Friday, March 29, 2013

Blue Ribbon Nightgown

Before there were the Bobwhites, there was Sherry. She was the daughter of my mother's best friend, Virginia. Auburn hair worn in ringlets behind her ears, freckles across her nose, brown eyes lit by a smile that was always present. We were Halfway Woods friends and Spend the Night Friends and friends who couldn't bare to do anything without the other.

Our mothers purchased matching outfits of stretch pants with heel straps and matching striped shirts that we wore every opportunity we had to be together. Library trips to fill our arms full, pizza parlor trips, a table to ourselves, and 4-H sewing lessons we begged to take.

Plastic raffia sewing baskets filled with supplies, patterns and material tucked under our arms, our mothers dropped us off at an ordinary looking brick house not far from our own homes. We were met at the door by the tiniest and oldest women we had ever seen clothed all in black, a babushka revealing whips of grey hair. She ushered us down her basement stairs where other young girls were huddled together, their baskets and materials clutched close to their sides.

It was then as she assigned us each to our own long table and peddle driven sewing machines that we realized she spoke not a word of English. She communicated by the waving of enormously large sewing sheers, and the flinging about of a yellow tape measure longer than she was tall!

She was all smiles as she patted Sherry's half yard of floral fabric for the elasticized shorts she had chosen to make.

She had nothing but "Mama Mia's" for me as I struggled in vain with the slippery fabric I had chosen to make a slippery nightgown. My fabric simply would not stay put for me to lay out my pattern or stay puddled alongside my sewing machine for me to take a beginning stitch.

Week after week I sat hunched over my assigned machine, the teacher always hovering near determined not to let me give up. "Nastro Azzurro" she would cheer as she helped me manage my slippery fabric. I had no idea what she was saying.

4-H registration forms carefully filled out our last evening of sewing class, our garments turned over to our teacher, we didn't hold much hope for any success at the fair. But there was our teacher standing by our class display, her arms spreading first to one side and then to another. "Nastro Azzuro!" she greeted our astonished faces at seeing each of has had won a Blue Ribbon.

Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Junk in the Trunk Banner

The sunshine is so bright today through my craft room window. The snow is turning to fat drops of water that I can hear dripping from the eaves of my roof. Not yet a day to venture outside, a Junk in the Trunk Banner to make a perfect solution!

The crafts you will find here on my blog are as simple as can possibly be. I want anyone to feel they can give something a go even though they may have very few materials on hand. This is the sum lot of paper I have in my craft room, but I am determined to wiggle a banner out of it.

Don't you always have those certain paper you aren't the craziest about? Those are the ones Perfectly Perfect for this project. I have cut my banner shape as many times as I could from my papers. There will be a front, a back, and any others can be deconstructed to use as a contrast.

THE BEST TRICK I KNOW! Anytime you want to back a printed piece of paper, glue it directly to your background paper AND THEN cut your edge border. LOL! It took me ages to figure out this trick for myself, and I get so mad when I forget it.

PLEASE don't forget to sandwich cardboard between your front and back layers of printed paper. It makes all the difference in your finished project.

With just a basic triangle in front of you, it can be perplexing how to fill all the space. My rule of thumb is to divide the triangle's space once with a portion of the triangle itself (blue strip on top), and once with a different shape all together. I had just enough paper to trace a circle from. Now for the fun part, the junk!

I have backed my circle piece in white and offset it's placement to create movement. Greeting card images I like best are what I call "scenery" cards. Not that they are a landscape, but that a scene of everyday life from a past era unfolds itself for you.  Sigh! I love vintage.  I have used flowers from my State Fair projects that were of a larger size and have mimicked the curve of my circle for my Scrabble tile placement.

Remember not to "float" your elements, but rather let them "waterfall" by connecting them to each other. Using a black and white image of this cute couple learning to knit (what a Peach of a fella) makes my banner cute but not cutesy.

I love my Junk in the Trunk Banner! It has turned out wonderfully homespun and makes me long for warm summer days and the coming of my town's County Fair.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"It Might As Well Be Spring"

I often hope that I am not alone in having my personality traits greatly influenced by ritualistic viewing of the Golden Age of Motion Pictures. I speak of the two-hour matinee absorbed through every molecule of my being while perched on the furthermost corner of our living room sofa closest to our fireplace mantle that held our tiny Black and White.

With after-school parents away providing for the "roof over our heads", a brother once noticed and immediately forgotten, a house blissfully silent but for melodic tones of dialogue, I was left to catalog the person I wanted to become. (Holly's wonderful shaker patterns found here!)

I wanted to become Jeanne Crain. I wanted to be plucky like her Ernestine in "Cheaper By the Dozen", and in love with William Holden just as her Margie would be, and most of all I wanted to be beautifully melancholy as her Margy in "State Fair", hopeful that spring would bring with it True Love.

Musical scores known by heart, I would dance my way around our furniture as graceful as any movie actress only to quickly reclaim my place when Jeanne Crain would speak her next line. I didn't want to miss a moment that I hadn't noticed before.

The thought never occurred to me that Jeanne Crain might be anything other than the characters she portrayed in my favorite films or that I would be setting myself apart from my peers by taking on her demeanor. I just knew that I wanted to be wholesome and kind and someone who was plucky enough to end up with the handsome leading man.

And I am happy to say, I am all of these things; and I did end up with someone who was looking for just those qualities.

 Thank you, Jeanne Crain!

Pattern for ant. Please do not Pin pattern on Pinterest

Friday, March 22, 2013


My husband is on a trip this week to Santa Barbara, California. He is lodged at The Fess Parker Hilton, a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean. He called me poolside to tell me he wished I was there.

