Saturday, December 31, 2011

Running late

So my little project for New Year's Day is - ahem - finishing up the Christmas cards.  (Hey, i live in Appalachia, i can claim we're celebrating Old Christmas on January 6th, right?)

I carved the block a while ago - even got my mother to mail me one of the antique reindeer so i could take photos to work from - but there were some technical difficulties with the ink i used to print it and more with getting a workable file set up on my computer (with somewhat limited software offerings, a recent virus, and complete refusal to speak to the network, including the printer...).

Anyway, here's the reindeer block print, and along with it, my best wishes for all of you in the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas bonus

I sold a lot of prints last week, and picked up very welcome consignment checks from both of the stores where i've got them for sale. They've funded a minor burst of last-minute Christmas shopping, chiefly conducted on Etsy and at local thrift shops and used book stores.

Scouring one of the thrift stores - unsuccessfully - for bowls my sister would like, i found (and promptly bought myself) this flour sifter:

Honestly, i've survived a lot of years without a flour sifter, but i do bake a lot, and who could resist adding that much cheerfulness to one's kitchen, for four and a half bucks?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To-do list

The breathtaking late '40s (maybe early '50s) cashmere coat i found doesn't quite fit me, so i can add it to the shop without too big a twinge, but i have plans for a consolation prize: this gorgeous swing coat pattern from my stash - and from about the same date.
I love the full sleeves, and the hand topstitching.  I haven't figured out what sort of fabric i want to use - cashmere would be fabulous of course, but it's an open question whether i can find it, and a bigger question whether i can afford it.  An alpaca blend would be lovely too.  The bad news?  This - like a lot of vintage patterns - is in a teeny, tiny size.  Specifically a 30" bust.  So i'll have a lot of grading to do.  Since the style isn't really fitted, there's some fudge room, of course - once the shoulders and armscye are adjusted, the rest should be pretty straightforward.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Today would have been Grandma's 90th birthday.  We were close, and we had a lot of things in common.  We were both December babies, for one thing, which meant that i could always count on her not to combine my birthday and Christmas presents.  She figured out once that were were the same age - to the day - when we each got engaged.  Her first husband, my grandfather, died of cancer, and she was one of my greatest supports when, three years after, mine did as well.

And so maybe i shouldn't have been surprised...

When i was planning the wedding with my second husband, Grandma, the daughter of a jeweler, took a keen interest in the rings.  And when it turned out that she wouldn't be able to travel to the wedding, we arranged to make a "detour" to visit her and her husband at their home - several hours further south than our intended honeymoon destination - bringing wedding favors and cake.  I knew that pretty much as soon as we sat down, i had better present the rings for inspection - we'd decided on vintage jewelry for me, both the engagement ring and the band.  So when i held out my hands so Grandma could take a good look, i was a little taken aback when she started to giggle... not quite the reaction i'd expected.

I looked up, befuddled, and Grandma said simply, "you're not going to believe this."  And then she scampered (86, and she scampered) back to her bedroom.

A moment later, she reappeared, and pressed a ring into my hand.  "That's the ring my daddy carved for me when i married your Grandpa."

It was the exact same pattern, a wreath of simple orange blossoms all the way around the band.

I had never seen it before - i remember her wearing a wide, plain band of yellow gold.  Hers was slightly thicker, and made in platinum, while mine is white gold.  Mine is actually probably the older of the two - i've only found fragments about the maker, but it looks like the company probably went under in the Depression.  Hers, of course, was custom made in 1944.

I now wear both bands together.  It was the one thing of hers i was really determined to have.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The quest picks up steam

I'd been keeping an eye out for a potential successor to my beloved but increasingly battered bright yellow enamel tea kettle.  In a casual sort of way, you know, to see if the thrift gods would smile again.  But now, the cats have knocked it off the counter and broken the handle and chipped most of the enamel off the spout.  It's done for (and they're lucky to still be wearing their own skins right about now...).

So, i need to replace it.  The criteria are these:

  • No cutesy designs
  • Wide enough lid for easy cleaning
  • It must not make noise. No whistles. This is not negotiable.
  • Leading contenders for material are enamel or copper.
  • I'm on a budget.  Well, actually, i don't even have a budget for this, so i'll be scraping it together out of some other planned expenditure. It wasn't supposed to get busted. So forget all those ones that are priced for rich people who want decor pieces.
  • It can't be too nasty to actually use. Dings and "character" are fine, as i am, after all, looking for a vintage one.

Judging will be entirely subjective.  I tend to leave my teapot on the stove most of the time, so i want one that makes me happy when i look at it.  Have a candidate? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments...