Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Les Petites Dames of John Burbidge - VTT


They are 29 inches tall, but do not call them dolls.  These are to be admired and studies, not played with! They are the creation of John Burbidge and showcase fashion trends from about 1860 to 1914.

I am showing images of one of my many favorites, a ball gown from 1863.  Mr. Burbidge uses vintage and antique laces that he finds in his travels (like Paris flea markets!), along with typical doll clothing materials.  There is a book available showcasing these fashion icons (see link on left) but there is nothing compared to seeing the ladies in person.

Where are they?  Presently they are residing at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA, a gilded age 'cottage' built by one of the Morgans (of JP Morgan).  Ventfort Hall is in the process of being lovingly restored to its 1890's splendor - and it was full of splendor.  Visit their web page to see,

I was lucky enough to visit one afternoon.  One cannot touch the ladies of course, and I was afraid to breathe on them!  The materials are exquisite, especially the lace.  The craftsmanship is impeccable.  These look like real clothes shrunk down, not Barbie clothes by any means.  Click on the images I scanned above to see larger versions, and the detail!!!!

I am also linking in to Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage.

Inspired, Viridian

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nearly Insane: block 75

I don't know how many pieces are in it, but I say - too many! Paper pieced, and I still had trouble. With the paper and the seam allowances, the edges of the block will not lie flat for their close-up.

I don't think I'll do another block with so many half square triangles for some time!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nearly Insane block #22

Which has an insane number of pieces for a 6 inch block.

And... there are even two other blocks with more pieces in them.  Really.
I took on block #22 as a personal challenge, and to slow myself down.  I'm really liking these blocks and I am finishing the group challenges quickly. [ The group is the Nearly Insane group on Yahoo groups.]

Want to know more?  Click on the book link on the left.  Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate, and theoretically I might even earn some money some day from these clicks.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

We make pink Christmas cookies

I am joining Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.  First: My favorite holiday movie:  It's a Wonderful  Life, for sure!  I am aslo doing her meme from last week, favorite holiday recipe.

The cookies that are evil, right - the ones that made me gain weight.  Well I should have avoided them.  It was fun for the children anyway!

Mom's Easy and Way too Delicious Sugar Cookies

Buy prepackaged sugar cookie dough - the one that looks like sausage.

Following the package directions, slice and place on cookie sheets. Take out one stick of butter to soften for the frosting.  [oh dear, I think it's time to buy new cookie sheets!]

Bake following package directions; allow to cool completely.  Meanwhile, make a huge batch of buttercream frosting, following the recipe on the back of the powdered sugar bag.

 Tint the frosting different colors, being sure to include PINK.  And be sure to have PINK sugars for topping.  Here my daughter is demonstrating how to 'dip' your cookies into the decors or sugars.

Our finished product!
Happy Pink Saturday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vintage Thingy Thursday: Peary reaches the North Pole!

I am joining Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingy Thursday. Click on the image above to see some wonderful old things.

I should really wait until April to share this but: here is a vintage booklet called "Peary and the Discovery of the North Pole."
It was published by the John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston MA, copyright 1927.  This is well after the fact of Peary attaining the Pole in April 1909.

Still I imagine this feat would still have appeal, such as the moon landings had appeal long after the fact.
Interesting side note: Matthew Henson is mentioned in the booklet, but no mention of the fact he was African-American (negro, they would say in those days).

PS: no mention of Santa Claus either!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Evil Christmas Cookies!

They are tools of the Devil!
You may know the ones I mean: sugar cookies, with frosting and colored sugar on top - so that you are essentially eating sugar and butter.
That 22 pounds lost is not going to stay up at the top of my blog after my weigh-in on Wednesday, I predict.  22 lbs, it was great to know you, my new most pounds lost.  I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vintage photograph for VTT

I am joining Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingy Thursday.  Click on the image above to see some wonderful old things.
Today I am sharing a photograph found in an antique store.
A sweet child, dressed in white with chubby legs.  Note that the dress is blurred becasue either there was a breeze or the child was moving.
There is no name on the back, and I have no other information on this photo.  That makes me sad, actually.

nearly Insane block ... Something

Honestly I'm losing track of the numbers now.  The camera was having trouble so the image is a little blurry.

I like how the blue looks electric against the black fabric.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nearly Insane block # 7

At least I think it's #7.  Some of these blocks are very similar!
My seventh block.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nearly Insane block 48

My fifth block.  Still following the colors in the original quilt closely.  It's been a tough week and you know what?  I like knowing what colors are where, and then pulling out my collection and picking out the appropriate red or yellow or green fabric.  Few decisions suits my life just now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vintage thingy Thursday - quilt pattern booklet

Grandmother Clark's Patchwork quilt designs, now rather fragile.  No publication date.

A peek at some of the patterns inside - plus other paper patterns that the previous owner had clipped and saved.  The old patterns are still appealing!  Some of the latest books and magazines are publishing very similar patterns today.

I am joining Colorado Lady for Vintage thingy Thursday.  She is sharing some great Christmas-y things today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nearly insane block 3

My block number 3 in the series.  This is block number 73 in the Nearly Insane book by Liz Lois.  Not officially on our group list, but I added it as something to paper piece in between the log cabin rounds of block number 11.  I chose fabrics very close to those in the original quilt.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Nearly insane block 2

The second block in the challenge series.  This one is # 11 in the Nearly Insane book.  I changed colors somewhat. Next: Block #40.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I may be nearly insane!

I must be nearly insane to start on a new project esp. at this time of the school year.  But a small group of us on a Yahoo list for this admirers of this antique quilt have decided to challenge ourselves to a block a week.

What is this project?  See the link to the left.  An antique quilt featured in a quilt calendar became the obsession for Liz Lois, who drafted the patterns. 
Each block finishes at 6 inches (large compared to Dear Jane blocks!)  I forget how many there are in the whole quilt - 90??  Pictured above is my first block, labeled #6 in the Nearly Insane book.  The colors and fabrics I chose are very close to the original.  I have two other blocks done, and I'll post them later this week.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

weight loss journey continues...

I was at a professional conference last week, which as you can figure out, entails eating out.  So I gained some weight back.  Back on the treadmill we go.  I will lose these few pounds again.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stressful last few days but...

Some more weight loss, for a total of 3 lbs this week!  Stressful week in terms of home,family, and work, but I don't blog about that.  it's typical middle class kid and family stuff.  I was tempted to eat and gave in a little, but not much.  And I lost some weight.  Hurrah!  when I reach my next milestone I will buy myself some roses.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VTT: Make-do quilt top

But I have a quilt top purchased from a friend of a friend that came from Alabama.  The maker used what she had so it is a make-do quilt.  It is also vintage.
Very busy today so I'll have to sign off now.
Enjoy all sorts of vintage things at Coloradolady's meme.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

But, posting it on Monday night.

Ruby Tuesday, at Work of the Poet


Monday update

1. I was able to fix my sewing machine by cleaning the dust and gunk out of the working parts (again) and changing the needle.  it seems to be back to its usual self, saving me a repair bill.
2.  I was able then to sew on orange borders to my Halloween quilt wall hanging, pictured in the previous post.
3.  The finished size of said quilt  is 47 by 62 inches, just larger than the 40 by 60 inch craft batting I had in my sewing closet.  Isn't that typical?  So it's off to the big chain craft store for a single bed sized batt.
4. Oh yes, over the weekend I was able to finish the binding of my Perkiomen quilt.  Now for a label and it's done!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Here is the Halloween quilt top I started on the spur of the moment!  Most fabrics are from the Haunted Mansion line, and the squares finish at 4.5 inches.  I still need to put on an orange border, but my sewing machine is having problems.  I hope I can tweak it myself instead of sending it out for repairs.

This is post number 201!  Stay tuned for a giveaway.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday's post

Friday's post is over at my postcard blog, where I am participating in Postcard Friendship Friday.

Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another cosmic heart

I am posting this  as part of Clytie's meme, Guest Heart Thursday.

This image can be found as TODAY'S Astronomy Picture of the day at  With Clytie's hearts, (read her posts), this is not a coincidence.

Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo. It is known as the Heart nebula and another picture here is amazing.

My other cosmic entry is here:


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VTT: Needlecraft Magazine

I am joining Coloradolady this week for Vintage Thingy Thursday. See what other people are sharing - click on the icon above.

At a local 'antiques' store I picked up a copy of Needlecraft from December 1934.  The depths of the Depression, though it's hard to tell from this issue.

Various crafty gifr ideas are included.  And ads for items a homemaker might worry that she needed, such as a Perfolastic girdle - reduce your hips 9 inches!

I hope you enjoyed your trip into the past.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Knitting noddy

That is what I call this item.  However, it is labeled by the manufacturer (Susan Bates) as a French knitter.  Perhaps you have seen this before?

The written instructions were totally useless but the diagrams were helpful in getting me going.  I now have a little tube.  NOW what do I do with it?  However, the knitting, like my potholder making that I described before, is restful and rather therapeutic.  I am concentrating on the knitting and not on all the other things I usually think about.

On another front, I have started another quilt project (like I need one).  I bought a charm pack of fabrics from the Haunted Mansion line and I am going to make a small Halloween wall hanging for the holiday this year.  A very simple pattern: just putting black lattice strips between the charm squares, and few other fabrics I found that go with this line rather well.

