Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Old Linens

I love old linens. For me, they bring up images of ladies from another generation who embroidered,  crocheted and knitted. Luckily, I live in an area known to have the oldest population in the U.S. and am generally able to find any number of discarded lovelies. I picked up a few at the thrift store today, which  I'll sort through and post pics of tomorrow.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share some on offer in  my SumpnSassyOldStuff shop and some which I've already sold. They all came either from thrift stores, yard sales or auction, my fave places to noodle around in.

A lovely embroidered rick-rack-trimmed set of three. These are definitely dish towels and I love their bright colors. I used to keep a towel hanger with one of these on it beside my kitchen sink.

These are handkerchief-weight linen with embroidered silhouettes and tatted lace. They'd be lovely in a guest bath.

Can you imagine the work that went into crocheting the edging on these gorgeous pillowcases? I remember that my mother could do work like this in no more light than that cast by the tiny television screen.

The following are pieces I've already sold, but which are still lovely examples of things I've found.

This is a lovely embroidered pink linen. I'm in awe of the skill that so many of this generation seemed to think unremarkable.

These were pristine, never used. The maker had drawn a line for her crochet design and then didn't follow it. The line was still there, showing what was meant. For me, it made them even lovelier, demonstrating how whimsy can take one unintended places.

This was a beautifully made gingham apron with cross stitch embroidery and pleated waist. I could imagine a '50s housewife wearing it on a Sunday. It was clearly only for special days.

This was a real find! Fifty beautifully crocheted matching linen napkins: again, for anyone who crochets, the amount of work involved is staggering to imagine.

Another of my lovely hand towel treasures, this one yellow linen with a gorgeous lace accent.

And yet another, with scrumptious cutwork embroidery.

Still more--As you can tell, I have a passion for hand towels!

This green was gorgeous!

And the cupid design on this one was quite special.

I'm lucky to have a thrift shop nearby that treats finds such as these so beautifully. They're always carefully laundered and pressed. If I find a stain, as sometimes I do since they are vintage items, it's quite easy to remove the stain with the Biz and Dawn method. 

What do you look for at your favorite places? Would love to have your comments!

Monday, April 28, 2014

More Whimsy

When I start a tassel, I have a picture in my mind of what it'll look like when done. Rarely ever does reality match imagination. I'd like to say this new one met or exceeded my hopes, but I'd be lying if I did. I'm still not sure I love it...but I like it. Does that count?

For this one, my inspiration was a skein of Fair Trade gold ombre sari silk yarn. (I like buying Fair Trade products. It's little enough to do.) The idea of the yarn gave me the nudge to go with gold for the bit in the middle of the top and black and white is sorta my tassel signature. From there I kinda went wild. I mean, why not turquoise and purple?

By the time I was done with the head, it was not what I had in mind for the gold so I put that aside and moved on to a bit of sari silk I picked up several years ago. (Also Fair Trade)

The skirt looks much different than the above photo, but, I promise, it was made from this skein.

The misshapen top on the tassel head is a vintage ceramic bead. I like the contrast of its free form  against the symmetry of the painted wooden pieces.

The turquoise balls are felted, the cord on the hanging beads twisted from embroidery thread and the hang cord twisted from crochet thread.

The diversity of the tassel is that it looks different from every side because of the variance in the yarn. 

What do you think of my color choices? Do you think the skirt is too long? (I'm still contemplating that last question.) I appreciate any and all comments! Thanks for visiting.

(BTW I'm working on my blog layout. I hope soon to have my wider format synced up with the background without overlapping. Until then, bear with me please.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Little Bit of Whimsy

Webster's defines whimsy as a fanciful device, object, or artistic creation. (The paraphrasing's mine.)

I like whimsical things. Left alone, I probably would have much more of it in my home, but I still manage to squeeze in a bit. Since I'm currently working on some whimsical tassels,  I thought I'd share a little of the whimsy in my home.

This is the top of my pantry cupboard. Not a whole lot of whimsy except for the rooster. Him I love, though I never was on the rooster wagon.

I'm not sure which of the Poultry in Motion figurines mine is, but it appears to be out of production. IMO, the one above isn't as whimsical as mine but it gives an idea of it.

This is the top of the entertainment cabinet in the living room. I guess the parrot is the most whimsical on top, but the Catitudes figurine on the top shelf knocks it out of the park! He too is out of production. 

 Again, this isn't the same as mine, but similar. Love the attitude in these figurines!

