick glance, I knew it was hand-made and valuable. I rather wondered how it could be that nobody else noticed, and was worried that by noticing me noticing it, someone might snatch it up, so I do the ‘act-casual-like-I’m-not-noticing’ as I flag down one of the shop volunteers and give the nod that I want to buy the rug.  I didn’t even ask to untie & unroll it.  The label said 10′ x 15′ and $30.  I’m talking about the hand-made variety of pure wool braided rugs with saturated dyes that are stitched by hand together. I didn’t care what it looked like unrolled.  But really, how could it possibly be ten by fifteen feet ???

jenjoycedesign©stitching

I know because I overhauled another of it’s kind only 5 years ago, involving over-dying and re-braiding and a lot of work, which sits in our living room .   My thoughts were that it can’t be perfect, there’s got to be major stains or stink or horrid colors, or something which couldn’t be seen from being rolled up and tied.  I realized even if it were all those things that the material in this rug was fine to make several medium sized rugs and a few small ones to boot. I convinced myself I absolutely had to buy it !

jenjoycedesign©colors in rug

So I paid, and got help loading it into the back of my Toyota, we just stuffed it in there, and I hauled it home. This thing that I just impulsively brought home like a stray kitten (okay, more like a stray crocodile) and I didn’t even bother to unroll it until Jeff got home from work last night. And that we did.  I was correct, there was a major thing about it that made it so I couldn’t just uncoil off about 2 feet of braid all around and keep the inside as a complete rug, for it is mostly yellow.   I don’t like this particular shade of yellow, and it will not do in the house, I know, I’m so strange that way.

jenjoycedesign©braided-rug-yellow

Maybe I will reconsider, but for now  I’m face-to-face with this huge soon-to-be carcass of a hand-made wool braided rug which is much too big to fit anywhere in our house, it will have to be down-sized in one way or another.

jenjoycedesign©rug

I suppose soon I’ll begin guiltily snipping someone else’s original stitching and coiling & doing some new stitching of loose braids to my useful liking.  Oh joy! But I have so many other things need doing too, this is just the deal that will do me in I”m afraid.  Determined to make this rare find worth every hour of rework I am gearing up to spend on it ~~ and I’m  feeling very much  like an old-fashioned farm wife who never sees an idle moment.

Stash

jenjoycedesign©stash-cabinet 5

The other day I made a great find at my favorite local thrift shop. Admittedly it needed work to up-cycle it into the long thought-about colorwork yarn stash cabinet I’d been dreaming of putting on the wall in front of my work table. Just something to show which colors I have on hand , rather than perpetually digging out bags and boxes and dumping about to sift through.   Well, this little cabinet is of very old redwood, and the 3/4″ boards which made up the back were recessed into the frame.

I wanted shelves, and I wanted extra width in the depth than it had ~~ enough for balls & skeins of yarn for colorwork.  So I needed to take that back off in order to get enough width, and to make shelves out of it, and that is exactly what I did (well, with the help mostly of Jeff too) . Here it is as I found it… very dark aged redwood cabinet thing, looking like it may have been a little workshop cabinet once, as it is not in the least bit refined cabinetry, but rough, as I like it.

cabinet

jenjoycedesign©removing back boards

I removed the back boards by cutting through the nails with a coping saw blade, gave it a light sanding, then created shelves with the 3/4″ boards that were on the back.  Voila, a framed shelf with glass door ~~ a colorwork stash cabinet made to order !

jenjoycedesign©stash-cabinet 1

My humble work space is now much improved with a glass encased colorwork stash to inspire !

jenjoycedesign©job-done&dusted

Camp Socks

jenjoycedesign©camp knitting
Its already been almost three weeks since we were at 9000 ft elevation and I was knitting-in-the-wild beneath a lovely brewing storm on a huge granite rock. I had so thoroughly enjoyed the quick packing trek to Granite Lake, the sitting cross-legged on the granite in complete stitching meditation, one with the darkening sky and gathering storm, the quiet of everything before the outbreak, even the fish hunkering down.  Yet I remember yet distinct intermittent sounds ~~  the wind whipping the tent about and water boiling to make trail coffee. And it just doesn’t get any better than that ( High Sierra trip posted here ).