He also called to tell me that his pilot, who is female, just had the same knee surgery I will be having, one week ago. As I listened to him tell me this, my mind shifted from my Last Supper preparation mentality to an image of flying a jet plane. I said to my husband, "But I live in a two story house, she doesn't have to use her knees to fly the plane!"

With this new found revelation of mobility, I dressed, donned my makeup, curled my hair, and headed to the one place that minimizes the pain in my knee to joy in my heart, Michaels. I felt like I was going to the State Fair. (Thank you Susan for my Cute As Can Be duck!)

May I tell you that Sandy's Easter Swap has created quite the stir in our community. A conversation with her on the phone led to brainstorming about a future swap inspired by the wonderful Susan who was my partner.

The supplies she sent me both in her Valentine's Day Box and her Easter basket have inspired so many of my recent projects. Wouldn't it be wonderful to receive a box filled with fabulous supplies yourself! The lovely quilt blocks Susan sent me have set the color pallet for a new cast of characters.

I tell you I will Bite the Bullet leading up to my surgery day as I craft my State Fair characters and gather together my VERY BEST SUPPLIES I would like to swap with the person Sandy will match me up with. (after Easter) OH MY Goodness! This little ladybug has been assigned to the Agriculture Exhibit.

"This way please." to the homegrown offerings. Aren't these crocheted flowers absolutely fabulous? They are also presently in Michaels $1.00 bin.

So as I await the dreaded day, I will hold close the well wishes you have left for me and take them with me into the surgery suite along with excited anticipation of Sandy's swap in MAY. Find a cigar sized box to decorate and start collecting YOUR VERY BEST NEW AND VINTAGE CRAFTING SUPPLIES. This swap will be like a day at the State Fair for sure!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Swap Happy

I say "Three Cheers for Sandy" our beloved Hostess of what I believe be known furthermore as our favorite swap ever, The Lake Street Easter Swap.

I was so excited to be paired with Susan, the reader who sent me the wonderful Valentine's Box filled with things she just knew I would love.Such a wonderfully shaped basket filled to the brim with things unseen but hinted at with Cute As Can Be containers.

Inside the blue egg was nestled a vintage bluebird whose egg released cheerful confetti all over my craft desk. How clever!

My characters couldn't help but come in for a closer look at all the craft supplies that came spilling out of the tiny pink box.

As with Susan's Valentine box, there seemed to be no end to lovely things contained within her basket. I had never before seen vintage seam binding. It is fabulously crinkly, and I have already used all of the yellow on my little Nursery Animals.

I hope you are smiling ear to ear at sight of this sweet Spoolie. EAK! the plaid body and matching hat flowers. The red shoes and pearls! Why this could be me! I'm known for always wearing pearls.

As Susan doesn't yet have a blog, I am sharing my gifts to her We must convince her to begin on to better get to know her.. A Wiltons paper Bundt cake form becomes my container to hold my Easter Spoolies.

Susan admired my Spring Bluebird; so I have tucked in one for her as well as one of my bath confetti Easter ornaments. Darn! I forgot to include instructions: "Don't Get Wet!"

Everything in it's place, I used plastic eggs to fill the bottom of the basket to lift the contents into view. Thank you Susan for being my partner and bringing such joy to my day!


As modest as I am about nakedness, I am even more so about underwear. I would much rather be glimpsed in my all-together than my Just-My-Size underwear.

I can only attribute this to my many years in the military where you were required to strip down to your skivvies for even a foot exam. I tell you I have been on "High Alert" these last few days as I've made my rounds regarding my injured knee.

As I filled out paperwork in preparation of a MRI, I asked the receptionist if I would have to wear a gown for the scan. When she told me I could keep my clothes on, I let out a, "Yippie Skippie!" She said, "Pardon Me?" to which I joyfully responded, "I'm so happy I get to keep my clothes on!"

The receptionist then led me through a seemingly endless list of all the possible metal items I might have in my body. I felt as though I had gotten an "A" on a test by having answered "No" to each; but then she paused, and looked me right in the eye. "Do you have any metal in your eyes?"

I tell you I gasped out loud, "Would I know if I had metal in my eye? Do people come here with metal in their eyes?" To which she non-nonchalantly answered, "You'd be surprised." She then had me sign a release stating I knew I could cause major bodily harm to myself and the technicians if I entered the scanning room with any metal on my person.

The receptionist had me then place my purse in a locker which she locked and handed me the key dangling from a telephone cord like bracelet. "You can go in to the scanning room now." I didn't take a step!  I raised my wrist with the dangling key, "What about the metal release form?"

Thank goodness the technician took my key the moment I crossed the threshold of the imaging room. I was directed to lie down on the scanning table as the technician explained that three scans would be taken, each lasting about 17 minutes. He handed me a panic button, placed ear phones on my head, and removed himself to the control panel.

The table began to whir, I felt myself entering the scanner. The technician asked what type of music did I wish to listen to. I opened my eyes and realized my head was just outside the tunnel shaped opening. "Oh my gosh! My head is going to be on the outside? I don't need to listen to any music." He said that I had to as the noise the machine made could harm my ears. "Talk Radio, please"

It was at this very moment as the machine began it's jackhammer like thumping, and my earphones began talking in Spanish, that I realized my underwear was not situated just right. Oh My Gosh! I barely got through the first session trying to keep my mind off my squitchy underwear by desperately trying to recognize familiar words in Spanish.

The technician asked if I was okay at the end of the first session, but what could I say?  "We need to start all over because my underwear is in a bunch?" Let me tell you this was the longest hour of my life!

I go back to my doctor this coming Tuesday to have the scans read. I am already wondering if I will get to keep my clothes on if surgery is called for. Either way, I guarantee you my underwear will be situated!

Please do not Pin pattern on Pinterest.