Lacy Confection

After a stressful week of "What can I do to solve your problem?", I decided I needed to do something for myself.  Yes, I know that's selfish but it's amazing what a pick-me-up a little creativity and a lot of lace can do.

My creamy lacy confection of a purse (ok, it's probably big enough to haul a baby in) is the final product.
I have had this ticking stripe forever but it was so pretty I couldn't cut into it.  This was the perfect project.  I think it is a perfect balance for all the lace and the floral lining.

The bottom most layer is a vintage lace fabric.  It reminds me of the lace on my 1990 wedding dress.

The second, most prominent layer is an antique french lace from the lace ruffled drapes that I detailed last week.  I really love that stuff and still can't believe my great fortune.

The top ruffle is a one inch wide Irish lace.

The bag has three inner pockets, one with buttons, and a flap and button to close it.  The lining is the same floral that I used for the lace eReader cover.

The main set of handles is a bamboo set I bought a few years ago.  There is also a set of long straps for when I need to throw it over my shoulder.  Both handles can nest inside the bag when I don't need them.
It is 13" tall, 15" wide, and 5" deep.  It holds my current crazy quilting block and various other things that we women must have.
I am planning to make some smaller purses for my etsy store soon, so keep an eye out.  In the meantime, please visit the store as I am adding vintage and antique lace to the menu.


Lace, Lace, Lace!!

eReader cover for sale on Etsy
Tiny snips of lace...lace doilies...lace tablecloths...lace ruffles...yards and yards of lace.  How could anyone not love lace???  Especially the antique and vintage finds.  I love the warm colors of antique lace:  ecru, eggshell, tan.  I can sit and stare at old lace all day and marvel at the patience that went into it.  Then, of course, you wonder what a snippet was used to embellish.  Was that medallion leftover from a wedding dress?  Did that ruffle once garnish a little girl's pinafore?  The hours, the dreams, the visions!
I have been through many love affairs with lace.  I can recall what was probably polyester lace around the yellow organza lampshade I had as a little girl.  Then there was the lace on my Gunne Sax style Easter dress (I can remember going shopping for that dress because I loved it so much!)  Scrimping and saving to order a white Battenburg lace comforter set after I married.  Then my husband laid a newly cleaned and oiled gun on the comforter.  Yes, we are still married and no, the stain never did come out.  I made a duvet cover with a fabric covered in violets to stuff the comforter into.  I am a generally very patient person.
These days I invest in antique and vintage lace.  As I learn more about it, I find myself being much more finicky than I used to be.  I can't say that I have a favorite type because they all interest me, from the heavier tape varieties to the delicate bobbin lace.   Even the ones that need extra TLC are welcome in my home because it can be a challenge to bring them back to life.  
Lace still attached to the curtain fabric that I had removed for laundering the lace.

Last weekend I helped a friend with an estate sale she was managing.  As I was pricing the linens (smart girl, that Lisa!) I uncovered a set of drapes dripping in lace.  Nine inches deep, and two and a half yards of lace gathered onto a curtain comes out at a bit over nine yards when removed.
Examples of 3 of the lace fragments

Close-up of one lace
Yes, I have 18 yards of vintage lace.  There are about six different vintage laces that were sewn together and attached to these curtains, probably in the late 80s/early 90s.  I remember those decades, and I do not recall this being the "in" thing.  But I am so glad this woman had it done!  I'm still flying high about my find. 
The baby bonnet from the side and back.

At the same time, I found a lace baby bonnet and a gallon size bag of upholstery remnants that will surely find themselves in a crazy quilt.  All of this for helping a friend.  I realize that there will not always be finds like this, but I can't wait to help her again!

As a bonus, there was this piece of lace on a remnant of bed skirt.  It is luxuriously soft and reminds me of the skirt of my wedding dress in 1990, so I am dating it then.  Not old, but a large piece and it will be really nice to work with.