So here my friends, are another pair of Penny Candy Socks. Just a simple, wild & maybe even frivolous (and very blue) pair of socks, made on that High Sierra excursion but I hadn’t gotten around to washing & blocking them until just now.

jenjoycedesign©camp socks finished !

 

jenjoycedesign©finished camp socks

And they are added to the slowly growing pile of knitted socks designated for xmas gifts….

jenjoycedesign©pile of socks

 

Gad… already LESS than only five months away!   Horror of the crafting gift-maker-and-giver is that xmas appears in a blink after sweltering heat of summer, when one couldn’t feel further away from the winter solstice and gift-giving frenzy. But I’m wise now, at my age, I’ve learned, and I am already stashing knitted gifts…

jenjoycedesign©box of sox

 *  *  *

I’ve already gotten about 12″ into one of two Autumn Sweaters 2014 , but no hints on that yet (top top secret!) .  In contrast to tiny stitches of fingering & fine fingering yarn for socks, gloves, hats….  I am knitting rounds and rounds of worsted-weight, and how refreshingly speedy I’m turning out the rounds for a change!

In the next few days my nieces will be visiting up here in the Hermitage again, for a visit in their last week of summer vacation, so we’ll be up to baking in the kitchen, in addition to just generally “chil-laxing” as they put it,  and not without their ECD’s ((electronic devices of choice ))~~ but no doubt the visit will be  punctuated with famously artistic and fun photo-shoot after digging through my cedar trunk now becoming quite full of knitteds.  Looking forward to that,  and we’ll see you on the flipside of the riotous occasion!

Note:  Oh! The hand-made wooden Shaker-style box, if not authentic Shaker box, was found last week at my favorite thrift shop for $4 ~ a bargain !  It is now a lovely knitting notions box & photo prop as well, and I’m super pleased with myself for finding it.

A Cheerful Teapot

jenjoycedesign©a-teapot (2)

Meet my new cheerful little teapot, nearly the color of golden honey, or milky tea, or marigolds.

This morning I was over at Morrie’s house. She has quite the collection of tea and teapots, the most adorable little ones too. We had an impromptu ‘tasting’ of three teas,  not because of any reason other than  I wanted to use all three of her littlest cuties that happened to be within arms reach, and because there were all these bags of tea everywhere, we pulled out of kitchen crevasses while looking for the Earl Grey.

Then  I spread out my latest knitteds on Morrie’s kitchen table, and we discussed sock formulas and then she showed me her latest black Shetland raw fleece and we buried our noses into it while both agreeing it was the finest and very sweet smelling! We flipped pages in knitting books, fondled yarnish things, and we infused each other with ideas as the tea infused in the pots. And so it is . After having come back from Black Sheep Gathering with fleeces to show me, she was a bit preoccupied about  ‘ observing process ‘ over ‘ processing observation ‘.  I can just hang with someone like that !

So anyway, I wanted to show you my teapot, my very first teapot ever I can remember having, strangely.  It is a three or four-cupper, and I got it for $2 down town at the thrift shop on the way home from Morrie’s,  and the loose tea stays nicely at the bottom while I pour the tea out ~~~  it just doesn’t get any better than that !  I’m having my first cup of tea (Irish Breakfast) from it right now.

I think I will make some shortbread to go with ! 

Back From Thrift Shop

Today practice was called off, and I decided to just … what the heck… run into town and go to my favorite thrift shops. It has actually been quite a long while since I’ve been ! I managed to find this…. a steal … $5 for a ever-so-slightly moth-eaten Harris Tweed Jacket. I have ideas for it, though I’ll be taking scizzors to it eventually, to make something else from it (I drool for hand-woven tweed)… and of course…carefully remove and transport the label.

Then, there was the usual back room bin of hangers I always rifle through, looking for the old cleaner advertisement ones, and I found a bundle of seven for 50 cents, wherein there were three nice ones to add to my collection.  I’ve been doing this for quite a few years by the way,  collecting them for literally pennies, from the same shop. I actually only have two which are repeats of the same  cleaners !  You can see some of  here , one of my quirky collections I might say… note 4 digit phone numbers !

