Sunday, March 24, 2019

Thrifting redux

Hey, y'all!

I've been lacking in thrifting lately. My brother's been in the hospital for 4 weeks, and my sister and I try to spend as much time there as possible. He's an hour and a half away, and just traveling takes up a good bit of time.

On top of that, Tom broke his collarbone a couple of weeks ago and will be in a splint for a couple more weeks. Right collarbone; right handed. Makes it rough for him. And for me, who has to do everything he can't.

That's my excuse for not having much to report in the way of thrifting, though I did manage one short stop at Goodwill, where I picked up a few things.

This small planter for one.

I love this piece.  It's hand-thrown and has a great luster. I'm calling it majolica, though it probably isn't.

Wikipedia defines majolica as a type of pottery in which an earthenware clay body is covered with an opaque white glaze then painted with stains or glazes and fired.

This has the earthenware body but aside from one white mark on the very bottom, I found no other indication of a white glaze beneath the color.

Also I got this heavy pair of 3-arm candelabra. They're marked W, which from what I could dig up, is the mark for Boyd Welch. (See note below.) The only other brass I found attributed to him were spiral candlesticks and there were a lot of those.

Best I can tell, Boyd Welch was a glass-blower from West Virginia who, in the '50s and '60s, also made brass.

(Note: Totally wrong on maker, though obviously others have made the same mistake. Turns out pieces made by Baldwin, an American company. Probably from the '80s or so. Boyd Welch was a glass-blower from WV, period, and developed a cool technique in glass, which was lost when he died in a studio fire.)

A pair of marble and brass pillar candle holders came home with me too.

And a Nicholas Moss jug.

I also brought home a bamboo tray, not yet listed

And an Arthur Court dancing elephants bowl holder, also not listed.

All in all, it wasn't a bad half hour shopping. (The little plant holder has to be my favorite piece of all I found.

It's a perfect size for a faux succulent.)

Ta, y'all.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Another Week Thrifting

I didn't have much luck junking this week. Tuesday was colder here than a witch's nose so I stayed home. Wednesday, Maria cleaning day, I dawdled at a couple of thrifts. (I like to give her time to finish before I come home.) 

At the local Goodwill, I picked up a small Chinese vase for a couple of bucks

It's chipped and only about 5" or 6" tall, so I'll be keeping it. The size isn't the issue but the chip is. If I'd looked closer while in the store, I'd never have bought it but I really like it so am kind of glad I didn't.

Also found a metal-clad box for another couple of bucks.

I really like this one, so I'll be keeping it too. The metal has a brassy look but it could be just plain ol' tin.

Since I had to go back into town today, and the weather has warmed up, I hit a couple of thrifts after my pedicure. Found nothing at the first--Library Thrift, which can be a goldmine--but I scored a few items at the second, Good Neighbor, if anyone's keeping track.

Thursdays are half price day--as are Tuesdays, for over 55--so I paid $3 for each: a 9 12" bowl and a 15" x 12" platter. Wilton Armetale Richard and Mary pattern. 

I also found a set of 12 hammered brass napkin rings for $4. (Marked $8.)

The brass doesn't show up as well in this photo--they look more aluminum-y, but they are brass. A couple have even turned green.

At half price, these skeins of mohair were reasonable, under $4 each. Still, 8 skeins of this color and another 8 skeins of pink hit my pocketbook pretty hard. I had to dig deep to find enough cash to cover everything. All will go to my sis, who crochets.

This was one of last week's finds. I couldn't pass it up; it really is well made.
At the thrift store. 

In my guest bedroom.

It had no stand so I've got it sitting on a Chinese dark wood plant/bowl/vase stand. I think it looks good there. I haven't decided what I'll do with it. Another sister, Daisy, loves to sail and of course I thought of her first. But dang, doesn't it look good where it is?

That's all for now. Ta.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

All Things Oriental

I've mentioned before--but who can remember?--that I live in an area with a high population of elderly, a boon when it comes to thrifting.  (Unfortunately, I'm nudging at the bottom end of that range now myself.)

I've lately become enamored of things international. Today, Oriental; tomorrow, Mexico; soon, Africa?

This little find was something I stumbled upon on a day when I rarely go thrifting. The hub had an appointment in town so we stopped at my fave thrift store afterward. And I found this:

Chinese Nephrite Spinach Jade Duck Carving. It's small but mighty. (About 2 1/2" tall with a base measuring 5" x 1 3/4".) The carving is magnificent, with the duck pulling a fish from splashing water.