Crazy Kindle Cover

My mother is permanently attached to her Kindle like my kids are to their cell phones.  So what do you give the woman who has everything for her birthday (especially since the last gift was an Amazon card)?  A crazy quilted Kindle cover!
I researched a few tutorials online and came up with my own design for this thing.
There is a pocket for the Kindle when not in use:

And corners to hold it while you read:

Elastic keeps it all together when in "storage mode."  The elastic I used is not beautiful, but by that point I was ready to pull my hair out and elected to just make do.
I tatted the orange and turquoise laces.  The whole thing is made from quilting cotton so it will wear better than something made from satin, silk, and other fancies.   The colors are much brighter than what I usually use for anything, but are perfect for my mom.
Close-up of lace and silk ribbon roses
I am planning on making a pattern for this cover in general, but leaving the embellishment ideas up to the seamstress.  I will probably also make a few for my Etsy store. 
I've never wanted a Kindle because I love to hold a book in my hand.  I might be tempted to change my mind, though, if I had a cool cover!
The whole thing when laid flat (the butterfly is a pin-no I didn't make it).

Updated 6/13:  See Etsy for the Vintage Lace eReader Cover I have for sale & check back soon for a pattern!



This is my June block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project (for more info, click the button on the left sidebar).  I am mostly happy with it.  It's just the tops on the left that are leaving something to be desired.  But since I'm not sure what, I'm going to just live with them for now.  They are stitched onto felt and then appliqued on.

I am very proud of the sewing vignette.  The petite spools are 1/4" tall.  The sewing machine I stamped onto silk and heat set.  I drew on all of the notions free hand and then embroidered them using silk mori (Kreinik) and floche and flower thread from DMC.  I just discovered those last two.  Why didn't someone clue me in long ago??

By the way, this is my grandfather.  My nephew looks exactly like him.  The picture is from the mid to late 20s. He is also the gentleman in the uniform in an earlier family block from this year.  I have some really cool pictures of him as a baby and toddler in the requisite boy dress.

The 3" windmill is from an Aunt Martha transfer that I shrank.  I added the tank and fence.  When I was growing up, the neighbors had a tank like this that we used to catch tadpoles from.  Life was so much simpler then.  

I have had a lot of trouble getting the red marks from the transfer pencil to go away, but I will keep trying.

One of the first things I put on the block was the trellis using hand dyed silk ribbon and Lizbeth thread as an experiment.  It looked lonely so I embellished it with hand dyed venice lace and more silk ribbon to resemble grapes. 

I used a different color green thread to attach the leaves with the intention of the change to look like veins, but it doesn't work very well.  I will probably rethink this.


Spool Tassel

What sparks your creativity?  Boredom?  Seeing someone else' creation?  A pile of pretties?  Necessity?  All of the above? 
I have a lot of Stuff.  And I come from a long line of people with a lot of Stuff.  Very creative people, so we have lots of cool Stuff.  Ribbon, fabric, notions, buttons, spools, bobbins, baskets, drawers, lace, silver, pewter, broken jewelry, furniture, pillows, needlepoint, the kitchen sink, etc. 
This bobbin is one of many from my parents and the trims on it are from a tag sale by a local lady who thought she had too much Stuff (gasp!)  The lace runner it sits on is from a friend.  It has spots and such, but will someday be part of something even more beautiful.
I also have very creative friends who have lots of cool Stuff.  Friends and family who like to share their Stuff.  Being the youngest in the family, I get a lot of hand-me-down Stuff.  I also get lots of "so-and-so was getting rid of this, so I brought it to you" Stuff.  
Two of the drawers are from my sewing machine and the other is, you guessed it, Stuff to be used.
So what does a creative person do with Stuff from other creative people?  She creates!  Some things end up on the proverbial cutting room floor, but some things are deemed Cool Creative Stuff.  The latest of the Cool Creative Stuff is this tassel made from a wooden spool (I have lots of those), vintage lace, fabric, and ribbons.  I will be using this one on my favorite embroidery scissors so they are easier to find when I drop them.  It's in my favorite color and has lots of feel-good stuff like velvet ribbon and vintage lace.  It reminds me of a crazy quilt or one of those fancy memory books a lot of people are making now with lace and such. 
I have put several of these tassels on Etsy and will be adding more soon.  They are a nice little indulgence for you or a sweet gift for a friend.  And since they are made from Stuff, you can call them recycled. 


Skulls Abound

The second of the four Dia De Los Muertos blocks that I am assembling:
I must admit, these have proved to be very difficult for me.  I really don't know much about the holiday, and I do not celebrate it, so I don't have the right mind set to be creative.  I am sure these blocks will need more stuff, but I am waiting until they are put together.  That's my excuse, anyway.  The fabrics are too busy for much embellishment.
This is my pinata.  It may still need a stick for hitting.  The silk ribbons at the top are supposed to look like streamers.