Summer’s End

Near the Autumnal Equinox and I am (still) swimming in a woodsy sea of  golden green of moss tips, of blueish green of Madrone leaves, and of greyish green hues of Douglas Fir. Two sleeves and a body, ready to be joined together at the yoke, after having the requisitionary knitting-over of the sleeves.

I admit, I’ve put down my knitting since last week, (nieces visit among other things) and now as consquence, am a hurried knitter. Bother. But I will try not to lose the Be-Here-Now-ness enjoyment and go rushing it.  No rushing allowed ! It’s still scorching hot in Northern California, so I’m almost certain my nieces won’t be dissappointed to wait until first weekend in October before our Autumnal Sweater Photo Shoot.  Still, I’d like to have them finished, or near finished, on the actual equinox, as a matter of personal satisfaction . . .  and by the way, the astrological event of the equinox proper is at 10:2 8a.m. on September 22 this year.

*    *    *

However, in the last couple of weeks I have made one of my regular visits to my favorite local thrift shop, and was so lucky to hit Half-Off Day !!!  Scored another …um…. antique wooden hanger.

:: claps wildly , squeals with delight ::

(Yes, it was only twenty five cents.)


And you know what?  It is the first I’ve found yet, which is a second of a brand name cleaners/dyers. This is my collection, do you see the other , among these  ? This is cause for celebration? You think? Maybe not, but …

I am elated and very proud to show you a rarer kind of find . . .

. . . which was undeniably a colossal deal !


Three dollars and seventy five cents.

Well, and since I have found a few stunning hand-made quilts at thrift shops recently , I felt rather greedy for this one.  After I washed it and dried it out on the line in the mountain air…

I gave it to my sister-in-law.  And happily !

(Yes, she loves it.)

Mossy Green Under The Blue Moon

Progress on the mossy sweater.

Oh, and did you know that today is the Blue Moon ?

And now folks, for a bit of a little break from knitting,  a little something non-knitting I’d like to bring to show you.

Occasionally I get all worked up in folksy crafty sorts of projects,  my latest making blackboards out of odd frames I find at thrift shops.  Here’s one of two identical, (two frames @ 25cents a piece), which I stained with espresso and sprayed with shellac , then mounted the matte-black-painted fiber-board . . .

my new ‘weekly menu’ board !

And the other twin,  has become my grocery shopping list . . .

A third,

which I painted red,

and which I am going to give to my girlfriend who has a birthday this month . . .
`

And another which is made from an old frame (50cents )

 is now in my work space of my knitting loft, reminding me of upcoming

Knitterly Things To Do. . .

And just in case I’ve made Yarnings a bit ‘ Yawnings ‘ ,  it’s time for a bedtime story.

A totally nonsensical story about a bit of  Thingsy-ness.

Here goes :

Once upon a time there was a knitter who lived in the woods.  A Woodsy Knitter.

She had a few quirky obsessions. One in particular, (besides chalk-boards, which is rather random, and not really about knitting, unless it’s about listing Knitterly Things To Do)  is related to hand-made garments and such… well , sort of.

“Oh really? What is that?” asked Little Red Riding Hood, eyes as big as saucers, as she pulled back the hood to her red cape, and little golden locks of hair bounced around her face.

“I like to collect old wooden hangers.” Said the Woodsy Knitter, while accepting a too-hot bowl of porridge from Mama Bear.

“Oh I see.” Said Hansel, to Gretel, in a very thick German accent , with pastry crumbs falling out of his mouth as he spoke, landing on his sister.

“But now my collection has refined to the particular ones which have advertisements of old Cleaners and Dyers on them. ”  Said the Woodsy Knitter, and then added ” I just found these, only 25cents a piece, yesterday ! ”

“Oh, yes, very nice, very nice !!!” Said Gretel to Hansel, but very annoyed as she brushed crumbs off of her sleeve.

” Also other kinds of wooden hangers too, ”  said the Woodsy Knitter ” like these old beauties, and also the ones which are completely rounded. This one I found yesterday as well…odd how long the wire handle is…”

“How odd indeed ” Said the Three Piggies, all in unison !!!

And the Woodsy Knitter replied ” But now , the very  very strange thing about these advertisements stamped on them, is how I have collected them over the years, and of all the couple of dozen or so,  no two are alike . “

“Not any?” Howled the Big Bad Wolf, questioningly, and gruffly,  as his brows furrowed upon closer inspection.

