A couple of weeks ago we were at the St. Vincent DePaul’s waiting for their thrift shop to open when the little ladies that work in the store started coming out to pick up the previous night’s donations and take them inside. Loving Husband and I noticed that one woman in particular would kick something every time she walked through; it made a loud skidding noise every time she would boot it out of her way. Once some of the boxes and bags were cleared we could see that what she was kicking was a very old and very ornate BIBLE! I’m not religious really, but I don’t feel that you should kick a holy book from any religion, especially not the bible if you work at the church thrift store of all places! LH had already picked it up by the time she came out again and had asked her if they could price it so that we could buy it. We have a friend who is a youth minister and who loves books so, we thought that even though it was a little worse for wear he would love to give it a home. She was a little mean, but said that she couldn’t sell it because it was in bad shape, but she would give it to us. We thanked her heartily, packed it away in the car and went on into the store to look around.
When we got home I was able to really look at it closely. It was very lovely and the only damage to the entire thing was that the front and back covers had both become detached. It was HEAVILY embossed, had real marbled paper front pages and was covered in gold gilding. It was jam packed full of illustrations, probably 1,000 of them easily, several were etchings covered with tissue. It had dictionaries for several different things including the plants and animals mentioned in the bible. This was the Mega-Super-Duper-Director’s Cut edition of the bible for sure! It was made by the National Publishing Company in the 1870′s and was sold door-to-door. I will try to get a photo of the cover as soon as I can and I will add it above, we passed it on to our friend before I was able to locate my camera from the move. For some photos of very similar bibles and a little history lesson about these beautiful books, visit The Antique Salesman Bible Sampler Store at Windmill Ministries.
My favorite part of this bible and the part that I am making available to you here, was the family history/genealogy pages scattered throughout the book. I would have loved to have found someone’s family story there, but this book was completely blank. In the end it was easier to scan and clean up the pages for reprinting because there was no writing on them, so I guess it worked out for the best. I have sized each page to 8.5″ X 11″ in Adobe Photoshop, but since they are JPG files you can re-size or alter them however you wish. I have put them all into this one zip file for easy download or you can right click on each image and save them individually if you don’t wish to have all 8. I was so taken with the colors and Victorian designs that I had to share them with you all.
I decided to list these now so that everyone would be able to have them printed in time for the holidays. I do a lot of genealogy research and I plan to print some of these out on card stock, fill them out with a nice calligraphy pen, bind them and give them as a gift to family members who are interested in our history as well. What a great gift for a parent or grandparent or even for the younger generation, to show them a little about where they came from and who they are related to. Another idea is to print them out on normal grade paper and mail them out to your older relatives along with a note asking them to fill out any information that THEY might have about your family’s (or their own personal) history and then to bring it with them to wherever you gather for the holidays. You will have a wealth of personal information about your relatives and what they could remember of the past to add to your Gen files. Everyone will feel like they have made a special contribution to your efforts as well. You could even sit around and discuss the information which might lead to recollections even older than what people originally listed on the sheets. Whatever you do with these scans, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I plan to because they really are just too lovely to go to waste.
I’ve been waiting to show you this project for a long time and I finally got my hair to work out long enough (thanks to a sideways clipped bang extension) to take a decent photo of my finished hat (above) so that I could complete the post. I’m not entirely sure what you would call this style of hat exactly. I know that it resembles a “halo hat”, but a true halo hat has a band almost like a huge beret, so that’s not it. I’m going to go with “1940’s large brim hat”. I became inspired to try this out when I was at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago and saw a hat partially sticking out from under one of the racks. It was covered in dust and looked like it had been kicked all around the store before it ran and hid under some hanging sweaters.
With only part of it showing, it looked a lot like one of the 1940’s large brim hats that I see in old movies or in photos from that era like those in the images above. It also reminded me of the turquoise and black velvet version of one of these hats that I bought several years ago which you can gaze upon below. I have a small collection of hats, but only one brown one, and that’s a pill box. I thought a brown hat in this style (because the hat I saw was brown felt) would be a perfect addition to the pile. When I picked it up and saw that it was $2.50, its fate was sealed and into the cart it went.