A shot of the top portion of the entertainment cabinet.

And a closer, fuzzier, view of the top shelf.

The lawyer's bookcase in the living room--the green vase I picked up at a thrift store. I added the feet and the strip along the top. What is it about black and white that amps up whimsy?

Another thrift store find. I have no idea where this came from originally but am assuming it was something to do with a cemetery or burial plot. I like the sentiment, though I rarely need to be commanded to rest!

Doncha love cats with attitude? This guy may be holding a tray but he certainly doesn't look servile. He reminds me of something Egyptian, a sort of Bastet without adornment.

The lawyer's bookcase in my entry: Okay, not much whimsy here, at least as I define it, but, living in Texas, the quilted lone star appealed to me.

And my mud room. The painted fish came from Mexico, a gift from a friend many years ago. At the time, we had a lake house at Texoma and this hung on the beam between the living room and kitchen.

For one last bit of whimsy, this is a shelf of the lawyer's bookcase in the living room. (It's not hard to see that I'm a cat lover, is it?) The palm tree was a yard sale find. It captures perfectly the look I'm trying to achieve in my tassels, more of which to come.

So are you a fan of whimsy? Does your definition of whimsical equal mine? Love to hear your comments!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nothing so homey

As a cat amongst the pillows.

Tomorrow is the 12th anniversary of when we brought Max home. He was a scrawny feral kitten, between three and four months old. Now he's fat and happy--and mean as a snake. But we love him, and he totally rules the roost!

My sister, Ginger, wrote a poem for me about Max a while back. I posted it a couple of years ago, but, in honor of the anniversary, I thought I'd copy it here along with the pictures from that earlier post. (As you can see, Max does like the pillows!)


As darkness fell
I knew that I must
Try to find some food.
I crossed the road and down I went
Into the neighborhood.

First house was dark, 
As was the next
One sitting right next door
So on I trudged with hopeful heart.
Oh, my, how many more?

I finally caught a glimpse of light.
It was just down the way.
So off I went to see if it
Would serve me food today.

It was October, long ago,
When I ventured out
One lonely night to find some food.
Who knew how it'd turn out!

They sat behind their dinner plates
O'er at the sister's house.
I heard the laughter from inside,
Stayed quiet as a mouse.
Then all at once, I saw the thing
Its hair was long, and then
She ran for me, and I was scared;
Around the house, I went.

We hissed and spewed
And meowed and pffffft,
Made lots of noise, and then
I heard the door;
It opened wide,
And then it shut again.

Oh, yes, it closed...most right away,
I heard the whisperin',
"This door, I will not open 'til
You promise to take him."

How could she know,
My person, then,
That I would be just right
To change her world and curl right up
Within her bed each night.

She'd lost her love of many years.
He was her soul-mate fellow.
Imagine her surprise to see...
Came in yellow.

Well, it was tough to get to go
Home with my chosen one.
Her family begged and pleaded with
That grumpy, big ol' one.

He finally let her take me home.
I tried so to stay calm.
I later learned to love him, though.
You know, his name is Tom.

Well it was tough to get them trained
To do just as I bade.
But now it's sweet and happy times.
Oh, meow, I've got it made.

We've moved just once,
But that's okay.
I really love it here.
Although they tick me off sometimes
By sitting in my chair.

It didn't take me long to get
That door to slide my way.
And now when they're not looking
I'll slip outside to play.

They do their best to keep me close.
You oughta see that gun.
That water squirts at least a mile.
Oh, my, oh, my, it's fun.

I run inside to get away.
I hope that I can make
It to my chair before they do
Cuz then I'm finally safe.

They think it scares me, but oh, no.
No better time have I.
Water stream is closing in.
Oh, me, oh, my, I'm sly.

And even when they let me out
I have to stay real close.
I wave my tail high in the air
and sniff with my pink nose.

The morning is my favorite time.
The land is cool and still.
I'll slip away if there's a chance.
I know I'm such a pill.

She just won't let me go out far.
Imagine her dismay
When I sneak off
All by myself;
It really makes my day.

Don't think it's always easy, though,
That I live without a care.
Sometimes I have to get real tough
When there are strangers there.

There was a little lady that
used to come to clean.
She came into my person's room
I had to act real mean.

Geez, I wouldn't really hurt her,
But she sure got really sore.
It took her thirty minutes to
Come out that bathroom door.