“No, really, check them out ! You may have to click the photo and enlarge to notice the names, and old-as-the-hills three-digit phone numbers.  Also, most of them are from my home state of California, but not all.” Said the Woodsy Knitter

Then they all went on their merry way, into their own stories,  after looking at the Woodsy Knitter’s crafty chalkboards, mossy knitting, and wooden hangers.

The fog broke.

The sun shone through the trees in the woods,

and the Woodsy Knitter resumed with her knitting,

and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Wool for Walking

The trees are bare, and here in Northern California it is the tail end of winter, with many blustery days and lots of clear blue skies.  February on the mountain often sees a blanket of snow, but I’ve known even as late as March to get a light dusting, while the temperatures continue to chill, though in the mountains we don’t get the coldest freezes as in the valley.  I love to walk in the cold, and even in the rain, with an umbrella. Rainy season is yet to come around, it’s been a dry winter.  But these photos were taken last Autumn when…

…  I began in Wovember (I talk about Wovember in this post ) to take another look at the utilitarian aspect of wool.  I began to think of wool as practical and wholesome, taking it beyond a fuzzy arts & crafts medium for playing on the spinning wheel and knitting needles.   For me, this means in particular, my obsession of late…wool skirts. I LOVE WOOL SKIRTS ! The dye-saturation which is particular to wool, means that I love concocting a custom dye-bath each time I find a new wool skirt in a thrift shop.

Photo taken in the beginning of December starting out for a walk up the ridge, and I am wearing one of my several wool skirts.   I have in fact, worn two wool skirts , almost exclusively, all winter .  This green one for walking, and a deep maroon-brownish livery colored one for going down into town, (not counting dressier skirts for gigs), which leaves one or two which haven’t been altered and overdyed yet (I am very fussy about color).

Lately my hips have been a bit sore, and stiff constricting jeans just won’t do.  Winter weight fabric pants just make me feel so *not* in the mood to go for a walk. So I thought to just be the Old-Fashioned sort, and allow myself the distinguishable difference  and somewhat retro-feminist statement of hiking out while wearing a skirt. This one below I over-dyed mossy emerald tones on a light brown fabric, and it is 100 percent worsted wool weave, cut on bias which yields best to movement and makes for *very* comfortable walking !  I Love it !!!  (Little known fact about me: Throughout my 20’s I owned only a couple of pairs of pants ~ my wardrobe was almost entirely skirts and dresses. I even bike commuted in skirts! )

Needless to say, I feel at once back to my old self .  Here I am ,  up close with my  hill-walking companion Emma.

 

A Week of Thrifty Finds

Scavenging thrift shops could be a part-time job I’d take on willingly, but I’m trying to limit my habit of doing so. Last Monday I found an antique gate-leg drop-leaf  work table, and today I scored even more items for my project-craft space ~ an upstairs open room which I call my loft .  Mostly I found old wooden cigar boxes for 50cents each,  but one box in particular is a nifty sliding-top box originally for a micrometer, but has been filled with old carpenter pencils and crayons (and sold that way…all for 50cents) ~ this I intend to give a special home in our new workshop Jeff has been building (and which just had the final building inspection in December). As for the stack of cigar boxes, I will fill them with buttons, notions & threads, and just gadgets to do with knitting, sewing, and needlework of all kinds. I frequent many thrift shops, but one in particular I keep finding old antique wooden hangers at 25cents each,many with logos of cleaner & dyers printed on them ~posted back here , a whole pile of them I’ve been collecting over the years.  Sometimes, as today, I have to cut off the handwork padding to get to the bare hanger, and I’m proud to say these hangers are perfect for the many shirts I’ve made hanging in the closet.  This one time I managed to leave behind all but one of the needlework and craft books.  So there’s my stack of finds from today, which I can’t wait to bring into my workspace and find purpose for each.

Thrifty @ Fifty

What luck ! Today, the eve of my fiftieth birthday, I found an amazing work table for my Loft Room, which is my work space.  I’ve been using an old metal folding card table for years, while hoping one day I’d find a nice sturdy drop-leaf antiquish wood table .  I think this is it.  I’m stunned.