The biggest mystery of a hat to me is how they shape the form. I can decorate a hat 20 ways to Sunday, but the actual construction secrets have always eluded me. Being able to start with an already constructed base and transforming it into what I want ended up being so easy that anyone can do it! The hat I used here was a J. Lo style floppy wool hat.
Below is a gallery with photos of the restyling process that are accompanied by instructions, which will help you form the basic “frame” of the hat. What you do to customize the hat is up to you and really, the sky is the limit. I covered mine with brown velvet (which was the leftover hem from an old pair of IKEA drapes) and made a band with a side scrunch (which was a leftover strip of wool from and old suit that I tore apart many moons ago.) I would estimate that the entire thing cost me under $4, and that was just because of the spray adhesive I used when covering it.
I am absolutely in love with this new Singer sewing machine! The 160 was created to celebrate the 160 year anniversary of the Singer brand. In recent years, have you seen anything as sleek and sexy as this come on the market? I love the black color, the lines, and the gold accents! It is just simply stunning and is a great modern adaptation of its sisters of past days. I would love to buy one, but alas, they are currently SOLD OUT! Listing price on the Singer website is “$500 and up.” They were never sold via the Singer website however and were ONLY ever sold by the Home Shopping Network for $375. I can only imagine WHY they chose to go that route. If they had given a few of the major craft bloggers one of these (for only a fraction of what they paid HSN I can assume) and told them to write about it, the word would have been out and they would have sold 12,000 units instead of 6,000. Once they see this thing, who wouldn’t want one? I cringe at the thought of it only being available to people who can sit in front of the TV 24/7 and watch for it, what about the rest of us? My mind flashes to all of those episodes of Hoarders where they find stacks of unopened boxes with HSN printed down the sides that have gotten wet and rotted, covered in bags of… well you know what’s in those bags if you watch the show. Just the thought of one of these meeting a fate like that hurts me inside. There is no word as to if these will ever be in stock again, although I did see Singer respond to someone else that they will eventually be available in the UK, so they must have more stashed somewhere. I asked if they had any plans for selling this anywhere else, or only on HSN and I received no response.
Now for some information about the machine itself. The features of this machine include; 24 Built-In, SwiftSmart Threading System with automatic needle threader, OneTouch Stitch Selection, Simple Stitch, Quick View Stitch, Drop & Sew Bobbin, Presser Foot, Extra-Large Sewing, Drop Feed Quick Start Guide, Machine Intro DVD, All-Purpose Foot, Zipper Foot, Buttonhole Foot with Underplate, Blind Hem Foot, Satin Stitch Foot, Pack of Needles, Bobbins (Class 15J), Thread Spool Caps, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt, Needle Plate Screwdriver, Seam Ripper / Lint Brush, Soft-Sided Dust Cove, Instruction Manual, Power Cord, Foot Control, Fringe Foot, Cut & Hem Edge Attachment, Narrow Hem Foot, Roller Foot, 1/4″ Foot, Cording Foot, Darning & Embroidery Foot, Open Toe Foot, Invisible Zipper Foot, Flower Stitch Attachment, Carry Bag with Should Strap, Sew Retro: A Stylist History of the Sewing Revolution book and The Invention of the Sewing Machine booklet.
I’m leery of new machines though, having spent a small fortune on one several years ago that resulted in total disaster and complete loss of several hundred hard earned dollars. My machine worked for just under a year, I never put heavy stress on it and used it maybe 20 times total due to some unexpected interruptions in my life. When it quit, I was able to return it for the same model, because it had been less than a year since I had purchased it. The second machine was again, not used very much, and then promptly died just out of service terms. We paid a repair man $40 to evaluate the machine, he basically walked in, saw that it had a digital screen and said that it couldn’t be fixed and would be cheaper to buy a new one. With some of my own investigations, I found that it was one of the plastic pieces inside that had broken. After hours on the phone with the company, $30 and several weeks, I received my tiny part. The machine worked for a day or two and then locked up and would never work again. Loving Husband took it out into the driveway and smashed it with a baseball bat, making us both feel MUCH better. In the process of dealing with new model machines that are poorly crafted, I had not only lost my sanity, but also an agreement with a widely distributed plus-size women’s magazine to provided enough vintage style dresses to them for an entire photo shoot.
While this heinous machine was NOT a Singer, it has still left such a bad taste in my mouth for any machine with a digital read out and lots of buttons on it that no matter how badly I might want one, I’m not sure if I could bring myself to lay out that kind of cash again. I currently have three machines, 2 of which work (the third, an old 1940′s Singer, needs the cord replaced and a new belt.) The one I regularly use is a Brother, the Project Runway limited edition machine. Although this machine is a newer model, it has very few bells and whistles. It does need to be cleaned VERY frequently and jams often, but for the most part it has served me well, costing only $130 when I purchased it new. I grew up with my father’s industrial Nelco machine that sounded like a helicopter taking off, but would sew through a tin can. It is goldenrod yellow and the case is taped together. As the story goes, someone was robbing the building that my father’s office was in when he worked in Hollywood and they fell through the ceiling, landing right on his machine and busting the case, but not even scratching the machine. My most recent machine is an aqua Singer that I purchased at a small flea market for $24. The lady was quite snotty about the fact that she had a new machine and no longer needed this one even though it worked perfectly, so I was fine with taking her abuse and the machine. It is a basic unit and makes a lot of noise, but as a backup machine it works in a pinch. The big question is, I squeak by with the machines that I have, and as much as I would ADORE one of these new Singer 160’s, am I willing to put myself (and my money) out there again, only to have my heart broken?
Singer did finally reply to my inquery as to when or where these will ever be available to the general public by saying: “Yes, The SINGER 160 sewing machine will be available in other retailers in the future. We will be updating our website soon.”
I haven’t been writing my regular thrifting posts as I used to, so I have a few months worth to catch up on with this entry. I figured that I had better not wait any longer before I became overwhelmed trying to remember what everything cost me. Items that I have bought for the shop are not included in this (or any) of my thrifting posts. Yesterday morning we went to a nice estate sale. I was after a couple of mid-century modern Dansk pans, but the guy who’s wife sent him to sit in the freezing car at 5am so that he could be the first on the entrance list got to them WAY ahead me! We still found some pretty interesting things though. The best part was the house itself; it had 1950′s appliances in the kitchen and a section at the back of the library that was a step down into an area of loose gravel flooring. Often times the house can be more worth waiting in line than the contents that are for sale. I was overjoyed to not only be able to get this shelving unit above before any other thrifter did, but to get it for only $10! Each shelf is slightly larger than the dimensions of a piece of paper and they start out at the bottom being 3 or 4 inches apart and slowly graduate to wider separations at the top. There are 28 shelves not counting the bottom. It is all handmade and meant to be recessed into a wall. All I need is a little paint and to put a back on this and it will be the PERFECT edition to my craft room at the house… especially when paired with my vintage pattern case below!
I’ve had pretty good luck finding awesome and inexpensive craft room items. Take this aqua blue 1967 Singer 347 sewing machine made in Great Britain for example; it still works great and is used as my back-up machine. I bought it at a little local flea market for $24 and it cleaned up brilliantly!
If you are interested in seeing some of the other great finds I’ve made, I’ve provided a gallery below.
I found a website a couple of years ago that I wanted to mention here because I have found so many awesome patterns on it that I can use for my embroidery. I know it’s not much to look at, but the content it amazing! I call it Historic Embroidery Pattern Books for short because the name is VERY long. The owner of the blog has scanned vintage cross stitch pattern books from Germany, Russia, France and more. You can either save the image to use as a pattern or download the digitized copies of the pages in various stitch software formats. Check it out if you like to antique embroidery, you’ll probably find something you like!
If you are anything like me, you LOVE vintage sewing supplies, especially buttons! This mess (above) is what my button hoard started out as. To be honest, I really didn’t think that I had THAT many buttons. So many colors and styles, the list of possible uses is endless, I guess that’s why I never throw any of them away. Three years ago it was pretty much limited to what came as extras when I bought a new piece of clothing and a few that I had salvaged off of clothing that was too far gone to be donated. A “friend” (at the time) gave me a bag of tan and grey buttons and I hit a streak of REALLY good luck at thrift stores and garage sales. Then we went to the huge flea market in Elkhorn, WI where I was able to find a bunch more to add to the pile. We went to an antique store where I bought a giant glass jar of vintage and antique buttons for $8. Many of those were bone, real mother of pearl and glass. When they had the floods in Tennessee last year Loving Husband had to go down there for two weeks and basically keep watch over a room full of servers with important info on them because the people who normally worked at that base were trying to clean up their homes and he had the right clearances and such to be trusted to do that. When they finally came back to work and were cleaning up their flooded offices, they were mostly throwing away anything that wasn’t very important. He noticed a box FULL of the big black peacoat buttons with the anchors on them. He remembered that I had bemoaned the extortionist prices that people want for them on eBay/Etsy and asked if he could have them since they were just throwing them away and they said sure! So that added 50 more buttons to the list and even in recent months I’ve been able to pick up whole baggies of buttons (like 110 brass buttons for $1) for next to nothing. Even with several large scores, it just didn’t hit home just HOW many I had until I decided to try to organize them and gathered them all into one place.