Happy Blogtoberfest!  See tinniegirl's blog to see her progress.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Update on crafty stuff

I machined quilted the border of my Perkiomen quilt top.  It looks like bad free-motion stitching, but I think it will grow on me.

I stopped by a big chain craft store to pick up a poster frame, and browsed  in the needlework aisle. I couldn't resist the potholder kit - do you remember these? Making a potholder with stretchy loops on a small weaving frame? And once I had it, I just had to make one:

And here it, finished:

Gosh this took me back.  Actually rather relaxing.  I am hoping to use the frame with more expensive special fibers, and experiment.
Who knows, I may go back and get a knitting noddy.  They are only $4.99....


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weight loss

As you can see from my header, I have lost 14 pounds so far.  Remember I am on a doctor-supervised diet where you lose more quickly than plain diet and exercise.  I hope I can continue at this rate.  I have a conference at the beginning of November and I want to look good.

On quilty things: I layered and did some machine quilting on my Perkiomen top.  I quilted in the ditch - with feed dogs up  as I always do.  It's all I know.  Yes I should try free-motion - maybe later this week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perkiomen quilt top: Blogtoberfest day 6

Ok, so I am not blogging every single day, but I am more active.  I came home early from work to finished my Perkiomen top:

The border fabric is a blue and black print; one I have had for many years.  Scraps were cut into strips for the body of the quilt, so this is a scrap-busting quilt.

The entry with the start of my project is here.
Possibilities are explored here.
Barbara Brackman's commentary on Perkiomen quilts is on her blog, Material Culture.

I also did a set of blocks in 30's reproduction fabrics and need to put those together in a top.  Working with depression-era reproductions is more difficult than you think.  So many of the fabrics are medium in value and it's hard to get the contrast between light and dark in the block.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nosegay quilt - current progress

The nosegay quilt top (also known as Bride's bouquet) is pieced, layered, and being quilted by hand.  As I said in a long ago post, you have to really want one of these to attempt it.

This is my current project, quilted at night while listening to the TV.  I am close to finished with the main bouquets, and then to start quilting the partial bouquets.
I hope to show you more tomorrow on my Perkiomen quilt.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Blogtoberfest begins!

Blogtoberfest is an annual blogging festival started and hosted by tinniegirl, based in Australia.  The post listing all participants is

The idea of Blogtoberfest is to blog everyday, or most everyday.  You can join too.

tinnie is a writer and a crafty girl, so I will be blogging mostly on my quilting and other crafts.  I did get a bit done this summer, but have neglected to update you, my readers, about it.  Now is the time.  Blogging on crafting and creativity is what I did last year too!

Remember my Perkiomen quilt project?  Well I am done with the center (bigger now than what is shown here) and ready to put on borders.  As rain and cold is likely tomorrow, perhaps that is what I will do. 

In addition I have my weight loss journey.  I hope to update the 9 to a higher number in my header, after the official weigh-in.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vintage Thingy Thursday: quilt square

I am joining Coloradolady this week for Vintage Thingy Thursday. See what other people are sharing - click on the icon above.

 Above is a crazy quilt square - somewhat larger than 12 inches square.  It is made out of very scraps of very thin silk, batting, and backing fabric, all held together by the embroidery stitches. 

It is rather delicate.  This came in a set of several squares like this, and I suspect the plan was to join the squares in a qult-as-you-go method.  That would be a challenge with this splitting, raveling fabric. 
  I have this on loan from my quilt guild.  I think I'd best get it back!  It certainly is vintage.

I'm back after a few weeks away.  Happy Vintage Thingy Thursday!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

At the beginning of a weight loss journey

If you have visited my blog before, you may notice something new.  I have a new banner at the top, chronicling my weight loss.  I am not using this service, to tell you the truth.  I am going through a doctor supervised weight loss program near where I live.  It's the kind of diet where you drink special shakes and slowly ramp up your exercise. 

The rewards are high: in 10 days I have lost 7.8 pounds.  But the temptations are high too.  I went grocery shopping for my family today and by the time I was home I was  nearly in tears.  In that whole store there was nothing I could eat or drink - except diet soda - for the next five weeks.  How I want carbs or some real chocolate.  But my husband gave me some hugs and I got over it. 

Rosa is trying to lose weight too - visit her and give her some support.  (And her blog gave me the idea of the weight loss banner!)

Next month is Blogtoberfest, and I'll be checking in with weight loss.  I have a big conference at the beginning of Novemember and I want to  look good!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Heart Friday

I am joining Clytie and Random Hearts.  For more wonderful heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

If you look to the right, you'll see the Astronomy Picture of the Day.  Always, it's a stunning image.  Today, Friday, is an image of the Vela supernova remnant, taken by Marco Lorenzi (Star Echoes).  Do you see something in the upper left-hand corner?
It's a Cosmic heart!
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