The tatted cross is the same one, in a different thread, that I made for my last CQJP block.  It goes together pretty quickly and is a nice little cross. 

This skull is made from an Embroidery Library download.  The velvet ribbon is hand dyed and the flowers are from Offray. 

I am very open to suggestions on these blocks.  Ideas? 


New Old Treasure

I recently acquired this beauty from a lady who is downsizing her collections of Stuff.  She was told it was a doll quilt when she bought it, and is circa 1890.  I can certainly imagine a young lady making this as a sampler of sorts.  It is mostly velvets, but has been worn away with time and use.  It is still a beautiful example of crazy quilting.
What Victorian era quilt is complete without a fan?  There is, of course, the requisite seam work on each blade of the fan.  I am enjoying copying these designs on my own quilts.  The real thing is so much better than copying from a book.  Of course, I do have way more books than any sane person should have.

This motif looks like a sunflower to me.  The fabric to the left is a threadbare rose colored velvet and the one below was a gold and orange striped velvet. 

And what girl of Scottish descent can resist the thistle?  One of them has apparently blown away in time, but you can still see where it was.  The background was orange and to the right looks to be an olive green.

Possibly forget-me-nots?  The purple above is still very vibrant.

This is the back.  It is mostly the fabric on top, with a smaller band of the other.  Both were black, now faded to grey.  I think the backing on a quilt can be just as interesting as the top.


May Crazy Quilt Journal Project Block

I love May.  Besides being my birth month, it's not too hot, not too cold, the flowers are blooming, and the garden has new things to discover every day.
Have you ever found that with a crazy quilt you made?  Whenever I look back at a block, I "discover" something new.
This is my 5th block for the 2013 CQJP:

The little girl is my grandmother, circa 1918. As you can see, I tatted a tiny flower for her and embroidered a duck pull toy.  The frame was pinked with my awesome vintage pinking machine and embroidered in an aesthetic style. 
I also tatted the cross from a pattern in Tatting Collage by Lindsay Rogers.  I had originally planned to put it below the picture, but it was too dark.  The lace that it landed on is from my stash of antiques, as is the flower and leaf surrounded by silk ribbon french knots.  Check my etsy page for an awesome holder for your tatting needles, hand made out of Texas mesquite.

The mixing bowl and rolling pin are my own design.  And yes, I do use a vintage wooden rolling pin with green handles.  I think old things should also have a function.  The mixing bowl reminds me of some of the Pyrex bowls that have been passed down to me.
Last but not least, my little tractor.  We do not use John Deere, but love International Harvester.  The design is from an Aunt Martha.  I had to shrink it quite a bit to fit, but it was a lot easier than trying to draw one.


Market Bound

This week I've been getting ready for the Rockport (Texas) Market Day on Saturday.  I've made a casserole tote to showcase that pattern and am working on two of the Bohemian Tile table runners.  The tops are done and I am hoping to get the backing put on them tonight, if I can find something in my stash to use. 
I designed this runner after reading Tile Quilt Revival by Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley.  If you haven't read the book, I recommend it.  They give the history of the tile quilt, tell you how to design your own pattern, and include patterns. 
The tile quilt is perfect for showcasing the big, modern prints that catch our eye, but leave us stumped.  Smaller prints work just as well and let you see the design of the applique pieces.  Speaking of applique, it is not my forte.  But the simplicity of the tile quilt makes applique much less scary.  For Bohemian Tile, I used the light Heat & Bond or Wonder Under and then used a straight stitch inside the perimeter of each shape.  No tucking under or satin stitch.  For a larger quilt, or one that will get a lot of wear, I would probably not use this raw edge technique.  This runner uses 6 fat quarters.
 For these lighter (I think of saltwater taffy) blocks, I used a dark brown thread for my straight stitch. 
On the other runner (orange slice candy?) I used black thread.  These will all be tyed when finished, but could easily be quilted.


Updates & Fixes

You will probably recognize these two blocks from the last few weeks.  I think I have fixed the problem spots.
The first is my CQJP April block.  My son thought the boots and hat needed to be filled in, and he was right.  But we can just let that be our little secret.

Remember the problem with the Dia de los Muertos blocks?  It just needed more something.  I played around with lace roses and other ideas.  Then I stared at pictures of altars for Day of the Dead and decided on a candle.  This is the result:
I found a Sacred Heart picture and designed and printed a candle on printer fabric, then appliqued the glow of the flame and embroidered the flame itself.