Boy oh BOY! What did I get myself into!?
Like most things that take me a week or more to do, it is something that I needed to do for my own good. I tried to organize them into baggies once, then into jars, then onto cardstock sheets, then individual cards. There were just too many! I had so many different styles that none of these options were working to my satisfaction. It always ended up as a disaster that spanned several locations around the craft room, but I wanted them centralized. I was sitting here wondering what I could do that would make it easy for me to see them ALL without having to go through bags, jars or cards, but wouldn’t take up a lot of space. I finally decided to keep them in a binder! I took card stock and began sewing my buttons to the pieces of paper by groupings (if they were the same or individuals.) Once I had two cards finished, I used a hole-punch on each piece and taped them together (back-to-back) around the outside edges of the sheets. This made the cards stronger and kept the threads holding the buttons onto the sheets from getting caught on the buttons of the following page. Then, I just put the pages into a 2.5 inch 3-ring binder. I did have to keep a small box for baggies (about 5 or 6) that contain buttons that I have WAY too many of to sew to the large cards. For example, I have 190 standard 2-hole white glass buttons; those are in the box (see below).
The pages inside of the book still look a little on the chaotic side, but with 1,105 buttons that had to be sewn on to them; I was getting rather tired of the job early on in the project. All together I ended up with 1,666 (HA!) buttons that I am keeping. There are about 600 that I will be listing on Etsy in 4 lots and another 375 that I will be giving away in the near future.Below are photos of each sheet so that you can see all of my buttons. For a detail view, you can click the images to enlarge them.
Part of my summer of organization includes decorating parts of the apartment that have been barren since we moved in a year and a half ago. One of these areas is the kitchen. So far the whole thing has just been plain white. It’s painted white with white appliances and I have white tie shades on the windows. It’s a small kitchen, but we do have a little dining nook where we sit to eat dinner. I’m getting so tired of looking at the blank walls! Because Loving Husband is the main chef in the house, I don’t want to go with décor that is too feminine. We’ve been planning on replacing our cookware with something green or gray (in color), but I still love the vintage white look. I didn’t know what to do for a color scheme because sometimes I come across objects for the kitchen that only come in one or two colors and none of them are green or white… so I needed an idea that could accept a rainbow of possibilities if worst came to worst. Since we are both big history buffs and love our heirloom garden, we decided to go with a WWII Victory Garden theme. I LOVE Victory Garden stuff and this theme allows us to pretty much include any veggie or farm related piece we would want to.
Today’s post is focusing on customizing Chef’s towels. I LOVE vintage needle work and embroidered tea towels. I have a TON of cute vintage veggie themed patterns, but I wanted to incorporate a few of my own. My biggest inspirations for this whole room are the WWII Women’s Land Army and Victory Garden posters. If you are unfamiliar with what I mean, you can find examples here and here. The second is a great exhibit called “Beans Are Bullets” that even has period videos. From looking at these posters for a while I found a few emblems and logos that really caught my eye and I turned those into embroidery patterns for my own use. I have decided to share them with you, my readers. Just right click to save the images to your hard drive, then print them out or trace them onto wax paper, pin it to your fabric and embroider away!
The Food for Freedom image was taken from a U.S. Dept of Agriculture poster and the C is from the U.S. Crop Corps (Women’s Land Army) campaigns. The V for Victory with the basket of produce (below) is from an ad for the National League of Wholesale Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Distributors. I did a quickie job embroidering this one on a hankie just to show you what it looks like when it’s completed (at top). I hope you enjoy the patterns!