Gouache ancestor portraits on silk. These are fairly large, about 16" x 22". I find things, text a photo to my sis, who does the research while I shop. Found one of these, texted her and she sent me a link for a pair that were way expensive! But I only had one. Then a thrifting friend, who just happened to be in the same store, found the second one. Yay!

Extra Large Hand Painted Porcelain Charger. At 18" diameter, this one makes a statement. It's hard to capture the size of it in a photo, and even the dimensions doesn't make it seem all that large, but it is large.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Lidded Jar. Another statement piece. At almost 12" tall and 13" in diameter, it dwarfs my 4-person kitchen table. Otherwise, I think I'd use it in my own home. I can see it as a centerpiece on a large dining table. (Again, the dimensions don't make it seem as large or impressive as it actually is.)

Hexagonal Porcelain Vase with Figural Pomegranate Handles. At 14" tall, it commands attention.

Hand-Painted Porcelain Vase. Another attention getter, also 14" tall.

Japanese Patinated Bronze Solifleur Vase. At 8 1/2" tall, this has a very delicate look but, being bronze, it's hefty in weight. .

Chinese Blue and White Peacock Bowl. It has a chip but was so beautiful and so obviously old I couldn't pass it up.

Just a small taste of the Chinese/Japanese/Asian/Oriental things I've found recently, but most definitely enough for one posting. Check SumpnSassyVintage if you'd like to see more.

Ta, y'all.

Friday, February 22, 2019

And she's back!

I'm really into thrifting these days, and not so much into decorating/crafting, so decided to share my thrifting finds here. I can't wait to share them all!

I'll start with these pre-Columbian/Mayan replicas I found at auction. It's been a while--and I've since sold one and given one as a gift--but I'm still really pumped about them. They were part of the estate of a long-time collector.

Chacmool terracotta replica sculpture, signed Mexico. There are a couple of chips on this one, right front corner. Otherwise great condition.

Colima Pottery Dog Vessel, terracotta replica sculpture, unsigned. There are several chips on one ear.

Sculpted Head of King Pakal. Perfect condition.

Jalisco Terracotta Female Effigy Figurine. Also perfect condition.

Mayan God Sculpture. One chip on nose.

Pre-Columbian Style Standing Female Terracotta Figurine. Also a chip on nose.

Toltec Warrior Statue. Perfect condition.

Meso American Style Terracotta Colima Dog. This was my favorite--and the one I think was worth the most--hence a gift for my long-time friend who collects these.

Colima Terracotta Dog. This was the smallest, and the one I asked the least for. In selling it, I made back my investment in all. Yay!

Laters, y'all.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Christmas Stocking Sewing Tips

November’s here, and I’m sure you have lots to do before the holidays, but there’s still time to make Christmas stockings.

No, this isn't a tutorial, just a few tips from a longtime sewer.

For stocking patterns, you can find any number online, anything from plain unembellished to perky-toe jester stockings.

Amy at Positively Splendid made hers small enough to hold flatware, but I like the curvy shape so adapted it for big stockings.

Image by Amy at Positively Splendid

It was easy enough to enlarge on my printer. I can’t remember how much bigger I made it; I’ve been using it for several years. I just kept making it larger until it looked big enough, then moved the pattern around until I had several bits I could tape together to make a whole. The finished stocking made from my pattern works out to be 6” wide at the top, 15” from top to toe and 9 1/2" wide at the bottom.

For putting the stocking together, I found this technique at Diary of a Quilter.

Image by Amy at Diary of a Quilter

This method works great with a lined, uncuffed stocking, like this.


For a simple straight cuff, here's another easy method from Sew Like My Mom.

Image by Melissa at Sew Like My Mom

This will be my new go-to for straight cuffs, but that’s not how I did this one.


I used the old put-all-the-parts-together-and-stitch-one-great-honking-seam-all-the-way-around technique. Like this.

Source Vanilla Joy

The jester style cuff on this stocking came from a pattern I found at Sew 4 Home.


It didn’t fit my preferred stocking pattern so I adapted it my own way, with ruler and pencil. Enlarging with the printer would have been easier, but that would have required leaving the studio and coming back into the house. I had to weigh drawing with a pencil and paper against walking the 50 feet or so back into the house. What can I say? I'm a slug.

I drew out the pattern for this scalloped cuff too. I cut it from felted wool and didn't have to sew curves. Easy peasy.


This cuff was also from Sew4Home. Theirs has the point at the back; I put mine in the front. (The only alteration I had to make to fit this to my stocking pattern was to use slightly wider seams on the stocking. No biggie.)