She's no longer with us,
Killed two birds with one stone.
Maria comes and shines our place
I'm never left alone.

One time I thought my person
Was a booger bear that night.
I saw her walking to the back.
She gave me such a fright.

I growled and hissed and scared her off.
Imagine my surprise
To see her coming through the front.
Could not believe my eyes.

I felt a little bad for that.
Was I wrong? Oh, I suppose.
But when I think back on that night
I get to laughing so darn hard
That milk comes out my nose.

Oh, yes, I love my persons,
My mom and big ol' dad.
I am the luckiest yellow cat
This world has ever had.

I'll be sitting right here forever.
Nowhere I'd rather be
Than sitting at my window sill
Just him - and her - and me

Friday, October 11, 2013

Buttons and Such

I love embroidered fabrics, love embroidering fabrics. There are so many ways one can use them.

Years ago, my sis and I visited an upscale fabric shop in Austin and found a silk with hand-embroidered bullion roses. I fell in love with the fabric, but it was too rich for my budget so I grabbed a sample and have mimicked it several times. Here's a pillow I made as a gift.
This began as a plain silk pillow found at the thrift store. Adding the roses notches it up a tad, don't you think?

Lately, I've been doing embroidery in smaller patches for covered buttons.
This started as a simple linen onto which I stitched french knots. When I saw it in my head, I thought understated would work, but once it was done, it didn't for me so I tossed it into the button box. A couple of years later, I decided to amp it up. The stitches aren't my best--bullion stitches are a tad difficult on an already-covered button. Still, I like it worlds better than I did.

This sachet was made of a piece of ribbon embroidery I did ages ago and never put to use.
And here, I've used a hand-embroidered covered button to accent a pillow I whipped up from an old Battenburg lace tablecloth.
A closer look at the button:
Does it look like a bird to you? 
How about now?

I think it does, think I'll have to try doing one that more definitely is cuz I like thinking of a tropical many-colored bird on a button.

I'd like to hear what you have to say about embroidery--on a button, or a pillow, or a sachet. Is it something you'd use in your home or does it feel too old-fashioned? All comments appreciated, y'all.

I've linked this post to Timewashed's Blissful Whites Wednesday. Check it out here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Checking In

Things have been pretty hectic around here for a while. We've had illness in the family, and all my attention has been on that. That's in a holding pattern right now so I thought I'd post on my current projects.

First some background: about a year ago, I was approached by an author regarding a book she was writing about tea cozies. She wanted to use a picture of one of mine in her book.
I gave her my permission for the one pictured above, and then again when she asked to include the one  below.
In our conversations, she mentioned the Pearly Kings and Queens of London and wondered if I'd ever thought to use them as inspiration for a cozy. I'd heard of them but had never been so inspired. Ah, but once she mentioned it....
It's a loose interpretation, and I don't love it, but it took hours and hours of work, and I'm not about to start all over with something that might please me more.

The final thing I have to show today is also button-related. I've seen--and admired--embroidered buttons on Etsy and thought I might try my hand at it. So I did one that was all over French knots. I was so underwhelmed I let it sit in my button box. The other day I came across it and wondered what I could do to kick it up a notch.
And yes I know my bullion stitches aren't to brag gable--barely showable--but I claim the difficulty in embroidering an already-covered button! I'm thinking this one I'll use as an accent on a matelasse pillow. More to come later.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pinterest Copycat

As I've come into a lot of doilies recently, I've been scouring the 'net for ideas for them, concentrating on pillows. I'm not that fond of those with a doily stitched full-on onto the front. Because I had one in the '70s, which I loved, the idea now seems dated to me. Anyway, I found this one that I really liked.
It's from a Turkish blog called Moab Like Braids. I liked it so much I decided to try one myself.

The pillow I made from a discarded matelasse bedskirt, ergo the size: 12"x12".  The doily was one of a pair I picked up at a thrift store.  I think they're gorgeous with the bunches of pouffy grapes. To that, I added roses leftover from another project, the lighter one of felted cashmere, and the two darker of felted camel hair. The images in the pocket are from Graphics Fairy--naturally.
So how'd I do? Is it bothersome that my pillow comes out lighter than the original? Shall I do a muslin for the next, since I still have another grape doily? (The doily shows up lighter in this pic than it actually is.) I'd love your comments.

I'll be linking to The Graphics Fairy Brag Monday and later in the week to Timewashed's White Wednesday.