I’ve recently been lucky enough to find some vintage sewing supplies with some really cool looking packaging and I wanted to share them here on the blog. I have a ton of buttons and needles to organize, so I started this project for personal use. Once I got the items scanned in and cleaned up, I thought that maybe someone else out there might find them useful too! All of these images are free, all you have to do is right click on the images and save each, and then you can print them at your convenience.
These are needle cases. The originals just have a piece of black paper glued inside that the needles are stuck through to keep them from sliding around. These are actual size. Once they are printed out, cut around the edges, fold on the obvious creases and cut the closure slit where you see it on the image. These fit perfectly into little sewing kits. Make sure you keep them somewhere that you normally keep your needles because after all, they are just paper and you don’t want anyone to get poked!
Most of the button or snap cards that I run across are plain or are so badly torn up that they can’t be scanned to create new ones. I was finally lucky enough to find these two above and used them to make the two below. Again, just right click and save the image, then you can print it out as you’d like. You sew the individual buttons onto the card and arrange them however you’d like. I left blank spaces on these images so that you could add your own name or change the size, etc. They print larger than they appear on the screen, so adjust to your desired size. Please only use these for personal use as I use these for my own Etsy shop.
I found this video from Colonial Williamsburg about natural dyes of the colonial period to be very interesting. As you all know we are very interested in the historic and or non-chemical ways of doing things, so this was of particular interest.
I find cool handkerchiefs at estate sales all the time. They are usually priced around $1, so if they are pretty enough I scoop them up. Other than using them for their intended purpose, I think most people draw a bit of a blank as to what to do with them. I thought that they would make cute throw pillows, but they are a bit small for that; they are usually one foot square. I’ve been wracking my brain for cheap ways to add a few small touches of London to our bedroom, but any British themed fabric is outrageously priced, even a lot of the tea towels are far too expensive to cut up and use for pillows. As I was looking on Etsy for something cheap to use, I found a couple of London souvenir handkerchiefs! They were approx $5 each including the shipping, so I ordered them from their respective sellers. I loved the tone-on-tone white designs. They were quickly shipped and arrived safely. I already had my pillow design in mind and was able to start construction a couple of hours after the mail came.
Everything that you will need for this project is shown above. Halfway through the project, I discovered that my red ribbon had a pen mark on it, so I switched over to the white crocheted lace trim that you will see later. Any type of trim that you would like to use is okay, I was just using what I already had laying around. Whichever you decide on, you will need a little over a yard and a half of it. For my pillow I cut two 16X16 squares out of some heavy weight red matte satin. You could go larger or smaller, depending on what size pillow form you are going to stuff it with. You’ll need a measuring tape, scissors, your color choice of thread, a needle, a sewing machine (unless you are going to hand sew all of it), something to mark with and a 7 inch matching zipper. Of course, you also need your handkerchief!
Once you have your squares cut for the front and back of the pillow, take the front piece and arrange the handkerchief in the center of it, securing it with pins. I did a really fast whip stitch all the way around the edge of it to keep it in place. The next step is to apply the trim around this. You could do a simple right angle fold at each corner if you’d like, but I did 4 small gathers to create a ruffle. I also hand stitched this trim onto the pillow, making sure that it was secure. If you want to, you could use the machine for this; I just prefer to put my trims on by hand. Once this step is completed, it should start to look almost like one of those old-fashioned souvenir pillows, which is the look that we are going for!
Match your complete front up to your cut back piece making sure they are FACING each other. Pin them together so that they don’t slip. Now, head off to your machine! Sew up the sides, leaving an 8 inch opening at the bottom. Turn the pillow case you just made inside out and sew the zipper into the bottom opening that you left. I hand stitched mine and reinforced the ends because you know how hard it is to stuff a pillow into that small opening and we don’t want it ripping back open.
Once all of this is done, load pillow into the case, zip it up and fluff! The whole project took me about an hour because of the hand stitching; if I had used the machine I think it would have been closer to 20 minutes. I already had all of my pieces except for the handkerchief just lying around as leftovers from other projects, so my only cost was those hankies. Even if you bought everything new, I think you could come in under $10. I made two, one for each hanky. They just have plain red backs, but you could do a double sided version or whatever you’d like, really the sky is the limit on variations.