I’ve used a number of upcycled fabrics for my stockings: the herringbone wool of the scalloped cuff stocking and the blue and brown wool with the hopsack cuff stocking were both found at the thrift store. The crewel for this stocking


and the jester-cuffed plaid above were upholstery samples; this cream wool


was a leftover bit of felted wool blanket, the one with the girl in the blue dress was made from pieces of embroidered doilies sewn to a muslin base, and the crimson velvet was made from an old table runner. The only new bit of fabric I used was the hopsacking on the blue wool.

For embellishment, I love the look of pompoms. I’ve tried a few methods in my time and have discarded them all for a tool I can always find: my hand. For small poms, I wrap the yarn around 2 of my fingers as many times as will give me the size I need. For larger poms, I use 4 fingers.

When adding poms to cuff points, I thread a strand of yarn onto an upholstery needle and stitch through the point. After wrapping around my fingers, I use the threaded yarn to tie the pom off, trim with cuticle scissors (The curved blades are perfect for this.), and voilà!

Tassels would also make good embellishments, as would trim. Or buttons as I did in the cream wool stocking.

Any sewer knows the imperative to iron the seams. It's as necessary in making stockings as in any other project, though not always as easy. I keep an iron on a small table next to my sewing machine, but I also keep a flat iron (hair straightener) nearby. It makes a handy small seam presser.

I made the small ham ages ago and it's bedraggled, but it works. (I have a large one as well, just don't need it often enough to keep it handy.) It'll fit for ironing in the cuff and top part of the stocking, but for the rest I use a rolled-up fragment of fabric--muslin works great.

Clipping curves is also important in stocking making. The pattern I use has lots of innies and outies.

Sometimes you just can't get around having to sew through varying thicknesses of fabric. There are tools you can buy that help with that, i.e. Hump Jumper and Jean-A-Ma-Jig.

Or you can make your own. I bought a Jean-A-Ma-Jig years ago for hemming jeans; it works great, when I can find it. (You see a thread here?) And when I'm sewing I don't want to put everything aside to search. So I fold a bit of printer paper until it’s as thick as I need, wrap it in washi tape and cut out a slit for my needle. Works as well as a purchased tool, better than a purchased tool I can't find!

Finally, a bodkin’s great for turning the tube that becomes your loop, but if you don’t have one, you can use a safety pin. Or follow the directions found here.

Source So Sew Easy

I haven’t tried this--I do have a bodkin, but you know my constant complaint: in my studio, tools are rarely where they should be. My back-up has always been a safety pin, but I think I will give this a try next time my bodkin disappears!

This has been a long, photo-filled post--mostly because I wanted to show off my stockings--but I hope my tips will help someone along the way. Maybe putting them all in one place so you don't have to search the 'net for each and every one will be a good thing.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Free Motion Quilted, Dye-Painted Tea Cozy

As a native Texan, I grew up drinking sweetened iced tea, but I spent my early married years in Pittsburgh PA where I became a hot tea drinker. Along the way, I learned to love tea cozies.

 Let me show you my latest.

Whenever I thrift shop, I invariably check the linens/crafts area of our local library thrift store. I've found some wonderful pieces there: hand-sewn and appliquéd quilt blocks, needlepoints, cross-stitch samplers. Recently I picked up a quilter's discarded vest project. She'd free-motion quilted and then dye-painted the front panels and then did tests of channel quilting and free motion quilting on pieces of muslin for the back. I don't know why she discarded it. Maybe she didn't. We have a high population of elderly in our area, which is why I find so many good things. Survivors have no idea what to with the left-behinds, especially hand-work, more especially unfinished hand-work.

I had to add some small pieces to the side to make the piece big enough for a small cozy. Even then, it's not that large, a 2-cupper.

This isn't a great shot, but you can see I channel quilted the sides with a narrower quilting than the piece I used for the back. I did this on both sides.

For that, I used the largest piece the original quilter made--the channel quilting. I had to add a small piece to each side of this as well, but that was caught up in the seam. 

Then I made a tab out of stash muslin. You can't even tell it's a different dye lot. (Maybe it isn't. Very likely the original quilter bought hers the same place I bought mine and maybe even from the same bolt. Is that eerie, or what?)

I didn't line the cozy. The back was quilted with batting, the front with a padding.

Kinda cool innerds, innit?

Here she is again, the final product. Don't you think it has a charm to it? The original quilter's work wasn't perfect, the dyeing is just a tad off-kilter but it has an enchanted modern-art feel to it. It's currently listed in my Etsy shop here.

And I still have enough to make another, though next time I think I'll go for a 4-cupper.