On the top, the laquer has been unkept, all kinds of weathered unsightly stains, and it has some scratches, but all was greatly improved with a little light ultra-fine steel wool & beeswax/citrus oil treatment (to soften the old laquer up and smooth out the glare). Most importantly, it has some nice old petina too. I don’t want the surface perfect, but far from it, because as a work table, I expect to put some more petina… lots.   Dove-tail joints in the wee drawer, solid hardwood, underneath hinges are recessed, original label of maker, and…..cost only  $24.99 !!!! I’m stunned, the more I play around with it, the more I realize what a find this is.  Finally, a big table to sprawl out sewing, knitting, craftwork of any kind. What a great present to myself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After treating the top of the table, the desk that it’s tucked up beside now needs a treatment. I am so pleased that it fits like a glove beneath the skylight next to my desk, if I move my desk all the way over. I can just pull it out 4 feet, lift up the leafs, and begin work. I am just so happy how it fits right in, how it now centers the sitting cubby (which was lopsided when the desk was centered) ,  and now makes my work space so much more purposeful and gorgeous and complete!

Sewing Relics of Old


Thrift shop find of last week, from a basket of lot of thread, I extracted these little beauties.

 (be sure to click the image and see up-close)
It’s apparent that I have an empassioned fondness for antique sewing and craft things, and was sorely tempted to take every old wooden spool, but I forced myself to leave some. I had gathered several old brands of “Beldings” ,  “Clarks & Co.” ,  “J.P. Coats” … and  I was hoping anxiously I wouldn’t get gouged at check-out, but fortunately I didn’t have to spend more than a few dollars for this little lot.

Just look at these scrumptious little spools of pure silk button thread !


Inspired to make a few more shots of Old Sewing Relics, here is a 1970’s faux wood (plastic)  sewing box my guy gave to his mother when he was a boy. It now perches on a shelf in my projects loft, and keeps mostly my own supplies, however….


Also still inside this old box,  are some of it’s original relics from from the 60’s.

Pink taffeta seam binding !!!

Leather woven buttons, including leather  shanks….

…but these are what really spark my creative curiosity of late ~~~ fabric covered buttons.

My Thrift Obsession

Here’s a heap of antique hangers, just a tiny few of my collection, just the ones which are especially cool. Today I hit a particular charity thrift shop in downtown Napa, and scored six old wooden hangers for 25 cents … for the whole bunch.  Sometimes, they are a little more, usually a quarter each, or a quarter for 3, but this was the best deal yet !
A very nice collection indeed, most of which are California cleaners, but a few which even are from the Old Town Napa…

A Ravelry Alert, for sure… this one says “Owl Cleaners” , with two little stamped owl motifs. How adorable.

“Novelty Dye Works” of Los Angeles !

Occasionally I will score a very frilly handworked one. This one I’m afraid I have put the wear on…

Killer finds, these very old style clamping hangers…

… and my all-time favorite, the “quite-a lot-of-wood” hanger, which I usually hang only the special things in my closet.

Look closely ~my ‘other’ thrift obsession~ anything with the label “Irish Linen”

My Thrift Obsession

I’m resisting impulse this morning to run into own, or the city, and ‘happy hoard’.  Seems when I’ve had my coffee and the day is somewhat open, I often get a little bee in my bonnet coercing me toward the pleasures of discovering those unique finds at my favorite thrift shops.  I do this quite often, I am ashamed to admit, however,  even in my own path of shame, I am very proud that I have a closet full of rare finds (mostly), many of which I then alter or over-dye to a custom and signature style which is my own. These are all of very high quality origin, bought for a few dollars.

Now, I’ve already stockpiled these projects-in-queu, and my smallish little loft closet is quite full already, and I find myself *still* dreaming of the Next Big Find, ready to grab my car keys !  Today perhaps a lesson indeed in the Be Here Now-ness of things, and to instead go to my dye pot, and pick out a mix of color for the beautiful thick matte silk EvanPicone A-line skirt I found while thrift shopping yesterday, which is a dusty charcoal, and  would take an overdye in the most intriguing way.  I love those colors-beneath-the-colors, and this would indeed be that affect.

My best kept secret ~